the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Jews

All Jews, Christians, and Muslims Like to Sing

After a long history of being treated like crap around the world, it is nice that Jews finally feel so comfortable in America.  I can even write about Yom Kippur on Twitter and get knowledgeable responses about fasting from non-Jews in Oklahoma!

Because of this, it was sad to me to read in the newspaper that Muslims don’t feel at “home” in America, even those born in this country. After all, how can you feel safe when you have idiots like that pastor in Florida wanting to burn your holy book?

A little aside: I actually lean more conservative than most of my liberal friends in matters involving the “threat of Islamic extremism.”  It’s probably one of the few areas where I disagree with my progressive friends, a few who would rather blame George W. Bush for 9/11 than religious extremists. I’m sure my commitment to Israel colors my view of the Muslim world. You don’t hear much support for Israel from the Muslim world, or even much of an outcry over the blatant Antisemitism in the Arab media.  Have you ever seen some of the stuff printed in Arab newspapers? While most of us were furious over the Florida pastor, I hardly saw any of my friends make a mention the Seattle cartoonist, Molly Norris, who had to go into hiding over threats to her life after a cartoon of Mohammad. 

I don’t trust extremism in any religion, including my own, and it is condescending to excuse it in other religions.

However, this is America, and I’d like to consider this a special place, a giant newer country where the old country hatreds fade into the background as we all become true Americans — which means sitting around at home watching American Idol on TV and getting fat on processed foods.  We don’t burn holy books in America.  That’s being an asshole. And there’s no reason a group shouldn’t be able to build a house of worship wherever they deem fit.

My grandparents came to this country to escape repression and to be part of a melting pot.   And for the most part, that dream has come true.  I think we should all work towards helping Muslims feel at home in America.  Most foreign-born Muslims came here for the same reason anyone does — to escape repression in their own countries, or to make a better life for their families.

We frequently hear the term Judaeo–Christian tradition, but the concept of “monotheism” — the belief in one God in the Abrahamic religions —  is a triad of religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Islam, one of the most important and powerful religions in the world, deserves the right to be included on this podium.

That said, I want to take a step towards religious unity here in America, doing it the only way I know how to — through laughter, song, and entertainment!

For the last four years, I have been the impresario of the Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!  During this December online concert, bloggers like you present videos, audio recordings, and photographs of holiday cheer — including Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs.  It has been a fun way for Christian and Jewish (and atheist!) bloggers to end the year on a festive note.

Things are going to slightly change this year.  The Fifth Annual concert will see a growth in concept, because I noticed on the calendar that on December 7, 2010  it is Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year!

The Islamic New Year is a cultural event which Muslims observe on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims use the day to remember the significance of this month, and the Hijra, or migration, Islamic prophet Muhammad made it to the city now known as Medina. Recently, in many areas of Muslim population, people have begun exchanging cards and gifts on this day.

Although it is a minor holiday in Islam, let’s be honest — so is Hanukkah in Judaism — but that never stopped American Jews from making it a bigger deal to offset the mega-holiday of Christmas.  And just think how this will bring more money in to the Hallmark company with newly minted Al-Hijira cards!

So, this year, the fifth annual concert will be renamed —  The 2010 Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.

I realize that there is a dearth of good Islamic Al-Hijra songs, but then again, how many good Hanukkah songs are there?  All the smart Jewish songwriters wrote Christmas songs because that’s where the money is!  Luckily, Faiqa is already on board and knows of at least one good Islamic song for the concert.

Now where else are you going to hear Islamic new year songs, the Driedel song, and Silent Night, Holy Night all in one place?

More information — and the sign up sheet — in November.

Note: My apologies to non-Monotheist religions. We still love you, but you will need to create your own concert.

My Once A Year Jewish Rant

Today, I’m going to take this time to explore some Jewish-related subjects that I’m in the mood to rant about to you, my Jewish and non-Jewish friends.  I’m not sure why it occurred to me to write this today.  Maybe it was the bagels and lox I had for breakfast.

I’m usually much of a ranter.   I don’t have too many hang-ups over religion.   I’m not overly-touchy about Israel.   I don’t see anti-Semitism in every joke.  That would make me hypocritical, especially since I spend a good deal of my day making jokes about Catholics and Mormons.  We all have our own ethnic and religious prides and foibles, and the great thing about America is that we can freely express it.

It’s pretty clear that I am a Jewish guy, right?  So, I think it might be interesting to you to hear what I think about some of the following topics.  And if you disagree with anything I say, don’t be afraid to say it.

1) Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays

christmasandhannukah

Remember me?  The guy who throws the online Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa concert every year?  I like all holidays. Maybe next year, we can throw in a Muslim holiday into the concert mix as well! I’m all for inclusiveness.   However, every year, I find myself in the middle of the same boring argument — should Christians say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?”  Some are adamant that America is really a “Christian” nation and are upset that outsiders are undermining the sacredness of this three month consumer bonanza we call “Christmas.”  Naturally, the haters always come out to play.  And we all know who are the biggest kvetchers about Christmas, right?  The Jews.  First Jesus, now Christmas.  What spoilers!

Here’s my take.  If you live in a big city were there are many religions and minorities, you should be able to make a big public display of your holiday.  There are plenty of those not celebrating your holiday, so we don’t feel bad.  We go for Chinese food.  Everyone loves Christmas trees.  However, if you live in a small town in mid-America where there is only one Jewish and one Muslim family, it probably would be nice if you went OUT OF YOUR WAY to make the outsiders feel comfortable, which means stop pushing for nativity scenes outside of the public library and city hall!  Who wants to be told “It’s a Christian nation” right to your face? It isn’t polite.

2) Israel and Gaza

gaza

Is God playing a joke on the Jews with Israel?  What a pain in the ass this country is! And have you ever tried to date an Israeli woman.  Talk about tough!  Israel is a tough subject for liberal Jews to talk about in public.  I have no problem with it.  During the recent election, I found it extremely annoying how the McCain campaign was trying to appeal to American Jews by creating “Obama is a Muslim” fear, as if we were a bunch of idiots.  Jews go to college.  We’re not that stupid.  On the other hand, I don’t find much of the progressive community a big fan of Israel, since these good-hearted souls prefer to side with the underdog, and not the American-allied bully.  And who can honestly root for a country that bombs poverty-stricken innocent women and children in their mosques and schools?

So what is a liberal Jew supposed to do?

I’ll never forget when some columnist wrote a post on the BlogHer political site advocating shipping all Jews from Israel to some place in Siberia, which would help defuse the problem in the Middle East, and friends of mine, normally outspoken political women, were protecting this writer, saying, “Well, perhaps it is an issue we should discuss.”  Maybe conservatives are right about liberals being the Jewish people’s worst friends!  My mother went to Boca Raton to escape the cold.  No Jew WANTS to move to Siberia!

Some of my favorite progressive bloggers, especially the ones in Europe, were very angry over the recent fighting in Gaza.  Many Europeans dislike the Israeli government, and think the American media is controlled by the pro-Israeli propaganda machine.  Two bloggers I know wrote pieces demanding that Israel be held for war crimes for the murder of innocent children.  On one of the posts, the word HAMAS was never used once. The scenario in Gaza was presented as “Israeli occupiers vs. people of Gaza.”

“What happened to the real bad guys in the story?” I commented.

Talk about propaganda!  While I was worried that I was losing my liberal credentials by bringing this up, it bugged me that someone could complain about slanted views, and substitute it with another man’s propaganda!   Wasn’t Hamas shipping in increasingly powerful weapons and hiding them in schools and mosques AND purposely endangering innocent victims for their own purposes?   What the hell was Hamas doing (with Iran’s help) by sacrificing their innocents for power and ideology?  Shouldn’t THEY be put up for war crimes?  The deaths of so many innocents is shameful, and it angers me that so many excuse the actions of Hamas as if they a local boy scout troup.

Sometimes I think the best thing for the Palestinians to do is to accept that they lost the endless war and start to figure out a way to live peacefully with their strong victors, like Japan did after World War II. Forget talking about 1948 and 1967.   Much of the Arab world likes to keep the Palestinians angry and in poverty, so they can keep them as a symbolic thorn in Israel’s side, and control their own corrupt governments.  HAMAS needs to accept Israel already, stop throwing bricks at the big bully’s head, and start asking their Arab brothers to help build some nice hotels by the Ocean and trying to really compete with Israel by offering better vacation packages.

But no one progressive would ever say that.

3) Beautiful Barcelona

barcelona

January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to remember the victims of the Holocaust.  This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

As I mentioned, Europeans were very angry over the recent fighting in Gaza.  And many European cities have large Muslim populations that are a growing political power.  Because the local Barcelona media had run stories comparing the Israeli stance on the situation in the Strip to Nazi atrocities, the Catalunya government called off the city’s public memorial service.  This was to be the only public event marking the day, and was scheduled to take place in Barcelona’s central piazza.

“Marking the Jewish Holocaust while a Palestinian Holocaust is taking place is not right,” a local City official told Barcelona’s La Vanguardia newspaper.

Despite my love for the beautiful city of Barcelona, I found this quite disturbing.   Even if one is upset over Israel’s actions, why exactly is this the fault of those exterminated in Nazi death camps?  They don’t live in Israel.  They’re already dead.  If the Barcelona government was more logical, they would CELEBRATE this occasion, because if these six million would survived, there is a strong chance that THEY would be living in Israel themselves, as well as their children and grand-children, and the Israeli population would be three times as large, and Israel would even have a larger army in which to go into Gaza!  So next year, rather than pooh-poohing the holiday, I say free Tapas in Barcelona for everyone!

4) 1/3 of all Europeans

berniemadoff

A week after the Bernie Madoff scandal broke, I was having coffee with my friend Barry.  We were discussing the amazing hubris of this guy.  How could he pull this off?

“There’s one thing that is cool about this country,” I said.   “Bernie Madoff is clearly Jewish and his victims were wealthy Jews, but Americans never say things like, “Oh, the Jews, they’re always ripping people off.   All they care about is money.”

My friend laughed and said, “In Queens, they don’t, but believe me. they’re are doing it everywhere else.”

Call me naive, but I would assume most of those old stereotypes have died already in a country with an African-American President.  That’s why it is good to have Europe around for some of that old-fashioned anti-Semitism.  Good ol’ Europe — home of the Crusades, the Inquisition, forced conversion, and the Holocaust.  Even when most of the Jews are killed off, it is still the fault of the Jews… especially during economic downturns.   It has to be someone’s fault, right?

The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that a survey it commissioned found nearly a third of Europeans polled blame Jews for the global economic meltdown and that a greater number think Jews have too much power in the business world.   In Spain, 74 percent of those asked say they feel that Jews hold too much sway over the global financial markets.  That is the highest percentage in the survey.  Nearly two-thirds of Spanish respondents said Jews were also more loyal to Israel than they were to their home countries.

Did I ever tell you that Sophia and I honeymooned in Spain?  We loved it, except for the fact that it was almost impossible to find anything to eat that wasn’t made from the pig!  Hmmm…

5) Circumcision

bris

Can you believe that until I read this post on Her Bad Mother, I didn’t know that circumcision was such a big issue and that there are many ANGRY over it?!   I know that Americans tend to be circumcised more readily than Europeans (uh-oh, I can feel the American Jewish doctors having a hand in this… more trouble), and that it is considered unnecessary to many.  But what is the big deal?  I say, if you don’t want your son to get circumcized, don’t do it.  Who cares?  I don’t remember any discussion in the locker room between circumcised and uncircumcised men, or any laughing and pointing.  They are just penises.

But the fact is that circumcision is a big deal in Judaism.   It is probably one of the oldest traditions in the book, a symbol of the convenant between God and his people.   Jews have been doing it a long time without much trauma (unless research shows that circumcision is the cause of our neurotic behavior, but how would we then explain the neurotic Jewish women?).

Her Bad Mother’s post was intelligent and well-reasoned about her personal decision not to have her son circumcised, but if you do some googling on the subject, you find some scary stuff, and not just from crazy people, but from seemingly “loving” people who care about their children.   Circumcision is called “primitive” and “barbaric” and “genital mutation.”  It “destroys a man’s sexual pleasure” and “torments” the baby and should be “made illegal!”  WTF are we talking about?  Jack Bauer’s interrogation techniques on “24?”

Even if a person did have these beliefs about circumcision, I would think it impolite to blast a tradition so integral to another religion — in public!  There are all sorts of weird rites and rituals that occur around the world, and we appreciate them as part of some other culture.  Do people really want to make the bris illegal?  Would the same person feel as comfortable saying that wearing a burka should be made illegal?  Can you really compare the bris to female genital mutilation?

The whole issue sort of amused me.   Have you ever been to a bris?  The ceremony is done quickly, and then everyone eats a lot of food.  The only thing barbaric about the event is the amount of cholesterol in traditional Jewish food and the overly-sweet taste of the kosher wine.

Danny told me that he once wrote a post about the Jewish bris on the Huffington Post, and it received so many anti-Semitic comments that they had to remove the post from the Huffington Post.

Here is Danny’s post
, which is on his own blog, Jew Eat Yet.

This was his reaction after taking the post off the Huffington Post. And remember — the Huffington Post readership is a progressive one, believers in freedom of speech and religion.

Last Friday I posted my piece about circumcision which was mostly a family reminiscence based on an old discovered film I saw of my 1959 bris. I added a few comments about the people who oppose circumcision and I adopted an over-the-top and I thought humorous tone of intransigence about Kendall’s ambivalence towards the procedure. When I first saw my post zooming to the “Top Posts” list on Huffington, a way they have to track the most-read pieces, and the comments started pouring in fast and furious, I was excited that my post was generating such controversy. But I was unprepared for the level of hysteria that the “anti-circ” people would unleash, some of it accompanied by blatant anti-Semitism. Never in a million years did I mean to imply that circumcising your male child was the “right” thing to do, I was just sharing my own very personal feelings on the subject, all the while saying that this anti-circumcision group makes some valid points (which I still feel they muck up by resorting to outrageous hyperbole and propaganda).

I thought I had a very tough skin when it came to people sharing opposing views but I am not used to the level of personal attacks I received on the Huffington Post. Here is a sampling:

—Pull your head out of your egotistical Jewish ass.

—Let’s make a movie…at least this time it will have sound to preserve your pompous Jewish pontification (or should I say rabbification?).

—Your wife has a better sense of what a woman wants a penis partner to look like. Unless you’re planning to raise a gay son.

—Would you think the same thing if all male babies had to have their ears cut off at birth? Let’s dress up and make a fucking ritual of it and have a party with covered dishes!

—This last bit of animal sacrifice needs to end no matter the sentimental charm it has over older Jews.

—While you’re at it, Danny, you should really think about having all your children’s fingernails removed. After all, they are unnecessary in the evolutionary sense.

—YOU are the reason there are self-hating Jews, asshole. Your son would have every reason to hate you for being a coward.

—I demand that you CUT YOUR SON’S PENIS YOURSELF. See if THAT brings you closer to God!

—Fascism comes in all forms and degrees…you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

—Is this “mark” kind of like that yellow star the Nazis had all Jews sew on their clothes during WW2? They tried tattoos, too. How did those work out?

—Kendall, don’t damage and risk your child’s life by allowing some idiot to chop off the most sexually pleasurable part of his penis. Chop off that idiot you married instead, and do it before you get pregnant. Find a human being for a father for your children and replace this monster.

—Being Jewish and circumcised is no excuse for the kind of abusive behavior Miller exhibits. Many Jews are humane, decent people. This bozo is a disgrace to the good name of Judaism.

—Circumcising infants is a Satanic blood ritual. That is the only possible explanation for the persistence of this heinous evil. Human beings are not this evil. Only Satan himself is. All children circumcised are severely injured for life.

All I can say is that I am blessed with my friendly readership. You seem to like me, despite my circumcised Jewish talking penis.

The Orthodox Jewish Guy Outside the Supermarket

I went down to Pathmark Supermarket to buy whole wheat hamburger buns and some bottles of Snapple.   In front of the entrance, was an Orthodox Jew handing out leaflets.  He was wearing a yarmulke and tzitzit, a traditional fringed garment worn under the clothing.  I’ve seen these guys before.   Some ultra-religious Jews go around and try to get less religious Jews to pay more attention to the various rituals of Judaism.  These men believe that the spreading of their religious fervor will hasten the arrival of the Messiah.

Usually, these Jews only bug other Jews.  They frequently ask passerbys, “Are you Jewish?” before they annoy the hell out of you.   I understand that they are on a mission, but sometimes I just want to walk to the supermarket without having to discuss religious issues.   The only time I’ve ever said that I WASN”T Jewish had nothing to do anti-Semitism.   It was to avoid one of these ultra-religious guys pestering me on the street about lighting the Shabbos candles.

“Here, take some candles. Light them on Friday night. Do you belong to a temple?  Come to our temple.  We even will feed you!”

They will feed you. I know their trick.   You go to their temple.  They feed you some good chicken soup, and then they OWN YOU!

What surprised me about this guy outside the supermarket was that he was not asking, “Are you Jewish?” to anyone.   He was handing out his leaflets and talking to every passerby, whether they were black or white or Latino or Asian.  Some of these shoppers quickly walked by, while others politely took one of his leaflets.

Was he trying to convert everyone to Judaism?

Three years ago, I wrote a post advocating Jews trying to convert other religions. I was being a little tongue in cheek.   At the time,  I felt that if other religions are always trying to convert you, why not return the favor?   In reality, conversion is a dirty word for most Jews because it brings up a sad history of forced conversion, mostly at the hands of Christians.   Even though I wrote that post, I don’t really feel comfortable with anyone trying to convert another person.

I wondered if this zealot outside my Queens supermarket felt safe trying to convert others to Judaism because we were in Queens, and there were many Jews in the neighborhood.   Maybe he felt safe in numbers, despite the fact that there was a mosque right across the street.

This made me angry.   If I were a Jew in a Christian neighborhood, I would hate having someone try to convert me outside my local supermarket.  I would feel as if I was being pressured to be “one of the majority.”  I’m not a hypocrite.    Why should a Jew try to convert others in our neighborhood?   Surely, the religions of others — whether it be Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism — is as worthy a religion.   This smug Jewish guy, passing out leaflets, was arrogant.  It didn’t matter if he was “part of my tribe.”

I walked into the supermarket, using a side door, just to avoid him.

After I finished my shopping, I looked through the store window, and saw my Jewish friend deep in conversation with a black mother and her son.  The mother took the flier, nodding in agreement.  Did he just sucker in another victim to leave her own religion behind?  My face grew red.  This idiot was giving the Jewish people a bad name.

I walked outside, waiting for him to hand me a flier and engage me in conversation.  I walked by and he completely ignored me.   What was up with that?!   Did he see that I was angry and was worried about a conflict?   Or could he tell that I was already Jewish so he didn’t need to convert me?   And how did he know I was Jewish?   Was he judging me on my Jewish nose like a racist would do?   Was this Jewish man stereotyping a fellow Jew?

Hell, I wanted him to try to convert me!   I wanted him to hand me one of those leaflets, so I can shove it back in his face and tell him that this is not the ways Jews should behave.  That it is a shame for him to stand there in his yarmulke and tzitzit and show such disregard for other cultures and other religions.

I did a 360 and entered the supermarket again, just so I could exit a second time and get one of those leaflets.  I quickly re-walked my steps, leaving the market as I did before, not even waiting for the electric door to fully open.  I walked past the ultra-religious Jewish guy, who was eagerly handing out his leaflets — and the asshole ignored me again.

That was enough for me.   Like Abraham, who would sacrifice Isaac, his son, because of God’s word, I knew that it was my moral obligation to confront my Jewish nemesis.  I stepped in front of him.

“May I have one of those leaflets.”

“Sure,” he said reluctantly.

He handed me one. I held it tightly in my hand, ready to start my diatribe against religious hypocrisy.  And then I read the piece of paper:

“Looking to sell your condo?  Call 718-555-1212.”

When I arrived home, I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair had gotten long again. I was unshaven. I was wearing an old t-shirt. Apparently, I was stereotyped by this guy as someone who can’t afford to own a condo.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthTruth and Fiction

Jew Perfected

 

Am I the only Jew NOT insulted by Ann Coulter’s statement that Christians are Jews “perfected?” 

C’mon, Jews, who wants to be perfect?  When I f**k up, at least I have an excuse — hey, I’m Jewish, I’m not perfect. 

“I’m sorry, Sophia, that I forget to buy you flowers for our anniversary.  But, remember — I’m Jewish.” 

“Oops, I didn’t expect to come so fast and roll over and go to sleep.  But then again, I am Jewish.  I’m not perfect. It’s a thelogical fact.  Too bad.”

“Yeah, I dented the car again  Oy Gevalt.  If only I was perfect and drove perfectly like my Christian friends.  On the positive side, as a member of the Tribe, I’m good at making money — unless you are a really stupid Jew like me — who spends way too much time wasting his energy blogging to entertain a bunch of married women who don’t even put out for him.  But then again, I am Jewish, so what do you expect?  I’m nuts!”

Maybe I should convert.  Eh, I would screw that one up too.  No offense, Catholics, but the bread-body wine-blood thing is a little weird to me.  And Protestants – well, you’re just boring.

My biggest problem is that most of you  ARE Christians.   You’re Jews perfected.   We all know why I’m in therapy.  But what the f**k is your excuse?

LL Cool Jew

jewish2.jpg

I’m so tired of other Jews.    When did being Jewish become the "in" thing?    Moronic Hollywood actors going to Kabbalah classes.  Front page articles in New York magazine about Jews being smart  (I dealt with that subject months before them and much better, I might add).    Today I was reading Michelle’s funny NY blog and learned that she is going to be one of those talking heads on a VH1 special titled "So Jewtastic!"  That’s great for her and I wish her all the best, but this show’s concept was already making me feel ill.

From the VH1 website:

From Dylan’s anthems to Spielberg’s blockbusters, it’s no secret that Jews have made huge contributions to pop culture. They’ve succeeded in spite of age-old stereotypes about Jews as brainy, neurotic, and well, anything but hip.

But that’s all changing. In an age when Madonna demands to be called "Esther," Demi celebrates Purim and seemingly everyone speaks a little Yiddish, it’s never been hipper to be a Jew. All Access Presents: So Jewtastic celebrates everything you knew – and lots of stuff you didn’t – about famous members of the Tribe.

The one-hour show will cover the trendy rise of Kabbalah, the new hip Jews in Hollywood, the marriage of Jews and hip hop, the connection between Jews and Heavy Metal and the domination of Jews in comedy. As a bonus, Jackie Mason schools the goyim on Yiddish terms that rock. OY GEVALT!

Thanks to a mensch-laden panel of pundits, yentas and a Rabbi or two, So Jewtastic will also circumcise the old ideas about Jewish mothers, ridiculous stereotypes and whether or not Jews know how to play sports (they do!) So put down that gefilte fish and pop open some Manischewitz, it’s time to get your Jew on…VH1 style.

Whoever wrote that has a lot to atone for next Yom Kippur.

As if this wasn’t enough, a few minutes later I’m reading about big-time blogger Andrew Krucoff and how he’s in Israel and he’s never had a bar mitzvah, and now he’s going to have one sponsored by the porno-loving shmata king, Dov Charney of American Apparel. Now, frankly, I didn’t know much about big-time blogger Andrew Krucoff until I wrote a post about big-time blogger Stephanie Klein.  Bloggers-in-the-know told me that Andrew Krucoff was even bigger than Stephanie Klein.  Now as much as everyone hated Stephanie Klein, at least she wrote some interesting posts.  What the hell does this Krucoff do that makes him such a big-shot?    Here’s his latest blog.   As my mother might say, "Nu?"  This guy must be some shmoozer.

I’m just sick of this whole Jews-are-trendy thing.  It used to be that I would use a Yiddish phrase and only other Jews would get it.  Now, the Korean owner of my local donut shop tells me her husband is a shmendrick.   I’ve been so frustrated with my people lately, that I even thought of converting, but then Sophia told me that Larry David already did that in the last "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode. 

Fucking trendy Jews!

Listen, everyone knows that Chanukah sucks compared to Christmas.  Why continue with the facade of Chanukah being cool because Adam Sandler wrote one fucking song about it?  Why can’t I love Rudolph and Frosty and the Grinch — all of the traditional Christmas stuff.    When Rudolph saves the day with his shiny nose — that’s the true meaning of Christmas.

After reading all about these trendy Jews, I felt starved for some Christmas spirit.  Since I live in a fairly Jewish neighborhood, it wasn’t easy.  I decided to go to the most Christian place I could think of in Los Angeles — Walmart.   As I pulled into their enormous parking lot, images of Christmas lights and Christmas trees and Christmas fruitcakes danced in my head.

"Happy Holidays!" said the greeter, a middle-aged woman in a wheelchair. 

"Happy Holidays?" I asked.  "Don’t you mean "Merry Christmas?"

"Shhh.  We’re not allowed to say that anymore.  Only "Happy Holidays."

"That’s weird.  I came here especially because I figured Walmart would be… real goyish…"

"Goyish… ha ha.  I heard Seinfeld once say that in that episode with the puffy shirt.   By the way, did you see "Curb Your Enthusiasm" last night.  That Larry David… what a shmendrick. "

"Can I speak to a manager?  I really want someone to say "Merry Christmas" to me."

"I’m sorry.  We don’t want to insult any of our customers who may be of another faith.  Like our Jewish friends."

"I’m Jewish."

"Welcome, Jewish friend.  Welcome to Walmart.  The Tony Hawk Chanukah dreidels are in aisle five, in between the Sarah Silverman menorah set and the "Story of the Maccabees," as read by Dame Jew-dy Densch."

"I don’t want any of that crap.   I’m not here for Chanukah."

‘Well, Happy Holidays whatever your celebration."

"I’m here for Christmas."

"Shhh…"

"What’s the matter with mentioning Christmas?"

"I thought you were Jewish."

"I am Jewish!"

"Isn’t it cool to be Jewish?"

Oy!  It used to be the blacks, then the gays, now the Jews…. enough!  Enough of trendy!  I want some of that homey Christmas stuff.   Like in Norman Rockwell.  Or on that Charlie Brown special"

"I hear you, young man."

I turned and saw a giant of a man.  He had a white beard.  His voice was deep, reminiscent of Burl Ives.  He wore a Hawaiian shirt and an enormous crucifix around his neck.

"Let’s bring back Christ into Christmas," he bellowed.  "Everyone come here!  This young man has something important to say to us all!"

Shoppers — men, women, children — all gathered around me. 

"It’s all very nice that you want to include everyone in your "Happy Holidays…" I said, my voice cracking, "…but if you really want to say "Merry Christmas," I don’t really see anything wrong with that."

"You hear that?!" shouted the crucifix guy.  "He’s absolutely right.  Why should we be afraid of celebrating Christmas?   How did this happen?  I say, they’ve been holding us back from saying "Merry Christmas."  It’s the Jews.  The Jews I tell ya!  First they kill our Savior, then they spy on America for Israel, and now they want to steal away our holiday!  Well, we won’t let them — will we?!"

"Uh… I didn’t exactly mean…" I stammered.

A pregnant customer stood on the "Customer Service" desk, waving wildly.

"Let’s march on Temple Beth Am!"

The mob grew excited with shouts of "Yeah," "Let’s do it!" and "Stop Those Shmendricks!"

The middle-aged Walmart greeter in the wheelchair stood up.  It was like a miracle happening before our eyes.

"Let’s go tell the Jews what we think!" she screamed.

Everyone in Walmart started chanting. 

"We love Jesus!  We love Jesus!  We love Jesus!"

Within minutes, the store was emptied of everyone except for myself, which wasn’t so bad, because I don’t really like crowded stores.

Was I worried about Temple Beth Am?  Not really.  Los Angeles crowds are notorious for giving up early, such as leaving Dodger games in the sixth inning.  The temple was pretty far away, and with all the traffic, I’m sure they just ended up dispersing and going to Starbucks instead. 

But I was disturbed, and frankly irritated, at the mob’s total devotion to Jesus. 

Because if you think about it:  What is Jesus — but another trendy Jew?!

(UPDATE — with a bit of a wimpy retraction.)

Hey! Mormons! Leave Them Jews Alone!

The A.P. reports that:

Jewish leaders claim Mormons continue to posthumously baptize Jews and Holocaust victims.  

In this practice, the Mormon church collects the names of the dead from government records, then church members stand in to baptize the deceased into their new religion.  The church believes individuals’ ability to choose a religion continues beyond the grave.

The church supposedly directed its members in 1995 to stop baptizing the names of Jewish Holocaust victims, celebrities and people who aren’t relatives, but there is evidence that the practice never stopped.

I once visited the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City en route to Park City and they were pretty open about their practices.   Boy, was that visit weird.   The "tour guides" mistook my politeness for interest, and before I know it, I was stuck watching this multimedia production about Mormon founder Joseph Smith.

As for the continuing effort of Mormons to posthumously baptize Jews, the Jewish community is fighting back.   This Saturday, at Temple Isaiah in Great Neck, Long Island, the Sisterhood is meeting to discuss next month’s proposed bar mitzvah of Mormon Jeopardy champ, Ken Jennings.

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