the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Kabbalah

LL Cool Jew


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."


"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.)

Whatever Brings Them In, Part 3


From the Kabbalah store:

Over the millenia, ancient kabbalists understood water to be the source of all cleansing. Making use of Kabbalistic technology, they would activate the cleansing power of water. These waters have been energized with the same 4,000 year old technology. To direct the cleansing power of the water to the area of your body that needs healing energy, simply spray on the area.

Disclaimer: The producer and distributor of this water do not claim any specific physical benefits which might be achieved by using it.

Kabbalah 101, sort of

I don’t trust anything I can’t understand.   Today, I did some searching for some information on Kabbalah because I’m still curious on why it’s so attractive to so many big-name celebrities here in Los Angeles.  I found a website in Israel that supposedly helps explain Kabbalah.

In one post, the writer of the website gives advice to singer/producer/activist  Bob Geldof.   In case you haven’t heard, Bob Geldof has arranged for huge concerts across the world next month as a repeat of 1985’s Live Aid concert.  These concerts will highlight the ongoing problem of global poverty and debt.

What message from the Kabbalah does this website’s writer have for Bob Geldof and the celebrity participants ?

Whatever the results are, the final result must come from a feeling of justice and equality in each and every person.  In a situation of equality and fair distribution someone can earn ten times more than someone else, but the distribution of such a salary will be received by the public as fair and equal, and no one will contest this. The feeling of justice and equality in the final situation is the solution for the human race, there is no situation better. The big answer, that will revigorate the nation and bring salvation to it and the world, will be an answer that comes from the feeling of holiness that will pervade, any other situation brings war, killing and destruction, and all the evil in the world. As long as humanity does not provide a solution for equal distribution it will go through many sufferings. And in the end it is the sufferings that will bring it to agree that it is better to reach equality and justice rather than die. When humanity agrees to equality and justice as the ultimate solution another question will arise, namely what is the best way to implement these values?

Ba’al HaSulam (the author of the commentary of the Zohar) directs his words over and over again to the same explanation, that even if a person determines out of his own good will to be in justice and equality, his desire to receive will not allow him to actually implement them. In order to establish a system of equality with just distribution a person must correct his will to receive. He must first correct his desire. Correcting the desire will allow man to live in justice and equality. The correction is only possible to attain by the light that restores man to his ideal state. The correction is only possible if the justice and equality come from an equality of form with the Creator. In these conditions man attains the world beyond, and justice, equality, security and success in this world.

Can someone translate this for me into regular English?   Is the author saying we need equal distribution or not? 

Is it possible that the following sentence helps explain why so many wealthy, over-paid celebrities respond to the message of the Kabbalah?

In a situation of equality and fair distribution someone can earn ten times more than someone else, but the distribution of such a salary will be received by the public as fair and equal, and no one will contest this.

I think many of our county’s CEOs would enjoy the Kabbalah, too.

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