Tag Archives: satire

How Did This Happen?!

18 Jul

How George RR Martin wants to look

I wrote this piece a few months ago for Frumsatire, but I like it too much not to put it up here too:

Today I was doing what they used to call a cheshbon hanefesh. You know, reflecting on my life. I must say: I’m unimpressed with the results. How did it come to pass that the highlight of my day is writing articles anonymously for someone else’s blog. When did it go so terribly, terribly wrong?

By this time in life, I was supposed to be a rich and powerful spy/weapons dealer. Or at least close to it. To date, I think zero of my friends are Arab dictators or African warlords. And I can’t pull off wearing a bluetooth at work. NO! It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

And what happened to my early high school romance with a blond girl with low self-esteem? I was supposed to make her feel cool, while she pulled me away from a life of crime. Where was she? I bet she used to hang out at Netanya’s. But the Yeshiva didn’t let us go there! We could get kicked out! Curse you, Hanhalah! Curse you to hell!

Come to think of it, I don’t have a lightsaber either. And I’d just be fooling myself if I thought I could still get into the Jedi Academy now. Anakin was too old at 6 years old, and he was the chosen one! I’ll never have the chance to develop my force powers. Wait, maybe I’m chosen-er than him? Nah, that’s probably stupid.

Well, at least Mass Effect 3 is coming out soon. I’ll just have to play that while I wait for an old man to come and take me on an adventure. My family will probably have to be killed in a horrible way to justify my blood-lust, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice.

How George RR Martin actually looks

 

Cholent Banned!

12 Jul

Thursday night cholent has officially been banned in Israel. To find out why, I sat down with one of the leading proponents of the ban, Rabbi Nachum Kleinerhoisen.

Me: Rabbi Kleinerhoisen, good to have you here. So glad you fly all this way.

RK: For Yeshivaforum? Anytime.

Me: Wow, thank you. So first of all, what’s the reason for this ban? Many people in America are grumbling about the seemingly draconian ban on something so harmless.

RK: Ok, let’s assume that it is ‘harmless’. And let’s assume that ‘draconian’ means ‘bad’. Still, there is the issue of the tremendous bittul torah taking place. Thousands of hours that could have been spent learning are spent eating and schmoozing.

Me: I hear where your coming from. But I think you aren’t really empathizing with your talmidim. They spend the whole week learning, day and night, with no social outlet at all.

RK: Yeshiva’s not a social outlet? You’re around guys your own age the whole day. What could be better?

Me: Ok, that’s true. What I mean is it’s suffocating. You’re 22 years old, and you have to follow a schedule like you’re still a kid in grade school. Where’s the room for developing yourself as an individual? Where’s the sense of control over your own life?

RK: Being an individual! Hahaha! That’s a good one. You think a guy’s in a yeshiva in Israel to be an individual? You have your whole life mapped out for you by your social circle. From the Yeshiva you attend, to the girl you marry, and you’re worried about taking away the mass cholent gathering on Thursday? Let me tell you something. There’s nothing individual about your entire trip to Israel. The tiyulim you go on because all your other geshmak friends went on. The ‘crazy’ people you eat at. The early cholent eating. All socially pre-programmed activities. Don’t bullshit me Itchemeyer.

Me: Never heard you curse before.

RK: Yeah, sorry. It was a long flight, and the stewardesses were extra-Israeli.

Me: Ok, that was pretty wild, but I think you’re clouding the issue here. 99% of what we do is preprogrammed, but it depends who’s doing it. Here, the bochurim are obviously making something for themselves that’s totally innocuous and kosher, and the Yeshiva is trying to force itself into every crevice of the boys’ lives. The boys obviously need an outlet, right? That’s why cholent’s so popular. I think it’s short-sighted to shut this down when there are so many other bad vices just waiting to be picked up.

RK: And I think that you’re shortsighted. The point of yeshiva is to learn. Our job, as Mashgichim and Rebbeim is to facilitate this. That’s why we foster an intense atmosphere of concentrated learning. Nothing should be more important to the boy than learning as much as they can to be the best learner in the Yeshiva- if not the whole Yerushalaim. If the bochurim are feeling free to create these grass-roots ‘self-expression’ programs as you’d like to call it, then obviously we aren’t doing our job. So maybe we need to cut down on their free time. Maybe we need to ban the cholent after 10:30. It’s all part of a bigger picture here.

Me: You know, I hear that some bochurim are taking a long time in the John to break free of Yeshiva control. Some are probably reading in there too. And some guys are buying 100’s cigarettes so they can have longer smoking breaks. Maybe you should crack down on that too.

RK: Good idea. Maybe we should.

Me: So just so we’re clear: You don’t see anything wrong with this social engineering situation at all, right? No possible bad outcomes for anybody involved?

RK: Hey, life has a bad outcome for everybody involved. And thanks for the loaded question.

Me: Sorry. So you’re headed back now?

RK: Heeeells no. That place is crazy. I’m gonna go get something at Subsational and catch a movie. Maybe Bad Teacher. Yeah, I’m not going back till after my nephew’s wedding. And he’s in high school! No, Just kidding. Good to schmooze Itchie, see you around.

Me: Yeah, uh, you too.

Harsh Tales of the Wandering Jew

10 May

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in shul on Shabbos at around 10:45, smelling the cholent, listening to the Rabbi’s beautiful drasha, thinking shut the fuck up already shut the fuck up shut the fuck up shut the fuck up, as I always do, when my neighbor poked me in the ribs. I’d gotten distracted and apparently started speaking out loud. That was going to be hard to face up to, so I decided to just make the difficult decision and never talk to anyone in that shul ever again.

Of course, this left me without a place to go on Shabbos mornings- not to mention losing the remainder of my $350 membership. Well, it was tzedakah after all, so I figured I’d just steal a couple of dollars from the pushka until about next Sukkos to be even.

Back to my shul problem, though. The next week I decided to try out the shtiebel a few blocks down. I’d been there a few times for simchos, and the cholent – a homemade version by the Rebbetzin- was very good. Oddly, it tasted a bit like Gold Bond, but in a good way. Anyhow, I sat through a cramped, hot davening, but the smell of the cholent did not disappoint. The Rav did not speak before Musaf, which gave major points for the place, and I sat down to the decked-out kiddush waiting for some of that delicious cholent heaped up in huge clear bowls all along the table. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. The Rabbi had tricked us! He didn’t intend to speak during kiddush, but before it, keeping us prisoner to his droning on, before we were allowed to eat.

I was outraged, and covertly poured some cholent into a bowl, grabbed some stella dora cookies, and slipped out the back. And damn, that cholent was as good as I remembered it. Better even, if you can believe it. There was an extra spice in there that week besides the Gold Bond. Was it Victory?

That was last week. This week, I decided to try the Young Israel 20 minutes away. I’d never gone there, because it was modern, and started at the brazenly modernishe hour of 8:00, but frankly, I was running out of options.

As soon as I got there at Chamishi, I felt something was wrong. No, it wasn’t the dragged out singing of Hodo al eretz v’shamaim, or the stained glass mechitzah, or even the boring speech- which I could swear had the word ‘dikduk’ in it. No, I was ready for that. It was something deeper, some unconscious, visceral fear. But I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then came the kiddush, and I knew instantly. There was no smell of cholent. It was a cold kiddush! Plus, the Rabbi had started to speak again! Well, “Fuck this!” I said out loud, and stormed out. What can I tell you? Life is hard for the Wandering Jew.