We’re Heading “The Frisco Kid” Lobby

user submitted pictureWith all the fear of corrupt electronic polls and apathetic voter turnout this election season, why not cast a vote where you can be sure it will really count? You can help decide the top ten Jewish films of all time at
The National Foundation for Jewish Culture. The polls are open until October 5 and the definitive list will be announced at the The Fourth Annual Jewish Image Awards October 11th.

DJ Spock In Da House

user submitted pictureEverybody’s favorite Jewish Vulcan, Leonard Nimoy, will beam down the songs of our people in a new radio series entitled “American Jewish Music from the Milken Archive with Leonard Nimoy,” to be broadcast in two 13-hour episodes on XM Satellite Radio. The program will feature “biblical epics set to music by Kurt Weill, Jewish legends in tone poems, film scores and operas, symphonies and concertos based on Jewish themes, Yiddish theater songs and world premieres of recently discovered Jewish compositions by Leonard Bernstein.”
When we turn off the Beastie Boys for one sec and really think about this, we deeply appreciate the work that the Milken Archive is doing: amassing and archiving every note and tone of the soundtrack of American Jewish history for future generations, who will probably be able to download Theodore Bikel singing “If I Were A Rich Man” directly into their brains.
Getting back to Spock, we had no idea of his own vast contribution to the canon. Muchos kudos to Jewlicious for uncovering this video gem of the pointy-eared one belting out The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. We promise it’ll make your day.

Our Own Personal Da Vinci Code?

user submitted pictureIn the midst of moving madness, Mom came across an old, leather-bound book of our great-grandfather’s while she was sifting through Bubba’s many tsotchkes. It was published in 1870, a complete relic, and it’s about the history of the ancient Essenes, a mystical sect of Jews that arose after the great Maccabean War with the Greeks. The Essenes are believed to be the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls and supposedly Jesus and John the Baptist arose from this tribe.
Our Polish great-grandfather was a Freemason, which up until today we thought had something to do with laying bricks. It’s actually a respected fraternity devoted mostly to social philanthropy and counts many prominent politicians, businessmen and as members. We thought it sounded like a club of grown men who invented a secret society to drink beer and get away from their wives, but we found out the Freemasons have practiced Kabbalistic rituals and count “cabala” and the teachings of the Essenes among their founding principles.
Whoa. Great-Granddaddy was Kabbalist? Trippy. Wonder what he woulda made of Madonna and zoo?

Last Minute Reflections

user submitted pictureSo, our parents are moving out of our childhood home as we write. As adults, we’ve tended to be wandering Jews, going wherever work or school takes us or wherever the VW happens to break down. We’ve learned that home exists in our hearts, our relationships, in nature, and yes, in the synagogue. We heave a sad sigh as our parents move to a highfalutin’ Scottsdale townhouse, leaving the suburban barn on the golf course with only echoes of our noisy, cat-fur-filled childhoods. But we know that melancholic burn is only the acknowledgement that life goes on, another year begins; we get older, our parents do, too. And, besides, Dad doesn’t want to deal with the pool anymore. We’ll always have that last great seder, guys.
The parental unit isn’t the only family who’s gone through changes this year. Our last remaining grandparent, our meshugge maternal bubbe, was moved from assisted-living to full-fledged nursing home after activating her emergency I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up bracelet one too many times. She keeps asking Mom, “So when do I get out of here?” and Mom has to tell her “it’s the end of the line, lady.” We call her when we remember (which should always be more) and even though her place sounds like palace, it probably doesn’t feel like home. We hope we can be more helpful to her from our long-distance location this year.
Life comes to an end, too, for all of us, which we tend to think about a lot this time of year. We’re truly thankful for the youth we have left and we intend to use the hell out of it, if the Lord sees fit to write us and our loved ones in for another year.
Here’s wishing a sincere Yom Kippur to all and well over the fast, if ya are.

Frida Was Jmexican

user submitted pictureIn our self-absorbed New Year navel-gazing state, we completely overlooked Mexican Independence Day, which fell on Erev Rosh Hashanah. Lo siento mucho, hermanos y hermanas JMexicanos.
Speaking of independent Mexicans, we recently came across information about the Jewish heritage of one of our favorite artists, Frida Kahlo. Her intimate family painting, My Grandparents, My Parents, And I, had a recent showing at the Jewish Museum in New York and was first exhibited in 1938. It depicts the fact that Frida’s father was Jewish, and the full effect of the painting makes her a Hungarian-German-Jewish-Indian-Mexican-Catholic. An achingly thorough interpretation of the painting and Frida’s complex roots is here for the art buffs; the rest of you sit still and look at the pretty pictures.

B.J.s At the Back of Bus, No Big Deal?

We came across a most disturbing article in the Jewish feminist magazine Lilith about the social epidemic of girls as young as 12 giving blow-jobs in return for popularity. “Oral sex is so common now, people don’t even think of it as bad anymore,” says one 13 year-old. “It’s cool if you do it.” And they’re doing it- at school, at the back of the bus (“I was bored”), even at bar and bat mitzvah parties. It’s all one-way- that is, girls on guys- so the slut stigma doesn’t apply since the girls keep their pants on. Some parents not only know about it, but condone this, arguing that everyone’s still a virgin, so no harm done, right?
Um, we hate to sound like prudes here, but a lot has changed in the 20 years since our bar/bat mitzvah season. First of all, if any girl stuck a penis in her mouth back then, she’d be vilified as the skank she was. Second, even though this the traditional age of adulthood for Jews, aren’t these junior high students (who dress like porn fantasies in their teeny tops and platform shoes) still (at least partly) children? We know that movies like Thirteen and other exposes about the secret life of teens are just telling it like it us, but we can’t help thinking this is so icky. 13, dude! Too young! Guess that means we’re old.
Although the full article in not online yet, you can order a back issue here.

Surfing Rabbi Reigns in SoCal

user submitted pictureRabbi Nachum Shifren has come a long way since he missed his own bar mitzvah to go surfing in Malibu. Nowadays, he’s melded the surfing bum lifestyle with Orthodox traditions, and inspires Jews and non-Jews to find God among the waves. His book The Surfing Rabbi: A Kabbalistic Quest for Soul chronicles how a hippie boy with little Jewish education became a yeshiva grad; we wish we could read on the beach in between surf lessons in Costa Rica. Shifren hopes his autobiography will make the big screen someday; perhaps his Malibu neighbor Mel Gibson will sign on as a producer?

Green Makes His Choice, Kinda

user submitted picture L.A. Dodgers’ Shawn Green will definitely sit out for at least one of the key games against the S.F. Giants this weekend in order to observe Yom Kippur. It’s been a tough choice for the first baseman, keeping him awake at night, and he says he will make a decision whether he will miss the other games today.
“I wish Yom Kippur could be in April,” he laments. “But it’s not.”
We applaud and support Green whatever his decision, not that it’s anyone’s business but his own.

Come Back To Us, Rodney

user submitted pictureRodney Dangerfield has slipped into a light coma following a heart-valve replacement surgery a few weeks ago, but is beginning to show “signs of awareness.” The 82 year-old comedian has admitted to some seriously depressing habits recently, but he’s still got so much to live for: a new book, a hot wife, and yes, the respect of one-liner lovin’ fans everywhere. May he make a full and speedy recovery.