Hashem Gets Branded (Along With Jesus, Buddha, Krishna…)

user submitted pictureThis New York Times article (republished at HoustonChronicle.com so you don’t have to subscribe) informs us that fashion designers are just picking up the trend of wearing one’s spiritual beliefs on the outside and. Let God’s marketing campaign begin!

“There is no question, religion is becoming the new brand,” said Jane Buckingham, the president of Youth Intelligence, a trend-forecasting company. “To a generation of young people eager to have something to belong to…wearing a ‘Jesus Saves’ T-shirt, a skullcap or a kabbalah bracelet is a way of feeling both unique, a member of a specific culture or clan, and at the same time part of something much bigger.”

Or, you could actually go to synagogue or church and participate in religious life. But why, when you can go out and buy a nifty trucker hat?

Kabbalah Off Broadway

user submitted pictureMove your spoons over, Uri Geller—there’s a new magical Jew in town. Columnist Amanda Scarpone of Broadwayworld.com gives The Mentalizer a glowing review, calling the show’s mind-reading, fork-bending star, Ehud Segev, “the Jewish David Blaine.”
(Oops, Amanda, David Blaine is Jewish. Well, half. You could call Segev “the totally Jewish David Blaine”, but that sounds silly.)
Segev’s bio says he’s born-and-bred Kabbalist (he grew up Safed, the bellybutton of Kabbalah study) and at just 25 has harnessed the powers of the universe to create quite a show. According to his personal web site though, he’s been a struggling actor persuing soap opera roles and an independent film maker as well as a poet. And then we found another link for his graphic design company.
But it sounds like this enterprising young man finally found his niche.

But Will They Sing “Y.M.C.A.” and “Shout”?

user submitted pictureBritish billionaire Philip Green has reportedly hired Beyoncé and her posse Destiny’s Child to perform at his son’s bar mitzvah, to be held near Cannes. Because you know girl shakes a mean hora, yo. Forget reading the Torah on the bima; a kiss from Beyoncé is what will truly make you a man!
Seriously, if we were a sloppy rich teenage boy we’d make our daddy buy Destiny’s Child, too. But as it is we can only pray that this event will appear someday on BarMitzvah Disco.

Hat tip to the Brits at Daily Jews.

The Real “Indy” Jones Hot On The Trail of The Real Ark?

user submitted pictureThe archaelogist who inspired the film character Indiana Jones has been given the go-ahead by an “unnamed Kabbalist” to excavate the Ark of the Covenant by Tisha B’Av (August 14) of this year. Dr. Vendyl Jones, who looks nothing like Harrison Ford, believes the discovery of the lost ark will “flip the whole world right-side-up.”
“I just gotta drill a bore-hole into the chamber, drop a pin-camera in and there it is,” he claims.
Hope there’s no snakes down there, man. And that no one’s face melts off.
While the Dr. Jones is not Jewish, he seems to know more about Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah, the geography of Israel and crazy secret passageways under the Temple Mount than just about anybody and is a dedicated leader of the Noahide Movement, based on Noah’s covenant with the Almighty. He also has been working closely with Israel’s top rabbis for many years and in spite of his Nostradamus-like predictions, holds enormous respect from the religious and archeological communities.
But this whole secret chamber thing smells a little Geraldo to us.

Hat tip to Paleojudaica (who didn’t say as much, but thinks Dr. Jones is whacked) and Weird Jews.

History, Preserved And Ready For Viewing

user submitted pictureWe spent way too much time last night perusing the Virtual Cinema of Steven Spielberg Film Archive, part of an ongoing project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While the first part of Jewish history has been preserved on parchment, you can’t beat a technicolor medium for modern times. Many of the short films show shtetl life pre-WWII and the early stages of building Israel, but we futzed around with Naomi Says Yes, a silly 1950’s Hadassah membership film starring two female puppets and Springtime In The Holy Land, a full color report of wildflowers and happy Zionists. There are over 300 films currently online, with thousands more being digitized for your edutainment in the near future. Windows Media Player required.

Queen Esther Of The Upper West Side

Editor Esther Our time is limited today, so instead of riffing on Britney’s spiritual feng shui attack, we’ll focus on the person who blogged it first: Ms. Esther Kustanowitz. A resident of the Upper West Side, Esther graciously agreed to indulge our hankering for bagels-and-lox at Zabar’s (just so’s we could tell Bubbe we did it) while we tried to get a handle on whom we consider to be the queen of the Jewish blogosphere. We’re probably not the first to call her the Jewish Carrie Bradshaw—without the slutty quality, of course; she may have a wicked sense of humor, but she’s the kind of woman a man would be proud to introduce to his mother, if you know what we mean.

Esther writes a singles column, First Person Singular, for the New York Jewish Week, a monthly column for Generation J, contributes daily to her own blogs My Urban Kvetch and Jdaters Anonymous as well as to Jewlicious and still has time to dabble in improv comedy. We’ve been reading her all over and linking to her for over year now and we kept wondering why is this smart, sassy, very funny girl still single?

So we expected her maybe not to be as charming in person as she is in writing, to be afficted with Asperger’s syndrome or maybe Tourette’s, or maybe the reason for her singleness would be something obvious, like a double nose wart. Then this adorable girl swept in the door and we understood that as spot-on about dating and Judaism and pop culture as she is, Esther suffers from the same simple dilemma that afflicts all Jewish singles: She hasn’t found her beshert yet. But she gets to make a living at traversing the pitfalls of dating within a small community (like having to duck around the corner at Zabar’s to avoid making small talk with a past unsuccessful blind date—He’s a lawyer. He said he was funny. He wasn’t.) while she “waits and dates.” Lucky for us.

Anyway, Esther gave us a quick tour of the neighborhood and led us into Central Park before dashing off to her improv class, but not before we began a conversation about why Jews, especially the not-particularly observant ones, want to marry other Jews and how Judaism informs all aspects of life and relationships. At Jmerica where we make up in soul what some of us might lack in formality, and we find Esther’s more observant perspective interesting enough to keep the conversation going, so stay tuned.

Cross Your I’s And Dot Your T’s?

user submitted pictureThe winner of the “create your own niche” award goes to Yaakov Rosenthal, who’s touring Australian synagogues with his combination of graphology (the study of handwriting) and Kabbalah.
“Most people don’t know when they write they’re actually seeing their soul come out on the piece of paper,” he says. “You can tell a person’s basic personality and how they are going to react in most given situations, if they’re social, talkative, reserved, if there’s a major problem they’re overcompensating for.”
We’re more than a little skeptical. In this day of keyboards and number pads, isn’t handwriting personality testing a bit hoo hoo, even for kabbalists? We haven’t written anything by hand in months and our signature gets more illegible with each passing year—Mr. Rosenthal would probably read us having any number of major problems we’re overcompensating for (crack withdrawal? emotional retardation?) when we’re just…used to typing.

Jewish Poetry Event That We Can’t Attend- Waaah!

user submitted pictureWe wish we could head back to the East Village for Mima’amakim Journal’s star-studded gala show at the Bowery Poetry Club entitled Telos Vs. Tahlis: Identity Crises and Metaphysics a la Carte ‘cause, well, we love Jews and spoken word and frankly, we’ve been having an identity crisis since exiting the womb. Besides the usual line-up of word artists, the Hebrew Mamita herself, Vanessa Hidary, will take the stage with other seasoned poets Matthue Roth and Aaron Hamburger as well as the Nehadar Orchestra and the cute-boy klezmer jazz band Juez June 5 at 7pm. If you’re even remotely close, GO, if only so we can live vicariously through you.
We’re extra farklempt that we’re going to miss this event ‘cause we just found out one of our pieces has been accepted into Mima’amakim’s next publication. We could blog for eleven days straight, but there’s nothing like print publication to make us feel like real writers.