Which Way Is East, Brother?

nullThe good news is that you’ll always know which way to pray with the Incredible Jerusalem Compass.

The bad news is that you may have been facing the wrong way all this time, even at shul:

According to the JPost, the married father of six (does this post warrant a “Jewish Superpapa” title?) who invented the solid brass, battery-free compass, has tested it on numerous synagogues and found them “significantly off the mark” — even in Israel.

“Most Diaspora Jews face the traditional Mizrah (East) when they pray, but if you face east and pray in Florida, Toronto or London, you will be facing totally different spots,” he explained. (Full story.)

For 25 bucks, his invention assures that we can now point our prayers in the right direction. Amen!

MLK Matters

mlkHope everyone’s been lucky enough to have this day for themselves and/or family, but it occured to me that the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. should no more be “enjoyed” than Yom Kippur.

From that cool cat at Chicotown:

It’s a crime to treat this holiday as nothing more than a “black holiday” (or a Free day from school/work) and to suggest that his life didn’t affect yours just because you are not of an African decent. Its your holiday too, realize it, embrace it, and help continue his legacy and his progress towards universal peace and tolerance.

Couldn’t have said it better, yo. Keep the dream alive.

When Your Father Goes To Pakistan…

dad…you worry a lot. Dad’s a retired surgeon, see, and just wasn’t satisfied playing golf every day and kibbitzing about the grandkids. He figured his skills might be put to use outside of removing a thorn from the cat’s paw and diagnosing acquaintance’s symptoms at cocktail parties, so he contacted American Jewish World Service, who sent him on to another agency, who found a spot for him helping victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake near Kashmir.

The result is a Jewish doctor working at Christian hospital in an Islamic country.

Sounds like a joke, right? But, gosh, we’re so not amused. Even your basic, run-of-the-mill season in Pakistan comes with risk of random violence in the form of radical fundamentalists and natural disaster, but this past week — well, it’s pretty much ridiculous.

First, some genius at the CIA tries to bomb out terrorist Ayaman al-Zawahri, but he decided to skip dinner that night and the explosions killed dozens of innocent people. Not surprisingly, their families, neighbors and fellow tribesfolk riot against all things American.

Then snow, and all manner of dramatic weather hit the region near where Dad’s stationed and no supplies can get through.

And just when the situation couldn’t be more frightening, now there’s a Bush coming to visit.

So, listen, if you’re already saying a prayer for Israel and Sharon and you’ve got a couple of extra seconds to send good vibes towards northern Pakistan and Dr. Skip (he promised he would keep the extremely ethnic family surname under wraps), the Yenta family could use it.

JIB Reminder…

JIBIt’s been three days, so y’all can go ahead and vote again if you’d like.

As ck at Jewlicious puts it, the JIB awards aren’t about winning, they’re about visibility for all Jewish bloggers. So, right, like he says, check out the other nominees (a couple of new ones I’ve been turned onto are Protein Wisdom, nominated for Best Mega Blog and serandez, who have racked up five nominations.)

Of course, please remember the Yenta loves you when you vote again.

Rabbi Supermommy

supermomGreat. Thanks to Jewschool, I’ve been tipped off to another Jewish supermother. This one’s a New Jersey rabbi who tucks her kids into bed and makes it back to the synagogue for the evening minyan.

The inferiority that I feel because I’ll never be able to fill these women’s shoes is compounded by the fact that I’m still in my pajamas.

Of course, she’s able to accomplish this by having a full-time nanny who cooks dinner and bathes the kids (a good three to four hours of at-home-mommy work.) And ultimately, the sacrifice has to come from somewhere:

In between her congregants and her two children, Rabbi Roston doesn’t have much time left for her man. She says she hopes to reinstitute “date night” with her husband Marc soon: “We put ourselves last,” she says. “That’s the part I’m working on in the next six months.”

I’m sure with all her strength, spirit and resources, she’ll find a way. But make sure you bring the lingerie, rabbi.

That’s one thing this Jewish mama’s got this weekend — a hot overnight date with El Yenta Man in — *gasp* — a hotel room. Thank heavens for free babysitters Jewish grandmas.

May it be a Shabbat to remember for all of us!

DNA Reveals We’re All Kissing Cousins

four matriarchsCNN reports that 3.5 million Ashkenazic Jews have descended from the same four women.

No, their names probably weren’t Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, but hey — four biblical matriarchs, four distinct DNA prints — it’s a lovely “kabbalistic” coincidence.

According to Dr. Doron Behar of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, the four Jewish mothers lived somewhere in Europe within the last 2000 years, but not necessarily in the same place at the same time.

Each woman left a genetic signature that shows up in their descendants today, he and colleagues say in a report published online by the American Journal of Human Genetics. Together, their four signatures appear in about 40 percent of Ashkenazi Jews, while being virtually absent in non-Jews and found only rarely in Jews of non-Ashkenazi origin, the researchers said.

Interesting stuff. But if these women are responsible for the preponderance of our bad teeth and bad eyesight, it’s just about inbreeding, isn’t it?

*”Four Matriarchs” pin available at judysjudaica.com.

Mamas Don’t Let Your Tattelas Grow Up To Be Cowboychiks

kinkyOne of my editorial taks at j. is to compile a weekly column of Jewish jokes. It’s a lot more challenging than is seems because most of them are too dirty, self-loathing, stupid or otherwise inappropriate for the demographic.

But this one’s clean and clever, with the added bonus of being a Top 10 List. And I think Kinky would like it, too.

The Top 10 Jewish Country Songs

1. “I Was One of the Chosen People (’Til She Chose Somebody Else)”

2. “Honky Tonk Nights on the Golan Heights”

3. “I’ve Got My Foot on the Glass, Where Are You?”

4. “My Rowdy Friend Elijah’s Coming Over Tonight”

5. “New Bottle of Whiskey, Same Old Testament”

6. “Stand by Your Mensch”

7. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Latkes”

8. “I Balanced Your Books, but You’re Breakin’ My Heart”

9. “My Darlin’s a Shmendrick and I’m All Verklempt”

10. “Mamas Don’t Let Your Ungrateful Sons Grow Up to Be Cowboys (When They Could Very Easily Have Just Taken Over the Family Hardware Business That My Own Grandfather Broke His Back to Start and My Father Built Up Over Years of Effort Which Apparently Doesn’t Mean Anything Now That You’re Turning Your Back on Such a Gift)”

Pat Robertson, Out Of His Own Club

pat robertsonWhat is wrong with Pat Robertson? (I mean, besides being a bigot?)

Last year he shows his reptilian diplomacy skills by recommending that the U.S. assasinate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Now he’s announced that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was “divine punishment” for pulling out of Gaza:

“God considers this land to be his,” Robertson said on his TV program The 700 Club. “You read the Bible and he says ‘This is my land,’ and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, ‘No, this is mine.'”

Not only has Israel cut off ties with him (and at a price — Robertson and evangelical cronies bring billions of dollars into the Israeli economy), but other hardcore Christians walking away from him like he set off a stinkbomb. And the ginormous Christian tourist center Robertson was helping plan in the northern Galilee has lost its lease.

Sure, he apologized today, but no one’s buying it. After all, he’ll be yodeling about some other ridiculous “divine” claim tomorrow…

Hip-Hop’s New Heroine’s Got That Not-So-Fresh Feeling

revenge of the jewWhen rappers get ugly, Jewish mothers get even, yo.

British MC Soccer Mom (aka Shila Mitra) has the hip-hop world crowing with laughter with her single “Jamrags,” a revenge track directed at Houston rapper Chamillionaire, who’s developed a reputation for contention. It seems Soccer Mom is a partner in the BCD Music Group, the distribution company that helped Chamillionaire launch his career. Chamillionaire enjoyed the Texas-based company’s skills and made it big, then turned around and dissed BCD publicly.

Well, Cha, hell hath no fury like a mother scorned.

And just what is this “jamrag” that has enabled a mere soccer mom to bring down and humiliate a gangsta rap star?

It’s British slang for a used one of these.

The track will be included on BCD’s new compilation “Road Trip 5: Revenge of the Jew,”, featuring a slew of other new artists, to be released Jan. 24.