First T-Shirt of 5767

Yom Kippur DietSure, it’s all fluids, but you’ll fit into your Sevens until Tuesday afternoon, at least. If you’re an Israeli supermodel, you may be stoned for wearing this, and definitely fired.

Available in every kind of garment Cafepress sells, from hoodies to thongs. If your rabbi has a sense of humor, send him/her one of the latter (if he/she doesn’t, send it anonymously.)

Zaftig: The New Herion Chic?

skinny bitchListen up, skinny bitches: Your days are numbered. No one wants your concave chests and cheekbones that could impale the person sitting next to you. The one area in which you excel — modeling — precisely because it only uses up the amount of energy you ingested from your weekly diet of six raisins and fourteen hundred cigarettes, is over it. You know, little meatless lambchen, in the fashion world either you’re in, or you’re out, and fashion has decided if it wanted wire hangers to put clothes on, it’s much cheaper to raid a drycleaner’s dumpster.

So, sickly sisters, no more lounging around looking bored and undernourished and getting paid for it. You’re either going to have to eat something or find a real job — at least in Israel:

A group of Israeli retail companies have banded together and are boycotting “overly thin” models for their ads, joining Spain in what is becoming a global revolution to fight anorexia within the fashion industry.

Models won’t work unless they have a Body Mass Index (ratio of height to weight) of less than 18 (the current average of models is 14, resulting in the popular “bobblehead” look), which means there will still be plenty of skinny bitches on the runway and in magazines but they won’t be looking quite so … breakable.

Hat off to Bangitout.

Photo of crazy Kabbalah skinny bitch Lindsey Lohan c/o

Crummy Tashlich Humor

breadFrom my friends at the j. jokes page:

On Rosh Hashanah, there is a ceremony called tashlich. Jews traditionally go to the ocean or a stream or river to pray and throw bread crumbs into the water. Symbolically, the fish devour their sins. Occasionally, people ask what kind of breadcrumbs should be thrown. Here are suggestions for breads most appropriate for specific sins and misbehaviors.

For ordinary sins:
White bread

For complex sins: Multigrain

For twisted sins: Pretzels

For sins of indecision: Waffles

For sins committed in haste: Matzah

For sins of chutzpah: Fresh bread

For substance abuse: Stoned wheat

For use of heavy drugs: Poppy seed

For committing auto theft: Caraway

For tasteless sins: Rice cakes

For ill-temperedness: Sourdough

For silliness and eccentricity:
Nut bread

For not giving full value: Shortbread

For excessive irony: Rye bread

For particularly dark sins: Pumpernickel

For dressing immodestly: Tarts

For causing injury to others:

For being holier than thou: Bagels

For dropping in without notice:

For overeating: Stuffing

For raising your voice too often: Challah

For pride and egotism: Puff pastry

For sycophancy:

For laziness: Any long loaf

For trashing the environment: Dumplings

For telling bad jokes/puns: Corn bread

Now I know I probably should of thrown corn bread and definitely some challah in the Back River, but all I had were a bag of old croissants and tortilla chips — for the sin of being culturally confused?

Colbert Knows His Aleph-Bet

I’ve been going to bed early lately, and so missed my usual Colbert Report fix — todah raba to Bevel for the tip!

And since you’re here, this completely silly, corny clip might tickle your Days of Awe while you’re adding up all your sins. Bill Ray Sheet — very punny. I know “Tekiah” sounds a lot like “Tequila,” but next year no more Weird Al wannabes, ‘k?

Southern Services

mickve israelA new year brings new experiences, so I attended Rosh Hashanah services at Congregation Mickve Israel on Monterey Square in Savannah (if you’re a Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil fan, this should mean something to you.) It’s quite an impressive building, isn’t it? It’s as stunning on the inside as out, all naves, arches, towers and stained glass. Plenty of non-Jews visit and tour the grounds. In fact, while crossing the square to the entrance, you’d best take care not to get run over by a tour bus.

Mickve Israel is the Reform flavor of the city’s three congregations; the others, Conservative Agudath Achim and Orthodox Bnai Brith Jacob, are known respectively as “A.A.” and “B.B.” and don’t have nearly as dramatic digs or the swank downtown location. Maybe it’s because Mickve Israel was the first congregation in Georgia, founded by 42 Portugese and German Jews in 1733 — making it the third oldest congregation in America. The history of the people and the building (including a recent multi-million renovation of the social hall and Hebrew school) evokes much pride among congregants and locals alike — Mickve Israel is truly an icon in a city full of architectural gems.

When El Yenta Man and I were dating, I flew over for a December visit while he was taking a break from grad school and took a tour of the synagogue, where his mother was a docent. Standing at the back of the sanctuary with the soft winter light glowing through the famous windows, I was startled by the sudden knowledge that I would stand in this same spot in a wedding dress, and that this cute guy I’d been seeing for the last six months would be waiting for me under the chuppah. The wedding was nine months later, and no one seemed to mind at all that it wasn’t in Scottsdale.

But (yes, there’s a bit of a kvetch coming) sitting in services Friday and Saturday I began to question whether this congregation is my spiritual fit. I mean, it should be; my husband was bar mitzvahed there, I got married there, for heaven’s sake. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the people are kind. Yet, I found myself distracted from the liturgy by the pointy windows and pastel glass — and especially the choir. And the organ. Which were hidden in the back balcony rather than on the bima, giving the effect of mysterious voices singing “Aveinu Malkeinu” from the ether.

So combined with the gothic interior and the un-tradition of most men not wearing yarmulkes in the sanctuary, it seemed…almost…churchy.

And I can completely understand it: This is a congregation that has thrived in the deep South, probably because it tries hard to get along with its Christian neighbors. It has taken Reform Judaism to a practically painless level; services were under two hours and mostly in English. It was the kind of High Holy Days ritual that the people interviewed in today’s JTA article about Jews who don’t attend services might enjoy rather than epic, “boring and incomprehensible” sessions that turn off so many young Jews.

By scaling back on some of the spiritual traditions that have little meaning for folks whose families have lived in the South for four or five generations (and therefore have little connection to the “Old Country”) but promoting a strong cultural presence in the larger community, this congregation is phenomenally successful at giving Savannah’s Reform Jews a positive identity and a beautiful place to pray comfortably.

I suppose that’s it: I think maybe I need a little more pain in my prayer. I need a mournful “Mourner’s Kaddish,” I need people belting out “Adon Olam,” I need a shofar blower who turns red and spits. I always feel that I don’t know enough about the Torah and the rituals (the food — that I know) and it felt very weird this Rosh Hashanah to actually miss this parts of the liturgy that were left out. Could it be that I’m becoming more religious in my old age or is this motivated by guilt? Did anyone else experience a dearth of spiritual connection at services this year? Did you go at all?

Happy New Year From The Elves

crop circle…or who/what ever they’re saying creates crop circles these days. All I know is they fill me with a sense of wonder about the nature of the world. Whether they’re created by aliens, gnomes, paranormal forces or humans with supermad geometry skills, symmetry is a lovely thing.

This one appeared in an area called Pilgrims Way in Kent, England on June 24 of this year, actually, but I’ve been saving it for you.

Green Muses On His J-Hype

shawn greenPoor Shawn Green. He’s not so religious, but as the most prominent of a handful (okay, maybe two handfuls) of Jewish pro baseball players, he’s unwittingly become a Jewish icon. Ever since he delicately handled a Yom Kippur/playoff game conflict back in 2004 by playing on Kol Nidre and sitting out the next day, Green’s Jewishness is central to his public identity whether he likes it or not. From Sunday’s sports page :

Truthfully, Green doesn’t always feel very Jewish. But then, Green will find himself again front and center in the outfield of some big-league stadium, and suddenly he is supposed to be the next Sandy Koufax, the next Hank Greenberg. One of maybe a dozen Jewish players in the league, he is supposed to represent everything to everybody.

Full story.

Meaning the guy probably can’t eat a piece of shrimp without worrying that some tabloid-y Jewish blogger is watching (no worries, Shawn, I’d never tell.)

Apparently whomever schedules the games has become a little more sensitive this year: there’s no High Holidays conflict for Green, who’s enjoying his first season with the Mets and the rest of New York Jewry.

L’Shanah Tovah Y’all

rosh hashanahDearest reader, I wanted to write how much I wish for your Sabbath and Rosh Hashanah happenings to be filled with warmth, light, love, hope, faith, fine wine, crisp apples, honey made by happy bees, a tasty round raisin challah, fragrant flowers and the soul-clearing tones of the shofar, but I think this painting by artist Rochelle Blumenfeld says it all.

Sen. Allen’s Jew In The Closet

george allenThe Virginia incumbent proves there’s worse things than calling someone “macaca” on the campaign trail: Acting like someone sh*t on your shoe when a reporter asks if you’re mother is Jewish. Watch the video to see Allen freak out.

Today, Allen claims to now “embrace” his mother’s Jewish ancestry that he only recently learned about from “a magazine article” (presumably this one by The Forward’s E.J. Kessler.)

Notice he’s been placed in the “Jews in Politics” category; should we expect to see you in shul Friday night, Georgie?