Recessed, Depressed and Undressed

Surely you’re thinking the topic of this post will be commentary on the way the current economy is melting apart like a Nazi’s face in Raiders of the Lost Ark and how the Yenta will have to spend the next decade scrounging for freelance work writing ad copy for strip clubs.

But really, it’s just that my gums are sore, I’ve got the tryptophan blues and though it’s only 7pm, I’m in my pajamas. I am merely a liberal arts-educated, scatterbrained working mother who screams bloody murder when the price of organic milk goes up thirty cents; it’s best for us all if I leave the complexities of bad tidings to the professionals: Today’s New York Times had a feature on how the “nation’s economic downturn” (oh, how many ways can it be said?) has affected Savannah.

Savannah? She may be the East Coast’s fifth-largest port city and home to Paula Deen’s butter, but does this city really deserve the lens of a NYT economic analyst? Aren’t there plenty of other cities where unemployment has risen almost two percent, the local tourist industry has contracted a bad case of consumption and big business is feeling small? Did the reporter just pitch his editor this story because he wanted a few days’ working vacation in a sunnier clime (although not today!)?

The article is, of course, researched within an inch of its life and cringingly nails down the pathological optimism I observe as people continue to shop themselves to Hell. Poor Savannah, all wrung out in her tattered underdrawers for the world to see…but nevermind, cause this city has an even bigger, more imminent problem: Sarah Palin will be here tomorrow.

Yes, you read it right – The Bespectacled She-Demon of Democracy Herself will arrive at 11am at the Civic Center to lend her support for the biggest, most bedazzling pork barreller of them all, Saxby Chambliss. Saxby’s a Good Ol’ Boy who probably can’t believe Jim Martin garnered enough votes to create a run-off election, and getting everyone back to the polls ain’t gonna be easy. Yes, I’m going to try and crash; if you see AP clips of a dark-haired woman streaking across the MLK Auditorium shrieking “I’ve known feminists, and YOU, Sarah Palin, ARE NO FEMINIST!”, call my lawyer.

UPDATE: That was waaay too easy. Here’s a photo. Read the scoop at savannah.skirt.com/blog.

Invitation to Insult

George W. and Laura Bush, in their desire to show Jewish leaders around the United States how much they tolerate their heretical sinfulness, are throwing their last Chanukah bash at the White House.

Invitations were sent out last week to all the important Jewish politicos, and strangely, the RSVPs were slow coming in. Hmm, I wonder why…

Could it be because the cards show a horse-drawn cart bearing a sign “White House Christmas Tree 2008″ and pulling a Christmas tree to the White House, which is decorated with a holiday wreath?

Spokesperson Sally Sally McDonough chalked it up to a “staff mistake” and expressed hostess Laura’s apologies, who was either so mortified by the error or preoccupied with hanging glittery balls in the guest bathrooms that she couldn’t find the wherewithal to issue her own mea culpa.

McDonough said the intended Hanukkah invitations, which bear the image of a menorah given to the White House during the Harry Truman administration, would be sent out Thursday.

One more reason the Bush administration will go down as having the most retarded diplomacy skills in the history of Western civilzation.

And though the end of this circus is nigh, we mustn’t exhale just yet: According to BackwardsBush.com, as of this writing he’s still got 53 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds to f*ck something else up.

*“Yiddish With George and Laura” available here.

T-Shirt of the Week: What You’re Not Eating for Thanksgiving

Hailing from Chicago, the menschs behind KosherHam.com are the new kids on the Jewish T-shirt block and they’re gettin’ love from all over.

With clever offerings like the chanukiah-adorned “Gettin’ Lit,” for-everyone must-haves like “Barak’n The Free World” and of course, their own oxymoronic logo (the little piggie is cute, nu?), what’s not to adore?

But the Yenta’s calling copyJew on the “One Fish, Two Fish, Gefilte” design – it appeared as T-Shirt of the Week way back in 2005 – likely before these e-capitalists were even bar mitzvahed.

The Ultimate Tale of A Bad Jewish Mother

*I couldn’t post a photo with this because the Google image results made the gyro I ate for lunch come alive.

Little Yenta Girl left preschool on Friday with a note that made my skin crawl – literally. LICE, it said. Don’t come back until she’s been fumigated, you filthy family, it said. Well, not literally, but I could smell the judgment. It was even more mortifying than that time she bit three kids in one day.

A school nurse tried to make me feel better by telling me that lice only like really clean hair, actually, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my mothering (except for, you know, maybe the swearing.) I was just relieved she cut her own hair and this wasn’t discovered by the frou-frou stylist at the salon. And thank the heavens my poor bubbie isn’t alive to know about this – not only would the horror have been too much, she probably would have cut me out of the will.

Honestly, can you think of yuckier way to spend the Sabbath than picking nits out of your child’s hair?

Strangely, it was some of the most relaxed mother/daughter bonding we’d had in a long time (she’s usually pinching my armpits or singing “Old MacDonald Drove A Bus” at top volume in my ear whenever we’re together.) She sat in my lap and watched “Tinkerbell” while I combed tea olive/tea tree/lavender oil through every single hair on her head and tweezed off the little buggers. The stuff smelled so nice I conditioned my own hair with it, but don’t worry, I’m not going to start telling your about some new fabulous home remedy. I do not want to ever be an expert on this. If your kid has lice, you’re on your own.

LYG got the “all-clear” this morning, and the nurse complimented me on my delousing skills. I’m proud?

Wish I Was A Roller Derby Queen

I attended by first Savannah Derby Devils bout last week, and I cannot bah-leeve it took me so damn long.

I’m no great fan of team sports (especially having been subjected to El Yenta Man’s vicious swearing at the t.v. this fall as the Georgia Bulldogs continue to fumble their way into a winning season) but I cheered myself hoarse as my homegirls “dropped the bomb on Fayette-nam” in a 98-87 win against the Rogue Roller Girls from North Carolina. There was plenty of of pushing and shoving by Madam Meshuggunah and Dolly Post-Partum, but the leader of the pack this night was for sure Fear Abby, otherwise known as my favorite Methodist, Faith Forward blogger and Savannah Morning News religion editor Dana Clark Felty.

I always knew Girlfriend was cool, but to see my quiet friend who likes to discuss the finer points of theology jam ’round the rink pushing aside tattooed refrigerators with braids? I am in awe. She showed up in character for skirt!‘s “THIS Is What A Feminist Looks Like” bash a coupla weeks back and posed with me for the requisite “mess the horns, you get the mad fuckin’ cow” shot, but if you wanna see her in action, check out the Spotted photos.

Emceeing the event was the “Rabbi of Rock,” Boomer of 106.1, providing the kind of wit from the sidelines that only a crazy-ass Jew with head tattoos could throw out. I’ll have to learn to appreciate the new Guns N’ Roses album just so I can listen to him in the afternoons.

I know you’re thinking, “Yenta, you love to rollerblade. And you have so much unchecked aggression – YOU should become a Derby Devil!”

Well, dahlinks, first off, there’s the hip. And now that I’ve witnessed the violent spectacle of roller derby up close, I have realized something important about myself:

I am a total wuss. Those chicks would make me cry inside of five minutes.

Musings of a Wannabe Alterkocker

I know I must be approaching retirement because I feel compelled to share with you the many minor medical issues I’m suffering from this week. And like my other AARP buddies, I’m quite positive you will find them fascinating:

*A mysterious itching on my forearms that I am quite sure is leprosy but cannot confirm until my fingers drop off onto my computer keyboard because the dermatologist can’t see me until January.

*A back molar that will not tolerate hot, cold, chewing or brushing – and I’ve probably already got mercury poisoning from the loose filling.

*Two goopy eyes so bloodshot it looks like I’ve been out doing meth with hobos but is actually just a disgusting case of Pink Eye I most likely picked up a the most horrific PortaPotty you could possibly imagine because Little Yenta Girl couldn’t hold it for five more minutes until we got home.

*As always, a sore hip.

I spent more time in doctor’s offices this week than I did at work – I just love shelling out $40 a pop for co-pays, don’t you? I also squeezed in two visits to the acupuncturist who’s treating the nerve damage caused by last spring’s hip surgery (don’t get too excited – this is not covered by insurance.)

I have, however, to find an upside to this tsuris collection: Yesterday at the JEA Senior Lunch I managed to out-kvetch a table of 80-somethings.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put on a housecoat, eat dinner at 3pm and fall asleep to “Matlock”.

LDS “Do-Gooders”: Please F*%k Off

The Mormon Church’s practice of “baptizing” the names of Jews killed in the Holocaust first came to my attention in 2005 and really, I’ve tried to be diplomatic about it.

These folks think it’s a good thing to “save” the deceased so they can hang in the holy afterworld, but rather than keeping to their own dead relatives, they thought it’d be fun to invite everyone to the Mormon afterparty. Supposedly LDS leaders ordered a “cease and desist” of this unbelievably misguided, disrespectful and yes, blasphemous nonsense. Yet still, it continues:

Since 2005, ongoing monitoring of the database by an independent Salt Lake City-based researcher shows both resubmissions and new entries of names of Dutch, Greek, Polish and Italian Jews. The researcher Helen Radkey, who has done contract work for the Holocaust group, said her research suggests that lists of Holocaust victims obtained from camp and government records are being dumped into the database. She said she has seen and recorded a sampling of several thousand entries that indicate Mormon religious rites, including baptisms, had been conducted for these Holocaust victims, some as recently as July.

Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, held a press conference on Monday that ran in dozens of news outlets, but none of those might say it as plainly as I’m gonna say it now:

Hey Mormons: Our dead relatives don’t need your stinkin’ Jesus. They don’t want to play basketball or braid each other’s hair or sit around and drink caffiene-free Coke with you in Heaven. God loves us Jews no matter what (check your Pentecost!) so you can keep your “good intentions” to yourselves. Got it, beeotches?

T-Shirt available here.

Bizzy Yenta

I was planning to write a self-aggrandizing post about how this past weekend I:

*With the help of my co-workers, pulled off an ass-kicking “THIS Is What A Feminist Looks Like” Cocktail Bash (Hint: Feminists are hott)

*Attended an Autism Awareness Fundraiser organized by my friend Kim Spencer, a true balabusta, even if it was a Boston Butt sale

*Rollerbladed for the first time since my hip surgery last spring (and only fell on my tushy once!)

*Taught the kindergarten version of the Noah’s Ark tale at Shalom School, complete with prism rainbows spinning around the room and a thunderous chorus of “Rise N’ Shine” (sorry for disturbing your lesson on mitzvot, first graders!)

*Washed, folded and put away four loads of laundry, cleaned two ceiling fans and vacuumed seven hundred pounds of dog hair

*Read a pile of books aloud, kissed the snake, walked the dog four times and snuggled with the kids an extra ten minutes each in their beds.

I was feeling pretty accomplished until I met Bizu Riki Mullu today at the Savannah Federation Ladies’ Luncheon (which I accidently dressed down for because it’s Veteran’s Day and the kids had no school – a huge mistake, since everyone else was fapizted to the nines. I felt like such a putz – even worse than I did last week at El Yenta Man’s 20 Year high school reunion when the situation was reversed: I was all frontin’ in my Diane Von Furstenburg dress and all the other women were lounging in their Sevens. Why does no one ever tell me these things? Do you enjoy my fashion faux pas?)

Anyhoo, Bizu is a phenomenal jewelry designer and Ethiopian Jew who made aliyah to Israel as part of Operation Moses in 1984. She was part of a group of 24 children on the last plane out of Sudan and didn’t see her family again for 10 years. Gorgeous, articulate and warm, Bizu also works for the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem helping Ethiopian Jews assimilate to Israeli life after Operation Solomon brought over 14,400 more “home” in 1991 and recently started Chassida Shmella of North America “which seeks to help Ethiopian Jews assimilate into the greater Jewish community in America and keep their connection to Israel.”

The story of the Ethiopian Jews is so amazing – their faith, their dedication to ritual makes me realize how much we take for granted as American Jews. For instance, during her talk today Bizu described how life in a Jewish Ethiopian village meant making everything from scratch, by hand. Shabbat preparations started on Wednesdays. A entire month before Passover was spent making new dishes for the holiday because of the tradition of breaking them afterwards – can you imagine sitting at a pottery wheel whipping up table settings for the family after cleaning out the chametz? Not only that, but there was no ordering boxes of Streit’s – Ethiopian Jewish mothers made their matzah just like the ancestors did, and since leaving it out made it stale and reverted it back to chametz (I don’t understand why this is, but I believe her) they had to make new matzah for every single meal for eight days. Now that’s the definition of balabusta, yo. I am humbled – my weekend was a freakin’ vacation compared to that.

Bizu says that many Ethiopian Jews (also known as the Falash Mura, and later as Beta Israel) have jettisoned their strict traditions since living in Israel, where there are grocery stores and nightclubs and perfectly fresh matzah available on every street corner, and now the work remains to help the second generation remember their unique origins. It was wonderful to hear her speak, and thank you to Toby Hollenberg for inviting me to this event – and oy, sorry about the jeans!

Irony of Ironies

First off, good morning! WE WON. And by “we,” I mean our entire country – may Obama’s ideals translate to a saner, more prosperous and kinder world for all of us.

And better news: Our new Prez, being the kind of fellow who taps the best and brightest to help fulfill his vision, is looking at supersmart Jew Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff! More of Obama’s Cabinet speculations here. (Me, I’m filling my cabinet with healthy snacks ’cause the Yenta children are still schizzed out on Halloween candy.)

But a progressive, dove-ish, brown-skinned president isn’t the irony of which I speak, ’cause it’s not really all that ironic at all (any slackers remember that line in “Reality Bites” when Winona Ryder totally chokes on the definition of “irony”?) No, ironic is the name of your favorite Yenta appearing on a marquee for a Catholic Church, dontcha think?

Now, why would the lovely Sarah Fleetwood risk excommunication by inviting me to speak at the Cabrini Mother’s Group last week? I don’t know, but I hope they’ll still let her back in. I talked feminism, Judaism and rock n’ roll, and bless their hearts, that super nice group of women didn’t even throw crucifixes at me when I performed my Kitchen Sink poem.

Thank you to Sarah and the moms – it was a blast – I even got to shake hands with a real, live nun! I’ve also enjoyed the confused phone calls and emails from my local readers who almost drove off the road when they saw the sign.

I have to say, I’ve always liked the Catholics best (don’t be mad, Dana, you’re still my favorite Methodist) – I’ve always had something of an obsession with the Virgin the Guadalupe statues, and besides, they believe all dogs go to heaven: Check it out.