Jewdith: As Bada** as a Maccabee

Hearkening the return of asterisks to represent the Yenta’s affinity for blue language, here’s a clip about that clever lady with a strong stomach from The Jewish Channel’s Holy Dazed series. Let this crackling clip mix of interviews with hilarious Jews like my homegirl Judy Gold and Nice Jewish Girl Gone Bad Susanna Perlman
extend the Chanukah ruach just a little longer…if only because I don’t feel like scraping off 44 candles worth wax off the menorah yet.

(Accurate and funny as it is, you can find a more complete version of the Book of Judith at here at Jewish Encyclopedia, but honestly, I found the wiki version more readable.)

The Jewish Channel seems to be going strong, but not surprisingly, doesn’t apprear to be available in Georgia (GPB couldn’t even manage to schedule its two showings of the the Lights Chanukah special at anything other than the most inconvenient times: Shabbat and midnight on a Monday, sheeesh.)

You Light Up My Life

menorahAs the planet spins like a lopsided blue dreidel towards the darkest day of the year this Sunday, I must admit I feel like I’m taking a bath in the blackness. When you’ve got crazy assholes with guns and bombs attacking cities and shitbags like Bernie still on the loose and, oh – the astonishing ridonkulousness that people actually name their children Adolf Hitler and then cry First Amendment rights when a shopkeeper refuses to decorate the kid’s birthday cake with swastikas (the retard parents did finally get their Nazi cake – courtesy of Wal-Mart, who else?) – plus your usual mass rapings and killings in Africa and child sex slaves in Asia, well, humanity just sorta adds up to a really fucked-up mess.

And yet somehow, we power on, with our hope and our love and our creativity that it might just get better tomorrow. The faithful folks at have posted a sweet, one-minute movie to remind us that this season celebrates actual living proof that the weak can overcome the mighty and that miracles do happen.

Some sage once said it was better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, so here we go now, Jews and Christians and pagans alike, lighting up millions of candles and burning miles of flourescent light bulbs as a sparkling paean to hope. All those menorahs in windows and pretty blinking trees and yes, even the freakishly life-sized manger scene in Habersham Woods (I almost took baby Jesus out for a joyride last night, but the cow scared me away) are better than Prozac-laced eggnog, and I plan on drinking in a big dose.

Thank you, dear readers, for continuing to patronize this blog with your eyes and comments. Hearty Chanukah (do not deny the back-of-the-throat pronunciation of the almighty Chet!) greetings from the Yenta, and for the goyishe among ye, wonderful wishes for whatever the Solstice-based, banishing-the-darkness celebration of your choice.

Thanks, Bernie! Hope You And Hitler Share A Cell In Hell!

I’ll be picking up my mother-in-law in a few minutes for our regular weekly lunch at the JEA. Yes, her dementia continues to unravel her memory and self-identity, thanks for asking. But she still remembers that every Thursday I pick her up at 12:15 and that lunch costs five dollars a person. (She insists on paying. Call me a schnorrer all you want – you try arguing with her.)

I’m not quite sure how it breaks down, but I figure five bucks a plate for thirty seniors doesn’t cover the food, the staff and the facility costs. But that’s the beauty of the Jewish Federation – it plugs the holes in the services the community needs most – like providing its warm, hilarious, heritage-carrying seniors a nice meal a few times a week. Some of us give a little, some of us give a lot, some smart people invest those shekels and all of us enjoy the safety net.

And now the biggest Jewish douchebag of all time has fucked it up. The JPost reports that Bernie Madoff’s greed has delivered a “major massive shock” to the Jewish philanthropic system, with $600 million in losses estimated before anyone’s really done any complex math – some are expecting a 20% reduction for the Federation in 2009. But hopefully we won’t be eating sock soup on Thursdays just yet:

“People who are starving are going to have to continue to be fed,” Avraham Infeld, president of the collapsed Chais Family Foundation, told the Post on Monday. “That means every other kind of Jewish expenditure is going to have to move aside in order to allow welfare to take place for the aged and the poor.”

I’m just so depressed and disgusted that someone even has the power to dupe people this way and have such a far-reaching effect. Worse yet, the motherfucker has his bail restrictions loosened to the equivalent of tying a piece of licorice around his ankle and continues to waltz around Manhattan and as far as his property in Connecticut during daylight hours.

How are we supposed to defend ourselves when anti-Semites sneer that Jews DO in fact cheat the world and get away with it? How can we explain to our children that one of our own screwed us worse than our enemies ever could?

Jewlicious blogger The Middle says it well:

I guess that just as we take pride in Jewish Nobel prize winners, we have to include thieves like Madoff in our recognition that Jewish life is multifaceted. Along with our successes, we have failures, people who disappoint and also those who commit crimes.

And it’s going to be a long time before our tribe recovers from this one.

While You’re At It, Better Get A Microchip for Your Garden Gnome

Yup, it’s that time of year again when the neighborhood starts to look like a cross between the Vatican gift shop and Madame Tussaud’s, but this time folks are getting protective: The AP reports an increase in people employing techie gadgets like GPS and video surveillance to keep watch over the baby Jesusi in their yards.

Aw, shucks. Looks like the Yenta’s favorite holiday activity just got a whole lot more challenging.

(Fine, a disclaimer: Though I have fantasized madly about say, replacing the Christian savior in a particularly obnoxious manger scene – really? There were blinking reindeer and a 12-foot Santa present that silent night in Bethelem? – with a giant Claxton fruitcake, I swear I have never actually stolen a baby Jesus. But that’s to say I won’t.)

Judging from this article, I am obviously not the only one who thinks sneaking the holy child out of his paper mache crib hilarious. However, if I chose to put a giant inflated dreidel bear or other Chanukah decoration in my front yard and someone drew a Hitler moustache on it, I’d call on my homeboy Abe Foxman and his ADL minions to slap ’em. Why is this, ya think?

Deborah Lauter, the national civil rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, says this:

“If Baby Jesus is removed, it tends to be seen as a prank. Vandalism or theft of a menorah is just more sensitive. You feel like you’re really being targeted for your religion.”

Hmm, yes, that’s true. The idea of the self-righteous waking up to a loaf of challah in the creche on Christmas morning is screamingly funny, and finding a swastika on your 100-bulb mogen David is not. I feel I must give consideration to the double standard: Stealing a baby Jesus is disrespectful, and some Christians truly find a holiness by recreating the manger scene next to to their driveways. It’s not fair to belittle the traditions of one group while protecting another; this is America, and we’re all free to express our the religious beliefs as we see fit, even if it’s with plastic things made in China.

What this means is that I am no longer going to limit the scope of my holiday vandalism to the goyim. Jews with tacky lawn ornaments: You have been warned.

Yo, Locals!

More spin on spinning today! Got a little dreidel? Did you make it out of clay, when you were like, four, and you mom saved it all these years?

Rollergirl and SMN religion writer Dana Clark Felty is looking for photos of dreidels that have special meaning to Savannah families.

She’ll need a photo, the owner’s name and a brief description of the dreidel’s significance emailed to dana.felty [AT] savannahnow [dot] com no later than Wednesday, Dec. 17.

A New Spin for Your Chanukah Party

Wanna make this year’s dreidel games a little more interesting (without adding vodka?*)

Don your Poker Yarmulke and bet some gelt for some No Limit Texas Dreidel!

The objective is for each player to create the best dreidel “hand” by combining dreidel spins. You will combine dreidel “spins” in your shaker, which only you will see, with other Community Spins, which will be seen by all players. The game is an entertaining adult party game and is family fun for everyone ages 9 to 99.

Do you think any parents would object if I taught the Shalom School kindergarteners how to put on a good poker face while bluffing for Skittles?

*Recipe for “Yenta’s Spinning Dreidels”:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the following with ice:

4 oz. premium vodka
4 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz. lime juice

Shake and serve in chilled martini glasses – though when the Nun and Shin start to meld into one, you’ve had enough.

Lights: A Fire Under My Tush

I got a voicemail early this week from one of my favorite L.A.ians, Rachel Leah Cohen who besides being a hawt talent of her own right, is also the personal assistant of the Yenta’s favorite silver fox, Craig Taubman.

Apparently the two of them were sitting around Craig N Co headquarters (which I still imagine resembles the Bat Cave, except with crazy amounts of instruments and mezzuzot on the stalagtites) wondering why the Yenta has not yet reviewed the advance copy they send out ages ago of their superJewtastic musical extravaganza Lights:Celebrate Hanukkah Live in Concert airing all month long on PBS affiliates around the country.

The special brings together every rockin’ name in Jewish music today, some of whom I got rub shoulders (and knock back scotch) with at last year’s Hallelu concert in Atlanta: Awesome chazzan Alberto Mizrahi, Brat Packer-turned-Jewish cowgirl Mare Winningham, electricfied madman Josh Nelson (not to be confused with kosher gospel sensation Joshua Nelson, who’s also on the vid) as well as Rosh Hashanah Girl Michelle Citrin, supersaxy-man Dave Koz, and of course, the Fox Himself. That is one good-looking, fantastic-sounding group of yids, yo.

Rachel, though not a Jewish mother yet, is still quite adept with the guilt, managing to tug my heartstrings from 3000 miles away: “Yenta, we need you to get the word out so people will watch this show! You’re on our A-List! Where is the Yenta when we need her?”

I am not on many people’s A-Lists, and I really would like to preserve my good standing with Craig N Co, if only to keep getting free CDs to review, so even though I have not been able to watch the DVD in its entirety (for many reasons, including having to spend extra time on my own Chanukah program to educate both children’s classmates on why Santa doesn’t like Jewish kids and because El Yenta Man keeps hogging our only tv to watch Christmas specials from the 70s) I am going to go ahead and officially say that it kicks ass and you should watch it!

If you live in Georgia, GPB will air it two weeks from tonight at 7pm (a bit unkosher of the stationheads, I know, but I think Hashem will understand if you flick on the tube after lighting Shabbat candles to celebrate the season with the family?) and again on Monday, 12/22 at midnight (because PBS knows all Jews are insomniacs.) The rest of y’all can check here to find your local listings.

If you can’t find it, please contact your local PBS affiliate and kvetch. And email Craig N Co and tell them their favorite A-Lister Yenta thinks you should get a small discount when the DVD is released.