The Jewish Answer to Posthumous Baptisms

So. The Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing dead Jews.

I think how I stated it pretty clearly how I feel about it in this post from 2008.

I’m not even really sure how such a thing can even be done, since even I know that baptism has something to do with dunking a person in water (a ritual likely inspired by the Jewish mikveh, anyway) so unless the Mormons are going around digging up bones and ashes to concoct some gross Jewish soup in their Tabernacle, the whole idiotic thing is a symbolic and pathetic pretense of “saving” souls when they’re really just trying kiss God’s tuchus. As if spirituality is actually some game where the more people you convert over to your narrow way of thinking, the bigger the prize.

Even after a massive campaign to get the Mormon Church cease and desist with their blasphemous scorecards, the nonsense continues. Researcher and former Mormon Helen Radkey has uncovered evidence that they’ve recently done their unholy voodoo for Anne Frank (who would probably forgive them since she did, in spite of everything, believe people are good at heart.)

They must believe that they get extra points for the really famous Jews:

Radkey also recently found Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel on one of the church’s extensive genealogical databases (guess who else kept long, creepy lists like that? Hitler, that’s who.) Wiesel, who’s still very much alive, is not amused.

The Church of Latter-Day Saints claims it performs these proxy baptisms “because all who have lived on the earth have not had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority during life on earth,” and everyone should have a chance to get into heaven.

Considering the ancient covenant of Abraham that ensures Jews a place in the World to Come, surely they won’t mind giving up their ancestors for a little posthumous circumcision?

“C” is for “Cookie.” And “Color Me Annoyed.”

I am having a dream where I am surrounded by cookies…chocolate-enrobed wafers piled up at my feet…stacks of coconut caramel chewies blocking doorways…a tower of lemon sugar drops threatening to topple on my head…

Wait, this isn’t a dream. It’s my livingroom.

The boxes that Little Yenta Girl sold for her Girl Scout troop have arrived, turning my house into an ersatz high-calorie warehouse. Now we have to separate them, deliver them and collect the money before people start banging on the door, hollering for their Thin Mints. This is all after spending several afternoons going to door-to-door to sell them six weeks ago with her grandpa, who has about as much patience for this as I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Girl Scouts. I love sit-a-pons, I love the stinkin’ badges, I love LYG’s awesome troop leaders.

I also love the Girl Scouts’ fist-pumping feminist agenda, I love the social justice they teach, I love that they embrace transgender children. I wholly support this All-American organization of rational empowerment for young women.

(Yes, rational, not “radical,” as Indiana representative Bob Morris wrote in a laughably misinformed letter to his local paper this week, claiming that the Girl Scouts “sexualizes” young girls, and all its role models are feminists, lesbians and communists. While Morris is a ridiculous idiot, I do know some pretty freakin’ awesome feminist lesbian communists who have much to teach.)

The 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts is this year, and many of you know that the Scouts were first started right here in Savannah, GA. A bright, feisty woman named Juliette Gordon Low (everyone called her “Daisy”) gathered together some neighborhood girls to get them involved in outdoor activities and expose them to business, art, science and social activism. Girls with disabilities were welcomed, and everyone was encouraged to learn skills of self-reliance and to contribute to the world.

(And, because the Yenta can suss out any yiddishe connection within two degrees of separation, you can see here that three of the first five Girl Scout leaders were Jewish.)

I think it’s safe to to say, Daisy was a feminist with an inclusive attitude for all.

Resourceful from the very start, the Girl Scouts began fundraising for charity and to provide camping experiences for their young charges. Cookies were an easy sell, and the first Girl Scout treats were first sold in Oklahoma in 1917 as a service project. The idea caught on fast (I mean, duh, cookies, hello) and demand grew to make these lil’ tasties into one of the most iconic fundraisers of all time.

Back in Savannah, Gottlieb’s kosher bakery was a huge supplier of Girl Scout cookies, sold in wax paper bags for a quarter.

There are some amazing photos on display at Congregation Mickve Israel over the next few months, thanks for balabusta and former G.S. leader Carol Greenberg. She’s put together an incredible exhibit of historic uniforms, badges and more—call the temple for info if you’d like to visit.

So, yes, Girl Scout cookies. Deliciousness for a good cause. Happy to be a part of it all.

But sending the girls out into neighborhoods to collect orders in advance, then having to pick them all up and distribute them while being on the hook for the cash is just silly. I paid for my lunch yesterday using a cell phone, for heaven’s sake.

Surely after a hundred years, the smart and resourceful Girl Scouts can come up with a better way to hawk their wares?

Maybe What You Didn’t Know About Romeos

I’m humbled and astounded by the positive reaction to this week’s Civil Society Column in Connect, “Lunch with the Romeos.”

People have been emailing and calling all week with stories of their own about this particular group of Old Guys who Rule. I even got a shout-out in Adam Solender’s weekly newslettershepping nachas, yo!

What I didn’t mention in the column was that all those bolded names are, of course, huge players in the Jewish community. They’re the reason why the JEA exists and each synagogue has working bathrooms. Their presence and generosity ensures solid respect for Judaism in a traditional Christian town. They are Savannah’s machers.

And I’m not gonna call out a single one ‘em for eating shrimp at the Golf Club.

Speaking of the Golf Club, I thought it was a weird place to hold this little shindig since it’s been my understanding that this one of the handful of nasty places that didn’t allow Jews (or blacks) to be members until far into the 20th century. The Savannah Yacht Club and the Oglethorpe Club are known offenders who opened their doors after greed trumped bigotry, but I haven’t been able to confirm or deny the history of the Gold Golf Club.

(Oops, the Savannah Gold Club is a totally different place that would be completely inappropriate for a Romeo lunch, not to mention far more unkosher than shrimp cocktail.)

The Golf Club is reported to be the first course built in the United States, which I’m hoping golf historian and macher Joel Zuckerman can help confirm. As far as the other history, anyone in the community have any info?

(Speaking of Jewish folks who like to hit little balls, how ya like these “Mazel Putts” golf markers from Yontifications.com?)

In the meantime, a stellar Shabbos to all and mucho mazel to the Cohen Family on their oldest son Max’s bar mitzvah eve!

Here’s Lunch with the Romeos:

My father–in–law called me up last week in the middle of the day, which was odd.

First of all, he usually avoids me during work hours lest I chase him down with a request to carpool a gaggle of yammering Girl Scouts. Second, ever since he bought a Droid he has become an obsessive texter.

But even weirder than hearing his voice on the line was his request:

“I want to take you to lunch at the Savannah Golf Club with the other Romeos.”

Mystifying. Even more than a jabble of Corps of Engineers water data from the last 60 years, which is what I was looking at when he called. As far as I know, this recently retired oncologist has never played golf in his life.

And though he is a very nice–looking man, I think the nurses who worked with him through 40 years in practice would agree that no one but my mother–in–law would classify him as a “Romeo.”

After I asked him if he was planning to pawn me off so he could make way for a newer model of daughter–in–law, maybe one that didn’t crab at him to quit texting at the dinner table, he explained that “ROMEO” is an acronym for Retired Old Men Eating Out.

This still sounded slightly dangerous, but I’m never one to turn down a free lunch.

Click here to read the rest.

Nose Job Nonsense

Normally, I’m kvelling all over the The Groggers, some very cute Jewish boys who manage to sound respectably punk rock while jumping around in their tzitit.

They caused quite a tsimmes with their single, “Get,” about a douchey husband who refuses to give his wife a divorce, and you’ve gotta have love for a song called “The Shidduch Hits the Fan.”

But what’s up with the new single “Jewcan Sam”?

Does this not seem weirdly self-hating? And am I understand that adorable Dougie ACTUALLY got a nose job and chronicled it here?

Maybe I’m just getting old because I don’t get it. At all.

Aleph Bet Soup

I’m sorry, you guys, I know it’s been ages since I’ve written a proper rambling post but I’ve just been writing so much other stuff lately that the letters on the keyboard are starting to swim.

Words keep following me home and harrassing me while I’m trying to relax. I swear I was feeding the chickens yesterday when one turned into a giant feathery comma. I’ve been having dreams that I’m lost inside a thesaurus and the only way out is to find a synonym for “thesaurus.”

I think I may be having a communications breakdown with language itself.

It doesn’t help that El Yenta Man just sent me this mind-melting illustration showing how every Hebrew letter is contained within the Star of David.

Fabulous.

Now I’ll have alephs and lameds chasing me down the street while I walk the dog.

Jewish Girls Are Easy

So sez Charlotte Glynn, a Columbia MFA student tryin’ to get her film made of the same name.

I happened upon her Kickstarter page and I have to say, the plot sounds hilariously blasphemous:

Our film starts with Tova, our feisty and cutting protagonist, who is looking forward to hosting the first night of Passover with her brother, Sol. But Sol has disappeared with the brisket and Tova has woken up from a one-night stand with a hickey on her breast that looks like the Virgin Mary. Colin, the one-night stand, thinks he’s witnessed a miracle and will not leave her side. To make things worse, angry drug dealers have thrown a brick through Tova’s window, threatening her for a late payment. With four hours until sundown, will Tova be able to find Sol, shake Colin, avoid the drug dealers and get Passover off without a hitch?

Sounds like the most meshuggeneh onscreen seder since “When Do We Eat?”, nu?

All I want to know is if I donate, do I get a t-shirt?

Sunday School Redux

Thas’ right, the Yenta’s back in her old classroom, herding the little Jewish kindergarteners into circle time and picking sequins out of my hair on Sundays.

I know I left my post a year and half ago to have just the tiniest amount of free time, maybe spend a morning alone with El Yenta Man noodging him to clean out the chicken coop or leisurely reading a magazine while drinking fifteen cups of tea. Since my new job is even more booty-kicking than the old one, it’s been nice to have a couple of hours to spend in the garden or perform a thorough examination of my sock drawer.

But I couldn’t stay away from the bissel yiddishe kinders. I missed making mezuzot out of cardboard tubes salvaged from dry cleaning hangers and explaining the nuances of animal reproduction on board Noah’s Ark. I love seeing the looks on their faces when I announce that God made the world in 11 and a half days and then go, “What? Is that not right?” I also really love apple juice and crackers.

Plus, the nice lady who replaced me left to have a baby.

Things have changed a little at the Shalom School since the last time I led a rousing version of the “Dovid Melech Yisrael” hand jive. We have an awesome new principal, who’s incorporated more religious study for the older kids and incentives for everyone getting their tushies there on time. Our transitional rabbi has brought ruach and balloon animals into the mix.

And the kids from my first class back in 2007 are in fourth grade already.

It feels kind of amazing to know I’ve contributed to their Jewish education, that maybe all the Aleph Bet yoga helped them with their Hebrew lessons, that the “Shhhhhh-Mmmmmm-Ahhhh” breathing exercises I use to calm the room when everyone’s spazzing out after snack time might aid them in finding personal peace.

I must’ve made some kind of impression because they all remember me. In fact, one stopped me in the hall last week to tell me he still had the Moses baby basket we made until his dog ate the stryofoam head a couple of months ago.

No, it’s not like he named his first child after me, but look, I’ve got to find something to keep me motivated on Sunday mornings.