The Absurdivan Rises Again!

Yup, she’s back from the brink at almost 170K miles and better than ever…until the transmission blows, anyway.

In my worry over this most blessed of rides, I forgot to show y’all something in my last post. While we were sojourning in the Western North Carolina netherlands, we came across the Absurdivan’s Conservative Christian Twin:


Between our mezzuzah and their Jesus fish, I think we pretty much rule this road.

Good Shabbos and a lovely weekend to all!

Not Too Cool for Elul

Ah, we are already knee deep the Hebrew month of Elul, that last moon cycle before Rosh Hashanah when we’re called to double-down on the self-reflection to ready ourselves for a new year.

I like to run down the alphabet of my personal vices at this time, with a few updates for 5773:

Arrogance and apathy, blasphemy and boisterousness, crabbiness, doubt, egregious sarcasm, flagrant self-pity, gross ineptitude, haughtiness, ingratitude, jealousy, kvetchery, laziness, mouthiness, nagging, obnoxiousness, pride, quickness to judge, rudeness, shallow, total disregard for rules, unkindness, verbosity to the point of indulgence, yellow-bellied cowardice and zero tolerance for these qualities in others.

As always, my favorite way to remind myself to dial back these unholy but aggravatingly human qualities is to receive a short nugget of provocative sweetness every day of this month through the Jewels of Elul hosted by Craig Taubman. The joyful noisemakers of Craig n’ Co are big machers, so there’s all kinds of interesting people—Jewish and not—who contribute to this collection of wisdom and wit. This year Norman Lear, Peter (as in Paul and Mary) Yarrow and Quincy Jones (!) weigh in on this year’s theme on “The Art of Aging,” along with Israeli president Shimon Peres and the first female Orthodox rabbi Sara Hurwitz.

Sign up here to receive a jewel in your inbox for the next few weeks! At the very least, it’s a lovely way to start a day.

The Yenta is honored to have been a past Jewel contributor, but I have to say, I don’t know that I could have offered up anything nice to say about aging as an art. Personally, as my bum hip tweaks itself more often and my crow’s feet need much larger shoes, I find aging to be not so much a creative act but something that happens as a result of creation: We were each born with a certain amount of time, and that time, it flies, whether we put on fancy face creams or amass wealth or still try to pull off shopping in the juniors section.

Maybe the art of aging is learning to do more with less, or accepting the fact that we may never rid ourselves from the ugly and embarrassing attributes that we must repent for year after year.

In any case, as we Jews slowly pull the curtain on 5772, I’m acutely aware that while aging may bring wisdom, it sure as heck does nothing for your joints.

Yenta as Fashionista

It’s always a nice turn to be featured on someone else’s blog for a change!

Very delighted to be featured today on You’re Welcome Savannah, a beautiful fashion blog featuring the photography of image magician Cedric Smith.

Cedric’s partner Autumn leveled some difficult questions at me (again, I’m usually the one asking questions around here!) but I did manage to get it a mention of Yo, Yenta! and of course, Congregation Mickve Israel.

Be sure to check out YWS’ lovely “Out and About” shots and gorgeous “Open House” features!

A Wing, A Prayer and Many, Many Tsotchkes

Superglue and a pair of underwear.

That’s what held together the radiator cap of the Absurdivan while the Yenta family sojourned all over Western North Carolina after picking up the kids from summer camp.

The discovery that the lip of the plastic reservoir that holds the extra radiator water had exploded came at just about the same time we realized we didn’t have cell phone service all the way in them deep dark woods. After several slammed doors, El Yenta Man finally found one gent who didn’t shut the door in his face, probably because he was already in his yard standing amongst several pick-up trucks in various states of undress.

Mr. Frankentrucker—who managed to talk with a lit ciggie in his mouth the entire conversation—helped EYM figure out that if we could just keep the cap down, we might make it off this mountain. Hence, the inspired little plan of stacking his boxer briefs under the hood (EYM’s, not Mr. Frankentrucker’s drawers. Depending on the kindness of strangers has its limits.)

And wouldn’t you know, it worked! For like a thousand miles all over WNC and back to Savannah!

I think it was my prayers that did it, whispered up to Heaven and to my many talismans that ride with me on my dashboard through this world. (Why do you think I keep Superglue in the car?!)

This is NOT the same thing as idolatry. Even though I may secretly believe ever single little guy up here contains magical powers. What was once an ordinary beige minivan and is now the most styley multi-dimensional transmogrifier that ever was!

I bought this van from my Israeli cousins and figured it would last me a year, maybe two. My kids were toddlers, and they kept bringing home these irritating little plastic frogs and lizards from birthday parties that have no other use than to embed themselves in a foot when left on the floor, so I began gluing them to the dashboard of the van I was quite sure was going to die any minute.

That was seven years and 70,000 miles ago.

It’s not just little animals, it’s anything I love that I think will add to the juju that makes this mutha run:

There’s a mezuzah on the driver’s side and a painted plaque in Hebrew on the glovebox that says “matzah,” though I think Little Yenta Girl thought it said “Mazel” when she made it. At last count I had four hamsas, a little crystal angel, some Native American beads blessed by medicine woman in Northern Arizona, and a pair of tiny jade “good luck travel” slippers from San Francisco Chinatown.

OK, maybe I do have a superstition problem.

But when your car is held together with Superglue and green underpants, you take all the help you can get.

Right now the Absurdivan is in ICU. (I was sure she could have made it another few weeks, but EYM insisted. I think he just wanted his Hanes back.) The doctor says she’s terminal, but I know better.

Once I get the entire dash filled in, I’m pretty sure she’ll fly.

Yeah, She’s One of Ours

Seriously, how amazing is that little bouncing shayna maideleh Aly Raisman?

Shepping naches for her gold medal-winning floor routine today. Here’s our adorable Olympian rockin’ the shtetl during the team finals:

Oy, such kvells. Except now I’m kind of worried that all that flipping around to “Hava Nagila” is going to create unreasonable expectations for the dancing portions of Jewish simchas.

I don’t care how much wine is flowing or how groovy doing the “Electric Slide” with Cousin Bobby makes you feel, please do not–DO NOT–ask me to do a backhandspring at Yenta Boy’s bar mitzvah.

Because even though I can’t do a somersault without puking, in the reverberating excitement of the disco lights and glorious power of the knowledge that my only son is now kind of a man, I just might try.

And that would be terribly embarrassing for everyone.