Who is like you, Friday Night Live?!

com_friday-night-light_062014_539_332_c1Y’all know I am a Craig Taubman groupie from way back, and it saddens me that the Silver Fox recently retired from leading the epically joyous Friday Night Live services at Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.

I’m sorry I never got to attend, though 2007’s Hallelu in Atlanta was a small taste of Taubman’s wonderful musical and communal legacy.

By all reports, the last gathering blew off the roof, including this truly rockin’ rendition of “Mi Chamocha” featuring New Orleans clarinet riffs and a killer rap from hiphop’s Jewish heart, Kosha Dillz:

I’m pretty sure rapping would cause considerable plotzing among regular Friday night congregants of historic Congregation Mickve Israel, but maybe Craig and Kosha would consider a reunion if they’re ever down Savannah way?

Throw Out the Lox! Vita Smoked Salmon Recall

218Well, here’s every Jewish mother’s worst nightmare:

The package of lox (or as I’ve heard it referred to, “smoked salmon”) I bought at Publix last week for some nice bagel sandwiches to take to a beach picnic has been recalled for the presence of a certain vile bacteria.

According to an email from the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture received yesterday:

Vita Food Products, Inc. of Chicago, Ill., is notifying the public that it is recalling 1,878 pounds of Vita Classic Premium Sliced Smoked Atlantic Salmon due to possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The email did not mention the also common symptoms of stomach cramps and diarrhea. Gross.

The product was sent to Hannaford stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, H-E-B stores in Texas, and Publix stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina beginning on April 7, 2014.

Yep yep, Publix. In Savannah, Georgia. At Twelve Oaks Shopping Center, to be precise.

The packages are vacuum sealed, black in color and bear the Vita logo centered at the bottom. Product from this lot can be identified by a SELL BY AUG 17 2014 date and lot number 00764B, which can be found on the right side on the front of the package. The 4oz size of this product is the only size subject to this recall.

All of the above. Darn.

Well, that sucks.

A shame this alert went out the day AFTER Little Yenta Girl and I ate the sandwiches.

After an evening of a rumbly, unhappy tummy, I managed to, erm, expel the offending Listerical mononucleuses or whatever those little fuckers were.

My girl’s digestive reaction was not quite as fast, yet she appears to be much better after a day of seltzer water and a double dose of probiotics to help her gut’s good bacteria kick out the interlopers.

Vita is offering a refund for the contaminated yuck lox if I sent it the product label, but that would have required touching it and no, just no. Anyway, the minute I got the email alert and discovered it was a match, I made Yenta Boy take it from the fridge with a paper towel, wrap it in two plastic bags and throw in the outside trash can.

But now our favorite protein snack will be tainted in my mind. Maybe not forever, but there’s something about diarrhea that turns a person off.

In the meantime, we’re going to stick to hummus. Or maybe not. Dammit.

 

Yes, all girls—and boys

(Crossposted from Connect Savannah)

There is no hell more hideous or humid than the soccer fields on an early summer afternoon in the South.

The sun pounds down with a mallet in each fist, destroying any doubt of its supremacy in the universe. The tall pines beyond the fence droop, the grass browns before our eyes. The bloated air heaves itself around like a DMV employee two months from retirement.

Yet the players on the field appear impervious to the blinding swelter. They move like warriors, calculating each pass and kick, snaking the ball around their opponents’ defense to take a shot on the goal. If they fail, they regroup like a pack of wolves and try again. Along the way there might be a push here, a shove there, the occasional elbow to the ribs if the ref isn’t looking.

Who knew 10 year-old girls could be so terrifyingly tough?

Huddled under a pop-up canvas canopy with the other parents, modern Bedouins clad in Rainbow flip-flops and drinking cans of La Croix, I watch my daughter and her teammates with awe. It just never gets old, the unexpected breakaways, the soaring kicks, the balls taken to the chin and shaken off with a gap-toothed smile.

Though raised by a feminist to believe I could be President or an astronaut, I was never quite comfortable with the physical aggression required to be an athlete. At 10, I was busy reading the Judy Blume canon and organizing a union for my paper dolls. The last time I played real soccer was a friendly college dorm match when some freshman from New Mexico slide-tackled me and I limped off to the cafeteria, crying.

But these girls, with their baggy blue uniforms and their coltish legs, they are so fierce, so strong, that it’s difficult to imagine that anything could ever bring them down.

For the moment, at least. They have a few years before they shoulder the societal pressure to be skinny or absorb the subtle messages to downplay their intelligence and power. They haven’t yet had to wonder why their male colleagues make higher salaries for the same work or rebuff the “romantic” advances of assholes who just don’t get it.

Soon enough, though, these girls will become women. Then it becomes a whole new ball game.

The May 23 shootings in Santa Barbara by a 22 year-old spoiled little psychopath have sliced open what has always been a marginalized conversation about gender, revealing the guts of our culture’s pervasive dysfunction around women’s sexuality. Like the haruspex of ancient Rome, we must take the opportunity to divine meaning from the entrails.

Before he took up his weapons, Elliot Rodger blatantly blamed his impending rampage on all the women who wouldn’t have sex with him. Who knows if he even asked them nicely—he felt sure that he was owed their “adoration” and attention, and by “depriving” him of it, they deserved to die.

While this obviously falls under the umbrella of flat-out insanity, many rightfully recognized this as misogyny—a poisonous attitude against women that goes back to the tale of Lilith’s banishment from the Garden of Eden.

Misogyny feels entitled to womens’ servitude and feeds on the fear of female empowerment. It lurks in the dark, dank dungeons of the internet and in CEO offices on the top floors of skyscrapers. It can thrive in street gangs or frat houses. It is Nietzsche, Patrick Bateman and the Taliban.

Misogyny is chauvinism’s more horrible, sadistic older brother. It is what drives village elders to stone a woman to death for accidentally showing her ankle. It is the tasteless skit on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze that features a six-foot tall goon dressed in hideous drag laughing about rape.

Misogyny is at the root of the closure of 50 women’s health clinics in Texas, Arizona and 25 other states in the past three years. It is the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and the gang rapes of children in India. Misogyny denies humanity. While chauvinism would merely suppress women, misogyny fucking hates them.

This most recent mass shooting gives a small window to stare it straight in the eye before some other tragedy captures our collective attention. While some of us could complain about “the mens” all day long, there really is no societal counterpart. Margaret Atwood describes the differential as “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”

On Twitter, hundreds of thousands of women and a few men have used the hashtag #YesAllWomen to voice their fury and frustration for all that females must fear. Right on cue, a backlash arose via #NotAllMen to dismiss it as the hysterical exaggerations of a bunch of chicks.

The parallel feed/thought process is that not all men harbor that kind of evil, and duh, of course not—not even most men. There are so many fine male role models, the good dads and sweet brothers and loyal friends who love and respect women.

Arguing that only sidetracks the discussion. As the New Statesman’s Laurie Penny writes, “the devil has more than enough advocates today.”

Whether you choose to view Rodger’s terrible act as what Penny calls “misogynistic extremism” or the result of a sick, lonely kid who couldn’t get laid, there is no denying that his attitude towards women—in part created and validated by the cultural tides—figured into it. (It should go without saying that one can be both mentally ill and a misogynist.)

True, over half of Rodger’s victims were male—the misogynistic poison that fueled his violent entitlement harms everyone. As much as objectification hurts girls, boys suffer tremendously from the pressure to find their value in some kind of sexual “score.”

The tragedy in California has no upside, but perhaps it will make us more conscious of the misogynistic tendencies hidden in our language, our beliefs and what we brush aside as mental illness and good ol’ boy traditions. Maybe because of it, my daughter and her teammates will grow up in a fairer, saner, less hateful world. Maybe not.

But as I marvel as my girl bounces the ball from her chest to her foot and sails it down the field, I know I will never quit calling out the poison.

Shavuot: The Forgotten Holiday

imagesIt’s time for Shavuot already? Errrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm, I forgot.

I know, in past years I waxed on about my awesome holiday crafts and bragged about how the strawberries were bursting like I’m some kind of balabusta.

Well, this year the garden’s a little wilder and life’s a little messier. Sorry I’ve not gotten around to decorating my Shavuot table with peonies. Though Kveller’s Bethany Herwegh did and it’s simply lovely.

(I do so adore the Pintrest-y direction Jewish lifestyles blogs are taking! Even if makes me feel like the worst Jewish mother ever. I bet Bethany is a true balabusta who never forgets to replenish the Shabbos candles and has to use jack o’lantern votives scrounged from the junk drawer. *sigh*.)

You’ve got to admit, Shavuot is not the Jewish holidays cycle’s most thrilling point on the pinwheel. This year it falls into June, and with school out and everyone already in full-on summer mode and I’m more in the mood for margarita pie than I am for cheesecake.

But then my Jewish guilt gets all riled, and I go looking for a little Torah knowledge, since Shavuot is a harvest festival meant to celebrate the giving of the tablets to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Or is it?

Elon Gilad writes in Ha’aretz that with its uncertain name and twisted history, Shavuot might not even be a holy day at all:

In its earliest stages, during the First Temple period, Shavuot was an appendage to Passover, the first of the two major agricultural holidays. Shavuot marked the end of the festival (Atzeret) of the 50-day period called the Omer, between the harvest of barley – Passover – and the harvest of wheat.

During First Temple times, two loaves would have been baked out of that first batch o’ barley, brought to Jerusalem and used in a massive ritual he rightfully deems “complicated, bloody, and expensive.” Gilad explains that according to the Torah, the loaves were “waved before The Lord” with wine and “a complicated array of animal sacrifices.”

That kind of partying just simply isn’t sustainable, and the practice was wildly adapted over the years until somehow—and no one really knows, not even the most sagacious among us—we got to cheesecake and blintzes.

Gilad concludes with good-natured realism that while all-night study sessions that include the Book of Ruth are still the rage in the yeshivas, most less-than-pious Jews don’t get too fancy about Shavuout other than to eat some dairy deliciousness.

So maybe I shouldn’t feel so badly, sitting here with my peony-less table and my blintz-less freezer.

But now that I’m aware of my farblogence, I can’t stop thinking about Shavuot and its opportunity to absorb its compelling and confusing spiritual gifts.

Maybe I can work up a hankering for a pizza.

 

 

Here’s Your Prostate PSA

EYM**WARNING: This post gets super personal in an Osmosis Jones kinda way.

This is El Yenta Man.

He’s quite a handsome devil, nu? Even though he leaves wet towels on the floor and still loads the dishwasher like a monkey after 16 years of marriage, I’d like to keep him around. Jewish husbands who can cook and like a zaftig tuchus are hard to find.

A couple of years ago during one of his regular man check-ups, his doctor found a lump on his prostate. (Past 40, us ladies get our boobies smashed for our yearly mammograms; the dudes get buggered with a rubber glove.)

As you can imagine, we were a bit alarmed. While a prostate is a useful piece of male anatomy that helps make the babies, much like its owners it can get increasingly irritating and enlarged as it ages. Often, as in one out of seven bodies, it can develop cancer.

Thankfully, prostate cancer is not life-threatening and easy to treat if caught early. Since it’s so common, it is a popular topic among dudes of a certain age, right behind Salma Hayek and whether goatees are still working if they’re gray.

But because El Yenta Man doesn’t do anything the normal way, his lump has to be different than all the other prostate lumps. His lump has to be special, not a regular tumor that doctors deal with decisively and swiftly and then everyone goes back to playing golf on their iPhones.

Nope, EYM’s lump had to develop within the walls of the actual gland, a condition so rare that there are only a handful of documented cases and no real treatment protocol. It’s official name is a Prostatic STUMP, as in a Stromal Tumor of Unknown Malignant Potential. Totally sounds like the RUOS in the Princess Bride, does it not?

We’re not real good at taking things seriously around the Yenta house, so we named it “Stumpy.” Of course, Stumpy the Tumor is as unwelcome a guest as a giant rat, and the extermination process is, well, radical. The problem with Stumpy is that he could get real troublesome real fast, or he might just hang out in EYM’s epithelial wall doing absolutely nothing forever. None of us want to play Russian Roulette with a quiet tumor, but since the surgery comes with risks of its own, EYM didn’t jump at going under the knife in such a sensitive area.

Thus began a journey to figure out whether–or when–to evict Stumpy. Feeling limited by the medical options in Savannah, EYM tracked down the No. 1 prostate expert in the country, Dr. Peter Scardino of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. It just so happens that Dr. Scardino is a good ol’ Savannah boy himself, and EYM was able to score an appointment in Manhattan in the summer of 2012. In spite of all the hysterical opinions both professional and amateur regarding my husband’s prostate, Dr. Scardino calmly told us to “wait and watch.”

So we’ve waited, but it takes some complicated and expensive equipment to watch a prostate. Last week we flew back to NYC for some time with Dr. Scardino’s new MRI machine (much kinder and gentler than the previous model, which makes a vaginal ultrasound look like a freakin’ spa treatment.) When the digital photos came up, we were at that computer screen like it was the Game of Thrones finale.

Our first real look at Stumpy revealed that holy cow, he’s a lot bigger than we thought. I mean, you could see him quite clearly as the tech rolled the arrow around, hanging out right behind EYM’s bladder. But here’s the good news: He hasn’t changed much since the last time Dr. Scardino checked him out.

What that means is no surgery. For now, anyway. And another trip to NYC in a year. Which is actually pretty fabulous. Thanks, Stumpy.

But the prostate, it is no joke. If you’ve got one or you love one, go get it checked.

T-Shirt of the Week: Keep Calm and…WTF Where’s My Rescue Remedy??

i-don39t-keep-calm-cuz-i39m-a-jewish-mother-long-sleeve-t-shirt_red_long_sleeve_tshirts_thumb_a92100clHappy Mother’s Day!

Look, I’m all about blasting the stereotypes about Jewish mothers, and I really don’t appreciate being called neurotic and overbearing and dammit if someone tells me to JUST RELAX one more damn time I’mma gonna slap…

Um, right. Carry on then.

From Israeli-T.com.

How A Stolen Ketubah Almost Ruined Snow White’s Jewish Wedding

Thank you to Tablet for posting this clip of actress/glamor elf Ginnifer Goodwin recounting to Jimmy Kimmel how her ketubahthe fancy Jewish wedding contract that basically says a husband can’t abandon his wife without shelling out some serious cashwas stolen then recovered the morning of her wedding:

I love this story for a few reasons. First, off my kids adore Godwin’s show Once Upon A Time and I can’t wait to tell them that Snow White is Jewish. That she married Prince Charming is extra adorable. Guessing sparrows and fairies bearing smoked herring will attend their child’s birth.

Second, that the rolled up piece of paper was found by people who could actually discern what it was clearly reflects a divine hand, no?

Lastly, l am no stranger to ketubah drama. On the morning of our wedding, as El Yenta Man and I were preparing ourselves to meet under the chuppah, the rabbi, who was no one’s favorite, decided he didn’t like the Hebrew lettering on it.

I was not present for the ensuing temper tantrum, but I heard murmuring that the rabbi was yelling at the top of his lungs ten minutes before the ceremony. On our honeymoon my new husband told me how our gorgeous wedding almost didn’t happen because the rabbi literally refused to sign the document that a Jewish artist friend had prepared for us. Apparently after a stern talking-to from my father, he made a big show about scribbling a “real” ketubah from a scrap from the recycling pile.

After the dizzy ride where I circled my groom seven times, I was a little confused as to why I had to sign the back of a flyer to the Sisterhood luncheon as well as the painting. But at that point I was so starry-eyed I would have signed my name in Sharpie on my dress.

All I know is the rabbi no longer shepherds that congregation. The ketubah still hangs over our bed.

Ten Years a Yenta

Last week marked a special anniversary here at Yo, Yenta!: A whole decade of existence under my borscht belt.

Back in 2004, I hadn’t heard of a blog until my Bro the Doc and his buddies at Primetime Amusements decided to dip their toes into the Jewish dating site pool. Turns out it was more of a lake with room for only one behemoth-sized creature, but I have Jmerica.com to thank for providing me a platform in the then-burgeoning bloggy world. The internet has gotten faster, scarier and grown up around me like an L.A. freeway, yet somehow, I am still queen of this domain. (Congrats and much mazel to my homegirl Esther Kustanowitz and My Urban Kvetch, celebrating her 10th blogiversary this year, too!)

Family Yenta, Tybee Island, 2004

Family Yenta, Tybee Island, 2004

At the time I was a freelance writer in the most expensive county in California with two small kids. (Here we are circa 2004 visiting Tybee Island, GA, the native stomping grounds of El Yenta Man. Little did I know I would be living in the deep South just a few years later.)

I was not only grateful for the gig, but for the opportunity it afforded me to explore Judaism on the Internet. At first, I did a lot of snarky J-celebrity postings (remember Britney and her Zohar?!) but over the the years the space has become more about about this thing called “Jewish” and how to do it, whether it’s a birthright or a choice, a practice or a state of mind, a people or a heritage or a religion or a recipe or all of the above.

A whole decade has passed, and figuring out what it is to be a Jewish mother still feels important and interesting. I have always been determined to raise my children Jewish on my own terms, not by blindly following laws that I didn’t really feel beholden to nor by simply dropping my kids off at Sunday School and expecting little rabbis to happen.

I’ve filled in the gaps of my suburban Reform Hebrew school education with sites like MyJewishLearning.com and Aish.com. I’ve learned about crazy traditions like kapores and discovered the wonderful world of kosher gospel. I’ve been honored to meet modern Judaism’s musical superstars and spend time with the hilarious seniors and survivors of my community. I learned how to cook shakshuka and blintzes and make mezuzot out of dry cleaner hangers (but building a decent sukkah continues to elude us.)

In 2006, we moved across the country to Savannah, GA. My field study of the particular and peculiar practices of the Southern Jew continue to fascinate me. (And y’all, I hope. One day soon I’ll share my recipe for Mint Jewleps.)

Since then, I’ve shepherded five classes of kindergarteners for Shalom School. I’ve been lucky enough to gain an amazing sister-in-law, who’s only been Jewish for a year but already cooks way better matzah brie than me. My mother-in-law still continues to exist on this side of God’s delineation between heaven and earth, reminding me how strong the desire to live is and how every day is a blessing. Last year, I reached a huge milestone in the life of a Jewish mother, our son’s bar mitzvah, and I was so humbled by the genuine joy of celebrating with our family and community.

The past decade has all added up to a messy, loud, unorthodox Jewish life, full of contradictions and new twists on tradition and the occasional piece of bacon. I may not look or act like any other Jewish mother anyone else has ever seen nor any rabbi would probably approve of, but I think I do my ancestors proud by lighting candles on Fridays and shepping nachas when the kids make poetry out of the Yiddish refrigerator magnets. The Yenta house may not be close to kosher, but it’s full of love and faith and laughter, and I really do think that counts.

Of course, one of the hallmarks of being Jewish mother is a sense of low-level, residual guilt about all the things that still need to get done. I still haven’t written a book or memorized the Havdalah prayer or um, put away the Passover dishes. You should see the pile of laundry rising behind me like a hungry golem.

But I have no plans to go anywhere, even though I really do need to update that photo up top. In the next ten years, I hope Yo, Yenta! will continue to be a place for all the Jewish and “Jewish-ish” mothers and fathers — the ones by birth and ones by choice, the interfaith ones, the straight the gay, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi, all of the colors and all of the stories, the ones looking for wisdom and those with wisdom to share.

It’s about bringing as much neshamah (soul) and ruach (spirit) to this party on Planet Earth, to raise our kids to be mensches, to shine our God light bright.

I may be no closer to defining what a Jewish mother is supposed to be, but it’s been a real gift to keep making it up as I go. I do know that there’s room for all kinds of rituals and beliefs, and I hope to show in my own bumbling way that a family doesn’t have to practice Judaism perfectly — or even exclusively — to have a vibrant, joyous, Jewish home.

Much mazel, nachas and love to you and yours ~ Yo, Yenta!

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Anti-Semitism, Civil Society and Inappropriate Laughter

*The Yenta’s on a little vacay this week, visiting the Southwest mispocha, but please enjoy this week’s Civil Society Column from Connect Savannah. Chag Pesach Sameach to all  y’all!

When humanity fails, grim laughter comforts

Growing up Jewish, you learn to have a macabre sense of humor about the Holocaust.

It’s not that the systematic murder of six million Jews and four million Catholics, gypsies, gays and disabled European citizens is any kind of funny.

The unspeakable atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis happened barely 70 years ago, and yeah, it’s still too soon for a Comedy Central roast. (Unless Mel Brooks comes out of retirement.)

But when you shlep around this horrible history, an appreciation for the absurd helps lighten the burden. Grim laughter becomes a protective shell, a way to stay patiently amused when encountering idiotic claims that it never happened or having to explain to your classmates that no, you’re not actually related to Anne Frank.

It’s what caused guilty snickers during the 2013 Oscars, when Joan Rivers saw supermodel Heidi Klum on the red carpet and announced, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”

It’s why we recognize the sick hilarity of that scene in Nathan Englander’s bestselling What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, when a dinner party turns into an awkward game of “Who Would Hide Us?”

Melinda Stein passes on her mother's story to a new generation

Melinda Stein passes on her mother’s story to a new generation

It’s the reason I always giggle when local comedian and educator Melinda Stein performs her perky softshoe jig to demonstrate how her very existence is like dancing on Hitler’s grave.

I can’t help it; it’s just too rich how Melinda’s mother survived years of forced labor at the Skarzisko picric acid plant in Poland and met her father in a displaced persons camp after WWII. Melinda is now a grandma several times over, and there’s no more gratifying middle finger flip to the Nazis like a Jewish American family four generations deep.

Except when I cracked up over Melinda’s triumphant boogie last week, I got stared down by a roomful of somber seventh graders who looked at me like I’d just flashed my boobs at a funeral. Chastised, I know my gallows-type glee doesn’t always translate.

Melinda was leading a group of STEM Academy students through the One Soul: When Humanity Fails exhibit, to which any kind of laughter is an entirely inappropriate response. The multimedia installation at the Jewish Educational Alliance focuses on the liberation of the concentration camps by Allied soldiers, those first moments when the rest of the world learned just how evil Hitler’s “Final Solution” really was.

More than 500 middle-schoolers came through the exhibit last week for an intensely emotional experience that could never take place in the classroom. They filed through the photos and video footage with a grave maturity, the usual juvenile foot-shuffling and eye-rolling supplanted with wide-eyed silence. Some wept after spending time with one of Savannah’s last remaining survivors, Vera Hoffman, listening to her stories of being taken as a child from her Hungarian village to the Teresienstadt work camp in then-Czechoslovakia.

“This is such a visceral experience for them,” said STEM research teacher Patrick Lapollo. “They come back grim, but with a very different perspective on history.”

Many were shocked to learn about the existence of 27,000 black Germans, descendants of U.S. soldiers who defected after WWI thinking that the Rhineland was a more civilized society than still-segregated America. Rather than exterminate these expatriates in the gas chambers, Hitler sterilized them and exploited them as slave labor.

But it’s not gasps and tears that Melinda, Vera and the other volunteers hope to elicit from When Humanity Fails; it’s empathy—and vigilance. Much of the presentation focuses on the bravery of the “righteous gentiles” who hid families in their attics, adopted Jewish children as their own, or in the case of King Christian X of Denmark, shipped Jewish citizens off to safety.

“What would you do if the government started rounding up your neighbors?” asked U.S. Holocaust Museum volunteer Ina Altman of her group of teenagers in the JEA conference room.

Some vowed they would help. Others answered with sheepish honesty: “I would do what it took to protect my own family.”

That’s OK, kids; the point is to keep the discussion on the table. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good to do nothing, warned 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, who is also attributed with the adage that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

As a colossal example of what hideous savagery humans are capable, the Holocaust serves not merely as a point in history but as an admonition that it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. It does and has, to the Armenians and the Tutsis and Bosnian Muslims, entire peoples decimated because of their beliefs.

When we teach and learn about the Holocaust, we are reminded of that we are capable of both courage and cowardice, and that we must choose between them every single day. As the souls of the last survivors finally find their way home, the responsibility to remember and remind falls to those who have been encircled in arms tattooed with artless blue numbers.

Last Sunday, a lifelong anti-Semite and Ku Klux Klan leader showed up with a gun at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and killed three people, including a grandfather and grandson. He yelled “Heil, Hitler!” from the back of the police car.

In spite of all our efforts, the hatred rages on. And so must we.

This week Jewish people everywhere are celebrating Passover, the retelling of how we were freed from slavery and stood up to oppression. Our Christian friends will tell a different story of redemption and resurrection. May all of our tables be graced with the presence of those we love and stories of those we’ve lost.

And please know that if I chortle indecorously, I’m only trying to fulfill the sagest of Talmudic decrees: “Live well. It is the greatest revenge.”

“One Soul: When Humanity Fails” is on display and open to the public at the JEA through the end of April.

Earworms = #EleventhPlague

Oy, remember those cute yeshiva boys with the nice voices who brought us this catchy Pesach ditty to the tune of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” last year?

C’mon, sing it: “Changin’ my pots and pans…gotta have Manischewitz for my prophet…I got haggadehs, lookin’ for the chametz…we’ll be munchin’ matzah…”

Well, the men of Six13 are baacccccck, this time changing up the lyrics to everyone’s favorite animated Oscar-winning animated movie (though personally, I didn’t think it lived up to the hype.)

Here’s your “Chozen” mash-up:

Little Yenta Girl is already driving us batty caterwauling “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build A Snowman” a hundred times a day, so I guess she can entertain the seder guests with the kosher versions.