Ass Wednesday

ashwednesdayBefore anyone get offended, let me say right off that the only ass here is me.

A co-worker came into work after her lunch hour today with a gray spot on her forehead, and even after someone else asked her what she’s giving up for Lent I still thought I was doing her a favor when I said “Sweetie, you have a little shmutz on your face.”

Could I be any more of a shmendrick? And I really have no excuse because it’s not the first time I’ve made that mistake. In high school, a classmate rode me up and down because I spit into a Kleenex and told her to wipe her head off in biology class. A pastor’s daughter, she gave me a short, tight-lipped education on the origins of Ash Wednesday and its significance: The smudged cross is received as an act of repentance to God observed forty days counting down to Easter, when a big bunny comes and licks it off.

Oh my heavens – did I just write that? I am the world’s biggest shmendrick! I’m so sorry, but that girl was just so mean and self-righteous even after I apologized and offered to let her copy my pig dissection notes!

Fortunately, my coworker was hilariously self-deprecating and cool about my faux pas and promised to not to make fun of me anymore for skipping the bbq sandwich in the cafeteria. I mean, it’s not like rubbing a little dirt on one’s head is that weird – especially considering some of our more observant brothers and sisters do swing live chickens every year.

Kitsch Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

neilsedakaboxHow has this gem of a book eluded me until now? It was released in 2002 and I ogled over it for so long at a friend’s house last week that she let me take it home. Sisters Jennifer and Victoria Traig, who created the fabulousness that is Judaikitsch: Tchotchkes, Schmattes & Nosherei, are brilliant, funny balabustas.

I know Jennifer’s name from her more recent book, Devil in the Details, about her obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which explains the painstaking glue job on the “Neil Sedaka Box”.

From the publisher:

What would happen if Martha Stewart were abducted by a tribe of trailer park rabbis? Judaikitsch! Filled to the brim with crafts, collectibles, and creative cooking, here’s the ultimate guide to a funky, festive Jewish lifestyle.

Or, as I like to call it, next year’s kindergarten Shalom School curriculum.

Pope Decides Jews Not So Blind After All

popeYou, me and Abe Foxman can exhale now that Pope Benedict XVI has rethought his edict to reinstate the traditional Tridentine Mass into Catholic liturgy.

The ancient all-Latin, all-the-time rite raised major hackles last year with its plea that the poor Jews who live in “blindess” and “darkness” have the “veil” shrouding them from salvation be lifted, causing Our Man in the ADL to cry foul.

According to Catholic leaders it wasn’t so much anti-Semitic, but well-meaning. Yeah. Kinda like a born-again Christian friend who called me once at 2 o’clock in the morning in tears because she was concerned for my soul and didn’t want me to spend eternity with Satan: Well-intentioned, but stupid. I told her first off, Satan doesn’t want me either and second, she should ask herself what would Jesus do if someone woke him up at 2am on a school night.

The Pope has “reformulated” the prayer after some discussion about the actual meaning of the concept of conversion, and according to sources, the new text no longer calls for Jews to become Christians but rather “prays for the physical and spiritual well being of the Jews.”

Anyone speak enough Latin to sneak into a Good Friday Mass and see if “in hell” was tacked on to the end of the sentence?