If anyone needs me, we’ll be at the 1pm showing of Into the Woods and eating crappy dim sum. Merry Christmas!
Monthly Archives: December 2014
Please Ms. DJ, Spin Us a Lil’ Chanukah
Oooh oooh the countdown is ON!
I’ve got the frying pan ready and the non-swastika wrapping paper bought and enough candles to burn a hole in the roof. But I just cannot light the menorahs without a Chanukah video round-up (even if Ha’aretz got there before me this year!)
Here are Yo, Yenta!’s top picks for 2014’s Festival of Lights:
This one, I love, tired old tunes and all! Such mensches, the men of Shir Soul, with their non-competitive, color-coded dreidel playing and gorgeous harmonies!
This one, I’m feeling a little “meh” about. Why my beloved Maccabeats gotta parody a tune that already gives me the retchies? Of course Little Yenta Girl just adores it and has been singing it non-stop, which is better than hearing her croon about her tushy (a la the original) in the shower. (BTW, “neis” means miracle.)
And THIS one, well, I’m not sure. At first, I dismissed this “Jew Girl Rapper” and her “JAP RAPS” with the references to stereotypes about money, allergies and big noses.
But she a certain facility of language (those with dainty ears: she cusses A LOT, a quality I personally find super-endearing), and her breakdown of the Maccabee story kicks ass. (Although I’m pretty sure bubbe is sitting shivah over her Yom Kippur, Bitch.)
But always, ALWAYS, it’s the Sephardic-flavored “Ocho Kandelikas” that get the Yenta house grooving. Here’s a jazzy rendition by house favorite Pink Martini:
Chappy Chanukah to all y’all and here’s to a season of light and love! xo Yo, Yenta!
Really, What Would Chanukah Be Without Swastika Wrapping Paper?
A SoCal bubbie got an icky surprise when perusing the Chanukah endcap of her neighborhood Walgreen’s this weekend:
Cheryl Shapiro was admiring a silver and blue roll of wrapping paper with her grandson when she realized that the blocky modern designs really, really looked like swastikas.
Like any good Jewish grandma, she expressed outrage and demanded that all the rolls be removed.
“I came home and I spoke to my rabbi. He couldn’t believe it,” Shapiro told her local NBC News affiliate. “I’m still very upset about it, that something like this could be on the market.”
The origin of the design remains a mystery, but expect Walgreen’s to come out with an apology later today. (Guess they’ll have to pull those all those yellow star garlands, too?)
I’ve been staring at the photo all morning, and I’m torn. On one hand, I’m thinking some graphic designer in Bangladesh had too much chai tea and simply got a little too aggressive with his M.C. Escher aspirations. Then again, swastikas.
We Jews tend to be sensitive to such things, but professional provocateur Perez Hilton says it’s up for discussion.
What sayeth y’all, Yenta folk?
No Mensch on This Bench
Meet the Mensch on the Bench, the circumcised answer to the manipulative, passive-aggressive Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.
Apparently some Jewish families have been suffering from “Elf Envy.” And because this is America, some
schnorrer enterprising gentleman is getting rich because no good parent would deny their precious child another tsotchke.
C’mon, Yenta, you’re saying. You’re just bitter because your kids are too old to fall for the “behave yourselves or the mensch won’t bring you prezzies” nonsense.
You may be right. Perhaps I’m becoming an alterkocker in my 40s. For reals, I’m so old school I still spell Chanukah with a “C.”
I admit, the book that accompanies this little man actually looks kind of cute and somewhat redemptive in its moral tale.
And I guess it makes little Jewish kidlets feel good that even though Santa’s not freaking coming ever, at least there’s a stuffed midget moving around the living room. He might even be useful if he can clean wax out of the menorahs.
But I don’t like contrived, million-dollar ideas masquerading as “new traditions.”
Whywhywhywhy us Jews gotta be all “Let’s Christmas up Chanukah” all the time? Why do Jewish kids need a Mensch on the Shelf, or his less flashy Israeli cousin, The Maccabee on the Mantel?
Look, I’m all about flashing up ancient ritual. I understand the need to create a sense of belonging however we can in Judaism, and I fully support creative appropriation of decor, within limits. (Blue lights around the palm tree in the front yard? Cool. Decorating any type of indoor foliage. HELL NO.)
I just think it’s difficult enough to cultivate healthy Jewish identities from the roiling stew of nationalistic idealism, capitalistic brand brainwashing and plain old family weirdness.
On the other hand, Blue Velvet Cupcakes? That I can get behind.