The internet moves very quickly. Less than 24 hours ago, I had no idea who Rebecca Black was. And if I were a betting man, a year from now, I’d assume I will have forgotten who she is. But I’m living in the now. And right now, it’s all about Rebecca Black.
Who is Rebecca Black? She just so happens to be a 13-year-old girl whose music video has gone viral over the past week or so. Not that she is talented or anything. She made her video with Ark Music Factory–a company that, if you pay them enough, will make a professional looking music video for teenagers between the ages of 13-17.
So I have zero clue if Rebecca Black is Jewish. But she does have the best 13-year-old kid music video out there right now. OR DOES SHE?
I introduce to you Zack Freiman. Zack just had his bar mitzvah. He hates sports and love musicals. Most importantly though, his dad loves to make cheap music videos. So for his son’s bar mitzvah–he created this wonderful gem for the party.
So…who is better? Zach or Rebecca? You decide.
You know when you see a YouTube video and you cannot tell if it’s real or a spoof? This video is tormenting me!
It can’t be real, can it? Also, what is she recommending we get at the end? A shoe? A muumuu? Help!
Yesterday, was Ash Wednesday, which officially brought in Lent. Not sure how familiar all of you are with Lent. Personally, I know very little. I do know however, that many people give up certain things for Lent–like alcohol, snacks, television, etc. It’s kind of like the Omer.
Last night on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, a well known Catholic, in a pretty hilarious bit, joked that for Lent, he would be giving up Catholicism. Feeling empty without religion, he promptly converted to Judaism by donning a kippah. Then, because he was still observing Lent, he decided that as a Jew, he would give up not eating bacon.
To paraphrase Colbert, good thing he is now a Jew, or this bit might be misconstrued as anti-Semitic.
“It is forbidden to defraud or deceive any person in business. Jew and non-Jew are to be treated alike. If the vendor knows that his merchandise is defective, he must so inform the purchaser. It is wrong to deceive any person in words, even without causing him a pecuniary loss.”
Find more Wise Fridays wisdom on MJL.
On Sunday night I had a conversation with my ex about marriage. Every time he sees me he ends up saying some version of, “When are you going to get married?” And I say, “As a divorced person, care to tell me what’s so great about marriage?” And then he changes the subject.
So, it seemed kind of ironic that shortly after that conversation my roommate forwarded me this link to a list of 101 reasons to get married, by blogger Life After Stern College. LASC prefaces the list with a smart commentary on how getting married isn’t the be all end all of life, but how she still wants it:
I would also like to add that if I were to make a list of “Reasons why I love my life right now,” it would be much, much, much more than 101, and in case it is not obvious, loving my current life as a single, and sincerely wanting to get married are not mutually exclusive.
So that’s good. And her list is pretty thoughtful, too, though some of them (“To be ‘Mrs.'” and “To be able to learn more Torah. Let’s face it, guys know more Torah than girls because they have a Mitzvah to learn Torah. I hope he’ll share some of that knowledge with me”) make me really sad. Here are numbers 1-25.
1. Because Hashem wants me to get married (even though there is no Halachic requirement for women to get married, I would argue that a Torah lifestyle encourages it.)
2. So that I can host guests ( I mean, I do that now, but it’s not quite the same)
3. To experience true love/ to be in love
4. To always be with someone I love
5. To be with someone who loves me
6. To give to someone more than I give in any other relationship
7. To be able to make someone happy by just being with them
8. To live with someone who I chose and who chose me (unlike family which we’re born with and don’t get to pick), and I have committed to spend the rest of my life with and vica versa (unlike friends or roommates who might come and go)
9. To have someone special to cook for
10. Someone to clean for (you know I must love you if I clean up after you.)
11. So that I don’t have to be alone/ I have someone to be with
12. Someone to go on walks with
13. Someone to open cans/jars
14. Someone to take out the garbage
15. Someone to kill/ get rid of bugs (although I can totally see myself ending up with someone who is more afraid of bugs than I am, and when I’m around people like that I magically find the ability to get rid of them myself.)
16. Someone to get rid of rodents (Yes, I am scared of mice.)
17. To have kids/ a family
18. Because it will make my parents happy to see me happy
19. Because my grandparents have told me they want great-grandkids
20. For my siblings who want a brother-in-law, and nieces/nephews
21. Because I would really like to get married before my younger sister who is approaching the time in her life when she will be ready to start dating
22. Because I love family, and when you get married you get more family members- aunts, uncles, cousins…
23. To move out of the New York area (particularly to Israel. Even though I could do this on my own, most of my friends and family live in the New York area and I wouldn’t want to leave them and move somewhere all by myself.)
24. So I can live in a house. Much more spacious than in an apartment, but what would I do with all that space all by myself?
25. Because marriage is good for spiritual growth
Read the rest of the list on the Life After Stern College blog.
You know what I try to avoid? Calling myself a Nazi. I mean, for one thing, it would be false advertising, because I’m not a Nazi. Also, it would be stupid, because Nazis have a poor reputation (allegedly?).
But a health care worker named Nadine Powell, in England, isn’t quite as Nazi-savvy as I am. Powell was in a meeting with a psychotherapist who had been fired from her job after being accused of acting inappropriately to a vulnerable adult. She told the psychotherapist, Judy Williams (pictured at right), “If someone was of strong Jewish faith then you would not expect them to work in the Gestapo as they would not fit.”
Later on Williams was reinstated at her job and awarded a large settlement fee when the judge in her case heard what Powell had said to her.
Here’s what I don’t get about all this: in Powell’s analogy Williams is a Jew (which she is in real life) and Powell is a member of the Gestapo. Why would anyone make that analogy? It’s crazy! It’s Nazi-level psychotic.
So I say congratulations to Williams on getting her job back. And to Powell I say: that Gestapo uniform makes you look like a doomed fascist.
Sometimes I wonder what I would write about if I wasn’t Jewish and my mother hadn’t died. It’s kind of a weird question to ask yourself–what would you be like if you lost the central points of your identity? (I recognize that it sounds weird that my mother’s death counts as a central point of my identity, but to be completely honest, it was a life-changing event. I think it’s fair (if depressing) to say that everything I’ve done since I found out my mother was dying has been deeply affected by her illness and death.)
We like to imagine people losing their identity as a kind of magical or surreal event that happens on soap operas (amnesia) and Jason Bourne movies (government plot) and that awesome old show The Pretender. And it can be fun to imagine what it would be like if you woke up in someone else’s body, or with someone elses’s life. But we recognize, even in silly comedies (Freaky Friday) and soap operas, that losing your identity has to be scary and upsetting and confusing. Our lives are richly layered things, and when you suck out the bottom five or six layers you leave people shaky and unmoored.
Thinking through all this, I had this sudden revelation for why I’ve begun to connect with and enjoy Purim in the last few years. It used to be a holiday that made me roll my eyes. It just seemed…dumb (except for mishloach manot, which I’ve always thought are awesome). But of course, now I like Purim because its central character, Esther, is a Jewish woman whose parents died, and who has to pretend to be not-Jewish. She is forced to do away with huge chunks of her identity. And then, just as quickly, she is asked to own them again. And that’s what makes the Book of Esther such a compelling read to me, now. It’s about unforming and reforming identity.
There is not much that I really have in common with Queen Esther–I am not the hottest or sexiest girl in my city-state, I am not married to a drunk, I do not live in a harem, I am not friends with a eunuch, and my people are not at risk of being massacred. But the Purim story isn’t really about those things anyway. It’s about figuring out how to leverage your own identity to get what you need for yourself and the people you care about. It’s a pretty dark message, but one that I can appreciate as remarkably relatable.
I had someone send me this video featuring the 12-year-old Edan Pinchot singing a version of “Imagine” for an NCSY Auction fundraiser. After giving it a couple of listens (and by a couple, I mean a good two hours on repeat yesterday morning), I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.
First, kid’s got a great voice. No doubting that.
Second, no other youth group could ever pull this video off. Ever. I was super involved in USY (ie. super popular in high school–at least on weekends) and we just didn’t take ourselves this seriously. “Imagine” is usually reserved for actual, serious issues like AIDS in Africa. This video makes it seem like NCSY is about to cave in or something and only Edan Pinchot can save it.
Not that the video doesn’t work. If you’re trying to raise money for your cause, then dude, this video is perfect. I almost felt compelled to donate $18. It’s just so cheesy that it works.
Finally, and this is probably my favorite part, the video title refers to Edan as the “Jewish Justin Bieber.” This probably was a ploy to get more hits on YouTube (similar to how this post is called “A New Jewish Bieber?”), however, that’s not my real problem. My issue is why we are forcing Edan to be compared to Justin Bieber in the first place?
Edan is clearly the man and needs his own category. To channel my best Randy Jackson, that kid can blow, dawg. Just give him a listen and you tell me that he is merely a Jewish Justin Bieber (again, this is all so I can get traffic to this post. Justin Bieber is awesome. Justin Bieber).
Also, I thought Justin Bieber was already Jewish.
I have mixed feelings about ketubot. On the one hand, they’re beautiful marriage contracts. On the other hand, they’re actually prenuptial agreements that someone drew flowers on. Weird.
The Austins are part of a growing phenomenon of non-Jews incorporating the ketubah, a document with millennia-old origins and a rich artistic history, into their weddings. Mrs. Austin, in fact, first learned about the ketubah from her older sister, also an evangelical Christian, who had been married five years earlier with not only a ketubah but the Judaic wedding canopy, the huppah.
“Embracing this Jewish tradition just brings a richness that we miss out on sometimes as Christians when we don’t know the history,” said Mrs. Austin, 29, a business manager for AT&T. “Jesus was Jewish, and we appreciate his culture, where he came from.”
Beyond its specific basis in Judaism, the ketubah represented to the Austins a broader concept of holiness, of consecration. “We wanted a permanent reminder of the covenant we made with God,” Mrs. Austin said. “We see this document superseding the marriage license of a state or a court.”
So the question is, if they split up, do they need a get?