Posts Tagged ‘Judaism’

Oy Lang Zion

Posted in General on January 21st, 2012 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

If you sensed a cosmic disturbance and had nightmares of Adam Sandler and Joan Rivers in “Brigadoon”, let me explain the cause.  Last night, in a gesture of ecumenicalism and anthropological curiosity, my synagogue had a “pulpit exchange” with a Presbyterian church.  We welcomed our guests with tartan yarmulkes.  Their minister’s sermon spoke of the common bond between Scots and Jews, specifically comparing Robert Burns and George Burns.  (They were born the same year; it says so in Wikipedia.)  I will add that the Mourners’ Kaddish did sound better with bagpipes.  We should consider using them instead of shofars.

After the service, my temple hosted a reception catering to our guests’ classic cuisine:  oatmeal and Scotch.  You know, the oatmeal does taste better with the Scotch.  After my fourth bowl, I performed a one-man reenactment of the battle of Culloden.  Of course, the historical accuracy was impeccable, but I may have overstepped propriety by using the Torah as a claymore sword.  In fairness, however, we are a Reform congregation and this was the most use of the Torah since October.

This Sunday, our rabbi will speak at their church and no doubt compare the patterns on their kilts and our sports jackets.


Saturday Sundries

Posted in General on December 12th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

Today’s Tantrum:

Tonight I plan to watch “Doubt.”  I want to compare a priest’s abuse of children with choir practice at my synagogue.  Yes, having a good voice and worse vanity, I was lured into joining the choir.  Since I can’t read music or Hebrew, you can imagine the choir’s exacting standards.  But if you can clear your throat in rhythm, no one will know the difference.

Last night, making my debut, I pondered one of the great mysteries of Judaism.  Why is it easier to develop an atomic bomb than a good Hanukkah song?  It took two years for the boychiks of Los Alamos to harness the chain-reaction; in 2000 years we have yet to compose a Hanukkah song that doesn’t appall any sentient adult.  We are not a tone-deaf people.  Every gentile on Tin Pan Alley could be counted on the fingers of a three-toed sloth–and the sloth would still have three paws free for knitting a tallith. 

 We have such a surplus that we lend ourselves to other ethnic groups.  For “West Side Story”, Leonard Bernstein is the greatest Puerto Rican composer.  And do I need to mention who wrote many of our most popular Christmas songs?  “White Christmas” perhaps expressed Irving Berlin’s relief that his blood wasn’t on the snow.

But Hanukkah?  I think that even George Gershwin admitted the exasperation:  “But Not For Me.”

And let’s not forget the historical significance of this day: