Friday, August 31, 2007

Everyone Loves a Jewish Boy

From JTA:

Beckham sidelined ahead of Israel game

Published: 08/31/2007

Beckham won’t bend it against Israel.

David Beckham, the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer star, won't join the England national team when it plays Israel in London next week in a qualifying game for Euro 2008.

The midfielder, famed for his ability to bend the trajectory of the soccer ball, was sidelined for six weeks after spraining his right knee in a collision Wednesday night when Galaxy played Pachuca, a Mexican team.

British media reported earlier this month that Beckham recently discovered that his mother is Jewish.

What the...?! Becks is JEWISH! OH. MY. GOD. He's mine ladies. Back off. Kenny Chesney, I am so over you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jew Walking

The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) took Simmy Kay of VH1 to the streets of NYC for some JewWalking! We've all seen clips of Jay Walking where Jay Leno takes to the streets of LA asking what people of normal intelligence would consider simple questions and people trip all over themselves trying to answer. One of my fave late night game shows was on when I was in college. I think we watched it every night at 12:30 am. It was called Street Smarts and it had a similar premise. Two contestants would have to wager whether or not the eccentric people on the street would get a correct answer to a specific question. It was awesome.

The folks Simmy encounters in this video aren't stupid or ignorant. They just haven't taken advantage of the opportunity to learn more about their Jewish Heritage. There was a counselor at Camp Gan Israel in Huntington Beach, California when I was like 15 years old who gave me one of the most important pieces of encouragement and inspiration that I could ever ask for. I remember this clearly. We were sitting in a dingy bowling alley in Los Alamitos and I was lamenting to her my frustration with my Jewish learning. All the other kids were earning incredible prizes in Tzivos Hashem (the brilliant Gan Israel learning program that give kids prizes for learning about Yiddishkeit). It was easy for the kids that grew up going to Jewish Day School. It came easy for them. They seemingly knew everything. And she told me something to the extent that just because I never learned something didn't make me stupid. I could always learn those things if I wanted to. That struck a chord in me. I remember she wrote me a note of encouragement at the end of the summmer and she repeated that phrase to me. I carried that letter in my wallet for several years. I believe wholeheartedly in this concept. What you don't know now can hurt you. We should all strive to do more. Be more.

I think a video like this can inspire people. Too many people are intimidated to sign up for a Hebrew class or a "Basic" Judaism class. Gosh, shouldn't they already know those basic fundamentals of their religion? But when they see that others are like them, they may be encouraged to take initiative. Instead of dropping your kids off at Sunday school and heading over to the gym, go into the synagogue yourself and take an adult ed class. Show your kids that you are as interested in your yiddishkeit as you tell them they should be. Otherwise, forward this video to your friends and family who you think will get a kick out of it. I sure did. My favorite line involves a bagel on a kid's head. You'll see. Its great. Check it out.

For those of you reading my blog on Facebook (the video embedding above doesn't work so) you can view the video on the NJOP website:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Things I Don't Understand

I'm sure this is going to become a series of complaints and annoyances, but for now I felt it was a good time to rant about something thats been bubbling for a while. Why have I never been asked to be on a "Young Leadership" committee? I can't for the life of me figure this one out.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been a VERY social person. In junior high I had a lot of peripheral friends. Liked by all groups. Nerds, cool kids, smart kids, band geeks, you name it. Except for that one time this chick spit in my face in the 7th grade, but thats another story altogether. I don't know where that came from. She was probably jealous of my supreme coolness. In high school it was even more the case. I was Class Rep on the student council (my class had 400 students) and was nominated for Prom Queen. I like to say I was runner-up for Prom Queen since we didn't have a runner-up but I like to think I couldn't have been too many votes behind my friend Kim. At my Model UN awards the following week I was presented with an honorary crown because they thought I should have won. I campaigned for Class Clown at the Senior Awards but lost to Mel Nokes, probably one of the funniest people I'd met at that point, so I was okay with the loss. Besides, who campaigns for Class Clown? Nebbach.

In college my famousness escalated. I was on Student Council and proudly would stand on a chair in the caf making announcements about upcoming events and fundraisers. I was one of those people who everyone knew, even when I didn't know them from a hole in the wall. Even today. My friend Margie was hosting a comedy night in my shul. We expected 50 people to show. I decided to promote the event and we had about 200... during a blizzard. I'm sure it helped that I opened for the headliner, but still. I got people in the seats.

Why do I tell you this? Why do I boast in such a way? I get emails from people telling me about this fundraiser and this event. Usually this person is on the "event committee" and thats why they are encouraging their friends to attend. And everytime I think to myself, if I were on this committee, it would be a sell out. I may not always have the bucks to dole out for every single event, but I can do a lot of good for any organization that considers me a "young leader". This is officially the most full of myself thing I've ever written, but I was in the mood for a self esteem motivator. Thanks for obliging.

Why I Hate J Lo

So I won tickets on Z100 for a private J Lo concert last night. Myself and three buddies excitedly entered the Roseland Ballroom expecting a good show. We were told to arrive at 7 and in addition to the concert it would be a private VIP party. So we and several hundred J Lo devotees lined up to get in promptly at 7. We got in and secured a good standing spot near the front next to the cordoned off VIP area. This was to my dismay, not for ZVIPs, Z100's promotional title for people who log on to their website, but actual legitimate VIPs. Damn them.

We got in there and DJ Spinbad was at his turntable playing a great mix of modern R&B while mixing in some rock and roll standards (unmistakable Jack & Diane by Mellencamp thrown in there to my fanatical cheers). I was dancing around like a crazy woman giving white people everywhere a severely bad name. Last time I "clubbed" was probably in high school, and more likely after a couple drinks. Here we were sober and beginning to get bored. In my head I thought, no worries, J Lo will go on by 8. After 8 another DJ (supposedly, J Lo's private DJ, does that mean he travels with her, spins records at J Lo and Marc's mansion? I have no clue). He proceeded to turn up the volume (literally, not figuratively) at least 100 decibels. And played really trashy (LOUD) rap music. Uh uh. J Lo would so not approve of this garbage. A true Fly Girl would never stoop that low. But don't worry Susanne, J Lo will for sure come out by 9. At 9 Carolina Bermudez from Elvis Duran and the Z Morning Zoo came out to huge applause. I'm a big fan of hers too so I got all excited. Even got my ass up off the ground where I had been situated most uncooly for the last half hour. She just did one of those, are you guys ready for J Lo?!! And we got all excited again. Then she left the stage and the loud DJ played on. No one there seemed to be having fun at this point. It had been more than two hours and everyone was standing facing the stage waiting for J Lo to come out. Maybe 1 in 10 people were still dancing. People started to leave. Tamarzeepoo left at a quarter to 10. Reifer, Nat, and I grabbed out bags at 10:05 ready to finally give up when J Lo finally made her appearance. I told the couple next to us, don't get too excited, shes going to do 2 songs, both from the new album so no one will be able to sing along and then she'll leave the stage. Sure enough, I was mostly right. She did two new songs we had never heard and one compilatation of her hits. Listen honey. You are a very talented girl, but you do not have enough hit songs to give devoted fans a compilation performance after they've stood around waiting for you for 3 hours!! You are no Tim McGraw! Even the Dixie Chicks don't pull that crap. We were super annoyed. We went home kinda pissed. Don't call your event a concert and just make it a dirty club scene. Nice Jewish Girls will not have a good time there!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where awkwardness reigns supreme

Nope. I know what you're thinking I was going to say. I always thought the most supremely awkward experiences take place on singles Shabbatons. But no. Its when you are left alone in a room with the cable guy. And you are half naked. I had an appointment tonight for a cable man to come and replace my modem thats been broken since Friday. 5 torturous days without internet in my apartment. It was horrible.

So I was in my lounging clothes when the cable guy arrived. I switch into this set of clothes (usually soccer shorts and a tank top) the second I get home from work. I get my impulsive disrobing urge from my dad who will be in his underwear and asleep on the couch within 2 minutes of walking through the front door and my eldest brother who happens to be loaded yet I've never found him in his house wearing anything but a 10 year old pair of shorts and an old ripped t-shirt. We Goldstones LOVE our lounging clothes. So when he arrived I was wearing a little pair of pink shorts and a grey tank, but quickly threw on a black sweater so I'd be at least a little more modestly dressed for the strange man here to install my modem. I did not know what to talk to the dude about. I am terrible at small talk. Some cable device was in his bag making funny sounds so I must have said like 5 times "hey, that sounds like Pac-Man, you know Pac-Man? Ever play it? Thats what your bag sounds like. Pac-Man". Oy. Nebbach right? So we were in my bedroom where my computer and modem are set up and it started to get hot. I don't put on the AC unless I'm sweltering. I was like, oh man, I can't take off my sweater, I'll be like half undressed in front of this strange man alone in my bedroom. But that thought just made me moe nervous and I got even warmer. Needless to say the sweater came off.

Next he found the spot where I illegally split my cable line to give the TV in my room free cable. He laughed at that. Not sure why. I thought he would have been impressed by my handiness with a pair of pliers and a trip to Radio Shack.

Next he replaced my broken modem with the new one and remarked, lights flashing, that it was fixed and I was back in business. Excited by the prospect that he would be leaving now I motioned toward the door. He said, hey lets try turning on your computer to make sure. I have the slowest computer known to man. I knew it would take a good 10 minutes to boot up. The cheaper the computer, the longer it takes, and those that know me know that I got one hell of a deal on this sucker. Cost me a couple hundred bucks. Its a piece of garbage, but boy did I save a bundle. So I started the computer and the second the desktop appeared he began to click incessantly on the Internet Explorer icon. Like 10 times. So not only did it delay the start up but now my computer was huffing and puffing its way through the opening of 10 separate Hotmail pages. I attempted conversation. Asked if this was his last call of the day. Asked if his supervisor was a decent guy. Asked about setting up wireless systems. It was horrible. Might have been the worst date-like situation I've ever experienced. And this is coming from the girl who one time forgot her date's name. That was not pleasant either.

Oh, and the icing on the cake. It wasn't until after he left that I found a feminine hygiene product on my desk where he was working. I nearly died. The end. Kill me now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Craigslist Lost & Found

This morning I found a 512 Mb SD card on the ground while waiting on the platform at Columbus Circle. Figuring theres a chance theres something important on the card I grabbed it hoping I'd be able to find a way to reunite it with its true owner. I asked the people standing nearby if it belonged to them and everyone shook their heads. So I quickly went on Craigslist to post a lost and found message. Maybe someone will claim it. As I alway say, pay it forward.

I decided to browse some of the other postings to see what else has been lost and found in New York. Wallets, keys, cameras.....and crack pipes? Hmmmm.... This is gonna be good.

Lose your crack pipe?
Reply to:
Date: 2007-08-18, 2:59PM EDT

The other day while walking through Central Park I found one crack pipe. Knowing how important this must be to its owner I decided to post it here hoping to reunite the two. So if you're the owner or know who it belongs to please contact me ASAP. Be prepared with a description so I know you're the right person, it would be very wrong to return it to someone it doesn't belong to.

On another note, unrelated to crack, I won 4 tickets to see J Lo in a private concert this Thursday night from Z100. Any fans out there that want to go? Fans of me of course. Fans of J Lo as well can apply as well. Peace.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Drugs on Ice Cream Trucks?! A shonda!


Thank you Rachel S for your stalwart research (ie forwarding of the article) about our favorite Washington Heights past time...visiting the ice cream trucks scattered around our hood. Allegedly, some of these Mister Softees sell, in addition to soft serve and slush puppies, drugs!!! Who would have guessed?! I personally am quite surprised. Although, as I mentioned to Rachel, I may have had a lingering feeling that I suspected this all along. Who in their right mind would trek out in a blizzard to buy an Itzakadoozie? You be the judge.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mazel tov to me

So last night I finally married. Since becoming an Ordained Clergy Member in 2005, I have finally put it to good use and civilly married my friends Mark and Sura. Everything went without a hitch, except for the fact that Mark doesn't wear a ring and Sura was already wearing one and a majority of the vows I had written involved the ring ceremony. But everyone played along just fine allowing me to change the ring vows into the past tense ("Sura, I gave you this ring" instead of give) and then Sura saying "Mark, I give you this invisible ring". It was great.

Only prob came when we were filling out the marriage certificate and we didn't know if Sura should sign with her new surname or her old. So we had to track down my marrige mentor, Rabbi Josh Yuter, who by the way is a hard man to find. I called like 15 people to finally get his number, but most people didn't answer when they saw it was me calling them. Why do you all screen your calls from me? What if I was calling you to tell you that Justin Timberlake stopped by my apartment for an impromptu concert (and later a snogging session) and I was calling to invite you (to the concert, not the snogging). Would you not answer then? Anyway, I reached Josh and after careful investigation we decided Sura should sign with her new last name. Done deal. We had a great time. I'll post more pics once the wedding guests upload them. Anyway, I am off to find a mailbox to mail the marriage certicate (according to ordinance 11C it is one of my officiant responsibilities). Catch you later!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shout out to random girl in shul.

Note to girl- I'm only writing about it because it was funny, gave me a fantastic story to tell at my Shabbos meals, and I know you are going to read this post.

So girl I don't really know comes up to me after Friday Night davening. She prefaces the question knowing that I'll be taken completely aback.
"So, can I ask you the most stalkerish question ever?"
"Um, okay."
"Are those the new clothes your mom bought you?"
"Um, yeah. You read my blog don't you?"

She had read my post last week about how my mom took me shopping at Loehman's. Of course, I'm dressed to kill every Shabbos. But this week I was in fact wearing a killer new black short skirt with little pleats. Yup, I was adorable. Still a little spooky though, wouldn't you say? Hope shes not homicidal.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Spring Awakening and my obsession with a musical I've never seen

So Tamarzeepoo and I went to Broadway in the Park yesterday afternoon to catch performances by the casts of the Fantasticks (which someone who shall remain nameless thought was a musical based on the Fantastic Four comic book movies), the Color Purple, Spring Awakening, and Wicked. I've been wanting to see Spring Awakening for a long time now. When it debuted it was listed on TKTS and I never got around to buying tickets. Then it won the Tony for Best Musical and its near impossible to get tickets. Anyway, this cast is spectacular. Its based on a 100 year old book about kids in Germany dealing with the angst of their blossoming adulthood. The casting director was strict about getting fresh faced young people in the show so no one is over 24 and few have previously acted professionally. I described it to my buddy Miriam who had this to say:

Miriam: isnt harry potter in spring awakening
or was that equuss?
me: this is kinda the same kinda controversialism
kids having sex and trying to kill themselves and all
Miriam: yawn
welcome to yula

I just thought that was funny and wanted to share. YULA is a reference to her Yeshiva high school in LA. Come to think of it, sex and does remind me of someone of my Yeshiva University living arrangements.

Anyway, this show is incredible. Tamarzeepoo and I had chills that we haven't had watching a musical since Rent. I have posted a video below of the cast performing on The View. Its one of Rosie O'Donnell's favorite shows (she's seen it four times).

I've had this song playing in the background all day long and Tamarzeepoo is starting to get annoyed. The song is called "Touch Me" and I'm a little disturbed by how obsessed with it since, um, yeah, its about "touching" people, if you know what I mean. I believe its the theme song for the anti-Shomer Negia movement. Its just such a beautiful song. The lyrics are striking and descriptive and the voices are so tender and raw that you can almost see a vision in your head. Few songs resonate with me in that way, examples being "Easy Silence" by the Dixie Chicks or "One Song Glory" from Rent. If you're passionate about those songs, you'll know what I mean.

I want to get tickets for this show really bad. If you'd like to go with me, let me know. We are trying to get tickets. I've tried downloading the music but its hard to find and doesn't even have it at a good price. For those of you who know me, I don't buy an album from a store unless its got the Dixie Chicks, Tim Mcgraw, or Kenny Chesney on the cover. If I actually have to go out and buy this album, you'll realize how obsessed I truly am.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Well that sucks!

So yesterday I headed down to Loehman's on 17th street and 7th avenue with my mom who was in town for a week. She wanted to "buy me a new wardrobe" or something to that extent. Seeing as how ungirly I am, this prospect was not as appealing to me as it would be for other girls. I was done looking for clothes in like 5 minutes picking out a brown dress (which I already have its identical in black), two identical blouses in different shades, and a black skirt which looks just like all my others. I was done. New wardrobe was in place. My mom was still standing at the August Silk rack pondering a sweater she'd picked up 10 minutes ago. I was already bored. Thank goodness I had brought along my Sunday NY Times. I opened quickly to my favorite section, Sunday Style, so I could look up all the Jewish couples in the wedding listings and see if I recognize any names of the officiating Rabbis. I work with Rabbis so its sometimes fun to be like "oh look, Rabbi Cohen from Texas. He's really nice!" I'm a huge dork. This is my weekly activity.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it to the wedding listings. On Page 1 I found the article Great Wedding! But Was It Legal? It seems that more and more Americans (myself included) were inspired by Joey Tribbiani on Friends when he applied online to be a Minister so he could officiate at Monica and Chandler's wedding. I thought becoming an ordained minister online would be a great story to tell around the Shabbos table. So I went to the Church of Spiritual Humanism's website, read their terms and conditions, decided this would be a good choice of online ministries since of all the online Churches I found, this seemed to be the most religion-free religion. I wouldn't be excommunicated from my shul for signing on. So I signed up. It wasn't until recently that a buddy of mine asked me to officiate her civil ceremony. Obviously, since I'm not a Rabbi I can not officiate the halachic ceremony, nor would I want to, but this would be a fun thing that the couple could do amongst a handful of friends and would have a funny anecdote for their grandkids. I have already been to a handful of these civil ceremonies (my roommate's at City Hall, and a couple in Rabbi Yuter's apartment). I was honored to be asked. I needed to go down to City Hall to get certified by the City of New York. Its one thing to have your ordination from somewhere, but the city must keep track of those people officiating legal ceremonies. I stood in line at the City Clerks office behind a nice Conservative Rabbi from Long Island. After a little wait I was presented with my Certificate of Ordination! I was fired up!

The New York Times has written that so many people are signing up as online ministers for the sole purpose of marrying a specific couple that many states are warning that these ministers may not have kosher enough ordination to be considered marriage officiants. The article states cases where the person applied online for their clergy title to marry someone and the marriage was later considered null since he wasn't "officially" ordained. Man! This is gonna be bad for business.

Heres the low down. According to my ministry, their members have successfully performed legal weddings in New York City. I had followed all the instructions listed on the City Clerk's website. The City Clerk read through the church's Articles of Incorporation (albeit was a strange and bemused look on her face), and stamped her approval on my Certificate. This article gave me (and the couple I'm marrying on Monday) a little scare, but we are now feeling a little more confident. So if you are in the midst of planning your wedding, commitment ceremony, baby naming, handfasting (which is some sort of satanic ceremony, from the descriptions I've read on Wikipedia), invocations, or other religious services and ceremonies, please remember that as an Ordained Clergy Person and Associate Pastor in the Church of Scientific Humanism, I can officiate your ceremony. You should put me on speed dial.

P.S. To all my friends who I haven't spoken to in a while. Have no fear. I have not converted to any strange religion or joined a crazy cult. I am still an Orthodox Jew and member in good standing of Mt. Sinai in Washington Heights. As always, I am a little nutty, but not enough for you to worry about.

I'm a little traumatized

So I was surfing the net last week trying to find something to fill the void left by the ending of the Harry Potter series. I had read an article about all these fan fiction sites where writers had picked up where JK had left off and wrote their own additional stories using the Harry Potter characters and various storylines, and posted them on numerous websites and blogs. So, a large number of the stories I encountered took a turn towards soft porn and even XXX. Can't we keep these stories kosher people? Its bad enough seeing how violent the books and movies are. These beloved young characters have already lost their innocence by fighting pure evil and witnessing death first hand. Do we really need them reinacting scenes from the Spice channel? Puhleeze!

On another note, for those of you who are as obsessed with Harry Potter as I am (and have already finished the last book (don't need anyone complaining that I spoiled the book for them!), be sure to visit this interview with JK Rowling where she clears up a lot of unanswered questions and fills us in on additional tidbits about the characters' lives. So awesome! I also recommend listening to some of the podcasts on iTunes that discuss the Harry Potter series. My favorites (and the most popular) are Pottercast and Mugglenet. You can download them free. Enjoy!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sick bastards

Seriously guys, theres always the "No Strings Attached" column on Craigslist. No need for the shovels you sick sick bastards.

Accused grave robbers dodge sex charges By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press Writer

For link click here

MADISON, Wis. - Three men who dug up a young woman's corpse to have sex with it after seeing her obituary photo cannot be charged with attempted sexual assault because Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia, an appeals court ruled Thursday.


A judge was correct to dismiss the charges against twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radke, all 21, because lawmakers never intended to criminalize sex with a corpse, the District 4 Court of Appeals said in a 3-0 ruling.

The three men went to a cemetery in Cassville in southwestern Wisconsin on Sept. 2 to remove the body of Laura Tennessen, 20, who had been killed the week before in a motorcycle crash.

The men used shovels to reach her grave. They abandoned their plan and were eventually arrested after a vehicle drove into the cemetery and reported suspicious behavior, authorities said.

They said the men had seen an obituary of Tennessen with her photo and wanted to dig up her body to have sexual intercourse. Such an act is known as necrophilia.

The men were charged with attempted third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor attempted theft charges. But Grant County Circuit Judge George Curry dismissed the sexual assault charges in September, saying no Wisconsin law addressed necrophilia. Prosecutors appealed his ruling.

At issue is a provision in the sexual assault law saying criminal penalties apply "whether a victim is dead or alive at the time of the sexual contact or sexual intercourse."

The appeals court said the law was ambiguous but the most reasonable interpretation was that it does not ban necrophilia. Instead, the court said, the law was meant to make sure prosecutors could bring sexual assault charges in rape-murder cases in which the victim ends up dead.

Outrage over the case might soon change the law.

Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make having sex with a corpse a felony with punishment of up to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The bill would levy the same penalties against anyone who intentionally disturbs a burial site or a buried human corpse.