Happy Hanukkah from Rabbi Wienerschnitzel!
Okay, I was gonna kick off today's special Hanukkah post with a news bit on the Beastie Boys readying a follow-up to Hello Nasty, but some little Massachu-SHIT (cough cough) beat me to it. No matter… I don't even like them anyway. [sticks out tongue] Besides, I have an even juicier news bit.
Three and half years after the release of their last post, the WankerCounty boys are finally getting to work on the follow-up. Along with their legal guardian, KeeJay, the boys (Tony, Matt, Jord, Bob, Jerry and Jon) have begun the writing process and expect to begin formal coding sessions early in 2002.
People often ask why I have so many WankerCounty buttons on my site. Well, I like buttons, and if I like a particular website, I'm-a put up all the buttons it offers. Recently, however, the wankin' that I love has stopped over in my favorite county, and it makes me sad. I understand that it's junior year in high school, but c'mon Jord! Posting a speech you wrote for class? That's just weak.
I've come up with a plan to save WankerCounty. It probably won't work because nobody ever gives a fuck about what I say, but it's worth a shot. There are sixteen WankerCounty buttons on my site. Beginning Tuesday December 11th, every day WankerCounty isn't updated, I will delete one of their buttons. This game'll continue until Christmas Day with the potential elimination of fifteen buttons total. Weeeee! I love you guys.
And now, Josh explains Hanukkah to Jon…
Josh: This Syrian King Antiochus takes over Israel
Josh: Syria has this Hellenic/Grecian influence at the time
Josh: He orders all Jews to either convert or die
Josh: a standard threat
Josh: a band of jews called the Maccabees says hells no
Josh: they are led by Judah the Maccabee
Josh: they run into the hills and attack the Syrians, using Geurilla Warfare
Josh: iin the meantime
Josh: hahaha a cutscene
Josh: (meanwhile, back in the city)
Josh: the Syrians enter the temple and fuck that shit up
Josh: we're talking burn the torahs, knock shit over, spread feces all around, the works
Josh: the Maccabees are pissed
Jon: spreading feces = bad
Josh: i cant remember exactly how they get back into the city and defeat the Syrians, but they do
Josh: the Maccabees enter the temple and are devestated by what they find
Josh: its getting dark outside and they need to light some lamps soon for warmth
Josh: oil lamps
Josh: all that was left was a half broken menorah
Josh: and one container of oil
Josh: certainly not enough to last even one day
Josh: miracuously, the oil lasts for eight entire days
Jon: magic oil
Jon: i did not know that
Oil that lasts eight entire days. I wish I…STOP! Control yourself, Jon. DO NOT make any unnecessary masturbation jokes. NO! Don't do it. Move your hands away from the keyboard. Atta boy. Good job.
Last year, I staged Hanukkahthon, an eight-day online celebration of Judaism, anchored by a Jon Stewart piece. This year, while I'm too much of a slacker to stage another Hanukkahthon, I thought it'd be cool to resurrect the Stewart piece for everybody's enjoyment. No previous Judaic knowledge necessary. Without further ado, this is "The New Judaism" by Jon Stewart:
There is no doubt Judaism in America has reached an important crossroads. The figures are astonishing. Fifty percent of all currently single American Jews will intermarry, 10 percent will convert to another religion and half of the remaining 40 percent will help them convert or intermarry by watching their dogs. The Rabbinical Congress has estimated that by the year 2010, Jewish life in America will have deteriorated to the point where a Seinfeld reunion special will be a non-sweeps event, perhaps even buried in summer reruns. The certainty of this apocalyptic prediction was hotly contested by a small but vocal contingent of rabbis. They threatened to walk out of the proceedings unless the suffix ish was added to the predicted year 2010. Rabbi Tarfon punctuated the debate by shouting, "I mean, can we really be sure about the year?" before disrobing and setting fire to his caftan. Rabbi Benjamin Rosenzweig then sparked a near riot from the Orthodox contingent with his barbed query "if 'ish,' why not 'or so'?" while Rabbis Eliezer and Johnson exchanged blows over whether or not Fruit Smoothies were kosher. Calm was restored only after the elders' promise of a fall seminar on the grooming of long beards.
Cause for alarm? Judaism has a long and storied history of surviving threats of extinction.
The Spanish Inquisition
In 1492, led by Ferdinand and Isabella, the Christians conquered the last of then Muslim Spain. They immediately decreed all Jews must convert to Christianity or be expelled. Many Jews left. Many Jews, however, had already put money down for time-share condos in Majorca, and had no choice but to convert or lose their deposit. Those Jews who stayed in Spain converted to Christianity, only to be systematically hunted down during the Inquisition, accused of heresy against the church for being Jews. This prompted a direct descendant of the great Jewish intellectual Maimonides to protest the inquisition, saying, "Isn't that kind of a catch-22?"
GRAND INQUISITOR'S SOPHISTICATED METHOD OF INTERROGATION
Inquisitor: Are you a Jew?
Inquisitor: Are you sure you're not a Jew?
Inquisitor: Oh well, sorry to trouble you. Would you like to stay for cake?
Jew: Is it chocolate? I'm allergic to chocolate.
Inquisitor: It's an out-of-this-world lemon pound cake.
Jew: Well, maybe just a nosh…
The Inquisitor smiles a sinister smile.
The Third Reich
The horrors of the Holocaust are well documented. Adolf Hitler's rise to power remains the greatest obstacle to survival Judaism has yet overcome. Hitler's systematic Final Solution was responsible for the death of six million. He was a monster, although it is said that early in his career he would end a particularly virulent anti-Semitic diatribe with the phrase "no offense." Nazi Germany was so destructive to Judaism not only for the loss of life, but because many who survived began to view the practice of Judaism as somewhat of a health hazard.
The Burger King Bacon, Egg And Cheese Croissan'wich
A sinful combination of pork, cheese and egg. The Triple Crown of nonkosher living – why does it have to be so delicious?
Judaism has shown remarkable resilience in the face of great external threat. But these threats have been nearly eliminated in America. Total assimilation is the new threat to American Judaism and is more sinister because it goes to the core problem. Judaism is no longer able to compete in a free market religious environment. Although pizzazz sounds like it could be Yiddish word, it's something Judaism is sorely lacking. We must present a new Judaism. To understand what is necessary, we must first understand the fundamentals as they exist now.
Modern American Judaism can be broken down into three simple categories.
Orthodox Jews, or, as they are known in the Talmud, the Really Chosen Ones, are committed to the idea that the entire Torah was dictated by God verbatim to Moses at Mount Sinai. Therefore all the original Torah's laws must be obeyed as written. Other forms of Judaism dispute this claim, although it does explain certain passages in the first Torah, such as "I'm sorry, am I boring you?" and "What do you like better, Moses, Lord Almighty or Big Hoohah?" Orthodox Jews observe a strict Sabbath, the separation of sexes during worship and believe Jackie Mason is the funniest man alive. They are also rumored to engage in sex only through a hole in their bedsheets, a falsehood that spread after a particularly wild Halloween party at the Mendelsohns'.
Conservative Jews are Orthodox Jews who went coed, reportedly after one of their more influential members attended a mixer at Barnard. They generally believe the Torah was passed down from God to Moses, but was edited or at least spell-checked first. The main difference between Conservative and Orthodox Jews is summed up beautifully in Conservative Rabbi Mishner's seminal work titled Hey Fellas, How 'Bout We Take It Down a Notch? Conservatives believe Woody Allen is the funniest man alive.
Reform Jews are the children of Conservative Jews, or as they are sometimes known, Christians with curlier hair. They believe the Torah is very long and hard to read because it's written in a foreign language. They are not required to adhere to any strict religious doctrine but are still able to take off work on at least 75 percent of all Jewish Holidays. They believe Carrot Top is the funniest man alive.
A Comparative Chart
Anything with Steve Guttenberg
A day of worship
A day of reflection
FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYER
Ken Griffey Jr.
A sin…but oh, what they've done for
Something that happened at camp
No present form of American Judaism currently has the appeal to sustain us as a people through the next millennium. A new Judaism must be created to battle the erosion of our population caused by defection, apathy and blondes. If we don't watch out, the Hare Krishnas will soon be kicking our ass.
The Children. There is a fable in Deuteronomy: A poor farmer from the Tribe of Levi came one day to King Solomon, the wisest of kings and the only one who could juggle. The farmer begged Solomon for his wisdom. "My only son has lost a baby tooth. All day and night he cries for reparation. He suffers loudly…even the cattle have complained." Solomon looked up from his crossword puzzle, pondered the farmer's dilemma and spoke. "Cut this child in half. Each family can have one half. This will end the dispute." The farmer looked stricken. "Gotcha!" said Solomon. "I'm sorry, sometimes I can't help myself." The farmer sighed. "How old's the boy?" asked Solomon. "Four plantings and half a harvest," replied the farmer. "Okay, here's what you do," continued the wise king, "Tell the boy to put the tooth under his pillow tonight. When he sleeps, replace the tooth with a piece of candy or a quarter. Tell him the…I don't know, the Angel of Teeth came down to reclaim his property. This will solve your problem." "Who would believe that?" the farmer asked skeptically. "What is lightning?" asked Solomon. "God testing batteries," the farmer replied. Solomon looked at the farmer knowingly. "Oh…I see what you mean," said the farmer. Solomon smiled, "Want to see me juggle two olives and a pomegranate?"
What is the point? People will believe anything if you catch them early enough.
The Jewish concept of God is too difficult to fathom. An omniscient, omnipotent Peeping Tom who loves us and smites our enemies. Although recent history suggests he's a little slow on the smiting. We were created in his image, but you can't see him or describe him. And why did he give us so much back hair?
The Christians had it right. Want to worship Jesus? Here's a picture of him on the wall next to the refrigerator. There's even one on black velvet. Not enough? Look at these movies he did. Long hair, sad eyes, trim…not a bad-looking fellow. Put him on your dashboard and go! He's even got his own musicals. As Nietzsche wrote, "God is dead. But he lives on at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in a spectacular revival of Godspell."
If Judaism wants to compete, we need to personify our vision of God. In the new Judaism, God will now be referred to as Uncle Pete. A friendly gentleman in his forties, Uncle Pete is still all-powerful but he's also tangible. He's about five feet ten, although his license says six feet, 170 pounds, and smells like a freshly baked pie. Wondering how God could let his children die? Well, let's get ol' Uncle Pete in here and find out. I'm sure he has a reasonable explanation!
The history of the Jewish people has been described in many scholarly manuscripts as "the shit end of the stick." Even the recently translated Dead Sea Scrolls end with the phrase "Watch your back." The threat of persecution has not been offset by the promise of an occasional nice brisket. The New Judaism will deemphasize historical trouble for a more positive outlook. Up to now being the Chosen Ones has brought nothing but trouble. In the New Judaism, all Chosen Ones will receive a value pack worth hundreds of dollars in discounts at participating vendors (for example, 10 percent off any dinner at Friendly's, with purchase of Fishamajig sandwich).
OLD JUDAISM PASSOVER SEDER
Child: Why on this night do we eat bitter herbs?
Adult: To remind us of the pain our ancestors felt while enslaved in Egypt.
NEW JUDAISM PASSOVER SEDER
Child: Why on this night do we eat hot fudge sundaes?
Adult: To remind us that being Jewish is like having your birthday every day!! Plus they're delicious!
The key word here is simplify. The Torah and Old Testament are all over the place. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Don't eat pork. Not only do some rules seem arbitrary, the language is very B.C. The New Judaism simplifies the rules of conduct into a concise, hip, jargon the young people will really go for. The new rules are: Ass, gas or grass, nobody rides for free; and Be cool.
"Jews have a mascot?" you ask. No. This is a problem. Any new idea that expects to have legs in the marketplace needs a lovable mascot to represent and brand the product with the populace. Just ask Santa. How many Jews have felt the pain of trying to compete during the Christmas season by concocting a mascot, the personification of their own gift-giving holiday? A Hanukkah Harry, the swarthy man in charge of Jewish kids' presents who waits until the Christmas rush has ended to try and get some decent bargains only to find the good toys gone. The New Judaism takes a page from the playbook of successful ventures like Christianity and R.J. Reynolds with the unveiling of our new character, Jewey. Jewey's a cool, camel-like character (actually Joe Camel with some slight retooling) who brings laughter and joy to all the Kinder. Imagine a Bar Mitzvah boy's excitement at knowing he just became a man, and that Jewey's on his way with money and cigarettes. And here's the best part…He can fly!!
As Karl Marx wrote, "Religion is the opiate of the people, and who couldn't use a little opiate every now and again." People want religion. They like it. It makes them feel secure and confident in a world of uncertainty, besides giving them a place to go on weekends. You just have to make sure your religion is appealing enough. If we are to reduce Portnoy's Complaint to a suggestion, we must leave behind the bounds of the old Judaism and retool. The New Judaism will ensure the continuation and flourishing of the Jewish people well into the twenty-first century. Mazel Tov and All Praise to Uncle Pete.
random steven wright joke