infinite identity crisis on earth

“Black [jewish] kids still need to be around other Black children and adults or else they turn into, for the most part, colorstuck, confused adults with identity issues.”

amen to that.

a simple enough facebook status that evolved into a whirlwind of crazy and…well…OTHER things…mostly the naive contention that skin color is irrelevant and black jewish children need to “just” be raised around jews…

this thread was one that raises a lot of questions about the issue of identity when being an [insert ethnicity] jew. as if for some reason ppl refuse to acknowledge the fact that YOU. ARE. BOTH!!! whenever i raise such issues the conversation usually goes like this: “do you consider yourself black first or jewish first? are you black or jewish? you seem to have identity issues. what does this matter aren’t we all just jewish?”

1-that makes just as much sense as asking a tiger if he’s orange first or black first. or asking a zebra if he’s black first or white first. or asking the color purple  if its red first or blue first. ITS. BOTH. likewise WE are both. there’s something so INFINITELY ridiculous about saying “well just be around other jews b/c ur jewish”…yes…but im ALSO SOMETHING ELSE. why is there always the insistence on denying the “something else”? especially since, EVERYONE WHO ISN’T “DIFFERENTLY” ETHNIC JEWISH GETS TO DO IT. ashkenazis are jewish AND from eastern europe. sephardis are jewish AND from western europe. mizrahis are jewish AND from the middle east. so not only what are you talking about, but what is this “just” jewish myth ppl keep trying to propagate? there IS no “just” jewish.

2-look, im glad for you that you as a person believe that skin color doesnt matter. yes in the long run, race is ideally irrelevant, and yes, the ppl that think otherwise are wrong.

you know whats also wrong? murder. and robbery.

and thats why ppl dont walk down dark alleys late at night alone. b/c while the happy happy cotton candy butterflies and rainbows version of the world acknowledges that its wrong, the REALITY is that it happens. a LOT. so to live as if that isnt the reality of the world, and to raise children to not be aware of such a reality is naive at best and utter stupidity at worst. as such, ethnic jewish children need to also have just as much exposure to the ethnic world they belong to and will be clumped along with anyway as they have exposure to the jewish world. to raise said child solely in EITHER world is disastrous.

3-also dont tell me racism is “wrong” or “stupid” or “it doesnt matter at the end of the day”. maybe thats what happens and the end of YOUR day. it’s not what happens at the end of mine. *i* have to wake up the next morning and do this all over again, like i have every single day of my life and will have to CONTINUE to do for every single day of my life. unfortunately us brown ppl dont get that magical power to declare something over just b/c we say so. so plz, save the platitudes. you arent going to “get” where im coming from anymore than im going to “get” the concept being able to drive a car and NOT get pulled over b/c it looks too expensive for me.

3-“do you consider yourself to be an african-american jew or a jewish african-american?”

honestly? im tired of this question. when i walk down the street do you see a jewish guy with black skin or are you curious about the black guy with a yarmulke on his head? if you see me down the street which yiddish word first pops into ur head “yidden” or “schvartze”? would you let me marry your daughter? why not? if i told you i was a kohen, would i be able to get that aliyah w/o problems? so tell you what, when you can treat me like we both “just” jewish, then sure, i’m a jewish african-american. until then, i’m an african-american jew and stop pretending that you see me as anything otherwise. because if i were walking down the street in a hoodie and i walk up on you, you’re gonna think im gonna tell you to run your pockets, not where i can find a maariv minyan.

more importantly, YES, im black.

will i get pulled over b/c i fit the profile? will i be followed around a store when i walk in? would i have drank from the colored only water fountains? can i walk into a synagogue and not get stared at? can a member of the klan walk by me w/o giving me a second glance? when i walk into a zales, can i get instant non-reluctant service? can i catch a cab in the city? do i need a zillion pieces of id to enter a gated neighborhood?

would any of these situations be dispelled by a quick “im jewish”, flash of a kippa and a sparkle in my teeth as i smile and wink? no? alright then.

4-by the way, “regular” jews? ashkenazis? you’re WHITE. get over it. sure you might find it soooo “distasteful” or you “dont identify” with being “white”, but guess what?

you are.

can you hail a taxi with no problem? do ppl follow you around the store when you walk in? do ppl clutch their bag closer when you enter an elevator? in the 60s would you have been forced to get on the back of the bus? can you walk into a synagogue and not get stared at? can a member of the clan walk by you w/o giving you a second glance? when you enter a zales, are the employees reluctant to come assist you? do you have any problem walking around gated neighborhoods at night? would you get asked to show id in arizona? do you receive all the trappings of white privilege? [well i guess thats a trick question, right? b/c one of the components of white privilege is that you dont realize that you have it]

at any rate, SURPRISE: you’re white. congratulations.

but you know, maybe im wrong. maybe i should just ignore this whole black and jewish thing and just accept that i’m “just” jewish. lets see what my fellow jews say:

“This congregation shall not encourage or interfere with making proselytes under any pretense whatever, nor shall any such be admitted under the jurisdiction of their congregation, until he or she or they produce legal and satisfactory credentials, from some other congregation, where a regular Chief [Rabbi] or Rabbi and Hebrew Consistory is established; and, provided, he, she or they are not people of color.”  –Rule No. 23, “Constitution of the Hebrwe [sic] Congregation Kaal Kodesh Beth Elohim, or House of G-d, Charleston”, 1820.

wow.

now tell me again about how i’m “just” jewish.

–MaNishtana

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worth it? really?

hey there kids.

so this past week, colleague and friend aliza hausman was interviewed by the jewish press about her choice about conversion, her blog, her experiences and such. it was a nice quaint interview. i myself read it whilst sipping a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace. however, whether she’s on her own blog, guest starring on someone else’s, or just a quick cameo, it seems our favorite jewminicana is just an eternal hate-magnet. a couple of lovely comments included accusations that she “lambast[es] the frum community”, “[doesnt cover] her hair to make a statement”, “constantly criticizes, mercilessly at times, our [jewish] community”, “makes us [converts] look bad”, and that ms hausman is generally a “misguided vengeful individual.”

[shakes head]

im sorry, maybe you dont realize it, but a lot of jews? especially frum ones? SUCK.

as ppl.

generally speaking, you dont know how to treat YOUR OWN, let alone jews of COLOR, let alone CONVERTS, let alone CONVERTS of COLOR. clearly ur iffy on the dynamics of “cause and effect” so let me just inform you that that tends to make for rightfully angry ppl, whether ffb, baal teshuva, or convert. what else do you think is one of the reasons for judaism losing adherents more than any other religion yearly?

and as for “misguided and vengeful” im sorry that ur so offended that there is someone out there who doesnt allow you to hide behind the puss-covered blanket of “lashon hara” that allows the bedsores of sexual abuse, housing scams, organ harvesting, herpes spreading mohels,and sexually propositioning conversion rabbis to fester. maybe if there were more ppl “constantly” “mercilessly” “criticizing” and “lambasting” the frum community, it wouldnt be in the shambling hypocritical state its in.

to aliza’s fellow convert [also dominican, as i recall] who lamented that aliza made all converts “look bad”: congrats. you really ARE part of the jewish ppl. here’s your ticket. just wait right there and an usher will guide you to your seat in the “you should have left us in egypt” section of the theater. stones are complimentary. also, yes, aliza is making a statement by not covering her hair. in short, it goes something like “i have fibromyalgia you fucking moron and if you’d BLINKED in the direction of my blog just ONCE you’d have noticed the NUMEROUS times i’ve mentioned the pain im constantly in, how excrutiating it is to cover my head, and ALSO that i have a HETER from my rabbi.”

also, my personal favorite, someone pulled out that famous go-to chesnut from yevamot 47b: “proselytes are as hard for israel [to endure] as scabs”. wow, you guys LOVE that one, dont you? so its time for a lil bio lesson here, since you seem to be a lil bit fuzzy on the purpose of a scab:

scab

scab pronunciation (skāb)
n.  

  1. A crust discharged from and covering a healing wound.

see where im going with this? scabs are there b/c you’re wounded and they’re there to heal you, idiot. their purpose is to fix you. inconvenient? yes. but its not THEIR fault that you’re wounded. that ur careless. that you dont know how to take care of ur body. [ill trust everyone to be savvy enough to make the correlation/metaphor about the state of the jewish “body” and “soul” and converts being “scabs”. after all, we’re still in exile, right? so clearly things aren’t all peachy with the jewish ‘body”].

at any rate, i hope all you “scab” types arent the same ppl wishing “next year in yerushalayim” at the seder. b/c according to you guys, “scabs” like, say, ruth, wouldnt be welcome. though i hear she has some bigshot offspring or something–this “mashiach” guy ppl keep going on about. of course i guess if it were up to you he’d never get to exist.

right?

–MaNishtana

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would you like fries with that?

hey guys, im back. sorry its been awhile but more on that later.

anyhoo.

this past weekend i was helping a fellow joc of mine move. as always, we were met with the eternal moving conundrums of one: “wait, how the fack did you get this IN here??” and two: “and ur SURE we cant just throw this out the window?”  at any rate, we were wrestling with his mammoth couch down two flights of stairs when on the bottom landing, my friend’s [white, frum, jewish] landlady sees us hefting this couch around.

now, i suppose i should be grateful that–seeing three black jocs trying to remove a couch from an apartment building–she didnt call the cops on principle. [perhaps it had something to do with the non-joc jew with us. after all, groups of three or more jocs cant congregate w/o the man present, you know].  or perhaps my friend [her joc tenant] had acclimated her to the darker side of sears.  there’s some not-forced, fairly pleasant/benign conversation btw them.

then she says it.

she jerks her head in the direction of our epic couch battle and asks: “do you want me to get a couple of mexicans to move that for you?”

true story.

as nonchalantly as if she were gonna head down to the corner store and pick some up, or if she was asking me if i wanted to supersize my happy meal or something.

“oh how PRECIOUS of you to ask!”

i do believe my sarcasm was lost on her.

now, cmon my jews. there’s antisemitism, and then there’s rightly felt “i should facking slap the taste out of ur mouth you uppity white bitch who thinks she’s better than me b/c ur jewish.”

this reminds me of a similar story involving a civilian [i.e., non-jewish] ethnic friend of mine:

he pulls into a gas station with his very nice car. he’s getting gas. a couple of guido-jews [YOU know the kind im talking about…yarmulkes and gelled frosted tips…] pull in in front of him to get their gas for their MORE expensive car.  the two guidishses start having a convo and one of them sits on the hood of my friend’s car. and my friend LOVES his car.

friend: um, can you get up off my car.

guidish 1 gives confused “is that ant talking to me?” look.

guidish 1: what THIS? [scoff] this piece of shit?

friend: no i mean my car. can you have your conversation off my car?

guidish 2 [to guidish 1]: yo bro, i think he’s tryna play you.

friend now gives confused “is this ant talking to me?” look.

friend: did ur boyfriend just say im tryna play you? look you two need need to get up off my car with ur conversation.

guidish 2 [to guidish 1]: yo, you gonna take that, bro?

some yiddish is tossed back and forth

guidish 1 [to friend]: y’know what, i would? but i dont even consider this piece of shit to be car.

guidish 1 smudges friend’s car’s bumper with his shoe.

friend: wow. y’know i think maybe hitler had the right idea.

guidish 1 upon hearing “hitler” now gains self-righteous anger and kicks friend’s car. friend proceeds to beat shite out of guidish 1.

now sure, maybe the “hitler” deal was a little out there, but really, you can see where that kind of retort might possibly come from, no? from that arrogance? that sense of smug privilege, entitlement, and condescension where you think you can mock ppl’s possessions or refer to an entire ethnic group as a sale item at shop rite? [and im not even gonna address the fact that somehow whenever “holocaust” is mentioned the previous assholic behavior of the offender is somehow retroactively justified or excusable or something. never mind that, were the offender NOT jewish, they wouldve already been beat six ways till shabbos.]

but more importantly has EVERYONE just, i dunno, FORGOTTEN what a chillul Hashem is? b/c im pretty sure its still on the books.

–MaNishtana

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link love

so. im busy a lot, and i get a lot of article notifications that i’d LOVE to blog about. however, see the aformentioned “im busy alot comment”. so, taking a page from aliza hausman, i introduce “link love”, where ill be just posting articles up here just to get the word out. if i get to blog about them i will, if not, at least you guys get to see the source material.

today’s particular link is directed at the ppl who took offense to my mere suggestion that jocs should feel free to criticize israel if they so feel without being held hostage by their ethnicity. so to all those saying that ethiopians are treated “just fine” and “accepted” in israel and that racism is an “american” judaism problem or that there is no institutionalized racism in judaism, take a gander:

Israel’s treatment of Ethiopians ‘racist’ | Abesha Bunna Bet

feel free to get back to me when ur done.

–MaNishtana

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“Should Old Annoyance Be Forgot…”

here we are with 2009 on its way out and 2010 on its way in. as such, id like to list five new year’s resolutions of sorts [many of which have been inspired by aliza hausman]. now this isnt a list of things that i want to do, but of things i want others to do. and yes, i realize that im a big fat jew, so why am i jumping on the secular/pagan new year’s deal? well, b/c the things id like to see resolved spring from a decidely un-jewish frame of mind and thought, and since you bastards obviously didnt pray any of your idiocy off on rosh hashana, maybe this time you’ll get ur act together. LOL! [no, not really. not even a little bit.] anyhoo.

1. stop telling jocs that they’re too sensitive/complain too much/are career victims. really, its great that u perceive that ur particular inclave is joc-friendly [altho, to add just a lil bit of credence to the merit of ur purported statement, you may want to, i dunno, ASK the jocs in ur inclave how THEY actually feel the community treats them, not how you THINK they feel or SHOULD feel based on your necessarily limited knowledge and experience of the situation]. no, white ppl, just b/c you converted does not mean you are an automatic authority on the woes of the joc community. sure, you might feel some needling due to ur convert status, but that does not even begin to open ur mind to the waves of microaggressions and grade-a ignorance a joc undergoes on a near-daily basis.

1a. as an addendum, id also like to call a halt to statements like “i dont think its THAT bad.” “do you really experience THAT much racism?” “are you sure what ur experiencing isnt just slight unease?” [all of these are actual quotes, btw]. now, [although ill prolly get the same waves of emails asking why i feel the need to devolve to physical violence as i did for my jocslapping video] im gonna give you an example:

imagine that i was complaining that as a joc i was getting punched by people on a constant basis and ur response was “are you really getting punched THAT hard?” see, ur missing the point THAT IM GETTING PUNCHED. stop asking me if im really getting punched “that hard” or “that often”, just STOP FUCKING PUNCHING ME.

2. please, everyone, get over the assumption that racism and ignorance only exist in the orthodox jewish community. the reform and conservatives just do it in hipper clothes and with better hair.

2a. as an addendum: non-orthodox jocs, us orthodox jocs who speak of our negative experiences are not crazy. we feel great that you’ve had such lovely experiences, but sadly that has not been the case for all of us. it isnt something that “we” are “putting out there” or what “we” are “doing”. and although, no, not all ashkenazi or other non-jocs are rabid, horse-riding, sheet wearing racists, yes racism is pervasive and institutionalized in american judaism. please stop trying to tell us its not. when synagogues have in their constitution that “this congregation will not encourage or interfere with making proselytes under any pretence until he, she or they provide credentials…and, provided he, she, or they are not people of color” [congregation kaal kadesh, south carolina] and that the congregation is limited to “white isrealits [sic] only” [another synagogue whose name i cant recall at the moment] then yes, its institutionalized. when a rabbi receives death threats before attending their pulpit b/c they’re black [rabbi alyssa stanton], then yes, its pervasive.

3. randomly, j***h’s witnesses, please stop trying to recruit me while im walking down the block on shabbat in my jewniform. clearly, ive already been drafted by a team. however, im sure some of those guys over there in the dugouts could use your help more. and by “guys in the dugouts” i mean “those Gdless drug dealers over there on the corner”.

4. ppl who dont support/believe in the state of israel are not any more un-jewish than you are. theyre un-ZIONIST. yes “anti-zionist” is usually code for “anti-semitic”…if ur a NON-JEW. but if you ARE jewish, then you know the difference. please stop being so holier-than-thou. if i dont believe ur supporting the state of israel makes you a death-eater, then me not supporting the state of israel shouldnt make me lord voldemort. either way im sure we can BOTH agree that flying planes into buildings is a very not good thing to do.

5. black [and other ethnic] ppl: please stop condescending/pitying us jocs b/c you feel we abandonded your savior to be jews. more importantly, stop patting urselves on the back for remaining so blindly faithful to the religion that was forced down your throat and most responsible for stripping away ur original culture, enslaving you and oppressing you.

thank you for ur time.

–MaNishtana

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To Me, My Idiots…

random manishtana fact no 78: i worked in a comic book and videogame store for eight years. and im a proud dc boy. superman. bats. flash. justice league. yknow.  see, i never got the marvel universe.

actually, more to the point, i never got the deal with how the marvel universe reacted to mutants. everyone hated them. black, white, asian, gay, straight, everyone. that just didnt seem very realistic to me. was the marvel universe a world that never experienced slavery? jim crow?the holocaust? the japanese interment camps? that was the only way it made sense to me for everyone to be on board that mutants were all horrible and evil–if they themselves had never endured the same tyrannical oppression.

then, this past week i had a conversation with a co-worker of mine, an older jamaican woman. [i mention this b/c she’s 1-old enough to have lived through the civil rights era, 2-she’s jamaican, and therefore doubly well aware of how negative/derogatory stereotypes are slapped onto groups].  we got around to discussing the shooting at fort hood, at which point she bursts out that we should just round up all them muslim and send them back to where they came from b/c they keep killing ppl and she’s tired of it. and–get this–she even directly references the japanese interment camps as a positive example for precedent!

so i flip out a little.  “no one else is going around killing ppl” she says. what about timothy mcveigh?, i respond.  jim jones?  david koresh? where exactly should we ship those guys? christian american abortion clinic bombers?  aren’t those terrorists too? and since when is any group of anything  any one thing?? and let’s say you’re right. let’s say thats a good idea. whats to stop the govt from saying black ppl should be rounded up and shipped back somewhere? “well muslims are a threat”. to who?  who’s to say which group will be in power at what time to say that any particular group is a “threat”.  what’s to stop them from doing the same “round em deal” to anyone else? to you? [a logical notion that anti-abortion, anti-gay rights/marriage ppl still havent caught on to yet, btw…] didnt america close borders off a few years ago to jamaican immigrants/refugees b/c they were a “threat” bringing in drugs to the country?  were they?  “but the muslims are a threat! going around killing ppl!” and ppl say that black ppl are all on drugs and criminals.  are we? are you? am i?

“but ur jewish”

um, wow. at this point id like to sidetrack a lil and say, um, ok, i realize i push the “jew” thing a lot, so maybe some of you out there have forgotten or something? but this isn’t a spray on tan im rocking. i was pretty sure it went without saying that im also black. very black. i drank tropical fantasy when i got out of school like everyone else, played the dozens, and ill get pulled over the same way any non-jewish black guy would for “fitting the profile”. during the holocaust, my family was a lil bit too busy getting lynched down south over here in america [and then for the next twenty years after that] so you’ll have to forgive us if we were a tad distracted during that whole deal.

coming back to the delicious gumbo of disbelief, anger, indignation, and the urge to jocslap a 54 yr old jamaican woman that was stewing within, it was literally at that moment that i realized–actually thought it at that very second–“so this is how the narvel universe works.”

because people are fucking STUPID.

also, apparently i need to work on a string of “hey lookit! lookit! im black” posts for the blog.

–MaNishtana

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the other black meat

“[cham] emerged from the ark black-skinned, and all his descendants are also black forever”—the midrash says, 1980

ahh, the good ol’ “hamitic myth”.  very multi-purpose, this one, capable of building bridges between jews and christians even, as not only was it the logic employed by “religious” european christians in the face of slavery as justification for barbaric acts of subjugation, it is also one of the pillars behind the subversive culture of racism and condescension that lurks within the bowels of Judaism

for the uninitiated, the “hamitic myth” or “curse of ham” is as follows:  while in the ark, Gd commands that every being within refrain from marital relations with their spouse.  all comply with this command with the exception of the dog, the raven, and ham.  the dog and raven receive punishments, but ham, according to the most prevalent interpretations, has his skin turned black, and so all his descendants are black-skinned forever.  and so that how negroes were born.  alternatively, when noah and family leave the ark, noah plants a vineyard, gets plastered, and passes out, naked.  ham happens to pass by and see naked passed out noah and commits acts [depending on the interpretation] ranging from doing up his dad, castrating his dad, or doing up his mom.  excellent. anyhoo, when noah wakes up and gets caught up to speed, he curses canaan, ham’s son, to forever be a slave to his brothers.  and that’s why it’s okay to make black ppl slaves.

are you guys all still with me? great.  now pay attention.  this is where things get complicated.

the problem with the hamitic myth, is that none of the sources attributed to it actually state it.  the myth is supported by ambiguous talmudic statements which were translated by later medieval european commentators [most notably rashi] who no doubt looked at these sources through the lens of their society and applied racism where it was not originally intended or implied. and let’s face it: medieval europe wasn’t exactly the most “yay, black people!” place in the world.

to recap, the myth claims that the children of ham are cursed with black skin and are destined to be slaves because of the sin in the ark and the abuse of noah. which is false. ham was cursed in his skin for having relations in the ark, and only canaan was cursed to be a slave to the other brothers. the children of ham weren’t cursed in their skin, and not all the children of ham were cursed to be slaves. now on to the sources.

one of the chief and earliest sources [if not the first] is sanhedrin 108b which states:

שלשה שמשו בתיבה וכולם לקו כלב ועורב וחם כלב נקשר עורב רק חם לקה בעורו

loosely translated, the line reads “three copulated in the ark and they were all punished: the dog, and the raven, and ham.  the dog [will be] tied [i.e., presumably as a pet], the raven spits [apparently this is part of the sex act for ravens], and ham was smitten in his skin.”

note there is no mention of skin color.  hence, this line could mean ham was stricken with any number of ailments in his skin.  my personal opinion on this is that the aforementioned “smiting” was tzaraat/leprosy based on:

1-leprosy seems to be Gd’s modus operandi for “smiting”-type punishment [see pharaoh (gen 12:17/arachin16a), moses (ex 4:6), miriam (num 12:10), gehazi (2 kings 5:27), uzziah (2 chron 26:19), et al]

2-leprosy is one of the punishments for sexual immorality (arachin 16a)

at any rate, based on this verse, there is no substantiation for the assumption that ham was turned black.  which is interesting, b/c the footnote for the quote i posted at the very beginning of this piece lists sanhedrin 108b as its source. wait.  what’s that you say?  well look at that.  apparently, the first hint of color is added to this 6th century source through an 11th century footnote by the famed author of the first comprehensive commentary on the talmud, the medieval french rabbi rashi.  rashi explains “smitten in his skin” to mean: “i.e., from him descended cush (the negro) who is black-skinned.”

hmm.  the plot thins.  also, not sure why cush is suddenly in the ham-canaan equation, but anyway on to bereshit raba 36.

ר הונא בשם ר יוסף אמר: אתה מנעת אותי מלעשות דבר שהוא באפלה לפיכך יהיה אותו האיש כעור ומפחם

ok, so noah says to ham that since ham [going according to the opinion that ham castrated noah] prevented noah from doing what is done in the dark [i.e., the wild thing], ham’s seed is cursed to be, according to popular translations, “dark”.  there’s a problem here though, since the word for dark is אפל not מפחם, and although i’ve seen several translations which render מפחם as “dark” or “dusky”, it actually means neither.  מפחם is actually related to פחם, which means “charcoal”.  meaning the line in bereshit raba should probably translate “your seed will be like charcoal”.  having skin like “charcoal” is very different from being “dark”, “dusky” or even “negro”.

on an additional note,  מפחם as used in the context of the above line does not even necessarily have to mean “dark like charcoal” as it shares the same root with שיתפחמו which means “deface” as in the example given later on in the same source:

אמר המלך גוזר אני שיתפחמו פניו

“the king declared: i decree that his effigy be defaced.”

The interpretation of מפחם relating to “deface” supports my leprosy hypothesis since leprosy can be seen as a form of “defacement” both physically and socially.

however, staying on the translation of “charcoal”, let’s jump forward to 18th century spain where me’am loez quotes the 6th century tanchuma as stating ham received five punishments, three of which are:

1-his eyes became red, 2-his lips became “thick and gross like those of a negro”, 3-the hair of his head and beard became kinky. [by the way, noticed yet how there’s no discernable link from ham’s curse of blackness to canaan’s curse of eternal slavery? or from canaan’s curse of eternal slavery rebounding back to all of ham’s children? or ham’s cursed skin being inherited by all his children? perhaps im just overlooking a source…]. anyhoo, we reach another snafu, since, again, the “source” doesn’t exactly state this:

וחם על שראה בעיניו ערות אביו נעשו עיניו אדומות, ועל שהגיד בפיו נעשו שפתותיו עקומות, ועל שחזר פניו נתחרך שער ראשו וזקנו, ועל שלא כסה הערוה הלך ערום ונמשכה לו ערלתו, לפי שכל מדותיו של הקב”ה מדה כנגד מדה

translation? ham’s eyes became red. his lips became twisted or crooked. his hair became singed. big difference between “thick and gross” and “crooked”, right?  between “kinky” and “singed”? combine this whole picture of a red-eyed man with singed hair, twisted lips and skin like charcoal and we get a figure resembling someone who’s been burned, no? perhaps divine-fire style ala nadav and avihu only not killed because he was necessary in the repopulation of the Earth? at any rate, i think its pretty safe to say some creative embellishment took place over the course of the centuries.

also, rebounding canaan’s curse of slavery to all of ham’s children, rendering מפחם as “dark” or “dusky”, and extending ham’s curse to all of his line offers the following problems:

1-if we go by the interpretation that all of ham’s offspring were cursed with dark-skin forever, thereby leading to the conclusion that all dark-skinned ppl are descended from ham, the problem is that elam, asshur, mesha, ophir and sepher are descended from noah’s son shem [who is also the progenitor of abraham and thus all jewry].  according to aryeh kaplan in “the living torah“, these nations are identified with medea[persia], assyria, mecca, india, and southern arabia, respectively. all of these peoples and places range from “dusky” to “dark-skinned.” so if dark-skinned people exist only because of the curse on ham and canaan, how did these nations end up with dark skin?

2-moses’ hand turns white. as white as snow, in fact. now if he was a fair-skinned person, then this means his skin turned an unnatural shade of white, which means by extension, ham and cannan’s skin turned an unnatural shade of black. or, if he were darker-skinned and thereby so shocked at the change of his hand color that it was compared to snow, then this means he was considerably dark-skinned, which again begs the question how, if all dark people were so colored because of ham’s curse?

3-canaan was cursed. this is why eliezer was sent to find a wife for isaac from abraham’s family instead of from the canaanites they lived among, b/c there can’t be a good union btw the blessed [isaac] and the cursed [a canaanite girl]. if the curse is extended to all of cham’s offspring, this is problematic, considering that moses marries tzippora, who is later identified as a cushite, thus descended from cush, one of ham’s offspring, and therefore cursed.

do ppl still question why jocs need a voice? or need to step it up in terms of observance and participation in judaism? why we need to establish our own? there’s a whole wealth of options and interpretations that arent even being humored, let alone considered, and judaism for the past thousand years or so has for better or for worse been looked at solely through a european lens. lets get the rest of the picture out there too, shall we?

–MaNishtana

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As Seen On TV!

so im in the editing room, editing some blog footage of mine with a friend. some white dude sees the text “manishtana” next to this black dude on screen [me]. you know the kind of white dude. the [secular, jewish] kind whose ears perk up when hebrew terms find themselves inappropriately leaving ethnic mouths, so they feel the need to investigate on behalf of the jewish people as compensation perhaps for being religiously lax in their own lives.

anyhoo, he asks what the footage is about since he sees me in it wearing–and i quote–“what is called a yarmulke in my world.” now im incognito at the time [“incognito” meaning i like fedoras, so i was wearing one and not particularly feeling like taking it off to prove i was jew-flagging], so i just play the rough cut of the vid, since a simple viewing of it would answers his questions.  of course, his moment of clarity was not exactly how i expected:

“ah, i see. the character is jewish.”

[headdesk]

couldnt have MADE that up.

oh, yes, MaNishtanaTV is coming ppl. b/c print is becoming increasingly inadequate to berate ppl via.

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Ha’azinu [deut 32:1-52]

urban parsha“.  it’s just like regular torah.  but ghetto.

and so moses began his song, which sounded suspiciously like its beat was sampled from “i’m on a boat”:

Send “Haazinu” Ringtones to Cell
Moses ft T-Pain
[Intro (T-Pain)]
(Shortayyyy) Aww yeah
Getcha ears ready it’s about to go down (shorty, yeah)
Miriam and Israel y’all had y’all chance (yeah)
But now its time for me to step up here
I’m runnin this, let’s go

[Chorus (T-Pain)]
I wrote a song (I wrote a song)
I wrote a song (I wrote a song)
Everyone listen to me cause I’m singin my new song (singin my new song)
I wrote a song (I wrote a song)
I wrote a song
Take a good hard listen to the motherf****n song (song, yeah)

[The Lonely Island (T-Pain)]
I wrote a song motherf***r take a listen here
Heaven, Earth, take a seat and gimme your ear
Like rain and dew I’m flowin and I can’t go wrong
You can’t stop me motherf***r cuz I wrote a song

G is perfect, y’all (y’all) G is faithful, trick (trick)
You all crooked like a wack-looking broken stick (stick)
He set them nations up, gave them they own land
But you special Israel, so he keep you in his hand

He found you in the desert, kept you fed and ish
Got you the manna, that fulfilled your e’ery wish
But listen up now, that’s as real as it gets
I wrote this song motherf***r, don’t you ever forget

Had y’all all regal, on his back like an eagle
But y’all wanted to bail and go and mingle
G’s the king of the world, but y’all went and kicked him
Running after new g’s like y’all aint picked him
{Shut the f**k up, this song is REAL!!!}

F**k swords, he’ll send plague, motherf***r (motherf***r)
F**k men, he’ll send beasts, motherf***r (motherf***r)
He’ll send nations unleashed, motherf***r (yeah)
Y’all wish y’all were deceased, motherf***r

Hey y’all, if you could see y’all now (see y’all now)
Arms spread wide praying to a cow (to a cow)
G’s the only g, to this I avow (I avow)
Anyone one next him, that is just impossible

[T-Pain]
Yeah, don’t worry y’all I’ll still have ya backs
When y’all captors get too hard with the smacks (yeah)
Believe and pray to me, oh (all hands up high)
They’ll never think they’d see the day
When the big G comin they way
Believe me when I say, I’ll blow them away

[Chorus]

[T-Pain]
Whoahhh
Sha-sha-shorty, shorty
Yeah yeah yeahhh

Send “Haazinu” Ringtones to Cell

[good lord i think i felt brain cells die writing that. and this is how some people speak?  for real?  cmon now, didnt what you just read seem even vaguely ridiculous?  well thats how you sound.  lets get it together black ppl.  acting black is acting black. acting ghetto is just acting stupid…

…as for “urban parsha“…hey, when something is really, truly, internally yours?  you can have a lot of fun with it.  shabbat shalom.]

–MaNishtana

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Gestapo Correctness

so i decided id start the week off with a bang.

when did intraracial relationships become a crime? [incidentally, according to dictionary and webster.com “intraracial” isn’t a word].  the reverse racism reaction to the explicit anti-miscegenation laws of the jim crow era seems to be the implicit “miscegenation mandate” of our generation.  apparently freedom of choice is never hard to abolish.

there’s the “dear abby”-like carolyn hax, who flat out declares a white girl who “prefers to date white guys” to be a racist. [check it out here]. um, huh? when did having personal preferences start translating into being racist?  following this logic, are all gay men misogynists because they prefer—in fact, only—date men?  are all lesbians now misandrists [thats someone who hates men, kids] because they refuse to date anything other than a woman?  when did the fairly benign “i like to date tall guys” attitude explode into full-blown klan-itis when the statement is “i like to date [insert own race here]”.

the once refreshing mist of political correctness seems to be curdling into an asphyxiating smog of reverse-intolerance.

however, i am curious as to how this girl relayed her preference information to her friends.  if it was “i don’t date black guys” then yes, carolyn hax was dead-on. chick’s a racist. but if it actually was “i prefer to date white guys” then no, she just has a preference. there’s a difference between “im for x” and “im against y”. the outcomes might be the same, but as my budding philosopher friend keeps drilling into my head, its all about intent.

for example.  if there was a bill being proposed that would ban abortion across the country, id vote against it. why? not because im particularly for abortion [i find its used far too frivolously nowadays. like it’s a birth control pill or something] but b/c im against any government having the power to tell someone what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. but in the end i end up voting against an abortion bill the same way as some chick who is deathly afraid of condoms, birth control, and plan b, but insists on using her hoop earrings as ankle holders every friday night.

see the difference? same deal with race and relationships.

just b/c “white guy a” doesn’t date indian women isn’t necessarily b/c he’s thinking “indian girls are [insert a ton of negative qualities here]”. it could just as easily be b/c he thinks “white girls are cool”. although dont get me wrong, the first option is still possible.  racism kicks in when a person has a list of abstract qualities desired in a partner which don’t inherently include a need for an ethnic or cultural homogeneousness, yet they turn away a potential partner from another race solely based on the other person’s race and not their own personal preference.

for example, ive found attractive and been attracted to pretty much everything under the sun, some more or less than others. [btw, there is a difference between “finding attractive” and “being attracted to”. “finding attractive” means you just want each other’s fun parts to meet each other.  “being attracted to” means you can see yourself in relationship with this person. in concurrence with frequent meeting of said fun parts.] however, i seek relationships with black women b/c of the familiarity, the desire to come home to someone who “gets” what im complaining about, to be with someone how intimately understands who prejudiced this country can be, etc, etc.  these are things i cant achieve [maybe partially, but not completely] with, say, a korean girl. so i don’t date korean girls.  not b/c korean girls are particularly horrible. [except for you, gae].

in the end, however, this creeping culture of not being allowed to [non-racistly, of course] state your preferences and what you want to go home to is dangerous, oppressive, and ironically strips away the very freedom of choice that interracial relationships are a symbol of.  neither inter nor intra-racial relationships are for everyone. and as for those ppl who are genuinely racist, i say leave them be.  why force them into an interracial relationship and inflict their unsuspecting partner to a prison term of racial fetishism and superficial “love“?

does that sound very fair?

–MaNishtana

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