Jewish is the New [insert nonexistent color here]

of all the aspects of african-american culture that black jews have at their disposal to integrate into judaism, why is it that the only one they seem to assimilate with little to no difficulty is the “uncle tom/aunt jemima/magical negro” paradigm?

you know what im talking about. those 30-40 year old grown black jewish men and women who run around with their teenaged white jewish “best friends”. the black jews who apparently come from some bizarro world where we roam the plains not unlike the wild buffaloes of yore, b/c when they see your black jewish @ss they look straight through you like you’re nothing special. or better yet, they try not to see you at all. even if youre the only two black people in the room. and everyone in their circle of all-white friends [who just adore their token ethnic acquisition] is pointing at you. then there are the ones who make painstakingly deliberate measures to seem as un-black as possible. [this includes but is not limited to shunning any and every form of music that black ppl have even looked at, let alone influenced, affecting a general ignorance of even the most publicly acknowledged of urban slang, playing the general yes-man  most especially and voraciously in cases critical of matters of or pertaining to african/caribbean peoples and/or their culture, the claiming of the most minute non-african portion of your dna as the determinant of your ethnicity, the declaration of “not seeing color/color doesn’t matter” in social or romantic situations which curiously only seems to apply when the person in question is not black, and professing a deep-seated hatred for “spicy” foods, affirmative action, fried chicken and red kool-aid]. then there’s the variant black jew. the one with “only one” syndrome.  this one shuns other black jews so he can tell his tale of woe and oppression alone.  apparently suffering isn’t very unique if there’s another guy with the same story. although i guess it is harder to be a martyr if you’re banding together with like-minded people with a common goal in mind. i mean, if change comes you might have to share the credit, G-d forbid…

a friend of mine once approached a black jew with skin as dark if not darker than my own shade of sexy milk-chocolate, and asked if he would be interested in partaking in a project showcasing jews of color. his response? [well, aside from saying “im not black. im a moor”?]

“ ill do it if you can tell me what a jew of color is.”

if i can–? motherf*cker, can you pass a paper bag test?  no? then congratulations. you’re a jew of color. and a field negro.

why my black jews?? why? why all the self-hate? do you think you’re not getting enough hate already as a black jew that you feel you need to double up? you do realize that being black and jewish is like being black with some more black added on, right? that if we happen to run across the klan they’re likely to lynch us twice?

now i realize that some of you get caught up at the conversion stage. ive heard more than twice about rabbis telling  black converts “you don’t have to worry about being black anymore b/c you’re jewish now”.

um, what?

more importantly, did you fill everyone else in? b/c im pretty sure when “black convert a” is walking down the street ppl aren’t thinking “my word, that jew has dark skin.” im reasonably sure they’re saying “why is that nigga dressed funny?”

 just sayin. if judaism had that magical power, im pretty sure michael jackson, bryant gumble, and larry elder would’ve just jumped in a mikveh and called it a day.

so please, my black jews, maybe you want to consider identifying with where you came from both jewishly and ethnically. yknow, maybe cut it down to only some ppl laughing at you. instead of everyone.

[incidentally, for those who think they are exempt from said public service announcement, feel free to replace “black” with “non-white ethnicity of choice”. if the shoe then fits, please proceed to kick yourself in the @ss and go find some damn self-respect.]

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Re’eh [deut 11:26-16:17]

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

and so G said: “imma tell y’all straight up right now: y’all  can do the damn thing and we be cool or y’all can drop ship and we got beef. when y’all get up in the club, it’s on with them next g haters. let em know we up in this ish. smoke them fools and they fake a$$ g’s. i run israel…don’t be tryna swith up my flow, ya heard me? my verses be tight already, i don’t need yall messing with my bars. now if some next cat comes along tryna kick knowledge that i aint never co-signed on, then that cat is tryna clown y’all cuz he don’t run with me. don’t let him gas you up with some walking across water ish…when you up in my crib, break me off with some of that paper, cuz y’all need a reminder that I run this ish. i get money. now y’all better come through and holler at me at me in club. you know how we get crunk on the trifecta.

[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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This Is The Aftermath

a conversation held over facebook with aliza hausman of http://www.alizahausman.net/ concerning “guess who’s coming to seder“. enjoy.

manishtana

that wasnt what i was saying at all. i was saying that those jocs that there are enough of to create a group, should, if only to create a form of judaism that can stand alongside “ashkenazi” or “sephardi” or “temani” etc, etc. once that is established, then sure everyone can do what they want b/c theyll have a ground of “this is what i, as an [insert ethnic] jew bring to the minhag table. at seudah shilishit i eat ackee and saltfish, b/c this is what the blending of my culture and my judaism  has created”… never did i say that interracial marriages are ALWAYS never for love, never did i say that interracial marriages are ALWAYS someone trying to wash away ethncity.

alizahausman

i am sephardi. and ashkenazi. so obviously i have issues with that.

manishtana

but i, for example, am really neither. i may follow one or the other, but im not from either one. what i am saying is that instead of becoming the [ethnic] ashkenazi or sephardi, temani, etc, is that a jewish culture should be created that more accurately reflects where one who isnt one of these comes from. my post isnt about not marrying who you want…

alizahausman

it’s about marrying for community. i think u should post this in ur response to mine.

manishtana

…its about saying THIS here is what i am and what i follow, and this is what im bringing. b/c i feel that is why jocs in america are more seen as exotic creatures. b/c what really is distinguishing joc ashkenazi and white ashkenazi? the skin. but if we have a flair and style that makes the judaism uniquely ours, it would be a different FLAVOR of judaism which might be of interest and less on the outside appearance.

alizahausman

im out of this conversation even as a convert. i am a sephardic jew. rice, beans.

manishtana

by “ashkenaz” i mean ANY of the recognized groups. its just shorter to keep saying ashkenaz.

alizahausman

so u want recognition as ur own group? why don’t u write more about that.

manishtana

and this isnt limited to the “european” groups, but also to groups like “beta israel”. sure, i’m also black, but im NOT ethiopian, so following beta israel would not solve the problem either.

alizahausman

“european groups”?

manishtana

ashkenaz, sephard as opposed to yemenite, temani, morrocan, bukhari.

alizahausman

sephardim not all european.

manishtana

the sfardim who arent european i have usually found to be not really “sfardi” but another group like morrocan or mizrahi who are called sfardi under the blanket that theyre “not ashkenaz”.

alizahausman

i disagree.

manishtana

well again thats been my experience…ive only run into sfardim from spain or france or mizrahis and temanis. but more broadly, my point was its not a “i just wanna follow something black” b/c again, beta israel are black, but im not ethiopian, so its the same problem.

alizahausman

we’re obviously on a different page.

manishtana

i dont think we are.

alizahausman

but i do believe in valuing the traditions we come from.

manishtana

THATS EXACTLY WHAT IM SAYING! thats ALL im saying, really.

alizahausman

but ur saying u can’t do that if u marry outside ur race.

manishtana

no. im saying that too many times ive seen ppl throw away where they came from to ingratiate themselves to another race…im saying that just b/c you HAVE married outside ur race DOESNT mean that you’ve thrown away where you came from…im saying you dont HAVE to throw away where you came from just b/c you’re jewish…and im saying whats wrong with building a community with ppl of like experiences and shared backgrounds the way every other branch/sect/ethnic group/whatever of judaism has. im saying just b/c we’re one doesnt mean we cant be different, and just b/c we’re different doesnt mean we can’t be one.

alizahausman

i think u might want to clarify that on your post b/c that’s not what came across.

manishtana

im not sure how not. all the pieces are there and im sure i reiterated that in several places.

alizahausman

“well most don’t even phase me. korean/puerto-rican? cool. indian/haitian? whatever. but when the equation is caucasian/non-caucasian?” doesnt go anywhere good after that.

manishtana

sure it does. “some of us, however, lack the ability to look beyond our knee-jerk race loyalty to realize that we don’t know random couple a. we don’t know their story. after all, i doubt when G-d is giving out soulmates He’s thinking “ok, lemme keep all my blacks over here, and my asians over here, and my whites over there.””

alizahausman

true that was good. i dunno what to say. i don’t think u have to defend ur thoughts to me certainly. “non-white jews need to build community–one where we are accepted, not merely tolerated–and “interracial” relationships are not conducive to that.” i disagree.

manishtana

most times ive experienced that there’s ethnic x and ethnic x spends their time talking about  how theyre discriminated against and a need for community…then ethnic x gets married to non-ethnic, and suddenly the drive disappears…then ethnic x 2 comes along the same deal happens…then ethnic x 3,4, etc…all the while a community couldve been building…but they just dissolve into the greater picture making tiny impacts if any, where they couldve made one large one.

alizahausman

“to end this, i’d prefer it if at last a generation was willing to make the sacrifice to stay amongst their own to build a foundation for future generations to build from.” what do u mean by “their own”?

manishtana

“their own” meaning whoever there is that shares their background. im not asking the one random korean to hold out for a korean jewish girl. but if there are 10-15 male and females of whatever ethnicity, something can start to build there.

alizahausman

don’t i sort of defy ur little box? doesn’t mixedjewgirl? obviously i am very connected to latino culture and jewish culture and the mixture of both and jews of color and community for jews of color.

manishtana

you are quite honestly welcome exceptions to the rules. but you only prove my point.

alizahausman

how?

manishtana

why are you and mixedjewgirl around? you decided to SACRIFICE of your time and resources to be voices. there are joc children now that have voices to look to. voices that were not around when i was a kid.

alizahausman

i know. and i am sorry for that.

manishtana

its nothing to be sorry for. its a fact. for growth and consolidation to happen, sacrifices must be made.

alizahausman

i think u were very honest in ur post. i am just worried about how it can be weaponized by some. i am worried about a world vision that made it sound like my kids could only marry other jewish-dominican kids. i mean, i do KNOW other jewish-dominican kids. Lol. and i am building a community of them. but if they marry someone jewish-mexican i’ll eat more mexican food.

manishtana

and THATS what im talking about. collect those kids. if they stay with dominicans, fine. but if not, youve created a dominican “home” for them to belong to.

alizahausman

haha. i got it. u can write at the bottom of your post “please REREAD before commenting.” btw, kudos on having such good comments. i get such jerks lately i forget there are thoughtful wonderful jewish people out there reading blogs.

manishtana

dont worry. im new. if i make it, the jerks will come. like field of nightmares.

–MaNishtana

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Guess Who’s Coming To Seder?

[warning: if “urban parsha” is the only exposure you’ve had to this blog, i suggest you read the other entries. these are my thoughts. this will not be over quickly. you will not enjoy this. i am not your king.]

interracial dating.

i don’t think there’s a topic im more internally divided on. its complex, really, and my thoughts are divided along a secular/jewish axis.

i don’t consider myself a particularly judgemental person and im usually known to give the benefit of the doubt in highly improbable situations. however, i am a product of my environment, that environment being two african-american parents who came of age during the civil rights era and were part of the “blaxploitation” generation who ran to see horrible movies [cmon now, blackula??] just b/c it was a chance to see black ppl onscreen who weren’t the help or comic relief. as such, they instilled in their children a subtle sense of “us v them”—a sense which proved necessary to survive the weekly gauntlet of knesset/shul—and a sense which has always left me less stunned at incidents of raial prejudice than my peers.  while most others of my generation have more or less bought into the “post-racial america” myth, i had weekly reminders of the ugliness that lurks just beneath the surface of society and so i was and am always on guard.  it seems sometimes as if ppl watch newsreels of civil rights marches and forget that there were little kids in those angry mobs holding “nigger go home” signs alongside their parents. those kids didn’t disappear when civil rights ended. theyre in their 40s-60s now. theyre your teachers, your professors, your bosses, the parents of your friends. [and sure, not all of your teachers, bosses, et al, but you get my point].

now how does this relate to my views on interracial relationships?

well most don’t even phase me. korean/puerto-rican? cool. indian/haitian? whatever. but when the equation is caucasian/non-caucasian? that’s when, as an african-american, im a lil bit uneasy. after all, the civil rights movement ended barely more than 40 yrs ago and post-apartheid south africa is less than 15 years old. it was only just a generation ago when that same ethnic person would’ve just been taken against their will anyway with little to no legal repercussions. so i guess maybe i harbor a lil anger/resentment. maybe a sense of “how dare you?” [although, as i am also a product of a male-dominated, occasionally misogynistic society, of course im more ok with white female/ethnic male couples than white male/ethnic female couples].

however, since i do consider myself a progressive, free-thinking individual who realizes that ppl are individuals and that dwelling in the past solves nothing, i treat white/non-white couples like any other couple. [indulgingly pats self on back]. in fact, to use the clichéd apologetic line, some of my best friends are in white/non-white relationships. lol. but seriously, i don’t let it color my interactions, but i cant deny that initial inner sigh i feel when i encounter one.

why?

well b/c society paints snagging a white partner as the ultimate sign of social success. whether we buy into it or not is a separate issue, but i think the reflex reaction to this is what causes that sigh in many of us.  “here’s another sellout” we think.  some of us, however, lack the ability to look beyond our knee-jerk race loyalty to realize that we don’t know random couple a.  we don’t know their story. after all, i doubt when G-d is giving out soulmates He’s thinking “ok, lemme keep all my blacks over here, and my asians over here, and my whites over there.” however, it can’t be ignored that some couples are born from less savory motives. like “marrying up”. like fulfilling an [insert ethnicity here] fetish. [remember kids, just b/c you scored a marriage doesn’t mean you’re free and clear out of racism forest]. or wanting kids with “good” hair and light skin. or just plain old self-hate. these are all attitudes which cause the breakdown of community and culture and they should be called out whenever present.

now wander over to the jewish community and things get tricky. b/c as jews, we’re supposed to—have a duty, in fact—to rise above the pettiness of social constructs such as “race”. a jew is a jew is a jew. there’s no such thing, really, as an “interracial” jewish couple. its not G-d’s fault that we’re extremely socially screwed up, but socially screwed up we are. centuries of the invisibilityof jews of color [invisibility, not absence] has created the presupposition that jew=white, an idea that jews themselves have largely bought into. so not only is there the standard of white= ive made it, but also the notion that to legitimize your judaism you have to in some way be connected to something white. “of course im jewish! see? my spouse is white!” “my kids are obviously jewish! they’re part white!”

a distressing trend i find amongst non-white jews is to “hide” behind the label of being “jewish”. as if they use “jewish” as a synonym for “not [insert ethnicity here]”. or, if they’ve converted, they use judaism as an excuse for shunning ethnic friends and family and for spending all their time exclusively amongst and fawning after caucasians. so yes, while “a jew is a jew is a jew” we cant ignore the fact that the world we live in doesn’t allow for that ideal existence.  non-white jews need to build community–one where we are accepted, not merely tolerated–and “interracial” relationships are not conducive to that.

now to those of you who just said “boo”, hear me out.  and to those of you who just said “yay”, hear me out.

mostly likely right now you’re either thinking im being separatist or racist or that im sticking with black ppl and sticking it to whitey. im actually doing neither. consider this: yes israel was one people, but it was a people made up of 12 distinct tribes. each tribe was given an inheritance of land, but for 40 yrs, the tribes were forbidden from intermarrying. why? to ensure that tribal inheritances stayed within the tribe and to solidify it as a cohesive group. after those inheritances were established, the ban was lifted [on the recently passed 15th of av, no less] and tribes were allowed to intermarry again. the various non-white jews are simply not ready to “intermarry” with their white counterparts.  what base are we moving from?  what traditions are we bringing with us to an “interracial” relationship? show me a non-white jewish community, with its rabbis and minhags and organizations and beit dins and rosh yeshivas and mikvahs, and then ill show you a community—a tribe—ready to “intermarry”.  whenever i propose this i keep hearing “oh, not everyone is gonna want to do that”. im sure not everyone wanted to stay within their own tribe in the desert either. but with an eye to the future, they did it. and in the long run a stronger people emerged from it. a chain is only as strong as it weakest link.

now for all my pro-black black jews, careful. b/c any kind of thinking that finds, measures or values its judaism based on skin isn’t torah. just b/c i’m not ecstatic about “interracial” marriage in judaism doesn’t mean i would shun an interracial wedding, doesn’t mean i would condescend on an interracial couple, doesn’t mean i wouldn’t let their kids play with my kids. because, again, that. isn’t. torah. to the rabbis out there who refuse to perform an “interracial” wedding: that. ISN’T. torah. what halacha is being broken?  what averah is being committed?

cmon now ppl, think. judaism is a religion which accepts converts. whether you think the first jews were all black or all white, do you really think that everyone who converted was the same color they were? somewhere in there there had to be *gasp* an “interracial” couple. to the “jews were white” ppl: tzippora was ehtiopian, wasn’t she?  to the “jews were black” ppl: onkelos was the roman emperor hadrian’s nephew wasn’t he? and again, do you really think G-d keeps his soulmates color-coded?

to end this, i’d prefer it if at last a generation was willing to make the sacrifice to stay amongst their own to build a foundation for future generations to build from. for those that don’t, hey look, you only have each other and Hashem to answer to, really, so just live your lives. but to those who are really just trying to wash away their ethnic with judaism, or to use it to finally get that white guy/girl: we see you, you’re fairly obvious, and you don’t hide it nearly as well as you might think.

and to the rest of judaism: if this conversation is any indication, we’re sadly a looong way from mashiach. if you don’t think so, just wait about 30 years when some of this “interracial” controversy has died down. and the wrong white jewish guy and the wrong black jewish gal fall in love. and marry. and have a kid. and then the chagim roll around.

and a half-black kohen gets up to give the priestly blessing.

[this blog should be read in conjunction with the next blog “this is the aftermath”.]

–MaNishtana

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Que?

sonia sotomayor this past week became the first hispanic supreme court justice of the us.

yes. that what i said.

sonia sotomayor is the first hispanic supreme court justice. not benjamin cardozo. because, my jews, im really tired of the thunder stealing.

 

hispanic: of or relating to the language, people, or culture of spain or spanish speaking latin america. so speaks webster’s dictionary.

“the term ‘hispanic‘ refers to persons who trace their origin or descent to mexico, puerto rico, cuba, central and south america, and other spanish cultures.” such is the definition from the office of management and budget which is used by the us census.

benjamin cardozo? family from portugal. hard to be hispanic when you speak…portuguese.

so, i repeat, sonia sotomayor is the first hispanic supreme court justice.  b/c she speaks spanish. but rest assured that it will never be disputed that benjamin cardozo is the first hisportuguese supreme court justice.

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Ekev [deut 7:12-11:25]

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

and so moses said, “don’t be sleeping on none of what G told y’all, not even the small stuff.  obey it and he got your back just like he did out here in the desert for 40 years.  y’all never needed new kicks and the threads were mad fresh, right?  aight then.  when you get to the crib in israel don’t act like you brolic and you running ish like he ain’t put you on.  don’t be effing ish up like y’all did that time when i dipped to get the ten commandments and i came back and ya’ll were popping bottles with your iced-out calf.  G was mad tight with y’all about that.  i had to mash-up the tablets real quick and beg G not to bust shots.  he got mad love for the levites though.  they his boys and that’s why they don’t need to hustle for land.  now y’all peeped how the ish went down with pharaoh and his crew and how G was like “hold this” to dathan and abiram.  stay running with G and y’all can stay sipping patron on ice and milk and honey and all that ish. but let them next god dudes spit game at you, and y’all gots to bounce.  tell your kids to respect the bible game and post up his words on your crib and things’ll stay popping, he’ll make it rain for y’all, and none of them other wankstas will have a swagger like y’alls.”

[good lord i think i felt brain cells die writing that.  seriously this is getting harder to do.  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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Urban Parsha-Vaetchanan [deut 3:23-7:11]

and so welcome to our first edition of “urban parsha“.  its just like regular torah.  but ghetto.

so this week moses is all like “my bad G. i effed up. i know.  but can you please let me in the crib?”  and Gd’s like “yo moses.  you know you my dude right?  but you is going in with this israel thing, dawg.  i got like 515 voicemails from you. that ish is not cute, na mean?”  so then moses is like “but yo, how i had joseph’s back and he gets to roll up in the crib, but im getting played?”  and Gd is all “nigga plz, i know you not tryna blow up spots. cuz joseph let egypt know he was flagging straight up.  he was like ‘nah, bird-head god.  i phunks with the hebrews.’  thats whassup.”  and moses is like “aight, true dat. respect.”  then Gd’s like “look moses.  real talk?  if i let the jews come through with you to the crib, then when they start acting the fool, imma have to smoke em all, cuz i cant just tell em to bounce cuz you my dude, na mean?  look ill let you peep the crib from nebo, but tell your boy joshua to roll up with the jews later, aight?”

in other events, there was a recap of the ten commandments: “now look, i know some of yall dont know how to listen, so imma say it again.  1-i am the OG, the big G, the only G.  2-dont come this way with nonsense talking bout “imma roll with this next dude right here”. yall roll with me, ride or die. dont test me, cuz my pimp hand is strong. buhlee dat.  3-keep my name out ya mouth when you talking reckless.  4-dont roll on shabbosshomer shabbos!  5-dont be talking out your mouth to pops or ma dukes.  you seen that white boy slap his moms on dr phil?  smdh.  6-no killing.  you not that gully and i already got a dude for that.  7-be down with opp if you want. just dont be surprised that “stop, drop, and roll” doesnt work in hell.  8-dont gimme that “it was a five-finger discount” ish.  9- and also dont gimme that “what had happened was…” ish either.  i seent you, nigga.  10-dont be thinking bout how youd having some next dudes shorty open.  if she wanted a one-minute man id have given her to you from the jumpoff.”

finally, we are left with this note: “now in life, you will run up on some shady @zz cats who think they ish is sweet.  dont worry bout them. i got them.  the cal is on them, aight?  peace out.”

[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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The Ninth of Life

it’s the Ninth of Av again, and as i type this, i find myself lamenting [among other things] the death of the chatroom.  because right about now, i want to talk to some other JOCs.  get their thoughts on today.  because i can’t help but wonder: “do we really need to spend this day contemplating the destruction of the Temple?  having our every thought today occupied with absorbing the severity and gravity of the galut?”

the obvious answer is “yes”.

but i can’t help but note that after 24 hrs of saying kinot and echah, spending the day in woe, and mourning a Temple destroyed due to “baseless hatred”, at about 9:00 tomorrow, the majority of judaism [at least here in america], will go around the corner to their Kosher Delight, or Estihana, or Garden of Eat-In, or Jerusalem Pizza, or kosher Dunkin Donuts or Subway, talk to their neighbors/friends/family about the highs and lows of their fast experience, go to sleep, and the next day it’ll be back to business planning weddings, making shidduchs, going to knesset/shul meetings, tending their family business that thrives in their bustling community, not really giving a second thought [until the ninth rolls around again next year] to the exile that, yeah, they’re aware of, but doesn’t really affect their day-to-day lives.  it’s more of a background white noise, really.

but for typical JOC judaism?  when the fast ends they’ll be checking voicemails from friends [and in some cases, family] who wonder why they didn’t come hang out last night [or for these past three weeks, for that matter].  they’ll probably order a large amount of food they’re not going to eat but have to order anyway since the nearest kosher place is second-star-to-the-right-and-straight-on-till-morning away and the minimum delivery order is $20 [if you’re lucky].  or they might just cobble something together from the local Met or Key Food.  they’ll say hello to that neighbor who looks at them weirdly every Shabbat when they’re dressed and heading to knesset/shul [it doesn’t matter whether the neighbor is jewish or not.  or even frum or not].  they might even, like myself, find themselves continuing on with their lives in brooklyn, living [literally and ironically] on the border between “black” [flatbush] and “jewish” [midwood].

unfortunately for JOCS, the galut isn’t as easily ignored.  it’s less “the Ninth of Av” and more like “tuesday.”

the reasons for which are apparent [magnified even] even on this of all days.

a quick read through kinot will reveal at least two dirges dedicated to the Holocaust.  i’m sorry.  i meant dedicated specifically to those who perished in “churban europe” [i.e., poland, germany, lithuania, et al].  however, as i recall [and by “recall” i mean “discovered after copious amounts of research”] in 1935, mussolini [an ally of hitler, you’ll remember] invaded and occupied ethiopia until 1941.  in that time he ordered/oversaw the massacre of 700,000 ethiopian jews who somehow get left out of holocaust history.  and so only “churban europe” happened.

“one may not study torah on the Ninth b/c the study of torah brings joy.”

yes. please, stop me from experiencing the joys of reading the rashi’s racially slanted interpretation of cham in bereshit.  or the backpedaling explanation of how tzippora wasn’t really black or ethiopian, but how “her good deeds were as obvious as an ethiopian’s black skin” in shemot. wtf?

every JOC who reads these and interpretations like these has reason to lament even more deeply than the rest of judaism on the Ninth.  because we acutely know that these trains of thoughts are unapologetically being perpetuated.  because we truly understand how far away Mashiach really is because of them.  how much the “baseless hatred” that destroyed the beit hamikdash hasn’t significantly budged an inch in over 2,000 years.  just imagine if the final redemption kept getting delayed just one second for every odd look a JOC was given on entering a knesset/shul or a judaica store or a kosher supermarket.  or while speaking hebrew.  for every “gut shabbos”  sneezed at a JOC while they’ve been briskly walked past [not to mention the straight up ignored “shabbat shaloms” offered].  for every fingertip handshake given.  every denied “overlooked” or “forgotten” aliyah opportunity in shul.  just putting it out there but does no one else sometimes feel empty or fraudulent saying “l’shana haba’ah birushalayim” on rosh hashana or at seder?  or the rest of the time, you really painfully mean it?  do we really need to drown ourselves in all this today?  it’ll just be the same thing all over again tomorrow.

why do i say all of this?  well i’m a screenwriter who had the ingenious idea of culminating essentially everything i and other JOCS have ever experienced into a screenplay.  it was a grueling and disheartening experience, and it took that stopping and evaluation and culmination for me to truly absorb what a mess us JOCs really are and how f*cked up the world is around us.  no community.  barely tolerated, let alone accepted.  in some cases barely jewish.  in other cases barely ethnic.  it is truly overwhelming and a feeling and reality that permeates JOC lives far beyond the Ninth.

for some reason, this year i can’t bring myself to spend the whole day contemplating what happened 2,000 years past when there is so much festering reality to ponder in the present.  i’m not even sure what my point in this blog is really.  but i guess it’s safe to say that Mixedjewgirl, Jewminicana, and Y-Love have a new neighbor.

–MaNishtana

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