The Hellfire Club

kiddish clubs.what better time to discuss them than shabbat shuva. because theyre a problem.

i mean, yeah, its totally fab that you guys like each other so much that you need to go get a drink together on shabbat. in the middle of davening. [yes, the haftorah counts. if it didnt, we wouldnt do it, now would we?]. so congrats on having the kind of friendships that bards will speak of long after man has forgotten how to love. but see, the thing is that knesset/shul isnt a lodge or a social club. we’re kinda there to daven. and by “kinda“, i mean “completely“.

i mean, look,

1-aside the fact that youre ruining your own kavanna by going out to drink, youre also pissing the crap out of everyone else who isnt going b/c they dont approve and ruining their kavanna too.good job. jerks.

2-as the shulchan aruch and other sources state, one cannot eat–sorry–it is forbidden to eat before having kiddush. additionally, one may not even drink water after shacharit before reciting kiddush. and i doubt any of you guys are saying kiddush when youre knocking back your jack walker. [no thats not a typo.  ive known him long enough to call him jack. ive earned it].and i said “kiddush” not “borei pri hagafen“. that means im tashiv, vshamru, and zachor. the whole shebang.

3-so how stoked do you think Hashem is when you guys pour out of the room, completely ignore the haftorah, and come back full of alcohol? oh, its just one drink, you say? could you pass a breathalyzer? no? oh, then im sure its totally ok that even though you couldnt legally drive a car in your state, youre perfectly capable of, yknow, proceeding TO TALK TO GD. just saying.

but y’know what, never mind. im sure im overreacting and being oversensitive. after all, the first kiddish club went so well. remember that one? with those guys…what were their names…oh yeah!

nadav and avihu.

gmar chatima tova

–MaNishtana

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Madam I’m Adam

seeing as how there’s no parsha read this week and thus no “urban parsha” i figured i’d put up something resembling an actual an actual dvar torah…are you breathing again yet?…alright then.  it’s up a lil bit early b/c if you or ur family are anything like mine, you’ll be far too busy running around like chickens with no heads to read this on friday.  anyhoo.

im a writer and as such i feel disposed to the world of subtext, connotations, implications, and especially wordplay.  judaism is no stranger to any of these, with its wide and varied use of gematrias, anagrams, and shoreshes/roots.  i find it odd, however, that i cant recall any such drasha employing any of these towards the upcoming period [or at least, not in the way that i am about to].  so here for your humble approval, i submit my observations.

this coming rosh hashana marks not only the beginning of the new year, but also of the aseret yimei teshuva/ten days of repentance, the abbreviation of which being  עשי”ת . removing the quotations marks we are left with עשית, a perfect conjugation of the verb , לעשות—to do—into singular male or female past tense, and a hint as to what it is we are contemplating these ten days: the things that “you” [we] “have done”.

and what is it that we have done?

one of the most commonly used words for “sin” is חטא , which forms the root for the verb להחטיא—to miss.  that is what we are meant to ponder during these days: how our deeds have “missed”, or caused us to “miss”, the proper “mark” of torah and mitzvot. [interestingly enough the word for “mark” or “target” is מטרה, oddly similar to  מטר—rain, something which the torah is compared to several times in tanach.]

so then how is it that we might remedy our past deeds, our sins?  the answer starts with rosh hashana. the word שנה—year—is the root for the verb  לשנות—to change. it isn’t enough merely think about what it is we’ve done, we must take action and change it.  the ten days, with their underlying root of עשה, is the time to actively undertake or “do” these changes to our deeds, our thoughts, our personalities.

if we are successful, we see the culmination on yom kippur. the root of “kippur”— כפר —is also present in the words for “frost”— כפור —and in the words in parshat noach 6:14 describe the act of covering—כפרת —  and the material to cover with— כפר .  our success in changing our formerly less than pristine ways should result in us being protected or “covered” from the harsh judgment that our former deeds may well deserve, with our newfound cleanliness and purity that is as white as “frost” .

shana tova.

–MaNishtana

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5769 Pickup

hey kids, the month of elul is here!  it’s time to talk about how the “king is in the field” and how now is a great time to offer supplications and better our act and come closer to Hashem and…what?  whats that look for?….ohhh, i get it. what am i talking about, right? i mean, elul is supposed to be the beginning of the 40 day period of cleansing and purification that culminates with yom kippur, but its waaay too late to tell ppl about those 40 days now.

 it’s also too late to tell ppl to prepare for the last shabbat of the old year which has the power to rectify all past shabbats.

heck, it’s even too late to tell ppl about slichot week. i mean, two days have passed already.

so really, whats the point about choosing now to talk about elul with rosh hashana less than a week away? elul is pretty much done.

and thats my point.

that it isnt too late. that it never is. the teshuva bus is still at the bus stop and accepting passengers. and hey, you may not get the seat you wanted, but you can still get on until rosh hashana comes around. [and besides, it’ll be stuck at the light for another ten days after that, so if you’re lucky you still might be able to get on].

its not important that you use all the days of elul, but that you make the most of the days of elul that you do use. after all, do you really think 29 days of elul in lackluster acknowledgment trumps two or three elul days of actual genuine introspection? not really.

so forget that you’ve missed more than half the month, dont wallow and drown in all the horrible things you might’ve done during the year and definitely dont think you’ve been so far gone this past year that whats the point. its not rosh hashana yet, and more importantly, you’re not dead yet.

so lets go.

and on a note for everyone else who’s been on the elul ball and may be feeling a little bit cocky as they look at the late-comers and stragglers, think about this: chazal say that in elul, Hashem is close to us as if a king were walking through his field and easily accessible to the peasants [or to use a modern analogy, the ceo is wandering the cubicles, accesible to all his employees].  if our prayers and supplications are that much closer during this time, how much moreso noticeable are the transgressions we might’ve committed during this time?

perhaps we all might be needing to play catch up in these last few days.

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Nitzavim-Vayelech [deut 29:9-31:30]

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

and G said “my word is my bond. i had abraham, isaac, and jacob’s backs cuz we was boys. and now im sayin the same thing to y’all. you roll with me and i got you. but you run with some next g dudes, and we got problems. now y’all heard how imma go in on y’all if y’all try to punk me. but if y’all wanna bounce back and get ya mind right, i’m feeling that. y’all just gotta respect the game and do the damn thing. im not tryna make this hard for y’all, so don’t be on that ‘its too far for us. we need a dollar cab and ish’ tip. cuz, real talk? everything i told y’all is right up on you. y’all don’t gotta look for it.”

and moses said to joshua “im like a hunnit twenny, man. you takin over. you gonna be the one bringing the jew crew through, na mean? so when you roll out, put ya game face on and be about it. you do that and G got ya back. now get over here and hold this blessing real quick.”

and moses said  to israel “i need y’all to spit this piece right here like every seven years, aight?  and e’erybody gotta come through, cuz y’all need to check yourselves sometimes and be reminded how G does.  in fact, hold up.  lemme break y’all off with this freestyle one time.”

[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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We Hold These Truths To Be Pretty Obvious…

so i’m in an inspired mood.  empowered, even.  which is usually a bad thing. lol. no, no, im kidding. i thought id write in this inspired mode b/c i dont exactly relish writing out of frustration or exasperation all the time. so i decided to randomly compose a bill of rights of sorts for jews of color. dont get me wrong im not the first to have this kind of idea and there already are a couple of “privelege checklists” floating around out there.  but those lists to me seem to focus a lil bit too much on what others have or what we dont have or what we have to fight for to change. which can be a lil daunting and/or disheartening [though no less real or true]. so ive put together a lil something that focuses on what we can do, right now. by no means is it a mandate for everyone to agree with, but im sure there’s a lil something for everyone here. [incidentally, i was aiming for 13 to sorta crib off rambam’s articles of faith, but i ended up with only ten. think that means something? lol. also, feel free to shoot me in the face if i use “lil” or “something” one more damn time.]

the joc bill of rights

1-i have the right to be jewish without having to feel apologetic about being ethnic and as such being seen as “inauthentic“. this includes not having to feel guilty about taking pride in my ethnic background, referring to/quoting its influential figures, or pursuing/acknowledging issues important to it and achievements in it.

2-i have the right to be ethnic without having to feel apologetic about being jewish and as such being seen as a “sellout“. this includes not having to feel guilty about taking pride in my jewish heritage–whether acquired or inherited–referring to/quoting talmudic sages or current rabbis, or pursuing/acknowledging issues important to it and achievements in it.

3-i have a right to my anger if i am mistreated in a jewish setting or encounter without having to endure the caterwauling of ppl telling me to “be positive” or “not complain” or “to be a positive example“. i also have the right to speak out against unjust treatment without the threat of the shadow of “lashon hara” being cast upon me.

4-i have the right to answer your insipid questions concerning my judaism–especially when i am wearing the universal symbols of judaism–with as much or as little snark as i so desire, should i choose to answer your question at all. consider this: if you ask me if/how i’m jewish and im a convert, your questions are harrassing me and reminding me of where i came from–both torah no-nos.  if you ask me if/how i’m jewish and im a born jew, then you’re calling me and my family lineage into question, thereby insulting me–also a torah no-no. so either decide which strike you want against you, or you can logically infer a conclusion from context clues.  your choice.

5-i have the right to refuse to allow people half my age to treat me as if we’re equals just because i remind them of the ethnic housekeeper they live with and order around. i have the right to demand the respect my age commands.

6-i have the right to discuss/criticize the state of israel without the accusations or insinuations that my ethnic background is the reason for any disharmonious views i might hold on the jewish state.

7-i have the right to not be impressed with cowardly non-jewish minorities who are too afraid to say anything to “massa“, but feel that since i am ethnic, they are free to hurl their prejudices at me and attack me with vehement, bigoted sentiments they wouldnt dare say to my white counterparts.

8-i have the right to believe that it is not my responsibility to guide you onto the road of humanity.  if i have informed you that the words or actions you have displayed are offensive, it is not my duty to find you an alternative.  it is your duty to ensure that the actions you take and the words you speak are not offensive. just because ive reprimanded you does not obligate me to hold your hand until you’ve discovered how to treat others with the same respect you are afforded.

9-i have the right to pursue a relationship with someone who shares my background and culture without having to weather charges that i am hoping against hope for the “impossible“, being “unrealistic“, “limiting” myself, or being “racist“. if jews dont like hearing this from non-jews when it comes to partner-seeking, what makes it ok for jews to say it to other jews?

10-i have the right, should i choose to pursue a relationship with a jew outside of my “race“, to be offered a selection of partners of the same quality and caliber as if i were any other member of that race.  i have the right to refuse to be offered the aged, eccentrics, or outcasts.  i have the right to not allow myself to settle for a partner of a lesser quality or caliber than i would accept from my own race.

and there we have it. phone operators are standing by now. lol.

–MaNishtana

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Melacha Day Parade

sure this is a lil bit late, but i have a suggestion id like to make.

i would suggest that [rampant near-nakedness, general drunkenness, and occasional homicide aside] every jew, and especially every jew of color, should see the west indian day parade at least once. [and if you’re a jew who saw it pre-conversion, see it again post-jew]. i used to live in crown heights and remember listening to the music as each float passed by.  occasionally id get an extended glimpse of the parade before being shooed away from the window by my parents b/c of the slackness [500 pt caribbean slang bonus!] happening outside. but when i was a grown up, i was dragged practically kicking and screaming over to the parkway one year [“kicking and screaming” not b/c i was particularly trying to avoid the slackness [1000 pt double word score!], but b/c im not a big fan of people. can you tell?].

anyhoo, im glad i went.  because as im watching float after float go by with its different music and people dressed in their island’s flag and eating their different foods and flowing with their island’s pride and having a good time i couldn’t help but think “is this how it used to be back in the day when ppl brought bikkurim?  or would head up to yerushalayim for the shalosh regalim waving their tribe’s banner?” and channeling that present energy into vicarious enjoyment of the past was a really, really, really, good feeling. and there’s something i think we can all learn from the labor day parade.

for example, at the parade every float comes and reps its country with its own distinctive music, food, etc. and revels in it and celebrates it. but can we imagine if there was a jewish labor day parade? we’d have the ashkenazi float [with all its chabadnik, litvisher, yechi, na-nach, etc sections] and its gefilte fish, the sephardi float and its rice and beans, the temani float and its full beged-kefet, and the joc float that…well, is just pretty much the same thing we just saw in every other float, just differently ethnic. because as it stands, there’s nothing about us that would warrant its own float beyond skin.  and that’s part of why [part of why] we are looked at skin first: b/c that’s the only difference, really.  i mean, ashki/sefard and ashki/temani are also divided along a similar white v brown or less white axis.  but what comes to mind as the difference? no kitniyot v rice & beans for pesach.  tav/sav v gefen/jefen. if we’re to be looked at beyond color, then what we bring to the table needs to evolve beyond color.

as ive posted before, b/c jocs have a tendency to either join whats already around or wash away their ethnicity, instead of using their ethnicity to define and shape their observance and practices.  and whenever i propose that jocs should allow their backgrounds to influence their judaism, to create a minhag just the same way that europeans and north africans and middle easterners allowed theirs to create “ashkenaz” “sephard” “temani” etc, not only is there resistance from [some] jocs who for some reason cant comprehend the concept of having somewhere/thing that is your own, there are also opponents among those who have the luxury of actually having a homebase to operate from. their reasoning is “why cause more divisions?” [somehow oblivious to the fact that of course they don’t see the need for someone else to create what they themselves already have].

but do we really think that if, say, tobago broke off from trinidad and established itself as a separate culture that the rest of the west indies would be up in arms? that they’d try to stop them?  or do we think they’d just accept the new independent tobago and afford it the same respect in the parade as the rest of the islands. i mean they let puerto rico march, and they already have their own separate parade.  hell, guyana isn’t even invited and they still get to march. [give it up with the west-indian thing, guys. we all know you’re part of south america].

while some say it and mean it in its intended unifying sense, most of judaism seems to cling to the “a jew is a jew is a jew” mantra as a means to extinguish and discourage cultural individuality rather than to emphasize the beauty that despite being different with a disparate number of customs, we all follow the same torah as equals.  cmon now ppl, we haven’t learned yet to talk to the rock  instead of hitting it?

and then of course there’s the lesson of unity.  sure, every other day the rest of the year things may devolve into “this island” v “that island” confrontations or hostilities. or bad mouthing over who has better men or women.  but no matter what their differences are, they are all able to come together this one day every single year, leave everything else at the door, and say “we are all west indian, and let’s celebrate that. even you guyana. even though you’re really not.

now maybe this is just my experience, but ive rarely run into jews who are able to suspend whatever weekday prejudices they have for shabbat or chagim and say “we are all jews, and let’s celebrate this day together as jews.” i mean, some ppl are able to squeeze some of that out for rosh hashana and yom kippur, but lets be real, you’re just afraid youre gonna die so you’re trying to rack up some last minute points. come say hi to me and shake my hand when the spectre of death isn’t sitting on your living room couch drinking tea.

but anyways.

when i look at the labor day parade, im looking into a window into the past of what we were and into the future of what we can be again.  im not seeing that dude painted black with horns glued to his forehead surrounded by cantily sclad gyrating women, im seeing the ox with its gold covered horns carrying bikkurim surrounded by a procession of farmers and musicians bringing them to the bet hamikdash.  im not seeing the drunk dudes falling over themselves drinking guinness, im seeing a couple of guys who got caught up in the moment and feeling of simchat torah in yerushalayim and got a lil bit too carried away. im not seeing that girl convinced she can wear that too small flag as a dress…ok, so i am seeing that girl, but im also seeing the, um, y’know, the—okay so im just seeing the girl. 

but c’mon, she’s hot.

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Ki Tavo [deut 26:1-29:8]

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

when y’all post up in the land, come holler at me. bring some grub by the crib.  some of them fruits and ish.  but the fresh stuff.  and imma need y’all to break the levite crew, that convert dude, the orphan and the widow off with some paper from time to time.  when y’all come through jordanville, i need y’all to get in the studio off gerizim and ebal and hook up some beats. i want sim-simma, l-veezy, ju da man, lil izzy, jo-jo, and bennie man to lay the bless tracks, and rubizzle, mr g, dr a, zeb’loon, d.a.n., and naphtallyman to spit the curse verses, aight? now im not sayin all this ish for my health.  i need y’all to do the damn thing. repsect the game and we got no beef.  i’ll make it rain for y’all. but if y’all wanna get reckless later and get yourselves all gassed up like you got things poppin, imma lace y’all up, buhlee dat. cuz im not feeling that ish. you know who i be? i can get plague and locust to roll deep on y’all.  call up some next dudes to bumrush y’all too. i will make ish hot up in this piece. have y’all running when no one’s busting shots. i’ll make sure that no one’ll wanna roll with y’all. have your shorty running off and have y’all cats eating each other and ish. that’s how i do. do y’all really wanna test this? y’all forgot how i rolled up on pharoah? or took out them og and sichon bustas? aight then.

[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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1984. Sorry, 5784.

so last night was fun. i always enjoy meeting with fellow jocs, especially when they’re ppl ive been speaking to online for a while and i get a chance to meet them in person. im even more overjoyed when they translate well from the interweb into real life and we share common interests beyond skin and/or religion. the “aftermeeting” went well too and eventually turned into an “after-aftermeeting” [lol @ “aftermeeting” & “after-aftermeeting“. can anyone tell we’re ethnic yet? anyone? anyone? ] during which the topic turned to the atmosphere of fear that has been inculcated into converts in light of the slew of recent revocation of conversions by israeli rabbis. this angers me and upsets me that converts feel that they are being forced into a box, to act a certain way or not act a certain way out of fear that at any given second *poof* they’re not jewish anymore. im not even sure how such a thing is even possible or can ever be rabbinically sanctioned.

the decision and process to convert is essentially an oath the convert takes upon his/her soul and is between them and G-d. how is it possible for a third, unrelated in any way party, to nullify that oath? parsha matot elaborates on how taking a shavua/oath is likewise binding upon someone’s soul and that only in certain cases can he be relieved of said oath by a bet din. now if someone who willingly wants to annul his oaths can only be freed from certain ones by a bet din that he specifically asked to free him, how can someone’s oath be annulled against his own wishes by in most cases a rabbi he has never had any interaction with?

in a glowing example of how the parsha always relates to events of the week, ki tavo begins with a description of bringing bikkurim/first fruits to the bet hamikdash:

“1 and it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the L-rd thy G-d giveth thee for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein; 2 that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shalt bring in from thy land that the L-rd thy G-d giveth thee; and thou shalt put it in a basket and shalt go unto the place which the L-rd thy G-d shall choose to cause his name to dwell there. 3 and thou shalt come unto the priest (kohen) that SHALL BE IN THOSE DAYS, and say unto him: ‘i profess this day unto the L-rd thy G-d, that i am come unto the land which the L-rd swore unto our fathers to give us.’”

commenting upon these verses, rabbi zalman sorotzkin pays close attention to the wording of the last verse and elaborates [emphasis mine]:

 “all you have is the kohen (priest) who lives in your own days (sifre). during the process of bringing first fruits, a great deal of honor is lavished on the kohen. the bearer of the first fruits tells him, “i declare today to Hashem your G-d,” and asks him permission before thanking G-d for the holy land and its fruits. in light of this, one might think that this could only refer to elazar or pinchas, who were famous for their piety and truly deserved such an honor.

yet this is not the case, and so the torah added the words “whomever will be the kohen in those days” and chazal explain that one only has the kohen who lives in his own time. if we feel that the kohanim are not what they used to be, we should remember that neither we nor the rest of the nation are what previous generations were! the level of the kohen suits the level of the people as a whole.”

now if this applies to those who are supposedly the highest/holiest clan born and bred by our ppl, how much more so is it for those who are attracted to join our ppl? david’s generation had the bloodthirsty gibeonites to whom seven men of shaul’s line had to be assassinated to slake their thirst for revenge. moshe’s generation had the perpertually malcontent erev rav, architects behind the sin jews are still atoning for to this very day—the golden calf. are we suggesting that today’s converts reach anywhere near the same levels of depravity or dissonance? that they are more dangerous than converts who still retained their jewish status despite their horrendous deeds? is our generation of such a high level—higher than both moshe and david, no less—that we cannot tolerate the behavior of converts to the point that we feel compelled to revoke their judaic status? really? in a world where a thriving porn industry exists in the state of israel? really??

just like asking the kohen’s permission does not only apply to someone like elazar or pinchas, the commandments of “not harassing a convert” and to “treat a convert like any other jew” do not apply only to converts who meet our “approval” like rut or, yknow, avraham and sarah. it applies to all converts.

and no one has the right to revoke it.

–MaNishtana

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Urban Parsha Ki Tetze [deut 21:20-25:19]

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

when you roll up on some next dudes, lemme just put you on that they got some fly a$$  dimepieces. like on the wifey tip. now if y’all wanna bring one of them shorties back to the crib, they gots to respect the jew game too.  she gotta drop the weave from a hot minute and getting her nails did and get her mind right. if y’all can put up with all that ish and her looking type busted, then do you. if you got two baby mamas and one of them stay stressing you, dont be punking her lil man. if dude is firstborn, he firstborn, aight? now if your lil mans turn 13 and starts straight up violating like he a big man and ish, acting mad reckless on the corner drinking 40s and tricking with them hoes, and he clown you like you ain’t ish, then take him in front of popo and dead his a$$. dont be leaving no bodies posted up after dark, tho. that ish is disrespectful. them ammonite and moabite bustas aint about nothin. they tried to play y’all. show the edomites love, tho, cuz they fam, and the egyptains get respect cuz they housed you. but make sure y’all smoke them amalekite fools, cuz they aint got no home training.

–MaNishtana

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Brought To You By The Letter “S”

hey kids!

it’s time for another open letter! yaaay! yaaay!

gather around now, we’re gonna talk about the “s-word”.  y’know,  “schvartze”.  or  “schwartze”. or “schvatza”.  or “nigger”.  whoop! i meant “shwartzer”. [because it’s a completely different word, y’know.]

theres a quiz on facebook—the “jewish vocabulary quiz”—which includes this wholesome gem of a question: “your father comments on all the “schvatzes” that have moved into the area. he is reffrring [sic] to: 1-conservatives, 2- mexicans, 3- non jews,  4-african americans.”  it got me fairly boiled-up until i happened across an article by rabbi yitzchok adlerstein [“on racism, its costs and its causes”-12/10/08] in which he discusses the “s-word”.  among the comments on the article were the following:

*i disagree with rabbi adlerstein’s tendentious assessments of the terms “goy” and “shvartzeh”. his assertion that such terminology is pejorative is incorrect. these words are totally neutral. (“goy” and “goyim” are biblical terms which mean either “gentile” or “gentile nations” or “nation.” the noun/adjective “shvartzeh” means either black or black african american in yiddish. there is no other word available in yiddish to express that idea.)*

*perhaps the clergyman is confusing these innocuous terms with the notorious “n” word in english, which should definitely not be used by civilized people. his objections to the aforementioned hebrew and yiddish vocabulary have, on the other hand, no validity.  such comments fall under the category of inappropriate political correctness—and i would urge that we eschew such folly.*

*surprise! i know exactly what the clergyman stated; nevertheless, he is mistaken. the erroneous contention is that the words in question have a proper etymology but their current usage is improper. gentlemen, this is precisely the argument which i contest as an accomplished linguist. please pay attention. educated people use these words correctly without any pejorative connotations. my point is that their proper usage should be encouraged. it is myopic to advocate the elimination of these appropriate vocabulary words. (that is censorship which you ought to deplore.) we need more education without “politically correct” euphemisms. by the same token, i hereby argue: we must continue to use the term “goy” and we must continue to use the term “shvartzeh” correctly as these words are and should be understood in their pristine neutral sense. (it should also be emphasized that these terms are used properly by intellectual speakers of yiddish and hebrew. therefore, learn from the intellectuals in this particular context.)*

*rabbi adlerstein is wrong about the hebrew and yiddish words he cites. those vocabulary words (shvartzeh and goy) are appropriate and neutral. modern cynics have to become more tolerant and accept the fact that enlightened and educated people use those words properly.*

after reading these comments i, on behalf of all black ppl everywhere [b/c apparently im the default ambassador for every black person on the face of the planet in all other cases anyway], us black ppl would like to say: we give up. you’re right.

see, we had no idea that all us  jews live in countries ruled by philosopher kings and that only intellectuals live there and hold dialogue and that, apparently, words in this magical kingdom are immune to the ravages of things like “context” and “intent”. and that despite the neutral original meaning of words, apparently they are incapable of taking on insulting connotations.  we now realize that when those of us [un]lucky enough to have gone to yeshiva were called “schvartze” instead of our given names, what was really meant was “hello you person i am neutrally and non-perjoratively addressing right now”. wow. that’s egg on our face, right?

also, to that linguistics guy up there, we also apologize for not knowing that slang and code-switching doesn’t exist in your happy magical country either. [for those who don’t know, “code-switching” is when someone speaks primarily in one language, but occasionally sprinkles in words from a different language for certain things. like when ppl speak in spanglish.] and as we all know, whenever someone uses slang or code-switching to describe someone of a different gender/sexual orientation/religion/race than themselves, its always in a neutral and non-perjorative manner. like maricon. or bitches. or gaijin. or kushi. or kike. or falasha.or mick. or guinea…hmm…i guess none of those examples are proving my point. oh well. but you get what im saying.

in fact, we propose a campaign to issue a general and blanket dismissal of all silly sensibilities based on implications and usage. as such, i will start wearing a swastika to knesset/synagogue.

what?

i mean, surely civilized ppl can tell you that the swastika is nothing more than a neutral symbol which symbolizes good luck, wealth and good fortune. just b/c it happened to be used by the nazis in wwii doesn’t take away from what its meaning actually is, right? hell, i’ll prolly even name my kid adolf hitler. why not? “adolf” is a good strong name. means “noble wolf” and everything. and “hitler”? “one who lives in a hut”. c’mon, nothing’s more neutral than a guy who lives in a hut.

…actually, yeah. now that i think about it, that is pretty f*cking stupid logic.

–MaNishtana

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