Category Archives: Jewish humor

Personalized License plates

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I saw this license plate on the jeep in front of me this morning on the way to work.  I recognized the Yiddish phrase “Vilda Chaya” meaning literally a wild beast.  That’s what my Dad would call anyone that cut in front of him at a buffet.   I guess that explains why she drove 70 mph on the shoulder and pulled in to a Dunkin’ Donuts.  Anyone else spot any  funny plates?

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Incorporating Social Media into the Synagogue experience

Here’s a letter I submitted to our Temple’s newsletter:

I recently read an article in Reform Judaism Magazine celebrating our ever-evolving faith.  Reform Judaism recognizes that our sacred heritage has evolved and adapted over the centuries and continues to do so.  The full and equal participation of women in our services is a powerful example of this.  Today, the tremendous rise of Social media has empowered people to seek freedom as demonstrated this past spring across the Arab world.  How can we, as Reform Jews, in Somerset County, NJ incorporate the power and value of social media to elevate our own Temple Beth-El experience?

 For one, we will obviously have to relax our “no cell-phone” policy and instead encourage the use of smart phones albeit in silent mode during our services.  Let’s allow our congregants to check-in on location based services like FourSquare when attending a TBE service.  There would be rewards (social currency) to promote this activity.  For example, the tenth person to check-in would receive a Minyan (the required amount of people to hold a service) badge, checking in at least once a week for an extended period would allow one to earn a Fromer-Yid (very religious) badge. If your entire family is in attendance, each would receive the gantza mishpucha (entire family) badge. 

 Let’s also utilize Twitter to inform congregants as to what goodies are being served at this week’s Oneg (after service snacks).  Let’s concede that some people (not me or you of course) base their attendance on whether or not chocolate rugalach or halvah will be adorning the tables in the social hall after the service.  Once one person reads a tweet that bagels and lox will be served at the Kiddish, the word will quickly spread (might I say schmear) to the entire local Jewish community raising service attendance and leading to an increase in Temple membership.

 Personal empowerment is a big driver of Social media.  Let’s allow our congregation to choose the closing hymn just like we vote for winners on American Idol.  Text BethEl1 for Adon Olam, BethEl2 for Hatikvah, or BethEl3 for Ein Keloheinu.   Of course we can’t open up the entire service to the wisdom of crowds.  Imagine if we were to allow people to vote for which Shofar sound would be bellowed from the bema?  There could possibly be 8 Tekiah Gedolahs and not a single Teruah.  Even the most talented Shofar blower wouldn’t be able to catch his/her breath. (The tekiah Gedolah is a set of notes played on a ram’s horn that can last upwards of 2 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJMv1XMIf_Q

Let’s fully embrace the power of Twitter.  Every time we tweet during a service or Temple function, we would include the hash-tag,  #TBE.  This would allow us to post Twitter results limited to those of our congregation on monitors installed in the aisles.  This activity would limit the amount of talking during the service and since all tweets would be posted and dissuade frivolous comments like “Look what she’s wearing to Temple – it’s a shanda! (embarrassment)”, or “Didn’t the Rabbi give the same sermon last year?”  However, it would encourage people to post relevant commentary and questions about this week’s Torah portion or a gentle request to lower the air conditioner.  For example this tweet could be responded to by others in order to avoid an embarrassing situation:

 “I have a really bad stiff neck – can I say my own name for the Misheberach (prayer of healing)?”

 Maybe we’re not ready to adopt all these ideas, but why not at least LIKE our TBE Facebook page and extend your TBE experience online?

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Happy Hanukkah – from Put It In Your Act!

   During one holiday season, I found myself at a local hardware superstore with my son.  Eric was three at the time and he was sitting in the shopping cart as I walked up and down the aisles looking for a replacement toilet seat.  Eric was starting to use the “potty” and we wanted to get a child’s seat, so he wouldn’t fall in.  As soon as he laid his eyes on the Garfield toilet seat, he was mesmerized.    He asked if we could get it.  It was about ten dollars more expensive than a regular child’s seat.  I tried to talk him out of it, but to no avail.  I then said that since we hadn’t bought him all of his eight Hanukkah gifts yet, if he really wanted the special Garfield seat, it would be his eighth gift.  He eagerly agreed. 

   As we were proceeding to the checkout area, a nice little old lady approached us.  She smiled at Eric and asked him if he was a good boy and what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.  As I began to wonder how to respond, he simply stated, “We celebrate Hanukkah.” 

   The lady quickly smiled at Eric and said, “Well I’m sure you are a good boy and your parents will get you some great gifts for Hanukkah.” 

   He then proudly showed the lady the toilet seat and said, “This is my favorite Hanukkah present from my parents!”  The lady walked away.  She probably then recognized me as the guy who tried to pocket the dollar bill at midnight mass years ago.

“An excerpt from Put It In Your Act! – Chapter 13 – The Dreaded Holiday Dilemma”

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Some of my favorite quotes from Put It In Your Act!

Describing my friend Dave…

Dave would also on occasion, take a Pep-O-Mint Life Saver, swallow it whole with a glass of water (aspirin style) and then exclaim, “Ah, that’s refreshing.”   Besides that, I guess he was pretty normal.

On the idea of writing a book called, “Urine for An Adventure”…

He reminded me of the time I was going to write a book entitled, “What to Expect When You’re Expectorating;” a handy self help book.  I disbanded that effort thinking that since a severe flu season was predicted, I’d be just yet another author following on the coattails of popular releases like “The Idiot’s Guide to Coughing” and “Sputum for Dummies.”

On trying to rid my yard of a gopher…

It quickly became apparent that the entire bush was on fire.  It was embarrassing when another neighbor who was a member of the volunteer fire department drove over and helped extinguish the fire. 

On trying to lose some girls at a Jewish Singles breakfast

The women were getting somewhat suspicious, when we all ordered 12 ounce glasses of prune juice and gulped them down as if they were shots of tequila screaming l’chaim in unison.

On giving my young son a haircut….

As soon as I turned on all the equipment, he began to cry and flail his arms wildly.  I held him down with one hand and began to Flowbee his tiny head with the other.  It was like I was shearing a small sheep. 

On following the Jewish custom of selecting a baby name after a relative that has passed away…

Like a bad game of Scrabble, we just didn’t have good letters to work with. We would simply choose a relative whose name began with the first letter of the name we liked and kill him.

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