Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Happy Purim

JT Eiruv - CopyIf anyone has a sense of mischief how about this? Hire a horse drawn funeral hearse with flowers spelling out E I R U V and a large banner wishing our dear rabbi Happy Purim and have it ride up and down the Hill and the Common all of Sunday.

After all even Mordechai of the Purim story defied him to ride a horse.

Disjointed Union

Many of you have probably seen this but here it is anyway for those who haven’t.

I won’t have time to do anything humorous for Purim but who needs humour when the head of the poultry division chickens out of a public meeting?


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Prepare to meet thy machers

image[6] - Copy

If you live in Golders Green where you are wont to honour the ethos of the Union in its breach you will have ‘another opportunity’ to meet your masters. If however you are unfortunate enough to live in Stamford Hill please stay there and do not even dream of gatecrashing as by the size of your beard and length of your jacket shall ye be known and many have of late been expelled. Unless you are one of the panellists in which case it appears you are not welcome unless you are from Stamford Hill as it is only we who know what's right and wrong for you. Your role in Yiddishkeit is to turn up, pay up and shut up while we ‘are you moitse’ in the more pesky areas. Perhaps shutting up should be qualified since questions may be put a couple of light years ahead of the meeting or 'via the chairman' so as to ensure what not to address.

It is not for this blog which generally limits itself to the holy square mile to comment on a meeting to which we weren’t invited even first time round. It is your and not our day of reckoning that is nigh and don’t look to us to bail you out. Besides, we as a rule are less supine and reverential than you genteel folk as we choose to be observant in practice and not by proxy via our hallowed rabbinical members of the Halpern Group of Companies. 'Hechover' Joe might thus find himself answering some Enfield foxes rather than via the chairman.

Nonetheless, it is we who have made our Dear Leaders available to you for an evening to milk you dry, ban the rivals, make you lay the golden egg and finally bury you with gemutlichkeit, and it is only right that we should let you benefit from our experience in handling them. Moreover, since 'the Public' means only the male folk, and since the date for submission of questions passed almost simultaneously with the appearance of the notice - they are sharp, you must give them that - and since email is not the medium of communication for loyal member who obey their rabbis, and since some may find 'via the chairman' rather Putinesque, we will as a public service make our comments section available for you to ventilate your concerns.

Below are some examples to get you going:

Why if we GGers are so important to your organisation is the entire panel from Stamford Hill? Ever heard of No taxation without representation or, to you Joe, is that not a Toiredike value?

Will you be banning Ecksteins meat if they defect to Schneebalg?

Can Joe please clarify who owns Enfield and what its vast turnover (chevre put you in, foxes take you out) is funnelled into?

Do feel free to add questions of your own but please, as Basil Fawlty would no doubt advise, don't mention the eiruv.

(Thanks to sender of notice)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Maid in Heaven

Kolel Polin - Copy

Courtesy of Hirshel Tzig

To the Hebraically challenged: the above is a greeting in a charity brochure. Since charity receptions and the occasional dinner are the best we have for going out in the evening, for men that is, the charity brochure is the equivalent of the society pages in Tatler. Not unfortunately who’s going out with whom as it happens so quickly round here that you’ve barely kissed the mezuze to go out and it’s time to come back in for the l’chaim announcing the engagement.

Besides being the only distraction from drawn-out speeches by speakers internationally renown from their lectern-thumping histrionics, the brochure is also an indicator of who’s going places. ‘He? Last year he had a silver page and this year a diamond! Not bad. What’s he into?’ And ‘Where’s he, didn’t he have a platinum last year? Nebech, men hot im baganvet. I hear his wife’s started a playgroup.’

It is customary in such instances for pages to be donated for the elevation of dead souls. Or rather the souls of dead bodies since we’re generally dualists in matters of body and soul. So if while you’re alive they’ll smite your body to benefit your soul, when you’re dead they’ll feed on others for the same purpose. As Bob Dylan might not have said, ‘they’ll stone you when your trying to earn some bread/they’ll stone you when you’re try’na be so dead. Everybody must get fleeced’ Besides, you cannot really write ‘In Loving Memory’ as we don’t do love plus it’ll make you sound like a United Synagogue member. What next, gravestones in English?

For similar reasons while your wife can join you at the bottom of the page as ‘Joe Blogsovitch and his missus’, first names are verboten. Females round here generally get first names for 3 reasons: for use in supplications when their child is ill (or if they’ve committed a misdemeanour, when they’re older), for matrimony and for when they’re dead. Other than that they might as well be numbered since you don’t really need a first name to cook supper or give birth even a dozen times.

The page above is from just such a brochure taken out by one of the great and good of the community whose wife is a scion of an even greater and better family, especially if these things are calculated by bank balances. The souls being elevated are of a man and woman both whose names are given in full. But instead of the greeting, or whatever you call such elevations, ending with ‘X and his companion’, ‘companion’ or ‘pair’ being acceptable Hebrew metaphors for one’s better half, some copy writer with a sense of mischief substituted  ‘companion’ with ‘and his maid’.

‘Not nice’ I hear you say and it is indeed despicable considering his status and esteem. One doesn’t as a rule announce one’s maid in a charity brochure. But on the other hand it’s still preferable to spelling out her name in full since that could have aroused lascivious thoughts in readers even while being excoriated in sermons for just such thoughts. As the Talmud tells us, ‘Where there is a desecration of God’s Name, honour is not afforded even to the great.’

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Publish and be lauded

Guys, I feel like a diva at La Scala on the final curtain call. I bow before you all, tilt my head slightly back and thrust it forward propelling my hair, sorry my sheitel, into the air and over my face so that my head looks like a willow in the storm of applause. What should I tell you? I’m overwhelmed. Hits have shot up as if my site overdosed on Viagra, with a hechsher of course, (I now know what they mean by stats porn, you know that feeling a rebbe gets at a sell-out tish), laudatory emails have been raining in from the chareidi blogosphere kings of yesteryear and the Hill is alive with the sound of comments. In the middle of it all stand I shaking like receiving my first Oscar and feeling, like the real winner, as if my career has peaked. Of my Warholian 15 minutes I can only say may they last for 120.

But as my father always told me, 'don't let these things get to your head'. And as we were taught at the age of 9 in the ethical primer The Paths of the Righteous in the chapter titled The Gate of Humility you must take credit for very little and confidence building is only kosher if it comes from a heimishe speaker who has devoured all of Carnegie but quotes only the Talmud and R' Avigdor Miller. So perhaps it's time to shut up about myself and get on with the issues at hand.

Rereading the Telegraph article several things struck me. Apparently there is help and support for Gays and Lesbians in the community. This is from the 'rabbi's' mouth and he does not lie. Is this advice under the auspices of the Union? Is it supported by the local rabbonim? Does it have a hotline where confidence is guaranteed? 'Rabbi': for once we want to hear what you have to say so please fill us in. Otherwise we may have to resort to the communal forum in the letters page of the News Update.

Still with the 'rabbi', he mentioned that 100% of parents opt out of sex education. I have spoken to several parents and they tell me they opted for it just like they opted to attend the tzniusfest. Actually with that there was a great deal of effort to cajole parents to come along and enjoy an evening of stories of miracles of girls whose lives were saved by their thick blouse and 80 denier tights. But with sex education since it's never been on the menu how do we opt? Perhaps he opts for us just like he talks for us. Anyway, since our motto has always been 'No Sex Please, We're Chareidish' by opting in you'd lose that 24-carat definition of Chareidi which got you in in the first place and so you’d have opted out. A bit of a Catch 22 with a Talmudical twist. A Bateman cartoon of 'The parent who opted in' should be one to treasure though.

Then there is Buffoon Yitzchok’s alter ego about all of us being happy. I am; are you? You're not? Aha, you're not following the path of the Torah. A few years in 're-education' should sort you out. I particularly liked the finishing flourish about us being 'survivors' in reply to the question of difficulties with housing, employment and all the other tribulations that Satan lets loose on the happy bunch.

Survivors. What a classic. Hint at the juicy bits of Jewish history like Egyptian bondage, Hellenist subsumation, Roman imperialism, the crusaders, inquisition, blood libels, pogroms and the rest and then draw a subtle equation to housing benefit cuts and unemployment. Listen guys, we’re as innocent now as we were innocent then. We survived Pharaoh and Antiochus and we'll survive Cameron and Osborne. Unless I have misread it which is of course always possible .

And finally there are the leaks. I’m not referring to the carbon monoxide variety which has an entire classroom and teacher doze off. For that we praise the Lord and keep shtum; ‘parents can sometimes be such a nuisance’. I mean the more serious leaks which some people actually want publicised. A nice little earner on the side as they say but what can I do if people send them to me? I suppose it is the price of fame that you must publish and be damned. Or as a wise rabbi could have put it, you'll be more damned if you don't.