Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rabbi School Dropout

Wanna Be A Rabbi?, Part ב:  Are we beginning to sense a theme here?  Don't worry - Abq Jew will, eventually, go back to his usual announcements of upcoming Abq Jewish events, his commentaries, and his other contributions to Jewish life in Albuquerque and beyond.  But first, here is a message from Pizmon.

What - you don't know Pizmon?  From their website:
Pizmon is the co-ed Jewish a cappella group from Columbia, Barnard, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. We sing a variety of different genres, including liturgical pieces, Israeli rock and pop, English parodies, Yiddish classics, and children's songs. We primarily perform off-campus, teaching and sharing our music with Jewish communities around the world. To find out more about what we do and who we are check out our press package. To inquire about our availability or purchase CDs, please check out the rest of the website.
Why, you ask, are Jewish a capella groups popular?  Because they can perform on Shabbos without the ... awkwardness of violating (according to many) the prohibition of playing a musical instrument thereupon.  Note: Technically, the prohibitions are against a) carrying the instrument (the same reason we don't blow shofar on Rosh HaShanah when it falls on Shabbos); and b) tuning the instrument. 

So then, you ask, why can't we simply a) pre-position the musical instrument (or shofar) at the performance venue (or synagogue) before Shabbos; and b) pre-tune said musical instrument (or refrain from doing so during the performance)?  These are excellent questions.

Moving right along, here is a video that shows you what Pizmon can do.  Note: This is not the song that Abq Jew wishes to concentrate on - but it is a great song.

Now, here is the song that Abq Jew wishes to concentrate on.  It, too, is a great song. It's from Pizmon's third album, Greensleeves, and is set to the tune of Beauty School Dropout, from the musical Grease.  Pizmon is now up to their ninth album, some of which are available at
Rabbi School Dropout
Words: Natie Fox - Pizmon dropout
Music: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey
Your story's sad to tell, a Yiddish ne'er do well
Most farblundgent Jewish soul on the block
Your future's so unclear now, what's left of your career now
Can't even get a trade-in on your Tanach

Rabbi School Dropout, your proof of smicha won't be sent
Rabbi School Dropout, missed your behina, flunked cholent
Well, at least you could have taken time to learn Torah and Jewish roots
After spending all that dough buying nice clothes to look farputzed

Hey Yid get moving, to yourself don't be a tease
What are you proving, you've got the seichel but no kishkes
If you go for your smicha you're just being a nincompoop
Turn in your Talmud Bavli, go back to law school

Rabbi School Dropout, no ordination day for you
Rabbi School Dropout, when they said "Moses" you said "Who?"
Well, they couldn't teach you anything you think that you're so glorious
No one would ask of you a shaila unless he was an apikoros

Chabibi don't sweat it, you're not cut out to play this tune
Better forget it, who wants a shiur from a shmagoon?
Now, you love your Bubbe, you love your Zeyde, but still the world is cruel
Wipe off that holy face and go back to law school

Hey you don't blow it, please take the good advice I've sent
Baby you know it, even though you're so farklempt
I've told you what to do, so listen you, I've really got to fly
Gotta be going to that Beis Midrash in the sky
Abq Jew wishes he could point you to an uploaded MP3 of Rabbi School Dropout - but he is not sure that he can legally do that, even though other Pizmon songs are available on YouTube.  Abq Jew affirms that artists are entitled to the fruits of their labors.  So buy the album - you'll love it!

A couple more points about Wanna Be A Rabbi?:
  • Let it be noted that Abq Jew's fateful JTS Talmud encounter with Rabbi Saul Lieberman, of blessed memory, was one of the Rabbinical School entrance requirements, which Abq Jew had never completed.  Since Abq Jew was never formally admitted, he cannot be a Rabbi School Dropout.
  • Let it also be noted that Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, Director of the Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program of JFSNM, has correctly pointed out that Abq Jew overgeneralizes.  Rabbi Min states:
    In the Rabbinical School I attended, Academy for Jewish Religion, California, rabbinical leadership, pastoral care, creating meaningful ritual and developing a deep personal spiritual connection are very much a part of the curriculum.
  • And thus, let it also also be noted that Abq Jew stands (actually, sits) corrected; but that AJRCA's is one of but a few rabbinical programs that are thus enlightened.
And one more thing:  Menachem Creditor, now Rabbi Menachem Creditor, was a 1995-1996 member of Pizmon, and sang tenor on this Pizmon album.

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