Thursday, October 29, 2020

Revisiting Achnai & His Oven

The Law Is Not In Heaven: Earlier this week, Rabbi Jack Shlachter - yes, The Physics Rabbi Himself - taught a very interesting HaMakom class (via Zoom, of course) on the topic of

Voting and The Jewish Question

Well ... the actual blurb was 

Vote Early and Vote Often:
What do the Jewish texts tell us about the importance of voting?

There are some passages in our vast, multi-millennial Jewish text
tradition that speak explicitly about voting, and there are
other sources that address the topic indirectly.

Does Judaism say that it's a mitzvah to vote?
We'll explore some of these texts to see
how attitudes have evolved.

Achnai & His Oven

One of the texts in particular caught Abq Jew's ear. Yes, it was the famous story of The Oven of Achnai, and how the Rabbis of the Talmud determined what the law actually said. Good old Baba Metzia 59b, which Abq Jew blogged about (see Achnai & His Oven) in April 2012.

Back then, it was Rabbi Paul Citrin who taught a class at Albuquerque OASIS Institute called Life in 3D: Diversity, Debate, Dissent. Which brought out Rabbi Citrin's unique way of blending Jewish texts into the broader world of universal ideas. 

Amazingly (well ... not really) a lot of it still pertains - especially the part about the breakdown in civil political dialogue and the polarity of cultural values. The OASIS syllabus stated:

The breakdown in civil political dialogue and the polarity of cultural values are hallmarks of contemporary life in the United States. Ideological divisions fray the fabric of the nation. 

Is there any hope for creating a more rational, respectful, and productive public exchange? 

Some answers may lie in Jewish texts - from the Talmud to modern writings. Studying selections from these texts, we will examine how competing truths may co-exist in balance.

To examine one possible answer, Rabbi Citrin brought (that's Yeshivish for "cited") the classic Rabbinic ... discussion ... of The Oven of Achnai from the Talmud (Baba Metzia 59b).  Here is the Talmudic text:
דף נט,ב גמרא  וזה הוא תנור של עכנאי מאי עכנאי אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שהקיפו דברים כעכנא זו וטמאוהו תנא באותו היום השיב רבי אליעזר כל תשובות שבעולם ולא קיבלו הימנו אמר להם אם הלכה כמותי חרוב זה יוכיח נעקר חרוב ממקומו מאה אמה ואמרי לה ארבע מאות אמה אמרו לו אין מביאין ראיה מן החרוב חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי אמת המים יוכיחו חזרו אמת המים לאחוריהם אמרו לו אין מביאין ראיה מאמת המים חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי כותלי בית המדרש יוכיחו הטו כותלי בית המדרש ליפול גער בהם רבי יהושע אמר להם אם תלמידי חכמים מנצחים זה את זה בהלכה אתם מה טיבכם לא נפלו מפני כבודו של רבי יהושע ולא זקפו מפני כבודו של ר"א ועדיין מטין ועומדין חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי מן השמים יוכיחו יצאתה בת קול ואמרה מה לכם אצל ר"א שהלכה כמותו בכ"מ עמד רבי יהושע על רגליו ואמר לא בשמים היא מאי (דברים ל) לא בשמים היא אמר רבי ירמיה שכבר נתנה תורה מהר סיני אין אנו משגיחין בבת קול שכבר כתבת בהר סיני בתורה (שמות כג) אחרי רבים להטות אשכחיה רבי נתן לאליהו א"ל מאי עביד קוב"ה בההיא שעתא א"ל קא חייך ואמר נצחוני בני נצחוני בני
Here is the main topic of the Rabbinic ... discussion:

If a man made an oven out of separate coils
[of clay, placing one upon another],
then put sand between each of the coils  — such an oven,
R. Eliezer declared, is not susceptible to defilement,
while the sages declared it susceptible.

What is wonderful about this sugya (Talmudic passage) is that we don't care about the technical merits of the case.  What we care about is how the case was decided:
It is taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but the Sages did not accept any of them. Finally he said to them: "If the Halakhah (religious law) is in accordance with me, let this carob tree prove it!" Sure enough the carob tree immediately uprooted itself and moved one hundred cubits, and some say 400 cubits, from its place. "No proof can be brought from a carob tree," they retorted.
And again he said to them "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the channel of water prove it!" Sure enough, the channel of water flowed backward. "No proof can be brought from a channel of water," they rejoined.

Again he urged, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the walls of the house of study prove it!" Sure enough, the walls tilted as if to fall. But R. Joshua, rebuked the walls, saying, "When disciples of the wise are engaged in a halakhic dispute, what right have you to interfere?" Hence in deference to R. Joshua they did not fall and in deference to R. Eliezer they did not resume their upright position; they are still standing aslant.

Again R. Eliezer then said to the Sages, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let it be proved from heaven." Sure enough, a divine voice cried out, "Why do you dispute with R. Eliezer, with whom the Halakhah always agrees?" 

R. Joshua stood up and protested: "The Torah is not in heaven!" (Deut. 30:12).
Here is the clincher (aka the prooftext):
We pay no attention to a divine voice because long ago at Mount Sinai You wrote in your Torah at Mount Sinai, `After the majority must one incline'. (Ex. 23:2)"
And how did The Holy One, Blessed Be He, react to this Rabbinic process? 
R. Nathan met [the prophet] Elijah and asked him, "What did the Holy One do at that moment?" Elijah: "He laughed [with joy], saying, 'My children have defeated Me, My children have defeated Me.'" 
For more years than he cares to count, Abq Jew has accepted the Exodus prooftext at face value.  After all, the Rabbis in the Talmud surely knew the Biblical text.  And the Rabbis who compiled the Talmud surely knew the Biblical text.  Didn't they?  

Moreover, we've had at least 1500 years to check the quote's accuracy - and Abq Jew (not that he is in any way an authority) has never heard a complaint.  And in the story - G-d Himself accepts the prooftext!

Nevertheless - after using his own Abq Jewish Online Learning page to capture the Hebrew text of our sugya, Abq Jew went Googling.  And he found a fascinating article in the online Fortean Times, a monthly magazine of "news, reviews and research on strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities, prodigies and portents."

Abq Jew will leave it to you, his readers, to judge the worthiness of this interesting resource.  But  the article did ask (and answer) one question that Abq Jew had never asked:  What does Exodus 23:2 actually say?

Here is the answer:
לֹא-תִהְיֶה אַחֲרֵי-רַבִּים, לְרָעֹת; וְלֹא-תַעֲנֶה עַל-רִב, לִנְטֹת אַחֲרֵי רַבִּים--לְהַטֹּת
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou bear witness in a cause to turn aside after a multitude to pervert justice; 
Wait a minute!  The Biblical text says "Thou shalt not follow a multitude" - and Rabbi Joshua and the others purposely misquote that Biblical text to prove their point.  A shanda!  How has this violation of truth gone unnoticed (or at least unreported) these past centuries?

And here we have the difference between Rabbanites, who interpret the Biblical text according to principles they themselves established, and Karaites, who read the Biblical text literally and do not interpret.   
Abq Jew Note: Although there are still Karaite Jewish communities in the world - the Middle Ages were their heyday -  most modern Judaism is Rabbinic, and most modern Jews are Rabbanites.
Therefore:  While the Rabbis flagrantly misquote the verse from Exodus - Abq Jew claims that we should think of them, rather, as jumping to the exegesis as they interpret the Biblical text, as Rashi points out:
And since it says: “You shall not follow the majority for evil,” I deduce that you shall follow them [the majority] for good. From here they [the Rabbis] deduced that in capital cases, we decide through [a majority of] one for an acquittal and through [a majority of] two for a conviction.
Abq Jew believes that, far from being a shanda, The Oven of Achnai is a glorious example of Rabbinic legal activism at work.
The Rabbis courageously distinguished between morality and law.  By pursuing Justice, Justice, the Rabbis then reunited the letter of the Law with the spirit of the Law - to their eternal credit and with our eternal gratitude.

But wait

The story of The Oven of Achnai doesn't end there. Here, from BimBam (see A Farewell to BimBam), is the whole story.

BimBam's Eliana Light and Stu Sufrin (who created this video) write:
Given the events that unfold after the initial debate is over, "Lo Bashamayim Hi" becomes more of a question than a statement—it's even unclear what side God's on. 
We decided to capture this uncertainty by telling the entire story with all its difficulties, and not giving away any easy answers. The length and wordiness of the text lent itself to a ballad, weaving narration and dialogue through one voice with a medieval- traveling minstrel feel. 
The characters engage with the story through a full range of emotions, expressing the passion and exasperation that arise because of this debate. The music itself dips and swells, becoming the argument, the mourning rabbis, and the turbulent sea. 
There is so much action and so many questions in this story that it is a microcosm of the Talmud itself; loud, messy, without a clear end or beginning, and raising more questions than answers. We hope our film does the same. 
Not in Heaven

Yes, when we think about The Oven of Achnai, and the Rabbis, and how the Rabbis of the Talmud interpreted the Law, this is the quote that we all love.

Children Triumph

Although Abq Jew also has a fondness for this one, particularly when he considers his children and their accomplishments.

As we prepare for the fear and trepidation that - since 2016 - we may forever associate with Election Day, Rabbi Jack reminds us:
The continuation of the Talmudic story is almost never cited, but if you look it up, you'll see it doesn't end well.  
Perhaps that was the recognition of the rabbis that although we need to make decisions, and siding with the majority is a reasonable way to do so, there is definitely a price to pay.  
The minority opinion might actually be the right one, which is exactly what Exodus 23:2 was originally supposed to mean.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Music as Midrash and Prayer

Josh Warshawsky & Anat Halevy Hochberg: Music is fundamental to Jewish prayer. So writes Joey Weisenberg, the founder and director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, in My Jewish Learning.

Music is the most immaterial and ephemeral of all the art forms. 

We can’t see music, we can’t grasp it in our hands, but we can feel it working through us and the world. As such, music represents our connection to the divine, to each other, to everything. 

Music is a wordless prayer that opens up our imaginations to the divine source of all life.

Josh Anat
  Josh Warshawsky      Anat Halevy Hochberg

Abq Jew is pleased to announce (if you haven't seen on the Community Calendar) that two of the major figures of today's Jewish Music scene - Josh Warshawsky and Anat Halevy Hochberg - will be teaching and singing for us New MexiJews in the upcoming weeks.

Congregation B'nai Israel

How, Abq Jew hears you ask, has this come about? 

Well, here is some of the back story.

In the bit-more-than-a-year since Rabbi Dov Gartenberg has served as Interim Rabbi of Albuquerque's Congregation B'nai Israel, Rabbi Dov has been a strong proponent of Jewish music as Jewish prayer.

Rabbi Dov's Jewish Music Artists’ Fund has (so far) supported the work (both IRL and virtual) of the Shirat Burque ensemble; Jordan Wax; and cross-genre singer, guitarist, composer, recording artist, spiritual leader, and activist Chava Mirel.

Wait better

1. Josh Warshawky

Josh Warshawsky is the preeminent voice of contemporary, soulful, exciting music within today’s Judaism. His website tells us

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky is a pray-er, gatherer, music creator, and lifelong meaning-seeker. 

He is a nationally touring Jewish musician, songleader, composer, and teacher of Torah. Josh seeks to build intentional praying communities, and travels to synagogues and Jewish communities across the country sharing his music and teachings on prayer. 

He has released three albums of Jewish music, filled with melodies written intentionally to express the deep meaning of the words of our tradition.

A few months ago, Rabbi Dov arranged with Josh to teach a class on his approach to composing new liturgical melodies to ancient Jewish prayers. Josh's Music as Midrash class will start on Tuesday November 2. 

Click here to learn more.

Music as Midrash

And click here to listen to a sample of Josh's work.

Wait way better

2. Anat Halevy Hochberg

Anat Halevy Hochberg is a Brooklyn-based musician, writer, educator, and ritualist with family roots in Israel, Yemen, Hungary, and Poland. Her website tells us

Anat Halevy Hochberg grew up playing classical piano and dancing around the living room to the sounds of her parents playing and singing their favorite Israeli tunes. 
Anat performs as a solo artist, with her band, Vashti & the NoNoNos, and with other collaborators. Currently, Anat serves as Musician-In-Residence at Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan.

Anat’s technical training and her professional and communal experience form the vessel through which she is able to share her disarming and empowering joy as a maker of music. 

As a Jewish woman of color, a first-generation American whose grandparents survived genocide and displacement, and as a person deeply connected to Israel/Palestine, Anat is continually developing her sense of the heartbreak, complexity, responsibility, and courage that it takes to foster healing in a broken world full of beauty. 

As a music teacher in public schools, a leader of song and prayer in Jewish communities, and as a performer, Anat lets everyone in on a secret: that we are all are ready to sing a new song.

Rabbi Dov has invited Anat Halevy Hochberg to co-lead Kabbalat Shabbat with him for the first three Friday evenings of November - the 6th, 13th, and 20th. 

Why repeat? To help folks remember new or recently introduced melodies that they can share at services. 

Why three repeats? Because three is a chazakah (חזקה)!

Click here to learn more.

Anat Halevy Hochberg

And click here to listen to a sample of Anat's work.


3. Yah Ribbon (י-ה ריבון)

יָ-הּ רִבּוֹן עָלַם וְעָלְמַיָּא
G-d, Sovereign​ of all the Worlds

אַנְתְּ הוּא מַלְכָּא, מֶלֶךְ מַלְכַיָּא
You are the Ruler, above all rulers

Yah Ribon Olam is a piyyut composed by the 16th-century kabbalist poet Rabbi Yisrael Najara. It is one of the most popular Sabbath table hymns (zemirot). 

Josh Warshawsky has written:

I learned to sing Zemirot (plural of Zemer) when I was a kid, and immediately fell in love with them. The melodies are beautiful, and the words are poetry. Beautiful hymns and love songs written to Shabbat, or about how we feel on Shabbat, or how we celebrate Shabbat. 

Yah Ribon in particular always stuck out to me. You’ll notice immediately that it is different because it is written in Aramaic, the language most Jewish spoke around the time this song was written (16th century).

The words were written by R. Yisrael Najara. In contrast to most of the other Zemirot, which are about Shabbat, the verses of this song mostly talk about different praises of God, and God’s deeds and creations. 

But the last verse brings it back to humanity, and to Jerusalem, asking God to return the Divine Presence there, to the place where spirits and souls rejoice, and there we will all sing out songs and melodies.

4. How Can I Keep From Singing?

Der shturem voyet af a hoykhn kol
Although the tempest loudly roars

Dem emes her ikh lebn
I hear the truth, it liveth

Ikh her nisht of tsu zingen?
How can I keep from singing?

How Can I Keep From Singing? is an American folksong originally composed as a Christian hymn by American Baptist minister Robert Wadsworth Lowry. 

Pete Seeger learned a version of this song from Doris Plenn, a family friend, who had it from her North Carolina family. His version made this song fairly well known in the folk revival of the 1960s. 

Seeger's version omits or modifies much of the Christian wording of the original, and adds Plenn's verse below. The reference in the added verse intended by Seeger and by Plenn - both active in left-wing causes - is to 'witch hunts' of the House Un-American Activities Committee. 

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear
And hear their death-knell ringing

When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging

When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

Where there is song

Vote Jewish Democrats

Thursday, October 22, 2020

It's Noah Time, Once More

Send Out the Dove!  This Shabbat we will again read Parshat Noah, the one portion of the Holy Torah that has us New MexiJews lamenting the tragic loss of Earth's entire dinosaur population, who (quite literally) missed the boat.

Abq Jew exhorts everyone, especially those in whatever Hurricane Epsilon's path turns out to be, to be safe and stay secure. 

Hurricane Epsilon

Hurricane Epsilon is (Abq Jew claims) the 26th named storm and 10th named hurricane of this season. If you consider "Epsilon" a name. We long ago used up the permitted (hey, some aren't!) letters of the English alphabet. 

Hurricane Epsilon will be the final named hurricane of this season (Abq Jew also claims), because no one (certainly no one in the White House) can remember what comes after Epsilon.

Alright ... Abq Jew looked it up. The next three Greek letters turn out to be the names of Abq Jew's favorite Rosenfield relatives - his grandmother and her two sisters. Zeta, Eta, and Theta. Or, as we used to call them -

Three Bubbes
Bubbe Kama   Bubbe Metzia   Bubbe Batra

Alright ... this is an old yeshiva joke. Possibly THE OLDEST yeshiva joke. Abq Jew can tell - you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, don't care one Iota. Good old Uncle Iota!

But for those of you who were not fortunate enough to attend a yeshiva for even a short time (some say the shorter the better), be it known that
Bava Kamma (Talmudic Aramaic: בבא קמא "The First Gate") is the first of a series of three Talmudic tractates in the order Nezikin ("Damages") that deal with civil matters such as damages and torts. 

The other two of these tractates are Bava Metzia (Talmudic Aramaic: בבא מציעא "The Middle Gate") and Bava Batra (Talmudic Aramaic: בבא בתרא "The Last Gate").

Originally all three formed a single tractate called Nezikin, each "Bava" meaning "part" or "subdivision." Bava Kamma discusses various forms of damage and the compensation owed for them.
Hurricane Get Ready

The odds are low that Hurricane Epsilon will strike the US mainland. But the odds were low that we wouldn't now be re-electing President HRC, too. So shelter at home; shelter in the shelter; or shelter at Uncle Stan's place. But shelter. And remember that time when

Noah of Arc and his wife, Joan, 
build a boat to survive a great flood.

But Abq Jew digresses. 

Surely you remember (and if she doesn't, please remind her) that it was just eight (8) years ago (!) (see Noah! Send Out The Dove!) that Abq Jew first brought you Matti Caspi and Chocolat, Menta, Mastik singing their '70s hit.

And here it is again, and only because a) it is Parshat Noah; and b) this performance reminds Abq Jew of days ... and years ... gone by. Nostalgia.

Wait it gets better

Abq Jew just discovered this wonderful version, by Andrew Leibowitz!

Parshat Noach. A time to

Send out the dove.

Watch for the plaid in the rainbow.

Stegosauruses had beautiful singing voices, and they
knew all the words to The Seekers' greatest hits.

And remember the stegosaurus.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Breaking Down Walls

Packing Up SukkotNow that the Festival of Sukkot (as well as the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah) have passed, now that Shabbat Bereshit is behind us, Jews all over the world turn to packing up our elegant or makeshift sukkot and moving determinedly forward.

Yes, Abq Jew knows. We didn't break down our sukkot walls last week, even though we could have, because ... well, you, know, just because.

Ziggy Sleepy Hollow

And yes, Abq Jew reminds you, it was only four years ago that the Chicago Cubs, on Rosh Hodesh MarHeshvan (the "bitter" holiday-free month of Heshvan), won the 2016 World Series.

Chicago Cubs

Oh, those were happy days
(unless you were a Cleveland fan).

We celebrated Chicago's victory over The Fates along with native son President Barack Obama and his bright, good-looking, and virtuous family.

And we looked forward to the upcoming elections, as we prepared to deliver the White House (and the Capitol!) to one of the smartest, most experienced, and most capable candidates in our nation's history.

As we all know -

It's been straight downhill since then.

Wher are we going

But now, after four of the longest years in recorded history -

We've got a chance to turn this around!

Before we get to Thanksgiving - when we are obligated to be thankful for the many blessings we have, as Americans, indeed received, present circumstances notwithstanding - we pause in our time-travels to

Vote Biden Harris


We have a chance - a real opportunity - to break down the walls that divide us. By exchanging our holiday booths for our voting booths.

Abq Jew is extremely proud to tell you that the talented songwriter of Break Down These Walls is his very own cousin, Moss Henry. Who also sings it, with a bunch of musician (and video) friends to accompany him.

A message of hope, as we try to find a way through this Covid-19 pandemic.

Jewish Dems

Jews 4 Joe

Katy Duhigg

Abq Jew would like to take a moment to remind you, his loyal readers, that Abq Jew LLC is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and may therefore promote political candidates and issues.

If you like what Abq Jew does - please 

Buy Abq Jew a Coffee

Looks Like Progress

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Milestone: 1 Million Page Views

To Life! To Life! L'Chaim!  Sometime in the morning of Saturday, October 10, 2020 (10/10/2020) - as we Children of Israel were observing (Prayer for Rain! Yizkor!) the mystery holiday of Shemini Atzeret and preparing for the virtual celebration of Simchat Torah in the midst of this evil Covid-19 pandemic - this Abq Jew Blog achieved 

1,000,000 = 1 Million
One Million All Time Page Views

1 Million Page Views

We achieved 900,000 All Time Page Views
on May 5, 2020 - just 5 months ago.

That's 630 Page Views per Day. Give or take.
And 1,253 published blog posts.
Plus 4,200 Facebook Likes and 3,300 Twitter Followers.
Thank you!

Abq Jew published his first blog post on September 19, 2010. Ten years and 3 weeks later (3,675 days), this Abq Jew Blog achieved 1,000,000 (1 Million) Page Views. That's about 273 Page Views per Day, averaged over 10 years.

To break it down even further (as Abq Jew is delighted to do), this Abq Jew Blog took about
  • Four years and 2 weeks to achieve its first 250,000 Page Views on October 1, 2014. That's about 170 Page Views per day.
  • Two years and 2½ months to achieve its second 250,000 Page Views on December 17, 2016. That's about 309 Page Views per day.
  • Two years to achieve its third 250,000 Page Views on December 14, 2018. That's about 340 Page Views per day.
  • One year and 10 months to achieve its fourth 250,000 Page Views on October 10, 2020. That's about 375 Page Views per day. 

Technical Writer

1,000,000, according to many sources, is a full million.
During Abq Jew's entire 30+ years as a technical writer,
probably no more than 36,000 (SWAG*)
ever read what he wrote - manuals, guides,
online help, training documents, procedures.
Therefore: 1M in 10 years is a big deal.
* SWAG = Scientific Wild Ass Guess

Little Kids Big Dogs

But there's more to it than that.

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.

Looks pretty simple, eh what? But, in its original form, this well-known nursery rhyme is awfully redundant and terribly repetitious. Let's see if we can write it more, shall we say, technically.

Old King Cole was a merry old soul.
He called for his:
          • Pipe
          • Bowl
          • Three (3) fiddlers
Now isn't that better? Try reading this version to your toddler! The redundancy and repetition have been eliminated, and only the pertinent facts are presented - clearly and unambiguously. It's even got a bullet list! 

that's how Abq Jew wrote, 
for 30+ award-winning years, 
before moving to Albuquerque
and becoming Abq Jew.

So, Abq Jew queries: How do you know good technical writing when you see it? Among other things (like, say, accuracy), 

When technical writing is good,
you can't tell who wrote it.

Whereas, with more creative styles - 

Creative writing can't be good 
if you can't tell who wrote it.

After 30+ years of writing (and editing, and publishing) technically, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to write - for 10+ years - creatively. 

For which Abq Jew must say to you, his loyal readers -

Thank you!

Abq Jew can imagine y'all asking - what were Abq Jew's most popular blog posts over the years? Here, then, are


Abq Jew's Top 7 Blog Posts

7. Ralph Branca, Jew
August 15, 2011

6. Maestro Rabbenu Placido Domingo
March 30, 2016

3. You've Got Hate Mail!
February 1, 2017

2. Christopher Columbus, MOT?
May 30, 2012

1. Rabbinic Activism in New Mexico
May 12, 2014

Banjo Gets Worse Elevator

More to follow, Billy Nader!
If you like what Abq Jew does - please 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Five Down, Two to Go

Yontif Yontif Yontif: Two days of the Rosh Hashanah that everyone wants to forget - except that it got us into 5781, which surely must be better than 5780, at least the last few months of it. 

One fast day of Yom Kippur, when we granted The Holy One, Blessed Be He, forgiveness. Two days of Sukkot, the Season of Our Joy. Oy.

And yet we have a feeling something isn't quite right.

Tex Had Feeling

As Abq Jew writes this, it is still Sukkot, the Festival of Booths.

Ziman Simchatenu

To be superseded this weekend by Shemini Atzeret, the mystery holiday no one knows what to do with. And Simchat Torah, which, this year, will involve virtual celebration, as we await Rebbe Nachman's seventh beggar (the legless dancer, for those who are following along).

Shemini Atzeret Simchat Torah

Yes, this is still The Season of Our Joy. 

And, although it seems that the Ship of State has hit the sand -

Ship Hits Sand

Who knew it would happen the way it did?

Covid White House

Fortunately, as every Jew who has seen Fiddler On The Roof knows, there is an appropriate blessing for President Trump as he (and his doctors) do battle with Covid-19.

May G-d bless and keep the president...
far away from us.

Or, as another sage has so aptly put it -

May the president have a long recovery.

Which brings us to the one and only

Danny K Bernstein
Danny K Bernstein

No, not the actor who played Tevye in the 2015 Broadway revival. Just a very talented guy who writes parodies about our nation's leaders and (lehavdil) full-length musicals. You can follow him on Instagram at @dannykbernstagram.

Anyway, Danny has written a delightful and meaningful parody of Tevye's Dream. Which, if by some chance, you don't recall, goes like this:

Here are Danny's new words:


Donald!!! Donaaaaaaaaaaaald!!!!!!

What is this about your senate rushing my replacement??


Her replacement!


Would you do this even after blocking Merrick Garland?


Merrick Garland!


Have you no consideration for my dying wishes??


Dying wishes!


Naming my successor right-wing Amy Coney Barrett


Coney Barrett.


How can you allow it? How?
How can you let that woman take my place?
Sit on that bench?
Roll back our rights?
And wear my robes, robes, how!!!

Even such a dope as Donald wouldn't let it happen!!


Let it happen!


Tell me that it isn't done and that I shouldn't haunt you.


Shouldn't haunt you!


Say your stupid senate won't confirm your nomination!




Let me tell you what will follow such a fatal hearing.


Fatal hearing!


If Donald's nomination stands,
I pity you ALL!

I'll be dead for TWO WEEKS, and when TWO weeks are up,

I will come to you by night,
with viruses in tow,
and YOU will be infected,
SHE will be infected,
THEY will be infected!


Here's my final ruling 

if you try to screw my COURT!!!!!


Which brings us to 

Sasha Sanderovich
Sasha Sanderovich

No, not the one you're thinking of. Abq Jew refers to the Assistant Professor in the Slavic Department, the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, and the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Anyway, on the occasion of #TrumpHasCovid, Sasha reminds us of an old Soviet Jewish joke.

Every morning, for days and weeks on end, Rabinovich stands in line to the newspaper kiosk, asks the clerk for the day’s copy of Pravda, looks at the front page, and then returns the paper without buying. 

"Comrade Rabinovich,” the kiosk clerk finally asks. “What are you looking for every day?”

“An obituary.”

“But the obituaries are printed on the last page,
not the front page!”

“The obituary I’m looking for will be on the front page.”

Mark & Shania Twain

Lots of people have said that it was Mark Twain (shown here with Shania) who famously said (although he probably didn't)

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have
read some obituaries with great pleasure."

Which brings us to

Mandy Patinkin Kathryn Grody
Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody

Yes, him. Or he. Mandy tells us that his "glorious AF wife Kathryn" helped with his latest campaign video. And, he continues -

Whatever the polls say,
 we have to stay calm and resolute in this fight,
giving whatever time, money, and power we can. 

Get active to get out the vote TODAY at
#GOTV #createtheoutcome #VOTE.

Jewish Dems

Jews 4 Joe

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