Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Tale of Two Revolts

Judah Maccabee Meets Popay: Right around this time of year, Jews worldwide remember the revolt that Judah and his brothers - the Maccabees - won against the Seleucid Empire, who had taken over our land and desecrated our Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The resulting Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom lasted about 100 years.

You know - Chanukah.

For those who may not know, Wikipedia tells us (the short version):

Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎), also known as the Festival of Lights (Hebrew: חַג הַאוּרִים‎), is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE.

And the longer, traditional version:

When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and services stopped, Judaism was outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.

Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt ... By 164 BCE, the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. 

The festival of Hanukkah was instituted to celebrate this event. Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud (Shabbat 21b),

For when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed against and defeated them, they made search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest), but which contained sufficient [oil] for one day's lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein, and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. 

The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving.

And YES! - you are correct in assuming that the real story is more than just a bit more complicated. But anyway -

About 1,845 years later,  Popay - the Tewa religious leader from Ohkay Owingeh (renamed San Juan Pueblo by the Spanish during the colonial period) - and most of the Pueblo people of the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México revolted against their Spanish colonizers.

Popay and the Puebloans won, and managed to govern themselves for twelve years (1680-1692) before the Spaniards reconquered the territory.

Pueblo Revolt
You know - the Pueblo Revolt.

For those who may not know, the above paragraphs, paraphrased, are the short version that Wikipedia tells us. And YES! - you are correct in assuming that the real story is more than just a bit more complicated. But anyway -

What we've got here are

Judah Popay
Judah                      Popay
Two successful revolts by indigenous peoples
against the tyranny of invaders,
each led by a powerful figure who changed history.

Two Kingdoms

And YES! - Abq Jew strongly believes - as he hopes you, his loyal readers do - that we Jews (that is, Judeans from the territory of Judah) are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. Indigenous - as, something or someone who is native to an area or who naturally belongs there.

Or, as Pat Boone (yes, Pat Boone) wrote it:


"This land is mine. God gave this land to me."

Which brings us to Zioness's celebration of Indigenous Resistance, presented to close Native American History Month with an uplifting Hanukkah event -

Celebrating our shared histories as Indigenous Peoples
in the pursuit of collective liberation. 

Indigenous Resistance

So, Abq Jew hears you ask: 

Who is Zioness?
And what, pray tell (exactly!) is the Zioness movement? 

According to their website, Zioness is a a coalition of Jewish activists and allies who are -


Which makes them OK in Abq Jew's blog. Anyway - leading the celebration of the two revolts will be

Mahrinah Shije
is an Entrepreneur and Global Development Professional.

As a Partner with Zia Impact, Mahrinah provides consulting and strategic planning services with a focus on Tribal Infrastructure and Economic Development.

She also serves as the CEO and Board Chair of the NGO Pueblo Development Commission and is an appointed member of the Legislative Committee for the 20 Pueblo Indian Nations of New Mexico and Texas.

Additionally, Mahrinah is an Associate Fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute and an Israel Policy Forum 2021 Charles Bronfman Convener. She is an impassioned advocate for Indigenous rights, leadership and visibility as a Tewa and Sephardic woman.

Jon Ghahate
is from the Pueblos of Laguna and Zuni, of the Turkey and Badger Clans.

He currently serves as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum Cultural Educator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His responsibilities are to develop and present an authentic and respectful historical narrative of the culture, heritage, and legacy of New Mexico’s Pueblo communities.

His diverse professional background includes: a health care practitioner, a public middle school and high school math and science educator, an athletic coach for the public school system, a journalist for a national radio talk program, and a community volunteer for a variety of community conscious organizations. He is a Vietnam Era Veteran.

Jon has received a number of community, military service related, and professional commendations. He was a fellow of the Kellogg National Leadership Foundation Program.

He is a lifelong resident of New Mexico and his tribal nations and a parent and father of 2 children.


And therefore, in conclusion -

Abq Jew's Facebook friend Hebrew Calendar Facts reminds us of Thanksgivukkah in 2013, when Chanukah began on Wednesday night, Erev Thanksgiving, and the first day of Chanukah was also Thanksgiving Day.  

This year, when Chanukah begins on the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend, is not that. However, Chanukah beginning during any part of Thanksgiving weekend is still unusual enough to be notable.  

FYI - the next semi-true Thanksgivukkah will be in the year 2070, when  the first night of Hanukkah will be Thanksgiving Night (Thursday November 27). Followed by Thursday November 28, 2165.

Read Mahrinah Shije's article

Beyond the myths,
Thanksgiving and Hanukkah share stories of resistance

The First Thanksgiving

The real story of The First Thanksgiving 1621 also
turns out to be more than just a bit more complicated
than what we (of a certain age) learned in school.
This 1995 painting by Karen Rinaldo gets it mostly right.

Monday, November 15, 2021

A Time for Good News

Bring Danny Home: Like everyone else in the American Jewish community, Abq Jew awoke this morning (already a good sign) to this fantastic news, as reported by Shira Hanau of JTA:

Fenster Richardson
Danny Fenster (L) is set to travel back to the United States through Qatar,
former diplomat Bill Richardson announced. (Richardson Center)

Danny Fenster, Jewish journalist jailed in Myanmar, is released days after being handed prison sentence

(JTA) — Danny Fenster, a Jewish American journalist who has been imprisoned in Myanmar since May and was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday, has been released just days later, according to reports.

Former New Mexico governor and former diplomat Bill Richardson, who was in the country on a humanitarian visit, told reporters Monday that Fenster would travel back to the United States “through Qatar, over the next day and a half,” CNN reported.

Fenster’s brother Bryan celebrated the news in a tweet Monday morning. “We are overjoyed that Danny has been released and is on his way home – we cannot wait to hold him in our arms,” he wrote.

Wait better

One Religion

The Yeshiva World yesterday reported:
Michael Flynn Calls For “One Religion” In America

In his latest lurch to the extreme, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn called for only one religion to be in America during a speech at the far-right “ReAwaken America” tour stop in San Antonio.

“If we are going to have one nation under God – which we must – we have to have one religion,” Flynn said. “One nation under God, and one religion under God.”

It goes without saying that Flynn’s vision is not only dangerous to other religions practicing in the United States, including yiddishkeit, but is also completely contrary to the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion.

Perhaps more disturbing was Jewish Senate candidate Josh Mandel’s statement [We stand with General Flynn.] on Twitter supporting Flynn following his twisted comment. 

Mandel has been moving ever closer to the fringes of far-right radicalism in recent years as he attempts to win the GOP nomination to challenge Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio.

Noah's Ark

Now, everyone assumed
that Flynn was talking about Christianity.
Which, all things considered, is not an unreasonable assumption. 

However. Abq Jew must point out (he must! he must!) that there are other alternatives. For example - how about Zoroastrianism? As Wikipedia tells us -
Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest continuously practiced religions, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. 
Zoroastrianism has a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology which predicts the ultimate conquest of evil by good. Zoroastrianism exalts an uncreated and benevolent deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its supreme being. 
The unique historical features of Zoroastrianism, such as its monotheism, messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will may have influenced other religious and philosophical systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Greek philosophy, Christianity, Islam, and the Baháʼí Faith.
Unfortunately, most people cannot spell Zoroastrianism. And as for practicing it - let's just say that it's gonna take a lotta practice. 

So how about Judaism? It seems that everyone in the world knows how to spell (in their own language, of course)

Lucky Jew

There are problems with that idea, of course. First of all - Judaism is not, and except for rare historical times has never been, a proselytizing religion.


Not that we don't have a lot to offer. It's just that one sticky entrance requirement that usually stops the admissions application in its tracks. From the men, at least.

So how about the almost-a-Jew consolation prize. You know - 

The Seven Laws of Noah

Righteous Gentiles who choose to follow these Seven Laws of Noah are assured (or, as assured as any of us) a place in the World to Come. Yes, it's sort of a lowest-common-denominator thing, but so what? No cutting required.

Way better

Jewish Fertilizer

So. Per Zaid Hamid, we Jews are now in charge of the world's entire supply of ... fertilizer

All over the world the Zionists have now created a fertilizer shortage.
This is directly going to affect the crops all over the world.
And push the food prices beyond the reach of lower classes.
All part of the orchestrated agenda of
creating global famine and food genocide.

Abq Jew calls BS.

Blake Flayton tauntingly (15-yard penalty and automatic first down, but worth it) responds:

Yep. We did it.
What you gonna do about it?

Or, as @DeborahJSterli2 replied to Mr Hamid:


ICYMI, Zaid Hamid, Wikipedia tells us, is
a Pakistani far-right, Islamist political commentator, conspiracy theorist, writer and columnist. His byline in newspaper articles has been Zaid Zaman.

The Muslim 500 included him in their yearly most influential Muslims in the world, as a political commentator and host of TV series on geo-politics, Islamic philosophy, Muslim history, and Dr Iqbal’s vision for Pakistan.

Hamid claims that the November 2008 Mumbai attacks were part of a plan hatched by "Hindu Zionists", and that it was an attempt by the Indians to stage a false flag attack, which he accuses the September 11th Attacks of being.

Hamid believes that Muhammad had declared war on India, and claims that India will be "trounced and enslaved according to sharia if Hindus don’t repent and embrace Islam."

Zaid Hamid has been criticised as xenophobic and accused of hate speech towards Hindus, Jews, Christians and Pashtuns.
Blake Flayton (@blakeflayton). lehavdil, is one of our guys. Per his Twitter, Blake is a

jew, zionist,
columnist and new media director @jewishjournal,
co-founder @newzionists

Yes, it's the New Zionist Congress. Whose website proudly proclaims 

New Zionist Congress

Welcome to the New Zionist Congress.
In the name of every Jew who has lit a candle in the darkness,
we are here to build a bonfire.

Where were we

Vax the Jews

The message VAX THE JEWS turned up on a mailbox near the Santa Fe Railyard last week, and was immediately labelled a hateful, antisemitic message. Good that we Jews are turning it into a message of hope, but ...

Abq Jew calls huh?

Abq Jew is one of the 85% of American Jews who have been vaccinated (2x) and boosterized against Covid-19, and he strongly encourages his fellow Jews - and his fellow Americans - to follow his example and help stop this pandemic.

Thank you, anonymous graffitist, for helping Jews
stay alive and healthy during these troubling times.

But More


Jews Do Not Despair
As we head into Thanksgiving week,
this is what Abq Jew is saying.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Future Folk! Space Worms!

A History of Returns to Netflix: Future Folk come from the planet Hondo, a planet where music doesn’t exist.  When they landed on Earth, they liked music so much they decided to stay and form Future Folk.

The History of Future Folk

And, quite surprisingly, Abq Jew was completely unaware of this. Until last night, when he was scared off by Locke & Key and went searching for something just a bit more light-hearted on Netflix.

So here's the first trailer:

And here's what Wikipedia says about them:

Future Folk is a New York City-based folk music comedy duo. Founded as a live act in 2004, the duo includes General Trius (Nils d'Aulaire) and The Mighty Kevin (Jay Klaitz).

After co-starring in an Off-off-Broadway musical comedy titled Who Is Wilford Brimley?, d’Aulaire and Klaitz brainstormed ideas for an act that involved roots music from outer space. They composed songs for the project, which revolved around a fictitious planet named Hondo, and crafted costume helmets from plastic buckets and duct tape. 

After a performance in New York’s East Village, they evolved the act, expanding back stories and developing their characters with each performance. They first appeared as Future Folk in 2005 at Tonic in Times Square, performing at a party celebrating the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

In 2012, Future Folk filmed a feature-length movie, The History of Future Folk, which chronicles the duo's arrival on Earth and their subsequent attempt to save both Hondo and Earth from annihilation. 

The film became available on Netflix in 2014. Some time later, it apparently fell off, which might explain why Abq Jew had never heard of it.

So here's the second trailer.

You can find out more about the film on IMDb. Bluegrass Today (the magazine) reviewed the film (really!) in 2013. And, of course, there's Future Folk's website.

So here's something else interesting that Abq Jew just found out.


Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a polyether compound derived from petroleum with many applications, from industrial manufacturing to medicine. 


It's the basis for a number of laxatives.

Trident Launch

AND a nitrate ester-plasticized polyethylene glycol (NEPE-75) is used in Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile solid rocket fuel.

Just another interesting fact that Abq Jew just happened to come across while doing ... research. And knew he had to share with you, his loyal readers.

Anyway, here's Future Folk performing their hit, Space Worms.

Well I grew up on my planet farmin' space worms
Where space worms can always be found
But here on Earth as far as I can discern
There just ain't no space worms around


Hey Alma

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Mort Sahl, Caustic Comic, Dies at 94

Erudite Outrage: Mort Sahl, the comic whose caustic and fearlessly observant routines about Cold War politics in the button-down 1950s transformed American comedy and paved the way for generations of acid-witted humorists, not least Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, died Oct. 26 at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 94.

Mort Sahl

So reports John Otis of The Washington Post. Who continues:

Before Mr. Sahl, wisecracks about government and Washington were little more than glib asides with no attempt at the jugular. For the most part, comedians avoided topics that might alienate escapist-minded radio, TV and nightclub audiences and stuck to safer material about mothers-in-law or nagging spouses.

By contrast, Mr. Sahl dove headfirst into the divisive politics and tumult of his time — from the nuclear arms race to segregation — with erudite outrage, a finely tuned sense of the absurd and a high tolerance for risk. Referring to his more genial comic forebear, Time magazine described him in a 1960 cover story as “Will Rogers with fangs.”

And then tells us:

In “Seriously Funny,” a book about rebel comics of the 1950s and 1960s, Gerald Nachman explored the novelty of Mr. Sahl’s intellectual, explanatory style and his Ivy League wardrobe.

“Pre-Sahl was a time in which comedians, clad like bandleaders in spats and tuxes, announced themselves by their brash, anything-for-a-laugh, charred-earth policy and by-the-jokebook gags,” Nachman wrote. “Sahl challenged and changed all that simply by the comic device of being himself and speaking his mind onstage.”

At the end of his shows, Mr. Sahl would ask,

Mort Sahl

“Is there anyone here I haven’t offended?”

Wikipedia tells us:

Morton Lyon Sahl was born on May 11, 1927, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the only child of Jewish parents. His father, Harry Sahl, came from an immigrant family on New York City's Lower East Side, and hoped to become a Broadway playwright. He met his wife when she responded to an advertisement he took out in a poetry magazine. Unable to break into the writing field, they moved to Canada where he owned a tobacco store in Montreal.

The family later relocated to Los Angeles, California, where his father, unable to become a Hollywood writer, worked as a clerk and court reporter for the FBI. Sahl notes, "My dad was disappointed in his dreams and he distrusted that world for me. Sahl went to Belmont High School in Los Angeles, where he wrote for the school's newspaper. Actor Richard Crenna was a classmate.

Mort Sahl

Althea Legaspi of Rolling Stone writes:

Sahl made the Top 10 of Rolling Stone‘s “50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time” list for his ability to riff on politics “in a way no one had heard before. Just imagine a comic digging through the headlines (sometimes in the middle of a set) looking to expose hypocrisy with the right piece of journalistic evidence – and scoring in a big way.”

Mort Sahl hungry 1

He made a name for himself performing at the hungry I in San Francisco beginning in 1953, where not only did he buck the system with quick-witted monologues addressing politics and social issues head-on, but he brought a more casual vibe to the then-staid style in the comedian world, where punch lines and mother-in-law jokes ruled and suits and ties were the dress code. He preferred to appear like the youth he reached, wearing casual styles and using language that was relatable to his audience.

Sahl’s work influenced generations of comedians, including Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Jonathan Winters, Joan Rivers, George Carlin and Richard Pryor. He called out hypocrisy during his routines and no political figure was in the safe zone, whether they were Democrat or Republican.

Here is a video clip of Mort Sahl explaining politics and relationships. 

For the politics part - well, you have to be of a certain age to really get it. All the names have changed - but everything else had pretty much stayed the same. As for the relationships part - nothing ever changes.

Of Blessed Memory