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Archive for May, 2011

He’s A He

It is a good thing that our family is moving to France as I won’t have to do something unpleasant. I won’t have to tell the rabbi of our congregation that we are leaving the temple because of the rabbi.

Now, with less than two months to go until we board a plane for Paris, I can simply tell our rabbi that we are severing our ties with the temple because the commute will be a bitch.

Yes, it would be more satisfying to tell our rabbi that we are leaving the temple because of the new ways of thinking the rabbi has put in place since becoming our rabbi a year ago, but with my eldest son’s Bar Mitzvah coming up in less than a month, I find it more prudent not to rock the boat.

So what has my fringed tallit in a twist?

To start off with, our rabbi, during Shabbat services, has started to introduce mysticism (Kabbalah, numerology, and even astrology) into the sermons. Sorry, I was raised in a Conservative temple and shamanistic beliefs do not fly with my understanding of Judaism.

Secondly, during one of our family’s conversations with the rabbi for Christopher’s Bar Mitzvah, my son asked the rabbi if the Exodus actually happened. The rabbi said “No, it probably didn’t, but it makes for a good story”.

WHAT !?!

It’s one thing for my no-goodnik of an ex-college roommate to espouse such utter nonsense, but it is quite another when the head of a Jewish congregation expresses doubt about the veracity of one of the tenets of the whole Jewish faith – that of the freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt by the Almighty.

The last straw came during another of our meetings with the rabbi about Chris’s Bar Mitzvah. Chris had written his speech and had used the male pronoun (He, Him) when refering to the Lord. The rabbi actually suggested that all the male references be replaced with more gender-neutral language.

He is a He. Our prayers speak of the Lord as Father and Sheild. He is a He.

So, I’m done with the rabbi. Consider me old-fashioned and hanging on to tradition, but as a wise man once sung, “Without tradition, we would be like a fiddler on the roof”

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This week, in anticipation of our family’s move to France, I attended a workshop put on by the non-profit agency that my wife is going to work for to help me (as the dutiful spouse) learn all about living in France.

After three days, my mind is numb, but all I can remember is this – in a tip of the arrow to that great comedian, Steve Martin

It’s like they speak a whole different language over there

[insert rimshot here]

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When, back in January, I first wrote about the followers of Harold Camping and the prediction that the end of the world was coming on May 21, I posed the following question…

Who will laugh harder? Those who don’t believe when the event doesn’t happen or those who do believe when it does happen?

While it is obvious now that the non-believers are having a good laugh, recent events show me that I neglected to include a third class of person who could be laughing.

I neglected to allow for the possibility that Harold Camping himself would be laughing at all of us come May 23.

In fact, he’s laughing all the way to the bank and he’s not giving any of it back.

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A new word for the English language as we enter the End of Days….

Dupesday n, the day predicted as the end of the world so that frightened people can send the predictor all their money; word usually used after predictor has predicted the end of the world multiple times and keeps coming up with excuses as to why the wold continues to be.

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Oh happy day!

The news came out today that Steve Martin will be bringing his banjo-playing goodness to the National Mall to perform at the annual A Capitol Fourth concert for Independence Day.

O happy day for those of who live in the Old Free Colony area!

Being able to watch Mr. Martin pluck his strings in person more than makes up for the blizzards and sweltering heat.

Play on, Mr. Martin, play on!

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Here’s an easy way to determine what type of person you are.

Read the snippet below from this article

A Leesburg, Virginia couple was charged April 29, after a Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed the two were conducting unlicensed dentistry from their home.

During the course of a separate investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Gang Intelligence Unit investigators learned of the operation that apparently catered to the Latino community. A search warrant conducted on April 29 at their home…revealed what appeared to be a full-service dental office and examination room in the basement of the home. The area included a receptionist desk, a waiting room, and a dental chair that was situated in a separate room.

If your reaction to reading this was:

a) “Good for the authorities. All law-breakers must be punished” – – you are a law-and-order type.

b) “How horrible that because it was a Latino couple, the authorities assumed they needed the Gang Intelligence Unit” – – you are a politically correct, diversity-loving person.

c) “I wonder what type of out-of-date magazine they had in their faux-waiting room?” – – you are a comedian.

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I have spoken before about The Gallant Gallstone Effect, which is when, suddenly, a theme (person, place, or thing) begins to appear in separate media outlets.

I am bringing back this concept to comment on the following string of events.

Two separate magazines that I subscribe to, Harper’s Magazine (June 2011) and WIRED (May 2011), both published articles on the same theme with the same two subjects.

The subject was the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl. That in and of itself is no big coincidence as anniversary stories are a staple of journalism.

However, the stories in those articles highlighted the scientific work being done by Tim Mousseau, professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, and Anders Moller, research director at the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris – Sud University.

These scientists, to simplify their research to an incredible degree, are of the mind that the exclusion zone around the reactor that has been contaminated with radiation is not a boon to the wildlife, which contradicts stories such as here and here and here.

There have been earlier stories that have said the same thing (here and here and here), but I found it intriguing that two publications would take the same tack.

Good on them for getting their word out.

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