Archive for July, 2009

The Bar Mitzvah Boy’s Revenge

Some people — and not all of them anti-Semites — like to claim that Judaism is a religion replete with cruel customs and rules. Usually these people single out circumcisions and kosher butchering, but there’s one custom, arguably the cruelest of them all, that they for some reason seem to pass by in silence.

I’m of course referring to the Bar Mitzvah speech.

i can’t think of anything quite as sadistic as to force a thirteen-year-old to stand up in front of a whole shul full of friends, family and strangers in order to deliver a little speech on that week’s reading. Not only do these young men generally suffer from all the anxieties and voice-altering hormonal imbalances that make those early adolescent years such a nightmare — they also know next to nothing about Torah. That, in turn, makes the whole experience insufferable also to the congregation that is forced to listen to it.

In light of this, I can’t resist linking to this clip that I found while reading Heeb Magazine.

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July 31, 2009 at 06:35 2 comments

In the Creator We Trust

I don’t know what’s going on in the government quarter these days, but the people who spend their days there — and not just pass through briefly on the 24 as I do — seem to grow more detached by every passing day.

I can picture Shas MK Nissim Zeev looking out through the window at his Knesset office and gazing upon Jerusalem, seeing that it is good. So good, in fact, that the only problem that remains to be remedied in this perfect state of ours is the unfortunate glitch that God’s name isn’t mentioned on our currency.

To fix this blot of imperfection on the fair face of the nation, MK Zeev has proposed a bill that would have the Bank of Israel put the slogan “We Believe in the Creator” on our paper currency. Mr. Zeev even has a plan for the implementation of this brilliant scheme. He wants the belief in God to be declared on the bigger bills first, because “[w]e need to know that the bigger the bill, the greater the faith in God”.

I suppose he settled for the word “Creator”, instead of some of the other appellations favored by sticker touting slogan makers, because this would still allow him to bring his wallet with him to the bathroom.

July 30, 2009 at 17:29 1 comment

Terrorist’s Buddies Cry Gewald

People who regularly read this blog probably remember that Ayman Abu Aita from the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades was outraged that Sasha Baron Cohen had dared to depict him — an honest and hard-working member of a terrorist organization with more than a hundred successful murders on their record — in a homosexual setting.

If you’re not one of those people, feel free to refresh your memory here.

Now it turns out that not only Ayman Abu Aita is upset about the camp context in which he’s placed by Cohen. According to a report in Haaretz, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah party, has denounced Cohen’s misleading and dirty use of Abu Aita. They now plan a “suitable” response.

Considering the above-mentioned track-record of this organization, one can see why Cohen has tightened up security routines as of late.

July 29, 2009 at 10:23 Leave a comment

Sexual Overtures

The color scheme at my former gym may have been olive and orange, but the ambience was definitely pink. Obviously, my Swedishness forbade me to inquire, but I guess that a quick poll would have shown that pretty much ninety percent of all the men who frequented that place — except perhaps for Alex, the cleaner — were gay.

This impression was strengthened by the soundtrack that accompanied my workouts. There was a constant sound-carpet of bubble-gum pop and nightclub dance remixes pouring out of the loudspeakers.

I thought that this was the state of affairs at all the gyms in Sin City, but — having switched to a gym closer to home — I now think I’ll have to revise this theory. Here, all the camp classics are replaced by Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses and John Bon Jovi. Is this a sign that my new health club is the headquarters of the last remnants of heterosexual males between the Ayalon and the Mediterranean?

Or, perhaps more likely, is it just an indication that this is the place where the not-so-hip homos go to work out?

July 28, 2009 at 07:33 1 comment

Aviv Higia H&M Ba

Rumors to this effect have been making the rounds here for quite some time, but now it’s official:

H&M is bound to open its first branches in Israel in the spring of 2010. The Swedish clothing store, that uses the same concept as that other Swedish success story IKEA — last year’s designs to affordable prices, is taking over the spaces currently occupied by the Globus Group movie theaters at the Azrieli mall in Tel Aviv and at Malcha in Jerusalem.

I’m very happy about this latest expansion of Swedish commercial imperialism. The only thing is that trips back to the Old Country won’t be quite the same any more.

July 22, 2009 at 05:46 Leave a comment

Achla Bachla? Reality Check

Recently, the Israeli cell phone company Cellcom released this commercial — easily the most criticized commercial of the year, and rightfully so.

It’s offensive on many levels, but probably most of all because it’s so mendacious. Those of you who would doubt that, might want to take a look at what happened when some protesters at the security barrier tried to reenact the scene.

July 21, 2009 at 16:18 1 comment

Swedish Television Wanted Balance

Many, not only I, have found it peculiar that Swedish public television (SVT) chose to invite the born-again Islamist Muhamed Omar to comment on the developments in Iran. One of those who found it peculiar was Nima Dervish, who also sent an e-mail to SVT to ask them to explain what they were thinking.

He’s now received a reply.

It turns out that the editors of the morning news show wanted to give a balanced picture, with someone who supported the regime and someone who was against. Not a word on why Omar, of all people, was invited to comment — and not, say, a representative from the Iranian embassy. But apparently, the people behind the show will now evaluate whether this was a successful approach.

To be continued?

The whole blog post, including the correspondence and the Nordic Dervish’s commentary can be read here.

July 21, 2009 at 07:33 Leave a comment

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