Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oy Gevalt!

Last episode of The Sopranos: Tony, risen from the dead, given a second chance at life, is grappling with an existential crisis. So in less than one hour he gets to schmooze with an evangelical creep and a scientist and some Jews. Like that's going to clarify everything. All he needs is Esther (Madonna to you), to come give him a sip of kabbalah water, and he'll be a new man.
I was getting agita just listening to the evangelical saying that the world was created 6000 years ago and dinosaurs lived together with Adam and Eve. Tony and Carmela weren't buying it either, thank God.
But the best part was the Jewish friends who come to visit Tony and have to listen to the pastor's evangelical exertions with expressions of barely suppressed horror on their faces as if they were smelling treyf (lovely touch). Then when the pastor leaves, the woman says something like "These people are good for the Jews. They love Israel". And her husband retorts: "Just wait".
Truer words were never spoken. It behooves Jews and the Israeli government to stop thinking of these evangelical creeps as allies or friends. It behooves the Orthodox to stop beign enamored of Bill Frist and creeps like that. These people love Israel only because they believe that its existence is a historical portent that means JC is coming back. In order for him to come back successfully, the most important people who need to accept him are the Jews. We are first on the conversion line, and if they get into some kind of messianic frenzy, they will try to convert as many Jews as is humanly possible. So they are not really that great for Jews, okay? And if you are so freaking concerned about Israel, instead of leaving it to the Evangelicals to love the Jews, go live there yourself.
Now, today an article appears in the NY Times that describes synagogues and Jewish religious leaders using evangelical techniques to bring more people into the fold. This gives me the cooties. The evangelicals have applied tried and true marketing techniques for making themselves presentable to people who otherwise would not be caught dead in their presence. Hence Christian rock videos, for instance. My objection is not that is Judaism Lite, as some critics point out, having yoga and tai chi and stand up comedy routines on the Shabbat to entice people. One: I don't want Jews sounding like loony evangelists. That is a scary thought. Two: I think it is pathetic that people need to be enticed like that. Hey, now that Esther is looking to buy property in Safed, Israel, maybe you'll be bothered enough to think that Judaism is hip. It isn't hip. It shouldn't be hip. It is what it is. And either you accept that you are a Jew and will be to your dying day or not. If you want your kids to be Jewish then raise them so. Why is this so complicated? I'm a Jew, despite the fact that I haven't set foot in a synagogue ever since I moved to New York. I am no less Jewish for that. I will be a Jew to my dying day whether there is yoga or kabbalah scented candles, or some social on a Friday night with the word lounge stuck on it. And though I'm an atheist, paradoxically, I much prefer the more traditional Jewish observances than the newfangled new agey ones. They are more authentic.


  1. Seth Magalaner6:44 PM

    Someday, some graduate student will publish a paper comparing that episode to "The Magic Mountain..." (Gandolfini as Hans Castorp, Hal Holbrook as Settembrini, Edie Falco as Clavdia Chauchat...no wait...bring back Drea DiMatteo!)

    Gave me a chuckle.

  2. I knew my readers are whipsmart, but Seth, you take the cake.
    Who knew? I only read People Magazine.