aired Nov. 26, 2011 on Dave’s Gone By. youtube clip: Questions
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 27th, 2011.
A week ago, I was able to premiere my one-man, two-person show, Shalom Dammit!, an Evening with Rabbi Sol Solomon, at the Norton Theater of the University of Northern Colorado. It was a magnificent experience with audiences laughing, asking questions and treating me with undisguised bitterness and hostility.
I doff my yarmulke to all the technical and creative people who helped Shalom Dammit! take the biggest leap at the university since that fat Asian kid jumped off a fraternity roof last summer. It was a tremendous amount of work, but I think the results speak not only for themselves, but for people who shouldn’t speak until they’re spoken to. It was that kind of show.
During the process of putting Shalom Dammit! together, I was asked many questions, not all of them anti-Semitic. I thought I would share some of the answers with you so that you might understand what went into this experience, which I hope to bring to New York, Miami, Sheboygan – anywhere with Jews and a sewer system.
I was asked why would I share – or inflict – this show on an audience. First of all, it was cold outside and tickets were free, so who’s complaining? Also, it is confusing being a Jew in modern America. We are tied to our family traditions and ancient values, but we are also tempted by everything from X-Box on Shabbos to the triple-X boobs on Sasha Grey. Every Jew makes his own decision as to how much to follow and how much rings hollow. My show is a glimpse into what goes into making those choices. How are modern Jewish Americans pulled towards crazy rules drawn up 400 years ago, how do we interact with our Christian, Muslim and Republican brothers; how do we get past the Holocaust without getting over the Holocaust; and how do we convince the goyim that Bernie Madoff, David Berkowitz and Paulie Shore are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I have also been asked whether Shalom Dammit!, which includes a few naughty words and a smattering of adult content, reflects badly on my people and even fosters anti-Semitism. The answer to that charge is: I don’t have to encourage anti-Semitism; there’s enough of it without my help. If Jews feel bad about themselves, well, ambivalence and unease are part of the modern Jewish psyche. We’re never completely comfortable and never 100 percent happy. Because we don’t have the ready means of support that non-Jews can always turn to, like alcoholism and professional hockey. That said, no one watching my show will have any misconceptions about where I stand as a Zionist, a proud Jew, a secular humanist, and a victim of chronic prostate pain.
“Dear Rabbi,” writes another fan, “Do you ever get stage fright?” Absolutely. In fact, when I performed the show last Monday evening, the stage manager was shocked because I peed seven times in a half hour. And I don’t know how many times before I got onstage.
And finally, an audience member asked me whether my frank words about Christianity and Jesus might rub goyim the wrong way. I can only reply that I tell the truth as I see it, and that if Jesus Christ has a problem with it – I’m here, he can hit me with lightning, he can drop a meteor on my head, he can send me into cardiac arrest – come on, I’m waiting. If he’s really the savior, he can make a miracle, show me the error of my – Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!! I have hangnail on my pinkie; wow, I didn’t see that before. I need to soak that.
Well, anyhoo, it is on to the next step with my show, Shalom Dammit!. If you think my hilarious evening of comedy would be right for your local theater, community center or mortuary, please get in touch. Or if you are a producer with much more money than taste, this is your chance to bring my thoughts to the thoughtless. Email me: Shalomdammit_at_aol.com, that’s shalomdammit_at_aol.com.
It doesn’t have to be Broadway. It can be like Mickey and Judy in a barn saying, “Hey, let’s put on a show! A really dark and offensive show with a lot of Yiddish in it.” But, come on, what do you expect in a barn, Jersey Boys? Greedy bastards.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches.
(c) 2011 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.
Pictured: Rabbi Sol Solomon & musical accompanist David San Miguel