SHALOM, DAMMIT! Here’s Rabbi Sol Solomon

BRUCHIM HA’BAIM to the digital home of Rabbi Sol Solomon, founder and spiritual leader of Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.

Brilliant, prolific, and kinda cute, Rabbi Sol has appeared off-Broadway in his one-man show, SHALOM DAMMIT! AN EVENING WITH RABBI SOL SOLOMON, and he created 10 episodes of the groundbreaking program, SHALOM DAMMIT!, which aired on Long Island television in 2007.

Rabbi Sol’s mini-sermons, called RABBINICAL REFLECTIONS, air on the Dave’s Gone By radio program, which broadcasts and streams Shabbos mornings on http://www.uncradio.com.

So this is your portal to all things Solomonic, including video of his stage show, his TV programs, and the text/audio of his Reflections. We welcome you to the life and mind of the one, the only, the Jewish, Rabbi Sol Solomon.

Visit our ABOUT page or surf the menus above to get fully Solomized!

Rabbi Sol Solomon in "SHALOM DAMMIT!" Live - March 13-17 in NYC

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #150 (8/20/17) – “On Both Sides”

charlottesville

Airs Aug. 20, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube:  https://youtu.be/0mWZXgYwFmM

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of August 20, 2017.

Nazis are bad. I just thought I’d get that out of the way in case you didn’t know. Nazis are bad. And just so we’re clear, within the realm of Nazis, I also mean the KKK and White Supremacists. Bad, naughty, bad.

See? Wasn’t that easy?

Not for the president. At a time when the United States needed a leader who could spout soothing platitudes about standing up to the bad guys, President Trump painted everyone as bad guys. And then he started saying that some of the bad guys were good guys. In doing so, he’s made himself a pariah even among Republicans who forgave him for seven previous months of crazy.

And what kills me is that much of what Donald Trump said after the Charlottesville slugfest was both defensible and sensible. In his first statement after the event, the President said there’s no place for bigotry and hatred in America, and that we should all unite as one people. I dare anyone besides David Duke and Mel Gibson to disagree with that. And Chuck Schumer, just because disagreeing with Republicans is how he gets his oxygen.

But Trump also wanted to make a point about law and order. Remember: the guy went to a military academy and grabs his ankles every time a general walks by, so for him, a peaceable kingdom has more value than a righteous one. So he said, Look, you had one side showing up for a rally with torches and sticks, and another side meeting them with bats and pepper spray. When they got too close to each other, it was like a Jerry Springer picnic. And Trump was saying, very clearly, that both sides came to rumble. Instead of the Sharks and the Jets, you had the rights and the lefts. If Antifa hadn’t shown up, the alt-right would have had a non-eventful event. But the militant anti-fascists did come, saw a bunch of racists and Jew haters two feet away, and went to town. If you wave a red flag in front of a bull, you better hide your china. Which mixes two metaphors but still makes more sense than Donald Trump’s next speech.

That’s where the orange one doubled down on the douchebags. Two days after reading a prepared statement saying Nazis are bad—took him two days, but he managed it—he tried to re-re-clarify his pronouncements on the mutual violence in Charlottesville. How did he do that? By saying—and I kid you not—that there were good people on both sides. Which means that white supremacists holding confederate and Nazi flags, shouting “Jews will not replace us”—some of them were okay dudes.  And he wonders why even Fox News anchors are having a crisis of conscience. Well, the ones who haven’t been fired for sending dick pics.

Turns out it doesn’t matter who is trying to corral the President—Sean Spicer, John Kelly, the Mooch, that sexy siren Sarah Huckabee—they’re all dealing with a man who says the first thing that comes into his head, which is so filled with orange peroxide, there’s no brain left. If there were, he’d realize that what he was trying to say was simple. In Charlottesville, you could divide the situation into two elements: ideology and behavior. One side had an evil ideology; both sides engaged in inappropriate behavior.

I’ll put it another way. Let’s say Trump pushes through his budget next year and cuts meals on wheels for the aged and handicapped. So a million old people march on Washington. Along with  some cripples who roll on Washington. And they protest the cruelty of denying support to those who need it most. And the protestors are so mad, they start bashing young people with their canes and hurling their diapers into the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial. Worst of all, they destroy the ratings of the Hallmark Channel by missing a whole day of “Diagnosis Murder” reruns.

Now, ideologically, these geezers are on the side of the angels—with whom they will be consorting soon enough. They have right on their side. Not alt-right, virtue-right. But behaviorally, they’re wicked, and should be arrested as soon as the first colostomy bag hits the Potomac.

So you see that moral evil can be separated from physical misconduct. A well-spoken Nazi in a suit and tie is still a Nazi. A heart surgeon who speeds through a red light still deserves a ticket. And a President who usually means well can keep doing things that make us want to impeach him.

We’re in for a long national conversation about pulling down statues, taking down blogs, and everyone being fed up. But take heart, America. It’s only 41 more months to the next presidential election. And if we can just manage to stay out of a nuclear war, that’s more than enough time to bounce back from a civil war. Isn’t it?

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

 

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #149 (8/13/17) – Trump & Trannies

TrumpTranny

Airs Aug. 13, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube:  https://youtu.be/fioFKTD0v34

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of August 13, 2017.

In much of mainstream media, Donald Trump is maligned—left, right, and sideways—for everything he says and does. A lot of times he should be, but other times, it’s just knee-jerk obstructionism as payback for the way the Republicans cock-blocked Obama for eight years. Is it really wrong to put America first, or to be extra careful about immigration from hostile countries, or to think your daughter’s kinda hot? No. These are defensible ideas, whether you ascribe to them or not.

However, since Donald Trump can’t get his own agenda started, his whole presidency has been about reversing whatever the last administration did. And about saying, “Hey, you think I’m a liar and a meanie? Hillary’s even worse!”—which is such a helpful ideology six months after the election.

Still, Trump wants to junk the Iran deal? I don’t blame him. He wants to hold Arab countries to a higher standard of behavior before selling Israel down the river? I’m all for him. He wants to fire everyone he appointed? Eh, he did that on TV, so why should we expect different? He wants to reverse policy about transsexual people joining the military? No. Just no. What the hell is it to Donald Trump if a soldier’s uniform fits a little differently between the hips and the knees?

Republicans say they’re not being homophobes; the reason to keep Trannies out of the service is cost–for building separate bathrooms and showers. And since the army is known to spend $400 on a toilet seat, putting up an entire stall must costs millions. The military also fears that transgenders will stay closeted until they get through basic training, then ask for surgery and expect Uncle Sam to pay for it. I mean, where’s the money going to come from if we’re pouring all that dough into building empty schools in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Another excuse to ban the Trans is mental instability. Right-wingers say that if a person can’t decide whether to be a boy or a girl, that points to confusion, which can be deadly on the battlefield. And, of course, bible-thumping goyim see gender fluidity and homosexuality as mental illnesses to begin with. We can’t have crazy people in the air force and navy, they say. We need to save those slots for colored folks who have no other way to get a leg up in this economy than to be cannon fodder.

I think what Trump is most worried about is the downtime. You’ve got Marines, pumped up on testosterone and killer instincts, waiting around for an excuse to release their aggression. With no battle to charge into, they go out to drink and pick up a female cadet. Now, there’s a private, taking a woman back to his tent, groping around her privates, and finding a ding-dong where her ying-yang should be. That’s a homicide waiting to happen. But it’s not a trannie’s fault if a cadet can’t control himself, any more than it’s Burger King’s fault if I take extra ketchup packets and put them in my cupboard for later. They may be tempting me by displaying free condiments, but it is my weakness that makes me stuff my pockets. Damn you, H.J. Heinz.

But back to the AC/DC’s. If you’re in a foxhole fighting a war, do you care whether the person next to you has a penis, a vagina, or a mixmaster between the legs? No. You just want them to fire when ready and send your dog tags home if you don’t make it. And the bitching about transgenders in the military is no different from the griping about women in the military, and gays, and blacks, and Jews, and anyone who isn’t white, Christian, and 100 percent brain-washable. Donald Trump has bought into this prejudice to the point where he won’t even allow trannies in the office pool, let alone facing combat.

Of course, the silver lining is that transgender people who can’t serve in the military also can’t get killed in the military. When we have to start sending bombers over North Korea, it’s the tow-headed, Sunday-school Andy Hardys who’ll be flying top-secret, while the Caitlin Jenners will be shopping in Victoria’s Secret. But it is not the President’s place to declare that people of any sexuality are unfit to defend their own freedom. After all, 66 million Americans voted that Donald Trump wasn’t fit to be President, yet here he is in the job. Hmm, maybe that’s not the best example.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #148 (8/6/17) – Roger Waters

Airs Aug. 5, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://youtu.be/7ZxLps4G8ZU

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of August 6, 2017.

Today, my friends, I go swimming in foul waters. Brackish waters. Roger Waters! The former head of Pink Floyd is now a solo artist with delusions of relevance.

Waters has long been critical of Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. According to Mr. Stink Floyd, Israel is always the bad guy: occupying land, denying Palis of their rights, existing. And Waters has made no attempt to hide his contempt for the only democracy—and sometimes the only civilized society—in the Middle East.

Who can forget the 2010 Waters concert, where his animated set design included B-1 bombers dropping mogen davids? Or, worse, the 2013 concerts, where, instead of launching beachballs and t-shirts into the crowd, he sent an inflatable pig with a Jewish star on it hovering over bewildered baby boomers, who just wanted him to shut up and play “The Wall.” And that’s the problem in a nutshell—or a nutcase. People still want to hear his old music, so that gives Waters a huge platform for his babble.

I’ll even grant that he thinks he means well. To Roger Waters, Israel is a torture state, an oppressive regime that doesn’t let a bunch of poor, bedraggled Arabs blow themselves up in peace. He’s not against Israel, he says; he doesn’t hate Jews; he’s merely a rabid anti-fascist. Except for someone who supposedly has nothing against Hebes, Waters takes every opportunity to savage our homeland. He equates Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of Jewish settlements on Jewish land with South Africa’s apartheid and feels both should be countered the same way. As such, Waters has become the poster boy for BDS. You know BDS: Bondage, Domination, and Stupidity. Or more officially: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel. In other words, hurt Israel financially, and the Jews will just slink off into the Red Sea and let the Palestinians take over land that they’ll just turn back into desert.

At least BDS isn’t the usual Moslem protest. Instead of flying planes into office walls, they just want to build a commerce wall around Israel. As part of his responsibilities being the BDS butt boy, Roger Waters has called on other musicians to avoid Eretz Yisroel and cancel any concerts they have planned there. In response, Thom Yorke and Radiohead, bless their hearts, went to Tel Aviv and played their longest concert in eleven years. Now granted, even they equivocated: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke said in a statement. “We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America.”

Well, okay, I’ll accept Radiohead’s defensive half over Pink Floyd’s ass whole. And lest we think Roger Waters is anything other than a Goebbels with a guitar, look no further than his interview with the blatantly anti-Israel CounterPunch magazine. Waters complained about the “extraordinarily powerful” Jewish lobby in America, which he says makes it hard for other musicians to back him in his fulminating foolishness. Waters also bitched about Israel’s “right-wing rabbinate” supposedly causing, quote “the ethnic cleansing and systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime.” Ethnic cleansing. Right. Because Arabs are systematically murdered by the Israeli government for no other reason than the towels on their heads. Sure. That they start riots, kill soldiers, and blow themselves to pieces in cafes has nothing to do with Israel’s distrust of their breed.

I’m not saying Israel is perfect, or that the Prime Minister is right about everything. After all, a couple of weeks ago I, myself, blasted Netanyahu for reneging on a plan to make a small bit of the Wailing Wall co-ed. But I also understand what Israel is up against: ongoing hostility from the very neighbors who should take in the miserable Palestinians but won’t. For 80 years, little Israel has made the best of a situation that the Arabs have consistently made worse.

And Roger Waters? He won’t play Milk and Honey City? Let’s take a look at the schedule for his 2002 world tour, shall we? We shall. Let’s see, he started in South Africa in February. Well, there’s a country with a glorious history of justice. Oh, and then he moved on to Chile—no problems there. Argentina, which at the time was run by that bastion of morality, Carlos Menem. Let’s see…Brazil (where I’m sure Waters felt at home with the other Nazis), Venezuela (ditto), Mexico (because drugs and rock and roll do mix), Japan—because hegemonic nationalism was never an issue there. Oh, and then it was off to Beirut. Uh huh. And Moscow and Warsaw and Munich and Frankfurt and Stuttgart and Oberhausen and Vienna. Because when have Germany and Austria ever had a race problem?

A million times I have said that Israel is a Jewish state, and it is also a teeny-weeny state, so if the Palestinians don’t like living there, they should gas up their camels and move to any other Arab country that would have them. Which is, of course, none. Which is the real tragedy that putzes like Roger Waters, Susan Sarandon, Amy Goodman, and Javier Bardem never acknowledge. There is no occupation. There is a miniscule Jewish country that every Arab wants to level, and when the Jews fight back, or get strategic with blockades, the lefties wring their hankies and blame the good guys.

If I sound especially grim and intolerant, understand that I am writing this only a couple of days after three Israelis were stabbed to death by Palestinians in the West Bank, and a day after Arabs attacked the Israeli embassy in Jordan. Why the violence? The Palis were pissed off because Israel put in metal detectors by the Temple Mount. That started a riot, and three Arabs were shot by Israeli police. Yes, using deadly force against rioters is unfortunate, but over metal detectors? Something designed to keep everybody safe no matter what the religion? When I go in an airport, I’ve gotta take off my coat, my shoes, my belt, my watch. It’s a pain in the ass, but do I riot? No. And let’s not forget the reason we all have to get naked at JFK in the first place: the Arabs!

So Roger Troubled Waters, feel free to stay away from Israel. Plenty of bands who have actually made good music over the past forty years will take your place. And if you want to be the change you hope to see in the world, howsabout looking in the mirror? You were in Pink Floyd where the lead songwriter turned into an insane recluse, and the guy who replaced him can’t get along with you. You’ve been married four times—and divorced four times. And you’re an atheist, so even God has washed his hands of you.

You are the Pooper at the Gates of Dumb. You are the Atom Heartless Motherfucker. You’re the Dark Side of the Moron. The Final Cunt. A More-Than-Momentary Lapse of Reason. All in all, you’re just another Prick in the Wailing Wall, and I wish you weren’t here.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #147 (7/9/17) – Wailing Wall

Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #147 (7/9/17) –  Wailing Wall

Aired July 9, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://youtu.be/r32HoGBoRYY

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of July 9, 2017.

It is no secret that I love Israel. If I were to make a list of things I love, Israel would be number three, right after hot pastrami sandwiches and hot Natalie Portman. What can I say? I like sex and sandwiches. But Israel comes third—higher, even, than my wife and family, who come a distant fourth. And because I love Eretz Yisroel, I have railed many times against those who criticize the country for its treatment of the Palestinians—who do not belong IN Israel if they don’t follow the rules—and against those who bitch that America spends too much money on Israel. Because, you know, Israel’s Arab neighbors are such a friendly lot and have done so much good for us.

All that said, the past week has been a painful one for Zionistas like myself. First of all, we were reminded that Israeli politicians aren’t perfect when former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, was released from prison after serving 16 months for taking bribes. Far be it from me to pass judgment on someone succumbing to the temptation of taking a money-stuffed envelope; heck, you could bribe ME with a stuffed cabbage. But we expect more of our leaders and doubly more of our Israeli leaders. If Israelis wanted to be saddled with a corrupt politician who cared only for himself, they’d move to New Jersey.

But Olmert is old news; the new news is the internal fight, in Jerusalem, over the Wailing Wall. See, everyone can pray at the wall of the great temple; they just can’t pray together. Men can daven in one section, and women can pray in a smaller area by the parking lot that’s also too close to the elevator and the ice machine.

A year and a half ago, secular leaders from the U.S. and Israel met with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and begged him to create a nook by the Western Wall where gentlemen and ladies could pray together. Not the whole wall, just a portion that would no longer be segregated by sex or gender.

Feminists, liberals, reform Jews, reconstructionists, and deconstructionists like myself welcomed the compromise. It would keep Israel in the modern era and also make it easier for families and tourists to nag each other in the same place at the same time. So in 2017, who could object to this? The ultra-Orthodox, that’s who. This politically formidable and staunchly conservative group, who were key in keeping Netanyahu in power, will accept absolutely no compromises: women on one side, men on the other, Caitlin Jenner in the basement. The chassids forced Netanyahu to reneg on his deal, which infuriated all the moderates. As David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee put it, “The Kotel belongs to all Jews worldwide, not to a self-appointed segment.”

To be fair, Jews everywhere count on the uber-Orthodox to keep the faith—literally. With so much assimilation and intermarriage and pressure to be a nationalist first and a Jew second—it’s kind of nice to have a bunch of yidlach still living in the 19th century, resisting modernity, and reminding us there’s a core of bible-based tenets that have carried us for 5,000 years. Let’s face it, the Amish are ridiculous, but they make the best pretzels and furniture, so we’d miss `em if they all packed up and moved to rumspringa.

But Israel was not created by America and the U.N. solely as a place for black hatters to study Talmud and suck down welfare. Eretz Yisroel was founded as a refuge for all Jews, blown sideways by the diaspora, decimated by the Holocaust, and crying for a safe homeland in the place the Torah says we came from. Among all those Jews, some work on Saturdays. Some like a ham sandwich. Some even intermarry or listen to Mannheim Steamroller. To disregard the lifestyles of these people as not being Jewish enough for Jerusalem smacks of reverse discrimination. Worse, American Jewish groups worry that Netanyahu’s bowing to a tiny segment of his population could drive a wedge between secular American Jews and Israel. Already, mega-philanthropist, Ike Fisher, a real-estate tycoon and AIPAC poobah, has suspended donations to the country because of what he calls this quotes “act of contempt.” That’s millions of dollars at stake, folks. Dollars that could be paving Israeli roads, providing health care, building me a satellite shul in Haifa—hey, a guy can dream, right?

So I must join with other Rabbis of my persuasion in objecting to this reversal by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his kowtowing to an obdurate faction: a group so right wing, they make the Tea Party look like SDS. And look, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not such a big deal to ask men and women coming to the holiest place on earth, to stand a few yards away from each other. I mean, when you go to the gym, do you share the same locker room? No! Much as I would like to. But it’s the principle of the thing. Jews are not a monolith. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and curves. Favoring one sex over another, however subtly, is just not in keeping with the egalitarian spirit of a people who know all too much about arbitrary separation.

So Benjamin, Benyamin, Benjy, Benihana: do what’s right for Israel, rather than just for your career: let men and women pray together in Jerusalem. If God doesn’t like it, He can shake the wall and spit out the little pieces of paper. Or just move the wall to the U.S./Mexican border and kill two birds with one stone. Well, a thousand stones, but you get my drift.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #146 (6/11/17) – 2017 Tony Nominations

TonyShow

Aired June 10, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube:

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of June 11, 2017.

Once again we have an opportunity to celebrate one of the most glorious attractions in New York and, indeed, the entire world. No, not college girls in spring dresses, I’m talking about the Broadway theater! Within half a square mile, dozens of the most brilliant playwrights, composers, actors, designers, dialect coaches — these happy few create lasting memories that straddle a magnificent line between art and entertainment. It’s kind of like what I do, without the art or entertainment.

Because I love Broadway—when it isn’t too self-indulgent, patronizing, boring, or stupid—every year I celebrate the arrival of the Tony Awards. Not because this actress is better than that one, but as an excuse to thank all the artists who contribute to the Great White Way, even the black ones. Most importantly, as a Rabbi, I like to find the Jewishness, the Yiddishkeit, in the Tony nominations. Back in the day, Broadway was Jewish. You had more Yids shlepping to the Morosco Theater than came to Ma’ariv services. Behind the scenes, too. Nearly all the classic musicals were Jew-composed. Faigelehs, too, but mostly faigeleh Jews. And the producers, the directors, the writers—David Merrick, Arthur Miller, Frank Loesser, Neil Simon, Eugene O’Neill’s accountant — all had a hand in building the Broadway we know today.

So when I skim over the 2016-17 season Tony nominees, I look for my people, and when I find them, I kvell. For example: Kevin Kline, still a matinee idol, still a comedy master as proved by his performance in Noel Coward’s Present Laughter. Kline’s mama was a Roman Catholic, and he was raised in that faith, but his papa was Jewish, so I like to think the part of him that’s shtupping Phoebe Cates is circumcised. More tricky is the star of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. Josh Groban, a pop idol in his own right, would have been Jewish if his father had more taste. Instead, papa married a shikseh and converted to Episcopalianism, which turned his son from a Hebe to a dweeb. Still, there’s footage of teenage Josh playing Tevye in a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof, so the boy’s not all bad.

Disappointingly, Kevin Kline aside, all the other lead actors and actresses in plays are jaw-droppingly goyish. I mean, if Chris Cooper had a baby with Laura Linney, it would be so white, it could hide in a box of q-tips. The news isn’t much better in musicals—Christian Borle? Christine Ebersole? Who’s next—Crucifixia Smith? However, we do have one ringer—and she’s a humdinger: Bette Midler! She’s taken Broadway by storm in a revival of Hello, Dolly!. Now, it’s never stated in either The Matchmaker or Hello, Dolly! that Dolly Levi is Jewish but…come on. If it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, and it complains about the thinness of the local deli’s corned-beef sandwiches, it’s a Jewish duck. Especially since Dolly, which is a shoo-in for best revival, was written by Jerry Herman and the equally Jewish Michael Stewart (fka Myron Stewart Rubin, if you please. And I do please).

The other two musical revivals up for Tonys: Miss Saigon, written by Boublil and Schonberg—which is the French equivalent of Goldstein and Cohen—and the great Falsettos, by William Finn. That show opens with a song called “Four Jews in a Room Bitching” and ends with a Bar Mitzvah, so if you take away the AIDS, the infidelity, the spousal abuse, the fags, and the death, it’s the perfect Jewish family musical.

And let’s not forget the Yidlach making new musicals, too. Benj Pasek, is nominated for co-writing the acclaimed Dear Evan Hansen. Pasek also wrote songs in the almost-Oscar-winning “La La Land.” In fact, one tune did win an Oscar, and in Pasek’s acceptance speech, he namechecked a Jewish Community Center in Philadelphia! Meanwhile, the writers of Come from Away are married couple Irene Sankoff and David Hein. They’re so tribal, they wrote one play called Mitzvah, and a musical called My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. And I thought I was Mitch McConnell’s worst nightmare.

The book for Groundhog Day was penned by someone who wouldn’t eat a hog, Danny Rubin. (Or at least he shouldn’t eat a hog.) And the director of the aforementioned Natasha, Pierre, and the whatever of whenever is Rachel Chavkin, who calls herself culturally Jewish even though she wasn’t Bat Mitzvahed. It’s okay, Ruchel, there’s always time.

Saving the best for last, two of the four Tony-nominated new plays have central Jewish themes. Oslo, by the shaygitz J.T. Rogers, is all about how two low-level Norwegian diplomats got Israel and the Palestinians to talk peace in 1993. We all know how that worked out, but the play manages to humanize everybody—amazingly, without making a false moral equivalency between Palestinian terrorism and Jewish self-protection. Yes, one of the Israeli negotiators is a total asshole, but he bargains in good faith and, well, let’s face it, Israelis…

The other Tony-nominated play is by the Pulitzer-winning Paula Vogel, and it’s called Indecent. Which reminds me of the joke about the old Rabbi having sex with a hooker. He gets on top of her, but then he starts crying. “Whatsamatter?” the hooker says. “I’m sorry,” says the Rabbi. “This is indecent.” “Indecent?” says the hooker. “No it isn’t. It just fell out.” But more to the point—yet still involving hookers—Indecent the play is all about the premiere of another play 100 years ago. God of Vengeance, by Sholem Asch, scandalized the Jewish theater community when it was translated into English and performed on Broadway in 1923. Asch’s drama told of a brothel owner who tries to go respectable but just ends up even more morally bankrupt than where he began. The play has prostitutes, hypocrisy, even a lesbian kiss. Yeah! Unfortunately, the whole cast was indicted on charges of obscenity, leading to a trial and eventual exoneration.

As for Paula Vogel’s play, Newsday Jewess Linda Winer called Indecent “a gripping and entertaining show with laughter and tears and a real rainstorm”—because who doesn’t go to the theater to experience lousy weather?

Anyhoo, when it comes to the Tony Awards, I do have one complaint. Remember two years ago at the Oscars, when no black people were nominated for anything? Even then, they had a schvartze host: Chris Rock. Can you remember the last time the Tony Awards had a Jewish host? Not Kevin Spacey, not James Corden, not Neil Patrick Harris, not Hugh Jackman. If we go back to 2008, Whoopi Goldberg hosted—but she doesn’t count. She just chose that last name because it was somewhere in her family line, and because she wanted to be taken more seriously as an actress. (Oddly enough, “Whoopi” wasn’t doing that for her.) You have to go back to 2001, when Matthew Broderick, whose mom was Jewish, co-hosted the Tonys with Nathan Lane, who really should be Jewish. And before that? Amy Irving co-hosting in 1994. Prior to that? Tony Randall, 1982. So basically, once a decade, we get a landsman on the dais. So maybe in 2018, the American Theater Wing will remember who built Broadway in the first place and pick a heimische host. It just so happens my calendar is free that night, whatever night that is. So Broadway League—you have my number, my twitter, and my umbrella, which I really need to get back from you.

Until then, this Sunday night, I will be watching the 71st annual Tony Awards, applauding for the winners, pitying the losers, marveling at the production numbers, and praying for a nip slip on the red carpet. God, I love the theater.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. Curtain up!

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

 

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #145 (3/11/17) – Purim Jokes Anew

PurimJokes2017

Airs March 11, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://youtu.be/Zz9D1TbSKVE

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 11, 2017.

Happy Purim, everybody! It’s the one day of the year when the world is actually supposed to be crazy, rather than the accident we live in day to day. As such, it’s something of a tradition on this most happy holiday for me to eschew ranting, bitching, and beating various dead horses, and to just tell a couple of jokes, with a bissel of Talmudic commentary. Well, Talmudic-style commentary, since I’m too busy to actually read the friggin’ Talmud. (pause) Oh, as if you aren’t.

Anyhoo, we begin with a charming joke about infidelity. Murray the accountant has been lusting after his secretary for months. Finally, she gives in, they take the day off, go to a hotel, and spend hours boinking and shtupping, moaning and groaning, coming and going. They’re so exhausted, they even fall asleep. Suddenly, Murray wakes up, it’s 7:30 at night.
They start frantically dressing, and as they get out the door, Murray hands the girl his shoes and says, “Do me a favor. Take my shoes, go to the lawn, and rub them all over the grass and dirt. Do it!” She does. He says, “Great, don’t panic.” Drives her home and makes a beeline for his own house.
In he walks at 8:45, and boy, is his wife waiting for him. “Where have you been?” she screams in his face.
“Honey,” he says. “I’m not gonna lie to you. For the last ten hours, I’ve been in a hotel room with my hot secretary, and we’ve been having wild sex in every possible position. I’m sorry.”
Murray’s wife looks down at his shoes. Stares at them. Says, “You lying son of a bitch; you’ve been playing golf!”

Please note that this joke is not meant to be instructional or tried at home. It does remind us that marriage is a sacred institution, but even more sacred is the need for men to have their own corner of time and space. Doesn’t mean, chas v’chalil, they should be committing adultery—or certainly not childrenry. But an activity that is theirs and theirs alone. And ladies, remember, the good news is that for men of a certain age, golf is a helluva lot more manageable than an affair. For one thing, you can hold your shaft up for three hours without having a heart attack. For another, it’s more fun to pick up your balls from the green than to pick up your balls with tighter underpants. And finally, if you land in the wrong hole, you just get a drink at the bar instead of needing a penicillin shot.

Moving on. So last week, I’m visiting a big synagogue in Manhattan, and I have to use the bathroom. So I go downstairs, big men’s room; I try one stall, the door won’t open. So I try the next one, it’s fine, I go in, sit down.
I’m just getting settled, when a voice comes from the next cubicle. “Shalom! How are you doing?”
“Oy,” I think. But to be polite, I answer, “I’m fine, thank you very much.”
A couple seconds go by, the man says, “Well, what are you doing?”
What am I doing? I tell the guy, “I’m taking a poop! What the hell do you think I’m doing?”
Immediately, I hear the voice say: “Listen, Chaim, lemme call you back. I’ve got this schmuck in the other stall answering everything I say.”

Nu, so what do we learn from this joke? We learn that we can get so wrapped up in our own heads, we automatically assume everything around us revolves around us. The truth is, most of the time, the opposite is true. We are the moons orbiting the sun. The best we can do is not to collide with each other, fall in, and burn up. Put another way—since I mentioned poop—we’re just flies circling the manure. The best we can do is not collide, fall in, and come out smelling like Greeley, Colorado.

Okay, last one. Out of sheer curiosity, because he’s never been, Avi Cohen decides to visit a church. He goes in, unpacks his t’fillin bag, puts on a yarmulke and tallis, and sits. He figures, “I can pray my own prayers; I just like the atmosphere.”
However, when the priest starts the service, he sees Avi, and the first thing he says is, “Would all non-Christians kindly leave?”
Avi hears this, but he’s in the middle of the sh’ma and doesn’t move.
Again, the priest calls out, “I’m asking, please, would all non-Christians leave?”
Avi, in the middle of prayer, doesn’t acknowledge; doesn’t budge.
Finally, turning red, the priest barks out, “Will all Jews please leave my church!”
At this, Avi removes his kippah, his tallis, stuffs them away, leaps out of his chair, and marches towards the exit. On the way, he grabs a statue of Jesus and says, “Come boychick. They don’t want us here anymore.”

This is, of course, a reminder that in an era when Christians and Jews may wind up being pitted against each other over abortion, Palestinians, school prayer, thin-crust pizza vs. Chicago style. It’s good to remember we all need each other. Christians wouldn’t have a religion without us. And we wouldn’t have much traction in our current government if the goyim didn’t believe that Israel was necessary for endtimes. So, Jews, stop panicking. If anti-Semites are knocking over some headstones, if the alt-right is somehow making skinheads feel like they’ve got decent hair—it sucks, but don’t get sucked in. On this Purim holiday of 2017, celebrate what we can, and keep an eye on what we can’t.

Remember, too, that the president has a Jewish son-in-law and a converted Jewish daughter, and that the majority of our countrymen stand with us. Countrywomen, too. After all, what is a pussy hat if not a hamentaschen for the head?

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. Purim Sameach!

(c)2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #144 (3/5/17) – Playboy

playboycover

Airs March 4, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube: https://youtu.be/HhgXViF07kA

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 5, 2017.

Remember New Coke?  It was Coca Cola’s attempt to fix something that wasn’t broken.  Take a formula that merrily rotted people’s teeth for years, change it for no particular reason, market the hell out of it, and watch customers start drinking Pepsi.  The Coke folks realized their error, and they reinstituted the classic recipe, and everything went back to normal levels of thirst quenching and obesity.

So who was the latest company to overthink its brand and screw the pooch?  None other than Playboy magazine.  In a stroke of madness—well, stroke may not be the best word—Playboy changed its whole ethos. Like so many magazines today, Playboy has felt the terrible pinch of the digital era.  Circulation is down—and I don’t mean sales, I mean Playboy readers are so old, their bodies have no circulation.  Meanwhile, along comes Maxim, also targeting the men’s-lifestyle market, and they eat away at Playboy’s potential younger audience.  And unlike Playboy, Penthouse, Juggz, and my favorite, Barely Legal Anal Nurses, Maxim’s photo shoots are scanty but still clothed.  The honchos at Playboy must have been scratching their heads, along with their crab lice, and wondering, “For years, men lied about reading us for the articles.  Now there’s this other magazine with articles, and they’re proud to read it for the bikinis.  What the what?”

So Playboy made the decision a year ago to eschew nudity.  Think of it: Playboy without nudity.  That’s like Auschwitz without Jews in it.  This was the magazine that put a naked Marilyn Monroe in its first issue, the magazine that made stars of Dorothy Stratten, Anna Nicole Smith, and many others who died of natural causes; this was the magazine that served as ground zero for the sexual revolution, mainstream pornography, and the worldwide Kleenex shortage of 1967.

But times change, and for three decades now, Playboy has had to compete with digital magazines, cable TV and home video, changing popular tastes, and shifting cultural landscapes.  It hasn’t helped that the visionary founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, is still alive.  If he’d dropped dead years ago, he’d be extolled as an iconic, nostalgic reminder of America throwing off the shackles of the 1950s and embracing a world of new freedoms.  But as a 90-year-old coot, Hef just makes people think of airbrushing, exploitation, and Bill Cosby honing his groping skills in the grotto. And what’s with those twins Hef was dating?  How sexy is it to have two curvaceous, nymphomaniacal hotties give grampa a reacharound…just to change his ostomy bag.

But back to the nudity, or the removal thereof.  When Ringling Brothers, responding to pressure from animal-rights groups, got rid of its elephants two years ago, what did that lead to?  That’s right: the end of Ringling Brothers.  When Playboy bid byebye to boobs and bushes…what happened?  Actually, to be honest and surprising, sales went up a bit, especially for a younger demographic.  And the magazine was able to be displayed more prominently on more newsstands.  But it still wasn’t enough.  Readers would look at Playboy, glance at the photos—instead of staring intently at them for several minutes— and then ask themselves, “Why am I still reading this?”

Cooper Hefner, the son of Hef and company COO since his sister stepped down in 2009, admitted putting ponchos over pussies was a mistake.  In fact, “Nudity is Normal” is the motto on the cover of the March/April issue—an issue with mega-hot model Elizabeth Elam topless on the cover. Why, Playboy is even bringing back its party jokes, so all is right with the world.  Who knows, maybe they’ll even bring back those cartoons with the wrinkly old, sex-crazed granny.   I mean, she’s only 80 years older than Hef’s next girlfriend.

So welcome back old-fashioned Playboy.  You’re still a dinosaur on the way to the amber yard, but at least along the way, you’ll help a few more teenage boys explore the wonders of gynecology.  In a time when our government seems intent on yanking America back to the days of “Father Knows Best,” it’s heartening that once more, Playboy will leave it to beaver.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.  Show us your tits!

(c) 2017 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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