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


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


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


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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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #143 (1/8/17) – Obama & the U.N.

Airs Jan. 7, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube: https://youtu.be/2EY_QSuKYss


Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 8, 2017.

Remember that old Billy Joel song, “Leave a Tender Moment Alone?”  He was talking about how he couldn’t just enjoy a romantic interlude; he had to undercut the good feelings with a gripe or a joke.  Of course, the joke was on him, since he chose Cutty Sark over Christie Brinkley.  But the idea of not leaving well enough alone, of doing your best but then having the world remember your worst — that can be applied to our outgoing commander in chief, Barak Obama.

This is a man who took on a country that was in the toilet financially, emotionally, and seemingly irremediably.  Eight years ago, you couldn’t pay the bills, you couldn’t get a job, you couldn’t sell a house, you couldn’t retire, you couldn’t visit New Orleans without scuba gear.  Since President Obama has been in office, change has been slow, but to deny that an epic turn-around has occurred means that either you’re a retard or a Republican.  On top of this, we killed Bin Laden, pointless laws about harmless crimes have been easing up, and faigelehs can marry whomever they want and, therefore, be as miserable as the rest of us.  Through it all, Obama has maintained his poise, his cool, and his through-the-roof hipness quotient, kind of like yours truly.

And yet, mistakes were made.  He rammed Obamacare up the American tush like a bad thermometer, giving people who never had health insurance coverage, but giving the rest of us a severe pain in the wallet.  He completely screwed the pooch on managing the rise of ISIS, or ISIL, or Islamic Gee-Whiz, or whatever nickname the religion of peace is using these days.

But the most resistible piece de resistance of Obama’s legacy came right near the end.  He and his minion, John Kerry, saw an opportunity to take a little dump on Israel.  The United Nations, a toothless and brainless entity that has kept exactly zero wars from happening since its founding in 1945, voted last month to condemn Israel for settlement building.  These houses, built on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are controversial because the territory was annexed when Moses kicked Mohammed’s ass in the Six Day War.  In other words, it’s been legitimate Israeli land for 50 years, but the Palestinians are still screaming for it like babies ripped from their mama’s boobies.  And, of course, the greater Arab world agrees because any reason to hate Israel is fine by them.  England agrees because they’re still pissed at Israel for pushing them off the sand.  Other countries agree because anti-Semitism has proved a lot more durable than communism.  But the United States, our friend and ally, has always stood with Eretz Yisroel against these bullies and bastards.  Until December.

See, the left-wing liberals don’t like Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, because he cares more about the safety and security of his nation than playing diplomatic blind man’s bluff. And he says, “Why the hell should we stop building settlements on our own soil until we actually make a deal—God forbid—to give the land back?”  If you’re gonna sell your house when you’re 80 years old, does that mean you can’t put in a new bathroom when you’re 58?

Like every American president, Obama wanted to be the one who made lasting peace in the Middle East.  He yearned to be the great statesman who solved the Israeli-Palestinian problem.  How do presidents do this?  By asking Israel to suffer.  Give up this, give up that, and maybe the Arabs will promise to leave you in peace.  Give away land you won fair and square in 1948 and 1967 and 1973, and maybe the Palis will cease lobbing scud missiles at you.  Maybe.

What do the Arabs have to give up?  Ummm.. ummm.. oh yeah.. they must make the terribly difficult sacrifice of admitting that Israel exists.  Oh, the poor dears.  Even John Kerry, in his misguided, hot-headed speech after the UN vote, reminded the Arabs that if they want Israel to come back to the negotiating table, they have to call it “Israel” and not “that smudgy place next to Egypt on the map.”  But shamefully, Kerry and Obama made the United States abstain from the UN condemnation vote, rather than veto it.  It was Barry’s last dig at Benjy.  His way of saying, “You won’t obey me?  Fine, I’ll tell mommy, and you’ll get in trouble.”  Netanyahu, hearing this, stuck his tongue out and replied, “Nyah-nyah, neener-neener.  So you’re the big peacemaker with Muslims?  Do they know that in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen?  Pick a country; there’s a genocide.  But Israel is the bad guy for constructing houses and universities on its own terra firma.”

I have long said that when it comes to Jews and Palestinians, I am in favor of a two-state solution: the Jewish state of Israel, and an Arab state — in Lebanon, or Libya, or Lichtenstein or Mexico, or the North friggin’ Pole — anywhere except on the tiny sliver of real estate set aside for a Jewish homeland.  To demand as a condition of peace that Israel chop itself up and bestow its backyard on its worst enemy is unfair, unsafe, and untenable.  Suppose a fly is buzzing on a windowsill, and there’s a cobweb in the corner.  Suppose the fly surrenders half its rightful window to the spider?  How long you think that fly has before he’s an entrée in Charlotte’s web?

Now, America gives a lot of money to Israel and has throughout Obama’s term in office.  The President has stood with Israel on other issues, and, in the main, relations remain beautifully strong and important.  With Donald Trump coming into the White House, complete with an Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and a converted Jewish daughter, ties between the two nations are likely to get even cuddlier.  So it’s just a disappointment that a mere month before he sneaks his last cigarette behind the oval office, Obama chose to snub the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only true friend America has anywhere in that part of the world — all in the name of appearances and the pie-in-the-sky lie of the two-state solution.

You know, the Democrats thought they had a two-state solution for the last election: New York and California.  We all saw how that worked out.

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 #142 (12/25/16) – 2016 Farewell

Airs Dec. 24, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube:


Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of December 25, 2016.

Events of the past few months notwithstanding, it is not yet the apocalypse. However, we do have a stunning occurrence coming upon us: as we speak, Chanukah and Christmas have arrived at exactly the same time. I have spoken before, some would say at unconscionable length, about not conflating the two holidays. They come from two very different, irreconcilable religions. I don’t begrudge my Christian brethren and sistren, but don’t put a Jewish star on top of a Christmas tree and expect me to feel grateful.

In fact, the only thing I feel gratitude for these days is that 2016 is coming to a merciful end. I don’t need to tell you what a long, meshuggenah trip it’s been. Or maybe I do, in verse form.

`Tis the first night of Chanukah
From Tampa to Tulsa
The candles are burning
Just like my ulcer

The dreidels are spinning
The latkes are frying
The Muslims are killing
The people are dying

The year has been tough
That couldn’t be clearer
So Twenty-Sixteen
Here’s your rear-view mirror

The campaign for president took a dark journey
As Democrat dummies picked Hil and screwed Bernie

Huckabee, Kasich, Rubio, Paul
The louder they got, the harder they’d fall

Jindal and Christie, Carson and Cruz
But then Donald Trump bubbled up from the ooze

He battered Ms. Clinton for being a female
She stumbled and fumbled and mishandled email

Trump lied and insulted and mocked with each Tweet
But then he fell in with the party elite

And lo and behold, as he, alone, expected
The con-artist clown is the guy we elected

If that’s not enough to make us all wretch
There’s plenty more reasons about which I’ll kvetch

There’s Brexit and Brussels and murder in Mosul
While Syria looks like a garbage disposal

All across Europe, security sucks
Who’s teaching these young Arab men to drive trucks?

The Istanbul bomber ignited our fears
Another putz shot up a club full of queers

Mosquitoes with zika came in for the kill
While lyin’ Ryan Lochte shamed us in Brazil

Hurricane Matthew brought death and disaster
A wild Turkish cop shot the Russian ambass’dor

An EgyptAir plane crashed into the sea
And North Carolina won’t let trannies pee

All over the world, ISIS steps up attacks
While our police fire at black people’s backs

If that’s not enough to make you all wince
2016 took Bowie and Prince

Gene Wilder, George Martin, and Elie Wiesel
Scalia and Castro — well, they went to hell

So long, Leonard Cohen
Farewell, Harper Lee
Goodbye, Abe Vigoda . . . finally

We lost Garry Shandling, who wasn’t a sick man
We lost Alan Thicke, and Alan Rickman

Muhammad Ali is no longer standing
And hero John Glenn came in for a landing

Merle Haggard, Ed Albee, and Zsa Zsa Gabor
And Fyvush and Blowfly and too many more

But okay, let’s admit the pipeline was stalled
The Cubs and the Indians played ball in the fall

The stock market zoomed to new heights every day
And Hamilton swept all the Tonys away

Manatees moved from endangered to threatened
And a new subway line was built in Manhetten.

So though it was harsh, absurdist, and mean
Shalom to the year 2016

The lesson it taught us with every new curse:
As bad as things are, they’re bound to get worse.

Happy American Rosh Hashanah everyone! See you in 5778!

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

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #141 (11/6/16) – ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Airs Nov. 5, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cX5zCpfhuk&feature=youtu.be

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 6, 2016.

Well, my friends, this is it.  In three days, we drag ourselves to the local junior high school, sign our names in a guest book, hold our collective noses, and pull the lever to choose which nightmare we wish to endure for the next four years.

On one side, we have Hillary Clinton: experienced, resilient, hardworking, honest as the day is long.  At the South Pole.  If you ask this woman, “what color is the sky?”, her answer’s gonna be, “Well, depending on the time of day and the light refracting away from various planets, we could be somewhere in the azure-like spectrum.  But until I’ve done more research, I have to reserve comment on that.”  Hillary Clinton gets a memo with a giant “C” on it for “Classified,” and she thinks the “C” stands for, “Come, put this on your home computer — where you haven’t updated Norton Utilities in three years.”

And two-faced?  This woman has more faces than Mount Rushmore in a hall of mirrors.  She tells rich fatcats she’s for open borders, but then she tells middle-class Democrats she’s for protecting trade.  She bashes her opponent as a sexist pig but persecutes any woman who humped her husband.  Which is a full-time job, by the way.  Hillary promises to get tough on America’s enemies, but when was Secretary of State, the Middle East turned into Terrorist Disneyland.  Heck, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t even be the nominee if Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her party apparatchiks didn’t treat Bernie Sanders like a naughty puppy who was soiling the carpet by lifting his leg to the far left.

For all his faults, people still love Hillary’s husband, Bill.  He’s got the twinkle, he’s got the polish; he’s got another box of cigars at the ready.  But that popular love just doesn’t transfer to Mrs. Clinton, who’s been in the political game too long to ever be a real person again.  Even people who don’t dislike her understand that if she’s elected, the country will stay the same.  The economy will still grow at a pace that makes photosynthesis look like the Indy 500.  ObamaCare will put more people in hospitals . . . with heart attacks after they see their premiums.  And America will still lag behind the rest of the world in everything except obesity and unwatchable cable TV channels.

And yet, of the two candidates running for the two major political parties, Hillary Clinton is the better choice.  I know that’s like saying a bowl of chocolate-covered horse radish is preferable to a dish of month-old sheep vomit, but if you had to pick, you go with the maror over the moron.  No question, Donald Trump is a wildly successful businessman.  He’s successful, and he’s wild.  I like that he has balls, but then again, what else do you shoot with a loose cannon?

Now, I don’t hold against Donald Trump that he’s gone bankrupt a couple of times.  It takes a savvy entrepreneur to pick yourself up, dust yourself up, pay your creditors two cents on the dollar, and start all over again.  And I don’t mind that he hasn’t paid any taxes since the Hoover administration.  If I could find a legal way not to pay sales tax every time I bought a pastrami sandwich, I’d be owning Trump Hotel.  Which would be especially ironic since neither of us owns it.  For all his building development, Donald Trump does not own most of the buildings he has his name on.  But I don’t hold that against him, either.  After all, if my last name were Parkinson, would I want my name on a disease?

What I do begrudge The Donald are his deals with the devil.  When The Orange One first announced his candidacy, his whole shpiel was about being an outsider.  He wasn’t a lifelong politician and therefore took no money and owed no favors.  That’s tremendously appealing, especially when you’re also plain-speaking, pro-Israel, and promising to play by your own rules.  Had Mr. Trump gone with a third party or created his own party—and I don’t mean the kind of party where he offers a supermodel $10,000 to polish his cornerstone—I mean Ross Perot-ing it.  Saying “shtup you” to the Pelosis and the Paul Ryans, because he could.  Between his bank account and grass-roots support among the kind of white people who think Canadians are as exotic as foreigners should be allowed to get, Donald Trump could have funded a truly “outside” campaign.

Instead, he gets in bed with the elephants.  The same people who gave us eight years of George W. Bush, not to mention Fox News, Richard Nixon, Sarah Palin, Strom Thurmond, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  So the Republicans think they can corral Trump, Trump thinks he can streamroll the G.O.P., and I think they should both go down in flames.  Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans?  Who’s gonna pick my etrogs for Sukkos?  He’s gonna give tax credits to the ultra-wealthy so their money will trickle down?  Wanna bet it trickles down into their yachts, their jewelry, their private islands . . .  Trump wants to pick Supreme Court justices who will protect the Constitution.  The Constitution doesn’t need protecting; it just needs an annotated edition with color pictures, a worksheet, and an interactive website.  Actually, the Torah could use that, too.  I’ll have to tell that to God next time we talk.

Anyhoo, Donald Trump says, “What have you got to lose?”  Everything stinks; maybe I’ll stink less.  Of course, the last guy who said that was Ralph Nader, and we all saw how well that turned out.  So for what it’s worth, I endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.  It is not a ringing endorsement.  In fact, it’s more of a thudding endorsement.  But look at the alternatives: the Trumpster fire?  The Libertarian guy who thinks Aleppo is a tiger with spots?  The independent party run by a dude named “Joe Exotic?”  Look him up.  He’s got eight rings in his ear, a Fu Manchu moustache, and a mustard-yellow leisure suit that should be kept 1,000 feet from any building and detonated.  Or the guy from the Legal Marijuana Now Party — because, of course, the most urgent problem facing our nation today is finding a place to get your mellow on with some sweet bud?  Or the guy from the Nutrition Party, whose sole claim to fame is inventing the Muscle Maker Grill?  I mean, I like George Foreman, but I wouldn’t want him negotiating with North Korea.  Except about barbecue, and even then, kimchi would be a dealbreaker because who the hell wants to eat that?  Seriously.

So we come to the long-awaited end of this contentious, obnoxious, unfathomable election cycle in America.  A cycle that had one candidate call a war hero a coward and another whose every private email makes the New York Times bestseller list.  Meanwhile, the rich get richer, the bridges are crumbling, the schools are stupid, the terrorists are multiplying, and Steven Tyler is making country music.  We’re in big trouble.  But vote anyway because if we’ve gotta choose between an egotist with a messiah complex or a liar who understands complexity, I’ll take the one who isn’t relentlessly battling crucifixion.  Let’s face it…what Rabbi wouldn’t?

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.  Vote early, vote often, try the veal.

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.


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