Monthly Archives: March 2018

Sibling March

a button found on the ground at the sibling marchHe found it on the ground at the March for Our Lives sibling march on the Walkway Over the Hudson. He asked if he could keep it. He knows the word, in part because Emily and I have said it a few times, but mainly because of Hamilton, which has something like three curse words. During many of the times when we’ve listened to the soundtrack in the past two years, we’ve talked about these curse words: how judiciously and precisely they are deployed in the libretto, how Lin-Manuel Miranda used them when no other word could do. Could he keep it? Could he put it on his hat? Yes and yes. Fuck the NRA. Fuck you, NRA, or rather, fuck you, the nihilist death cult that took you over from the inside, ever since the “Cincinnati Revolt” coup in 1977 (see Jill Lepore, “Battleground America“). Yes, this boy (this proud Jewish American, this proud Son of the American Revolution) can wear this on his hat, and yes, I will proudly follow him and all the children leading us. (The winds on the bridge were fierce and cold. We wanted to turn around. What would Alexander Hamilton do? I asked. He’d keep going, my older son said. But we’re not at war, he added. Well, we kind of are, I said.) I will follow you, Hamilton generation, as you lead us into a risen-up democracy and a new peace.

Purim Saves the Day; Or, Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Mezuzah

batman and darth vader take out the trash and the recycling

I look forward to the day when the time change in the spring must happen, according to the American candy lobby, before Purim, because Purim will have become completely assimilated into the wider corporate American culture, as candy and costume manufacturers (and drugstore chains and large retailer chains etc.) will have realized that it’s a readymade Halloween II, almost perfectly spaced on the calendar (give or take a lunar month), and that it really doesn’t have to just be for kids being raised in the wonders of the Jewish revival of early twenty-first century; it doesn’t have to be just children dressing up as Esther and Haman and IDF soldiers and beyond (the beyond is key to the assimilation and corporatization, of course). Like gentile kids who go to school with Jewish kids being raised in the marvels of the Jewish revival of the early twenty-first century, corporate America will widen its eyes with wonder at the news that yes, even more marvelous than getting presents for eight nights instead of one morning is the fact of a whole other Halloween, a spring Halloween, with all the candy and all the sugar and all the sugar crashes. There will be confusion over the timing—when is the time change this year, it seems like it’s early this year, that’s because Purim is early this year and the American candy lobby (at least, in secret, or at least, in secret according to myth and Purimist conspiracy theories) controls when the time change happens because of all the money they make now on trick-or-treating for Purim, also known as Halloween II. That dastardly candy lobby! But all of this will be good for the Jews, and will wither the nasty, jealous rage of the anti-Semites whose awful power is currently on the rise in America, because it will be as if Judaism regained the power it once had, centuries ago, as a proselytizing religion: this is a rigorous club, not an exclusive one; you, too, can be a part of it; in the meantime, you and your family can participate in this rediscovered and syncretically reinvented holiday; you don’t have to figure out yourself exactly which weekend the time change is going to happen, because the time change (and Purim, and Easter, for that matter) is on your smartphone’s calendar; and also, while we’re at it, everyone needs to stop toppling headstones at night, like a bunch of racist cowards, please. We are all stronger together, not divided, like the troll farms and their authoritarian overlords would like us to be. Purim, like Esther, can save the day.

Abraham Joshua Heschel's mezuzah

PS Look, I wrote a blog post! That felt good. Although writing this, I realize it may become a part of an essay I am hoping to write. Topics touched on may or may not include and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s office-door mezuzah at the Jewish Theological Seminary, shown here in this picture I took on December 5, 2016 (quoting Emily’s and my ketubah, using text that appears in the ketubah template in the back of Anita Diamant’s The Jewish Wedding Now, “as we customarily count time“). The essay may also reference Arnold Eisen’s talk “The Blessing of Assimilation—Then and Now.”

PPS See also the Danny Trejo monologue from Reindeer Games (which is hilarious in context, but isn’t really at all funny taken out of context): “It says here the retail industry does 50% of its business between December 1st and December 25th. That’s half a year’s business in one month’s time. It seems to me, an intelligent country would legislate a second such gift giving holiday. Create, say, a Christmas 2, late May, early June, to further stimulate growth.”

PPPS See also: “The daylight saving time debate makes headlines for a few days each year, but I’m skeptical that there’s enough political will to modify the system that has largely been used for decades (a few tweaks to DST start and end dates notwithstanding).”