Jerusalem: Hebrew Union College, the Reform Movement’s theological seminary, has acted quickly to remove an aspiring Rabbi who failed to meet their program’s standards. Adam G. is a native of Chicago who has failed his mandatory Guitar Class, and thus now faces expulsion.
Dean Melissa Levy-McIntosh explained. “Adam simply failed to acclimate to our Institution’s rigorous standards. I mean, he speaks Hebrew fluently, which is great, I guess. But his guitar work was simply atrocious.” The Daily Freier challenged Dean Levy-McIntosh but she was adamant. “We gave Adam plenty of chances. We even supplied a tutor. And when his instructor informed me that Adam had not yet advanced past “Bim Bam”, I decided to sit in on a class just to make sure. Let me tell you, that was the worst “Shalom Rav” I have ever heard. Also, during the break I saw him approach a classmate and ask who Debbie Friedman was.”
Hebrew Union College has urged Adam to re-apply for the Autumn 2018 Class provided he goes hiking in the Berkshires and maybe takes some tambourine lessons.
Jerusalem, The Knesset: In a move described as “bold“, “courageous“, and “resolute“, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed that despite going back on the Western Wall Agreement, he will continue accepting money from Diaspora Jews regardless of their level of religiosity or political stands. The Daily Freier attended a Press Conference in Jerusalem where Bibi explained his stand.
“Jews in the Diaspora, Make no mistake: No matter your stands on the Kotel, or conversions, or the Rabbanut….. we in Israel will never stop cashing your checks. And for those of you who are afraid that Israel doesn’t respect you, let me say again…. I will always cash your checks.”
After his Press Conference, the Prime Minister had a question and answer session, with Bibi providing the questions and answers. “In these days of a rising BDS Movement, what can we do to truly tell the World’s second biggest Jewish community that we are all in this together?” asked Prime Minister Netanyahu. “If you answered “throw Reform and Conservative Jews under the bus and renege on a previous agreement“, then award yourself a prize.”
Ramat Aviv: In a move described as “bold” and “daring“, the Ashkenazi Community purchased the rights to the Mimouna Holiday from the Mizrachi Community today. According to the one page flyer that they stuck in the little wooden box on the front of your seat in synagogue, the move has been planned since right after Passover, and was finalized to coincide with the arrival of Shavuot this week. Mimouna, the post-Passover Holiday celebrated by North African Jews, is known for its plentiful food and colorful costumes. And the Ashkenazim vow not to change anything. Except they’re going to make the food a bit blander and easier to digest. And the music is going to be toned down a bit. Especially after 10 PM. Also we’re going to need to make the music slower. And maybe add a fiddle. The Daily Freier stopped by Ashkenazi World Headquarters in Ramat Aviv to get the whole Megillah on this dramatic turn of events.
“We’ve always admired Mimouna.” explained Ashkenazi World Spokeswoman Miriam G. “Those nice dresses the men and women wear. The sweets. The music. So when we found out that the rights to the holiday were now up for sale, we jumped at the opportunity!” The Daily Freier asked Miriam exactly how this once in a lifetime opportunity came about. “So the legal ownership of Mimouna became convoluted over time, but our lawyers were able to untangle the chain of custody and determine that the rights were currently being held by a hummus place in Ashkelon that also fixes cars sometimes. So we put out some feelers and found out they were willing to sell. Then we designed a compensation package with 50% up front and 5 years of scheduled 10% payments from an escrow account, and Boom! We had a deal!”
Miriam went on to explain that while the Ashkenazim intend to maintain the spirit of the holiday, there are going to be some changes. “We want a Mimouna that is just as authentic but maybe a bit less chaotic.” When the Daily Freier challenged Miriam for details, she summed up the Ashkenazi plan thusly: “Reduced chances of losing track of your shoes at some point during the evening but with greater opportunities for getting bored….. Also my husband’s heartburn has been acting up lately so we may need to get rid of that dry ground red pepper that they put in everything. And our neighbors get up early to drive to Jerusalem each morning, so we need to be finished by 10 PM, maximum 10:30.”
Not surprisingly, this move has led to a few hurt feelings. “This is outrageous!” complained an irate woman named Maygal whom we talked to in the Rehovot train station. “Soon you Ashkenazim are going to take everything we have and make it boring and stupid. How would you like it if we took your Leonard Cohen or Barbra Streisand or whatever and added electronic drums plus sound effects from a dance club and then ran it through the sound system of a 2003 Toyota Corolla with tinted windows?” When the Daily Freier replied that this actually sounded kinda cool, Maygal shoved us and stormed off.
In any event, at least there will still be some sort of dance that involves everybody wandering around in a circle.
Jerusalem: No longer content to simply copy stylish first daughter Ivanka Trump’s hairstyle and clothing, the trendy and religiously observant from Manhattan to Beit Shemesh have been packing the offices of local rabbis seeking an “Ivanka heter“….. rabbinical dispensation to break the laws of Shabbat due to “pikuach nefesh” (life-threatening circumstances)…. like, you know, wanting to go on a really cool trip with their dad.
“Keeping Shabbat is hard.” noted Rivky R, a lifelong Shomre Shabbat aficionado. “I never realized how life-threatening some situations truly are… for example missing out on my cousin’s bachelorette night…but now that I think about it, this really is a situation I should ask my rabbi about. Thanks Ivanka!”
The Daily Freier walked down to our local Rabbanut (which we’ve been doing a lot of lately) to get all of the facts. We caught one young Rabbi as he was leaving to do Kashrut Inspections, and he took the time to listen to our halakhic conundrum: Flying on the Sabbath is forbidden. But we really really want to fly. The Rabbi thought about our brain teaser for a moment before responding. “Flying on Shabbat? That’s crazy! Like, you know, eating during a Hunger Strike or something.”
The Daily Freier continued to scour the Rabbanut to find out who gave Jared and Ivanka the go-ahead, but nobody actually knew who gave the dispensation (Really!). So the Daily Freier got bored and decided to walk down to the beach and ask average Israelis what they thought. Fortunately, we ran into alert local Ronit S. who while not being Shomre Shabbat, considers herself Masorti and slowly moving back onto the Derech. Ronit was quite enthusiastic about Ivanka’s Rabbinic dispensation. “I love Ivanka’s style and I want to get the same heter as Ivanka. Also the same dress. And the same shoes….. but can a Disc Jockey also qualify for pikuach nefesh? Because last Friday night a DJ saved my life.”
Jerusalem, Mea She’arim: The rioting by some members of the Haredi Community against conscription in the Israeli Army began to break up today, because after a week of activity many of them complained that it felt like a job. Like where you have to show up to work at the same time and place every day or something. The Daily Freier’s resident Semi-on-the-Derech reporter Yekutiel Bornstein was on the scene getting all of the facts.
Finally, the Daily Freier asked the Law Enforcement who responded to the riots for their perspective on the events. Jerusalem Police Sergeant Avner H. gave his impression. “This was a difficult protest to break up. These guys were tough, lots of fight in them.” The Daily Freier asked Sergeant Avner if there was a way to prevent such riots from occurring in the future. Avner thought for a moment and replied “That’s a good question. If only there was some sort of organized activity that channels the aggression and energy of young men while providing them discipline and structure…..But I can’t think of anything right now, can you?”
Tel Aviv, LaSalle: Today the Daily Freier shares a story of setbacks, the Triumph of the Human Spirit, and an inability to memorize basic verb forms. Now entering his 8th year in Kita Bet, Oleh Not-So-Hadash Jeff S. is still unable to pass the end of course exam, and is thus trapped inside of the Ulpan Gordon Language School in Tel Aviv. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeff during his 10 AM break.
Despite Jeff’s failings as a student, the dedicated faculty have not given up on him. When he finally mastered Past Tense Verbs last year, the teachers threw him a party. “It was kind of like a Bar Mitzvah.” explained Ulpan Gordon’s Principal, wiping away tears. “And when he made the Bracha on the wine, he was just as illiterate as he was back in 2009.”
Unable to graduate and thus depart the premises, Jeff survives from day-to-day on the snack bar, occasional birthday cake, and emergency rations from the U.S. Embassy Citizens’ Services Section. Various Birthright tours passing through drop off messages from his family, as well as Hebrew flashcards.
The years of isolation have taken their toll on Jeff. He currently makes cultural reference from the 2000’s Decade, to include “Friendster“, “You’re Fired“, and “The OC“. He is currently unaware of Post-First Generation iPhones. His “Arrested Development” quotes are still funny though.
Jeff has become somewhat of an institution at Ulpan Gordon. His current teacher, Shirli, is in fact the daughter of his first teacher in 2009, Nava. “B’zrat HaShem, some day my granddaughter or grandson will teach him.” mused Nava. Shirli also shared her mother’s affection for Jeff. “He gets along really well with my family. My five-year old Uri adores him. But lately, Uri’s been expanding his vocabulary and finds their conversations somewhat limited and a bit boring.”
In addition to Jeff’s friendships with the faculty, he has managed to maintain somewhat of a social life as well. In 2010, Jeff dated, married, and got divorced from a French Olah in his class. Nava explained the situation to us. “We held the reception in the auditorium. We had soda, cake, and a slide show. It was actually quite tasteful.” In order to get all sides of the story, the Daily Freier contacted Joane, Jeff’s ex. “I really enjoyed class with Jeff. But he was never there for me to help around the house.” explained Joane.
Many people wonder just how this tragedy has been allowed to go on so long. The Daily Freier contacted the Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Absorbtion) to find out. “Normally, recent immigrants are only granted 5 months of free Hebrew lessons.” explained Uzi, from the Front Desk. “But we really just want to see where this ends up. So every 5 months we extend his benefits. We actually have a bit of a betting pool going.” Uzi then lowered his voice to a whisper and leaned in closer to us. “By the way, just curious, but when you saw him, was he able to name all of the Hebrew Vowels yet?”
The Daily Freier then contacted Nefesh B’Nefesh to demand answers on how they allowed this situation to continue. A Dati Leumi woman from their Jerusalem Office named BatSheva or Elisheva or JustSheva answered our phone call. “Whenever an Oleh from North America stays here more than six months without moving back, we consider this a win. So he’s really good for our statistics.”
UPDATE: The IDF mounted a clandestine operation this evening to rescue Jeff from Ulpan Gordon, as they have a Squad Leader position in their Olah Hadashah Code Talker Unit that needs to be filled.
Jerusalem, Givat Ram: Government and Academic sources, speaking at a Conference held at the Academy of the Hebrew Language, made an astonishing admission today: that the use of Vowels in Hebrew is just one giant punk on Olim.
“Honestly, we never thought it would go on this long.” chuckled Professor Binyamin M. “After the Six Day War, a lot of Western Olim started showing up to volunteer, and some of the Kibbutzniks thought it would be funny to tell them that there were special invisible dots and lines underneath the letters that they can’t see but that they must say. And they went along with it! I guess the Emperor really wears no clothes.”
President Rivlin, who was on site to present an award for the best new Hebrew playwright, couldn’t contain his laughter. “It’s all a joke! Kamatz, Patach, Segol. We even wondered if we could force Olim to draw a Tic-Tac-Toe Board, so we made up the Shuruk! Good times!”
The Academy explained that when an Oleh does something particularly Israeli, they hold a secret ceremony and read them into the joke. Jessica, a Canadian Olah Hadashah who recently screamed at a man on an electric bicycle for 5 minutes without letting go of the 11 dogs she was walking, while eating a sandwich and keeping up with 2 Whats-App Group conversations before finally ending the argument and discreetly giving the man her phone number, explained. “So yeah, after my little “incident”, the head of Misrad HaKlita brought me to Hebrew University for the ceremony.” When the Daily Freier asked Jessica if she could describe the ceremony, she insisted that she had been sworn to secrecy. When the Daily Freier asked her if the ceremony involved hummus, she changed the subject.
Tel Aviv, Bograshov: Local waitress Anat S. can’t quite pinpoint it, but something is different around town. Ever since she drove back from the big dinner at her parents’ house in Holon on Friday, some people have just been acting….weird. Anat sat down with the Daily Freier to share her observations.
“So a customer asked if we had pastries made without wheat flour. And I was like ‘You mean like gluten-free? Of course!‘ And I brought them out some gluten-free muffins. And the guy just stared at me. Like what’s his problem?”
Anat munched on a pita and shared another life event from this week. “I don’t know what it is. But I’m definitely feeling different vibes this week. Like two hours ago, these French tourists came in and asked me if we had a “hescher“. I said ‘I don’t know. Would you like to see if it’s on the menu?‘ And then they left. At first I thought that they were just being French. But then an English couple walked in and asked the same thing. And they were wearing those little things on their heads. So I handed them a menu and asked them to point to what they wanted. And they left too. Strange.”
Anat continued. “I pride myself in being observant. But I can’t figure out what’s different. I mean, Why is this week different from all other weeks?”
Jerusalem, HaKotel: The progressive Jewish community both in Israel and abroad is celebrating the recent ruling allowing women to pray at the Western Wall while wearing Talit, wrapping Tefillin, and holding the Torah. Yet while many in the Progressive World are applauding these steps, other voices feel that the struggle is not over. “We demand full equality, and we will only have this when we have the right to perform all of the activities that are traditionally performed by men.” noted Rabbi Miriam G. as she began furiously daytrading an IPO on her I-Phone during Silent Amidah. “It is time to break down these artificial constructs and free ourselves.” she said while walking around telling total strangers that she didn’t like the way they wrapped their Tefillin.
The Daily Freier also had the opportunity to hear from activist Tirza W. “This is not just a victory for Women of the Wall, this is a victory for inclusion and equality.” she observed, shortly before falling into a coma-like sleep as the Rabbi began her Divrei Torah on this week’s portion.
At this point the Daily Freier left the premises, as the women ignored us to angrily debate the referee’s calls in yesterday’s game.
Tel Aviv, Atarim Square- The brand new Shabbes-compliant Strip Club in Atarim has opened to decidedly mixed reviews, with some clients of the club’s old set-up complaining of the changes while others appreciating the new atmosphere. The Daily Freier decided to check for ourselves what all the fuss is about.
“The mechitza really detracts from the experience.” groused longtime patron Yoel F. “And why are the dancers all wearing denim skirts over black tights?”
Despite Yoel’s misgivings, fellow patron Danny K. was enthusiastic. “The John Legend Klezmer re-mix tracks really grow on you after a while.” he noted as he finished a Reuben sandwich. “…. But why do they keep letting the schnorrers into the club?”
Club manager Ron M. described some of the challenges of the club’s transition. “When they come to inspect, the guys from the Rabbinut tend to hang around a really, really, really long time. And who gets inspected every Tuesday at 6????”