Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jesus Never Hugged Nobody Like Dat!

How could I have not known about the Christian Side Hug until today? (Thanks Leah) It's the first cousin of shomer negiah, a subject that I have blogged about extensively. True, there is still some touch, but instead of full frontal, clothed crotch to clothed crotch contact, there is just hip connection. And hips aren't sexy. Not at all. That's why Shakira's song, Hips Don't Lie, was a big fat failure.

But some of you might be wondering- How do I properly perform a Christian Side Hug?

Well, it's your lucky day. There is an instructional music video. A rap, in fact. Again I ask- How could I have not known about this till today?

In this amazing video, the pastors turned rappers rhyming with a flow that would make Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes green with something- lets call it envy- in order to teach young Christians how to hug more like Jesus and his disciples.

I don't see any full frontal hugs in Da Vinci's The Last Supper, do you?

But perhaps even better than the Christian Side Hug video is what I found during my Internet research into the phenomenon: a list of the Top Five Abstinence-y music videos, brought to you by Washington City Paper. My cup runneth over.

A selection of lyrics:

I don't want your sex (for now)

Or: My spirit leads me to celibacy.

Sing it brothers and sisters!

And on that note, I wish you all a Happy New Year. Hope you all celebrate Shomer Negiah or Christian Hug style! (Until you get drunk, that is)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Random Songs from the Past Ten Years

If you're anything like me, you're only marginally employed and have filled your free time by reading all the "Best of the Decade" lists. After going through the critics' best and worsts, I was motivated to come up with one of my own. But when I thought about how much work that would entail. So instead I've decided to create a list of randomly selected songs that were produced in the past ten years. My Itunes shuffled through my music library (at least half of it downloaded during Napster's heyday) and came up with the following songs. I've listed them in ascending order, from least embarrassing to the most. Feel free to judge me.

1. Green Day, Wake Me When September Ends

2. Beth Orton, Sweetest Decline

3. Beth Hart, Hiding Under Water

4. Girl Talk, Give Me a Beat

5. Queens of the Stone Age, No One Knows

6. Kim Richey, If You Don't Mind

7. Coldplay, Amsterdam

8. Britney Spears, Oops I Did It Again

9. Saliva, Always

10. James Blunt, Beautiful

Honorable Mentions (These are songs that came up after I had filled in ten slots): Dashboard Confessional, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most (I was Emo for like a minute in college); Pink, Numb (A deep cut from Miz Understood); Madcon, Beggin

Obviously, my Itunes wasn't able to know which songs were released when so I had to skip through a bunch of tunes. Here are the songs that were passed over because they were made before this century.

No Doubt, Excuse Me Mr.; Bush, Swallowed (this actually followed the Gwen Stefani. I guess my Itunes is romantic, placing husband and wife side by side); Morcheeba, The Sea; Foo Fighters, Big Me; Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone.

I hope that at least some of this list redeems me for still having that James Blunt song in my music library.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christian man searching for quasi-Jewish wife

This flyer was plastered all over the North Hollywood/Valley Village area of Los Angeles, which has a sizable Orthodox Jewish population during the summer of 2009.

Talk about being picky!

There are so many things to love about this flyer. First, there is the use of quotes at the top. "Catholic." I'm not sure what he's getting at. Does he doubt the existence or legitimacy of Catholicism as a real Christian denomination the same way that some ultra-Orthodox Jews looks askance at Reform "Jews"? There's also the "Jehovah's False Witness." I suppose that's fair. A lot of the research on eyewitness testimony and statements shows how unreliable it can be. But I would very like to know what exactly falls into the "etc." category?

In addition to the very specific religious requirements, there are physical requirements because as we well know, Jesus cared as much for outer beauty as he did for inner. This man is seeking average height to almost tall (no shorties need apply!) and dark (but not too dark) complexion.

A little further down, he lists his other preferences though these are not absolute musts. After all, he sounds like a reasonable man. He would like a Hebrew speaker and even specifies the accent (Yeminite, not Eastern European). And he would like her to be descended from Jews on her father side. I mean, I know so many Yeminite Christians who are Jewish patrilineally. Like loads. (One little side note- Why does he even care about patrilineal descent? I always thought Christianity was a religion of believers. I thought Christians left the blood purity nonsense to the Rabbanut in Israel and Harry Potter books.)

If you somehow meet his demands, it's still up to him to ascertain whether or not you are actually a Christian. (He's like the British Supreme Court but for Gentiles!). He writes, "If you care about the gospel, please contact me to see if we are both really Christians."

If this young man hasn't found his bashert (and I can't imagine why he wouldn't be able to find a woman who meets his exact specifications), he can always try a local shadchan (matchmaker). Or JDate. But don't go hitting up my profile. I don't fit the bill. Though I am 5'4", I speak Hebrew with an Ashkenazis lilt.

(Special thanks goes to Michal S. for directing me to this photo and to Joseph Gallucci for furnishing the picture.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Snood Goes Mainstream

In a recent posting on DoubleX, Lauren Moser discusses the retail phenomenon known as the "snood," a scarf-hood combo that has been selling particularly well as of late. When I first read this, I got excited. Finally, a fashion trend begun in the Orthodox community successfully crosses over into mainstream society. I'm now waiting for curly side locks to make an appearance in the men's fall fashion lines.

Here are a couple of images that accompanied the piece.

But as I scrolled through the slideshow, I became disappointed. These weren't pictures of the snoods of my youth. In the first, one strong gust of wind would've blown the so-called "snood" right off the woman's head, exposing her hair to the world. In the latter, she's not even wearing it on her head. She's wearing the "snood" as a striped, preppie necklace.

Having grown up in Brooklyn's Orthodox community, I saw a lot of a snoods and to me, they all looked like oversized socks that women wore to cover their heads.

They perfectly complimented the long, shapeless velvet Shabbos robes, many of which cost more than the dress I had worn to synagogue in the morning for services. I would've thought that sewing in a waist would have added to the price but what do I know? I am not a seamstress.

Anyway, the best pop culture explanation of the "snood" has been created by none other than the folks at the Daily Show. The segment embedded below is one of my all time favorites, dating all the way back to 2004. (Check out the hilarious "snood" reference at 1:55. And again at the very end.)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Notorious W.I.G.
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Breaking to Nina Simone

When people ask me if I'm the only white Jewish girl who breaks, I typically answer, "Well, my first breaking teacher is Ephrat. What do you think?" This tends to shut the questioner right up. And yes, Ephrat is actually "Dorit" of the recent elf article, the one who put me into a corner because I couldn't move to the beat. But no hard feelings. I'm just gonna post a video of her here.

This was recorded at an emerging artists' showcase hosted by the Field at Dixon Place. What impresses me most about her performance is the fact that she seems to be emoting while breaking. The only emotion I'm able to demonstrate is fear and shame, which basically characterizes how I spend every waking moment. Anyway, back to the performance. Ephrat breaks to a Nina Simone song, Ne Me Quitte Pas. If you thought (like I did) that what is impressive about breaking is the speed and power with which the moves are performed, it is very interesting and engrossing to watch those same elements performed slowly, almost sadly.

I'll stop here since if I praise her any more, I risk fluffing her enormous Israeli ego. Check out more of her work at her site:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hebrew Tattoos Gone Awry

We've all seen the college coeds with Chinese characters tramp stamped across their backsides. You know, the ones they had done after spring break, the ones they thought meant "Integrity" but actually meant actually means "Supermarket." Those are good.

The only problems with Chinese tattoos is that I don't understand the language so I can't immediately spot a stupid one. Aside from English, I'm only fluent in one other language- Hebrew. Thankfully (and no doubt due to Madonna's influence), people have started marking themselves up in Hebrew words and phrases that just as silly as their Chinese incarnations.

A few months ago on this blog, I remarked on seeing a woman with "Abba," Hebrew for "Daddy" written across her back in Hebrew characters. And the people at Bad Hebrew Tattoos have made it their mission to expose even more Semitic ridiculousness.

(Thanks to Michal S. for sending the link my way!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Personal Elf-Say

Today the long winded account of my elfish adventures was published on The Morning News. I take no responsibility for the punny title.

And as we know, the New York Times loves Jews, especially liberal, self-deprecating ones. They mentioned my story at the top of the City Room Blog page, which can be found here. I am pretty sure that the first line, which reads, "Dvora Meyers, a former Orthodox Jew," will kill at least half my family when they see it. Which they probably won't since they don't read the Israel hating Times.

Santa's All Star Jewish Dream Team

I'm on it. Not because I say so but because Matthue Roth at My Jewish Learning has drafted me on yesterday's Mixed Multitudes blog post. I am joined by the Hasidic rebbe character from the Nathan Englander story, "Reb Kringle," and stand up comedian, Ophira Eisenberg.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I hate to reinforce cultural stereotypes...

Who am I kidding? I love to reinforce cultural stereotypes!

The video below takes you behind the scenes of Rachel and the Dragon, which introduces us to Princess Rachel, Disney's first Jewish American princess!

Personally, I feel this is long overdue. I remember growing up in Canarsie and looking to cartoons for role models and guidance, but only seeing princesses with straight hair and clear skin. I was forced to watch The Nanny to see myself reflected in the modern media.

If only those role models had been there for Jewish girls all those years ago. Then we wouldn't have had to better ourselves through reading.

Said one animator, "I just feel like they're judging me all the time."

Yes, yes we are.

And you thought Jewish singles had it rough...

Twilight Years from Tom on Vimeo.

The only good thing about Twilight are the parodies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shomer Negiah Underwear

In earlier posts, I've discussed the concept of "shomer negiah," which is Hebrew "protected from touch." Practically this means that touch between unrelated members of the opposite sex is strictly forbidden. Back in my all girls overnight camp, we'd sing:

Because I'm shomer negiah,
So leave me alone.
You want to reach out and touch me,
Pick up the phone.
Stay on your side of the line,
Cause this body is exclusively mine.

You might be wondering who we were singing this little ditty to in our single sex environment. Well, there were men around- a few married rabbis and their toddler sons and the local hicks who fixed things on the campus. But mostly we were preparing for the future when some of us would inhabit the "secular" sphere where we'd have to shake a hand or two. This, we were taught, was permissible. If someone offers his hand out of politeness, let it hang midair for a few seconds just so it gets a little awkward before you grasp and then subsequently explain how you really aren't supposed to touch men. This way he feels like a child molester who approached a young girl in the park. Mommy says I'm not supposed to touch strangers.

These days, Orthodox women have a new weapon in the war on meaningless physical contact: Shomer Negiah Panties being sold on Esty. Now Jewish girls can be like college coeds everywhere who purchase the PINK line from Victoria's Secret and walk around with words on their butt.

I know what some of you must be thinking- this is all well and good for my ass but how will I keep my boyfriend away from my boobs when he is trying to cop a feel. Well, I'm sure a matching bra design is underway.

The Esty seller dutifully explains the term which is emblazoned in Hebrew letters on the back of the underwear and ever notes that the proper conjugation for a female would be "Shomeret" not the masculine "Shomer." As a grammar geek, I appreciate this.

As part of the sell, she writes: "Shomer Negiah panties allows a woman to abide by the halacha but still be individual and sexy at the same time." Really now? How exactly?

Personally, I think it should read, "If you got this far, you're probably not shomer negiah."