Monday, May 29, 2006

Music is a force.

By Asi Gal

How many times have you listened to a good song and thought to yourself: “man, that thing I always wanted/needed to do? Now is the time. Why haven’t I done this before?” Well, now is one of those times for me.

You see, the blog is dying. No comments, hardly any writing and so far no big riots have started due to one of our entries. Rumors have it that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was the consequence of Ari’s posting about Taybeh beer but there are disputes on the reliability of the source of that rumor (the source being Ari, of course. And me. And the rumor had failed to spread beyond the circle of the two of us. And Zev. The two of us and Zev. Wasn’t that a band in the sixties, “The Two of Us and Zev” ? Yeah, I think they had an album titled “Shut Your Yap You Sexy Monkey.” But, I digress.)

So it’s time to take action. We posted an old FreshJewce article (, look for it on a future website near you) just so you can see that we have plans for our satire. And that we make an effort. But where are you guys? Where’s the flag burning? Where’s the love making instead of the war making, which is much less pleasant? Or at least where’re your crazy blogs? Or if you have no writing skills, send us money so we can enlarge our circle of hate. And we need to buy some cookies.

So I’m thinking music. If only we could put huge speakers pumping out the Bee Gees or the Rocky theme (or the good vibe, homosexual stylings of The Two of Us and Zev) in the streets, then things would get going. It will be like a heroin rush – with cookies.

Just imagine it: you’re walking down the street thinking about the money you need to make ends meet when suddenly you hear Walter Murphy’s “Flight 76.” You automatically think, “Hey, why do I have to work hard and not get paid enough? It’s time I stepped up to those fat cats up in the Knesset (or Congress if you still live in cap loving America) and change some things around.” Then the tune would changes to “Eye of the Tiger,” then there would be a group of people behind you, cheering you on. You all start walking, quickly and then get into cars. Then, there’s a line of cars from wherever up to Jerusalem (or any other capital in the country you’re in). You get there, you rally and Mike Jackson is in the background shouting “Annie are you OK?!” and you shout back, ”no, we are not OK!” The fat cats come out, the ball gets rolling and world peace is eventually achieved. And you can finally afford that expensive grain bread.

The same can work with just asking a girl out.

So there, if you’re not into Michael then ensemble your own tunes. Do it any way you want. But do send us money!

And rally.
If music got me to writing this, it can no doubt change whatever country you’re in.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Birthright Israel Alumni answer the call, “Ah-lo!”


Birthright Israel, the program that sends Jews aged 18-26 on an all expense paid, ten-day booze-cruise to Israel, has its share of critics. Many say that the organization’s aim, as stated on its website, that alumni “diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world," is an unjustified and unproven assumption. According to the website “an assumption is when a person makes an ass out of u and me.”

“There is little chance that a long-term relationship will develop and be sustained between the program’s alumni, Israel and the Jewish communities in the Diaspora,” says Samuel Freedman, a Columbia University journalism professor and author of Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry. Freedman added that his personal feeling is that the millions of dollars used to fund Birthright would be better invested in providing education, healthcare, housing or other social services to the poverty stricken members of the Jewish community – as opposed to free hook-up tours to the youth of its more wealthy members.

Responding to the program’s critics, Charles Bronfman offers that it is already possible to see the positive results of Birthright Israel. “While it is true that not all of our alumni return to fulfill their potential as the voices of truth and warriors of Zionist myth, it is unrealistic to expect a total success rate,” says the Jewish philanthropist who co-founded Birthright Israel, along with fellow Elder of Zion Michael Steindhart.

Bronfman notes that the program has not existed long enough for a serious study of long term trends. The first planeload of potential Jewish propagandists was sent to the ancient Jewish homeland a decade ago. “However, in the short-term, we are seeing some very encouraging developments,” Bronfman excitedly claimed. “Of particular note, an overwhelming 73% of our alumni answer their cellular phones by saying ‘ah-lo.’ This use of Israeli slang is highly encouraging," he added, noting that he also answers his own phone with this perverted version of the word ‘hello.’

Elaborating upon the trend’s meaning Bronfman offered, “You have to remember that we’re talking about a relatively well-off sector of the Jewish population. As university students, just about each and every one of our alumni has a cell phone and will answer that phone about 10 to 15 times a day. Each time that happens, our alumni is making a reference to Israel. That's very powerful."

Freedman remains unconvinced and somewhat infuriated, “Answering your phone with ‘ah-lo’ is hardly a valid reference to Israel or Judaism, and actually it's just plain annoying. In fact, what we’re dealing with isn’t even a passive phenomenon because actual harm is being done. In most instances, the use of this pseudo-word pisses off anyone within earshot. I have even heard of some instances where various items including shoes and pennies were thrown at the person uttering this very stupid word.” Freedman elaborates that, “what we’re dealing with here is nascent anti-Semitism and that’s fucked up.”