How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

March 10, 2011

Why I Love Hadag Nahash – למה אני אוהב את הדג נחש

This is not an exhaustive list, but I’m immersing myself in old and new material (מקומי and otherwise) in preparation for tonight’s live show at Porter’s Pub at UCSD (link to Facebook event page; go there or ping me directly for ticket info – $20 for non-students).

1. Crowd-sourced video for BaSalon shel Salomon (In Salomon’s Living Room – בסלון של סלומון):

2. Creative video for Shir Nehama (Consolation Song – שיר נחמה) featuring the beautiful Middle Eastern steel guitar work of Yehuda Keisar:

3. Brutally hard-hitting video for Od Ach Echad (One More Brother – עוד אח אחד). Visually this will really only hit hard if you’re Israeli, but the lyrical sentiment is powerful no matter where you’re from.

4. Great live performance of Halifot (Suits – חליפות) featuring the wonderful backing vocals of the very pregnant Liora Yitzhak, whose child (now a toddler if I have the recording date right) will grow up to either be this band’s biggest fan or will hate them passionately, but may never understand why.

5. Another of their huge social commentary hits with an added layer of irony added visually – Shirat haSticker (The Sticker Song – שירת הסטיקר). The lyrics were written/compiled by David Grossman, a prominent Israeli author and peace activist, from political and social bumper stickers found in Israel:

6. Misparim (Numbers – מספרים) is a now somewhat out-of-date song about some significant statistics in Israeli society (and Sha’anan Street’s personal life) that still beautifully illustrates the band’s style. It’s out of date only in terms of some of the real numbers reported (e.g., unemployment rate and monthly salaries of executives), not in terms of how unjust and significant the gaps still are. This is a fan-made video; I couldn’t find an official one. TRIGGER WARNING (TW): Brief still images of terrorist attacks, including WTC.

7. There is no number 7. Come down and enjoy the show with me tonight!

January 11, 2011

Those Were The Days

Filed under: children,Family,fun,funny,Israel,Parenting,random — howdoyoujew @ 11:13

My beautiful, talented daughter had some time to create original art on Sunday. While I was doing something (monumentally important, I’m sure) she brought me this picture of “Ima’s house when she was little.” Lovely, right? We’ve been to that neighborhood, and this ain’t a bad representation, actually, not that she was trying for realism.

Jenn's childhood home, drawing by HTL

I asked H if she’d draw my house from when I was a kid, and she was only too happy to oblige (this may have been her first commissioned work):

Aba's childhood home, drawing by HTL

I asked about the green figure with the glasses (as if I didn’t know) and got confirmation that it is, indeed, me. Then I asked,
“Did anyone else live with me when I was little?”
H: “Your parents, but they’re inside the house!”

The “Well, duh” remained unspoken, but I’m sure she was thinking it.

February 19, 2010

I did it!

Filed under: entertainment,fun,humor,movies,random,sci-fi,technology,television,video — howdoyoujew @ 12:56

OK, in the grand scheme of things, and even in my own life, this doesn’t count as a HUGE deal, but it was an amusing distraction for a couple of days that kept my mind off much less fun things for at least a few minutes:

In the middle of last week, I brought up hulu.com on my laptop at home (probably to watch House with my lovely wife). On the front page was this promo for Ghostbusters, which had just been added to the Hulu catalog:
Ghostbusters screencap
The first thing I noticed, after thinking, “Huh, it’d probably be fun to see that again” was that the name of one of the stars was misspelled. I’ll give you a minute.

After verifying my suspicion (I knew I was right, but I needed independent confirmation, of course) with IMDB, I shot off this mildly snarky feedback email to Hulu:

He is one of the biggest names in American film/TV comedy history.

You are THE biggest name in online film/TV content delivery. You really shouldn’t make mistakes this egregious.

It’s spelled Aykroyd, not ACKroyd. Yes, it’s not spelled the way it sounds, but he’s been around long enough that I’d think you guys, at least, would know this.

Otherwise: keep up the great work!

A little over a week later, I got a response asking where I’d seen the error. After telling them (it was now on the Movies homepage, not the site’s front page), it took only 24 more hours to correct. Voila:
It's AYKroyd dammit!

January 31, 2010

We must be doing something right.

Earlier this evening, after a terrific day that started with our amazing music class with the fabulous Ms. Laura and continued with a fantastic get-together with our awesome chavurah (including you, Bernsteins! See you soon!) at Fanuel St. Park, my beautiful 3-year-old daughter, of her own volition, helped clear our dishwasher (she did about half of the top rack while I was on the phone). I briefly thanked her, but I owe her a bigger show of gratitude tomorrow (for the help in the kitchen and for the fact that she was asleep before 8 PM).

It made me think of this beautiful drash by R’ David Wolpe that I received just the other day as part of his Off The Pulpit series (highly recommended subscription; some of the drashot are even shorter than this one, but they’re always thought-provoking, often profound, and ever relevant; I’m including the signup info at the bottom so it’s easy for you):

For My Daughter

By Rabbi David Wolpe

This past Shabbat I had the great joy of addressing my daughter on her Bat Mitzvah. I pointed to the phrase in her parasha (Torah portion), “… a night of watching.” (ex. 12:42) It occurs twice in the Bible, both times in the same sentence. The first time it refers to God’s watching; the second to the Israelites watching.

What were the Israelites watching? It was the eve of redemption and they had to protect their children as plagues ravaged Egypt. Parents do many things — we dream and disappoint; we hope, we advise, we criticize, we draw close, we puzzle, we praise. But mostly, we watch. We watch as our children grow and change. We watch as they listen to our stories and create their own stories. We watch as they become not who we plan for them to be, but who they truly are; as they step from our vision into God’s.

My wife very beautifully said that when she looks into my daughter’s eyes she sees not just where she is, but all the phases of her life. The parallelism in the verse makes sense: as God watches us, when we see a child flourish, we get a glimpse of God.

We hope that you will email these words to a friend, and encourage them to sign up by e-mail so they will be able to receive similar articles as well as updates in the future. Together, let’s create a virtual community of modern Torah for the 21st century!

Author’s note: Yes, I’m very aware of how long and full of adjectives the first sentence of this post is. It’s MY blog. I’m my own editor, and that’s how I like it.

January 1, 2010

Starting the new year with a surprise

Filed under: Family,fun,Good News,Health,life cycle,mitzvot,travel — Tags: — howdoyoujew @ 22:27

Now that the surprise has been sprung, I can reveal the details and dispense with the mystery.

This morning I posted a new year’s greeting on Facebook from “an undisclosed location,” predictably prompting some of my friends to make veiled (or not-so-veiled) Dick Cheney jokes, which is what I expected. I couldn’t be more specific, because I was on my way to spring a terrific surprise on some very special people, courtesy of another very special person (I’m surrounded by very special people, can you tell?). Here’s the deal:

My kids have an extra set of grandparents – Grammy Phyllis and Papa Joel – due to the successful transplant of my bone marrow into Phyllis’s leukemia-racked body four years ago. Grammy has been cancer free ever since, and is therefore able to help her husband of nearly 50 years, Joel, celebrate his 70th birthday this weekend. They are, obviously, very special people in our lives.

We were of course invited to the birthday party, but the cost to travel to Florida was so prohibitive as to prevent any of us, even I alone, from attending. Enter the other very special person, our friend Brett. I referred to Joel’s birthday in passing in a conversation with Brett a couple of weeks ago, and before I knew what was happening, he presented me with a ticket to fly to Florida and attend the festivities.

At this point, I realized that it would be way more fun to show up unannounced than to tell Phyllis and Joel I was coming, so I initiated a conspiratorial plot worthy of the best spy novel (OK, maybe worthy of a mediocre spy novel, punctuated by bursts of slapstick and silliness, near-miss almost-spoilers, and other elements only found in a Jewish story). I recruited Grammy & Papa’s son Craig, who in turn enlisted the help of Joel’s brother and sister-in-law. Using a combination of HUMINT (pestering Joel & Phyllis for the name of the restaurant they were all going to dinner at tonight) and SIGINT (text messages), we were able to keep them completely in the dark about my arrival, and the reveal was, as the kids say these days, choice. (Do the kids still say that? It’s a new year, who knows?)

I arrived at the restaurant moments after they sat down, walked up to the table unobserved, and dropped the code phrase, “Do you think you have room for one more?” with devastating effect. They both turned toward me, Phyllis’s jaw dropped (and stayed agape for quite a while), and Joel, recovering rather quickly, threw his arms in the air and got up to hug me. The relatives at the table (all in on the surprise, remember) broke out into cheers and laughter, with Joel’s brother Warren dutifully recording the moment for posterity with a digital camera. (There may or may not have been a reshoot of The Hug at one point, but historians will have to examine the records to determine if anything looks manufactured.)

The rest of dinner was a blur of laughter and conversations of acquaintance (I’d never met Joel’s siblings or Warren’s wife Patti before, so there was a bit of “getting to know you” to get through, made easier by Warren’s interrogatory ways). We then took over Craig’s basement entertainment lounge to watch the first half of the Sugar Bowl, which, with a room full of rabid Gator fans, was a whole lot of fun (final score, Florida 51, Cincinnati 17. Ouch).

Tomorrow night is the big party; I’ll spend the day getting to know Craig and his family, who opened their home to me sight unseen, and hanging out with Grammy and Papa to make my presence as real as possible for the short time I’m here. I return to San Diego on Sunday, and go back to work and the usual routine on Tuesday after a two-week break.

Pulling this off has been incredibly fun. May the rest of the year be as enjoyable and filled with reasons to celebrate.

April 14, 2009

Book Review: Anansi Boys

Filed under: Art,books,entertainment,fun,movies,sci-fi — Tags: — howdoyoujew @ 17:27

This paragraph from Neil Gaiman’s wonderful book of mythology, love, intrigue, and travel made me want to hug the author:

It was sort of like Macbeth, thought Fat Charlie, an hour later; in fact, if the witches in Macbeth had been four little old ladies and if, instead of stirring cauldrons and intoning dread incantations, they had just welcomed Macbeth in and fed him turkey and rice and peas spread out on white china plates on a red-and-white patterned plastic tablecloth – not to mention sweet potato pudding and spicy cabbage – and encouraged him to take second helpings, and thirds, and then, when Macbeth had declaimed that nay, he was stuffed nigh unto bursting and on his oath could truly eat no more, the witches had pressed upon him their own special island rice pudding and a large slice of Mrs. Bustamonte’s famous pineapple upside-down cake, it would have been exactly like Macbeth.

Read this book, and then marvel at Gaiman’s marvelously diverse output – try The Graveyard Book (this year’s Newbery medal winner). You know the movie Coraline that came out earlier this year? That’s his. Stardust from a couple of years ago? Also his. Comics? He does those too.

September 9, 2008

Palin for President. No, really.

Filed under: entertainment,fun,funny,humor,News,Politics,satire,video — howdoyoujew @ 20:55

July 31, 2008

Hope for humanity

Filed under: entertainment,fun,Good News,Israel,music,travel,video — howdoyoujew @ 13:08

I refuse to admit that I’m overstating things when I say this makes me feel better about the human race, at least for four and a half minutes:

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Spotted in the comments:

my son died in iraq 7 weeks ago, and this video allowed me to sleep through the night for the first time. i was able to let go of my anger for just a few hours. unfortunately, it’s back – thank you mr. bush.——tisa

June 26, 2008

Movie review: You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Hilarious. Chock full of Adam Sandler’s typical bathroom jokes and 80s-centric humor, this movie (Flash heavy site) won’t disappoint his enormous day-to-day fan base. But the movie is also packed with tons of audience-specific gags that are only truly funny if you a) speak decent colloquial Hebrew, b) spent time in Israel in the 80s and early 90s, c) are otherwise familiar with Israeli culture, d) are familiar with the NY Israeli scene, or e) all of the above. Jenn and I laughed nonstop, but there were definitely lots of moments that we looked at each other and thought, “Is anyone else getting this?”

To give you a taste, check out this old SNL sketch, which undoubtedly helped germinate Zohan:

There are several motifs at play in that bit that appear, in more or less polished form, in Zohan.

Wait, did I just refer to “motifs” while talking about an Adam Sandler comedy? BWAHAHAHAHA!

Go see it. There are a lot of fun cameos, there’s even a nice underlying message, and you’ll laugh a bunch. It’ll be good for you.

June 23, 2008

HDYJ Podcast: Episode 1

Filed under: Blogging,Family,fun,Life Online,Podcasting,technology — howdoyoujew @ 13:33

So this newest version of WordPress I’m now running, after that wacked-out update, has this handy “add media” gadget right in the interface instead of relying on a plugin, so I’m going to try it with the already-recorded episode 1. If this works, I’ll come back at ‘ya with another show this week… Here goes nothin’: How Do You Jew episode 1

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