The Religious Denominations Take on Diets

A Satire about Officiating at Intermarriages

 

In an effort to stay on top of current trends and remain relevant, the Reform Movement made a declaration about proper eating habits.

The head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Nick Isaacs, noted that Americans were having a difficult time sticking with diets and often “cheated” leading to pangs of guilt. He said that those feelings of guilt could in turn lead to depression and further over-eating. “People should only feel guilt when they harm another living thing. It is nonsensical to have remorse for eating a cookie,” he said. “The Reform movement understands the very human nature of people and so declares that there is no distinction between a healthy diet and a non-healthy diet.” Isaacs went on to explain that his movement sought to obviate the negative sensation that ultimately pushes people further away from a healthy lifestyle. In his line of reasoning, removing any definition of what makes for a healthy lifestyle would thereby actually promote healthier living.

“And it’s really popular,” he added.

The Reform Movement is the largest denomination of American Jews and its latest proclamation is likely to attract more people, especially those that hate exercise.

Meanwhile the Orthodox movement – often the laggard of the three religious  denominations – felt compelled to issue its own statement in response to URJ’s Non-Diet Diet. The Orthodox Union wrote “Orthodox Judaism is rooted in rules and tradition that have been core to our beliefs and practices for generations. A healthy diet consists of eating properly and exercise.”

Really? Amongst the chulent chow-hounds?

Rabbi Isaacs ridiculed OU’s statement, noting the rigidity of their position. “Orthodox Jews will remain a small niche movement of extremists until they realize that people have a range of desires. Pretending otherwise is foolishness.”

“And they’re so fat too. They never exercise. They’ve adopted an immovable position that makes them both self-righteous and self-loathing. How is that really healthy?”

The OU would not formally respond to Rabbi Isaacs. However, in response to this reporter’s question, all the OU would say is that “Judaism never said it isn’t a big world with lots of tasty treats, and busy schedules which make it difficut to exercise. All we said was that a healthy diet consists of eating properly and exercise. It doesn’t mean that some people don’t fall short.”

A noted author, David Horkis who identifies with the Conservative Movement noted the exchange between the Reform and Orthodox denominations, and added his own take on the direction of the Conservative Movement. “The Reform Movement is obsessed with numbers. It believes that its sole mission is to have as many members as possible. Stating that there is no such thing as a healthy diet is obviously ridicuolous, but the Orthodox take the opposite extreme, and leave no room for people acting like people. It’s too rigid. They [Orthodox] are going to be left with a bunch of fitness nuts who will probably have kids with eating disorders.”

“But I fear for my Conservative Movement as well,” Horkis said. ”We have been so focused on a pathway of balance, of trying to maintain a goldilocks equilibrium between strict rules and no rules. I fear that the recent actions of a few Conservative rabbis proudly eating bowls of ice cream from the pulpit in a direct nod to the Reform movement will result in some absurd positions from the Rabbinical Assembly.”

Rabbi April Summer, head of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly (RA) has been slow to wade into the diet debate. While she did not object to Horkis’s comments that Conservative Judaism sought a balance between tradition and popularity, she thought that chasing Reform’s position was crossing lines in the sand. “Our movement understands the reality of the science of the healthy diet and we understand the human desires to eat fatty foods and be lazy. Our focus is not demand complete obedience nor to sanction any-and-all behavior. Our goal is to focus on empathy, about the people struggling to have a healthy diet.”

Rabbi Summer said that the RA was not currently issuing an official position on the parameters of a healthy diet. Instead, it would issue a statement that it understood the challenges of people in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Horkis was none-too-pleased with that approach. “Is our denomination going to ever stand for something? Will we ever not cave in to our cravings? We’re stuck on not offending people. That’s become our mission statement.”

For their part, non-Jewish dieticians have been amused. “There are just a few million Jews on the planet, and they are caught up making declarations ranging from there’s no such thing as a diet; you must stick to a diet, and we feel for those trying to keep to a diet. They’ve got a lot of opinions for such a small community. And one thing is clear, 80% of the Reform movement will likely be overweight in short order.”

That’s not really much of a prediction; 71% of non-Orthodox Jews aleady are.


Relaed First.One.Through artilces:

New Group, ZOFLAT, Takes on Shift in Modern Orthodoxy

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New Group, ZOFLAT, Takes on Shift in Modern Orthodoxy

A Satire

Several leading rabbis and lay leaders in the Modern Orthodox community have started a new group called, ZOFLAT, Zionist Orthodoxy For Living in America Today. The group is advocating for more American Jews to remain in the United States and not move to Israel.

“There has been a dramatic shift eastward,” noted staunch American leader Madison Lipshitz. “When I grew up, no one made aliyah (moved to Israel).  Today, almost all of my old friends live in Israel.  Those that have remained are almost exclusively not religious.”

The movement of American Jews to Israel is made predominantly by the Orthodox community according to recent surveys.  Very few Jews with Reform backgrounds make aliyah.

Queens College professor Lawrence Cohen noted that the trend of Orthodox aliyah gained momentum over the past 30 years, when American high school graduates from Modern Orthodox yeshivas began to spend their “gap” year before college in Israel.  Many of those students ultimately moved to Israel as adults.  “We’re losing kids, and it’s our own fault,” he noted.

The impact is being felt throughout the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area. Many families have left their homes and followed their children to Israel.  They can now be found in “Anglo” communities including Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.  “We needed to do something to combat this trend,” explained Lipshitz.

IMG_2052
Young and old Americans at the Kotel
(photo: First.One.Through)

About a year ago, a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis, community leaders and educators formed the core of the new organization. The mission of the group was to show how religious Jews could live within the secular culture in America. “American Orthodox Jews are being silenced by the rise of Orthodox Jews living in Israel.  We needed to show that we are committed to the American way of life,” said founding Rabbi Freedom Lover, of Beautiful Beach Synagogue.  ZOFLAT’s stated goal is to flatline aliyah in Modern Orthodox America.

The first programs for ZOFLAT are being held in Manhattan near Washington Square Park this weekend.  American flags will be affixed to everyone’s nametag. Various prominent Jewish politicians will be speaking about Jews in American society.  Food will include hot dogs and baked beans and will specifically not feature shwarma and hummus.  An afternoon game of baseball is planned, depending on weather.  “We couldn’t wait for Memorial Day,” said Rabbi Lover, “the issue is now.”

“Too many people have been coerced into making aliyah or believing that living in Israel is the only way to live a meaningful life.  This group is dedicated towards showing that people should not be shamed or pushed aside because they don’t want to live in Israel,” added Rabbi Lover.

“I’m excited to come to ZOFLAT,” said Amy Schlessinger, a teacher in New York City, toting a Tony Burch bag.  “We need an organization that validates my lifestyle. America is the greatest country in the world, and just because of the Zionist shift of today’s youth, I shouldn’t be made to feel bad about my life choices.”

Rabbi Kenny Silverson, a principal of a local yeshiva, described the tension within the Modern Orthodox communities today. “The Judaism that is being lived today in Israel would be unrecognizable to my grandparents.  My own son moved to Israel and changed his last name. Our family name!” Rabbi Silverson, visibly upset, continued “still, we will try to be open-minded and have an open tent to those Orthodox Jews that move to Israel, but our raison d’être is to proudly defend those people that wish to remain in America and live the exact same lives that their parents and grandparents did.”

Rabbi Lover noted that he thought about developing this group after listening to various members of the Israeli Knesset describe there being no future for Jews living outside of Israel, which he found offensive.  Those comments by the Israeli leaders were made after terrorist attacks in Europe and the rise of anti-Semitism.

In 2008, Israel surpassed the United States as the largest Jewish community in the world.

“Modern Orthodoxy is facing a serious challenge,” Lover said. “The boundaries of the community cannot be dictated geographically.  We want to have flourishing communities throughout America without any guilt.  Having an organization with a great acronym should allay any feelings of self-doubt, ideally, cemented with a small donation and dues to our events.”

Hand-in-Pocket is co-sponsoring the ZOFLAT event. “HIP” considers itself the “anti- Nefesh b’Nefesh” and helps people dealing with American bureaucracy such as passport renewals, traffic tickets and the like.

Other First.One.Through Satires:

Netanyahu’s Doctoral Thesis on the Nakba

Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

Snack-Pack Inspections

The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

ObamaCar to Address Garage Inequality

Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

Netanyahu’s Doctoral Thesis on the Nakba

A Satire

In honor of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a declaration that the “Nakba was a terrible tragedy for the Palestinian Arabs.” The New York Times, BBC and various media outlets proclaimed in their headlines that Netanyahu had turned a corner from some of his prior comments belittling the “Nakba,” the term that Arabs use to describe their “disaster” when Arabs left their homes and were unable to return after the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-9.

Netanyahu continued about the Nakba that “Israelis understand the pain of being expelled from their homes. Jews were ethnically cleansed from their holiest city, Jerusalem, by Jordanian Arabs. Jews were evicted from their second holiest city, Hebron, after Arabs massacred them in 1929. And the Jewish people were evicted from their ancient homeland in Judea and Samaria, and barred from re-entry, by the Jordanians in 1949. Is there a people on the planet that understands the pain of losing their homes more than the Jewish people Jews have been targeted for death and eviction by Arabs for a century.

When Netanyahu was asked to comment not only about evictions, but about being banned from returning to their properties, Netanyahu reviewed how Palestinian Arabs effectively convinced the British to block Jewish immigration to Palestine at the beginning of the Holocaust in 1939, causing hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children in Europe to perish. “We Jews understand being excluded very well.

netanyahu-holocaust
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Holocaust survivors ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 26, 2016 (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

The comments acknowledging the Nakba were a sharp reversal from Netanyahu’s doctoral study in which he detailed many questions surrounding both the numbers and source of the Nakba. His study concluded that the Arabs in Palestine conspired with the major global parties to funnel billions of dollars in perpetuity to Palestinian Arabs via the United Nations.

Netanyahu’s thesis reviewed the many secret meetings between Arab leaders and the French, British, Americans and Russians that would set the Arabs as the aggrieved party by the UN.   The Arab plan pushed the UN to endorse the partition plan of 1947, which the Palestinians would then publicly reject. The UN would then create a unique stand-alone agency, UNRWA, designed to exist forever, as a means of transferring billions of dollars to Palestinian Arabs.

As part of the Arab plan, the United Nations inflated the number of Arab refugees from the 1948 war to 711,000 from the actual 100,000 figure. By inflating the number of refugees, the UN was able to funnel even greater sums of money to Palestinians.

The Arab plan had the further benefit of giving the entire Arab world a scapegoat for their corrupt regimes.

As it turned out, the joint Arab- global powers’ plan worked almost perfectly, aside from a few unexpected results.  The UN did not realize that the Arab leadership would ultimately double-cross the UN and steal most of the funds promised to the Palestinian people; and the corrupt financial structure ultimately made Palestinian Arab leadership completely incapable of governing.

The NY Times and BBC did not review the contents of Netanyahu’s doctoral thesis in their articles. However, the Times did have a lead editorial noting Netanyahu as “a man of empathy, and a true moderate who is Abbas’s best chance for a peace partner.

Abbas did not provide any statement.


Related First.One.Through article:

The NY Times on Abbas’s Change of heart about the Holocaust: Frightening New York Times 4/27/14 article on “Mahmoud Abbas Shifts on Holocaust”

The Holocaust and the Nakba

Other Satires:

Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

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Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

A sad satire

The United Nations took a special interest in the high unemployment rate of Palestinians, which has led to feelings of despair and hopelessness, leaving many to resort to violence against Israelis.  As such, the UN held a meeting in October 2015 in Vienna to listen to various leaders of the Palestinian community describe their occupations to see if the global community could help advance their livelihoods.

Here are some of the presenters:

Gaza exterminator
Pest Control

Pest Control: The UN was impressed with the first presenter, the owner of a pest control company.  According to the businessman, there was a large infestation in the region that guaranteed a significant amount of work for many unemployed people.

Gaza quarry owner
Stone Masons

Stone Masons: A cleric from the West Bank described the incredible blessings of the holy land to be filled with stones of many sizes. He described the various types of rocks in the region and how they could be used in different situations.  Qatar pledged $100 million for a new quarry on the spot.

Gaza gambling
Gambling

Casinos: The casino in Jericho was reported to be doing very well.  The owner described “making a killing” in various games of chance.  He was happy to report that the gaming industry was actively hiring more people.

Gaza butcher
Butcher

Butchers:  While the amount of available meat for food consumption declined since Hamas took over Gaza, butchers continued to hone their skills.  A cleric showed off tools of the trade and urged others to get involved.

Gaza cattle ranchers
Cattle Ranchers

Ranchers:  As described above, the meat business has not been great, but Palestinian leadership was confident in their ability to corral enough when the market improved.

Gaza outdoor backpacker
Outdoor Hiking

Outdoor Activities:  Gaza developed a range of sporting centers with special backpacks, belts and other gadgetry for time outside.  While repelling has been around for a few years, preachers were just starting to advocate the activity.

Gaza behead
Bowling and entertainment

Indoor Activities:  The owner of one of the few Middle Eastern bowling alleys discussed “spares and strikes” and hoped to educate the community about fun “date-night” activities.

Gaza hide and seek
Teachers

Teachers: The Palestinian schools always need new teachers with new methods to teach the young.  A teacher presented an innovative method of teaching religion and history via a game of hide-and-seek with the children.

Gaza cheerlreader
Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders and Sports:  The UN was impressed with the progressive nature of the Palestinian schools that had a very large percentage of male cheerleaders.

Gaza surgeon
Surgeons

Doctors: The healthcare industry was still in shambles, particularly in Gaza.  However, the United Nations was heartened to listen to Palestinian doctors promoting their profession to the young.

Gaza zookeeper
Veterinary Medicine

Vets and Zoo:  The UN heard Palestinian requests to refurbish their zoos and teach veterinary medicine.  Apes and pigs were the primary attractions.

Gaza arms dealer
Arms Dealer

Arms Dealer:  Well, it is the Middle East.  The UN blessed Iran’s nuclear weapons program, so Palestinians thought they would have an easy time advancing an arms dealership in the region.  Turkey pledged to send a boat right away.

gaza journalist
Journalist

Journalism: Palestinians have taken to social media like African bees to a sweaty field worker. The United Nations promised to not only promote their posts, but to pay Palestinians for the news stories as well.

Gaza charm school
Charm School

Vocational Schools:  This was a hot topic in Vienna.  By teaching older adults new skills, more people would be able to earn livelihoods.  The graduates of Palestinian Charm Schools have a reputation of being so endearing, that they get speaking engagements paying handsome sums, even when they have little to say. The University of California school system has speakers booked through May.

Gaza ghost costume
Retail: Kids clothing

Retail: Clothing was historically a tough business in the territories, as large family sizes ensured a good supply of hand-me-downs.  This year, the UN promoted celebrating Halloween and paid for advertisements selling ghost and other costumes to stimulate the economy.

Gaza shapeshifters
Shape-shifters

Shape-shifters:  This occupation stumped the members of the UN commission.  They had heard of Jews controlling animals and sharks with their minds, but they were unsure about the nature of changing physical form.  The panel agreed to meet again later to learn more about the phenomenon and how it could be used to help the Palestinian cause.

Gaza shoe shine
Shoe Repair

Shoe Repair: The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority spoke about the basic needs of shoe repair and foot hygiene. His display of humility left the committee speechless.  One member of the committee from Ecuador commented that Abbas reminded him of the new pope.

The United Nations concluded the day-long session with a statement of support from Fodé Seck (Senegal), the Committee Chairperson.  The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power remarked that the session showed a way forward for the Palestinian economy.  “As Obama says,” remarked Power, “once economic and political despair is overcome, peace will prevail.

In Middle East parlance, it is called putting the cart before the rocket launcher, a tried-and-true method of controlling the population.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Snack-Pack Inspections

Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

Liar, Liar! Hillary’s Pant Suit’s on Fire!

A satire of Hillary Clinton’s deleted personal emails

To: [tailor]

Can you make me something a little less boxy? Bill says I look like a Lego-character. Nothing too hip; I don’t want to lose my New England fan base.

hillary pantsuit
A Hillaryous pant suit



To: Bill

Your JDate account just automatically renewed. Can you please cancel it? We’ve been over this before…



From: Bill

Good news. I spoke to your doctor about your concussion. She said you hit the part of the brain that handles the function distinguishing between good and evil, so there’s really nowhere to go but up.



To: Bill

Can you believe that arrogant pr*ck? He named his new dog after himself, “BO.” What kind of idiot calls his dog “Junior”?



To: Bill

Just heard Michelle has a staff of over 40! I knew someone would come along and have a larger first spouse-staff than I did.  I just assumed it would be you!


From: Bill

When you see the Sultan [of Brunei] next week, please tell him he’s behind on his contributions to both my library and CGI [Clinton Global Initiative].  Give him a month [to pay up] before you attack his human rights abuses.



To: Bill

That b*tch Oprah took my spotlight on The View. I barely got to push my book. I need to find a new generation of journalists to field me softball questions and raise millions of dollars and Big O was sopping up all of the sun.


From: Bill

While I know the blue dress and black wig is your Halloween costume, would you mind wearing it on Valentine’s Day?


From: Chelsea

Mom, why don’t you ask Nancy [Pelosi] who does her face?  It’s not like you’d be wearing the same dress.


From: Bill

Hill, you tell your mother-f**in boss to stop walking around like he’s the messiah; that’s our f**in office he’s in.


To: Bill

I feel like I live in a 48 hour per day-world since I work 24/7 and still spend half of my day on personal emails.


To: Bill

I’ve been doing a lot of spying on world leaders lately. How can we make sure that no one spies on us? Do we control all of our emails?



From: Egyptian President Mubarak

My dear Hillary, please bring over a few cartons of those amazing US cigarettes on your next visit. They are the only things that “boost” my libido.



To Bill

Can you believe it? I almost lost “Most Admired Woman” in the last Gallup poll to Palin. I hate this country. Why don’t they love me?


To: Chelsea

Don’t worry about marrying a Jew. You’ll see, one day the Gore girls will marry Jews too.


To: Huma [Abedin, married to Anthony Weiner, aid to Hillary]

I saw your husband’s picture – not bad, not bad at all. That’s what I call a shmuck!


To: Bill

I have to tell you- Beyoncé was right.  Libya is really nice.


From: Chelsea

Mom, I hope you don’t mind that I have termed you “TechnoMom” as you’ve been so cutting edge on social media.  I hope it doesn’t bite you in the ass one day.