Friday, September 18, 2009


This has been running around the Jewish internet, and one of my lay leaders sent it to me as we're doing a simple version of this ritual on Sunday. I thought it was the funniest thing I'd seen in weeks.

On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, there is a ceremony called Tashlich. Jews traditionally go to the ocean or a stream or river to pray and throw bread crumbs into the water. Symbolically, the fish devour their sins.

Occasionally, people ask what kind of bread crumbs should be thrown.

Here are suggestions for breads which may be most appropriate for specific sins and misbehaviors:

For ordinary sins - White Bread

For erotic sins - French Bread

For particularly dark sins - Pumpernickel

For complex sins - Multi-Grain

For twisted sins - Pretzels

For tasteless sins - Rice Cakes

For sins of indecision - Waffles

For sins committed in haste -Matzoh

For sins of chutzpah - Fresh Bread

For substance abuse - Stoned Wheat

For use of heavy drugs - Poppy Seed

For petty larceny- Stollen

For committing auto theft - Caraway

For timidity/cowardice - Milk Toast

For ill-temperedness - Sourdough

For silliness, eccentricity - Nut Bread

For not giving full value - Shortbread

For jingoism, chauvinism - Yankee Doodles

For excessive irony - Rye Bread

For unnecessary chances - Hero Bread

For telling bad jokes/puns - Corn Bread

For war-mongering - Kaiser Rolls

For dressing immodestly - Tarts

For causing injury to others - Tortes

For lechery and promiscuity - Hot Buns

For promiscuity with gentiles - Hot Cross Buns For racist attitudes - Crackers

For sophisticated racism -Ritz Crackers

For being holier than thou - Bagels

For abrasiveness - Grits

For dropping in without notice - Popovers

For over-eating - Stuffing

For impetuosity - Quick Bread

For indecent photography - Cheesecake

For raising your voice too often - Challah

For pride and egotism - Puff Pastry

For sycophancy, a**-kissing - Brownies

For being overly smothering - Angel Food Cake

For laziness - Any long loaf

For trashing the environment - Dumplings

For those who require a wide selection of crumbs, we suggest a Tashlich Mix available in three grades (Taslich Lite, Medium, and Industrial Strength) at your favorite Jewish bookstore.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Health Care for Immigrants

There's no doubt about it, we have a problem with illegal immigration in this country. Fueled by our desire for cheap mostly....and our lack of will to get it together and hammer out a policy, we've got a lot of people who are here, working, raising their families and taking care of each other who are breaking the law and whose employers are breaking the law.

I get that there's a problem that needs to be solved, and I'm all for solving it. A nation that has lots of shadow people is not a good place for anybody. It invites abuse of law and abuse of persons. We need to fix this. And when we fix it, the issue of how to run a health care program for the people of the nation will be solved.

I don't get the fury about illegal aliens. They are, as a whole, model citizens, full of gumption, willing to work very hard at jobs others don't want and family-centered, upwardly mobile, responsible folks. It's not their fault that this nation doesn't have a useful immigration policy. They are being scapegoated in the healthcare battles and in other parts of the political landscape. It's not fair.

And I don't actually want to have to step over the dying ones in the street. I don't want them incubating contageous diseases because the doors of healthcare are closed to them. I don't want their babies damaged from unassisted births, and I don't want them bearing more babies than they can afford to raise. I bet you don't want those things either. I bet even Rep. Wilson doesn't want those things.

Let's get this healthcare thing done so we can get to work on a sensible, enforcable immigration policy. This is not Calcutta. This is Madam Liberty's golden shore.

South Carolina

My old home state of South Carolina is certainly having its problems lately. First it's govenor disappears for a while to have an affaire, and now its Republican senator heckles the president in the most formal of settings. South Carolina is a beautiful state with a rich culture and a reputation for being backwards, and this certainly doesn't help matters. I enjoyed living there enough to be embarassed for them. Wilson appologized (at the request of his party, he made it clear.) President Obama accepted. Obama is a grownup. People who heckle a president in the senate chambers show themselves to be undisciplined hicks.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I'm mad at Van Jones

Before this week, all I'd ever heard about Van Jones was glowing. He spoke at a UUA General Assembly a few years back and I heard numerous people tell me that it was the best speech they'd ever heard or that he was the smartest person they'd ever heard. I'd missed his speech, and I was sorry.

But today, I'm thinking that it was so dumb of him to take the job of Green Czar, that I'm angry at him. Did he think his past statements and petition signatures (that Bush "let" 9/11 happen so he could go to war, is the most damming) wouldn't catch up with him in this incredibly polarized climate? Had he not noticed how much damage President Obama took on just because he was in the presence of Jeremiah Wright? Hello, Mr. best-speaker-people-have-ever-heard! This is the real world speaking! It matters what petitions you signed and what impolite things you said in the heat of various news storms.

Obama (whose people should have done a better vetting job...that's also true) didn't need this. The nation didn't need this. Mr. Jones... your bad.