Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Friday, August 11, 2006

[A long, gratifying post for your weekend (possibly) without me]

It's time for "Name that skin!"
Chicken or Fore?

Ah, the Jewish inside-joke. And here I am trying to learn about tzitzis and Shabbat and High Holy Days and Nova lox on a bagel, when what I should really be doing is getting in on the inside-jokes. Knowing inside-jokes is key to fitting in with any group of people you don't fit in with...if that makes sense.

This occurred to me yesterday when someone said, “Don't ever buy gribanis from a mohel" and everyone laughed.

I was only halfway there. I was familiar with the whole mohel thing from
my little run-in with Dr. 90210, but what the hell is gribanis?

According to my "go-to" Jewish friends, it’s chicken skin and it’s cooked with onions. Why is this funny?

Chicken skin looks like foreskin. If you buy it from a mohel...well, you get it.

Fortunately for me, when I didn’t laugh my colleagues probably just assumed that I didn’t think it was funny. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate
my theory that my coworkers think I’m just an ‘outside of the box’ thinkin’ Jewish man. I am simply not amused with the kitschy things that some find entertaining.

Of course, this is not true. I like the kitsch as much as the next guy. So on that note, I sent out this note to all of my Jewish friends, requesting the kitsch be bestowed upon me (their responses below):

From: Not Chosen
Date: Aug 10, 2006 5:01 PM
Subject: Hello, My Jewish Friends...
To: Members of the Tribe

I am looking for any Jewish "inside jokes" you might have. I need them desperately if I’m going to make it here.

Today I heard the line, "Don't ever buy gribanis from a mohel." If you have any other little sayings or Jewish-related puns, idioms, anecdotes, etc, please send them my way.

Thanks for you help, Chosen ones...

From: One of the Chosen
Date: Aug 10, 2006 5:44 PM
Subject: Re: Hello, My Jewish Friends...
To: Not Chosen

I hope you don't plan on misusing these - it would be a 'shanda fer de goyim.'

Btw, that gribanis line is from Mrs. Doubtfire – not Jewish, but still funny. The rest of that line ("never buy...) is "...too chewy."

You know the one about the guy riding a plane next to a beautiful woman, right? She remarked that she had read that Native Americans were best endowed and that Jews made the best lovers. Then she asked what his name was. His reply: Tanto Goldstein.

You want an inside joke? How about the one about how we secretly run the world. It's so inside we're not even in on it. I mean if it were true I'm pretty sure I'd be sitting on an island right now and Israel would be sending the katyushas back to Lebanon with 'mind bullets.'

Man, I feel like there's a million just not coming to mind at the moment. I'll see if i can dig up any more.

So how are you doing over there?


From: One of the Chosen
Date: Aug 10, 2006 6:06 PM
Subject: RE: Hello, My Jewish Friends...
To: Not Chosen

Not sure I can top the gribanis line...That one made me crack up. Here is my funny anecdote...

While swimming in Lake Kinneret in Israel at the age of 13, I noticed a group of older Israeli guys (pre-army) tossing a watermelon in a circle. One of them must have noticed me looking because he threw the watermelon my way, creating a mini cannonball effect. As I struggled to pick up the Vaseline-laden fruit and return it to them, I started to notice all the guys inching closer in the water. I finally tossed the damn thing back and the guy in the front quickly sent it flying back to me again as he made his way towards me. "You are American?!" he smirked. "Um, yeah" I muttered, now fixated on the task at hand. "I speak, but lo maspik" he replied. Fully translated, that means "I speak, but not enough." Clever play on words I thought, as I triumphantly launched the giant watermelon over my head and back at the ever-approaching posse of Israelis. It was at this point that I noticed that they were all chanting "I speak, but lo maspik. I speak, but lo maspik" like drones at a Yankees game mindlessly chanting "hip hip Jorge! hip hip Jorge!" Then the ring leader spoke again. "My name is Gabi. It means touch me in English." Unsure of how to respond, I doggy paddled for a few seconds looking stunned before settling on an exit strategy. Later, when I related the day's events to my friend at the time, who has a much better grasp of Hebrew than I do, she cackled. "I never really thought about it! That's actually what Gabi means!"

Ok, not sure if that's what you're looking for, but I think it's funny. Definitely ranks up there as one of the best pick up lines I've ever heard. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.

-Another M.O.T.
Someone else just sent me a link to a Jewish idiom site. I'm waiting for the rest to reply. If any of you have something else I should know about, send it my way. My email address is somewhere around here…

Screw it, my email is:

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