Not Chosen, Just Posin'

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

Friday, September 29, 2006

As of late, I've been paranoid about the possibility of someone at my office happening upon the site (and, quite frankly, I'm not sure how they haven't already). Every time I put up a post, I know I'm increasing my chances of getting caught, but for some reason the risk intrigues me. It's kind of like stealing. You know that you don't really need the electric toothbrush, but wouldn't it be cool if you got away with taking it out of the store in your pant leg? Yeah, it's exactly like that...

So, I did a bit of research in order to find the number of Jewish magazines in the New York area (so that I could properly assess the risk factor...something I should have thought of a long time ago, really). While I couldn't find a list based on location (the lady told me I'd have to individually click on each site to figure that out), I finally found an ongoing list of all the Jewish magazines in the country. And, guess what? The one I work at isn't on it. I have no idea how it worked out that way, and I've never been known for having good luck, but you better believe I'm not going to be the one to directly inform the organization of its flaw.

Upon realizing this, I was pretty satisfied. My job is secure for that much longer and my anxiety has temporarily retreated. However, since the anxiety factor is disproportionately related to the danger factor, to which I'm completely attracted, it wasn't long after this discovery that I longed again for my feeling of uneasiness. While my job isn't fun or exciting, the innate "danger" of documenting it and defaming my anonymous colleagues is.

To artificially insert some more of this danger into the situation, I'm now linking to the organization so that they come to know that they're missing a publication, as well as inserting (above) the spot where our magazine should be on their list. No really, don't thank me. It's my pleasure.

I feel so much better now....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

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The Secretary who reeks of cigarettes (who looks nothing like the girl in the picture above) just lit one up in the office and is now walking around smoking. I have a slight case of asthma. No big deal.

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Fun with Stereotypes!

I've been meaning to address my tendency to make fun of, and undermine, stereotypes for a while now. Evidently there are two schools of thought on the subject (aren't there always?) And, as you know, the one I endorse is the correct one.

Side #1: To undermine a stereotype is to grab it by the horns and make it your bitch. In other words, stereotypes can work in your favor!

Side #2: Stereotypes can make you their little bitch if you let them. By constantly feeding the stereotype machine with jokes, it grows and becomes a big, scary monster. Sometimes it hides under your bed.

I tend to side with #1. Side #2 is a conspiracy theory, similar to the Christian "Hell."

Anyway, I was initially going to approach the subject by addressing guys who wear pink shirts. Ever since GQ came out with a South American style photo spread in 2003 (I think), which featured guys wearing pastels, pink shirts have taken over. What is worse than the shirt itself is the associated tagline, "I'm comfortable enough with my masculinity to wear a pink shirt." Translated, this means, "Yes, I know the stereotype states that pink is for girls, but I am so manly that I can wear it without fear of being judged by that archaic rule of thumb." As much as I hate pink shirts on guys, I have to respect the thought process backing the heinous fashion trend.

On a similar note, advertisers have been blurring culture lines in order to endorse their products.
Gawker led me to this wonderful ad today for a long distance phone plan that features mixed racial features with taglines such as:

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"Lowest rates between Japan and Scotland"

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"Lowest rates between Turkey and Sweden"

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"Lowest rates between Senegal and Germany"

I'm pretty sure there are a lot of offended people out there. The slightest mention of race, culture, religion, tends to piss people off. In this case, maybe advertisers are seen as not "respecting" racial differences; that they are exploiting them for money. I tend to think that people just like to be pissed off (which is great for people like me who love to watch them get all hot and bothered). I see nothing wrong with the ad. I actually think it's pretty clever. So clever, in fact, that I've personalized one for the new "Not Chosen, Just Posin'" calling plan:

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"Lowest rates between Italy and Israel"

My plan was never to get into a deep discussion about undermining stereotypes though; I just wanted to present the topic, let you know that, yes, I am aware of the fact that this is what I'm doing, offer my opinion on the subject and then slap it around a bit.

When it comes to pink shirts, however, you will never catch me wearing one. Pink shirts are totally for chicks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"And after she rubbed her partner's back, she started rubbing...."
-Written by The Silent Designer

You know that Visa commercial where the different companies are sitting around their conference tables, brainstorming? It starts out with one company wondering aloud, “What would Carter Lipman do?” Then it flashes over to Carter Lipman who is wondering what Shuford is doing, who is wondering what X and Y companies are doing. The commercial culminates in the tagline, “Life takes inspiration.”

Here at the Unidentified Jewish Magazine, we do something similar. While we’re not so formal as to actually sit at a conference table, we have tons of magazines lying around the office from which we are supposed to gain inspiration. In fact, this has been the case at every magazine I’ve worked at. At all the other magazines, however, it made sense. Here we have completely unrelated magazines lying around. Time. Newsweek. The New Yorker. We couldn’t emulate those if we tried. It would make more sense for us to have the Penny Saver smiling up at us from the coffee table than to have well-written news sources and intelligent editorial lying around.

Here are some brilliant suggestions from today’s brainstorming session:

Me: Can we not refer to these things as brainstorming sessions anymore?

OrthoJew: One of us should go undercover and work with the IDF for a few months. We could present an exposé about the training program, co-ed relationships, a female’s role in the armed forces.

Israeli Girl: Of course. That makes a lot of sense: I mean, why wouldn’t they let an almost-reporter risk her life to mock them?

Here I gained a newfound respect for the Israeli Girl. Actually, I
gained that when she started lactating through her shirt. Wink, wink.

OrthoJew: Okay, how about putting a blog on the site? A lot of other magazines, like ____ and _____ have blogs. It’s a good way to drive traffic and attract advertisers.

As you can probably guess, OrthoJew has a notebook with
her and is scribbling in it intensely.

Me: [Silent chuckle. I thought I’d let someone else take this one.]

Girl who is getting a British flag-laden mini Cooper: Yeah. We kind of have one.

Collective mental cheer.

Publisher’s Wife: We should put in comic strips. If we can make people laugh, they’ll be more apt to like us. We want them to associate us with that good feeling they get when they’re around the magazine.

Collective mental desire that she heed her own advice.

Publisher: I don’t need edgy stories, but I need engaging ones. I’d like something compelling rather than informational. Our closest competitor is ________ and we are following directly after ______. How do we get ahead of both?

Silent Designer: We could profile members of the community.

Me: Too small time. We’re national now and the only people who care about those people are those people.

Publisher: Exactly. Moving back to the IDF thing, perhaps we could profile a retiree.

Silent Designer: Preferably a hot blonde one.

Me: I love it. [SuperJew would kick his ass if she heard that comment]

Publisher’s Wife: What about my comic strip?
Collective mental “What about it?”

Anyway, I could bore you with this stuff for hours, but I’m just not that cruel.

Real quick though - here's an important stat:

OrthoJew's Stupid Ideas (2) Vs. OrthoJew's Good Idea (1)

The majority rules...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cut the charade, bitch.

"Frummer than Thou" *
(Formerly Titled: OrthoJew strikes again.)

*Thanks to
Harley for the new and improved title.

I walked into The Publisher’s office this morning to talk to him about something or another. Due to the position of his desk/computer and the fact that I'm really nosy, I can't help but stare at his incoming emails as they pop up over Outlook.

As I was talking to him, I saw an email from OrthoJew pop up. I have really good eyesight, so I can easily read 10 pt. font from about 5 feet away. The subject of her email was "Yom Kippur." The Publisher is the definition of a multi-tasker, so he proceeded to open the email as we were discussing the production schedule. And, of course, I took liberty to read the email because, again, I like to know everyone's business and it was right there.

Just wanted to remind you that I won’t be here for Yom Kippur on Monday,” it read.

Well, no shit. This is the equivalent of reminding your boss that you will not be able to make it in for Christmas. I was curious as to what he would respond (or if he would even bothered) until a few minutes after I left his office, he sent out a mass email to everyone in the office, reminding them that "The office will be closed on Monday in observance of Yom Kippur." I heard a collective, “no shit” travel through the office and hoped that OrthoJew, too, caught wind of the sarcasm having resulted from her attempt at foresight.

While I don't like OrthoJew, she's not an idiot. This was a strategic email, that could only mean two things.

1). OrthoJew is a kiss ass. Perhaps she only wrote that letter to remind The Publisher that she is a good Jew. "The fact that I am a good Jew who is so excited for Yom Kippur," rationalizes OrthoJew to herself as she presses send, "will make up for the fact that I have no idea how to do my job! The Publisher will have no choice but to love my pro-active Jewish attitude!"

2). Our OrthoJew here has a bit of a control issue. For some people this would manifest in anorexia (control of food intake), and perhaps others, an overwhelming desire to reject help from others (control of responsibility). As it turns out, however, OrthoJew is not especially thin and certainly relies on others to get her job done. Her control issue simply exists in the form of her excessive bossiness. At the risk of alerting feminists the world over, I prefer skin and bones to a loudmouth and self-righteousness.

I'm going to take a stab at it and guess that it's a balanced mix of both. That OrthoJew has quite the diabolical mind. There's no telling what she's capable of.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Little did I know that this weekend in Miami would turn out to be chock full of Judaism. And to think, I thought it was going to be full of drinking and relaxing on the beach. As it turns out, I was right on that front. The weekend ultimately turned out to be a combination of both.

Ever since I started working at the magazine, the subject of Judaism has been ever-present on my mind (and for good reason; I work with and around it 9 hours a day). I’m beginning to think I’ve become a magnet attracting all things Jewish (minus a good JAP to take home to mom).

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For one, after reading my review of Jewtopia, Time Warner Book Group sent me yet another book, Incantation. It’s a young adult book and upon receipt thereof, I had no intention of reading it. For one thing, the words in the book are this big. That was a turn off. Another turn off was the image of a “mystic” female on the cover and the name of a female author. While I’m a big fan of some female authors, I tend to prefer males. I also love complexity and books with seemingly no plot, yet writing that makes you wonder if the author is, in fact, mortal. And if so, did he sell his soul for that kind of talent? Nevertheless, I read the back of the book and it spoke of living a life of duplicity (something with which I’ve found myself suddenly quite familiar), as well as Kabbalah (something with which I’m not familiar at all aside from my arch nemesis, the fake Jew, Madonna’s obsession therewith). Those two things, combined with a two and a half hour plane ride, and enough foresight to know that the book would only take me about an hour to read, sealed the deal. I read it and I actually enjoyed it. Not in the way that I usually love a book, however. As I mentioned, I usually enjoy getting stuck on the complexly structured sentences that compose each page. Incantation didn’t contain those. It was rather a simple and touching story that further detailed the persecution that followers of Judaism have endured over the centuries. Of course that was interesting to me, but to someone else my age? Probably not. And that’s good, because this is targeted toward a younger audience; one that would surely benefit from reading it. So, yeah, that’s that.

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When I arrived at the airport, I was picked up by a couple of friends, one of whom has a condo right outside of the city. He told me that we were going to Synagogue tomorrow (Saturday) for Rosh Hashanah. I laughed. He was serious. I was oddly excited. When we got to his place he grabbed a community newspaper to figure out which temple to go to. Then he announced that it was $300 to get in. You're kidding me.

“Three hundred dollars? What a rip off. They’re exploiting the holiday to make money?” My impression of the religion started changing immediately.

From there, my mind wondered off to think of other events that are equally inappropriate to charge a cover at: weddings, funerals, birthday parties….

Before I got too far, he explained to me that many Jews only step into the temple on High Holidays, while others are paying membership fees for the entire year. Money for the upkeep of the synagogue and the rabbi’s salary had to be accounted for. It started making sense. My other friend told me that it’s hardly disgusting when you think of the tithing required by some religions. She told me that her father pays 10% of everything he makes to his church. When he sells a piece of real estate—10% straight to the church.

"Okay, got it. Fine, it’s not that disgusting."

We headed to the synagogue the next day. The security guard at the door requested our tickets, which we still needed to buy. We followed someone who we thought was going to assist us with our tickets, but he rather showed us to a trough of kippahs and let us in the service. Phew, that was a close call.

We only stayed for about an hour. Basically, my friend—the bacon-eating, tattooed Jew—had wanted to go to services to “get it out of the way.” Seemingly in an attempt to avoid the guilt that would have resulted having not attended (I guess that answers the Jewish guilt question: it clearly exists).

Long story short, the service differed greatly from a Christian one (as you might expect). There was a huge emphasis on tradition and community, rather than that which composes the actual religion (maybe this is why many Jews don’t know much about their religion?) On the other hand, I've only been to one service, so I've made no concrete conclusions. Christian churches offer a mix of both with more emphasis on Biblical stories. Community seems to be preached more than it is emphasized. If anything, the Christian “communities” are that which turn me off the most. This is for many reasons.

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From there, the weekend progressed as planned: Beach, drinks, sushi (no raw kobe beef this time), drinks, and again, beach. For some reason, I felt good having gone to the service. It set the tone for the rest of the weekend, kind of like when I used to go to church on Sunday mornings. I never wanted to go, but once I did, I felt like I had done my part and that I could spend the rest of the day sinning as usual, yet, without guilt. This is a huge thing for a Catholic man. Without guilt, there is no way for "them" to manipulate us.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

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Being a Catholic, it's practically in my DNA to make the infrequent and shameful confession.*

Here's my most recent: I ventured onto Technorati and typed in my name to see if any results would come up (Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary). I was surprised to find quite a few; some good, some bad and some downright idiotic. Mixed somewhere in between this mesh was the following, which was posted on a blog called SFAQ:

Nose Job Gym Class
Okay, I'm a Jew and I loved Not Chosen Just Posin's JAP workout post. I eschewed adding my thoughts to the cacophony of commentary littering his website (also I haven't figured out yet how to comment on someone else's blog). Here's what I would have said though. Four words: Nose Job Gym Class. Many years ago when I was in high school, an apprentice JAP in a small Jewish town on the left bank of Long Island, a traditional rite of passage was the nose job. Structurally fortunate, I did not require one, but I was in the minority (even then). And when the recipients of these nose jobs brought their broken and healed, newly pert, appendages back to high school, they couldn't possibly engage in contact sports. So we had a special gym class for them. I kid you not. I think they did sport knitting or something. I only know I didn't get to do it, I was forced to humiliate myself playing basketball or dodge ball or whatever barbarian activity was underway. Nose Job Gym Class. I haven't thought of that in years.

This is brilliant! Has anyone else heard of Nose Job Gym Classes? Seriously, this could be the cover story for my Jewish tabloid.

I'm having trouble researching it though. Google hasn't heard a thing. In fact:

Your search - "nose job gym class" - did not match any documents.

Feel free to chime in with any related information (If I were really cool, I would add a "helpline" number here: "Have you seen this person? If so, call 1-800-nosejob with any information leading to her whereabouts") Anyway, this is the most hilarious thing I've heard in a while. Thought I'd share.

*As you've probably guessed, or maybe I've mentioned, I don't follow Catholicism. It's a family thing.

Is it just me or is every Jewish man in New York City wearing a yarmulkah/kippa today? (Which is the more popular term, by the way? Kippa or yarmulka?) Well, I can tell you that every guy in my office, The Publisher not excluded, is wearing one. At first I wondered if there was someone important coming to the office? New business meeting? Then it occurred to me: Is today the official beginning of Rosh Hashanah? I thought it was tomorrow. Granted, I wouldn't have thought to wear one tomorrow either (or ever, for that matter, considering I'm not Jewish).

Where does one buy such a sacred headpiece? Are there yarmulkah stores? Kind of like Army/Navy supply stores? I definitely can't buy one online. It will take too long and I clearly need one now! And these pin things that hold it to one's hair... Where do I buy those? Do they come with the yarmulkah? Like, in a complete, do it yourself yarmulkah package? Lastly, am I going to hell* if I put one of these things on my head? I think that upon putting it on my head, it would mark the first time to date that I've actually felt blasphemous. Before, it was all fun and games. But that, that is just disrespectful.

*I don't believe in hell.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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With Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur approaching, why not try to cash in on the holidays?!

I just opened my inbox to find Cafe Press doing exactly this. Boy, if I don't despise people who exploit holidays for money and take advantage of religion for their own self-gain (which is right up there with exploiting tragedy for monetary gain). Oh wait...

So anyway, below is their pitch and a few samples of their clever usages of the common pun in the form of t-shirts and bumper stickers. To read the pitch, you might even get the impression that those guys (goys?) over at Cafe Press are one of you. Sounds as if, at this time of the year, Judaism teams up with Cafe Press for a mass marketing campaign formerly known as "High Holy Days." But what's past is past. Now it's all about branding! Branding! Branding! Again, completely ridiculous. Who would do such a thing? And again: oh wait. [Me!]

"Jewish Humor: A Tradition to Laugh At

In September, Judaism celebrates Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), as we approach the High Holy Days - a time of reflection and prayer that ends with Yom Kippur. Though the sacred abounds this time of year, Jewish culture and tradition shows itself in humor year 'round. Whether it's another Rabbi joke or a play on a Yiddish phrase, the wit is distinctly Jewish. Take part in the Jewish tradition that's as old as any, even if the humor is as cheesy as a blintz or as dry as a piece of matzo."

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Like, oh my G-WD. Tzitzit sounds like Tit!

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Screw Forgiveness!
Mel hating never gets old!
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Religion can be kinky!
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Get it? Like "G Unit," but Jewish!
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Like that Tom Cruise movie, but again, if it were Jewish!
Jerry Maguirestein? Ha! Belly Laugh Hysterical!
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Those silly Christians will never learn.
Before Jesus can help them, he must help himself! Duh.

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Featuring lead singer, Axl Rosen!
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I mean, really. Have you?
(Refer to "Religion can be kinky" entry)

So, yeah, I'm totally buying the "Jew in Training" Shirt.

[Note: To be fair, Cafe Press' business model is to allow users to create their own "stores" wherein they sell products of their own design. That said, the products found above were probably created by MOTs. Cafe Press just identified the trend, paired it with a holiday, and, voila!, marketing mayhem! Oh yeah, they also make the bulk of the money.]

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The meeting of Not Chosen’s Group of Go-To Jewish Friends was called to order at Shalal, a cave-like bar that you’ve probably never been to, located at 70th & Columbus. Not Chosen proposed to convene over way too many drinks at this location once a month. Meeting proceedings are to be followed by a neighborhood bar crawl, which will cover the greater Upper West Side and culminate in a group puking into a communal toilet…Most likely, Not Chosen’s.

Group of Go-To Jewish Friends
(Meeting Minutes: September 9, 2006)
(Shalal, 70th & Columbus)

Present: Aviva, Brian, Adam, Aaron, Tal, Lee and Not Chosen
Absent: Paula (who is not Jewish anyway)

Others Present:
Bartender, Justin
Other: Patrons of the bar

1. Meeting called to order at 10:00 p.m.

1.1 Not Chosen recommends that the organization should conduct meetings in the current location over the winter. After brief discussion, the Group of Go-To Jewish Friends agrees.

1.2 Brian suggests that the Group of Go-To Jewish Friends recovered nicely from the brief bump in the road that resulted from the JAP exercise routine.

1.3 Adam agrees with Brian, but adds that Not Chosen should not have been apologetic. That he is the face of this institution and his actions reflected poorly on all. “You came off like a little bitch when you apologized for doing nothing wrong,” were Adam’s exact words. After brief discussion, Not Chosen agrees that he indeed came off like a little bitch. He motions to never apologize again for anything and this motion is seconded, passed and toasted to (Grey Goose, splash cranberry).

2. Finance Committee report

2.1 Aviva informs the Group of Go-To Jewish Friends that shirt sales are steady, but not impressive. She asks Not Chosen if he actually expected to sell any. Not Chosen says that he did not, but it would have been nice.

2.2 Aaron reminds Not Chosen that he promised to offer shirts featuring SuperJew duking it out with OrthoJew. He suggests that sales from these shirts would bring in some serious funds, which would be allocated to the Group of Go-To Jewish friends' drinking budget.

2.3 After brief discussion of the shirt issue, Not Chosen agrees to put forth an effort to get those out shortly and a motion to make "SuperJew vs. OrthoJew" the next shirt to hit the Not Chosen, Just Posin’ fashion line is seconded, passed and toasted to (Southern Comfort and Lime shots).

3. Other business:

3.1 Tal informs Not Chosen that if he has any questions pertinent to Judaism, now is the time to ask them.

3.2 Not Chosen certainly does have questions. In order of importance (least to most):

i. Why do Jews get to take off Christian holidays but Christians don’t get to take off Jewish ones?

ii. Like every religion, culture, nationality or family, Jews also believe they abide to “Jewish Standard time.” In context: “Oh, David is late. He must be running on Jewish Standard Time again. Ha! Ha!” How is this Jewish Standard Time any different from British Standard Time? Or, say, Johnson family Standard Time?

iii. Do Jews suffer from a guilt complex or not? There are rumors alluding to both options.

iv. In regards to the comments received from the JAP workout, it seems that there are members of the American Jewish population who feel as if they are victims. Despite their abundant representation in the media, Hollywood and other elite industries, do some of them honestly feel as if they are not given equal opportunity or are looked down upon? Is this victimization complex justified by their families’ sufferings? And if so, should we expect them to extend the same sympathies to other cultures/races that similarly pull the victimization card?

3.3 Lee interrupts Tal in order to answer Not Chosen’s questions in order of appearance:

i. Don’t speak those words too loudly. We’ve been getting away with this double holiday gig for years now and we’re, in no way, ready to give it up... Especially due to someone overhearing your drunk-ass pondering this heretical smut aloud in a bar that looks like a cave.

ii. Jewish Standard Time is different from other culture/religions’ Standard Time because it can team up with a culture’s standard time to double the lateness factor. In context: “Oh, David is running late. He must be running on Russian Standard Time and Jewish Standard Time. Ha! Ha!” While it is true that Catholic Standard Time can team up with Italian Standard time (or otherwise), you Italians aren’t smart enough to use this fact to your advantage.

iii. Depends on the Jew, really. Us Jews are clever enough to use the line to our advantage based on the situation at hand. If admitting to suffering fromthe “Jewish guilt complex” will help us out, then, ta-da!, we suffer from Jewish guilt. If it won’t work to our advantage, then, sorry, we don’t have a guilt complex like you pathetic Catholics.

iv. There are bitter bastards of every race, religion, culture. Don’t judge the whole religion by its worst specimens. Sometimes people like feeling victimized. In fact, some even consider it a demented form of foreplay. Your nastier commenters probably headed to the bathroom and whacked off after leaving their venom on your site.

3.4 Not Chosen absorbs the data. He is akwardly delighted that people get off on his site; says “okay, cool,” seconds it, passes it and toasts to victimization as a kinky form of foreplay (Liquid Cocaine for the men; a blow job for Aviva – or is that backwards?)

4. Assessment of the Meeting:

4.1 Adam notes that the past two meetings have run over the intended two-hour time slot by half an hour, and it’s time to head out on the bar crawl. He asks members to be more mindful and focused during discussions, and suggests that Lee take an action to identify solutions to this issue.

4.2 Lee notes that Adam has been a bit unpleasant this evening (Is he PMS'ing?) and that the others are really getting sick of his attitude.

4.3 Tal, ever the peace-keeper, suggests a group shot (Tequilla and O.J.), pays the bill and leads the gang out the door.

4.4 Tal turns to Not Chosen and tells him how much he owes him.

• Meeting adjourned at 12:30 a.m.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dear The Publisher's Wife,
You suck and I hate you.
Yours Truly,
The Unpaid Freelancer

Last week I mentioned that I’d received letters from some of our freelancers, and a knock at the door from the janitors, regarding late payments. Here is a recent letter I received from one of the photographers who worked an event that occurred before I even started here. This letter pleases me greatly; mostly because it puts all of the fault on The Publisher’s Wife. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

Just a bit of background. The freelancer who wrote this letter had initially written to The Publisher’s Wife—after the one month payment due date had passed—requesting her rightful payment. To this, The Publisher’s Wife took offense (she probably took it as an accusation that she was not doing her job properly …she wasn’t). This letter is in response to one The Publisher’s Wife wrote back. For some reason, I deleted The Publisher’s Wife’s response, but the premise of her email was threefold:

1) “Calm down” [An attempt to make the freelancer feel as if she’s in the wrong]
2) “Your payment is on the way” [Stalling]
3) “It was all the sponsors’ fault” [Blaming it on others—a very professional tactic, indeed!]

To: Not Chosen
Date: Sep 15, 2006
From: Loather of the Publisher’s Wife

These are the type of very few responses we get from The Publisher’s Wife.

Vague,pompous,unprofessional. They only owe me $800.00... not a huge amount of money, so it makes you wonder if they could be going under? She blames it on the sponsors (_____ Vodka and _____ Investment firm sponsored this event) for their non-payment to the magazine.She obviously is annoyed with me for trying to collect monies that are longover due. It seems as if she thinks it is "normal" to break a contract and that I should just be willing to shut up and wait till whenever without bothering her.I tried calling again last night, left messages, was polite,and, of course,the usual No RESPONSE from her or anyone at The Unidentified Jewish Magazine.

The only professional responses that I have ever received are from the editor, Not Chosen. I will forward the rest shortly.

Thanks so much!

-Freelancer and Loather of The Publisher’s Wife

Hmm, I wonder if The Publisher has seen this? Yet another case of me wanting to accidentally forward the email. I think the Cons outweigh the Pros, however. Having The Publisher’s Wife on my bad side could be hell for me. Also, it would appear as if I am trying to advertise the compliment the writer gave me (although I could easily erase it). I’ve already informed him of the people who have contacted me regarding payments. I think I’ll leave it at that. This is not my responsibility, nor my business really, but it does make for a good read.

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Seeing as how I missed this weekend’s Jewzapalooza events, I thought maybe I could convince the Publisher to send me to this:

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JESUS CAMP, follows Levi, Rachael, and Tory to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in "God's army." The film follows these children at camp as they hone their "prophetic gifts" and are schooled in how to "take back America for Christ." The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.

Just kidding, but isn’t that freaky? The movie looks really interesting, but just to cover the Christian bases, I’ll have you know that born-again Christians are a different breed from those of us who were only born once. A breed that most of us try to keep at arm’s length. We appease them by listening to their preaching because we understand that it's all healing and, like, therapeutic for them and stuff. But, we know they’re just freaks. Generally, born-agains are those who fell off the deep-end but were, in a moment of clarity, “saved” by God. They become so indebted to Him that they spend their everydays preaching His word. Hearing someone preach about anything, however, is pretty annoying. The movie described above throws me for a loop though; born-again Christian children? Are these kids who are born to the quacks? Or are they kids that had some serious coke problems when they were oh, say, 5 and were subsequently saved? Hmm… I'd like to see it, but it's probably not going to happen on the boss's dime.

And on that note, is there such thing as a born-again Jew? I’ve heard a lot of people refer to themselves as “Fallen Jews.” If the so-called “Fallen Jew” ever lands, does he/she have to ‘rejoin’ the religion, or is that a Christian thing? Also, I’ve not had the opportunity to hear a Jewish person do much in the way of preaching to others. Is this because they are not looking to convert others? Because they do not feel as strongly about their religion? Or, because they don’t need the affirmation that is someone else’s opinion?

Sorry – I don’t mean to be too deep this early in the morning, early in the week. I just got to thinking and, uh, yeah.

I’ll be back shortly to share a new email with you. This time I come bearing an email from one of the freelancers who is not too pleased with the Publisher’s Wife. As you might suspect, I loved receiving it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

* I just switched over to beta-blogger (whatever that is), so it might be difficult for people with blogger accounts to leave comments. Evidently this is "being worked on."

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Three Things.

1) Yesterday The Publisher bought us all pizza for seemingly no good reason. I’m a big fan of pizza so I didn’t complain, but I still found it pretty odd. I’ve never known him to be overly generous (although he did give me my raise early), nor cheerful. I mentioned this fact in passing to a friend last night. His immediate response was, “He’s getting laid,” which would make perfect logical sense to someone who didn’t know his wife. Since I do know her, it wasn’t a likely explanation. Then it occurred to me: The Detroit Salesgirl is in town.

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2) Some pretty sketchy things have been happening around here lately in terms of our freelance staff. We hire out a lot of photographers for event-related stories. (Otherwise, we usually just search Getty or other online image banks. We’re not big enough to have staff photographers). Anyhow, I usually find the photographers and coordinate the contracts with them. Within the last week, I’ve had three of them contact me to tell me that their payments are overdue. I figured it was just a mistake with accounting, but then last night at about 8:00 (I stayed late last night) there was a knock at the door. It was the janitorial staff. I stood back to let them in, but it turns out they weren’t here to work. Rather, they had come by to pick up their missing payments. I imagine this has something to do with the Publisher’s Wife having fired our top-selling account executive last month and The Publisher putting the unnecessary Detroit sales girl on the payroll. That’s his prerogative, of course; I just hope I receive my check next week.

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3) I’ve been having a lot of fun with The Silent Designer lately. He deserves to be a bit tortured for lying to me about the real reason he was looking for another job. As it turns out, he doesn’t know that I know about him and SuperJew, so I make comments about how sexy she is every now and then just to get a rise out of him. I love to watch him cringe. My favorite: “I wonder what SuperJew’s doing this weekend. I might call her up and see if she wants to hang out. You can tell that chick’s a pillow biter.”

By the way, I know I owe you minutes from the Group of Go-To Jewish Friends monthly meeting. I've just been really lazy about it. I'll try for this weekend or next week.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The two problems with OrthoJew.

As you know, OrthoJew bores me just enough that I often daydream about getting her fired and replacing her with someone a bit more entertaining. Until now, however, she’s done nothing wrong (despite numbing me with her pedantic work habits and lack of communication skills). Of course, if you ask anyone else, they might say she’s the perfect employee. I, too, was beginning to buy into the fact that she was some type of demented workhorse whose job was on eternal lockdown. That is, until I witnessed two of her faults with my own two eyes.

Those faults?

1) She’s cheap and bossy. Not a good combination.

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Every morning I call in a breakfast order for delivery. I send around an email to everyone in the office to see if they want to add on to it. This is not because I’m nice; it’s because my personal orders aren’t large enough to render a delivery. If no one else orders, I’d have to go pick up the food myself. I’m lazy.

Everyone who responds with an order is polite: “Do you mind ordering me an apple and a coffee? Thanks!” But, OrthoJew’s replies are more like this: “Scrambled eggs, double order of toast. Make sure they give me extra ketchup.” I would have never expected her to be such a bitch. Plus, last time she ordered through me she didn't have change for a ten. I told her to give me the two bucks she owed me for her juice whenever she got change. Two days later and I still didn't have it, so I asked her to just pay for my bagel yesterday. Somehow this made me look bad; like I was that cheap. As it turns out, I am that cheap, but really, I shouldn't have to chase you down for money owed. And I hold myself to the same standard. No one ever has to chase me down.

So, this morning I decided to leave her email address off of my breakfast order distribution list. When she walked in, she asked me if I was going to order. “Sorry, I already did,” I told her. “But you can call and add on if you like.” She huffed of with a pissy, “No thanks.

Now she won’t even look at me. I ran into her in the hallway a half hour later and she faced the ground. Now I feel blessed that she doesn’t talk often because when she does speak, it’s pretty obnoxious.

2) She’s Needy. Never an attractive quality.

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I thought I was the only one who didn’t like her. Guess not. I received this beauty in my inbox this morning. I must commend the sender on her perfect timing.

From: OrthoJew Hater
To: Not Chosen
Subject: It.
Date: Weds, 13 Sep 2006 20:29:07

Not Chosen,

I trust you won’t share this with anyone and I usually don’t write these kind of things, but I just have to get this off of my mind. What’s up with the new girl?

As far as I know, she doesn’t even have a associates degree. She is totally self-taught and does not know shit. She doesn't even know what the difference between an editorial and a profile is. I have to explain everything to her!

The main problem is that she asks me questions all day long, and it’s starting to hinder my productivity. I assume this is because she does not want to bother you or the Publisher. She asks me to proofread every single thing she writes and wants my advice on the things she’s setting out to write. She’s also a shitty writer. This I’m sure you can agree on. If you’ve ever thought that I or anyone else was bad, she takes the taco.

Here’s the thing: I am not a teacher and I am not the boss. I feel like she should not be coming to me with everything. She's not an intern. She's a full time employee! Am I being a bitch or can you agree with me that this is wrong? We are a three people team. We all have to do our part. If I'm doing the job of two people, why do we need her?

Anyhow, your opinion means a lot to me. You’ve been in the business longer than I have. What do you think of the situation? Am I over-exaggerating? Do you think that I should continue helping her?

Also, how’s everything going for you so far?

Oh yeah, I just bought a Mini Coopper. It will be here in 5 weeks! It’s red with the British flag on the roof.

Thanks for keeping this between you and me.

-OrthoJew Hater

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Well, well, well. This is good news and bad news. While I would love to accidentally forward this email to my boss, I can’t. I also can’t approach OrthoJew about it or she’ll know that she was ratted out. Anyone know how to leverage this new material in my favor without outing the office’s Deepthroat? And even more important, how do I convince Deepthroat to retract the order on that mini cooper? I don’t even think she’s British. Wow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

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The fine publicity department over at Hachette Book Group USA and Warner Books has gifted me with the Jewtopia book, so that I could spread joy across my land. I'm pretty sure I'm being used, but I really like free stuff so I'd say it's a fair trade. Plus, I loved the play so the book was no less than a treat.

The following are prepackaged quotes (with explanation) for when the book is reprinted in paperback. I've made it very easy for the designers. All they have to do is copy and paste my quotes right into the template. My name's already included and everything! See? They give me a gift, I give them one. Okay fine, I just want my name on the book.

“This book will totally get you laid on the 1 train, but maybe not so much on the L.” - Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I brought Jewtopia with me on the train to Brooklyn on Sunday night and the girl sitting next to me (JAP?) got so close to me in her attempt to read it that her head was essentially on my shoulder. She looked down at the book, laughed, and then looked at me for an extended period of time. Did she want me to talk to her? Did she want me to realize that she wasn’t ready for me to turn the page? Did she want to make out? Did she want to bear my children? These are all questions that the book unfortunately does not answer, but if you want to know about the Spanish Inquisition, you’re good. By the way, no such luck on the L train.

“Even if you’re not Jewish (uh-hem), people will think you are if caught reading this. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it’s the truth nevertheless.” --Not Chosen, Just Posin'

This morning two guys were talking about the Jewish Heritage Museum when one of them glanced at the cover of my book (which pictures the authors lighting their cigarettes on a Menorah). The guy then looked at me and gave me a knowing nod. “You're a Member of the Tribe,” said the nod. Then, they both chuckled at the book's clever and strategic blasphemy.

Jewtopia includes stereotypes that are fun for the whole family!” --Not Chosen, Just Posin'

Exploiting and undermining stereotypes might not be cool if you’re a fakeJew like me, but you better believe it’s okay if you’re a real Jew. And did my Catholic ass get offended when Mr. Fogel and Mr. Wolfson dressed Jesus Christ up like John Travolta? No way. Because. That. Is. Funny!

Jewtopia teaches boys and girls that all religions are similar; that every religion evolved from someone similar to their ‘Crazy Uncle Bill.’” --Not Chosen, Just Posin'

In Judaism, you’ve got Abraham, who’s a bit nuts. He tried to sacrifice his own son at one point. In Christianity, we’ve got Jesus, who does that whole dying and coming back to life trick. Kind of creepy. All of this is depicted by pretty pictures and slapstick humor—which I usually don’t like, but it really works in this book for some reason.

“If Jewtopia is the modern day interpretation of the Torah, then I want to convert!” --Not Chosen, Just Posin'

Seriously, if any religion played host to a bunch of Bryan Fogels and Sam Wolfsons, it would be the ideal one for me. These guys are obviously very knowledgeable of their religion and its history (that alone puts them in the 99th percentile of religionists), and they are able to sit back and laugh at it, yet still faithfully subscribe to it.

On that note, and in conclusion…

“Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for effectively demonstrating the “Don’t laugh at me, laugh with me” concept.” --Not Chosen, Just Posin'

According to this concept, instead of arguing with one another, Zion would look at his enemy, Islam, and say, “I might have a big nose, but you wear a pretty funny looking turban.” Or, “I didn’t know it was Halloween, why is your wife all dressed up in that funny black ghost outfit?” To which, Islam would respond, “At least my wife knows better than to mouth off to me. I’m the boss in my relationships (that’s right, I have 67 of them). Too bad I can’t say as much about yours.” And then the Jewish guy would throw in his towel, declaring, “Touché! Next drink’s on me, Ibrahim.”

That’s what I took away from the book anyway.

The book's not out until September 27th, even though I think I saw it on Amazon. Either way, you can check it out at Tell them I sent you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

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The Jerusalem of the west.

So, you remember my friend who was gracious enough to take me to the Reebok Club, where I ultimately discovered the phenomenon that is the JAP workout routine? Well, last night, during our meeting of the Jewish minds* (theirs, not mine), said friend informed me of a land of milk & honey right here in our western midst. This land is right outside of Livingston, New Jersey and within its boundaries, JAPs are said to roam around freely in their native habitat: The Mall at Short Hills. According to my JAP mentor and not to mention, ancient myth, The Mall at Short Hills is no less than one of the Promised Lands predicted by several prophets of fore.

I don’t dare compare my forthcoming conquest to the "Journey to Mecca,” as I’ve seen how references to Islam can disturb fragile readers. But my quest to get there will be a similar venture; one of faith, sacrifice and perseverance.

“But, why, Not Chosen? Why are you willing to brave the wild waters (The Hudson River) and cross the unstable paths (The Morris Turnpike), for what might be no more than false hope? After all, there are plenty of JAPs in New York, City!

Ah yes, but if you read the travel brochure for this land you shall surely understand:

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The Mall at Short Hills is the region's preeminent shopping destination. Nowhere else in the world can you find such an oasis of luxury shopping under one roof. This one stop shopping destination includes over 175 specialty stores and restaurants including Louis Vuitton, MaxMara, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Club Monaco, Legal Sea Foods, Gucci and Coach. Over 40 boutiques have their only New Jersey location at The Mall at Short Hills, including Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Christofle, Georgette Klinger and Emporio Armani.

What's that you say?

“Oasis of Luxury?!”

“Louis Vuitton?!”


Say no more! These scriptures you speak, they are basically the JAP Gospel!

Similar to gravity’s effect on mass, The Mall at Short Hills does not offer the JAP much leniency in the way of alternatives. Even if she wanted to, the JAP could not escape such a strong magnetic field. Her resistance is futile. And, as you know, there's nothing more worthy of my time than a helpless JAP in need.

While no date has yet been selected for my voyage, my sights are set on the end of the year. Perhaps sometime prior to Chanukah when JAPs are said to be out in full bloom, shopping for their loved ones and getting their hair straightened in the Japanese style. I will keep you updated on my plans, provide you with lists of travel materials, landmarks, a travel map and an itinerary. Stay tuned.

*Minutes from this meeting will be prepared and posted this week.

Monday, September 11, 2006

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Wood for the Traditionalist

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Silverware for the More Modern Celebrator of 5-Year Anniversaries

A few of my co-workers stepped up to the plate this morning calling the “unidentified package” mishap at Penn Station “fucking cheesy.” I think their anger was moreover a product of them being held up at the station and late to work, but nevertheless, the old suspicious, unidentified package trick—it's getting kind of old.

Terrorists should totally come up with a new day to harass Americans. September 11th? Been there done that. It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day, where you ask yourself, “Why should I treat my lover any different today? I should treat him/her well every day!” Terrorists should view every day of the year as equal opportunity target dates. July 7th is nice. So is February 20th. What’s up with September 11th?

There hasn’t been much talk about the 5-year anniversary in the office this morning, to tell you the truth (the morning news' complete over-coverage of it was more than enough). Plus, the Israeli girl just won’t have it. None of it. For instance, The Silent Designer wore a black turtleneck to work today, and I shit you not, said, “I’m wearing this because I’m feeling sensitive about the events that took place here five years ago.” The Israeli girl lashed out saying, “My people are killed every day and have been since the beginning of time. You don’t see this media circus there. It’s called ‘life as usual!’”

It’s true and they are. He really had no argument; just his usual silence. Better that he maintain the status quo for today.

As an aside, if The Silent Designer's girlfriend, SuperJew, would have caught wind of how easily her boyfriend was stifled, there would have been quite the cat fight. Perhaps she should make him wear a WWSJD bracelet in case of similar times of need?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

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I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that to every question, there are two opposing answers: Republican/Democrat; Black/White; Muslim/Jewish; Chicken/Egg, where each pair shares a common gray area of unknowns and similarities. People who subscribe to one over the other are subject to backing these beliefs (this is ultimately their weakness as both sides always have valid points). Those who choose to learn from both and subscribe to neither are capable of much manipulation.

I recently decided that I wanted to put up a permanent list of character descriptions for readers to refer to if they get lost in my accounts. Upon reviewing my “cast,” I realized that the members’ thereof too follow this rule of duplicity. I’ve listed the characters below in pairs to demonstrate this concept. This list will remain permanently in the sidebar.

The Publisher – The magazine has been run the same way for fifteen years. The Publisher wouldn’t change a thing. (The Status Quo)

The Publisher’s Wife – Reaps the benefits of the business’ success although she hardly contributes to it. She has risen with the tide and has followed the textbook protocol detailing what “should occur” with someone gains material riches. (Perpetuator of Stereotypes)

The Publisher’s Daughters
– Spoiled Brats, but in more words: The end product yielded when a member of the nouveau riche gives his children everything he never had, and tells them to follow his example. Yet, they are no doubt the bond keeping the publisher and his wife together. (Religion)

Detroit Sales Girl
– A new and perhaps unnecessary member of the team who was brought in under the flimsy guise of “we need representation in Detroit.” Could work to tear the Publisher and his Wife apart if my initial impression is correct. (Anti-religion; Temptation)

SuperJew – Recently quit her job when it was discovered that she and the Silent Designer were dating. Uses religion as her identity (she’s the one who ultimately declared, “I’m, like, Super Jew”). She’s the culmination of all characteristics commonly attributed to the spoiled North American Jewish girl. In other words, she’s the “JAP.” (The Rule)

OrthoJew – SuperJew’s replacement after she leaves her position at the magazine. The embodiment of the saying, “Be in the world, but not of the world,” OrthoJew is seemingly very steadfast in her beliefs and religious practices. (The Exception Thereof)

Silent Designer
– Was caught looking for a new job after having left his resume on his computer’s desktop. It was determined that the Publisher must have given him and SuperJew an ultimatum after finding out they were dating. Whoever found a job first was to leave. He is here to stay despite his hatred for the Publisher’s Wife. (Wants out)

Other Designer – Initially found the Silent Designer’s resume and would love to be in his position. Has been very proactive in showing his interest in being promoted. (Wants in)

The Secretary who Reeks of Cigarettes
– Has been with the company/family since the start. (For them)

Distributor – Uses his Judaism as leverage. Is in a never-ending argument with the publisher over raising prices. Knows that the Publisher won’t fire him because he’s the only Jewish distributor in the area. The Publisher, on the other hand, won’t condone the rate hike because he knows the Distributor is reliant on his business. (Against them)

Not Chosen – An Italian Catholic Guy (On the Outside; One Foot Out)

Just Posin’ – Posing as a Jew to work at a Jewish magazine (On the Inside; One Foot In)

The Tabloid – A mythical gossip magazine with undermined Jewish stereotypes at its helm. It would work to allow the Jewish target audience to laugh at itself, while still promoting a sense of unity. (Stereotypes, Perpetuation of Gossip)

Go-to Group of Jewish Friends – A group of Jewish friends who Not Chosen, Just Posin’ consults when he feels he has stepped in troubled waters. They let him know how far is too far (Maintaining the Sacredness that Religion Deserves)

Gray Areas:

The Girl with the Long Distance boyfriend – Is undyingly dedicated to a long distance boyfriend. Not yet a participant in much office drama.

Israeli Girl – While seemingly everyone who works at the magazine is a friend of the Publisher’s family, the Israeli Girl is definitely so. She is perhaps obtaining her Greencard through this job although that has yet to be determined.

Friday, September 08, 2006

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"I sire thee an 'adult' (of the short, immature, still-plays-with-toys variety)."

Okay, guys, let's talk about Bar/Bat Mitzvahs here for a moment. In contrast to the usual questions I pose on this site, the following are ones that you might want to ask yourselves.

For as long as I've been working with you (where you = my Jewish reading population), I haven't thought you to be a tacky bunch. Now that I'm doing a piece on Bar/Bat Mitzvahs for the mag, I'm starting to wonder if I should have been more cautious when jumping to this conclusion. While I do realize that an Italian guy calling anyone "tacky" is subject to much scutiny under the "pot calling the kettle black" clause, this might be an exception to the rule.*

So, a Mitzvah is a commandment or any other Jewish rule. There are 613 Mitzvahs in the Torah. The Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are two of them. When a boy becomes "Bar Mitvah" he is said to become responsible for his actions. Here are a few Mitzvahs that I didn't come across when doing my research. Who wants to take responsibility for these?

The "Theme Party Mitzvah":

"The Three Amigos Theme Party Mitzvah"

"The Hollywood Theme Party Mitzvah"

"The Pink Dog Wearing an Initialed Cape Sitting on Top of a Cake Mitzvah"

"The Invitation is Tackier Than the Whole Damn Event So People are Scared to Attend Mitzvah"

The "Theme Party Mitzvah" is characterized by gaudy scenery, designs or fantasy figures associated with
the celebration at hand. Does it say, "This is my last day to be a kid, so let's take it over the top?" Or does it rather say, "My parents know that a 13-year old is not really an adult but they're going to go with it anyway?" In severe cases, it might even say, "My parents are living vicariously through my youth and making me look really bad in the process, but I can't say anything because they're paying."

Ah, The "Self-Designed CD Mitzvah":

I mean, let's be real here. Who's going to pop this baby into their CD player to relive the memories of your rockin' shindig? Bonus: Upload it onto iTunes and put it into their iPods as its own group?!

The "Little Boys Dancing to an Instructor Like They're in a Jazzercise Class Mitzvah":

There is no excuse for this. None. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Wedding Singer, where Drew Barrymore picks the dopey fat kid and makes him feel cool. No, boys, this is not, nor will it ever be, cool.

The "Caricature Mitzvah":

Boy, doesn't Yaacov look handsome with those big buck teeth! What a stunning man he's become over the years!
And Avram, he's never played the drums in his life, but he sure would like to!

The "Your Name in Balloons Mitzvah":

If this doesn't scream maturity and adulthood, then really, what does?

The "Whatever the Hell This Is Mitzvah":

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Do I even need to comment? This is so not okay.

That's all from me. Just wanted to add my two cents. After all, you always let me know when you disapprove of something.

*To all the easily offended in the audience - Remove stick from ass. Laugh.

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