Sigh. I was looking forward to an interesting Labor Day Weekend here in the U.S. There is that new Heeb Issue to read or browse, and not buy, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore. There is actually a great Jewish film fest going on in the major cities. AMREEKA opened on Friday, and is the sweet story of a Palestinian mother and son who come to Illinois for a “better life.” Of course, HANGOVER is still playing nationwide, which stars a Jewish dentist and his buddies at a bachelor party in Vegas. I will not even mention INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. What’s next? Let’s make a comedy about the Cambodian genocide. TAKING WOODSTOCK, about a gay Jewish guy and his parents and the creation of the Woodstock fest 30 years ago. YOO HOO MRS GOLDBERG is still playing and is a must see, as is the BIG LEBOWSKI in NYC. TICKLING LEO also opened this weekend, as did ART AND COPY. So who needs a Jewish film fest, when you can just run around between NYC theaters and make your own?
So, what am I grumbling about? How was the weekend marred? I am angered by the front page story in The NY Post, a story which was then picked up by local NYC television news programs. The tabloid tells the story of a rabbi in Queens, NY, who is a martial arts specialist and a former NYPD police officer, who is training rabbis in martial arts and firearms so that they can protect their synagogues over the High Holy Days.
As for the story… A Queens NY rabbi has created a Mazel-Toughs group of rabbis with guns who will give sermons and also pistol whip any terrorists who try to attack their high holiday services: Their name – The International Security Coalition of Clergy. In another story they are also named the Tzedek Task Force on Counter Terrorism. What the “reporters,” Reuven Fenton and Andy Geller, forget to mention is how the rabbi got fired from his first pulpit (and then tried to create his own shul to compete with them). They also did not go into depth on how the rabbi was fired from his position in the police department, how he sued for his job back, and how the appellate courts sustained the decision to fire him. But hey, it made for a good cover story, didn’t it? (Of course, just cuz you got fired by the NYPD and got fired from your first pulpit doesn’t mean you are not fit to be a community leader and rabbi)
There should be a new sentence in the liturgy… Al Cheyt… For the sin that we have committed by letting reporters do a story on our community that makes us look like imbeciles.