Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah

The Passover Seder, the oldest continuously observed religious ceremony in the world, tells the story of the Jews' Exodus from Egypt. Jewish tradition says that people of each generation must imagine that they personally had departed from Egypt, and the sages say that each generation must tell the story in its own terms.

The sages probably did not intend this.


Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah

Joseph is going to Egypt.

Joseph and Pharaoh are now friends.

Elijah is a bit tipsy, but off to a good start. 30,000 households down, and its only 6:30!

Pharaoh is sad to report that my father has entered immortality. I have taken his place in government and will do my best to honor his name.
Joseph Congratulations to you, my master.
Pharaoh Who are you, and why are you writing on my wall?
Joseph I meant no disrepsect, my master.
Advisor He is an Israelite. There are many of them. I do not know whether they are with us or against us.
Pharaoh Let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they join with our enemies in time of war.

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaryah finally figured out why we're supposed to tell the story of the exodus at night. It's because it says "all the days of your life!"
Ben Zoma Huh?
Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaryah You see "Days of your life" means days only, but "ALL the days of your life" means nights, too.
Ben Zoma Oh, I always thought that referred to after the coming of the Messiah.


Pharaoh sent The Israelites Bread of Affliction.
The Israelites This stuff tastes awful.
The Israelites This year are we slaves, next year may we be free!

25 things you didn't know about me by God
1. Guilty pleasure: Smiting people.
2. I had another universe once, it was so much better than this one. But I got really wasted one night and lost it in a game of craps. :( I'm never doing that again.
3. In my old universe, the really cool one, the dominant species was a race of hyper-intelligent beetles. It was so cool. Unfortunately, when I lost that universe I also lost the beetles-as-master-race patent, so now I have to settle for primates.
4. I picked up this universe at a 50%-off sale. I thought I was getting a bargain. But as soon as I took it out of the box at home, I figured out why: space and time are both a bit bent in places, and most of the mass is missing. I wish I had saved the receipt.
More
Pharaoh has taken the Which god are you? quiz. Pharaoh is Ra, the Sun god. Ra represents light, warmth and growth.

The Israelites has used Yes We Conserve to pledge to Seal and caulk air outlets.
The Israelites We might as well use extra straw to keep out the hot desert air.

Pharaoh has posted an Album: Construction of Python and Ramses.

The Israelites I'm the 432nd slave from the right!
Bernie Madoff The pyramid scheme is a good concept, but you need to think bigger.

Elijah is feeling very harried. 3 million houses left, and it's already 7:30!

Hillel sent You sandwich.

Youngest son Why is this night different from all other nights?
Parent What do you mean?
Youngest son Well, there's the drink-four-times thing, and the matzah thing, and the dip in salt-water thing. What's up with that?

The Israelites has written a note on God's Wall: We're suffering! See See Wall to Wall

Rabbi Yehoshua Had a few too many at dinner and spent the whole night at Akiva's arguing about the Exodus.
Rabbi Tarfon My head hurts.

God has written a note on The Israelites' Wall: Yeah, I see. Listen, sit tight, and I'll think of something. See See Wall to Wall

Moses has taken the Which god are you? quiz. Moses is Osiris, God of the Dead. Dressed in white flannel gown, Osiris ruled over the Egyptians and taught them farming.
God Note to self: This is getting really annoying. I have got to add a Commandment outlawing this stupid Which God Are You Quiz. I think I'll word it broadly so that no one can possibly misunderstand my intentions, and I'll put it right up front where they can't possibly miss it.

God has written a note on Moses' Wall: Moses, stop wasting time and do something about this whole slavery thing. See See Wall to Wall

Pharaoh has used Yes We Conserve to pledge to Use dryer less.
Pharaoh This is a no brainer, as I live in a desert. Also, dryers haven't been invented yet.

Moses has written a note on God's Wall: Er, me? See See Wall to Wall

God sent Moses burning bush.
God has written a note on Moses' Wall: Yeah, you. See See Wall to Wall

Moses has written a note on Pharaoh's Wall: Let my people go! See See Wall to Wall

Mark Zuckerberg You see? It's all about the social graph. Israel talks to God talks to Moses talks to Pharaoh. There must be some way to make money off of this.
God Aren't you the CEO of Facebook? Listen, the old version was so much better. Tell your engineers to bring it back.
Mark Zuckerberg Actually, I'd like to stick with the new one for now.
God I'm sick of seeing all these quizzes! I command you to bring back the old one!

Mark Zuckerberg is fleeing to Tarshish.

Pharaoh has written a note on Moses' Wall: Up yours! See See Wall to Wall

Mark Zuckerberg and a whale are now friends.

Moses has used Yes We Conserve to pledge to Use trees to control sun and shade.
Moses Back in my day job as a shepherd (which I still hope to return to some day), a few strategically planted trees made all the difference in the world on a hot day.

Elijah is sloshed

God sent Pharaoh a plague: blood.
Advisor No big deal. Our magicians can do that, too.
Pharaoh OK. Whatever.

Pharaoh has written a note on God's Wall: Nice try. I'm not impressed. The Israelites stay. See See Wall to Wall

God sent Pharaoh 9 more plagues.
Advisor Uh-oh. These are the fingers of God!
Pharaoh OK, I give. 10 plagues is enough.
Rabbi Jose The Galilean Which means that when God later smote them at the Red Sea with his hand, they got 50 plagues.
Rabbi Eliezer No, I think it means 200, since each plague was sent with fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble.
Rabbi Akiva Dude, you missed a comma. Fierceness was its own plague. So that's five plagues per finger, or a total of 250 plagues.
Pharaoh Will you guys stop running up the score?! You already won! Just stop!

Pharaoh has written a note on The Israelites' Wall: Get out of here! See See Wall to Wall

Moses has written a note on The Israelites' Wall: Quickly, people! Just grab everything and go! See See Wall to Wall
The Israelites But what about the bread? We're in the middle of this great recipe.
Moses Just grab what you can and go! Now!

The Israelites has posted an Album: Fleeing from the Egyptians.

Elijah 100 times as many houses to visit, and presents to lug around, too. How does Santa do it?
Santa Claus We young folks have all the energy! :)

Elijah has used Yes We Conserve to pledge to Power chariot by magic horses instead of internal combustion engine.

The Israelites has written a note on Moses' Wall: Um, there's a lot of water in front of us, and a bunch of angry Egyptians behind us. Any ideas? See See Wall to Wall

Moses has written a note on God's Wall: Er, over to you. Any ideas? See See Wall to Wall

God has written a note on Moses' Wall: Stretch out thy rod over the waters. See See Wall to Wall

Moses is crossing the Red Sea.

The Israelites has posted an Album: Fishes of the deep.

Pharaoh has written a note on The Israelites' Wall: Now I've got you right where I want you!! See See Wall to Wall

Pharaoh is very wet

Elijah is just about ready to call it a night. This gets harder every year.

Pharaoh and Satan are now friends.

God has used Yes We Conserve to pledge to Run sun on nuclear fusion instead of natural gas.
God This way, I can save enough energy to prevent the Earth from.. oh wait, never mind.

God sent The Israelites a Torah.
God Just so you know, the one I wrote for the hyper-intelligent beetles was so much cooler. I miss them. Sigh.


Here endeth the Seder.

This year our ceremony still contains some time for reflection, and some ability to remain on the same topic for more than a minute or two. But next year, may our ceremony be faster, divided into bite-sized chunks, and with each utterance no more than 140 characters. And so we say together,

NEXT YEAR IN TWITTER

Monday, March 30, 2009

Purim Potpourri


A royal party like you've never seen
But Vashti refuses to be the dancing queen
A drunken king orders her killed
Leaving a position to be filled

The great beauty pageant begins
And a nice Jewish girl wins
While the Jewish community kvelled
Her religious identity, Esther withheld

Meanwhile Mordechai is the talk of the town
To Haman, the wicked, he won't bow down
Too bad Haman has a short fuse
And decides to kill all of the Jews

Esther is asked to intercede with the king
But who knows what that could bring?
What mood will he be in when she arrives?
This guy has no qualms about killing his wives

So the Jews fast and pray
And Esther prepares a royal buffet
Mordechai is hopeful but scared
As Haman is having his gallows prepared

A reversal of fortunes, a twist of fate
Leaves Haman a bit irate
G-d's plan is put into gear
Haman's end is very near

Eshter proves to be a queen
Of great spirit and grace
And Haman is hanged in Mordechai's place




The king turns over a new leaf
Mordechai's the new chief
The Jews are empowered to fight for their lives
Justice triumphs and Judaism survives

The thirteenth day of Adar comes
And the Persian army succumbs
Gone was the threat of annihilation
Purim became a day of celebration

So grab a Megillah and some Tequilla
Let the spirit of the day be your guide
There's no greater high than Jewish pride

Cause I'm a Jew



CAUSE I'M A JEW...
I wear a kipa on this head of mine.
I daven mincha in the proper time.
and by havdalah in my pockets I put wine
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

I put my sh'lok down when it starts to rain.
I shake a lulav, which my neighbors think insane
I like to bury my gefilte fish in chrein
Cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Chorus:
Cause I'm a Jew, cause I'm a Jew,
because the Torah tells me to I do that too,
I do the strangest things a man could ever do,
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Oh there are times when I where sneakers with my suit
and I must confess that it looks rather cute
and there is a time when we must send each other fruit...
cause I am a Jew I do that too.

Oh once a year I twirl a chicken over my head
and it wouldn't be that bad if it were dead
and there's a time when I go outside and burn my bread
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Chorus:
Cause I'm a Jew, cause I'm a Jew,
because the Torah tells me to I do that too,
I do the strangest things a man could ever do,
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Oh Once a month I go outside and bless the moon
and once a year I have to eat all afternoon
and there's a time a pound my chest and sing a tune
cause I'm a Jew a do that too.

On pesach I will drink four cups of wine, it's true
and then eat matzah till I have no strength to chew
then I eat horseradish until I am turning blue
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Chorus:
Cause I'm a Jew, cause I'm a Jew,
because the Torah tells me to I do that too,
I do the strangest things a man could ever do,
cause I'm a Jew I do that too.

Female Orthodox Rabbis? Well, Sort Of

by Tamar Fox
Last week the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem announced a new ordination program that would ordain Orthodox women as rabbis. Huzzah! Or not. Hartman isn’t willing to say that it’s accrediting these women to be pulpit rabbis. Instead, the title of rabbi means that “the male and female students will be ordained by some of the institute’s rabbis, and will then be prepared to assume the role of “rabbi-educators” - not pulpit rabbis in North American community day schools.”

The difference between a “rabbi-educator” and a pulpit rabbi isn’t a potato potahto thing. Jewess sums it up: “But [rabbi-educator], as treated by the Hartman Institute program, is more akin to Doctor for a Ph.D. than for an M.D. Just as one wouldn’t trust one’s English professor to take out one’s tonsils, one isn’t meant to trust these rabbi-educators with decisions about Jewish law.”

It’s generally acknowledged that we need as many good Jewish educators as we can get our hands on, and in that case, one has to ask who cares if they’re “rabbi-educators” or rabbis or just smart people? But giving an Orthodox woman the title rabbi and then telling her she can’t make decisions about Jewish law—even though she just got a degree for her knowledge of Jewish law--is a sneaky way of not getting too political.

As this Slate article reminds us, there are already Orthodox women rabbis, and Orthodox women leading Orthodox congregations. They just don’t get a lot of respect, and have to put up with a lot of flack from the Orthodox right. So basically, the Hartman institute is not breaking any new ground. When YU starts ordaining women I’ll kick up my heels and do a little dance (behind a mechitza, of course). In the meantime, a greater number of good Jewish educators (rabbis or not) is worth a l’chaim or two.

Eight Rules Of Judaism Not Handed Down By Moses

Eight Rules Of Judaism Not Handed Down By Moses

1. Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.

2. Spring ahead, fall back, winter in Miami Beach.

3. Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?

4. Before you read the menu, read the prices.

5. No meal is complete without leftovers.

6. If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. But if you
can afford it, make sure to tell everybody what you paid.

7. The only thing more important than a good education is a
good parking spot at the mall.

8. Laugh now, but one day you'll be driving a big Cadillac and
eating dinner at four in the afternoon!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Pulse Oximeter from OrSense Monitors Practically Everything in Sight

New Pulse Oximeter from OrSense Monitors Practically Everything in Sight




OrSense, out of Nes Ziona, Israel, is releasing today a new pulse oximeter. Being presented at the 29th International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, in Brussels, the NBM-200MP can do continuous monitoring of oxygen saturation, hemoglobin, as well as glucose levels in blood. According to the company, the system uses a ring around the finger that applies pressure to create a mild blood flow occlusion, and that in turn allows more accurate measurement of the blood content.

About the NBM-200MP pulse oximeter from OrSense:

OrSense's NBM-200MP monitors and displays oxygen saturation of Hb (SpO2), low perfusion oximetry, SpO2 pulse rate, plethysmogram and hemoglobin, all non-invasively and continuously. The NBM-200MP permits continuous patient monitoring with adjustable alarm limits for oximetry and pulse rate, as well as visible and audible alarm signals. A ring-shaped sensor is fitted on the patient’s finger and temporarily gently squeezes the finger to over-systolic pressure, similar to blood pressure measurements. A highly sensitive optical system, using an array of calibrated light sources, measures light absorption and scattering. The desktop monitor then analyzes the blood constituents and displays the results. The NBM-200MP represents a breakthrough in non-invasive and continuous blood analyte testing, while greatly improving patient safety and comfort, eliminating infection risk, and providing the caregiver with superior accuracy and immediate results.

OrSense’s patented technology, known as Occlusion Spectroscopy, uses a non-invasive optical measurement platform combined with a finger attached ring-shaped sensor probe. The pressure applied by the sensor temporarily occludes the blood flow in the finger, creating new blood dynamics which generate a unique, strong optical signal, yielding a high signal-to-noise ratio that is wholly blood specific. Analysis of the signal provides the sensitivity necessary to measure glucose, hemoglobin, oxymetry (under severe low perfusion levels), pulse-rate, and other analyte concentrations.

This breakthrough technology enables a generation of transmission signal across the finger which overcomes the key technological barrier related to the low signal to noise ratio, due to poor or compromised peripheral perfusion , interferences from motion induced noise and other artifacts.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passover Song Parodies

'TWAS THE NIGHT

'Twas the night after Seder, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The matzah, the farfel, the charoset I ate,
After both the Sedarim, had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked over to shul (less a walk than a lumber),

I remembered the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The turkey with gravy, the beef nicely rared,
The wine and the matzo balls, the Migdal pareve cheese
The way I'd never said, "I've had enough; no more, if you please."
As I tied myself into my apron again
I spied my reflection and disgustedly, then --
I said to myself, "you're such a weak wimp",
"You can't show up at shul resembling a blimp!"

So--away with the last of the meatballs so sweet ,
Get rid of the turkey, chopped liver and meat.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
"Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have any more macaroons from the box,
I can't wait til next week. (Ah, the bagels and lox.)
I won't have any luxion, farfel or p'chah,
I'll munch on a carrot or wire shut my own jaw.
It's a three day yom tov and shabbas is still
Ahead of me with another fleshiks meal to fulfill.
If I have to cook one more chicken, I think I will riot.
So a zisn pesach to you all and to all a good diet!


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pesach
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”)

It's beginning to look a lot like Pesach
Ev'rywhere you go;

So get out your pad and pen, ordering once again

With lolly cones and macaroons, you know.



It's beginning to look a lot like Pesach,

Streit’s in ev'ry store,

But the sorriest sight they’ll be are the matzah crumbs you’ll see

On your own tile floor.



A pair of horseradish roots and a few scallion shoots

Is the wish of Barney and Ben;

Gefilte fish and eggs on a dish

Is the hope of Judith and Jen;

And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for serving bread again.



It's beginning to look a lot like Pesach

Ev'rywhere you go;

There’s dayenu to be sung, questioning for the young,

The standard four that all the kids do know.



It's beginning to look a lot like Pesach;

Seder soon will start,

And the thing that will make us cheer is when everyone does hear

Meal’s the next big part.



I’m Dipping Greens in Salt Water
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “White Christmas”)

I’m dipping greens in salt water
Just like I did the year before
Greens remind of springtime
and parsley’s so fine
While salt echoes tears, you know.

I’m dipping greens in salt water
Just like I did the year before
May your greens be dipped with each bite
As you join together Pesach night.

I’m dipping greens in salt water
Just like I did the year before
May your greens be dipped with each bite
As you join together Pesach night.




Breaking the Middle Matzah
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”)

You know Kiddush and Candles
And parsley and motzi,
Bad plagues and questions
And maror and hotzi.
But do you recall
The most famous custom of all?

Breaking the middle matzah
Into the bag it goes
Then when the leader hids it
Face of each kinder glows

While clearing all the dishes
Children laugh and search for same
Trying so hard to find it
That’s the afikomen game

To our little cousin Josh
We did come to say
Joshy with your hands so small
Won't you reach behind the wall

Then Joshy found the matzah
And we shouted out with glee
Turn in the afikomen
For some gelt for you and me.




Let Them Go, Let Them Go, Let Them Go
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow)

Well, the bondage of Pharoah was frightful
And the pleas of Moses were rightful
But since God sent plagues, you know
Let them go, let them go, let them go

Oh, they didn’t have time for baking
So instead it’s Matzah they’re making
And since God sent plagues, you know
Let them go, let them go, let them go

When they finally said goodnight,
Marking blood so to save their first born
And soon they will need to take flight,
As they rise up in the morn.

There’s soon to be no more crying,
As they leave from Pharoah’s lying,
Yes, since God sent plagues, you know,
Let them go, let them go, let them go.




The 10 Plagues of Pesach
by Gary Teblum
(Sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

For the first plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
A river that was all blood-y

For the second plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the third plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the fourth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the fifth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the sixth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Boils causing itching
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the seventh plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Hail big as golf balls
Boils causing itching
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the eighth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Tons of flying locusts
Hail big as golf balls
Boils causing itching
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the ninth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Days of pure darkness
Tons of flying locusts
Hail big as golf balls
Boils causing itching
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y

For the tenth plague of Pesach, Pharoah came to see
Death of the first born
Days of pure darkness
Tons of flying locusts
Hail big as golf balls
Boils causing itching
{Slow}
Cows with disease {Pause}
Wild scary beasts
Big white lice
Green jumping frogs
And a river that was all blood-y




Pharoah Got Run Over By the Red Sea
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”)

Pharoah got run over by the Red Sea.

Chasing Israelites who tried to leave.

Some might say there’s no such thing as Ha Shem

But as for Jewish people, we believe.
He'd been telling Moses daily
That he would not let them go.
But the last plague was the last straw,
So he sent them out the door, told them to go.
When he woke up the next mornin',
Saw they left and did not pack.
So he sent his men and horses,
And instructing them to chase and get them back.

Pharoah got run over by the Red Sea.

Chasing Israelites who tried to leave.

Some might say there’s no such thing as Ha Shem

But as for Jewish people, we believe.
Up until they reached the Red Sea,
They’d been takin' this so well.
But they all then turned to Moses,
Asking Moses what to do now, please do tell.
Moses raised his staff with wonders.
All the water was pushed back.
And the people traveled forward:
With Egyptians right behind them on their track.

Pharoah got run over by the Red Sea.

Chasing Israelites who tried to leave.

Some might say there’s no such thing as Ha Shem

But as for Jewish people, we believe.
Once the Jews were through the Red Sea
Moses lowered down his stick.
And the waters all receded,
Drowning each of Pharoah’s armies mighty quick.
I've told relatives, friends and neighbors.
What a miracle he did
Now you know we must remember,
And retell this wondrous tale to every kid.

Pharoah got run over by the Red Sea.

Chasing Israelites who tried to leave.

Some might say there’s no such thing as Ha Shem

But as for Jewish people, we believe.



Have Yourself a Piece of Bitter Maror
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”)

Have yourself a piece of bitter maror
On each seder night
Then we’ll feel
The toils and our people's plight.

Have yourself a piece of bitter maror
Hillel sandwich way,
We'll recall,
Our troubles weren’t so far away.

Here we are as in a olden days,
Such sad slavin' days of yore.
Family, friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more.

Through the years we all will be together
Just as we are now
Eating matzah, teaching all the children how.
And have yourself a piece of bitter maror now.



Matzah Ball Soup

By Gary Teblum

(sung to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”)



Matzah ball, matzah ball, matzah ball soup

Matzah ball’s king in soup that we bring

Blowing and blowing on soup when it’s done

Soon we’ll know why there’s only one.



Matzah ball, matzah ball, matzah ball soup

See if we rhyme when’it’s matzah ball time

Floating and bloating from Matzah Ball pair

If you’re apt to dare.



What a bright time, it's the right time

To eat the soup this way

Matzah ball time is a swell time

To go sliding down your throat and say

Giddy-up matzah balls, fill up the bowls

For the entire group

Eating this consomm√©’s good for the souls

That's the matzah ball,

That's the matzah ball,

That's the matzah ball soup.



Elijah’s Song
By Gary Teblum
(sung to the tune of “The Little Drummer Boy”)

Watch they told me

pa rum pum pum pum

Elijah’s here you see,

pa rum pum pum pum

It’s peace and joy he’ll bring

pa rum pum pum pum

Fill up his cup and sing

pa rum pum pum pum

rum pum pum pum

rum pum pum pum

Open up the door for him

pa rum pum pum pum,

when he comes.

Let Us Out of Your Country
(Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame")
(By Dan Ochman)

Let us out of your country

Or you will soon get plagues

First will be blood and then frogs and lice
Wild beasts, cattle plague, boils ain’t nice

Then comes hail and locusts and darkness
First born slaying closes the show

You will see these horrible things if we’re not let go!

The Seder Plate Song
(Sung to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")
(By Dan Ochman)

Shank bone on my Seder plate
Helps to make the Seder great
Charoset and some wine to sip
Don’t forget the greens to dip
Bitter herbs and an egg complete
our Seder plate so now let’s eat!

The Israelites in General
(Sung to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General")
© by Randi E. Spiegel, Passover 2006

We're here to tell the story of the Israelites in general
They were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
We read in the Haggadah of the tale that is historical
And that is what a seder is, in order categorical

The Jews were slaves in Egypt and their lives were very tragical
At least that's how we tell all of our stories that are biblical
If we were living way back then, our fate would make the front page news
With many sullen facts including killing all the male-born Jews

All: With many sullen facts including killing all the male-born Jews (2x)
With many sullen facts including killing all the male-born, male-born Jews

Now Moses went to Egypt with a mission very serious
Told Pharaoh he must free the Jews and not to be nefarious
They were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
We're here to tell the story of the Israelites in general

All: They were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
We're here to tell the story of the Israelites in general

When Pharaoh didn't listen, God sent plagues that were just like a pox
Upon the people and the land and animals as large as ox
God hoped that Pharaoh would concede and show he was not merciless
Instead the slaves were beaten more, while Pharaoh stood emotionless

So Moses raised his staff which changed the waters into blood with ease
They heard the croaking chorus from the frogs a'croaking in the breeze
Then lice infested everyone, wild beasts stampeded with a roar
The cattle died, they all were killed, until there weren't any more

All: The cattle died, they all were killed, until there weren't any more (2x)
The cattle died, they all were killed, until there weren't any, any more

So Moses came back with demands in Babylonic cuneiform
God sent the plague of boils in hopes that Pharaoh would, at last, reform
We were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
We're here to tell the story of the Israelites in general

All: We were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
We're here to tell the story of the Israelites in general

Egyptians and their Pharaoh waited for the next plague to begin
The hail came down in torrents with the sharpness of a javelin
The locusts swarmed, the blackened sky you could see from Mount Ararat
Then darkness overcame the land, folks couldn't see where they were at

The Jews put lambs' blood on their doors and packed their clothes and finery
Egyptians' first-born sons were killed; these are the plagues in summary
And then the Pharaoh did comply, told Moses that he would agree
The Jews could now leave Egypt, he would let them live and set them free

All: The Jews could now leave Egypt, he would let them live and set them free (2x)
The Jews could now leave Egypt, he would let them live and set them, set them free

We're here tonight to tell about our ancestors in slavery
We'd not be here today without their courage, strength and bravery
We were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
And now we've told the story of the Israelites in general

All: We were the slaves of Pharaoh, who was really quite tyrannical
And now we've told the story of the Israelites in general.




Pharoh, Pharoh
(Sung to the tune of "Louie, Louie")

CHORUS:

Pharaoh, Pharaoh
Oh baby! Let my people go! HUH!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Singin' Pharaoh, Pharaoh
Oh baby! Let my people go! HUH!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah!

A burnin' bush told me just the other day
That I should come over here and stay.
Gotta get my people outta Pharaoh's hands
Gotta lead my people to the Promised Land.

CHORUS

The Nile turned to blood! There were darkened black skies!
Gnats and frogs! There were locusts and flies!
The first born died, causing Egypt to grieve,
Finally Pharaoh said, "Y'all can leave!"

CHORUS

Me and my people goin' to the Red Sea
Pharaoh's army's comin' after me.
I raised my rod, stuck it in the sand
All of G-d's people walked across the dry land.

CHORUS

Pharaoh's army was a comin' too.
So what do you think that I did do?
Well, I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
And all of Pharaoh's army did the dead man's float.

CHORUS

Who Let the Jews Out
(Sung to the tune of "Who Let the Dogs Out")
(by Jonathan Gleich)

Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?

Well Pharaoh was angry,
Nefretiri was weeping
(di, di ,di , di)
The Jews were all
Leaving the hall.
(di, di ,di , di)
there's no one to build all the pyramids
(di, di di, di)
No one there to build them a mall.

And Nefretiri shouted
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!

Moses came to me, saying
All the Jews have been praying
That there leaving, don't be grieving
Taking everything that they own.

And Pharaoh really got angry
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
And told them that they could not go
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
So Moses pointed his staff at the ceiling
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
And frogs it began to snow

And Moses shouted
You let the Jews go
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
You let the Jews go
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
You let the Jews go
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
You let the Jews go

Com'on, get off your ass
Com'on, and move it
Com'on don't bake no bread
No time to improve it.

Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!

As all the Jews ran to the river
(di, di ,di , di)
With pharaoh right behind them
(di, di ,di , di)
Moses went and parted the river
(di, di ,di , di)
Cause most Jews don't know how to swim.

And we all shouted
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!
Who let the Jews out?
Oy, Oy, Oy, OY!


Eser Makkot (The Ten Plagues)
(Sung to the tune of “Michelle”)
(by Gary Teblum)

Es-ser Makkot
these are plagues of which we must take note
Eser Makkot

Es-ser Makkot
Blood and frogs and lice and cattle disease
Cattle disease

Please free them, please free them, please free them
that's what God tried to say
But Pharoah wouldn’t sway
It was not until that tenth plague came that he’d
understand

Es-ser Makkot
Locusts, hail and darkness o’er the land
Over the land

God needs to, God needs to, God needs to
God needs to make Pharoah see
Oh, what might come to be
Until we jews give him the blues, Pharoah, he’ll be mean

We hate you

Please free them, please free them, please them
You should know by now
You’ll let them go some how
Until you do new plagues will brew so you’ll understand

Es-ser Makkot
Blood and frogs and lice and first borns did die
First borns did die

And you will say the only words we want for you to
understand
Go from my land.

Yesterday
(Sung to the tune of “Yesterday”)
(by Gary Teblum)

Yesterday
We were slaves in Egypt yesterday
Now be thankful that we’re free today
We must remember yesterday

Slavery
Pharoah kept us all in slavery
We were working hard as hard can be
Oh yesterday saw slavery

Why we couldn’t go, I don’t know
He made us stay
Then God set us free
Now we teach ‘bout yesterday

Yesterday
We were brought forth so that we could pray
Now I need to teach the kids to say
We must remember yesterday

Why we couldn’t go, I don’t know
He made us stay
Then God set us free
Now we teach ‘bout yesterday

Yesterday
We were brought forth so that we could pray
At the seder, teach the kids to say
Why we remember yesterday

Hardened Heart
(Sung to the tune of “A Hard Day’s Night”)
(by Gary Teblum)

He had a hardened heart
And he would not let us go
He had a hardened heart
And here’s what you should know

Each time a plague did them in
Moshe thought he would win
But Pharoah’s mind stood tight

You they know slaved all day
Building the pyramids was their thing
And they waited for Moshe to say
I’ve heard from Pharoah as the king

Though every day they may moan
Soon they can put down that stone
And they will feel okay

To our home, that’s where we’re headed tonight
A new home, get there and we’ll be alright
Yeh

He had a hardened heart
And he would not let us go
He had a hardened heart
And here’s what you should know

Each time a plague did them in
Moshe thought he would win
But Pharoah’s mind stood tight

Though every day they may moan
Soon they can put down that stone
And they will feel okay

To our home, that’s where we’re headed tonight
A new home, get there and we’ll be alright
Yeh

What Makes Me Free
(Sung to the tune of “Til There Was You”)
(by Gary Teblum)

It’s what God, did for me
When he brought us out of Egypt
Yes, it’s just what God did for me
That makes me free.

It’s what God, did for you
When he brought us out of Egypt
Yes, it’s just what God did for you
That makes you free.

And there was freedom and wonderful mitzvahs they tell me,
As we left from Miztrayim, at dawn, and so

It’s what God, did for me
When he brought us out of Egypt
Yes, it’s just what God did for me
That makes me free.

He Freed Us
(Sung to the tune of “She Loves You”)
(by Gary Teblum)

He freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah
He freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah
He freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you’re not so free
Well, it was so yesterday-yi-yay
It’s just like you were there
And he told us what to say-yi-yay

You know he freed us,
and you know that can’t be bad
Oh yes, he freed us,
and you know we should be glad

God said you must act so
As if you were there too
And then God says you’ll know
How we maintain the glue

You know he freed us,
and you know that can’t be bad
Oh yes, he freed us,
and you know we should be glad

Oh, he freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah
He freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah

With a God like that
You know we should be glad

You know he freed the Jews
He brought us from that land
As if you were there too
Grab on to his hand

You know he freed us,
and you know that can’t be bad
Oh yes, he freed us,
and you know we should be glad
Oo, he freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah
He freed us, yeah, yeah, yeah

And with a god like that
You know we should . . . be glad
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahhhhh.

All My Leaven
(Sung to the tune of “All My Lovin”)
(by Gary Teblum)

Search my house and I’ll find it
Tomorrow I’ll miss it
The feather will help me be true
And a candle as well
Means that then I can sell
And I’ll sell all my leaven to you

I’ll find crumbs in the kitchen
The kinder will pitch in
I’ll try not to leave any clue
And then while its away
I’ll eat matzah each day
‘cause I sold all my leaven to you

All my leaven, I will sell to you
All my leaven, Rabbi, I’ll be true

I’ll find crumbs in the kitchen
The kinder will pitch in
I’ll try not to leave any clue

And then while its away
I’ll eat matzah each day
‘cause I sold all my leaven to you

All my leaven, I will sell to you
All my leaven, Rabbi, I’ll be true
All my leaven, All my leaven
Woo, all my leaven, I will sell to you

Hey, Frogs
(sung to the tune of “Hey Jude”)
(by Gary Teblum)

Hey frogs, please go away
You’re a bad plague that gets no better
Miztrayim is suffering from this plague
If I relent, will it get better?

Hey frogs, I’m now afraid
You were put here to make us suffer
Your jumping is getting under my skin
Now I need Moshe to make it better

And all the time I feel the pain
Hey frogs refrain
Don’t infest my world and all our households
For well you know, I’d be a fool to play it cool
By keeping the Jews a little longer
Na na na na na na na na na

Hey frogs, don’t jump around
Yet when you leave, I’ll get bad weather
Miztrayim is suffering from this plague
If I relent, will it get better?

So get on out and get me in
Hey frogs, you win
I’m telling Moshe to take his people
And don't you know that it’s just you
Hey frogs, it’s true
You’re jumping around about my shoulder
Na na na na na na na na na yeah

Hey frogs, please go away
You’re a bad plague that gets no better
Miztrayim is suffering from this plague
If I relent, will it get better?
Better, better, better, better, better,
oh Na, na na na na na na na na na na,
hey frogs
Na, na na na na na na na na na na,
hey frogs

Must Be Passover
(Sung to the tune of “Must Be Santa")
(by Rich Goldstein)

What has Moses and a hurried flight?

Passover has Moses and a hurried flight



What comes around on a special night?

Passover comes around on a special night



Special night, hurried flight



Must be Passover, must be Passover, must be Passover

Goldstein-style



What has a burning bush and a sea of red?

Passover has a bush and a sea of red



What has questions and unleavened bread?

Passover has questions and unleavened bread



Unleavened bread, sea of red

Special night, hurried flight



Must be Passover, must be Passover, must be Passover

Goldstein-style



What story has a rotten, mean Pharoh?

Passover has a rotten, mean Pharoh



What story says “Let my people go?”

Passover says “Let my people go”



People go, mean Pharoh

Unleavened bread, sea of red

Special night, hurried flight



Must be Passover, must be Passover, must be Passover

Goldstein-style



What has slaves and 10 scary plagues?

Passover has slaves and 10 scary plagues



What has gefiltefish and hard-boiled eggs?

Passover has fish and hard-boiled eggs



Hard-boiled eggs, scary plagues

People go, mean Pharoh

Unleavened bread, sea of red

Special night, hurried flight



Must be Passover, must be Passover, must be Passover

Goldstein-style



Must be Passover, must be Passover, must be Passover

Goldstein-style

THE ORDER OF THE SEDER
(Sung to the tune of "It's A Small World")
(by Gary Teblum)

We wash our hands
And we bless the wine
Greens put in salt water
Dippings so fine
There's so much that we see
Celebrating we're free
It's our Pass-Over seder.

(chorus)
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Passover seder.

We break the matzah
Four questions are asked
We tell the story
About our past
The motzi we say
Because that is the way
Of our Pass-Over seder.

(chorus)
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Pass-Over seder
It's our Passover seder.

AVADIM HAYINU
(Sung to the tune of "When you wish upon a star")
(by Gary Teblum)

Avadim Ha yinu
Atah B'Nai Chorim
Avadim Hayi-e nu
B'Nai Chorim

We were slaves in Egypt once
But today, yes we are free
We were slaves in Egypt once
But now we're free.

THE FOUR SONS
(Sung to the tune of "Let's Go Fly a Kite")
(by Gary Teblum)

There's a father with sons numbered four
He explains the tale and the lore
As he tries to relate
A story that is great
It's what G-d did for me
As he made us all free.

Oh, Oh, Oh
First, there's the son with smarts
He understands the part
That he plays when we
Retell the story.

Tell him about the laws
Don't give it any pause
Oh, that's why he's astute.

The wicked one's son number two
Asking what this all means to you
Himself he excludes
You must answer the dude
It's what G-d did for me
As he made us all free.

Oh Oh Oh
The simple son he's not so keen
He asks what this all means
You must tell him plainly
That which happened
How G-d's mighty hand
Took us out of the land
So that we might be free.

The fourth son may seem somewhat rough
Because he does not know enough
To ask any question about what we know
You must teach him each year
Til it's perfectly clear.

Oh Oh Oh
Passover -- celebrate
Remembering our fate
G-d did much for us
When we were in Egypt
Freeing us from slavery
Now we all can see
G-d led us to be free.

I WILLNOT LET THEM GO
(Sung to the tune of "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho")
(by Gary Teblum)

Oh no, Oh no
I will not let them go
I will not let the Jews go free
Oh no, Oh no, Oh no.

Oh No, Oh no.
I will not let them go
Your people will not leave this land
Oh no, Oh no.

FROGS (the new version)
(Sung to the tune of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah")
(by Gary Teblum)

Frogs on his nose now
Frogs in his hair
My oh my
There were frogs everywhere.

Plenty of jumping
All round his bed
Pharaoh was feeling
Frogs round his head.

Mister bullfrog on his shoulder
It's the truth
It's frightnin'
All these plagues are knuckle whitenin'.

Frogs on his toes now
What do you say
Terrible feeling,
Terrible day.

THROUGH THE RED SEA
(Sung to the tune of "Under the Sea")
(by Gary Teblum)

Our people were running quickly
Not stopping to even bake.
They dreamed about a new homeland
Not simply for their own sake.
They saw what must lay before them
The red sea, they could not pass.
They all turned to look at Moses
He needed to move quite fast.

Through the red sea.
Through the red sea
Clearing a pathway
It was a great day
Take it from me.

Yes, a miracle this may be
You can tell from all the glee
Quickly they scampered
Couldn't be hampered
Through the red sea.

Egyptians followed behind them.
And into the path they go.
But no sooner were they in there
That G-d did close down the show.
Egyptians were not so lucky
They drowned on the water's floor
Such wonderful thing did happen
What more could we ask G-d for?

Under the sea
Under the sea
That's where Egyptians
Are having conniptions
Now we are free.

Yes, it's a miracle that this may be
You can tell from all the glee
We were all saved there
That's why you should care
‘Bout the red sea.

Our Passover Things
(Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music)

Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes
Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes
Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings
These are a few of our Passover things.

Matzah and karpas and chopped up haroset
Shankbones and kiddish and yiddish neuroses
Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings
These are a few of our Passover things.

Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs
Famines and locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows
Matzah balls floating and eggshell that clings
These are a few of our Passover things.

When the plagues strike
When the lice bite
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember our Passover things
And then we don't feel so bad.

There's No Seder Like our Seder
(Sung to the tune of "There's no Business like Show Business")

There's no seder like our seder,
There's no seder I know.
Everything about it is halachic
Nothing that the Torah won't allow.
Listen how we read the whole Haggadah
It's all in Hebrew
'Cause we know how.
There's no Seder like our seder,
We tell a tale that is swell:
Moses took the people out into the heat
They baked the matzoh
While on their feet
Now isn't that a story
That just can't be beat?
Let's go on with the show!

Take Us Out of Egypt
(Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Take us out of Egypt
Free us from slavery
Bake us some matzoh in a haste
Don't worry 'bout flavor--
Give no thought to taste.
Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea
If we don't cross it's a shame
For it's ten plagues,
Down and you're out
At the pesach history game.

Just a Tad of Charoset
(Sung to the tune of "Just a Spoon Full of Sugar")

Chorus:
Just a tad of charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,
The bitter herbs go down, the bitter herbs go down.
Just a tad of charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,
In the most disguising way.
Oh, back in Egypt long ago,
The Jews were slaves under Pharoh.
They sweat and toiled and labored
through the day.
So when we gather pesach night,
We do what we think right.
Maror, we chew,
To feel what they went through.
Chorus
So after years of slavery
They saw no chance of being free.
Their suffering was the only life they knew.
But baby Moses grew up tall,
And said he'd save them all.
He did, and yet,
We swear we won't forget.
That......

Chorus

While the maror is being passed,
We all refill our water glass,
Preparing for the taste that turns us red.
Although maror seems full of minuses,
It sure does clear our sinuses.
But what's to do?
It's hard to be a Jew!!!
Chorus

Same Time Next Year
(Sung to the tune of "Makin' Whoopee")

Another pesach, another year,
The family seder with near and dear...
Our faces shining,
All thoughts of dining
Are put on hold now.
We hear four questions,
The answer given
Recalls the Jews from Egypt driven.
The chrain is bitter, (charoses better!)
Please pass the matzoh.
Why is this evening different
From all the other nights?
This year the Jews all over
Are free to perform the rites.
A gorgeous dinner--who can deny it--
Won't make us thinner, to hell with diet!
It's such great cooking...
and no one's looking,
So just enjoy it.
Moving along at steady clip
Elijah enters, and takes a sip;
And then the singing with voices ringing
Our laughter mingling.
When singing about Chad Gad Ya.
Watch close or your place you'll lose,
For Echad Mi Yodea:
Which tune shall we use?
We pray next Pesach
We'll all be here.
It's a tradition...
Same time next year...
So fill it up now, the final cup now,
Next year at ____________

Afikomen
(Sung to the tune of "Oklahoma")

Aaaaa.......fikomen! what a very special Pesach treat.
A dessert we share, we can't compare, So much joy from just a hunk of wheat!
Thaaaaaaa........t is why we hide it early on from everyone A custom that we get, from
Kosher chefs, to convince us eating Matzah's fun. On a shelf or hidden away Floor or
sofa, 'neath Uncle Sid's toupee. It's too much work, to search for your dessert Yes, I'm
looking for Afikomen Afikomen, oy, vey, gevalt.....let's check the couch!!AFIKOMEN!!!

The Ballad of the Four Sons
(Sung to the tune of "Clementine")
(by Ben Aronin)

Said the father to his children,
"At the seder you will dine,
You will eat your fill of matzoh,
You will drink four cups of wine."

Now this father had no daughters,
But his sons they numbered four.
One was wise and one was wicked,
One was simple and a bore.

And the fourth was sweet and winsome,
he was young and he was small.
While his brothers asked the questions
he could scarcely speak at all.

Said the wise one to his father
"Would you please explain the laws?
Of the customs of the seder
Will you please explain the cause?"
And the father proudly answered,
"As our fathers ate in speed,
Ate the paschal lambe 'ere midnight
And from slavery were freed."

So we follow their example
And 'ere midnight must complete
All the seder and we should not
After 12 remain to eat.

Then did sneer the son so wicked
"What does all this mean to you?"
And the father's voice was bitter
As his grief and anger grew.

"If you yourself don't consider
As son of Isreal,
Then for you this has no meaning
You could be a slave as well."

Then the simple son said simply
"What is this," and quietly
The good father told his offspring
"We were freed from slavery."

But the youngest son was silent
For he could not ask at all.
His bright eyes were bright with wonder
As his father told him all.

My dear children, heed the lesson
and remember evermore
What the father told his children
Told his sons that numbered four.

The Ballad of Mo Amramson
(Sung to the tune of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett")

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Mo,
His people they were slaves to the evil Pharoah,
Until one day he was lookin' at a bush,
And he heard the voice of G-d, though he wasn't a lush---
The LORD, that is,
I AM,
The Big G.

Next thing you know, Mo's talkin' to Pharoah,
Mo says, "G-d said you gotta let my people go!"
But the king says, "No, they always will be slaves to me!"
So G-d sent down ten big plagues on Pharoah's whole country---
Blood 'n frogs, that is,
Pestilence,
Special effects.

When the first borns died, Pharoah sent the Jews away,
They ran and ate some matza on that very happy day,
So now we have our Seder to commemorate that feat---
We drink some wine and talk a lot, we sing and also eat!
Matza, that is,
Maror too.
And good food.

Y'all come back now, y'hear!

Brisket Melody
(Sung to the tune of "Windy")

What do we serve on every occasion? What will eat this Passover night?
What kind of beef just spells "celebration"? Everyone knows its brisket.

Chorus: And Brisket is quick to make, just wrap it in foil and bake
Make extra for goodness sake. It freezes well, it freezes well.
What makes a vegetarian think twice? What cut of beef do cows want to be?
What really was that manna from Heaven? Everyone knows it's Brisket.

Don't Sit on the Afikomen
(Sung to the tune of "Glory, Glory, Halleluyah")

My Dad at every Seder breaks a Matza piece in two
And hides the Afikomen half-A game for me and you
Find it, hold it ransom for the Seder isn't through
'till the Afikomen's gone.

Chorus:
Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Don't sit on the Afikomen.
Or the Meal will last all night

One year Daddy hid it 'neath a pillow on a chair
But just as I raced over, my Aunt Sophie sat down there
She threw herself upon it-Awful crunching filled the air
And crumbs flew all around

Chorus

There were matza crumbs all over-Oh, it was a messy sight
We swept up all the pieces though it took us half the night
So, if you want your seder ending sooner than dawn's light,
Don't sit on the Afiko-o-men

Chorus

Elijah
(Sung to the tune of "Maria")

Elijah!
I just saw the prophet Elijah.
And suddenly that name
Will never sound the same to me.
Elijah!
He came to our seder
Elijah!
He had his cup of wine,
But could not stay to dine
This year--
Elijah!
For your message all Jews are waiting:
That the time's come for peace
and not hating--
Elijah--
Next year we'll be waiting.
Elijah!

Gilligan's Exodus
(Sung to the theme from "Gilligan's Island")

Recline right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.
that started many years ago in old, ancient Egypt.
The Jews were forced to work as slaves, they suffered that ordeal.
We celebrated their Exodus with a three hour meal, a three hour meal!
The Pharoah was an evil dude, his wrath would not replent
If not for the effort of the fearless jews.....we'd all be keeping Lent(2x)
They landed in the desert after parting the Red Sea
With Moses, and Aaron too, each Israelite and his wife
A movie star, the Professor and Miriam.........here on Passover night!!

I've Been Cooking for this Seder
(Sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad")

I've been cooking for this seder
Erev Pesach day
Making matzah balls and kugel
So we'll feast as well as pray
Can't you smell the pareve sponge cake
It rises up so little without yeast
Can't you hear our voices singing
At this joyous Pesach feast
Mama, you can cook
Mama, you can cook
Milchidik and fleishidik and pareve, too
Mama, you can stew
Mama, you can stew
Your seder food's delicious and we thank you

Les Miselijah
(Sung to the tune of "Do you hear the people Sing" from Les Miserables)

Do you hear the doorbell ring,
And it's a little after ten?
It can only be Elijah
Come to take a sip again.

He is feeling pretty fine
But in his head a screw is loose.
So perhaps instead of wine
We should only give him juice

Pesach Macarena
(Sung to the tune of "Macarena")

Take coconut, eggs, and lots of grease,
Cook 'em in the oven for your Pesach feast.
They won't rise 'cause they ain't got yeast.
Hey, macaroons!

Mix matzah meal with eggs for a goop
Form into balls and drop in your soup
So heavy on your spoon it will make it droop
Hey, kneidlach!

Through the woods a rabbi took a hike
Found a lake at the edge of a dike
For her favorite dish caught some carp and pike
Hey, gefilte fish!

What do you need for your seder plate?
What do you eat before it's too late?
What do you take to anti-constipate?
Hey, stewed prunes!

What do we crave on the very last night
Sprinkled with cheese for a dinner that's light
Al dente noodles that we long to bite
Hey, macaroni!

Pharoah's Nile
(Sung to the theme from "Gilligan's Island")
© by Randi and Murray. Spiegel, Passover 1995

Just lean right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip
That started back in ancient times, while under Pharoah's whip.
Well Moses was a pious man, G-d made him brave and sure,
Though Pharoah was a mighty man, his heart was not pure,
his heart was not pure.

Old Pharoah started getting tough, the Jews were harshly bossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless few, our people would be lost,
our people would be lost.
They cried to G-d, please rescue us, conditions here are vile.
Send Moses, and Aaron, too, to save our children and wives.
We'll leave this land at G-d's behest, here on Pharoah's Nile.

So G-d said Moses take you staff and with your brother go.
To Pharoah you will plead your case, to let my people go.
Well Moses, he sure did his best, but Pharoah was not moved,
'Til G-d sent down ten dreadful plagues, and His power was proved,
His power was proved.

The frogs, the lice, and even boils, could not make Pharoah bend
'Til slaying of the first born males, threatened Pharoah's life to end,
threatened Pharoah's life to end.
The Jews escaped miraculously, when G-d helped them to flee.
Egyptian armies followed them, but drowned in the deep Red Sea.

So this is a tale of our ancestors, they wandered a long, long time.
They had to make the best of things, it was an uphill climb.
So join us here each year my friends, it's sure to be worthwhile,
Retelling how the Jews escaped, far from Pharoah's Nile.

The Seder Rap
© by Randi and Murray. Spiegel, Passover 1994

Gonna tell you all a story, 'bout the Jews in Egypt,
They had a good thing goin', there was no complaint.
But then there came this Pharoah, who was mean and nasty,
He worked them night and day, from the heat they did faint.

They pleaded unto G-d, "Save us all, your children"
And G-d looked down to them, he was quite distressed.
So G-d appeared to Moses through a bush on fire,
He said "Go back to Egypt, go clear up this mess."

Chorus: Tell the story, find the matzah, drink the cups of wine.
It's all in celebration, so let's sing and dine.

So Moses went to Pharoah, saying "G-d's real angry,
They've suffered many years, Le-let my people go."
But Pharoah didn't listen, he had no intentions
Of giving up his servants, and he HUHp said "No."

So G-d sent down 10 plagues, which were quite horrendous,
They started out with water being changed to blood.
And then there came the frogs; third, the lice persisted,
Then wild beasts everywhere left a ... trail of crud.

Chorus: Tell the story, find the matzah, drink the cups of wine.
It's all in celebration, so let's sing and dine.

The cattle were all killed, and the boils were torture,
The hail came down in torrents, heads were really woozie.
From the sky there came the locusts, number 9 was darkness,
But G-d was not yet done, number 10 was a doozie.

All the first-born dropped like flies, in their tents and temples,
Every bird and beast in Egypt, only Pharoah was spared.
Such a wailin' in Mitsrayim, there was such commotion,
Pharoah couldn't comprehend, he just ... stopped and stared.

Chorus: Tell the story, find the matzah, drink the cups of wine.
It's all in celebration, so let's sing and dine.

The Jews ran out of Egypt, with their herds of cattle,
Pharoah followed with his armies, they were very near.
But then Moses stretched his hand, and The Sea was parted,
Our people walked on through, they were ... free and clear.

So here we are tonight, sitting 'round this table,
We tell this tale again, never with a gap.
When our ancestors were slaves, G-d reached out to help them,
The Jews are now a people, 'cause we HUHp beat the rap!

Take Me Out to the Seder
(Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame")

Take me out to the Seder
Take me out to the crowd
Feed me some matzah and kosher wine
We'll wine and dine and we'll have a good time
For we'll root for Moshe Rabbeinu
And our crossing through the Reed Sea
For it's one, two, ...four cups of wine
We rejoice that we are free!

'Twas the Night After Seder
(Recited to "Twas the Night Before X-Mas")

'Twas the night after Seder, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The matzah, the farfel, the charoset I ate,
After both the Sedarim, had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked over to shul (less a walk than a lumber),

I remembered the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The turkey with gravy, the beef nicely rared,
The wine and the matzo balls, the Migdal pareve cheese
The way I'd never said, "I've had enough; no more, if you please."
As I tied myself into my apron again
I spied my reflection and disgustedly, then --
I said to myself, "you're such a weak wimp",
"You can't show up at shul resembling a blimp!"

So--away with the last of the meatballs so sweet,
Get rid of the turkey, chopped liver and meat.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
'Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have any more macaroons from the box,
I can't wait til next week. (Ah, the bagels and lox.)
I won't have any luxion, farfel or p'chah,
I'll munch on a carrot or wire shut my own jaw.
It's a three day yom tov and shabbas is still
Ahead of me with another fleshiks meal to fulfill.
If I have to cook one more chicken, I think I will riot.
So a zisn pesach to you all and to all a good diet!

Sung to: You Are My Sunshine
(by Albert Resnick)

Rabbi akiva and eliezer
There was wise son
There was a fool
There'll be a draidle and a pretty maidel
It's a great time at the (host's seder house) .
As a rule

So as we doven
Away in english
The pages fly by as we sing
And so we have every
……. One's attention
No better music the world can bring

Oh…. Main!

Sung to: Home on the Range
(by Albert Resnick)

Oh this is the matza
With too much you'll platza
So listen to me while i say
At our home on the range
It'll never seem strange
If it binds you together all day

Chorus: matza oh matza it's strange
Manischevitz is the drink that we seek
Where there's no regrets
From a burp and a greps
From eating this matza all week

Oh we're not aloof, when it sticks to the roof
Of your mouth as you're chomping away
And never is heard a dovening word
If you eat the mah tza while you pray

Sung to: Dashing Thru the Snow (Jingle Bells)
(by Albert Resnick)

As slave we had to leave
And pharoah had to grieve
For he had lost the best
Builders in the west

They snuck away at night
With moses, dov and chiam
They just had to get away
From those mimitzriam

Jingle bells, bondage smells
We're off and on our way
Oh what joy, there's no more goy
To tell us where to pray

Dashing thru the desert
Parting thru the sea
Oh what fun, we're on the run
Away from tyranny

Oh jingle bells, bondage smells
We're off and on our way
Oh what joy, there's no more goy
To tell us where to pray

Sung to: Bye, Bye Black Bird
(by Albert Resnick)

Pack up all your bags and tools
We're outa here coz we're no fools
Bye bye pharaoh

Chorus: here we go, we don't have money
We're off to the land of milk and honey
Bye bye pharaoh

Oh what joy we had in building pyramids
(wasn't as tough a job we had as raising kids)
So pack up all your bags and tools
We're outa here cause we're no fools
Bye bye pharaoh

Sung to: On Top of Old Smokey
(by Albert Resnick)

Oh near to mt. Sinai
And close by the sea
We'll build us a nation
That's our destiny

With bricks and with mortar
We'll each build a home
Where love and affection
Cannot ever roam

Men only: yes our women will adore us!
Women only: we'll praise you to the skies
Men only: they'll all melt before us!
Women only: when we look in your eyes

All together now: this matza will keep us
From going insane
When we stack our gefilta
Fish up with chrain

With latkes and carpus
Kneidels all glatt
Keep stuffing yourself and
You end up with a pot

Leaving on a Desert Plane
(Sung to the tune of "Leaving on a Jet Plane")
© by Randi and Murray. Spiegel, Passover 2000

All our bags are packed we're ready to go
We're standing here outside our doors
We dare not wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin' this early morn'
Moses is waiting, he's blowing his horn
We're planning our escape so we won't die

You'll miss me, as you will see
You've been dealt a harsh decree
You held us like you'd never let us go
We're leaving from this great strain
We pray we won't be back again
God knows, can't wait to go.

There's so many times you've let us down
Your many crimes have plagued our town
I tell you now they were all mean things
Every pace I go, you'll shrink from view,
Every song I sing will be 'gainst you
I won't be back to wear your ball and chain

You'll miss me, as you will see
You've been dealt a harsh decree
You held us like you'd never let us go
We're leaving through a wet plain
We hope we won't be back again
God knows, can't wait to go.

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time, let me diss you
Close your eyes, we'll be on our way
Dream about the days to come
When you'll be left here all alone
About the time when I won't have to say

You'll miss me, as you will see
You've been dealt a harsh decree
You held us like you'd never let us go
We're leaving all our bread grain
We know we won't be back again
God knows, can't wait to go.

Dayenu
Click here for additional info.

Had he saved us, saved us, saved us,
Saved us from the mean Egyptians
And not given them conniptions, Dayenu

Had he given those Egyptians
Unforgettable conniptions
Without smashing all their idols, Dayenu

Had he smashed up all their idols --
Pulverized those gal- and guy-dolls
Without killing all their first-born, Dayenu

Had he killed all of their first-born
(Made the families so forlorn)
Without giving us their riches, Dayenu

Had he given us their riches
Split the sea (we walked with fishes)
But not drowned the Pharoah's army, Dayenu

Had he drowned the Pharoah's soldiers
Forty years we hiked 'round boulders
But had given us no manna, Dayenu

Had he given us that manna
-- Go eat as much as you wanna --
But had kept the Shabbas from us, Dayenu

Had he given Shabbas to us --
This day's for rest, not for commerce
But not brought us to Mount Sinai, Dayenu

Had he brought us to Mount Sinai
Through the desert, it was so dry
And not given us the Torah, Dayenu

Had he given us the Torah
Where we sang and danced the Hora
And not led us into Israel, Dayenu

Had he led us into Israel
(So far this is quite a long tale)
And not built for us the Temple, Dayenu

Had he built for us the Temple
So to pray we do assemble
But had not made Manischewitz, Dayenu

Mostly Matza
(Sung to W.A. Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
© by Randi and Murray. Spiegel, Passover 2001
The written music for this is available at the Spiegel's SedersForYou site.

Notes: Do not repeat the music, as in the original Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
Punctuation is provided only to help sing phrases and is not gramatically correct.
Recommended starting note is E and not G as in the original music.
Recommend writing to me for the written music.

Moses followed all of G-d's commands, helped the Jews escape from
Pharaoh's hands. Egypt was where the Jews all lived, and happy with
their lives, until the Pharaoh came, and made them slaves; he worked
them night and day, and held them all at bay, they had to get away.

Moses, saw a bush, burning bright, G-d appeared, told him he must
save the Jews. "Moses, you must go to Egypt speak to Pharaoh tell
him I am not amused. Yes you must go, and tell him tell him he must
let the Hebrews go yes he must let my people go. Their pleas I can't
ignore, they will be slaves no more. You tell Pharaoh he will be
punished if he doesn't listen and won't let my people go."

Moses went to Egypt land, went to see old Pharaoh. Threatened him on
G-d's behalf. Instead it, just made Pharaoh laugh. He said "I will
not free them, they are my slaves forever. So go back where you came
from, give up on your endeavor. I am strong. You are weak, so turn
around go on home and stay there 'cause I never will give in."

So Moses said to Pharaoh, "I have my G-d behind me. You will release
my people, or you'll be very sorry. Plagues will come, horrid
plagues so be aware what'll happen to you if you don't release the
Jews. I've warned you for the very last time the plagues will come
and G-d won't be kind as you will soon find." Pharaoh said "I have
not changed my mind."

This is where the tale gets really good. First, God changed the
water into blood* * rhyme with "good" :)
"A trick," said his magicians, endorsed Pharaoh's position. But Pharaoh
hadn't reckoned, that God would send a second. Frogs hopped around
the city, the picture wasn't pretty. The people were surrounded, the
croaking noise resounded. Well Pharaoh still resisted, what Moses
had insisted. A third plague was enlisted, and so the lice persisted.
It seemed as if the Jews could never leave, Pharaoh's land. It seemed,
as if they'd never leave, but, they knew, they'd just have to believe.

All of, a sudden it looked bleak, with wild beasts ev'rywhere, the
people ran and shrieked. The cattle all died where they had been
grazing and the boils were torture they could not endure. People,
were in pain, they agreed, that the Jews, should be free from
slavery. Pharaoh, would not listen to them Moses said a seventh
plague had been decreed. The hail came down, down from the sky in
torrents, hail fell down so hard. And such was Pharaoh's fate, God
sent plague number eight the swarms of locusts filled the sky to
terrify. Soon the sun's rays were suppressed. Egypt was in
darkness. Then the tenth plague was begun, and Pharaoh, at last was,
undone.

"Put lamb's blood on your doorposts," the Jews were all instructed.
Egyptians did not know this, an awful plague erupted. Death appeared,
at their door and ev'ry first-born in Egypt died including Pharaoh's
fav'rite child. The Jews all followed Moses, they made a swift
departure. But Pharaoh's armies followed, intending to recapture.
Just ahead, was the sea so Moses stretched out his hand to part it
and they walked through carefully. The armies followed foolishly,
the waters closed the soldiers were drowned the Jews were then free.

Now, we celebrate our freedom ev'ry Passover and this, is why we dine
on mostly matza, pasta we do not, ingest. Consuming mostly matza
which the rabbis blessed. We tell this story all about the Hebrews'
quest, at, this matza fest.

THE POP EXODUS by Kate Gladstone (handwritingrepair@gmail.com) and
Andrew Haber (ashaber@nycapp.rr.com)
(tune: SNOOPY VERSUS THE RED BARON by The Royal Guardsmen)

Long, long ago in a faraway land
Where people were treated like so much sand,
The King of Egypt was a real jerk,
Imposing an impossible load of work.
CHORUS:
Ten, forty, fifty, or two hundred or more [1]
Disasters, depending upon who's keeping score:
Centuries waiting for liberty
And now's the moment we can all get free.

A prince of Egypt who was born a slave
Learned his past, and he started to misbehave:
Killed a slave-driver, and he fled from the strife --
Then forty years later, a Voice changed his life.
CHORUS:

"Go back to Egypt, get My people free" --
"N-no, don't g-give this job to m-me:
I can barely t-talk, I sound like a j-jerk
This freedom n-notion c-can't w-work."
CHORUS:

He didn't want to do it, but he'd give it a try,
The Voice assured him that he could get by --
So back to Egypt to begin the quest,
The Voice gave him help, but would not let him rest.
CHORUS:

He said to the King, "Let My People Go,
Or you'll have suffering, plagues, and woe
Like you wouldn't believe, until you agree
To let the Israelites get out free."
CHORUS:

Then he told us how to prepare and wait,
"We'll all move together on a certain date.
Take what you can, better fill up a sack,
Finish your lamb, 'cause we're not coming back.
CHORUS:

"Have your shoes on your feet, your staff in your hand,
The hour is coming to escape this land."
We'd packed our bags, started baking our bread,
When there came the signal to move ahead.
CHORUS:

Couldn't wait around for the bread to rise,
So we carried the dough: no time for goodbyes.
Marching out by the light of a big full moon,
Our bread was flat, but our hearts were in tune.
CHORUS:

We reached the Sea, but we stopped right there.
With no boats, we couldn't go anywhere.
"Did you take us out here to die," we quipped,
"Because there weren't any graves in Egypt?"
CHORUS:

In jumped Nakhshon [2], then the waters parted;
The Sea went back to where it started.
The waters drowned Egypt's cavalry power:
We sang and danced -- they were dead in one hour.
CHORUS:

And ever since then at Pesach time
In story and symbol, in song and rhyme
We tell our escape, and remember the night
Of Egypt's loss and the Israelites' flight.
CHORUS:
1] Reflects the Haggadah's report of various rabbis' calculations
that each of the Ten Plagues actually comprised either 4, 5, 20, or 25
independently inflicted sub-plagues, bringing the total number of
plagues to either 40, 50, 200, or 250.

[2] According to midrash, the Reed Sea didn't actually split until
sometime *after*
the Hebrews waded in: with the waters nostril-high, a man named Nakhshon ben
Aminadav kept going ... while others halted, he jumped forward and
THEN the miracle
kicked in ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Elders of Zion to Retire

The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course.

“We had a good run,” said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location. “Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now it’s Obama’s problem.”

After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special.

The announcement comes after a year in which many of the Elders’ most prized institutions suffered disheartening failures. The vaunted global banking system, which lay at the heart of Jewish world domination for almost two centuries, collapsed with astonishing rapidity, requiring trillions of dollars in bailout funds. The newspaper industry, through which the Elders have controlled world opinion, is in shambles, with prominent papers declaring bankruptcy and forcing millions of readers to form their own opinions. And, in the unkindest cut, Hollywood suffered the humiliation of losing the Oscar for Best Picture to Indian film “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The organization’s reputation for financial probity had also taken a hit amidst rumors of billions in losses in private Kalooki games against Sheikh Hamad bin ‘Isa of Bahrain. According to inside sources, the organization also lost close to $1 trillion with disgraced investor Bernard Madoff.

Even before this past year, though, the Elders were facing hard times as they struggled to stay relevant and attract young members. The organization has tried to project a more youthful image, setting up a Facebook page and founding a new “Hipsters of Zion” youth division, which has sponsored a number of singles nights. But youngsters haven’t been interested.

“World domination just doesn’t resonate with the younger generation of Jews,” said Marvin Tobman, a professor of non-profit management at San Diego State University and expert on Jewish communal life. “They want the fun of fixing the world, not the responsibility of running it.”

These recent troubles have worried even some of the Elders’ sharpest critics.

“I always used to complain that Jews ran the world,” said Reginald Weber, author of “Zionists and Zookeepers: The Unholy Alliance.” “But now I’m starting to worry that nobody’s in charge.”

The Protocols: Like Medieval Poland, the American South is Desperate for Jews

Well folks, my summer of traveling just ended with a brief visit to my ancestral home of Omaha, Nebraska. Despite the fact that I was there for ostensibly professional reasons (I was honored to participate in the fantastic annual Omaha Lit Fest, which is turning into quite a major event) the trip was fraught as usual with the ghosts of the past; despite the disconcerting presence of a new American Apparel, it’s still my hometown, and being there, I couldn’t help but reflect on my childhood and adolescence, and for probably the millionth time, what it was like growing up Jewish in a place where being Jewish is still at least semi-weird.

I’ve written extensively about this (it’s so comfortable to revisit postions we’ve already taken, isn’t it?) and I’m not going to go into my personal experience here; if you’re interested, you can read my book. But being home reminded me of a strange little news item I caught sight of a couple of weeks ago, and have since meant to call to your attention.

Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services is offering Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate to Dothan, Alabama—a town of 58,000 known as the Peanut Capital of the World (although I think a few towns in Georgia might dare to differ). It's a kind of yiddische Homestead Act set smack in the cradle of Dixie, and the terms are simple: the families stay at least five years, become active in the local synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, and the money never has to be repaid.

Jews in the South are nothing new, and historically, were in some ways more visible and prominent than their co-religionists in the North. The oldest continual Jewish community in the United States is in Charleston, South Carolina, where a group Portuguese Jews first settled 300 years ago. Judah Benjamin, Secretary of State of the short-lived Confederate States of America was a Jew (a fact conveniently forgotten by so many of today’s good ol’ boys who proudly emblazon the Stars and Bars on the sides of their pick-up trucks and semi-automatic weapons); and during my stopover in the Memphis airport on my way back to New York, I counted as many yarmulkes as one might see in, if not New York, than certainly Chicago.

Today, more Jews than ever—almost 400,000—are making their homes in the South, but they tend to be Northern transplants clustered in urban areas like Atlanta and Birmingham (rather than in the kinds of towns we Yankees are used to viewing in sepia toned movies, accompanied by haunting shots of live oaks draped in Spanish moss and the sound of somebody throatily humming the word “Jesus” over and over again off screen—a sure sign in the language of film that something bad, sinister, and racially tinged is about to happen.) As a result, small-town synagogues are closing, and once close-knit communities have dissolved. In the article I read, a woman named Thelma Nomberg, who grew up in nearby Ozark and was the only Jewish student in the region’s public schools in the 1940’s put it simply: “We are dying.”

This is undoubtedly true and painful to the men and women watching their communities wither and disappear, and the Blumberg organization is to be commended for their attempt to recognize and revitalize the history and heritage of the Jewish South.

That said, I can’t help but feel that the city elders of Dothan, who have expressed enthusiasm about the plan, have slightly different motives here.

As someone who grew up in a rural state (admittedly not Southern, but a population of 58,000 is practically a megalopolis for some parts of Nebraska), I feel I can safely say that the death of small town America is hardly an exclusively Jewish problem. Jews may have disappeared from small towns, but so have people. As big-box retailers curtail and eventually murder local businesses, as factories shut down, as opportunities grow ever scarcer, talented and ambitious young people take flight, seeking their fortunes elsewhere, and never come back.

They call it the brain drain. Left behind are the elderly and those with few other options. To survive, such towns (and I’m not speaking of Dothan in particular, but depressed areas in general), require new residents with the skills and energy to attract business rather than drive it away, and in some cases, radically remake the fabric of the community. In the Midwest, a new influx of Latino immigrants has helped to correct some of the imbalance, bringing new vitality to stagnant areas, but in the conservative South where xenophobic fervor tends to run high, this option is perhaps seen as less tenable.

You need a middle class? Bring in the Jews. Any student of Jewish history might feel a faint quiver of recognition.

In the twelfth century, when Jews were massacred and eventually expelled from England and France, the Polish prince Boleslaus III had an idea: why not invite them to Poland? He was struggling to transform his country into a mercantile culture, Jews were educated and good with money and needed a place to live. At the time, Lithuania, which comprised much of Poland was still officially a pagan state (it would remain so until 1386, when Poland offered its crown to the Lithuanian Grand Duke, and was the last country in Europe to Christianize); there would be no significant religious obstacle from its people. Rich in resources and underdeveloped, Poland was ready and waiting for the beleaguered and brainy Hebrews.

Casimir the Great: good for the jewsCasimir the Great: good for the jewsAs they say in Fiddler on the Roof, it was a perfect match. Over the next two hundred years, Jews flooded into Poland, almost exclusively forming the middle class—a liaison between the agrarian peasants and the cultured aristocracy. The odd flare-up of anti-Semitic violence certainly occurred, but compared to the horrors Jews had endured in Crusades-mad Western Europe, these hardly seemed reason for pause. In 1264, Boleslaus the Pious issued the Statute of Kalisz, which officially granted all Jews the freedom of worship, travel, and most importantly, trade. Poland became the center of Jewish life in Europe, culminating under the beloved proto-liberal Casimir the Great (1303-1370) who expanded Jewish rights and protection to such an extent that he was known as “Casimir, King of the Serfs and Jews.”

Unfortunately, if you’ll remember, it went downhill, or we’d all be speaking Polish right now.

Thus far, Dothan has not proved nearly as attractive to urban Jews as medieval Poland, and unless the approximately seventeen gentiles in Great Neck lose their minds and start a riot against the Silvermans next door, this seems unlikely. But the Jews who have settled in Dothan seem to find an extremely hospitable place. As Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith of Temple Emanu-El points out: “The Northeast has a very warped perception of what the South is all about….the South is a wonderful place to be. The people are warm and friendly. There’s very little traffic, and best of all, there’s no snow.”

Let’s just hope she’s singing the same tune 500 years from now.

Incest: Good for the Jews

The benefits of a small tribal gene pool
by Joey Kurtzman
Genetically, Ashkenazi Jews are freaks. For most of Jewish history in Europe, cherem-wielding rabbis and an unwelcoming Gentile world made inbreeding a far more appealing option than intermarriage. As a result, Ashkenazim became what scientists call an “endogamous group,” which is another way of saying that they have been sleeping with their cousins for a thousand years. And because endogamous groups often develop distinctive genetic profiles, nothing gets a population geneticist hotter than incest.

Ashkenazim aren’t the only group that has kept outsiders out of the gene pool. Most other such groups, however, are isolated, rural populations, like the Amish or the inhabitants of Australia’s Norfolk Island. Ashkenazim are the best-studied group of cousin-kissers on the planet because they’re convenient. A scientist doesn’t need to trek out to the boonies to do her research when she’s got a million Ashkenazi Jews outside her door in the same city where she lives and works.

So endogamy and cosmopolitanism go a long way towards explaining why Jewish DNA has been the source of a gobsmacking number of important genetic findings. Unfortunately, the news coverage of those findings has focused primarily on the negative: genes that predispose us to Tay-Sachs disease, breast cancer, intestinal disease…and the list goes on.

But not all the startling stories hiding in Ashkenazi DNA are bad. Freakishness has its benefits. Some of our genetic eccentricities are more √úbermensch than sissy-pants, more Schwarzenegger than DeVito.

Here’s a brief tour through four of the happier genetic quirks discovered about the Ashkenazi wing of our tribe in recent years.

RESISTANCE TO HIV

Yes, you still need to use condoms. But a significant proportion of Ashkenazi Jews have a mutation in a gene called CCR5, and the most common strain of HIV uses the protein produced by CCR5 to climb inside people’s cells. The mutation prevents HIV from exploiting that protein to gain access. If you get two copies of the mutant gene, then most strains of HIV will have little to no chance of getting into your cells. If you get one copy, you’re still less likely to contract HIV, and, if you do, your prognosis is better.

The number of Ashkenazi Jews who have the mutation varies among different Jewish subgroups. According to a study conducted at the Center of Neurogenetics in Paris, a whopping 45 percent of Litvaks (Jews from Lithuania) have at least one copy of the mutation. Ethiopian Jews, on the other hand, don’t have it at all.

Population geneticists aren’t sure why Jews have the mutation in such high numbers. Some of the microbes responsible for Europe’s plagues may have used the same protein, and, as one theory goes, the plagues hit Jews harder than most other European populations, leaving us with a genetic advantage today. Wearing the same heavy clothes every day and never bathing may have had its benefits.

LOW RATES OF ALCOHOLISM

“Shicker iz a goy, shicker iz a goy, shicker iz er, trinken muz er, vahl er iz a goy!” That racist old Yiddish ditty translates: “The goy is a drunk! The goy is a drunk! He has to drink, because he’s a goy!” Classy stuff.

Jews made a mint in Europe by distilling alcohol and selling it to Gentiles, and then we sang songs about what drunks they were. But it turns out Gentiles really are more likely than Jews to become drunks, and it’s not because young Jews learn how to drink responsibly by quaffing Manischewitz at the Seder table, or any of the other old, folk explanations.

Twenty percent of Ashkenazi Jews have a genetic mutation on chromosome nine that causes an unpleasant reaction to alcohol—headaches, nausea, flushing—which in turn makes heavy drinking and alcoholism less likely. This mutation is almost nonexistent among non-Jewish Europeans, but common among Asians.

It’s a model minority thing, apparently.

LOW RATES OF CERVICAL CANCER

It’s not cause you’re not a slut, that’s for sure. The low incidence of cervical cancer among Jewish women has been a longstanding mystery to scientists. People used to think that a circumcised penis was like a magic wand, protecting Jewish women from a nasty cancer that was far more common among non-Jews. That partly explains why American Gentiles started doing like the poor biblical boys of Shekhem and slicing off their foreskins. Once all these Gentiles started circumcising their kids, the bad news came in: Low rates of cervical cancer have nothing to do with circumcision.

The low incidence of human papilloma virus (HPV) among Jewish women may partly explain their low rates of cervical cancer. And scientists have recently discovered that a genetic mutation called p53-D12 predisposes some women to cervical cancer; that mutation is rare among Jewish women.

HIGH RATES OF INTELLIGENCE

“The world is riddled—riddled!—with dumb Ashkenazi Jews,” as Leon Wieseltier reminds us. Too true, Leon. But with the tribe’s lineup including Freud, Einstein, and Speed Levitch, and Ashkenazim possessing an exceedingly high mean IQ, Jews have more than their share of smarties. They’ve also got more than their share of neurological disorders such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher’s disease. According to a recent study at the University of Utah, there’s a connection: The same genes that cause diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Gaucher’s can also help make you a little Einstein.

The genes in question promote the growth of brain cells. Basically, if you get two of those genes, your brain cells will be afflicted by the kind of extreme and disordered cell growth associated with Tay-Sachs. Get only one of those genes and the cell growth within your brain is enhanced, meaning your grandma will never shut up about you at the mah-jongg table. Or so the Utah researchers argue.

The theory attempts to answer the question of what causes higher rates of intelligence among Jews. And as the theory’s premise is clear and testable, we’ll know for certain in a few years whether it’s the right answer. As to the question of why the gene is there in the first place, it’s all conjecture from here on in.

Some think it’s because our smartest guys became big Talmud chachams and got the girls, while the smartest non-Jewish Europeans became priests and spilled their seed into bed sheets. Or, others postulate, maybe it’s because Jews had to pursue talky, cognitively taxing professions because they weren’t allowed to own land or join guilds. Whatever the explanation may be, Jews got the smahts, baby.