Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Banner of the Jew

I've had two days of school and I already made an enemy. Some girl in my Multi-Cultural American Lit. class made a comment in response to my teacher's question. I disagreed with her, and explained why. For the rest of class, the girl glared at me. I have very little patience for people like that, so I'm glad my teacher doesn't give us group assignments.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with what I just wrote but that I referenced this poem in my response and wanted to put it on Punks. I love this poem (particularly the end). Enjoy.

The Banner of the Jew
By Emma Lazarus

Wake, Israel, wake! Recall to-day
The glorious Maccabean rage,
The sire heroic, hoary-gray,
His five-fold lion-lineage:
The Wise, the Elect, the Help-of-God,
The Burst-of-Spring, the Avenging Rod.

From Mizpeh’s mountain-ridge they saw
Jerusalem’s empty streets, her shrine
Laid waste where Greeks profaned the Law
With idol and with pagan sign.
Mourners in tattered black were there,
With ashes sprinkled on their hair.

Then from the stony peak there rang
A blast to ope the graves: down poured
The Maccabean clan, who sang
Their battle-anthem to the Lord.
Five heroes lead, and, following, see
Ten thousand rush to victory!

Oh for Jerusalem’s trumpet now,
To blow a blast of shattering power,
To wake the sleepers high and low,
And rouse them to the urgent hour!
No hand for vengeance—but to save,
A million naked swords should wave.

Oh deem not dead that martial fire,

Say not the mystic flame is spent!
With Moses’ law and David’s lyre,
Your ancient strength remains unbent.
Let but an Ezra rise anew,
To lift the Banner of the Jew!

A rag, a mock at first—erelong,
When men have bled and women wept,
To guard its precious folds from wrong,
Even they who shrunk, even they who slept,
Shall leap to bless it, and to save.
Strike! for the brave revere the brave!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Welcome Back

I walked into the Hillel room today to find Randy and Russel deep in a political debate having to do with the disengagement. Before leaving the room, Randy threw a pen at me. (Actually, I took advantage of his inability to locate a marker and took the upperhand by launching a pen at him first. Then he threw it at me about three times and ended up keeping it and dubbing it, "a Sephardi pen," when I admitted that I didn't mind his keeping it because I, "don't like black pens.")

School's in.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Think This is the First Picture of Our Faces on Punks Ever

A few of us at Mir and Doni's vort yesterday. I have a great pic of the chattan and kallah, but I forgot to send it to my computer, so that has to be added later today when I update this post. :) Left to right: Moishe, Aaron, Tova (behind Steve's head), me, and Steve.

Meshiach Denounces O-Girl Obsession

Mr. Meshiach himself has come out for the first time and publically denounced his O-Girl obsession. When asked about his intentions with the upcoming fresh batch of O-Girls in the fall of '05, Mr. Meshiach responded, "I'm tired of O-Girls... I need someone with a possible future."

As is widely known Mr. Meshiach is the King of O-Girl pimping. He along with his partner Merv the Perv have been known to pimp out at least 20 O-Girls a night in the red light districts of Heimytown and its surrounding provinces.

In out conversation Mr. Meshiach continued to elaborate on his current twist of desires. "o-girls are just used for one night stands...theres like no future involved when hooking up with an o-girl, its like fantasy land."

Some reports claim that he may just be in the business of looking for sephardi hotties to hook up and lend out. While a hot sephardi can be very hard to come by these days, they experts say that sephardi chicks simply do not pose the same challenge that O-Girl ashkis do. Thus beggging the question, how long can meshiach and the sephardi keep up a party? As Rob Schneider once said, "You can do it!"

While experts can really only speculate about Mr. Meshiach's life after O-Girls, they do say that O-Girls will not be going out of vogue just yet. They say that skirts and elbow length shirts will be staying in style for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



Miryam Eisenberg is officially off the is Doni Berger! Know why?
That's right, they are the first Hunter Hillel shidduch in the history of Hunter (as far back as I know, two years)!

So Mazal Tov to the two of them!

And p.s. I know they think I wasn't the shadchan, but I was very much their shadchan! Now I'm just looking for a third couple so that I can, y'know, get in easy...

Monday, August 22, 2005

They Should Censor OnlySimchas Comments

Friday night (which, mind you, was Tu b'Av), my mother and I were discussing all things related to shidduching. I said that I was scared by some comments on OnlySimchas, where people wrote things that were more along the lines of, "wow! You're so lucky to be the second one to get engaged" than, "wow! You're so fortunate to be in love! Mazal Tov!!!" My mother said that she finds it scary that when people who are raised in a vacuous culture (i.e. Those who attend someone's simcha in another shul will walk into the shul wearing their full-length mink coats and then take them off instead of hanging them in the coat room so that these people at this shul know that they have a full-length mink coat) marry so young, they don't give themselves time to develop out of it. Then, what if somewhere down the line, one of the couple has a spiritual awakening, or realizes that life is not just about wearing expensive things and having everyone else know that you can afford it, but the other one doesn't get it? Then what?

And because too much of the shidduch-thing reminds me of Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, I thought this was funny:

Bad Boys Bad Boys.....(Iraqi style)

With the fall of tyranny and liberation in Iraq, Iraqi citizens have begun to reap the benefits of freedom in various ways including having their own national version of COPS. Yeah, don't remember that show, with its catchy theme song along with an always great opening video of fat cops chasing speedy dimwited criminals over fences and through the mean streets of New York and bumblecreek?

Iraq's 'Cops' brings police into living rooms (

It's "Cops" Iraqi-style, minus the "Bad Boys" soundtrack but otherwise roughly modeled after the American TV show.

Created to make government more transparent, "The Cops Show" featuring Kirkuk officers in action is the first of its kind in the country and is breaking new ground in Iraqi television. A live call-in portion gives the public the chance to praise the security forces or gripe about them....

How bout COPS Israeli style? Anyone up for lil televised SHOTRIM? Bad Jew, Bad Jew, A watcha gonna do? A whatcha gonna do when they come for you?...
And for DB we can have some fat corupt ashki cop beating the bejezuses out of some sephardic punk, although truth be told I didn't see too many fat cops in Israel. Bad donuts?

Well if any of you are thinking of breaking the rules or just up for a little translation here is the lyrics from I didn't know this, but the song was written by Inner Circle, not that I'm familiar with the band or anything. The actual song is much longer than what they air on TV, so I copied the whole song with the blue part being what is left off TV for the sake of commercial time.

Bad boys
Whatcha want, watcha want
Whatcha gonna do
When sheriff John Brown come for you
Tell me
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna dooo
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
When they come for you
When you were eight
And you had bad traits
You go to school
And learn the golden rule
So why are you
Acting like a bloody fool
If you get hot
You must get cool
You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother and
You chuck it on your father
You chuck it on your brother and
You chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one and
You chuck it on me
Nobody naw give you no break
Police naw give you no break
Soldier naw give you no break
Not even you idren naw give you no break
Why did you have to act so mean
Don't you know you're human being
Born of a mother with the love of a father
Reflections come and reflections go
I know sometimes you want to let go
I know sometimes you want to let go
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
When they come for you
(You're too bad, you're too rude)
(You're too bad, you're too rude)
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
When they come for you
You chuck it on that one
You chuck it on this one
You chuck it on your mother and
You chuck it on your father
You chuck it on your brother and
You chuck it on your sister
You chuck it on that one and
You chuck it on me
(repeat 'til the end)

Friday, August 19, 2005

David Furst/AFP -- Getty Images

NYTimes Caption: An Israeli soldier and his sister, a settler in Neve Dekalim, comfort each other near a synagogue.
This has to be one of the most emotionally strong pictures I've seen.

Today in History

I traveled on a van to high school. Every morning the driver would turn off the FDR at about 125th to avoid the growing traffic. Then at some point, the History Channel came along and planted this huge advertisement across from the FDR:

There is a scrolling lcd screen that always read the date, time, what would be on that night, and a "Today in history..." I remember this (they don't have the today in history anymore) because I used to go to school and write on the board what that day in history was ('cept for when it was just a stupid celeb's bday).

Such is the life of an Always-Dork. And anyway I couldn't resist taking a picture today. :)

And by the by, today in 1934
Hitler yimach shimo became president of Germany and in 1991 a Jewish youth was killed by a mob.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Ok so you guys think I'm insensitive, ok perhaps I have been. But what do you guys think about this one?

Published in Haaretz
Animal rights group awaits permission to enter Gaza to save strays
By The Associated Press

An Animal rights group is trying to rescue dogs and cats left behind by settlers being evacuated in the Gaza Strip.

Hakol Chai (Everything Lives) is awaiting permission to bring in a mobile veterinary clinic replete with cages, traps and trained staff.

"Cats and dogs left behind by departing settlers have no ability to survive under the extreme conditions that will exist during and after the disengagement," said Merav Barlev, the group's director. "Without our help, when all that remains is dust and ruins, those who escape the massive bulldozers will die of hunger, thirst, and injuries."

Well, I hate to break it to you but even I have feelings, and I do think that human beings are living creatures to. Perhaps this money they plan on spending for the cats and dogs should go to the human victims from this episode. Ok, I said it! I refered to the settlers as victims. But I see them as victims of necessity in an episode without any clear guilty party. Is that possible?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Did That Make You Feel Any Better?

After waking up at 10:30 today I went straight for my daily dose of Punks, naturally reading the first and only article I assumed it would simply another perfectly legitimate attack on the disengagment. For the most part I was right except for 6 words "Still happy, Moishe? Personally, I'm sickened." Yeah, that was refering to me, I go by Moishe, Moshe, Moishele, Crazy Moishele and Elder Punk of Zion. But lets cut to the chase, I'm not exactly "happy", I dont like to see the Dream of Greater Israel rolled back and thrown down the tubes, but that doesnt prevent me from seeing that the "occupation" of gaza is no longer tenable. Look, to Dina and all my other friends who don't agree with me, and thats a lot of you, I am not jumping for joy to see Israel do this. This isnt going into my book as one of the greatest moments in Israeli history, but that doesn't mean its not the right thing to do in this situation. Just curious, would you like to repeat those six words to half of the Israeli population? Dina, did you serve in the territories? have you ever killed someone? Would you be willing to bury your dead child (G-d forbid, may we never have to deal with such things) who was blown up by a roadside bomb in Gaza? Honestly would you? Because if can't answer yes to that last question you shouldn't be mocking me for saying that perhaps a different approach is necessary to a situation which has involved a lot of maimed Jews (not to mention palestinians, but heck undermenchen dont deserve human rights and those sort of trivialities). Would you like me to go on about the right to National Self-Determination? Is Democracy a four letter word to you? Do the rights of 8,500 people take precedent over the rights of roughly a million, none of which recieved government subsidies to live where they do? Come on Dina analyze this rationally please, or at the very least respect my position. We like to lecture the world about the Holocaust, however 6 million lost souls doesn't give us the right to lecture anyone unless we have a significantly higher standard of behavior than the people we are lecturing. While I am by no means defending the behavior of ANY country in the world, I do think we should maintain those higher standards that we set for everyone else, lest we get it thrown back in our faces. Whereas I utterly revile that little sign we have all come to hate, and believe it is Holocaust Denial on all levels, I do see that Holocaust lecturing as well as Israeli policy in the territories has brought us to these comparisons. Israel has acted no WORSE than any other nation in a similar situation, but has it acted sufficiently BETTER to warrant the lecturing us Jews and supporters of Israel give to the rest of the world? So on one level the gaza plan is about practising what you preach, but it is by no means the only understanding of the plan, but it is something you should think about before you blast the rest of us. Perhaps I am just overreacting from what was probably Orange overkill on tisha bav, I heard more about Gaza than the destruction of the house that Solomon built.

A fundemental flaw in your article was that its discussing the rants of a few palestinian intellectuals. Jewish intellectuals have said some pretty nutty things too, that doesn't mean they represent the Jewish concensus. As far as Hamas goes, no kidding, their goal is to destroy all of Israel, no ones gonna tell you otherwise. I'm rather surprised they didn't say they want all of historical palestine restored from the sea to the river. Don't expect the PA to come out saying that they will wipe out Hamas, especially if Hamas is a lot more popular in Gaza than Abbas's PA is. Well not unless Abbas wants to find himself 6 feet. I'm in the middle of reading Six Days of War by michael Oren, and one of the things I'm noticing is that Arab rhetoric means absolutely nothing. When Arab leaders speak rhetorically it means absolutely nothing as far as policy goes. One should recall the death threats made to Israel by Hamas after the assasinations of their leaders Yassin and Rantissi, the fact is that those threats were only hot air. Words don't count, only actions do, we have to wait and see.

I was once a Religious Zionist like most of you seem to be for better or worst, if the disengagement happened a few years ago I probably wouldve taken the Orange side. My world as far as Israel went was that it was a total no brainer, I assumed that Israel must hold on to as much territory as possible in order protect eretz yisrael. I didnt care about the arabs, I assumed that their situation was their own fault and everything was fine and dandy. I always assumed that every Israeli policy was to be defened and that the Arabs were always in the wrong. I knew who to support and who to hate. the truth is that that was extremely comforting. If your world is that simple it is much easier than to have to sort through everything to make the right decision, sometimes those decisions aren't as nice to your little picture of the world as you would like them to be. But that is the price I have to pay to be honest with myself. But please don't launch some personal attack on me because the perfect and clear world view that you thought you hold isnt as simple as you think it is, othe people can experience pain and suffering too, that includes: evicted settlers, palestinians, israeli arabs, israeli terror victims etc. Nothing is simple but to simplify it and hide behind some seemingly "perfect" understanding, is both naive and extremely dangerous. I stand by what I believe is the right thing to do, I believe it is the right thing for many more reasons and on many more levels than I can mention or even attempt to articulate here. Could I be wrong? Perhaps, I am certainly no prophet. I can only do what I think is right and pray to G-d that the results are what is optimal for the Jewish people as well as all Mankind. I have been told that even Dina believes in G-d, the question is does my friend have any faith?

Nachamu Nachamu Ami...

Oh, Joy!

I was reading Aljazeera today:

As Israel has begun its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, a number of Palestinian intellectuals have urged the Palestinian Authority and resistance groups to tone down celebrations and pay attention to Israel's expansion in the West Bank.
That's right, Palestinians, stop celebrating that Israel is giving you land for FREE and start the tears because they still have some land that they won in war in 1967.

Jerbawi criticised the "Gaza-today and Jerusalem-Tomorrow" slogan voiced last week by PA President Mahmoud Abbas as "mistaken both principally and strategically".

"We must never forget that this withdrawal is a unilateral Israeli act aimed first and foremost at effecting the Israeli strategy of arrogating Jerusalem and over half of the West Bank. Hence our slogan should be 'Jerusalem and the West Bank first, rather than Gaza first.'"

So this is who we kick our brothers out of their homes for?

Meanwhile, Hamas has called for "utilising our earned victory in Gaza" to mobilise Palestinians towards the restoration of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from the Israeli occupiers.

Excuse me while I go vomit...

Earlier, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip vowed to retain their weapons until the restoration of Palestinian rights from Israeli hands.

Israel and the United States have been demanding that the PA dismantle and disarm resistance groups such as Hamas.

However, the PA has favoured consensus politics, arguing that hounding Hamas and other resistance groups would lead to civil war.

Still happy, Moishe? Personally, I'm sickened.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Deep thought with Doni

Regarding my new street army:
I have a team of Dungeons and Dragons dorks thinking of battle plans for me all day. I pay them in cutouts of playboy magazines. Everytime I give them another picture they say "they're like men infested with boobs!"

Regarding boobs:
I think that women have it easy because they never have to worry about getting hurt by walking into walls because they have natural airbags.

Regarding Archery:
I wonder if archerers every have accidental shootings like we do with guns.

Regarding the first guy to get drunk:
I wonder what the first person to get drunk thought. He probably thought, "I will definitely be the coolest guy in college with this!"

Regarding conventions:
I love comic conventions because they remind me I can always sink that much lower. I wonder if convention-goers understand that they are inadvertently taking a vow of celibacy by going to those conventions.

Good-Bye Beards

For the past three weeks, I didn't listen to live music and men didn't shave. For the past (about) nine days, I didn't listen to live music, men didn't shave, we couldn't to laundry, no one ate meat, and some people didn't shower (gasp!). Yesterday we mourned the destruction of both Batia Mikdash by fasting, sitting on low chairs, not washing, and being smelly.

After chatzos (midday) today, everything changes. I know I'm supposed to be sad during the three weeks and happy afterwards (Shabbos Nachamu, anyone?), but I just can't bring myself to feel wholly happy now that the three weeks are over because I have to say good-bye to the beards.

Yes, I love beards. I was speaking to a friend last night (formerly the spokesperson for my Bring Back Beards Campaign*) who remarked, "oh, so you must love Sean Connery." In fact, I don't. Sean Connery may have a beard, but he's an older man. Beards on older men are just older men beards. Beards on young men are hot. There's no denying that something like this isn't amazingly gorgeous. Why are beards on younger guys hot? I don't know, but they are.

If you'd like to join my Bring Back Beards Campaign and open a chapter where you are, feel free to let me know...We already have chapters in both Florida and Oregon! Please note, however, that position of Mascot has already been taken.

*It was amazing while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. Thanks for the Beard of Hotness while it was here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Yes, This is Dating, Goshdarnit.

So, uh, anyone shidduch recently?


I happen not to be much of an acappella fan. As a matter of fact, acappella usually gets on my nerves. But recently, a friend sent me his school's acappella songs (?) and I thought, "eh, it's the three weeks...acapella's better than what I'm listening to...why not give it a try?" And you know what? It's not so bad.
So now I'm going to make my list of top five acappella suggestions (of my VERY* limited acappella knowledge):
University of Oregon (On the Rocks): Crash Into Me (<--best one!)
University of Pennsylvania (Off the Beat): Who Will Save Your Soul
University of Oregon (On the Rocks): Romeo and Juliet
University of Pennsylvania (Off the Beat): Wild Horses
University of Pennsylvania (Off the Beat): Landslide

*the only acappella groups I've heard are University of Oregon, from my friend, and U Penn, which I stumbled across once when trying to download "Who Will Save Your Soul."

Friday, August 05, 2005


Today is the 900th anniversary of Rashi's death.

The first time we learned Rashi was in third grade. We had a chart in the classroom of his special script and we had to master that before we studied him. I remember I used to cringe at my desk hoping Morah Devorah wouldn't call on me because not only could I never differentiate half the letters from the other half, but I couldn't (read: can't) read Hebrew sans-nekudot.

In high school, I'd have Rashi Bekiyot to do every week. While it was a pain in the neck (we had to answer like 20 questions on Rashis from what ever perek of Chumash we were up to), I kinda loved it. Nowerdays, while I may not remember everything I learned about Rashi or from his commentaries, I find that I am still able to reference them with ease.

Also, by the way, we watched this Rashi movie in 11th grade that I highly recommend. You can purchase it (for yourself or, y'know, me) here if you'd like. It was fun watching because Rashi, while a cartoon character, really came alive. For example, there were parts where he was taking a walk and thinking and kicking a pebble about. My teacher explained afterwards that there are sources that mention that Rashi had a habit of kicking pebbles (not like splaying them everywhere, but like when you kick a pebble and then walk to it and kick it again...) when he was thinking things over.

Anyway, I'm a big chassid(ah?) of Rashi.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm Such a Hick :)

Well, here I am sitting on my den floor working on a paper with the back door open so that I don't sneeze every two seconds from the freezingly cold air-conditioner air when I see a groundhog walk up to about six feet from the door. He looks at me. I look at him. He then loses interest and moseys away.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

L'Shana Ha-zeh B'Yerushalayim

So as some of you know its official, I'm going back to Israel in September to learn in Yeshiva in Mevaseret Zion. Mevaseret is a suburb right outside of Jerusalem on one of those beautiful surrounding hills. I'm not really sure why I decided to do this, although im pretty certain it has to do with Doni talking me into how much I'd miss if I didnt spend a year studying there. I guess theres a difference between studying stuff on 68th and Lexington and learning about your culture on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Of course the downside to my leaving Hunter for the year is that I'll miss out on the fresh crop of new freshmen O-girls. oh well, gam zu l'tova (this is also for the best). I suppose Ill just have to wait for the fresher batch the following year, although some wise minds seem to think i ought to wait a few years after that as well. I mean the truth is that i know that I have to seriously improve my torah knowledge of gemara, chumahs yad yada yada. For the life of me I cannot open a chumash and get anywhere without reading the English translation. I really want to learn hebrew, and I hope that happens some how or another.

the thing that scares me is that the yeshiva is giving out special email addresses, which I think is because they dont have regular internet access. I was initially hoping to contribute to this blog by having some sort of diary, but that doesnt seem likely as of now. I couldve been a foreign correspondent for Punks. We couldve had an international section, how many blogs can boast that??

I'm a Pisces

I have this new habit of reading my horoscope (even though it's more advice than future-telling) on Yahoo!. They never fail to make me laugh.

Hmmm -- why hasn't anyone ever tried putting chocolate-covered raisins in their morning bran flakes? Kooky and clever inspirations strike you like a hammer hitting a nail in all kinds of areas ranging from the mundane to the sublime. Whether you're making inroads in the hitherto underexplored world of breakfast cereals or figuring out how to write an autobiographical rock opera, you've got ideas and innovations to spare right now.

And for the record, I've put chocolate covered raisins in more than just bran flakes. I've had them in just about every cereal.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bags, and not the ones you carry food in.

So as you all know, I'm working at a summer camp (as my brother calls it, camp super big Jew). So first session went pretty well, all my kids were generally fine, and my co-counselors were really enthusiastic and a lot of fun to hang around. Little did I know what second session had in store for the already weary Jon Newcombe.

Naturally, second session, counselors go into a slump. Six weeks into a summer of intense children and little sleep, you get tired. It's called, appropriately, the six week slump. I've already entered that in the fifth week. Why do you ask? Because it's a hard life, that's why.

First, my co-counselors. I've got two, between 18 kids. In camp terms, that's really bad. That'd be ok if we were all really strong counslors, but that's not the case. I don't like to toot my own horn (except I do), but I'm the best counselor in the bunk right now. This one guy, Shmuel, from Israel, is crazy. A good guy, and the kids like him, but he has some questionable methods. Then this guy Ben, from Canada, who is just never there. Even if he is physically there, he's not there. He constantly leaves the 18 kids unsupervised, and even if he is there, he's always reading or sleeping. I'm the only person who wakes up the kids in the morning, and I've resorted to hitting them with pillows. The strange thing is, I didn't do it this morning, and they all said they'd only get out of bed when I hit them with their pillows. Anyway, it was all jokes. I would never abuse a child.

On top of all that, there are only 4 full time lifeguards, when there should be 6. This makes like extremely difficult for a lifeguard who also has to act like a full time counselor because his cos are not there. Lets pile on some more, shall we? The kids just don't listen to us. I told them all, take a hard line in the begining, and then loosen up two weeks in, always works. The kids might hate you for the first few days, but they learn to respect you and your judgement. Since we came out of the gate being their friends, we don't have their respect. I'm one of three counselors in the whole unit of 72 kids who commands some discipline. Even that small shred of power I have over the kids is slowly fading, since none of my other counselors will back me up.

My only saving grace is that I have a little pet project of sorts. There's this one kid who is actually religious, so I've taken him under my wing. He leyns every Saturday, wears tzitzis (out now because I told him to), and lays tfillin with me every morning (for those keeping track, i now daven every morning, hooray for G-d). He also brought me a lot of orange things from his dad, which keeps me happy. Every time I look at my wristband I smile, and then get a little depressed.

Well, camp ends soon after tisha b'av, so I'll ride out the rest of the three weeks here, and then I'm like Ryan Seacrest from American Idol.

Newcombe, out.
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