May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
May 19, 2004
/ 28 Iyar, 5764
To die for
It's ain't easy being a Reform rabbi and a comic. Meet the world's only practicing
clergyman doing stand-up comedy... intentionally.
The funeral director asked me to officiate, and since I didn't know the deceased, I compiled information for the eulogy through long distance calls. I added the final details just before the service, during a brief meeting with people who'd only minutes earlier emerged from planes and long automobile rides.
The survivors had assembled from far away locations, and although the family room where we sat was filled with sadness, it was impossible to miss the undercurrent of joy and love. They had come together to celebrate a long life and a gentle death. "Be honest in the eulogy," one daughter instructed me. "Nothing maudlin. You can see what kind of people we are."
And so, looking at the hundreds who had gathered for the funeral, I described Rose as she had been portrayed by the people who cherished her: "Rose was a loving wife. A devoted mother. An adoring grandmother. She was not a very good cook."
The congregation responded with a collective laugh. And why not? They knew Rose well. And as I spoke, they remembered the comical pride she always took in what she swore was her congenital inability to cook. That was the Rose they treasured.
Other times the humor in a funeral home has been more internal and private, when I've heard words that had me guffawing under an appropriately serious outer- expression. Like the time a close friend of the deceased was asked to speak in tribute. I introduced him, then sat just off to the side of the pulpit. The man walked slowly up the three stairs, opened a sheaf of notes and placed them on the lectern, and solemnly began, "We have gathered together to utilize Phil…"
Rabbis are not immune from fumbling a word or two. Especially when reciting verses that have become, perhaps, too familiar. On this occasion I was sitting in the pew while a colleague officiated. I quietly decided that the fellow had spent just a little too much time in Philadelphia when I heard him recite these words while reading the Twenty-third Psalm: "Yo though I walk…er…yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…"
But my self-control meet its most formidable challenge not in a funeral home but of all places, in a supermarket. This was a trying moment. I was in the midst of pondering that critical choice, smooth or crunchy peanut butter, when an earnest looking gentleman passed by, then deftly turned his shopping cart 180 degrees and rolled up to mine, head to head.
"You're Rabbi Alper, aren't you?" he said, and continued, "I'm not a member of a synagogue, but I wonder if you could help me with a small problem." I nodded in the affirmative. And here was where my ability to keep a straight face should have won me an Oscar. "You see, Rabbi, my brother died last week, and I want to say Kaddish for him. So, Rabbi, could you do me a favor, and write it out for me fanatically?"
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading."
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JWR contributor Bob Alper, the world's only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy . . . intentionally, is the author of Life Doesn't Get Any Better Than This: The Holiness of
Little Daily Dramas and A rabbi confesses. To go to his web site, click here. Comment by clicking here.
© 2004, Bob Alper