Go Down, Twitter

And it came to pass that Moses was wandering in the wilderness.

And Moses was without cell phone and laptop, and he came onto the farthest edge of the plain of Horeb, near the Mount of Midian, only a hop, skip, and a jump from Borax.

And there appeared unto Moses a bush that burneth with mighty fire yet wast not consumed, next to which wast a Dell Desktop. And Moses knew that he wast on Holy Ground and in the presence of the Lord because the Desktop employethMicrosoft Software, and yet did still respondeth and wast not locked up!

"Moses, Moses" tweeteth the Desktop. “I am the Lord, thy God!

And God tweeteth unto Moses  “I am the Lord who tweeted unto Abraham and tweeted unto Isaac but who Facebooked unto Jacob, because I was more into FB at the time.”

And Moses tweeteth back “WOOT! My Lord, is this about the bacon?”

“No, Moses,” tweeteth back the Lord. “I knowest not about the bacon, so now thou hast got even another problem with me.LOL!

“Far be it from me to criticize, Lord” tweeteth Moses, “but shouldn’t I be the one to hand out the LOL, not thou? Thou madest the joke. I'm the audience.”

“IMHO,” tweeteth the Lord, “I am the Lord, thy God; I’ll give myself an LOL if I want!!! And that joke wast funny!"

“Eeeehh...” tweeteth Moses.

Moses,” tweetheth the Lord, “tweet unto @Pharaoh to let my people go. That is, the Jews, I mean.”

“ULP! Oh, er, umm …. there’s the Failwhale!” tweeteth Moses. “Afraid I didn’t, umm, get your tweet. Yes, that’s it, didn’t get your tweet!”

“Don’t pulleth that one on me, Moses! I am omniscient. Whenever there’s really a Failwhale, I have already kicketh the desk a half dozen times before it even appeareth!"

Lord, if I tweet that unto @Pharaoh, the reply will be less in the form of a tweet and more in the form of disembowelment! Just sayin’.”

“Fear not, Moses,” tweeteth the Lord.  “In my very best form, I don’t plan to play fair. I will visit plagues upon Egypt!”

“What doth thou mean?” Moses tweeteth. “Doth thou have a blog or something that giveth details? And perhaps a contest?”

“No, Moses. These are #TheTenPlaguesoftheLord#Blood #Frogs #Murrain …”

“Thine use of hashtags is cute, Lord, but don't expect me to check out the relevant tweets, I've only got 4,000 years! How didst thou come up with all this?” 

“I googleth plagues,” tweeteth the Lord.

“This last one, #Deathofthefirstborn, should be a load of laughs," tweeteth Moses. "What happens after the Hebrews are freed?”

RT: And to show His love for His people, @God parteth the Red Sea, gaveth them the Ten Commandments upon two stone tablets, and broughtest them to the Holy Land.”

“What wast that RT, Lord?” tweeteth Moses.

“I didn’t feel like working just then so I retweeted a pretty good overview from @PatRobertson. I farm out a lot to him.”

"Instead of inscribing thine Commandments on stone tablets," tweeteth Moses, "why doth we not just tweet them to the Children of Israel?”

“Because I only hath 74 followers!” tweeteth the Lord. “Look at all the Hebrews who doth not follow me back!”

“Well, thine tweets could use more bounce," tweeteth Moses.

“Now go, Moses, tweet unto @Pharaoh to let my people go. I must complete my #Follow Friday before Shabbot.” 

“I see,” tweeteth Moses. “Hmm, who is this @GeorgeClooney,Lord?”

“Uhh, y’know, Moses ... since there’s no graven images of me, I had to .. er, uh .... base my avatar on someone, so … ummm ….”

LMAO!”  Moses tweeteth unto the Lord, his God.  
 "Think I can take it from here." 


My Encounter with the Legendary 
Jewish Vampire, Vlad the Retailer

“Dad, you should hear the news on TV!” my son Brandon shouted.

“What is it, Bran?”

“Vampires are attacking Philadelphia!”

With that, the large window in the den shattered and a dark caped figure catapulted into the room. Then it crashed into the flat-screen TV and finally came to rest splayed out on the floor.

“Hey,” I said, “you’re going to pay for all this, dude!”

“I am not a dude,” hissed our uninvited visitor rising to tower over both me and Brandon. “And I am not a man.” 

"Who are you?” asked Brandon.

I am the Legendary Jewish VampireVlad the Retailer!”

“Oh, I see,” said I. “So Count Drekula, what is it you cannot tolerate?”

“What do you mean?” snarled Vlad the Retailer.

 “A regular vampire recoils at The Sign of the Cross. What makes you recoil? The Star of David? A mezuzah?  Curb Your Enthusiasm?”

“Foolish human,” scowled Vlad. “Don't you realize that I am over 800 years old?”

“Then why aren’t you living in a 550 Plus Community in Transylvania?”

“I do not cast a reflection in a mirror! Does that not terrify you?”

“No, but if you saw yours at 800 years old, it would probably terrify you.”

“I give up!” said Vlad. “I’m used to inciting the kind of fear in humans that Bernie Madoff feels whenever he hears the words ‘your new cellmate really likes you.’ Why do you not fear me?”

“Fear you? I’m sick to death of you!”

“What do you mean?”

“Vampires are as overexposed as Lena Dunham’s tits in an episode of “’Girls.’”

“That’s right,” Bran agreed, “there was ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘True Blood,’ ‘Twilight,’ ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ …”

“Tell me, dude - I mean, Legendary Jewish Vampire: how did a klutz like you ever become a vampire?”

“One night back in 1247,” related Vlad, “I met a lustrous blonde shiksa who expressed interest in sampling kosher food. In this instance, me. Little did I know she was a vampire! 

I stole a kiss. She stole my jugular! And I was transformed into one of the Undead, nightly seeking human blood for my sustenance, and getting a lot of work with Abbott and Costello in the early 50's.”

“Do you ever snack on fellow Jews?” Brandon asked.

“I prefer Asians.”

“So you like Chinese!” I said. ”Just like all the rest of us Jews.”

“Sorry I tried to put the bite on you two,” said Vlad. “I have to leave now; before I get back to Transylvania I want to stop in Boca and see my Aunt Tessie.”

And then, bat wings fluttering in the night, he was gone.

How can I be friendly with Vlad the Retailer?

Sure, Vlad is one of the Walking Undead, and frankly I wouldn’t want to be too close to him after sundown on Yom Kippur.

But for a blood-sucking creature of the night, turns out he's a mensch.


The  Legendary Origin of the Legendary LOJM


A Jewish Folk Tale 

A long time ago in the City 0f Prague which used to be in Czechoslovakia but is now in the Czech Republic because somebody keeps moving the goal posts,  there was a thriving Jewish community made up primarily of Jews. 

For many years the Jews of Prague lived happily and at peace with their gentile neighbors.  Jews and gentiles would deal together in the marketplace,  frolic with one another on the hillsides,  and band together to beat up Gypsies.   They lived so peacefully and harmoniously together that even the Gypsies were pleased.

One day a man who hated the Jews became King of Bohemia, which was where Prague was at the time because somebody keeps moving the goal posts.  The new King of Bohemia hated the Jews because they did not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior,  although there is no evidence that Jesus even applied for acceptance, and certainly did not apply for Early Acceptance.  

Soon young gentile toughs began prowling the Jewish Quarter delivering to women leaflets on the dangers of post-marital sex,  handing out store coupons for Miracle Whip, and asking Jewish men when they'd last called their mothers.  They also spread rumors that the Jews drank the blood of Christian children at Passover, although this one got them nowhere.       

Now the Chief Rabbi at Prague --- a man of such piety that history has honored him with the reverential title Henry Schatzberg ---was known far and wide to be a fairly wise man who had once been second runner-up on Jeopardy.  The terrified Jewish townsfolk ran to his study and asked if he could possibly send for the first runner-up, whom they presumed was lots smarter, to help them. 

"I  shall help you, my children," said the Chief Rabbi "although I'm beginning to see why the new King hates you.  I shall make a Golem out of clay to protect us all."

And so the Chief Rabbi went to the banks of the river and formed the figure of a gigantic man out of clay.  When he had completed the gigantic figure he spoke some words from the Holy Scriptures, specifically those which deal with the collection and computation of  value added taxes from the sale of used tallises, and the Golem of Prague sprang to life.

"The purpose for which you were created, Golem, is to protect the Jewish people from harm of any and all kinds.  Now go and fulfill your Destiny!  And, BTW, on your way back can you pick up the dry cleaning at Fleishman's?"

The Golem went forth and wherever Jews were being harmed, or wronged, or forced to shop retail, it used its gigantic size to proper advantage.  Soon the Jewish people began to feel so safe and secure that some actually refrained from converting and denouncing the others.  But because the Golem was so gigantic it began receiving offers from professional wrestling promoters and soon the Jews of Prague were again at risk.

So the Grand Rabbi returned to the riverbank, intent on making a second Golem every bit as gigantic as the first.  But as he reached down and began fashioning another figure from the moist clay, he had a thought: 

"My mistake was making the first Golem gigantic. This time I will make him little, bent-over, and goofy-looking.  He will never leave us because who in his right mind would want him?"

And so the Chief Rabbi began slapping together a little, bent-over,  goofy-looking creature,  one so artlessly, ineptly,  and sloppily constructed  that it could only have been made by a person of the Jewish faith.  

When he at last looked upon his creation, the Chief Rabbi gasped "Why, you are not a Golem at all!  You are:

(Otherwise known as "The Little Old Jewish Man" and pronounced"the LOW-JIM.")

The LOJM opened its eyes and regarded its reflection in the river.

"This is what I look like?"  it said. "I better start shopping at Whole Foods!"

"The purpose for which you were created, LOJM, " said the Chief Rabbi "is to protect the Jewish people from harm of any and all kinds."  

"For this you brought me to life?  I could have been Gumby!"

"I repeat, LOJM:  Your destiny is to protect the Jews!"

"Do I look like I could do that? I make Gilbert Gottfried look appealing.  And checking out my jockey shorts here:  gigantic I'm not!"

"But ... but... your destiny, LOJM!!!" gasped the Chief Rabbi.

"My destiny," vowed the LOJM,  "is to avenge myself for my misfortunes by making all other Jewish men appear as little, bent-over, and goofy-looking as I am.  Watch out, Perry Block, here I come!"

And with that, the LOJM vanished in a puff of smoke. 

In time, the evil King of Bohemia died and was replaced with a benevolent King who loved the Jews so much he married one, dying by his own hand shortly thereafter.  

The Chief Rabbi of Prague later wrote the original history of these strange events,  which serves as the basis for the folk tale you've just read. 

I think he self-published.  There were lots of typos.

And the LOJM?  It remains at large today.

The morale of our story is simple, direct, and cautionary.


Unless, of course,  you're a chick. Then you've got to worry about:


The End.


The Year We Built the Sukkah

Ever since my children were old enough to go to Hebrew School, each year they asked me if we could build a sukkah for the fall holiday of Sukkot

A sukkah is a small dwelling place  ---  a sort of glorified hut --- that Jews are supposed to construct and inhabit during the weeklong holiday instead of their comfortable homes with heat, indoor plumbing, and television showing the World Series. 

All things considered,  however, being pushed for a sukkah beats having your kids constantly nagging you about  getting a dog.  A sukkah doesn't have to be walked at 6:30 in the morning in February and very rarely messes on the hardwood flooring.  And since I did grow up having a dog but didn't have a sukkah,  the idea frankly kind of appealed to me as well.

There was only problem.

I am the type of  Jewish person who happens to be very mechanically inclined, meaning whenever any situation  requiring fixing or repairing things presents itself, I am very inclined to hire a mechanic. It's the same with constructing things. I have given up in disgust attempting to put together a toy for children under three from McDonald's.

So, I stonewalled. 

"Guys, if we have our own sukkah, you won't enjoy the neighbor's sukkah as much."

This was true.  Our neighbor, a Jewish  man who owned an elaborate set of power tools, built a tree house for his children, and I believe spent Sundays instructing Amish people in the art of barn raising, annually built a killer sukkah. Large, sturdy, bedecked in gourds, pumpkins, and sumptuous decorations acquired by the family over years,  the neighbors' sukkah lacked only water spewing fountains to make it a secondary tourist attraction in the Philadelphia area. 

Then our neighbor moved away to a house with larger property where he could presumably build an even more grandious sukkah,  and was replaced with a nice gentile family which spent appreciably less time each fall building a sukkah than turning their house each winter into Rockefeller Center.  

"Look, you guys,"  I said to the kids pressing harder for excuses, "we have kind of a smallish house and sometimes the roof leaks. That's just as good!"

Finally,  I relented.  This would be the year my son Brandon and I would build a sukkah.  

The only problem now was that  Brandon is every bit as handyman challenged as I am.  This is a young guy who looks about for a plug whenever he is required to use a screwdriver and operates a pair of plyers by blowing on them.  So we sought out some kind of  more or less ready-made sukkah. 

Knowing little, we checked the web.  Although I had my heart set on a sukkah that said "just add water," all of them said "some assembly required."  For Brandon and me, that usually means an assembly we both ought not attend. Even more compelling, all said "some dollars required," in most cases the "some dollars required" meaning "fork over multiple hundreds, yiddishe boy!"

Our  new neighbor, also quite handy, came to our rescue with multiple plywood boards and cinder blocks. The boards were somewhat daunting and featured wood knots the size of supernovas, but at least I was familiar with cinder blocks, their having served as more or less the sole decoration for my dorm room the first three years of college. 

The some assembly yet required was not without its share of modestly banged fingers, scraped shins, and "where's the plug for the hammer, Dad?," but we managed to wedge  the plywood between the cinder blocks, lay on the flat wooden top, and cover the whole thing with sheets which had long ago seen their better days.

And so, a hovel-like structure arose!

We next enlisted neighborhood children to make decorations, most of whom proved to be as artistically challenged as we were mechanically so.  We added gourds and pumpkins,  blessed the sukkah, and though some of our Jewish neighbors said it looked great "but when was it going to be finished?," we were ready to spend happy times there well in advance of the holiday. 

That is, well in advance of the rainy holiday!  

That year it rained the first five days of Sukkot, during which time we had to content ourselves with spending happy times admiring our handiwork getting drenched.  By the time it dried out at the end of the holiday, though, we did  get to enjoy a meal or two there.

Sitting in the sukkah, gazing skyward, and chowing down on the traditional corned beef specials, french fries, and Coca-Cola from Murray's Delicatessen, I think we both felt a little bit proud of our achievement and maybe a little bit closer to our Jewish roots.

Since then circumstances have intervened,  and that was the last sukkah Brandon and I ever built.

I'm still using the same excuse. "Y'know Bran," I say, "we live in kind of a smallish house and sometimes the roof leaks.  That's just as ...."

No, it isn't just as good.  

We  found that out the year we built the sukkah.

Not a Member of the Tribe?

   sukkah - which I already explained above.  You're good to go on this one!


Mr. Block Builds His Dream Sukkah

In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan 
a stately pleasure sukkah decree... 

During the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot just now passed, many Jews the world over build themselves a small primitive outdoor hut known as a sukkah.  Families typically take meals and otherwise spend quality time in this humble but hospitable abode which is oft topped with branches and other simple decorations of the season.

Because we had rarely had a sukkah during the years my kids were growing up, I decided that this year being the last one before Brandon goes off to college, I would go whole hog! Assuming, that is, it's appropriate to use the term "whole hog" in conjunction with anything Jewish.

"Brandon," I said on a day this past September, "this year we're going to build a sukkah, the best one we've ever had!"

"Won't be difficult to top that last one," said Bran, "unless we're using playdoh."

"No, this one's different, this time we're outsourcing!  The Pavarotti Brothers will be here to start work at 7:00 A.M. sharp Monday morning." 

"Contractors, Dad?  What if they don't show up?"

"Come on,  a contractor not showing up?  Whoever heard of such a thing?!"

"And how are we going to pay for all this?" 

"The Lord will provide, my boy."

"He hasn't so far." 

"Brandon, you really do need this sukkah!"

And so I set upon an epic course of construction not unlike the building project undertaken by Cary Grant in the movie Mr. BlandingsBuilds His Dream House except that instead of a stately home in Connecticut, I was building a sukkah in Havertown PA.  

All doubts to the contrary,  the Pavarotti Brothers  did in fact show up, although on a Friday a couple of weeks later than the Monday above mentioned.  Yet on that very Friday (actually it might have been the following Monday)  there they were along with six or seven of their best people at 7:00 A.M. sharp,  all busily hammering,  power sawing, and dump trucking their way into the hearts of our neighbors left, back, front, and rear.

From thereon construction proceeded apace,  though not without issue.  Delivery vehicles came and went, cement trucks roared and poured, electricians wired, roofers roofed, fiddlers fiddled while roofers roofed, and bills and charges ascended like Moses on Mt. Sinai.  There were serious cost overruns with the marble for the central hall Tabernacle, the imported gourds from Israel did not arrive, and we had to abandon plans for the elevator in the four car garage when it turned out Mitt Romney had scrapped the same due to excess expense.

At last, though,  the Dream Sukkah stood before us:   Me, Brandon, and the proud-as-hell newly-Jewish Pavarotti Brothers along with six or seven of their best people. Everything had been realized exactly as intended with the exception of the graven images planned for the frescoes in the master bath. Seems there's some kind of law or zoning ordinance or something against them! 

Who knew? 

Mr. Block had indeed built his dream sukkah! 

"Well, Brandon," I asked, "what do you think of our sukkah?"   

"Spectacular, Dad.  There's just one problem."

"What's that?'

"It's now Hanukkah."

"I know.  Here have one of these."

"Hanukkah Gelt?  But there's no chocolate coin inside, this is just the foil wrapping."

"Uhhh, Bran .... Remember what I said about the Lord providing and all?" 


"There'll be a few cut-backs from now on."


Cary Grant in "Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House" 
Of course I'm no Cary Grant.  
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