The whole point of giving a Jewish baby boy a bris is to literally imprint on his body, and his soul, the notion that he is a child of G-d and is to act accordingly with every part of himself, including the part that too many men let rule their actions, make their decisions.
It might be simpler for me to list all the Jewish men who have not been accused of sexual harassment than it would be to list all those Jewish men who have been.
The last couple of weeks have been nothing short of a shandahfest, a shandapalooza for the Jewish people. Shandah being that great Yiddish word meaning intense shame.
What best captured the very essence of it all was when Jewish comedian Larry David hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ a couple weeks ago. There he stood giving a monologue in which he said that he had noticed that a lot of those accused of sexual abuse lately have been Jews. Thus making the point clearly to a national audience. He then proceeded to make some jokes about how he would have gone about picking up women if he had been sent to a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Thus compounding shandah on top of shandah.
What in the hell is going on with us? Why have so many Jewish men been at the center of all this? We began, of course, with Harvey Weinstein, the king of shandah, who attacked, demeaned, abused, harassed dozens and dozens of women. And it’s been one Jewish name after another since, as more and more women out more and more Jewish men for acting like pigs.
TV commentator Mark Halperin and magazine writer Leon Wieseltier and director James Toback and producer Brett Ratner and head of Amazon studios Roy Price and actors Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss and Jeremy Piven and Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the head of a Jewish family in his series ‘Transparent,’ which last season was largely set in Israel, and NPR news chief Michael Oreskes and comedian Louis CK, whose grandfather was born Jewish and whose father converted to Orthodox Judaism. I could name another ten. Indeed, even though Jews are a minority, they are a majority of those recently accused of being sexual harassers.
How disgustingly pervasive this has been is seen by the fact that after Brett Ratner, the producer of the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, was accused by lots of women of doing horrible things to them, his Jewish fiancée Lila Feinberg, who he was to marry in a few weeks, called off the wedding. Her wedding dress had already been designed by Harvey Weinstein’s wife, Harvey Weinstein who had hired an Israeli security company to spy on some of the women he had harassed, a company that Weinstein was connected to by one of its principals, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
So very much for the Jewish people to be proud of. And oh, did I mention that even after Ratner had been publicly accused of being a pig, he was honored at a gala dinner by the Jewish National Fund.
Am Yisrael, cry.
What does it say about us that Jews have never had it better, never been more accepted, but have never acted in more shameful, more depraved ways.
What does that say about Jewish culture today and Jewish life today and Jewish values today and Jewish education today and Jewish leadership today and the Jewish community today? Why do we have so many in our midst, at our top, causing us such shandah?
I’ll leave finding the answers to that to each and every one of you, who I would urge to think about why that is, just as I would urge all the prominent heads of prominent yeshivas in this country to ponder why all of them voted for, endorsed and supported Donald Trump for president, and if there is some connection there. As in if Jewish leaders decide character doesn’t matter, perhaps all Jews will get the message and act accordingly.
Tell me how, even after we all heard on the ‘Hollywood Access’ tape — heard Trump in his own voice brag about how he kisses women without asking their permission, how he feels entitled to grab any woman he wishes by her private parts — that all of the rabbis heading all of the prominent yeshivas in this country simply ignored all that, gave no weight to the lack of character of this character, and urged all their followers to vote for him. How can people who claim to be the most religious of all so not care about what kind of a person he is, were so snookered by all he said he would do for Israel, that they decided that it was more important where he would move the embassy than how he treated people, treated women.
And, oh by the way, even though they sold their souls, they didn’t even get what they so coveted, he hasn’t moved the embassy, he has criticized settlements, he has embraced neo-Nazis, he did forget to mention Jews in his statement on International Holocaust Day. And, just fyi, thanks to his ceasefire deal in Syria with his best buds the Russians, Iranian-backed militias will be as close as three miles from Israel’s border.
So they abandoned their Jewish values for convenience. Which helps explain how so many Jewish men have so easily dropped their Jewish values by dropping their pants and showing strange women the site of their bris.
We are surrounded by Jewish sexual harassers because look at our leaders. Look at the heads of yeshivas who abandoned all the Torah teaches us to embrace Trump. Look at the Zionist Organization of America, which just held its annual dinner and which featured as one its main speakers, Steve Bannon, a white supremacist hate monger who despises immigration and international agreements, promotes the anti-Semitic alt right, and who embraces the likes of Roy Moore, child molester. The ZOA, which is funded primarily by Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who makes his money taking advantage of others and who has bribed his way in countries around the world.
Talk about shandah, in his speech at the ZOA dinner, Bannon credited King of the Jews Adelson with having saved Trump after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out. Bannon said Trump’s election victory “would not have come without one other person besides Donald Trump — Sheldon Adelson.”
“Sheldon Adelson didn’t cut and run,” Bannon said, regarding the time after the scandal broke. “Sheldon Adelson had Donald Trump’s back. Sheldon Adelson offered guidance and counsel and wisdom of how to get through it. He was there for Donald Trump about how to comport oneself and how to dig down deep, and it was his guidance and his wisdom that helped get us through it.”
So we are living in a Jewish world where the Zionist Organization of America has Steve Bannon speak, where they give him standing ovations, where he says it was thanks to Sheldon Adelson that Trump was able to win even after we all heard him say he can grab any woman by her private parts, and we wonder why the list of sexual harassers is made up mostly of Jews. Jewish values mean nothing any more to the Jews we call our leaders.
Which brings me to Prince Jared.
You know, I have always believed you should love all Jews, accept and respect all Jews.
But I have decided to make an exception for Trump son-in-law and allegedly Orthodox Jew Jared Kushner and his equally nauseating wife allegedly Orthodox convert Ivanka.
They are the Jews in the White House too many Jews were counting on, and yet they have proven over and over in their personal and professional lives to be frauds, liars and valueless.
Did you notice how Ivanka, who makes such a big deal out of being Orthodox, posts photos of baking hamantashen with her kids, just gave a speech in Japan where the Japanese were shocked at how short her skirt was. Look, you can wear whatever you want, but if you claim to be an Orthodox woman, you don’t give a speech wearing a dress that stops at your poopik (that’s Yiddish for bellybutton). And oh, by the way, Ivanka had dinner at Tokyo’s fanciest restaurant while she was in Japan, a restaurant that is very far from kosher. Something else an Orthodox Jewish woman wouldn’t do.
And now Jared, who violates the Jewish prohibition against arrogance every day, is about to come out with a Middle East peace plan. Seems he has the brilliant idea to look to the Saudis to make it all happen, the Saudis having played him, since he has no idea what he is doing.
Remember, Jared is the guy who told Trump sure, go ahead and fire Jim Comey, no problem with that, is the guy who paid the highest sum for a Manhattan building in history and now has a building that is about half full and for which he will have to make a mortgage payment of $800 million in two years, money he does not have, who thought it a good idea to work with the Russians to set up a back channel at the Russian embassy and not tell the CIA, who has lied over and over about never meeting with any Russians, who failed to disclose his multi-million art collection on his government financial disclosure forms, who has no experience with anything and yet has decided he can handle every major portfolio in the White House from reinventing government to improving relations with China to solving the opioid crisis.
Jared has done two things in his life — been born into a wealthy real estate family and married into a wealthy real estate family.
And yet he is so full of himself that he has now set his sights on coming out with the perfect Middle East peace plan, has figured out what no one else has, has been having secret meetings with the Saudis, with their new crown prince using the cover of Jared’s approval to jail all his political opponents and force the prime minister of Lebanon to resign even as they keep him hostage. One so wishes Jared knew the Yiddish word ‘sechel,’ since he clearly does know the word ‘shandah.’
And so is it any wonder when we have leaders like Jared and Sheldon, like the heads of the yeshivas, that we have so many perverts in our midst.
In today’s Jewish world, Jewish values have lost all value.