Image Credit: Howard Stern by Bill Norton [CC BY 2.0] via wikimedia; Adam Sandler by Franz Richter [CC BY-SA 3.0] via wikimedia
I saw a recent video of a conversation between two popular Jewish-American comics. In it they banter about their recollections of their Bar Mitzvah; they even say the blessings on-air, remembering the words and tune by heart.
I wonder if there has been such public blaspheming and mockery of G-d's name and Judaism since Goliath's diatribe against the G-d of Israel. Perhaps I am taking this too hard and don't have a mature sense of humor — perhaps.
When I heard Howard Stern use four-letter words to mock and curse his "Bar Mitzvah experience," and Adam Sandler joining the riotous mocking laughter, I felt that I had witnessed an emblematic moment in the self-destruction of what is still referred to as American Jewry — I do not include the small Orthodox communities that actually can read, understand, and revere the holy eternal words that have preserved our people throughout history.
In truth, these shameful narcissists, ignorant of anything Jewish, are not totally at fault for that ignorance and total irreverence. It was their parents who felt, perhaps for social or sentimental reasons, that it was necessary to put their sons through the Bar Mitzvah ritual, without ever trying to understand its significance themselves.
For the thirteen-year-olds it was a nonsensical, unnecessary, hated chore. It made them feel different and cheated of free time for no good reason that was ever impressed upon them. Like so many of their generation, getting through the Bar Mitzvah meant never being bothered again with the silly burden of being Jewish. Being adults now meant that they could join their parents as ignorant, uncaring "American Jews."
Their generation’s lack of caring has grown in the current generation to include not only poking fun, but also downright hostility — even hate — towards their Jewish heritage.
Just look at our Jewish youth on college campuses these days — they are gone. Their parents and their parents’ parents made this day inevitable. Out of their ignorance and shame of being different for no apparent reason, the college youth yearns to be mainstream and for acceptance.
Thus we find so many of the Israel haters and anti-Semites are themselves Jews. There are various names that they prefer to be called: progressive is a key one. It is "progressive" to have understanding and empathy for the whole world, including Jew-haters — but not for your own. It is now "progressive" to be against your own, to mock your own.
As the two Jewish comics sang the holy words together in total blasphemy and ridicule, I felt a need to translate the blessing for them — the translation that their parents never taught them:
"Blessed are You who chose us from amongst the nations and gave us Your Torah.
"Blessed are You who gave us the Torah of truth and planted within us eternal life."
There is a world of meaning behind those words; a world that the mocking and profane comics were robbed of by parents who could not be bothered.
We reap what we sow — how funny.
Contact Shalom Pollack, veteran licensed tour guide, for upcoming tours at Shalom Pollack Tours: Personalized Tours in Israel. Click here to read more of this author’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.