Monday, July 27, 2009

No Boltbus Stops At Arby's Till Brooklyn!

Well I did it. I slapped that pig Boston right in the face, and I shacked up with Brooklyn. Will be living in Brooklyn sometime mid August. I'm excited about it. There's going to be a lot of eating, as the food that I've had in Manhattan goes unrivaled in depth and complexity of flavor. Maybe there is something in the water that makes the pizza dough just right, and the people a little crazier than average. I do not know. All I do know is that I hope my body can withstand the hedonistic onslaught and the Brooklyn sewer system can withstand the aftermath.

The only thing I'm not excited about is being around Hasidic Jews. As a marvelously confusing half-Jew (ethnicity) and non-Jew (religious), I feel in small, sometimes superficial ways connected to these people. My weird if non-existent relationship with the reform Jewish community of the Andovers has filled my head with unfortunate, irrational emotions mainly through negative reinforcement and post-traumatic associations.

The little shits that used to torture me in hebrew school because I was a new kid would say things like "he doesn't look Jewish" in class further enforcing my feelings as the outsider half-Jew and new kid; yes, something like "you don't look Jewish" can be an insult with the right context. But now, thanks to facial hair, the "knot" between all men of Middle Eastern origin, I look much more Jewish than I did when I was a boy. Walking through Brooklyn I saw some of the Hasidic men had "copper-colored" beards -- like me! My freakish, unexplainable facial hair color is passing me here and there on the faces of men on the street! I share some weird biological link to these fancy hat mimes with beautifully conditioned locks flowing in the hot, browning soot of Brooklyn streets. It's odd for me to see all of this. It's even stranger to see a man dressed in clothes inspired by fashion statements, maybe necessities, from at least 300 years ago pushing fancy strollers around with modern conveniences (blackberries) and the modern inconvenience of addled, ADHD children locked in. I guess foodstamps for your 10 kids will lead to some cognitive difficulties related to malnutrition -- is Wonderbread kosher? NOT ON PASSOVER!!! Is there a foodstamps brand matzoh!?

What the fuck is going on here? Reform Judaism made me believe that all Jewish people go to college, have a maximum of 2 children and are one of the social groups that herald liberal, socialistic and enlightenment values -- and they all own an n64 that they got for Hanukkah -- and they all own your local bank that they got through THE GLOBAL ZIONIST MOVEMENT FOR WORLD DOMINATION LED BY JEWISH REPTILIAN ALIENS. Normal suburbia shit, right? These Jews though do nearly everything except white-collard jobs; they live in bustling cities usually right next to projects where rent is extremely cheap; and they are as conservative as your southern Evangelical Christian. Women do not work, they stay at home to raise the Wondermatzoh hordes and they must dress by strict guidelines. All members of this group bring their religion into every aspect of their lives, and they are completely informed by religious texts and religious charismatic leaders. They interact with the outside world pragmatically to meet occupational and financial goals, but they generally seem very standoffish and mostly concerned with only the people in their group. You can determine a hasidic apartment building complex by the presence of gates and barriers at every window and door; physical displays of a clear attitude and ideology -- surmised with "LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE!"

Their lifestyles seem to work pretty well for them. They've managed to live right next to the places where Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z grew up, and not one of those Hasidic Jews could go toe-to-toe with the Beastie Boys. Well, maybe Matisyahu, but he doesn't count since be was initially a Phish groupie/rasta-lovin' hippie musician before he was turned to the dark side by Darth Baal Shem Tov. Show me some Hasids rockin dreads for sideburns, getting their swagger on, ghost riding their 92 LeSabre with 5 baby seats, and looking in the mirror to say "what's up?" -- get money!!! It's frightening how impervious they are regarding many aspects of their environment and greater society.

I don't know how to end these thoughts or make them cohere, so I'll just finish it with one thought: Hasidic Jews are a good example of what happens when white people stop listening to what black people have to say. Hasidic Jews are locked away in their condo zoos across the street from a boisterous playground next to the projects. They study the "tremble-inducing rhymes" of YtothedashtotheHWH, but they have no time for hip hop. "With rhymes like those, Moses, I would have broken those shit stone tablets too!" Hasidic Jews are so troublesomely stimulating for me because of my loose relations to them, and their dual presence of embodying nearly every single aspect I hate about religion while retaining very few to none of the things I find condescendingly endearing.

No comments: