© 2020 Drew T. Noll

Friday, March 16, 2012

What is a Jew Anyways?


The Alter Rebbe
This week, while buying our first 'real' car here in Israel, the car salesman, a surprisingly nice guy (as used car salesmen in Israel go), said he was a big fan of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who, for those of you that are just joining, was the seventh leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty that spanned generations in Eastern Europe and is now headed from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. This car salesman wasn't religious, but gave me a little card with the 'prayer for traveling' on it. The front of the card had a picture of the Rebbe and under it was the word "Mashiach (Messiah)." The strange part is that the name of the salesman's company was "Elbar (Son of God)." I kept thinking, "Is this guy a Jew for Jesus?" I guess it is possible, but, um, isn't that an oxymoron? I mean, what is a 'Jew' anyways? If anything, a Jew was someone like, yes, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Chabad, for Heaven's sake, (Chabad [חב"ד] meaning an acronym for Chochmah, Binah, Da'at or Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge) was headed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe for many years and they 'all' thought he would usher in the 'age of Mashiach.' He got sick… then he died… zichron le bracha. The story goes that half of Chabad said, "Close, but no cigar" and the other half said that he was coming back, you know, just like the 2,000 year old story goes…

Hmm…. Back on subject – what 'is' a Jew, anyways? Jesus was a Jew, right? The Rebbe was a Jew. Einstein was a Jew. Marx was a Jew (yes, both Carl and Groucho). Freud was a Jew. The Three Stooges were Jews. And, um, the list goes on… But, what makes someone a Jew? Some would say that it is a person's mother that makes them a Jew, but my mom wasn't Jewish and I am, according to both the Reform Jewish establishment in the USA and the Orthodox religious authority in Israel… a Jew. My wonderful and beautiful 'Jewish' wife says, "A Jew is a special, spiritual, communication wire directly to the Creator… um, I think, well, um, I don't 'really' know... Oh! I know, a Jew is someone who likes lox and Gefilte-fish!" She's right! A Jew is the crux, the center, the epicenter of how a person relates to the Creator and at the same time, a Jew is living, now, on the face of reality, and living in the moment. That is why we have heavies like Carl Marx in the same ethnic category as Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, or even Pat Benatar, and my favorite… the musician, Beck.

Yeah, there are a lot more (surprisingly) Jews… But, maybe a little later I can share the ridiculous list that I found with you. It appears that… everyone seems to be Jewish in some way or another, but that doesn't really answer our question, does it… 'What in the *^$% is a Jew anyways?!' We might have to go back a few thousand years to figure it out; I know, I know… Not this history stuff again!!! Don't worry, I'm trying to keep these blog entries short these days for the benefit of 'all' our mental health. So, to be brief, "In the beginning, all was tohu-u-vohu (usually mistranslated as 'void and formless"). I heard a lesson today on cosmology and how Steven Hawkins actually proved the existence of God while trying to explain that all reality has to have an "abstract" in order for it to work. Steven is an Atheist, which could also be a Jew (but, no, he isn't). Hey! That is an interesting idea. If a Jew has a direct line to the Creator, accept he/she doesn't believe in the Creator (like Carl Marx and many other Jews), he is still a Jew!

Now we are really getting tied up with this crazy-straw logic, aren't we…? OK, OK, it was explained to me once that a Jew is a person that has a special spark of a soul, a special soul, that was somehow present 3,500 years ago at Mount Sinai and heard the sights and saw the sounds of God – the almighty Creator of the entire Universe. There were 2,000,000 people there that day; God explained the nature of everything to all those present and they became the Jews, who had children, who had children. Some of these sparks were lost, wandering throughout time and in God's inexplicable justice, patience, and compassion, He put them back into HaAretz, the land of running, the world of action. Yeah, that is my story… I found my way back, which leads me to believe that there are a lot more of us out there (maybe 'all' of us!). Maybe if we all just keep looking, listening, and connecting to the Creator, even if we are Atheists, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or even Jews, we will find our way back to our souls, our life-source. Maybe we can tap into that part of our brain that we aren’t utilizing to the fullest and hear the sights – see the sounds once again. Maybe soon, let it be in our time, we will have the honor of witnessing reality unfold for real, as the one true Messiah ushers in truth to our world and we are no longer capable of denying it. We are 'all' One, baby!

Just for fun, here is the list of Jews that I found:

Alan Greenspan, Lauren Bacall, Ellen Barkin, , Roseanne Barr, Jeff Beck, Jack Benny, Irving Berlin, Lisa Bonet, Ernst Borgnine, Albert Brooks, Mel Brooks, Lenny Bruce, Sandra Bullock?, Mama Cass, Charlie Chaplin, Noam Chomsky, Leonard Cohen, Joe Cocker, Billy Crystal, Curly Howard (Horowitz) - One of the Stooges, Sammy Davis, Jr., Robert DeNero, Kirk Douglas, Richard Dreyfus, David Duchovny of the The X-Files, Bob Dylan, M. C. Escher, Donald Fagen, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Sarah Michelle Geller, George Gershwin, Cathy Lee Gifford, Samuel Goldwyn, Elliot Gould, Beck, Rita Hayworth, Bob Hoskins (Ex-Kibbutznik!), Howard, Moe - One of the Three Stooges, Howard Shemp (Samuel "Shemp Howard" Horowitz), Iggy Pop, Julie Kavner, Danny Kaye, Harvey Keitel, Carole King, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Joel, Al Jolsen, Andy Kaufman, Calvin Klein, Lisa Kudrow, Dorothy Lamour, Barry Manilow, Bob Marley (father was Jewish), Groucho Marx Groucho, Harpo Marx, Walter Matthau, Liza Minelli, Marilyn Monroe (Official Certificate of Her Conversion to Judaism, Dated July 1, 1956), Rupert Murdoch, Paul Newman, Olivia Newton John, Leonard Nimoy, Gregory Peck, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Portman, Joey Ramone, Lou Reed, Joan Rivers, Paul Reiser, Geraldo Rivera, David Lee Roth, Winona Ryder, Adam Sandler, Steven Seagal, Jerry Seinfeld, William Shatner, Dinah Shore, Pauly Shore, Slash (Saul Hudson - Guitarist in Guns and Roses), Sissy Spacek, Jon Stewart, Jessica Tandy, Eddie Vedder, Elie Weisel, Gene Wilder, Robin Williams, Henry Winkler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sara Silverman, Howie Mandel, Debra Winger, Kevin Kline, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Houdini, Neil Diamond, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Lovitz, Isaac Asimov, Gilda Radner, Jason Alexander, Bette Midler, Michael Landon, Al Jolson, Robert Redford (describes himself as half Jewish), Marc Chagall, Boris Karloff, Gene Simmons, Joan Collins, Jerry Lewis, Gilbert Gottfried, George Burns, Isaac Stern, Tori Spelling, Goldie Hawn, Isaac Mizrahi  (Fashion Designer), Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Springer, Kenny G, Alan King, Barry Levinson, Lorne Green, Fred Astaire? (his real name is Fredrik Austerlitz), Peter Sellers, Ron Silver, Stan Getz, Roman Polanski, Molly Ringwald, Paula Abdul, David Copperfield, Mel Blanc, Monty Hall (my relative by marriage!), Soupy Sales, Tony Curtis, Geena Davis, Matt Lauer, Brent Spiner (Data on Star Trek Next Generation), Zeppo Marx, Matthew Broderick, Tim Burton, Michael Bolton, Art Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen (Dutch/Jewish) evidence anyone?, Hillel Slovak (late guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers), Mike Wallace, Cindy Margolis, Jennifer Grey, Dinah Shore, Ben Stiller, Judd Nelson, Keith Moon of the Who, James Spader?, Barbara Walters, Ricki Lake, Steven Spielberg, Cloris Leachman, Franz Kafka, Burt Ward (Batman)?, Bill (not Billy) Graham (late rock promoter extraordinaire), Audrey Hepburn, Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens), Paul Michael Glazer of Starsky and Hutch, Robert Downey Jr.?, Neil Simon, Peggy Lipton of the Mod Squad, Debra Winger, Buddy Hackett, Neil Sedaka, George Segal, Judd Hirsh, Alan Alda?, Chico Marx, Chaim Potok, Mr. Rogers, Adam Arkin, Pamela Anderson (born Joan Goldstein), Charles Bronson, James Caan, Walter Mathau, Ralph Lauren, Paul Mazursky, Sally Field, Don Adams (agent Maxwell Smart), Daniel Day Lewis, Felix Mendelssohn, David Cronenberg, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mark Walberg, Kirk Douglas, Helen Hunt (father's Jewish), Jeff Daniels?, Jerry Stiller, Harrison Ford, Ringo Starr, Elliot Gould, Barbara Hershey, Rob Reiner, Joel and Ethan Coen, Fred Savage, Liv Tyler, Courtney Love, Claude Rains, Andy Kaufmann, Adam Horowitz of the Beastie Boys, Roy Lichtenstein, Norman Lear, Goldie Hawn, Arthur Miller, Al Jolson, Carly Simons, Tom Bosley?, Peter Falk, Bill Maher, Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons), Mark Rothko, Rod Serling, Ethel Merman, Barbra Streisand, Amos Oz, Jack Benny, the creator of Get Smart, Buck Henry,Jackie Mason, Carl Reiner, Esther Reiner, Oscar Hammerstein II, Oscar Levant, Jasha Heifitz, Yehudi Menuhin, Bernard Baruch, Robert Altman, Steve Lawrence, Edyie Gorme, Sid Caesar, Tyrone Power, Ernie Kovacs, and last but not least, the actor that played God himself, George Burns.
Gut Schabbes!