Jewish Unity and Inclusivity: Do we want it?

Right now, I am not high on Hashem and question his, her or its existence. Let’s face it there’s no proof.

But let’s put that aside. That debate will go on until the end of the world. Yesterday, I was gallery hopping on the Lower East Side and decided to walk over to Williamsburg. As I walked over the bridge, I saw the hipsters — the furthest thing from real New Yorkers. And of course, the Satmar. I am not sure who is more clueless. But decided the Satmar is.

Despite my intro, I would like to believe. As I walked around I saw the microcosm of the city. The Satmar mom with the stroller and numerous kids following, the kosher meat store and raggedy looking kids on their skateboards. Of course, their rags were pricey as hell. The men with their long coats and flying pais were nearby.

I had enough and knew I had to meet a friend at Penn Station in the early evening. So I went back to the City. I knew Mincha/Arvit at Midtown would be in about 45 minutes. For some reason, I decided I was going. I usually do. Not sure why. I think I’m praying to someone who is deafer than deaf.

I could have easily found a place in Williamsburg and not rushed back. But the question rises would I be comfortable praying with the people and would they let me? Not sure. But doubt it on both accounts.

A few years ago, I was at the Kotel. I love it there. And do feel a connection. But I feel a spiritual connection in summer camp and Yankee Stadium.

I had my talit, siddur and teffilin. I wanted to join a minyan. I saw one of the Chasidic minyanim assembling. I walked over and got ready. I opened my siddur and began to read. I wasn’t expecting an aliyah. I’ve never had one in Israel. One or two of the “gentleman” in their fur hats in weather that was over 100 degrees, long black coats and leggings asked me to leave their minyan. They pointed me away. I didn’t care that much. I walked away and found an amazing Sephardim minyan that was welcoming. I‘m Sephardic. I just didn’t see them when I got to the Kotel. Or maybe they weren’t there when I arrived. I prayed and went up to the wall.

Bottom line, all of the people davening there are dreaming of the Moshiach coming. Let me ask if you turn away a fellow Jew do you really expect him to arrive?



Bleach Monster, Part X

Murray left the Seaport.  The others stayed. He raced up to Penn Station.  He received an urgent message from an old friend. He needed to be in DC immediately.


A ticket for an Amtrak Acela was waiting for him. He got to Penn. Swiped his card in the Amtrak machine and out popped his ticket.  He sat in the passengers waiting area for about 15 minutes and boarded Amtrak Train 2167 to our nation’s capital.


Murray sat in the train’s quiet car and prayed no loud mouths that didn’t care about the rules would be sitting there with him.  For once, he lucked out.


It was a smooth ride.  Three hours later he was in Union Station, Washington, D.C.  He hopped on the Red-Line toward Shady Grove and found his friend, Arnold on Pennsylvania Avenue and 11 Street. He was in all black and was drenched in sweat.


“What’s wrong?”


Arnold stood silently for minutes.


Then he spoke.


“We have issues.  Remember the old days when we were in camp?”


“’Of course.  Those were the best years of our lives.”


“The crazy counselor who used to give out pots when we were bad now has a high ranking staff position on the Senate Finance Committee.  Apparently, he cleaned up his nutty act and did quite well in school. He wound up rising up through the legislative staff ranks rather quickly. But I’ve heard he cannot be trusted.”


“What do you expect me to do?”


“I’ve read stories about what’s going on in NYC.  Specifically in Staten Island, Forest Hills, 161 Street and in Central Park. “


“What stories?”


“Stories were written about people with special powers.  There were only three.  But something tells me you were involved.”




“Yeah. You.”


The two made idle chatter for the next 20 minutes. Murray denied knowing anything about the Bleach Monster.  Wine-Girl, Blubber Boy, and Tear-Water Boy never made it to the press.


Murray suggested they grab a beer.  Arnold agreed.  They walked over to a bar not far from the Ronald Reagan Office Building.


One beer turned into another, coupled with an order of wings and fries.  Two hours later a few shots of Arrack were poured.  They paid their bill with a generous tip and departed.


A plan was hatched to take out the obnoxious camp counselor.  You see they didn’t wish him harm. The camp days were way gone. But they knew this wacko, despite his cleaned up act was still a nut.  Heaven help our country with the counsel he’ll give our senators.


Murray didn’t explain anything about his empire to Arnold. He just said he would figure out a way to take care of Mark. This guy liked to rock-n-roll. He needed to closely study the situation


Murray was calm. But he was a little nervous. He never finalized the creation of his empire at the South Street Seaport. He knew Dani would be waiting for his next move.  He trusted her to an extent.  But knew she’d try to take him out if he wasn’t careful. So much for sibling love.


Arnold went home. Murray checked in at the J.W. Marriott.  He took a shower and began texting Dani.  She was still up. He gave her a heads up on what was going down in D.C.  He told her to stay on guard for instructions. She got excited.


She knew an empire was in the works.   Although she wasn’t the official leader, she knew she would run it anyway.  She was happy to let Murray think he was in control.


Murray went to J. Crew and purchased a suit. He went as a visitor to the next Senate Finance Committee meeting. He saw the loony, Mark that he hadn’t seen in over 25 years.  Murray remained unnoticed.


Mark looked good.  Brooks Brothers suit. He appeared to be in good shape and was speaking very clearly. But there was still a twinge of crazy in his eyes.  If you didn’t know him back in the day you wouldn’t notice.  You might think he eyes were red due to allergies or other issues.  The meeting concluded.  Everyone scurried out.


Murray got a drink of water and called Arnold Everything seems quite normal. But Murray sensed Mark would turn into Mark and start giving out pots. Not the kind he gave out him camp. Heck, those were dirty old pots that good ‘ole camp grub was cooked in.  The new pots could be amendments to financial bills that will wreak havoc on our great American lifestyle.


Mark could be a convincing person.


He needed to be stopped.


He and Murray walked right by each other. Mark was oblivious.


A few days passed. Murray was ready to strike.  He went to Senate committee’s website and found Mark’s email. He sent him a cordial email telling him how he’s in town and it has been over two decades since they’ve seen each other.  He suggested they meet in front of the Air and Space Museum.


Mark agreed. He was a little nervous. But figured his interactions with Murray were so dated it wouldn’t matter. You see when Mark tried to give Murray and Arnold a million pots after they raided him in his sleep. They moved him while he was sound asleep on his cot and placed him in the latrine above the willy holes.   Mark woke up screaming. He was never mean to any camper again.


Mark knew those days were gone. He straightened his life out. He did well at Wharton and had a great job.  But he knew his crazy streak was just waiting to strike.


The two arrived at the Air and Space meeting.  As usual, the Hare Krishnas were nearby.  They grabbed Dove ice cream bars from the refreshment stand and began to chat.  Mark told Murray how he still has nightmares about waking up above the Willy holes in camp.  Murray smiled.  He said he feels bad. But hey that was over two decades ago and he would never apologize for his teen craziness.


Mark went on to explain how crazy camp situations helped him evolve into the man he is today.  Murray knew right there that Mark was likely to go crazy.  Some of it was his fault. Some were due to the environment they were placed in.


The conversation ended. They shook hands and went their separate ways.


Murray texted Arnold. They had to get their plan into high gear.  Murray realized the way some things were phrased that trouble was brewing.


The next few days may change the shape of the universe.


Murray needed Dani and his other powerful little friends at his side. He purchased tickets for them to arrive in DC that evening. He outlined the structure of “Murray’s Empire” in a cryptic email.  They swore their allegiance. Basically, they were to use their “powers” for good.


He told them to go straight to the Supreme Court upon arrival.


Murray got together with Arnold. They began mapping out their attack plan.


Murray’s major concern was how to fight without the use of their powers. Could he do it with tricky speech? Or would his empire descend upon Washington in full light?