Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Give My Husband (The Big Baby) A CRIB Award

I'm calling on Jameel's internet buddies (you know, his imaginary friends) to vote for The Muqata for Best Parody so that he can move on with his life and leave the house again. Voting has been extended until Tuesday.

Coincedently, the post about Sukkot was the only one that had some semblance of truth to it and I think it's hysterical that "Jameel" thinks I don't know about the lemons. While he thought he was putting one over on me and the ba'alei teshuva, it was always enjoyable watching him cringe from the citric acid eating into his worn three-walled sukkah-building hands.

And so I encourage you to enter a write-in vote for Why I’m Glad That Every Day of My Life Isn’t Sukkot in the Best Post comments section.

Thank you, and for G-d's sake, after you vote, would you please logoff and pay attention to your spouses?

Whenever I turn, Jameel is on the internet

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Purim Message on Erev Shabbat

While this may end up sounding like a parody of a parody of a parody, I just wanted to share a thought I had this morning.

Why is Torah and Mitzvot referred to as "Ner Mitzva v'Torah Ohr" (Mitzvot are candles and Torah is light?) If a person wants to share a bag full of parve Oreos with a thousand people, he will end up with nothing inside the bag. Yet a candle can give light to a thousand other candles (remember my birthday cake?), without the act of transferring light causing a reduction in the candle. Its exactly the opposite -- candles and light can give from themselves to others creating even more light.

Figure skating is the same thing.

To borrow a term from the GH, "Robbosai, it's all about icing."

When you have a funny thought in your head and you share it with someone else, it doesn't diminish it in the slightest, but rather increases the happiness in the world. While I have gotten many compliments on this purim parody idea this week, (please send more), the satisfaction of being able to share a good idea, a funny idea, a laugh with others, a helluva lot of blog traffic (especially for the mitzva of purim) -- the act of sharing is (for me) the best part. (Unless it's Oreos.)

So, at the risk of sounding too sappy, this Purim, make sure you pass on a laugh to someone else. Bring a smile to their face too -- slap them silly if you have to -- make this a great Purim for as many people as you can!

Fine. Now I've done it. I'm actually about to be blogging during the 18 minutes after candlelighting and I didn't shower yet, take out the Muqata trash, walk the dog, set up the car for my Shabbos patrol, surf for Arabic translation websites, put in my required 2 hours answering questions at AskMoses.com, or called Ze'ev from Israel Perspectives to tell him I love him. My wife will be lighting candles shortly so I'm logging off now.

I'm a dead man, so I'll end this here. Woahhfk;hrilejfh! r4rfulitvo9b8yo

8onfg8mlg9on6.7s9gn

Hi. This is Mrs. @ The Muqata. "Jameel" is finished now. For good.

Shabbat Shalom from the Muqata and see you back here next week.

Many more blogs to go!


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael, and stares wistfully at the land as I cross the Jordan.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Kids Finally Learn the Dirty Little Secret of My Olympic Past

I am soooo embarrassed.

My kids called me over yesterday evening to watch with them on TV a quick history of the Winter Olympics Men’s Figure skating.

To be honest, I didn't want my kids watching, as I knew that there was the distinct possibility that certain footage from Olympics past would be shown. It's not that I'm paranoid, or even excessively self-centered, but I have worked so hard to get where I am now, that the old Olympics footage could totally throw my whole life into complete disarray.
Growing up, I loved the winter Olympic games; skiing, bobsledding, and ice-hockey were great fun to watch. But for me, it was the figure skating that I always loved, and so I convinced my parents to pay for lessons.
I was about six at the time, and of course, this created problems. Ice skating sessions on Saturday morning were obviously out of the question, and when I asked my Rav for a heter, he laughed in my face. I could ice skate all week, but never on Shabbos.
By the time I was thirteen, my coach felt that I was ready to be an Olympian. It was the day of my Bar Mitzvah, and the whole shul, bimah included, had been covered in a nice thick layer of ice. The Zamboni had already come through before services, and everyone was given ice skates upon their arrival. Yet that day, as I skated up to the Torah for the first time, I knew that I was incomplete. My coach was right. I was ready for the Olympics.
This was a sad day in my parents’ home. Of course, they had hoped that I’d be a Rabbi, or at least shomer negiah, but this? This was an outrage. Not only would I be figure skating, but there’s a good chance that I’d ultimately end up in the couples figure skating category, and I wouldn’t necessarily be skating with my spouse. But, I was only just thirteen, and a man for only a few hours at that time. So, they davened, threw some candy (which slipped all over the ice and tripped most of the guests), and then we all made kiddush.

Fast forward to the other night at Muqataville.

First they played the Olympics music, then a quick station break. Suddenly, there it was! Footage from about ten years ago. There I was, whirling around the ice like a pro, doing the triple clutz, the double schnauzer and other assorted flips and twists. I was skating to the Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy from Tschaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
My kids are totally enthralled... "Keep watching, keep watching!" and then it came...the close-up of my face and my attempt the spectacular -- an unprecedented leap quad oucho (whatever an oucho is). I leaped in the air and attempted to turn 4 times and land gracefully.
“Aba! That’s Aba!” the kids both yelled at once.
We all cringed in pain as the graceful landing turned into a catastrophic wipe out, with legs splayed split on the ice and the obvious agony on my face. My daughter the gymnast gasped, "Ow! That must have really hurt!" and I thought for sure, this footage would, if I was lucky, only ruin me in the eyes of my children, and not scar them for life.
“But Aba,” my daughter said. “I can’t believe you were a skater! I had no idea you were that athletic! The only time I ever even saw you run was that day that you were late to do the Daf!”
From where do people get such physical strength, to exert themselves beyond the normal limits of human endurance? I’ll be honest with you, I have no clue. After that horrendous fifteen seconds of fame, I knew that my career on the ice was over. I never wanted to do anything physically exerting again.
That day, I decided to become shomer negiah. It was pretty easy at the time, since nobody who’d even read about me in the paper that day wanted to have anything to do with me. A little known fact that few people know about me? Well, I used to be a Belzer Chasid, and after that disgraceful display on the ice, our whole family was ostracized from the community.
When I decided to make aliyah, I expected the government to call me up for army service. I was young enough to qualify, but the call never came. I went down to the ministry and asked about my army service.
“Jameel Rashid? The former Olympian? No service for YOU!” and they slammed the door on any hope I had ever entertained of serving in the IDF, not to mention my pinkie finger, which, to this day, still won’t bend correctly and hurts during inclement weather, which we in Israel, are thrilled not to have too often.
It would be melodramatic to say I held my breath while waiting for my kids to announce that they never wanted to see me again, but I was honestly thrilled when my kids simply said, “Aba, why would you pick Tschaikovsky? That is sooo overdone.”

Whenever I ice skate, my blog holds my hand.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Scandalous JBlog Behaviour

When a J-Blogger tells another J-Blogger they love them… and the police are listening in

Yes, it happened to me last week (again!)

I'm happily married...and the other blogger is ALSO married (I’m pretty sure happily as well).

We're both religiously observant, Orthodox Jews.

We're both…male.

And then...out of the blue...on the phone, he says to me..."Love you."

And then…before I could say a word, a cop listening in says… “Yo amor la muchacha! Donde es la muchacha?!”

Now the domestic surveillance is all a result of Ehud Olmert adopting not only America’s Road Map, but also the Patriot Act. Luckily, all tapes of recorded phone conversations are shipped from Tel Aviv to New Jersey for analysis via ZIM containers and since the Israeli shipping company has contracts with the United Arab Emirates port management, for a small fee paid to a burly man named Akmed Rashid (no relation) they will coincidently lose the shipping container and have your tape ready for you on a deserted Haifa dock sometime between 2 and 4 a.m.

However, you must come alone and wave a flashlight back and forth as you walk up the pier.

Securing the tape may have erased the evidence of my brief blog affair, but it did not prevent the police officer from locating “La Muchacha,” an apparent misinterpretation of The Muqata.

Great. So he was on his way and he wanted a woman.

When he arrived, I was surprised to see that our eavesdropping Jerusalem Cop was none other than CHiPs’ Erik Estrada.

“Yo quiero to make dee aliyah to dee Yudea Samaria. Mine half-brahder es MK Geraldo Rivera. We have dee same madre but not dee same padre. Geraldo, hijo de la puta! La puta!” he explains.

“I am Jameel Rashid of The Muqata.”

“Jameel?! Afeminado?! Invertido?! … Maricon??!!”

“Jameel de La Muqata,” I respond half offended, half oddly intrigued.

“Oooooh. Tu es desde la muchacha. La muchacha!” he says excitedly. “Yo make dee aliyah to es La Muchacha! Yo dig el tunnelo under la fencia de securitio y migrato to La Muchacha! No more problema demographica!”

“No! No muchacha. La Muqata. La Muqata!” I correct him.

“La Muqata? Mah ze Muqata?” he wonders aloud.

“La Muqata,” I begin but stop abruptly trying to avoid embarrassing him with my mastery of the Spanish language. “The Muqata is a hamantashen farm, not a love farm.”

“No es casa de la puta?”

“No. Es la casa de la purim.”

“No chalupa?” he asks meekly.

“No. La Muqata es el koshero,” I reply.

“Ser mas puta que las gallinas! Dar candela por el culo!”

Wherever I drop my keys, my blog is behind me

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thinking About Aliyah....

Thought about Aliyah lately?

Oleh Girl thought about it and came last year with her 37 cats.

Westbankmama did it years ago when she heard about the chocolate coins.

Thought about aliyah lately?

I really hope not.

Certain bloggers are thinking about it very seriously, but I have to tell you the truth. It’s not worth it. Israel is really not at all what they tell you in yeshiva, it’s nothing like it says in the tourist guides, and it certainly isn’t what you see when you come here on vacation. The stuff you see on vacation -- the Kotel, the Hurva synagogue, the Arabs -- it’s all a façade, albeit brilliantly put together.
The Chasidim? Nope, not their real beards. The Yemeni Jews? Nope, not their real jacnun. The Arabs? Nope, they’re skinny Sicilians. The Tower of David? Nope, an arts and crafts project made of paper towel rolls. Me? I don’t even exist. I’m just a part of the ploy to get you to come and live here so that a true and lasting peace will never come to the rest of the world.
In fact, I am looking forward to the day when I will finally have enough money to get out of this sand trap and go to the real promised land -- Uganda. The right of return will be granted to all Jews wishing to move on over to Uganda. KLM will be offering free flights to Entebbe.

Thought about aliyah lately? Think again.

Blogged about aliyah lately? Erase it.

Contacted your shaliach? Pull your application.

Israel: it’s just not for you.

Wherever I go, my blog turns towards Eretz Uganda.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Why I’m Glad That Every Day of My Life Isn’t Sukkot

While everyone is ranting about how much they love Sukkot, this holiday always makes me a raving lunatic. Don't get me wrong, in theory I agree that Sukkot should be a happy chag, with lots of good holiday spirit and peace among Jews (and mankind). Yet the weeklong party in the booth situation tends to get out of hand.

Living in Israel, the weather is usually great around Sukkot. It’s perfect for setting up the Sukkah, and dwelling within its walls. However, the past few years it’s been harder and harder for me to get the sukkah set up. My wife likes to have a lot of company, and so I’m forced to constantly upgrade to the next bigger sukkah. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that the directions for set up are all in Swedish. Why is that? It’s because the cheapest way to upgrade your sukkah out here is to just go to Ikea in Netanya and trade the old one in. So I now have a dozen different allen keys and don’t know what to do with them. I don’t even know who allen (or is it alan? Or maybe ilon?) is. And you know how the Ikea directions are -- even if you can follow them, once you get to step five, there’s no turning back. And it’s step six that throws you and makes you realize that you messed up the first five steps. And then it’s back to Ikea. So that’s how I generally spend the two weeks prior to Sukkot. I hate the chag even before it has started.

Then, there’s the dreaded lulav/etrog situation. I have the great misfortune to be severely allergic to anything close to etrogim and so I must use a lemon. However, I’ve never told my wife. Now, my wife is such a wonderful woman, that every Sukkot she makes a habit of inviting several ba’alei teshuva to our sukkah where, for many of them, this is their first Sukkot as religious Jews. Many of them wouldn’t know a lulav if you whacked them in the head with one at shul. That goes for the etrog as well. But my etrog isn’t an etrog. And every Sukkot my wife says, “Jameel, why don’t you take our guests into the sukkah and make the brachot with them over the lulav and etrog?” Of course, I cannot refuse. But I don’t want them to make the wrong bracha. Inevitably, we make ha-eitz over the phony etrog and I slice it and give them a piece.

“Here, eat it,” I say, glancing over my shoulder to make sure my beautiful wife isn’t watching.

“You’re supposed to eat it? Ha! I had no idea.”

“Yes, but hurry,” I say, trying to block the window of my sukkah from our kitchen. ”You don’t want to lose the mitzvah.”

“Okay. Hey! This tastes like a lemon!”

“Funny, eh?”

Of course, this is unsettling for me, so soon after Yom Kippur. But I don’t want to talk about that. What is really disconcerting is how many lemons I go through during chol hamoed.
Another problem is that often I am unable to fix the sukkah in time, due to the Ikea time crunch. So, while you’re wondering how I’ve been able to successfully keep my etrog-lemon a secret from my wife, I’ll just let you in on a little secret. Very often, after the BT lemon-lulav shake and eat, someone (yes, myself) leans a bit too hard on a wall, it collapses, and then everyone is so preoccupied picking up felled bits of tinsel, wood, and random plastic fruits that by then they’ve forgotten that they ate a lemon.

Other problems that I have encountered on Sukkot are those pesky squatters who seem to move into the sukkah when my back is turned. They hook into my electric, my cable, and my internet, and the next thing I know, I’m next door eating at their sukkah because mine has been taken over by a bunch of Haaretz leftists who are singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” and causing the neighbors to throw large stones at my house.

Will I survive another Sukkot, lemon usage undetected?

Will the chol hamoed squatters break my ability to pay my bills and keep my neighbors?

And then, will G*d finally punish me this year for my lemon trickery?

Will I succeed in making it through another Sukkot?

Arrrgggh.

Sukkot makes me psycho.

Whatever you do, don’t lean on my blog.