Jewish NAMBLA Voodoo Society of Bushwick

May 24th, 2007

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Charlie-

Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime, the kind of peak that never comes again… writing you a letter. Maybe it’s only been a week. Sorry about the delay, been busy, as you know, et cetera, but last night something letter-worthy actually happened…

…I’d just picked up the mail and was walking briskly through the courtyard when two Hassidic men accosted me, one wore the standard royal blue suit, the other the same but with a grey pullover hoodie. “Are you Jewish,? they queried. I chose not to lie and answered with a curious, “yes.? They explained it was Shavuot, the celebration of the giving of the Ten Commandments. They were trying to have a service in the basement, but needed a tenth Jewish male for whatever voodoo they had planned, would I join them? I hesitated and they offered wine and cheesecake. Fine. I’m in, fuckers.

We went into the basement and found eight Hassidic boys, I’d say all about thirteen years old. They were rambunctious, playing air hockey, pool, ping-pong. One of them caught my eye. His button-down shirt was tucked in and he had the face of a boxer. His slacks were neatly pressed, on his head a slightly tilted fedora. I swear it was a young Marlon Brando. Anyway, they settle down when they notice us come in, and we all gathered together around the torah which sat alone on a fold out table. (Later I would find out the torah was from Iraq, seized in a raid by the Israeli Army after the U.S. and associates had brought the country to its knees.) I was given a kippah and the two men scrolled through the holy text for the appropriate passage. Once found they pulled out this little hand on a stick that is used to point at the torah as you read from it. That little hand is something I’d completely forgot about from my years of Hebrew School, it’s easily one of the most absurd religious phenomena. (I took a picture of it for you.) The one with the hand tells the other to read, but he refuses. This conversation happens quietly, as if the ten of us aren’t closely huddled right in front of them and can’t hear a word their saying. They continue the back and forth arguing over who’s going to read. Finally the one with the hand caves and they switch places. Then a pause. No words exchange and they switch back. The passage is read.

That’s it. Service over. It took maybe two minutes. They bust out the wine and they have like seven bottles for two twenty-three year olds and eight thirteen year olds. The kids immediately start claiming which wine they want. “I want the French one.? “I like the Cabernet.? No joke. But then it turns out they don’t have a corkscrew, so we borrow one from the janitor, and what’s more, none of them know how to open a wine bottle. So I take the reins, get the vino flowing, have a glass or two, skip out on the weird cheesecake they proffer, and vaguely make an empty promise to come to their Yom Kippur service this coming September.

Note: Eight Hours until two weeks vacation from work which includes a long visit to Philly to throw Party Party and then a reunion with my two oldest friends in San Fransisco.

-Shababo

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