Rabbi Rabbs – Stuck Being Jewish

The whole megillah.

“I can write stuff. Part of the reason is that you can do it and you don’t have to talk to anybody. You can do it in your room with your door locked. I was a loner, locked up in my room. It was perfect. My parents always told me to shut up whenever I was talking. I learned to communicate by writing.”

“There are very few places I can be happy in and Southern California is it.”

“No matter what I do, it always ends in failure. It always turns to s—. That is the story of my life. I would not want to get close to me because it is going to turn to s—… The bracha is never there.

“I wrote in one of my essays that if God gave me a beshert, it’s not going to last long. After six months, either she’s going to die or something will happen and it will just be taken away. And sure enough, we got engaged and the engagement ended… Something will go wrong with this interview and it will backfire on me… I’m contagious with negativity. Touch me and it’s loserville.”

Luke: “Would you rather be happy or funny?”

Rabbi: “I would rather give back the gift of being funny and not have to pay the price of tragedy for it. I would give that back in a heartbeat to have a normal life.”

“Every single frum woman, no matter how she was brought up, feels compelled to spit out more kids, so me coming along and saying I don’t want kids, there’s nobody who’s going to marry me.”

“It’s been 50 years like this. I’m staring down the barrel of another 50 years like this. I hate it.”

“Yeah, I’m funny and I’m a celebrity, but it sucks. At the end of the night, no matter how many people I make laugh, I could have 5,000 people in a room and I’m making them all laugh, but at the end of the night, they’re all going home with their date, they’re going to get laid, they’re all happy, and Rabbs, I’m going home alone. It’s the mornings that I wake up from a show like that, you’d think, that’s a great show, everybody loved you, you must be so happy, no, those are the mornings that I wake up and I’m suicidal because I realize that even making a room of 1,000 people laugh isn’t going to fix the problem. I could make the whole world laugh and it’s not going to change anything.

“At the end of the day, I’m still single. I still have to be shomer negiah and my life sucks.”

Luke: “How do you resist all those women who throw themselves at you after shows and try to tempt you into immorality?”

Rabbi: “It’s tempting but I can’t do it.

“A lot of people say, ‘You’re a chillul HaShem going on stage.’ Do you realize what a kiddush HaShem I make going on stage? Just being like this? People who’ve never seen a frumie, a real Jew, in their lives and what do they say? They see a normal guy who happens to be a rabbi. So they can say that frumies aren’t these crazy people throwing rocks. I shatter all these stereotypes. I want to get laid. Sure. But I can’t because I’m constricted by this religion.”

“I don’t perform on Friday nights and Saturday nights. Those are the big nights for comedy. If you don’t perform on Friday night and Saturday nights, you can’t make a living at comedy because those are the only nights that pay. I only eat kosher food… I don’t even touch women. After the show, chicks are coming up to me. Rabbs won’t touch them. Rabbs won’t kiss them. Rabbs won’t have anything to do with them. I think it’s a kiddush HaShem.

“I’m not going to mention any names, but there’s another frumie-looking Jew out there who’s not shomer negiah publicly. After he gets done with his concerts, he gets photographed publicly putting his arms around women. I don’t do that so I have a problem with that. What’s he getting all this notoriety for and what happened to Rabbi Rabbs who’s actually not doing that?”

“Do you have any idea of how many women hit on me on a daily basis? Unbelievable. A new chick hits on me every single day.”

Luke: “You could’ve been the Jewish Wilt Chamberlain?”

Rabbi: “I could’ve if I took advantage of it.”

“If it was not for the Torah, I’d probably bang all of them. I’d go on tour. A lot of them are married. Kinda depressing.”

“I didn’t always dress this way. In the Modern Orthodox world, I used to go to YULA, going to college and becoming a lawyer or a doctor is normal. If I had said I wanted to be a rabbi, that would be more eye-bugging.”

“I’ve always been suicidal. Ever since I was 18. That frames a lot of my thinking. I’m a very black and white thinker. I said to myself, if I’m going to stay alive, there has to be truth behind why I am alive. I needed a reason to stay alive otherwise I was going to kill myself.”

“If the Torah is true, then I am going to do everything in it… I’m an extremist. Tell me what the mitzvah is and I’m going to do it.”

“Every Jew who knows the Torah is true should end up looking like me. Why not dress Jewish?”

Luke: “Are non-Jews more respectful of your Judaism than Orthodox Jews are of your comedy?”

Rabbi: “Non-Jews are more respectful of my Judaism and of my comedy than frumies are of my Judaism and my comedy. My followers are not frumies. Frumies do not get Rabbi Rabbs. Frumies are embarrassed by Rabbi Rabbs. They hate me. Jews generally don’t get me, especially white-skinned Ashkenazi Jew raised in a non-Catholic country… They wish I would go away.

“The people who get me are Sephardi Jews. Non-Jews have no problem with me, especially Catholics. If there’s some Catholic in your blood, you get Rabbi Rabbs. Greek Orthodox. African-Americans. Gays. Australians. All love me. Especially misfits. They’re really attach to me. Rabbi Rabbs embraces all misfits.”

“I started dating my fiance when I was 44 and she was 18. To me, age is just a number. For the last ten years, most of the women who I’ve communicated with, gone out with, were all under 25, and most of them were under 22.”

Luke: “What do your friends have in common?”

Rabbi: “They’re all Catholics.”

“Normal people hate me.”

6 p.m. We walk towards Pico Blvd and head west. He’s lived in this hood since 1987. “No other place has so many kosher restaurants in one place,” he says. “People get along better here than anywhere else I’ve ever been. The other side of town [Fairfax/La Brea] is more icky, sticky, stuffy.

“I go surfing. I put my surfboard on my car and I’m off. Nobody cares. I’m not sure I could get away with that on the other side of town. I’d get a speech from some yenta. ‘What are you doing? Rabbis don’t go surfing.’

“In New York, I don’t know what people would say about me. Ashkenazi Jews can’t handle people who are different.”

Luke: “This is a tolerant Orthodox community.”

Rabbi: “Oh yeah. Pico-Robertson is a magnet for misfits so naturally they don’t have a problem with me. They couldn’t stand the poison and the venom of New York and New Jersey… They tend to be more laid back and open-minded and understanding of people who are different. Plus, there are a lot of Sephardim and Persians and they don’t give a crap.”

“The older I get, the more young chicks dig me.”

“For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be Jewish. But you can’t talk to these people. They feel that Torah is truth, they were born with a Jewish soul.”

“If I woke up one day and somebody told me, ‘Rabbs, we discovered that your grandmother is not a Jew.’ I’d say, ‘Thank God, I’m out.’ I don’t want to be part of this. I hate this. Non-Jews think it is the greatest thing ever. They all want to be Jewish. I don’t understand it.”

“I get the BT (baal teshuva) thing. I’m born Jewish, I’m stuck. I better do what I am supposed to do.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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