Torah Talk With Joey Kurtzman

This week’s Torah portion is Deuteronomy.

Joey and I started Torah talk in August of 2008, the same month I took my first Alexander Technique lesson.

Luke: “You were recently on a spiritual journey to India?”

Joey: “My wife and I had just agreed to get divorced. One guy said to me, ‘India? You just got divorced. You should go to Brazil.’ He probably had a point.

“It was avodah zora (idol worship) non-stop. I started with a group of Catholics in India and did some of the worst avodah zora. I went to a Catholic compound in the jungle outside Mumbai. I spent a week there, some of the worst avodah zora a young Jew has done.

“I didn’t get the wafer because I didn’t deserve it. I attended mass. I did kinda a confession.”

Luke: “That must’ve taken a long time.”

Joey: “I had a lot to get off my chest.

“Also, the songs. The songs were begging Jesus to bathe us in his blood. I’d never seen this kind of hardcore… I was begging strangers. You get on your knees and you beg strangers for forgiveness.

“I did 24 days of silent meditation.”

Luke: “I can see you’ve totally changed.”

Joey: “Probably the wrong time to do it. I spent the whole time thinking evil thoughts of my ex-wife, which she didn’t deserve.

“I went to a mountain where they worship fire. If you want to worship idols, India is as good as it gets.”

For health reasons, Joey has a Diet 7-Up, cherry-flavored with antioxidants.

Joey: “The Catholics in India were philo-semitic. I remember listening to one of the preachers talk about his visit to Israel, how the people were wonderful and the Arabs were rotten.”

Luke: “It’s always great to be alone when you are miserable.”

“Here, open your drink. Let me hold your Torah so it doesn’t get covered with cherry-flavored Diet 7Up with antioxidants.”

Joey: “I’ve traveled a lot in my life. I don’t think traveling really changes you.”

About Luke Ford

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