My Genocidal Shabbat

I’m immersed in one of those novels based on Biblical characters — The Triumph Of Deborah by Eva Etzion-Halevy.

It’s weird reading about these folks having sex.

From page 95:

Barak prepared to bear down on her [Deborah], but with new strength coursing through her veins, she resolved to establish her mastery over him. She straddled him and rode him throughout their battle. With her body bent forward and her face tilted backward, her riotous curls tumbling over her neck to the rhythm of his thrusts, his mouth claimed the ripeness of her breasts until the moment came and she reached victory.

When he had followed into triumph, she eased herself off him, preparing to rise up; but he detained her. He drew her down to him, and this time he established his dominance over her. She yielded to his sword stabbing into her, and she enjoyed her surrender even more than she had enjoyed her victory before.

From page 214: "She forgot her sister and, with a moan of surrender, opened herself to his invasion."

I guess these Bible novels (I also read The Red Tent, what shlock) are typical romance novels but with a Biblical gloss. I can’t see much in here for men.

I’m not looking forward to reading novels about Moshe’s sex life.

"And he gave his wife the Ten Commandments of Pleasure. ‘Here’s the written Torah and here’s the Oral Torah, darling.’ But she kept him out of the promised land for striking her rock rather than speaking to it."

Friday night, the JConnectLA dinner had a smaller crowd than usual (about 50). Professor Lou Gordon spoke about Judaism and the Founding Fathers. It was a bit too intellectual for most of the crowd.

I’m told he hung around afterwards to meet me. That he was a fan. But I arrived late and missed him.

Late late that night, I run into a friend who’s smashed. Whenever I see her late on Friday nights, she’s smashed. How regularly does one have to get smashed until one has a drinking problem? How many times does one have to miss shul Shabbos morning with a hangover until one is officially an alcoholic?

My friends are jolly lucky they’ve got me around to police them.

Verily, I am a light unto the nations.

"Every time I see…, she gets more beautiful," says a friend.

"Yep, she has that effect. At first I thought nothing. A few conversations later, I realized she was this great chick. It’s funny like that. Some women just grow more beautiful the better you know them."

Shabbos afternoon, I persuade a friend that his time will be much spent accompanying me to a lecture on genocide rather than romancing some gorgeous 19 year old.

I tell him there will be delicious food.

The hosts always provide the best.

The air conditioning is on.

The table is spread with desserts. There are yummy expensive cookies. The lemonade is cold and sharp.

Genocide never tasted so good.

When I was a kid, I dreaded going on road trips with certain people because I knew they’d be niggardly with the creature comforts such as air conditioning and cold drinks and snacks. Other people I loved going out with them because they always treated me with style.

Same with home. I often eat with one friend and the food always sucks. Other homes, the food is always great. This is one of those homes. First-class hospitality. I don’t care what the lectures about, I just want to chow down.

With a preview like this, our speaker sounds like the most boring person in the world:

Naama Haviv is the Assistant Director of Jewish World Watch. She holds an MA/ABD in Comparative Genocide from Clark University, where she is a Doctoral candidate. Naama has done extensive research on current world conflicts to assess the risk of genocide, and works with JWW’s Funds Allocation committee to ensure the strength and quality of JWW-supported refugee relief projects. Before joining the JWW team, Naama created and managed educational programs connecting students from the US to students in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Tajikistan for Relief International, and held research positions with the Institute for the Study of Genocide, the Middle East Media Research Institute and the American Anti-Slavery Group.

She’s anything but boring. She wears black high heels and a black dress. She wants to talk to us sitting down but we insist she stand up.

She’s the funniest genocide speaker I’ve heard.

She says people have split up over the definition of genocide. That these friendly genocide profs Helen Fein and Barbara Harff fell out for just that reason.

Helen Fein is one wordy chick (on paper and in real life). Here’s her definition of genocide: "Genocide is a series of purposeful actions by a perpetrator(s) to destroy a collectivity through mass or selective murders of group members and suppressing the biological and social reproduction of the collectivity. This can be accomplished through the imposed proscription or restriction of reproduction of group members, increasing infant mortality, and breaking the linkage between reproduction and socialization of children in the family or group of origin. The perpetrator may represent the state of the victim, another state, or another collectivity. (Genocide: A Sociological Perspective, London)[17][9]"

Naama says she’s concerned about genocide in Burma and is "freaking out" over Ethiopia.

I never knew that learning about genocide could be so fun.

Please pass the lemonade.

I want to write a movie called "Genocide Crashers."

Owen Wilson and co break up genocides around the world and pick up hot chix.

I pass my hand through my thinning hair and it comes out greasy. I’m trying to wash my hair only twice a week these days (as instructed by this gay hairdresser) but it feels disgusting.

I wonder if it’ll negatively affect my diabetes to have a few more cookies.

The two men behind me chitchat and crack jokes through the whole lecture while I try to concentrate — between bites — on the weighty moral issues! I want to turn around and hush them but then I have to daven with them every day, so who needs to look like a prig?

I salve my pain with a strawberry.

Naama is from Jewish World Watch, which was founded by Rabbi Harold Schulweis.

Naama hands out a sheet listing the risk factors for genocide.

Ohmigod, we Orthodox Jews are in danger of committing more genocides.

Risk factor number one is committing prior genocides. Well, we did the Canaanites in 3200 years ago according to the Bible.

Risk factor number two is political upheaval. ‘Nuff said.

Risk factor number three is ethnic polarization of the elite. Well, Orthodox Jews are ruled by a select elite — Orthodox Jewish rabbis. Not one non-Jew among them. Not one non-Orthodox Jew. Not one woman. No poofters.

Risk factor four — exclusionary ideology. Guilty!

Risk factor five — type of regime. "An unchecked regime has exclusive control over the ways and means of dealing with opposition or perceived threats." Guilty!

Naama says there have been 37 genocides since 1955. But heck, some of these genocides only cost a few thousand lives — Chile 1973-1976, Angola 1975-2001, El Salvador 1980-1989.

You call that a genocide? That’s not a genocide. This is a genocide.

You can join Jewish World Watch and protest genocide at the Chinese embassy in LA Thursday:

In conclusion, on August 7th we ask that you can join…at 11:30-12:30 in front of the Chinese Consulate (443 Shatto Place, Los Angeles 90020) to send a message on behalf of the people of Darfur before the start of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

China is one of the primary supporters of the government of Sudan which bears responsibility for the violence in Darfur.  Help make the statement that a country that chooses the theme, "One world, one dream" for the 2008 Olympics should not only include the "dream" of ending genocide but should stop funding it as well.  Our own Rav Ari will be speaking at the rally.  Please show your support for the people of Darfur. 

I’m telling everyone about my first Alexander Technique lesson but it just adds to my burdens. I’m no longer just a moral light unto the nations, but now I have to also be an examplar of good posture.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see 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 (
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