By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by James BunoanThe Children's Choir of the Jewish Academy is dreideling on and on and fucking on Sunday, when every Jew worth his percentage points is clustered at Fashion Island waiting for Joey Bishop to light the world's largest chocolate menorah.
But Joey Bishop—nee Gottlieb he tells us, saying very touchingly that he's proud of his real name—can't light the menorah because the children, they will not stop singing. It must be eight songs, maybe 12, and none of us knew there were so many Hanukkah songs; as everyone knows, Purim's the holiday that usually gets all the Jew composers' love. Take this catchy old chestnut, "Chag Purim":The festival of Purim, The festival of Purim, A great festival for the Jews! Masks and noisemakers, Songs and dancing. Let's make noise—noise, noise, noise—with noisemakers!
Or this, from the Purim liturgy: "Cursed is Haman who sought to destroy me, blessed is Mordechai the Jew. Cursed is Zeresh, the wife of my tormentor, blessed is Esther [who acted] for me. May Charvonah also be remembered for good."
One little-known thing about us Jews? Baby, we got rhythm.
No, seriously. We really do.
Now, seven feet and 200 pounds may be huge for a chocolate menorah, but right under the piney branches of Fashion Island's Godzilla Christmas tree? Not so much.
So I'm kvetching with Charlotte, a woman of a certain age and luminous blue eyes. (As Charlotte's just confirmed for me, Jews will talk to anyone.) We are appalled by the chocolate menorah, which looks like a Nerf rocket blaster, especially when juxtaposed with the goyische tree. We are annoyed with the length of the ceremony. We are befuddled when Joey Bishop tells us Sinatra impregnated a piano. We are, really, in love.
Charlotte asks if it's hard for my son to meet Jewish people, living as we do in Santa Ana. I don't think he knows any. "Honey, do you know any Jewish people?" I ask him. "I know Dad," he answers.
Charlotte points to the guy stirring semisweet chocolate in a crock pot. "Are you married?" she asks me. "No," I say, without going into even one of the miserable details. "I like him for you," she says. "He's a good-looking fellow, and he's a doctor!"
Poor Charlotte must not have anyone to matchmake for. I feel her pain.
He's probably a podiatrist.
After seven hours or so, the children leave the stage. I'm waiting for the suicide bombers to appear, and since Jews never censor themselves, I say so out loud. "They just raised the alert to Orange!" Charlotte confirms. Again?
The doctor puts the crossbar on top of the menorah, and we all clap because it no longer looks like a Nerf rocket blaster. We all wonder at Joey Bishop's age—I pin the tail on the donkey with 85, which a quick trip to DeadorAliveinfo.com (yup! Alive!) confirms for me. As usual, I'm completely right.
Jews so often are.
So my Dad calls Wednesday with Clippers tickets for me and my boy. They're good ones, given to him by a very famous rock star's sponsor, who's trying to talk the very famous rock star into checking into my dad's Malibu Rehab to the Stars.
My brother Cake can't come because he's working (!), so Dad's looking for someone to whom to give our fourth seat. A Staples goon talks into his sleeve. "He's not trying to scalp it," I shout to the guy. "He's trying to give it away!"
The guy tells us that's equally illegal. He rambles about it being a "transaction." We laugh in his face—but charmingly. "So where would the box office be?" my dad asks the guy. He tells us. "So that's where we would find people who need tickets?" asks my dad. Indeed. My dad saunters off to break the law.
You can't tell a Jew what to do.
When we get inside, there's someone in our seat: the guy my dad gave the ticket to sold it to another guy for $60. That is so un-Christian.
The Clippers have me aghast: sure, they're scrappy underdogs. Unfortunately, they're scrappy underdogs who don't have heart. (Excepting, of course, Bobby Simmons and Corey Maggette, who are slamming.)Marko Jaric is a Serb with gorgeous eastern European arms; he may be a comer as a point guard, but Wednesday, it's air ball after air ball as the crowd cringes. Sometimes, when he's not busy knocking the ball out of bounds, he throws it to people who aren't there, and I'm reminded of the Raiders' old honorary Fourth Stooge Bobby Hoying, whose entire strategy used to consist of throwing the ball to invisible players in the end zone. It doesn't count if the ball goes into the end zone by itself!
We annoy everyone around us. People actually leave. Jesus, we never shut up. We are loud, loud Jews.
The Clippers game is superfun!
Thursday, we manhandle a friend into inviting us over for the Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade. Since I can't tell you exactly where he lives, let me just say his immediate neighbors, "Sven" and "Farrah," own every last bit of the county, including your soul.