Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Here are the lyrics to the rap I performed at our Greatest Hanukkah on Earth! Centennial Edition.
Note: This is to the 'melody' of Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys
And for those of you in Tucson who missed it. It is playing on Tucson Access. Check your local times and channels.
Now here's a little story I've got to tell
Not about the Marx brothers you know so well
It started way back in history
With Eliezar, Shimon, and Judah Maccabee.
The five had a father named Mattathias
Told to worship an idol but he was pious
Killed a Greek soldier, then turned and ran
Greek posse on his tail cause he’s in demand
One lonely Has-mo-knee
All by himself without nobody
The sun was beating down on his kehpee’s hat
The air was gettin' hot, Dr. Browns was getting flat
Lookin' for a dude he ran into a guy
My name is Judah, he said, "Howdy" I said, "Hi"
He told a little story that sounded well rehearsed
Four days out while schviting, and he's dying of thirst
Antiochus was bad allowed moyels no tip
Greeks were coming, chasing down, we tried not to trip
He said, "Here they come"
I said, "This is no fun"
We had a chance to run
Then fled to a mountain
They were quick on the draw I thought we’d be dead
They put the sword to our head and this is what they said,
"Now we’re armed Greek soldiers - We got a license to kills
I think you know what time it is, this ain’t the catskills
Now what do we have here a shmendrick and his dad
We run this land, you understand don’t make me mad."
What a klutz he plotzed, I took the sword, then had a grin
You think this story's over but it's ready to begin
Now we got the sword and we’re both Jews
We had two choices of what we could doos
It's not a tough decision as you can see
We could run away or we could fight totally
I said, let’s ride together, attack ‘em from the border
Antiochus after me for what I did to his temple
I did it like this, I did it like that
I did it with a meshuggenah bat
So I'm on the run, but I’m the only one
And right about now it's time to have some fun
An-tio-chus that is his name
I know the fly spot where he’ll soon be in pain."
We rode for six hours then we hit the spot
The beat was bumping and the night was hot
This king was staring like he knows who we are
We took the empty spot near him not too far
the king said, "Yo, I know you kid?"
I said, "No way." but I know he did
Then I said, "Get ready cause this ain't funny
The king’s a yutz and we’re gonna take his money.”
Pulled out the slingshot aimed at the sky
I yelled, "Stick 'em up!" and let two fly
Hands went up and people hit the floor
I smacked the king upside the head as he ran for the door
"I’m Ju-dah. and I get respect
My homeland back is what I expect"
Eliazer was with it and he's my ace
So I grabbed the menorah and I lit it in its place
The king was out the music stopped
The statue of Zeus well it got dropped
Its time to spin the dreidel, here’s one made of gold
Let’s celebrate Hanukkah on a night that’s cold.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The term Gabbai is derived from the Hebrew gavah which means ‘to exact payment.’ In Mishnaic times, the gabbai was actually a gabbai tzedakah – a charity collector. During this time gabbai’im worked in partnership with at least one other to make sure there was no misuse of these funds either in their collection or in how they were dispersed.
The term gabbai later came to refer to someone in the medieval Jewish world who was responsible for collecting and administering tzedakah for the broader Jewish community. By this time period, the gabbai was usually a volunteer who helped disperse funds for such purposes as to help with burial, support the ailing, or simply to provide for those in need. Thus the scope and purpose of the gabbai became greatly expanded. In some larger communities they may have had as many as twelve gabbai’m with one serving each month of the year. This gabbai was known as the gabbai hodesh.
However, the term gabbai over time also came to refer to those who helped out in synagogue life as well. These gabbai’m would sometimes manage congregational affairs, but more often than not, they would help to distribute honors during the Torah service.
Today the gabbai is a volunteer who is central to the Torah service. For example they find volunteers for the honor of being called up to bless the Torah, also known as an aliyah. The gabbai ascertains the Hebrew names of these volunteers as well. The gabbai also helps coordinate the flow of the Torah service. In some cases, they even help keep the rabbi or cantor on track. To do this, the gabbai stands next to the Torah reader, holding a version of the text with vowels and trope markings, following along in order to correct the reader if he or she makes an error.