Weirdly Resonant

“Hassidic Weird Al” Sings “Shadchan (Bring Me a Wife)” to Evanescence Tune


If there’s any sign you’ve made it as a Christian rock act, it’s when your song “Bring Me to Life” is parodied by Ben Klein, the “Hassidic Weird Al.” (I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke.)

Klein has also recorded fairly musically-accurate not-quite-parodies of songs by Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Linkin Park, the Plain White T’s, Cascada and Miley Cyrus. What’s YOUR favorite?

Evaluate This: Dating and Constructive Criticism


Last week, I met someone who told me that while he had not met his wife through JDate, but that the process of going out with (200!) women from JDate had made him a better dater. Well, that figures, right? I mean, practice anything 200 times and you’re going to get better at it.  He noted that the process had made him better at his job, too, had trained him to listen better to people, even if he wasn’t overly interested in the subject matter.

But I was more intrigued by his description of his process – that he had obtained feedback even from dud dates that made him able to improve to the point of being able to meet his soulmate. He told me that after any woman told him she didn’t think a next date was a good idea, he told her that he respected her decision, but that if he had done anything that annoyed her, he’d love it if she’d tell him what it was.

I was fascinated, and tried to imagine myself as one of these women. How honest would I be? How sincere would I have thought he was in his “desire to learn”? It made me think of the tongue-in-cheek suggestion I made to friends years ago about handing out evaluations (or sending a surveymonkey link) to dates to enable honest feedback on dating technique and reactions to compatibility based on the dating experience.

While it’s very easy to joke about this, many people do a “post-game” analysis (let’s be optimistic and NOT call it a post-mortem) of their dates: this could include self-assessment (“did I talk/fidget/play with my hair/order/eat too much?” etc.) or sociological observations about behavior of the other person (“did s/he like me, or just tolerate me?” “was that banter or arguing?” etc.). But all of this assessment happens internally: is there a value in externalizing, vocalizing, concretizing this analysis as a way to evaluate performance and potential, and perhaps as a learning tool? And are we all man (or woman) enough to accept the criticism?

Who’s Crazy?: Lessons in Love and Communication


My old “nondating” bloggerfriend Ken Wheaton (who’s got a novel coming out, btw), posted this to Facebook, noting that women are crazy and that he had no idea if this was true or a stunt. So I clicked play hesitantly, prepared to defend the honor of this particular woman and all women everywhere, noting that we are not crazy, or that the whole thing sounded made up to me.

And so it began:

During the Summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to backpack around Europe for 2 weeks. I talked about it often before I left. My girlfriend however, although great in many respects, was not the world’s greatest listener. I left on Friday June 1st. Despite even calling her to say goodbye the night before, she never realized I left. When I arrived home 2 weeks later, I had several emails from her, waiting in my inbox…

On his site, JD notes (about all his content), “All of this is true, or none of it is — whatever you want.

After viewing it, I’m not sure what to think. Is her descent into relationship madness funny/relatable/pathetic? Yes. Are some of her reactions over the top? Of course. Should she have listened when her boyfriend told her he’d be out of town for two weeks? Given. But do we know that said boyfriend is an excellent communicator? Nope, we don’t. And what kind of human being doesn’t check email even once for two whole weeks? I know most people feel we’re too connected these days, but two weeks without phone or email, even to Mom? I don’t know.

Maybe it’s like the statistic quoted in a number of (pre-2001) films, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” which noted that women over 40 were more likely to be killed in a terrorist attack than they were to get married – fictional, but that it doesn’t matter if the story is actually true, as Rosie O’Donnell’s character says in “Sleepless”: it feels true. (But don’t worry: the “doomed spinsters” are getting married, says Newsweek.)

So: crazy? Or not crazy? True? Or just “feels true”? I don’t have answers. But what I do have (without spoiling the ending of the clip) is some idea that when they’re in relationships, people need to communicate more clearly in advance of an absence, and yes – I’ll go out there and say it – even when they’re not absent. Now, watch the clip. Laugh. Think it insane or untrue, or crazy or accurate, but enjoy the outstanding musical accompaniment and the dramatic escalation. (And for more of JD’s stories, check out

JDA Roundup: This Week in Dating and Relationships


Greetings sports fans. Here’s your vital roundup of dating- and relationship-related stories, and yes, even a little humor thrown in at the end.

The Husband, His Wife, and His Other Wife (Her Sister): If you think there’s tough competition in the dating world, at least you’re not married to the same guy your sister is. Brad Greenberg, formerly of the Jewish Journal and the award-winning God Blog, now writes at about such a situation. And no, he’s not the husband in question. But his shock comes not from the prospect of a polygamous relationship featuring two sisters, but at the job the Telegraph reporter did in reporting the story:

While the Telegraph delivered a surprising story here, the reporter for this un-bylined article does a poor job of including the religious context needed for this story. In fact, we’re never even told in this story that the Mormon Church has banned polygamy, only that it is banned in the United States and, apparently, that “Fundamentalist Mormon families” favor polygamy.

She Brought Lewinsky Back (Yeah!): Over at Jewcy, Shula Reinharz gets the credit for bringing everyone’s favorite former White House intern back (a full week before former President Clinton flew over to N. Korea to get two American journalists freed), as the symbol for Jewish women who may have been raised in an overly sexually aggressive manner. In “Sex and the Suburbs,” Prof. Reinharz says that when the Clinton-Lewinsky story broke, she had been focusing on the wrong story.

Everyone was rightly talking about Bill. What he did wrong – and wrong he surely did. But what about Monica? Had she been doing this kind of thing back in Beverly Hills or was this an entirely new extracurricular activity for her? Can we generalize to Jewish girls in Weston or Westfield or Westwood from what Monica was doing in the West Wing?

The piece continues to consider whether today’s young people consider sex to mean only in the non-Clintonian definition, in the process noting that the practice  of oral sex “is so rampant that the Reform Jewish movement has taken it on as a national policy concern.”

I checked that piece of information out on Google, and sure enough there is an article to that effect dated November 19, 2005. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressed 4,200 people in Houston for its biennial convention and explicitly talked about oral sex and hooking up. Bravo, Rabbi Yoffie. For him the issue was that girls are “defining their worth by how they please boys.” The degradation of girls flies in the face of the Reform Movement’s dedication to the equality of women, he said.

Can’t Touch This: And now, from oral sex, we go to the concept of shomer negiah, meaning the abstention from all premarital physical contact with the opposite sex. If you’re shomer negiah and have been looking for a loophole, we’ve got one for you. (Hat tip to Miriam Shaviv at the

And lastly, since this is “J”Daters Anonymous, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring out the J factor by mentioning the imminent arrival of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love (often called the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”). So look for a post about that auspicious day soon.

‘Modern Love': Having Your Own Cyberstalker


Amy Klein (who now writes the illustrated column “True Confessions of an Online Dating Addict“) was an editor at Los Angeles’ Jewish Journal when her stalker announced himself on his blog. From then on, she could rely on (and sometimes fear) his attentions. And, as she admits in this most recent “Modern Love” column, she found it “oddly flattering.”

When you’re a journalist, cataloging the words and actions of others, you believe you are granted a writer’s type of diplomatic immunity — inured to being written about, reported on and critiqued yourself. Well, that’s how it used to be, before the Internet.

As Amy discovered, the internet changed the rules, and some bloggers don’t believe that even these new rules should exist. For bloggers who run on attention, giving them any credence fuels them:

I wasn’t familiar with the ethics of blogging (or lack thereof) in terms of what someone can write about you — without fact-checking or sourcing or the other protections that journalists have in place. It was exasperating to have these random claims and judgments about me out there for anyone to read. But complaining about it, as I discovered, only gave him more material:

“About 10 p.m., I was wandering around when I saw the young female managing editor of The Jewish Journal, Amy Klein, dressed as a black cat. I waved at her and she waved a reproving finger back: ‘Don’t write about me on your blog!’ she reprimanded. Rabbi Wolpe then walked by. Amy said to him, while pointing at me, ‘This man is dangerous. He has this blog where he writes about people.’ ”

Writers want to know that we’re reaching people, that the random letters we string together will form a bridge between us and others, enabling us to connect better with people who are actively part of our present and who may be part of our future. Attention is flattering, but there’s a line of comfort that’s different for everyone. In person, when someone crosses a line, you say no, and that should be respected.

It’s been said that a person’s individual blog provides a space where that person can do whatever she or he wants–this is often articulated as “my blog: my rules.” When there’s this kind of feeling of anonymity/immunity in effect 24/7, why should you guard your tongue? Why shouldn’t you be “real,” or totally unfiltered? Why not say what you mean, when you mean it, and to hell with the world and its rules?

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