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SJ Super 7

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-03-25

Teaching Krusty in synagogues

Krusty the Klown

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: Teaching Torah with The Simpsons, a new club for Jewish motorbike fans, and Mel Gibson makes Chanukah plans…


1 In Krusty we trust: a rabbi in Los Angeles has found a new way to teach Torah – by showing episodes of The Simpsons to his pupils. Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei, is using the episodes as part of a four part seminar entitled The Simpsons From Sinai: A New Look at God, Judaism and the Torah.” I see this class as an opportunity to use a fun medium as a springboard to deeper discussions on Jewish beliefs and values,” he says. Not surprisingly, the episodes featuring Krusty The Klown getting in touch with his Jewish roots are among those being shown. Now please can we have a class like this in the UK?


2. Beach life: SJ’s current favourite CD is Meshugga Beach Party, a compilation of 16 traditional Jewish and Hebrew songs played in ‘surfing’ style. Highlights include a new spin on Hava Nagila which sounds almost scarily like the theme from Pulp Fiction, and – believe it or not – Kol Nidre done surf style. All performed by a five-piece band in big beards – one of whom is a woman and one of whom is apparently of Chinese origin.


3. Born to be, er, Jewish: If you’re a motorbiking member of the tribe, the good news is that there’s now an organisation where you can meet like-minded people – if you live anywhere near Boca Raton that is. King David Bikers meets every Sunday – and everybody’s welcome, regardless of age, marital status or even what sort of bike you have. “As Jews we honour the Lord and as motocycle enthusiasts we respect the road,” says founder Jeff Mustard. To find out more info – including how to set up your own chapter of the organisation – visit


4. Happy as Larry: with Neil Diamond’s remake of The Jazz Singer arriving on DVD, now’s your chance to relive Laurence Olivier’s attempt at playing an Orthodox Jew – namely the character of Cantor Rabinovich, who’s none too pleased when his son (Diamond) turns his back on his promising shul career to become a pop star. OK, so it’s not exactly Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, but he still brings a touch of class to the role.


5. Charlotte’s Sexy send-off: possibly the best line in the last ever episode of Sex And The City, screened in the UK last week, was the moment when Jewish convert Charlotte (Kristin Davis), upon trying (and failing) to adopt a baby, said to husband Harry Goldblatt: “We’re Jews. We’ve been through worse.”


6. Pesach gets funky: looking for a good Pesach gift? Why not try Dancing Matzahman, a cuddly doll in a Matzah-print chef’s outfit who sways to a rewritten version of Dayenu when his foot is pressed. Yours for just $18, from Yussel’s Place (


7. Mel lights the Menorah: Having whipped up a storm of controversy (and huge box office) with The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson already has his eye on filming another Biblical epic – namely, the story of Chanukah. The story that's always fired my imagination is the Book of Maccabees,” Gibson told a radio station in the US – although the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, the first person to speak out against The Passion Of The Christ, is none too keen on the idea of Mel bringing Chanukah to the big screen. “If Gibson dramatises the Maccabean revolution, we’ll probably lose,” he said.