Tofu Turns You Gay, According to Yeshiva

This Rabbi definitely doesn’t eat Tofu. No sirree.

Taking a page from the Ron Swanson Book of Culinary Arts, Gur hasids in Brooklyn have banned soy products from their yeshiva over fears it might make younger students too hot and sexy and lady-like, turning on older students and Rabbis. Seriously. According to FailedMessiah.com:

Gur has now banned soy products like veggie hot dogs from its yeshivas due rabbis’ fears that the hormones in soy foods will cause the bodies of young teen students to become feminine in appearance and thereby cause their rabbis and older students to become sexually aroused seeing them.

Eating extremely large amounts of soy products on a daily basis over a very prolonged period of time can in some cases cause men to begin to develop breasts. But the amount of soy needed to be consumed for that to happen is well beyond the amount an average person would ever consume, and even then the reaction is rare.

Science!

UPDATE: This is BS, probably!

Your Weekend Guide to Jews in the Wild

Shamelessly taken from Gothamist

If you intend to be out and about in New York City this weekend, you MAY run into some of what many people called “Hasidic Jews.” You’ll recognize these creatures by their ubiquitous black hats, beards, and forelocks. When you see them, you may freeze, unaware how to act among these strange individuals. Never fear! Gothamist has you covered:

[The] Jews have also survived under such difficult circumstances by getting along well with their neighbors, treating them fairly in business, and establishing mutually rewarding personal relationships. Sure, it may take more time for you to make your first Orthodox pal, but if Shmuley Boteach and Cory Booker can be best friends, you can probably get to at least a first name basis with your local Kosher butcher. Try starting with a friendly “Hello! How is the chicken liver today?”

No, but seriously, read the link. It’s actually a pretty thoughtful dive into the history of Orthodox Jews in New York.

Also, be sure to tell them about my podcast.

Is Your Jewdar Working?

In this interview in the Forward, those Hasidic guys who bug people on the streets of New York asking if they’re Jewish explain how they know who’s Jewish and who’s not:

First, said Yisroel, “we call it ‘racial profiling.’ Who looks Jewish?” (When asked to clarify later, Yisroel says it’s not about the nose — a “broad, clear forehead with no creases” indicates a non-Jew, while Jews’ foreheads are sometimes lined.) Next is detecting a subtle vibe of recognition, a process that Levi calls “bageling.” Third is playing the statistics game. One out of every five people in New York City are Jewish, said Yisroel. If you exclude African Americans and Asians, your odds are closer to one in three.

I’m not sure what “bageling” is, but I claim to have a very highly-attuned Jewdar. Mostly, if a girl is wearing long sleeves under a short sleeve shirt in the summer, or a group of non-athletic guys is wearing baseball caps, they’re probably Jewish. Or, if a guy looks anything like me, he’s probably Jewish.

Swinging Chickens

Yom Kippur is tonight. Most of you probably know that means observant Jews will stop eating, drinking, bathing, fucking, and wearing hedonistic leather and head to synagogue for the next 25 hours to pray their guts out. What you might not know is that some of them will be swinging live chickens over their heads to atone for their sins in a ritual call kapparot.

If you’re a bit weirded out it’s because the custom is a bit weird. Episode 5 guest Esther Werdiger, who hangs out somewhere on the Orthodox spectrum, grabbled with this ritual in a beautiful post on Tablet:

I’ve done kapparot in gardens, slaughterhouses, city streets, and shul parking lots. I’ve done it with my family, with other peoples’ families, with friends, and alone. I’ve done it during the day, before sunrise, and in the middle of the night. I’ve followed the ritual with vows to never eat chicken again, and I’ve also followed the ritual with a meal of chicken. But the thing is, I hate kapparot. It’s a jarring and nauseating experience—extremely unpleasant, to say the least.

For Esther, kapparot is an incredibly complicated practice. It’s at once extremely upsetting, an entree into the world of ethical consumption, and a way to connect with the vanishing past of her lineage. But don’t take my word for it, go read the article.

The Only Way to Fly

Chasid-in-a-bag

Well, this definitely isn’t in the Torah. Yesterday, a redditor posted this image of a Chasid wrapped in a plastic bag aboard an airplane. The poster assumed it was to avoid touching women, which while TOTALLY INSANE, is not really that crazy an assumption. Another was quick to point out that this was likely a Kohen (or priest) protecting himself from the impurity he’d pick up from flying 40,000 feet over a cemetary. And that this solution was prescribed by the venerable Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv. OK!

Isn’t kind of a suffocation hazard? What will this dude say when his children start hanging out in plastic bags and tell him “we learned it from watching YOU!”?