Top 10 Badass Mah Jongg Jews

Have We Got a List for You, Jeffrey Goldberg!

Sun Tzu’s Jews Sigmund Freud and Judith of Bethulia taking stock of their Pongs and Kongs at the 2013 Miami World Championship of Mah Jongg.
kurt hoffman
Sun Tzu’s Jews Sigmund Freud and Judith of Bethulia taking stock of their Pongs and Kongs at the 2013 Miami World Championship of Mah Jongg.

By Backward Staff

Published May 23, 2013.
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Former Forward staffer, Grumpy Jeffrey Goldberg, thinks that lists of Jews are a bad idea, just because a few white supremacists enjoy using them. And also, because they don’t always include him and/or Natalie Portman.

That’s ridiculous. First of all, Natalie Portman blew a lot of list-ability with “No Strings Attached.” And his logic is totally cockamamie. So white supremacists like lists of Jews. You know who else did? Oskar Schindler. Who, admittedly, was a Nazi, but still.

And you know who else likes lists? Everyone loves lists, Jeffrey Goldberg. Do you think that Buzzfeed is popular because of its investigative journalism and scintillating prose. (Here’s a hint: No.) And if the world is going to make lists of EVERYTHING, why not the Jews? Why aren’t the Jews as good as everyone else? WHY DO YOU HATE JEWS, JEFFREY?

Anyway, pace Jeffrey, here’s another list of Jews. This time the most awesome Jewish Mah Jongg pairings that history could bring us. Because Goldberg telling the Jewish media to stop writing lists is just a cry for help… and for more Jewish lists of Jews.

The 10 Best Ever Jews, and Their Badass Jewish Mah Jongg Partners (with apologies to many previous listmakers: 11 Points, Listverse, Heeb (on sex, natch), Buzzfeed (on politics, natch), the surprisingly comprehensive Adherents and the totally amazing Forward 50)

11 (On the Bench):
Moses and Emma Goldman
He may have been Prince of Egypt, but Moses and Emma Goldman shared the liberator’s nightmare of being stuck in the House of Bondage. And that’s their lot in this Mah Jongg squad. Eager to get to the table, they’re stuck on the bench while Moses turns his staff into a snake and back into a staff, over and over again.

10
Albert Einstein and Judah Maccabee
Albert Einstein worked out relativity before he was 26, even while his full time job was a patent officer and while he had a wife and one year old son at home. If that’s not enough to rob your Kong, Judah Maccabee single-handedly destroyed the local branch of the Seleucid Empire, elephants and all. There don’t be no Mah Jongg championships at the Seleucid Games in Israel every four years.

9
Golda Meir and Abraham
Being as how Abraham was the smasher of idols, inventor of monotheism, talker with the Big Guy and all round founder of what we like to call Yidishkeyt, it needs a strong woman to partner him — not Sarah, his wife, who went along with him calling her his sister when it suited (that whole Abimelech thing). Golda was the original Iron Lady, fourth Prime Minister of Israel, so cool they had to get Ingrid Bergman to play her, and Leonard Nimoy to play her husband. They got the Four Winds covered y’all.

8
Philip Roth and David
Jewry’s lusty lyricists both share an appetite for a turn of phrase, and a turn between the sheets. David displaced Saul, while Roth supplanted Saul Bellow. In between practicing his slingshot with dragon tiles David fought the Philistines, while Phil manfully battled philistine critics. There is, to date, no evidence that Roth has had a rival bumped off so as to bed his wife. But now that he’s stopped writing, he’s also got more free time on his hands, only some of which will be occupied in kicking Chinese tile butt.

7
Rosa Luxemburg and Hank Greenberg
You better be afraid. Very afraid. These be the two that sank the Titanic. What’s that? An iceberg? Greenberg, Iceberg, Luxemburg, Bloomberg, it’s all the same. They be sinking ivory ships — just not on Yom Kippur.

6
Sigmund Freud and Baruch Spinoza
So, Baruch — or should I say Benedict D? — tell me about your childhood? Before you know it we’re deep into repressed memories of Amsterdam parenting and his feelings towards Descartes’ mind-body dualism. Fortunately with the intellect and writing ability that these two bring to the Mah Jongg table it’ll only take a second to psychoanalyze and excommunicate the sh** out of all-comers. Sometimes a chrysanthemum ain’t just a chrysanthemum… if you know what I mean.

5
Karl Marx and Groucho Marx
In facial hair, Groucho favored greasepaint, while Karl preferred a full beard-fro. Karl wanted to overthrow the system through class revolution, while Groucho preferred the comedic anarchy and dizzying wordplay. But under it all, they were brothers in arms — who can watch Groucho insult wealthy dowagers and not recognize him as a true man of the proles? And who can read Marx’s fantasies of a classless worker’s paradise without a bit of a smirk? But when it comes to the dialectical materialism of Mah Jong, these two be serious like Mao Tse Tung at Changchun.

4
Natalie Portman and Jeffrey Goldberg
This team has a serious handle on Prevailing geopolitical Winds because it has one member providing Israel analysis of unparalleled credibility. And it also has Jeffrey Goldberg, who knows a few Jews who control the media. This is the team for Jewish continuity, that’ll have your great great grandchildren’s grandparents playing Mah Jongg long into the future: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

3
Rashi and Daniel Mendoza
The dastardly dusky duo and their Sephardi stylings with the tilings be enough to send Ashkies and Gentiles running like the Four Winds. Don’t mess with Daniel Mendoza, the inventor of boxing, unless you fancy getting your Eyes melded. Like Hillel invented the sandwich, Mendoza taught the Marquis of Queensbury a thing or two. With the father of the Talmud reading the bamboo, it’s time for their opponents to say Chow for now.

2
Judith of Bethulia and Philip Glass
When she heard that the Assyrian warrior who was about to storm her city was a skeeze of the highest order, Judith crept out of Bethulia and into his tent. Then she waited for him to drain skins of mead and beheaded him. She cut his Assyrian head off with his own dang sword. Ain’t no more Assyrians now, baby. With her to cover Philip Glass’s ass, he’s going to make music with repetitive structures of your Little Pongs.

1
Jesus, Ron Jeremy and Walther Benjamin
Separated at birth, the unholy Trinity were nevertheless hewn from the same Hebrew stone. Two of them liked to spend hours naked in public, two of them loved public disputation and all three of them got a particular thrill from pain. You ain’t never going to go home with the North Wind when these Heavenly Orphans start clicking the ivory.


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