A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Rolling Stones Concert

Gig Was Least Interesting Happening on Shavuot

Only Rock And Roll: Mick Jagger sings “Angie” during the Shavuot Tel Aviv concert.
Instagram/TheRollingStones
Only Rock And Roll: Mick Jagger sings “Angie” during the Shavuot Tel Aviv concert.

By Tuvia Tenenbom

Published June 05, 2014, issue of June 13, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

On a third floor balcony across the street from me in central Jerusalem, a strange ceremony is taking place. On one side of the balcony stands a heavy-set religious man with a an oversized white dress and a huge black skullcap, and on the other side an attractive young blond woman, dressed in colorful clothes, sits. The man steps over to the lady and puts a towel over her head. Then he walks over to a table in the center of the balcony, takes a frying pan and a huge spoon and walks over to her. He pours liquid over her head, over and over again, and steps back. This process, obviously a ritual, is repeated another four times. Once done, the lady walks back into the inside of the house and the man follows.

This ceremony, done by a rabbi, is one of the newest “miracles” performed for a fee, for the purported purpose of “getting the demons out.”

It is the Eve of Shavuot and it’s recommended, of course, that ladies will celebrate the holiday free of demons.

On the streets nearby, stores close one by one. No one here dares to have his or her store operating on a Jewish holiday. This is God’s city and God doesn’t like people doing business on holidays — unless, of course, they’re getting rid of demons.

Night soon falls and I walk out to the establishments that are open on God’s days: Synagogues. Tonight, Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, is speaking at the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem, and I go to listen. The esteemed rabbi discusses the issue of a “Kushi” (a disparaging term for people with dark skin) who converts to Judaism: What kind of a Jew should the Kushi be? Sephardic or Ashkenazi?

I go to the next synagogue, Jeshurun. Here a Haredi professor discusses children of surrogate mothers. What will happen, asks the esteemed scholar, if either the mother or the surrogate mother is a “Goya” (non-Jew): Will the child be a Jew, or must the “two mothers” be Jewish in order for the child to be recognized as a Jew?

As far as I can tell, on this holiday of Shavuot I’ll either become a learned man or I’ll lose my mind.

I think I should go to Tel Aviv. I need a rest from so much studying. The Rolling Stones are having a concert in Tel Aviv later in the day and I need some fresh air.

The author in front of the Rolling Stones stage.
Tuvia Tenenbom
The author in front of the Rolling Stones stage.

Well, fresh air might be too much to ask today. According to my iPhone, the temperatures now stand at 99 degrees.

My taxi driver, luckily, is in a good mood and he puts on the air conditioner.

I want to go to the Rolling Stones concert, I tell him.

“Who are they?” he asks.

“Rolling Stones! Don’t you know?”

“Who are they?”

“A music band from England.”

“You like music? Good music?”

“Of course!”

“I’ll take you to listen to good music. I’ll turn on the radio for you and you’ll hear the best music there is!”

“What music?”

“Umm Kulthum.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.