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!
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • 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.