Strange Entries in the Annals of Conversion

By Jason Hernandez Rosenblatt

Published March 10, 2006, issue of March 10, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Last Thursday, at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York (not to be confused with a secret shed behind Bill and Hillary’s Chappaqua home), jailed rapper Shyne (né Jamaal Michael Barrow) assumed the name Moses Michael Leviy after a jailhouse conversion to Judaism. Having recently come to believe that he was descended from Ethiopian Jews, the Belize-born rhymer went as far as taking out a classified ad in the New York Post to make it all official.

The chart-topping rapper was imprisoned after a well-publicized 1999 incident involving Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jennifer “Jenny from the Block” Lopez in which three people were shot in a Times Square nightclub. One unlucky woman caught a Dick Cheney special right in the kisser; Shyne caught a 10-year prison term. Super-celebrity has its privileges; Jenny and Diddy got off scot-free.

Speaking of super celebrity, in the Holy Land last week her Madgesty, Madonna (who has changed her name to Esther, but has — as of yet — not converted to Judaism) took some time out of her busy schedule of pushing Kabbalah to the likes of Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher and decided to buy an Israeli home in order have a place in the Holy Land when the Messiah arrives.

This news was overshadowed, however, when Baruch Marzel, chairman of Israel’s United Jewish Front party, published an open letter calling on Israeli model and former Miss World Linor Abargil to turn down a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Lithuanian basketball player Sarunas Jasikevicius, who led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli league championship two years in a row and now comes off the bench for the Indiana Pacers.

Instead of embracing Israel’s version of the Beckhams, Marzel declared that by marrying Jasikevicius, Abargil would be “divorcing the people of Israel as well as her family.” Marzel ended his letter with what must be considered one of the weakest pick-up-lines of all time: “If you wish to be informed of the dangers associated with marrying gentiles,” Marzel wrote, “I am leaving my cell phone number. Please call me any time and I shall help you.”

The solution to all this is, of course, clear: Abargil should just marry Shyne in a ceremony presided over by Madonna.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.