So, Yaakov Rosenblatt decided he needed to tell Sarah Silverman what was wrong with her PSA about the laws being passed to make it harder to vote.
He says his complaint is about her using biblical language to make her point. I think he was upset that she said (in some pretty colorful ways) that these laws were designed to fuck people over. But that critique was lost, in his rant about what was really bothering him… she’s not at home rearing kids and cooking supper, like a good Jewish girl ought to be. See, if she was fulfilled by having a husband, and kids, she wouldn’t be worrying her pretty little head about things like efforts to strip people of the ability to vote; in an admitted attempt to skew the odds of one party winning.
You stand out among comedians because your comedy is sharper than theirs. It is crude and clever, simple and punishing; your perception of the human condition is acute, which is why your punch lines bite deeper and hurt longer. You have a knack for finding faults and inconsistencies in people and blowing them wide open with carefully plotted language and cleverly nuanced pauses.
If I were to be gratuitous, I would say you mock what is imperfect because you know what perfect should look like and you seek the ultimate perfection.
But I won’t be so gratuitous. You are in show biz. I am in the rabbi biz. You entertain people. I serve people. I believe I have your number.
Nope, no passive aggressive bullshit there. His argument really is that if she were trying to have kids she’d be happy, then she wouldn’t be so foul-mouthed, and politically active.
All I ask, respectfully, is that you not use traditional Jewish terminology in your efforts. Because doing so is a lie.
Nothing you say or stand for, Sarah, from your sickening sexual proposal to a Republican donor to your equally vulgar tweet to Mitt Romney, has the slightest thing to do with the most basic of tenets which Judaism has taught the world – that the monogamous relationship is the most meaningful one and that a happy marriage is the key to wholesomeness.
What twaddle. There is no respect there. He’s got no real basis for telling her what to do. He certainly doesn’t have exclusive license on the use of imagery from Exodus when speaking of people being denied rights. It’s not a lie for her to use it. People used exactly that rthetoric to overturn the last instance of Jim Crow laws meant to suppress the vote. It appropriate to use it now.
As you might imagine this has gotten some pushback. Silveraman’s father wrote an open letter in reply, pointing out that among other things, it’s not just “Sarah Silverman, comedian”, but that her family is observant. Yes, Rosenblatt’s orthodox, and wouldn’t recognise her sister’s smicha even if she were a man, but Silverman knew precisely what she was doing.
None of which is all that important. It was this response which caught my attention.
When Sarah Silverman, on video, propositions Sheldon Adelson, using her doggie in mock soft-porn as substitute for the elderly billionaire — that’s humor and acceptable.
When Rabbi Rosenblatt tells Sarah Silverman to get married and have children — that’s an expression of hatred and intolerance.
The question is, why?
I propose that many of the Jewish-American commenters got so upset because the Rabbi crossed a line. But the line he crossed was not about his views on motherhood, but rather his views on the role of the Rabbi and of Judaism.
Judaism, to some of those commenters, belongs locked in a box in a synagogue, and should never be allowed out to offer any moral observations, opinions or guidelines that disagree with the most permissive of Western cultural values.
Bullshit. It’s not that the people who disagree think judaism should be locked in a box. It’s that they don’t. Rosenblatt was telling Silverman he didn’t like the way she was taking Judaism out of the box. Rosenblatt did cross a line. He told another adult they had no right to speak in public because it offended his religious sensibilities. Then he told her to go back to the kitchen and make a sandwich.
UPDATE: I am not likely to say this often, but read the comments in response to the Open Letter.