Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yo, Rebbe!

The first few paragraphs of Dina Kraft’s report from Jerusalem for The New York Times tell you all you need to know:

The tall man in the velvet fedora and knee-length black jacket with ritual fringes peeking out takes long, swift strides toward the Western Wall. It’s late in the day, and he does not want to miss afternoon prayers at Judaism’s holiest site.

“We have to get there before the sun goes down,” he says, his stare fixed behind a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, the first clue that this is no ordinary Jerusalem man of God. It’s the rapper Shyne, the Sean Combs protégé who served almost nine years in New York prisons for opening fire in a nightclub in 1999 during an evening out with Mr. Combs and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lopez.

“My entire life screams that I have a Jewish neshama,” he said, using the Hebrew word for soul.

Living as Moses Levi, an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem (he legally changed his name from Jamal Barrow), he shuttles between sessions of Talmud study with some of the most religiously stringent rabbis in the city and preparations for a musical comeback.

I suspect that all four of my grandparents would have reacted to this story the same way.  First would come the reflex response of “Meshugge!”  This would probably then be followed by the same sentence invoked as a response when the capital city of Ireland happened to elect a Jew to serve as Lord Mayor:

Only in America!

Those seeking further goodies (like “There’s nothing in the Chumash that says I can’t drive a Lamborghini”) will probably enjoy reading this article in its entirety.

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