Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Jay Cohen Story

Jay Cohen on “Why Or Hadash?”


Or Hadash is my synagogue of choice because it has a sense of humor.  For me, it began with Rabbi Vivian’s “Shabbat zone” and the human archway created to enter the “zone.” For the first time, I could go to services and zone out. It continued with Rabbi Steven belly dancing with [my wife] Cheryl and doing his first dog naming ceremony for our Peaches. Not to be outdone, Rabbi Josh put on a puppet show for the dogs in the Dog Havurah, who sat in front of him paying more attention than any of the dogs had ever shown their owners.


There was even humor at High Holiday services, including Rick Dzubow’s hilarious speeches and Rabbi Josh’s “Top Tens.”  There are fun havurot like poker; could there be a religious endeavor that’s more fun?  And, there’s Purim, with all of our rabbis happy to humiliate themselves for a laugh. 


The absolute hoot is that I, yes a Bar Mitzvah but, alas, a Hebrew school dropout immediately thereafter, who consistently cut class because I was dropped down a grade when I transferred to another synagogue, who was clipped on the head when I made a mistake in practicing for the Bar Mitzvah, who was a Hebrew speed reader who now can barely read Hebrew, who avoided shul for 20 + years, and who is, yes, part atheist, now stand in line (maybe not after this) to be the next President of Or Hadash.  Now THAT’S a sense of humor!