December 25, 2013, Marlboro, NJ – Hundreds of local rabbis, cantors, and esteemed members of the Judaic community have sold out every showing of Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas as well as every 6pm to 8pm reservation in Chinese restaurants all across the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boynton Beach areas. While 99.7% of Americans celebrate the most festive and anticipated holiday of the year with family and friends, Jewish clergymen use Christmas Day as a day to enjoy guilty pleasures such as Tyler Perry’s movies as well as Chinese culinary delights like shrimp fried rice and moo shoo pork without the fear of being judged by non-Jews in their communities.
Rabbi Jakob Fishman of Congregation Beth El in Lakewood, NJ circles Christmas Day the second he opens his new “Hottest Girls of Hooters” calendar every year. To him, it not only signifies a day where billions of people worldwide celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, the Savior but more importantly, it’s a day when he and his Rabbinical college buddies can get together, let their payis down, and just enjoy some fine cinema and good old Chinese food while enjoying each other’s company. “We’ve been doing this for the past fifteen or twenty years,” explained Fishman. “We try to see a Tyler Perry film since his characters are so relatable to us on just so many levels, but this year a bunch of my friends had to see Madea’s Witness Protection at the dollar theater instead since most of Madea Christmas tickets were sold out months in advance. Still a great movie but seen it a dozen times.”
Beginning in 1992 with the straight-to-video release of Madea’s Family Reunion, Rabbis have found a common bond with the cross-dressing Perry character, a tough woman known to stand up for what’s right whether it’s her business or not. More often than not it seems as Madea (real name Mabel Simmons) gets mixed up in some wacky hijinks that only she can talk herself out of with great wisdom and well-meaning intention. Tenafly, NJ Rabbi Isaac Solomon explains the obvious attraction. “It’s like Mr. Perry created this character just for us. I’m pretty sure we’re his target demographic. I can’t tell you how many times I involve myself in someone’s affairs that I have no business being a part of. Just like Madea!!! For example, a couple months ago I stuck my nose into a situation where a man was cheating on his wife with several members of the congregation who were very generous benefactors toward the temple. I turned to G-d for guidance but after my prayers weren’t answered, I remembered a rather poignant quote from Madea Goes To Jail. She said, wait…is it he or she? Anyway, Madea said ‘Well when you gettin’ got and somebody done got you and you go get them, when you get em’, everybody’s gon’ get got.’ From then on, everything made sense. I was able to help the husband cut down from four to three girlfriends while still getting the maximum allowable donations allowed under New Jersey tax law from the remaining three ladies. Thanks, Madea!”
After enjoying an afternoon of hysterical laughter courtesy of Tyler Perry, most rabbis race to the closest Chinese restaurant to fill up on a year’s worth of pork and shrimp delicacies. According to Kashrut, the set of Jewish dietary laws, kosher-keeping Jews are prohibited from the consumption of unclean animals such as shellfish and swine. This law, which dates back through thousands of years of rich Jewish history, is tossed aside like a week-old challah on Christmas Day each and every year.
Owner of Hunan D-Lite in Boynton Beach, FL, Jian “Jerry” Li usually ups his pork and shellfish order from Sysco 500-600% in order to satisfy the carnal cravings of South Florida’s ravenous rabbis. “I don’t see nobody all year long. Then a few years ago, all these men in suits with big beards come into my restaurant and order every pork dish on the menu. It look like some kind of Santa Claus party. I run out of pork, shrimp and lobster by 5:30. They kvetch and kvetch so now I order enough to make everyone happy. I pick up some of their language, too,” Li explained.
“The best part of the whole day is when people tell their friends that they see a bunch of us rabbis at the Tyler Perry movie or eating pork fried rice at the neighborhood Chinese place. Their friends think they’re meshuggina (crazy)! Who would believe such a thing? Oy Vey!!” exclaimed Rabbi Rebecca Morgenstern of the Temple at Woodmere.
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