Columns - 2009

    Atonal Music

    by Doug Brook
    Southern Jewish Life columnist

    Once again, Jews around the world face the High Holy Days careening closer like another Mets All-Star toward the disabled list.

    The season's pinnacle is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonality, so named because the quantity of people at services singing out of tune with each other and themselves is at its annual peak.

    This annual audio assault caused people to lose their appetites and sometimes induced nausea; thus Yom Kippur became a day of fasting. People began to ask forgiveness of their neighbors for their musical offenses, and thus Yom Kippur ended up a day of asking forgiveness.

    With this in mind, and several complaints in hand, this column reviews the top items from the past year that are potentially the most requiring of forgiveness. Some of these items come not from columns, but from Facebook Fan Page entries, so you should become a fan of the Facebook page for The Beholder's Eye, or view those entries at

    In the spirit of being written into the Book of Life for the next year, this is a list of the top eighteen allegeable transgressions:

    #18 -- Insulting the singing ability of Jews worldwide by calling Yom Kippur the Day of Atonality.

    #17 -- Shamelessly plugging the column's Facebook page and internet home, when the thirty-four words involved could have been used for something funnier and equally transgressing.

    #16 -- Calling the weekly Torah portion Ki Teitzei (from Deuteronomy) "bossy" because it singularly includes over seventy of the Torah's 613 commandments.

    #15 -- Giving false hope to single Jewish men out there, by saying that for each of them there's a single Jewish woman who thinks there's no single Jewish men out there.

    #14 -- Calling the early Deuteronomic repetition of The Ten Commandments a "summer rerun."

    #13 -- Asking if a solution for Middle East peace is discovered in Vegas, does it have to stay in Vegas?

    #12 -- Appropriating karate as a rejected Jewish birthright, unsuccessfully passed down by the Big G to Moses via a burning bush which, among other things, Moses tried to extinguish with a canteen filled with water.

    #11 -- Claiming that the Torah reading Ki Tavo (from Deuteronomy) tells of Moses being forbidden from entering The Promised Land because he lost the Key to the Big G's summer home near Lake Tavoe.

    #10 -- Making up a post-Passover housecleaning ritual called Bedikat Matzah, even if it is a whole lot more fun than the pre-Passover housecleaning ritual of Bedikat Chametz in no small part because of the beer involved.

    #9 -- Revealing that the long-lost ritual of Bedikat Matzah was a fabrication. (Or was it?)

    #8 -- Rewriting the Ten Commandments as a pre-nuptial authored by the Big G's girlfriend, entitled "Prevention of Exodus."

    #7 -- Alleging that the aforementioned pre-nup drove the Big G to set a pivotal precedent by smashing two tablets so he could alleviate a headache.

    #6 -- Singing "God Bless America" too slowly during the seventh inning stretch at the San Jose Giants' first Jewish Appreciation Day.

    #5 -- Bringing terrible karma on the twenty-year-old Arena Football League, by alluding to its season hiatus when talking about the Israel Baseball League's recent creation and only slightly more recent demise. Right after the column was printed, the AFL's fate was sealed. Say kaddish for the SaberCats.

    #4 -- Arbitrarily deciding that a good cost-cutting message in this past year's flagging economy would be to merge Christmas and Chanukah into a single holiday, Chrisnukah, and then providing a new history and ritual details for this new holiday.

    #3 -- Providing the purportedly original translation of the Ten Commandments as well as the long-lost Second Ten Commandments, including "Thou shalt not kill a perfectly good weekend."

    #2 -- Dissing Barry M*nilow only three times in print through the course of the year.

    #1 -- Depriving you, both loyal readers, of columns in January and February for reasons that extend far beyond mortal comprehension because they haven't been thought of yet.

    These are the top items from this past year that could most likely necessitate apology. Therefore, this column states with clear conscience, and debatably sound mind and body, that it is sincerely sorry... that you are so sensitive.

    Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley whose new play "Lot in Life", a (mostly) comedic retelling of the story of Lot from the perspective of Lot's Wife, will receive staged readings at the Actors' Theatre (Santa Cruz) the two nights after Yom Kippur. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.