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It's not Shabbis.
That's how I greet people. It's a shul. It makes people feel good when they hear 'Good Shabbis.'
But it's not Shabbis.
Because you're not religious.
But I am religious.
If you don't say 'Good Shabbis,' you're not religious. If you say 'Shabbat Shalom' and you don't live in Israel...
Let's talk about you. We can talk about my connection with Gd later. Though, I feel very judged right now, for using Hebrew as a Jew.
Do you want to be called the Gabai or the Sexton?
What's your job?
I work in the shmata business. I sell rags. Used rags.
What's your job as the Gabai?
Everything the rabbi doesn't do.
What does that consist of?
Everything. The rabbi does nothing. Ask any congregant in this shul. The rabbi does nothing.
Then why do you pay him?
He leads the services. He gives speeches. He counsels people. He consols people. He's the rabbi.
So he does a lot.
He does nothing.
What is your main job?
Selling shmatas. I actually started my own line. Shamatas for Jew. Was going to say 'for you.' People love that pun. Jew instead of you.
It's not a pun.
What's your main job, that the rabbi doesn't do?
I call the people up to the Torah. I choose them. And then I call them up. I'm very important.
Do you also say the blessing?
No. They don't trust me with that.
Why don't they pay you?
My mom always said, 'A good Jew shouldn't work with Jews.' So, I don't get paid and I yell at them.
How do you choose who to call up?
Money. If they have money.
How do you tell?
If they're giving money to Tzedakah. I wait till the charity Pushke box comes out. Then I make my decision. I never call up somebody who puts coins in the Pushke. Only dollar bills.
You watch them?
Yes I do. This helps me with the Shmatas. I know who can afford a decent Shmata.
But they can't give money on Shabbat. How do you tell on Shabbat?
Usually, I base it on their clothes. If they have a nice tie. That's how I choose.
If somebody doesn't have nice shoes, there's no way they're going to donate anything to the shul. I don't call them up. Even if they say a Mishebeyrach. They're going to forget to pay after Shabbis.
Who do you not call up?
Anybody with penny loafers.
They haven't bought new shoes in thirty years. The shul can't invest in Aliyahs like that.
No loafers are allowed on my Bima. If they wear the loafers because they sail, then I know they're not religious.
What's the Bima?
You're standing on it.
Do you ever call up non-religious people to the Torah?
If they have a lot of money.
Would you consider calling up somebody who doesn't have money?
If he has good stock tips. That's the only way.
Do people ever get mad at you?
All the time.
How do you choose who opens the ark?
If they seem to have pulling capabilities. I never call up Max. He always pulls the left string. He can be closing the ark for ten minutes. My job is to get people up to the Torah and get them out.
How do you pick the person for Galilah, to roll the Torah?
If they're very weak. If they can't lift a Torah, I call them up for Galilah and tell them to start hitting the gym.
It's pathetic to have these weak guys in shul. They don't even learn Torah. If they're learning, then they have a reason to not workout. And I get kickbacks from the trainer.
Any advice for the Jewish people?
Don't be like Mr. Himelstein. He's annoying and always complains about who I'm calling up to the Torah. Tell Mr. Himlestein to invest his money better, and he'll get an Aliyah.
And workout. We have enough weak people to do Galilah.
Good Yom Tif.
Author's Thoughts on Interview
Being told 'Good Shabbis' did make me feel good. It made me feel like I was a good Jew, even in the middle of the week. Then the 'Good Yom Tif' was a topper. Everybody likes the holidays.
This Gabai knows how to make people feel good. He also knows how to make people feel bad. Being told I wasn't a good religious Jew didn't make me feel good.
It's great to have learned the methods behind why he doesn't call up people. I'm not setting up Chanan. He hasn't been called up for an Aliyah since his Bar Mitzvah. He definitely doesn't have a good job. I'm sure the Gabai's seen his tax returns.
I now understand why the rabbi wants out of the shul.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.