Tefillin - Poem by gershon hepner
Long abandoned by Bob Dylan,
glory of the Jews, tefillin,
have become the badge of honor
of Material Girl, Madonna.
Above rubies, she with valor
dances with them like a baller-
ina in a goyish gala
dedicated to Kabala.
“Where’s the center? ” you may ask,
as you look behind the mask.
“Far in left field, ” I would say,
“where the rock stars come to pray.”
I have got tefillin, too,
mainly since I am a Jew,
but they feel far more ethereal,
of Madonna the material.
Joseph Berger (“A Jewish Madonna? That Has to Be a Mystery, Right? ” The New York Times, June 18,2004) , writes about the way that Madonna is now wearing tefillin her performances:
On the one hand, she wears a Jewish star, says she attends synagogue, performs with a version of the prayer accessory known as tefillin and with Hebrew letters flashing across a screen, and has let it be known that she won't have concerts on the Jewish Sabbath; Madison Square Garden will be dark tonight and tomorrow. But on the other hand, Madonna is not Jewish. And her name is the least of the problem, although she appears to be addressing that issue as well. In an ABC interview that will be broadcast tonight, she says she has taken on the Hebrew name Esther. But Liz Rosenberg, her spokeswoman, denied that she was dropping the name Madonna. 'Sometimes people have their secret name, a dream name, ' said Ms. Rosenberg, adding: 'If someone calls her Esther she wouldn't turn around.' Given this apparent contradiction, what then, Talmudic dialectic aside, is one to make of Madonna and her infatuation with Judaism, which is on brassy display in her current traveling show, the 'Re-Invention World Tour'? Its opening on the West Coast in May was described by Kelefa Sanneh in The New York Times as 'a dense, dizzying, often incoherent, sometimes exhilarating night.' The show began a six-night stand at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday and continues on Sunday.
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