7 ways to celebrate Cupid’s birthday if you’re an MOT
Valentine’s Day, much like Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day, is one of those hazy holidays that has lost most (if not all) of its religious significance; it has fallen into the commercial camp, focusing on the joys of ingesting sugar and donning a festive outfit rather than its dimming church roots. While all of these annual festivities have historic origins, most who celebrate V-Day or All Hallow’s Eve these days opt for the contemporary adaptations. And even though Valentine’s Day is more secular than ever, there are some of the Jewish faith who feel Cupid’s birthday leaves them out in the romantic cold. Cue Tu b’Av, the Jewish holiday of love celebrated largely in Israel … but that doesn’t happen until summer. So to help MOTs get into the love-struck spirit of Feb. 14, we’ve come up with ways to celebrate the holiday — but with a Jewish twist.
1. Listen to Scarlett Johansson’s saucy reading of the Old Testament. OK, we understand that, at first, the idea of listening to Bible passages may not sound like the most titillating activity. But when you hear Johannson’s breathy, husky voice delivering the ancient text on Mike O’Brien’s “Sexy Bible” show, you just may find yourself singing, “Torah Tziva Lanu” at the top of your lungs.
2. Play “My Funny Valentine” on repeat. The 1937 song is a classic that’s been performed countless times by hundreds of artists (trumpeter Miles Davis has the classic jazz version), and guess who wrote it? Two MOTs: Richard Rodgers composed the music and Lorenz Hart wrote the lyrics for their musical “Babes in Arms.” The sweet, humorous ditty will have you in the holiday spirit. If you really want to up the Jewish ante, listen to the Barbra Streisand version.
3. Watch “The Way We Were.” Speaking of Babs, the Jewish queen of song will get you where it hurts (in a cathartic, romantic sort of way) in the 1973 drama that she stars in with Robert Redford. The Academy Award-winning film offers a potpourri of ingredients: romance, comedy, heartache, politics and, of course, Streisand as a stridently vocal Marxist Jew rocking an amazing head of hair.
4. Take in Lin-Manuel Miranda singing “To Life.” No, you’re not getting your musical confused. The “Hamilton” creator serenaded his brand-new wife with a surprise performance of the iconic “Fiddler on the Roof” song at the couple’s wedding reception. We don’t know what is better, Miranda singing in Hebrew or the fact that he choreographed the grand, romantic gesture with the bride’s father and friends beforehand, pulling off the best wedding toast of time. What a romantic mensch.
5. Watch Mike Nichols and Elaine May clips. For those who aren’t familiar with the comedic duo, Nichols and May were a popular improvisation comedy act (if you’re wondering if they were good they won a Grammy for Best Comedy Performance). Oh, and Nichols directed little-known flicks like “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and May wrote “The Birdcage” and “Primary Colors.” For many, laughter is the way to the heart, and this Jewish pair will unleash the giddiness and set the mood for an evening of whimsy.
6. Eat Moses. Don’t worry: this is a lot less scary and a lot more delicious than it sounds. East Village chocolatier, Bond Street Chocolate, takes the religious experience of consuming chocolate to the next level with their sugary, edible sculptures of holy figures, including the one and only Moses. And for the ultimate bonus: the cocoa figurines are kosher.
7. Drink wine. When in doubt, start pouring. (And what’s more Jewish than a celebratory l’chaim?) Enjoy this new kosher Kiwi, O’Dwyer’s Creek Pinot Noir, a red from New Zealand that will pair delectably with an absurd amount of chocolate (a cliché we can get behind) … or if you’re feeling extra festive, pick one of these kosher edition bubblies for a sprightly champagne toast.
Valentine's Day 2017