Bar Mitzvah Boy on America’s Got Talent

Cross-posted to the PopJewish.com blog

Watching Edon Pinchot on “America’s Got Talent” tonight I found myself praying. Not praying that the adorable 14-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippah would win. I was praying that Howie Mandel and Howard Stern wouldn’t make any stupid jokes.

Kudos to Howard Stern for holding back and focusing on young Edon’s singing ability rather than his obvious religion and religious garb.

I guess the other Jewish judge named Howard couldn’t resist. Howie Mandel praised Edon and then asked him if he got a standing ovation at his bar mitzvah too. Not a horrible remark. But then Howie Mandel went the silly pun route and actually said to the young boy, “I said it before and I’ll say it again: From one to another, Jew are terrific!”

Howard Stern came off looking much better by first suggesting he doesn’t use a fog machine and then explaining how impressed he was with Edon’s performance. After an earlier performance Howard Stern criticized Edon for having a whiny voice, but this time around he said the young boy is humble and nice and that “America’s going to fall in love with you.”

Here’s Edon performing on “American’s Got Talent” tonight:

And here’s Edon Pinchot (no relation to Bronson Pinchot — Balki Bartoukomos of “Perfect Strangers”) performing on “American’s Got Talent: Vegas Week”:

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

The Barack Obamulke Yarmulke

There is much discussion about “The Jewish Vote” in the ongoing presidential race. While “Jews for George” made headlines during the 2004 campaign and more Jews than expected voted for McCain in 2008, in the 2012 election the political pundits are already predicting a large shift among Jewish voters, who historically have voted overwhelmingly Democrat.

Aside from polling numbers, another way to determine how the Jewish vote is shaping up will be from yarmulke sales. In the past few presidential elections the nominees from both major parties have had their name and logo embroidered on suede yarmulkes (or kippahs) as one more way for supporters to promote their candidate.

Already, yarmulkes featuring President Obama’s re-election campaign logo are being offered for sale on the Web. The Obama Yarmulkes were famously known as “Obamulkes” when they first appeared in 2007. The ivory suede yarmulkes with the 2012 Obama re-election logo are available for pre-order online or in person at J. Levine Books & Judaica in NYC. Of course, it is being emphasized that these kippahs are made in the USA as it would be scandalous if they were made anywhere else. The yarmulkes are selling for $9 each at Obamulkes.com (with a $5 shipping charge). No doubt they’ll be on the heads of many Obama supporters at the upcoming AIPAC Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center in early March and on college campuses around the country.

Matthew Walters, the creator of the Obamulkes, isn’t naive. He knows that there will be many Jews who aren’t fans of the president and won’t like seeing the Obama re-election campaign logo featured on a Jewish religious item. But he offers a different perspective: “As a Jewish American who’s also a vocal supporter of President Obama, I see the Obamulke yarmulke as a unique conversation starter. With so much at stake at the ballot box in 2012, there’s a real value in wearing your politics on your sleeve — or in this case, keppe (Yiddish for head),” he explains.

During the 2008 campaign, more than 1,500 Obamulkes were delivered to Jewish supporters all around the country, but the most memorable recipient turned out to be Barack Obama himself. “In November 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama came to New York to give an historic speech at the Apollo Theater in Harlem,” Walters remembers. “I had a chance to meet him, so I handed him one of our 2008 Obamulkes. He laughed and showed it to his Secret Service guys. I think he got a little kick out of it.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller