The Shmooze

A Hebrew School Dropout's Guide To Religion and Weight Loss

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s completely appropriate — and not a little ironic — that Dave Konig’s crisis-of-faith monologue, “Hebrew School Dropout,” is opening off-Broadway at the Actor’s Temple Theater, which is also the functioning synagogue known as Congregation Ezrath Israel. “[I] Love the Actors’ Temple,” Konig wrote the Forward in an e-mail. “You know who used to go there? Two of The Three Stooges!”

Konig’s comic confessional — which opens May 19 after previews and a month of New Jersey tryouts — deals with his conflict as a self-described “lousy Jew” who “never fit in with the other Jews who were also lousy Jews… But it didn’t seem to bother them,” as he laments onstage. Not so for Konig, who not only converted to Catholicism, but ended up a de facto spokesman for the Catholic Church, hosting a radio talk show called “The Catholic Channel” on satellite radio.

“God has a particularly strange sense of humor,” Konig wrote. “But two years of working for the Church was enough to send me running back to temple. No knock on Catholicism itself, which brings peace and joy to so many faithful, but… a very wise man — a fellow comedian (I get most of my spiritual guidance from fellow comedians) — once said to me, ‘God made you a Jew for a reason, now it’s up to you to figure out what that reason is.’” That journey provides most of the fodder for “Hebrew School Dropout,” whose complete title reads “Hebrew School Dropout or: How I Converted From Judaism to Catholicism and Back to Judaism AND Lost Those Stubborn Last Ten Pounds!”

A onetime child actor and longtime television personality — he hosted HBO’s R-rated “HardcoreTV” and the Emmy-winning “Subway Q & A” on New York’s Metro TV cable channel – Konig now occupies what the New York Times called “the show biz D-list,” and sounds like he’s having the time of his life exploring his issues in public. “Because I am — you should pardon the expression — a ham, I’m doing a lot of figuring out on stage,” he wrote. “And so far audiences — Jews and Catholics (and Zoroastrians even) — seem to be enjoying the process with me.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.