Ayelet Waldman considers whether Madonna’s children’s books fall within the tradition of “the dreary misery that is the Jewish storybook.” Two of the pop diva’s books, she concludes, won’t become standards. But she wouldn’t be surprised if Yakov and the Seven Thieves became
a staple of Hanukkah gift-giving. It’s a muddled and simplistic story (“when we turn away from our naughty behavior and embrace good deeds, as the thieves did with their prayers, we are turning the key and unlocking the gates of heaven”) but the illustrations are lovely and the title sounds like those of all the other boring Jewish storybooks.
Leaving aside the fishnets and bustiers, has anyone pointed out the absurdity of someone who goes by the name Madonna embracing Jewish mysticism? Yes, I understand that Kabbalah isn’t real Judaism, that it “tak[es] some of [the] sacred books and reduc[es] it to mumbo jumbo, all kinds of hocus-pocus,” but still.
Update: Stephen Power writes, “Jon Stewart had a great bit on Madonna in the holy land, during which he also commented on the irony of someone named Madonna embracing Judaism. You can see it here (after the obligatory Wanda Sykes ad).”