Judaism And Justice With A Side Of Fries

by MADDY MADISON · April 22, 2008

jewish bus

When the mobile taco truck, Endless Summer, rolled through my neighborhood bearing chimicangas and enough melted queso to smother Ann Coulter's yapping face (fantasy!), I was pleased. When the MUD truck parked its orange painted goodness on my street, curing all ailments with caffeine, I was thrilled. But on my walk home yesterday, I came across two disturbing sights. Within the course of one hour, I passed a "Mitzvah Tank" and a mobile law office.

As a lapsed Jew with an even more lapsed law degree, I'd like to think I might have just a smidge of extra sympathy for the alternative ways of turning a truck into a buck. But there is nothing kosher about seeing drive-by justice and "Judaism to Go" doled out from something with a muffler. Like condoms and sushi, you get what you pay for. BUT even with lawyers and rabbis with questionable motives behind the wheel, I couldn't steer clear. So I stormed the Mitzvah Tank.

Well, actually, it was more like being ushered into a secret Masonic ritual while being seduced with snack food. And, no, there weren't any bagels. Bigot. Instead, I was asked if I was Jewish by a bunch of black-garbed ultra-orthodox guys and told to begin by singing some Hebrew song. Begin what exactly...A credit check? A portrait sitting? My conversion from smug, satisfied atheist to devout Super-Jew?

The answer to all three would be Yes if they ended the whole bizarre affair by driving their tank directly through (not to) Katz's . Half a pastrami on rye and I'd be straight. As it turns out, my Hebrew was rustier than Hillary's jaw at the Pennsylvania debates and, being a female, my only real use to orthodox religious groups (of any kind, really) is to pop out little, squirming minions. No need to waste their time on me. All of which was convenient timing because just then, a nice Jewish boy from Long Island walked by and they knew they'd hit the mother lode. I was history and will never enter an RV with old men bearing Nacho Cheese Doritos ever again. Unless it's Cool Ranch.