Friday, September 30th 2022   |

Ted Roberts – The Scribbler on the Roof (In Memoriam)

THEODORE “TED” ROBERTS was a humorist and writer, who lived in the Deep South of Huntsville, Alabama and wove stories based on his lifelong love of Judaism. Roberts’ collection of columns that ran in the CCJN with his sobriquet “The Scribbler on the Roof,” are archived here in the hopes that reading his homespun brand of Talmud will bring you continued joy and love of Jewish learning and culture. Roberts, 89,  died on March 2, 2020 and was buried in his hometown of Memphis.

Every day is Yom Kippur to Jacob

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Don’t get the wrong idea. I like Jacob. But when the High Holidays near and I think of forgiveness my mind pictures Jacob, our progenitor, as improperly flawed as us. I think he’d be a great neighbor on a barroom stool. Colorful, fascinating conversationalist. And what stories, what adventures he could relate: the stolen birthright story, his mid-level management job with Laban,...

A Fable: Adam sees the light

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Can you imagine Adam – G d’s first human creation in Eden’s green meadow? See him, newly minted. His fresh body gleaming and his mind totally empty of facts, attitudes, opinions – as empty as Eden is of thorn bushes – ready to begin its lifelong task of accumulation of data and weaving that data into an intellect. He turns slowly 360...

Victims become pardoners on the High Holidays

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – as every Jewish child learns in pre-kindergarten – are about forgiveness. Jews of all theological stripes – even those whimsical souls who spread mayo instead of mustard on their pastrami, eat sweet rolls on Passover, and think the Pentateuch is an Olympic event – regard these holy days with extreme gravity.

Actually, the High Holidays, as...

‘Constantine’s Sword’

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

I just finished a book that every Jew should read.  Constantine’s Sword (Constantine was the Roman Emperor who legitimized Christianity as the state religion). The book, though a gold mine of information about the ménage a trois of Judaism, Christianity (then still Jews), and the mighty Roman Empire, has several handicaps that most reviewers ignore.  It contains over a thousands pages. It...

Two Queens: Torah and the Constitution

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

A historical test for our readers:  In the cluttered library of history, what are the two most significant documents that have guided us politically, morally, culturally?  Without too much thought I would  write clearly and crisply in my answer book, The United States Constitution and the Five Books of Moses.  There’s not much room for  argument.  What are the alternatives?  The Magna...

The Seeker

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Since he was of the human race, troubles swarmed around his life like gnats surround a dead crow on the forest floor. The rent was overdue, he had a sciatica pain in his leg, and he owed Shlomo, the bartender, thirty rubles. Even worse, he’d stolen his neighbor’s plow horse.

But none of this mattered when his thoughts strayed to Rachel, his...

Christians and Jews: Faith and forgiveness

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Many bible scholars, both Jewish and Christian, make the obvious point that Christianity stresses forgiveness while Judaism gives it a glance, says it’s a nice thing, but then bounces back to justice, which may include punishment for evil doers, not forgiveness. Yom Kippur brings this difference to the forefront.

After all, Jesus brought atonement for mankind’s original sin. Christianity’s ore is the...

How the Possum got his name

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Have you ever seen a possum?  Maybe not.  But they come to my back door every night and eat the cat food.  The Possum is so ugly she scares the cat.  The cat jumps up in the tree and watches while Miss Possum eats her cat food.  This story explains how Possum got her name.

You see, on the sixth day of...

A heretical view of Tisha B’Av

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

Let’s take a long, hard look at historical reality.  Those ex-slaves called Israelites have escaped their Egyptian prison.  And for the first time – like your six year old toddled off to school alone – in a strange, new world – they wandered eventually into Canaan, a land full of pagan playmates.

The Almighty, who can see beyond the curve of the...

4th of July: Our holiday too

By TED ROBERTS, the SCRIBBLER ON THE ROOF

You know, we Jews have a reputation for mobility. “The Wandering Jew” was a stereotype. In the three millennia or so that we’ve been around we’ve given more business to travel agencies than all other ethnic groups combined from Babylonia to India – from Birmingham, Alabama USA to Petroplavask Russia.

We’ve been around, to say the least. But nowhere have we been...