A Rabbi, a Flip Camera & YouTube
06/08/2010 - 11:00
Rabbi Jason Miller
David Nesenoff - Rabbi, Filmmaker, Career Killer
David Nesenoff - Rabbi, Filmmaker, Career Killer

 If the answer is "A Rabbi, a Flip Ultra Video Camera and YouTube," then the question is surely "How did Helen Thomas' career end?"

Aspiring filmmaker Rabbi David Nesenoff, a Conservative rabbi at Long Island's Temple Tikvah Synagogue of Hope, took his Flip video camera and 17-year-old son/webmaster along with him to the White House for last week's annual Jewish American Heritage Month celebration.

The rabbi, who has some experience doing undercover (read: hidden camera) film making, happened to run into journalist Helen Thomas outside the Whitehouse. When asked her views on Israel, the almost 90-year-old Thomas, who is of Lebanese descent, responded without the use of a "politically correct" filter.

Even after an apology and retraction, her employer Hearst News Service forced her into retirement after decades of sitting in the front row of presidential news briefings and press conferences.

Now the camera turns on the rabbi-cum-filmmaker. The less-than-two-minute video that Nesenoff made on his Flip camera has brought down a woman who has been pictured eating her birthday cake with ten American presidents. But, there are also videos now being circulated around the Web of the rabbi doing parodied schtick (comedy) lampooning racial groups including Mexicans.

The blogosphere and Twitter are abuzz about whether Helen Thomas should have been forced to resign, whether Rabbi Nesenoff's humor is any better than the misguided views of an old lady, and whether rabbis should be allowed to post their Flip videos on the Web.

Something tells me that this is far from over and Rabbi Nesenoff's 15 minutes of fame might go into overtime.

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