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Story Notes:
This one was inspired by conversations with Maxine Abbott about how little Judaism plays a role in The Office in spite of the fact that a wide swath of the mishpucha behind the scenes were Jewish, along with a brief joke in the latest chapter of Another First Date. So in other words: Blame Max for this. (Also the High Holidays, the author Paul Goldberg and the showrunner David Weil. Hope everyone’s having a great 5782!)

By the way, did one of you tell NobleLandMermaid I’ve been claiming these publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are my property? Because they’re not. If this gets out, they won’t let me write fanfiction.

If I can’t write fanfiction, what has this all been about? What am I working towards?

We open at RECEPTION. PAM is writing something – well, crossing something out – on a card. PHYLLIS stands next to her, leaning over her computer to read off her screen.

PAM:
I think it’s probably safest just to not mention heaven at all. (She turns toward the partition separating her from ACCOUNTING, craning her head up to make sure ANGELA didn’t catch that.)

PHYLLIS:
Okay. It says here the usual funeral blessing is “baruch atah hashem elocheinu melech haolom dayan ha’emet.” (You don’t need to know Hebrew to know that this is being horribly mispronounced.) “Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, the true Judge.” That sounds nice.

PAM (has turned back to her draft note):
Yeah.

PHYLLIS:
So why not just write that?

PAM (trying to be polite):
Because that’s the blessing rabbis give at the funeral itself, and we’re not at the funeral, or rabbis. (PHYLLIS lifts her eyes skyward. PAM may be right, but they’ve been at this for a while.) Plus, it says further down Reform Jews don’t do that.

PHYLLIS:
Is Simon a Reform Jew?

PAM (looks up from her work, but pointedly not at PHYLLIS):
I really don’t know what that means, Phyllis, so I couldn’t tell you.

PHYLLIS ignores that, and continues to read, raising her eyebrows in excitement as she finds something.

PHYLLIS:
Ooh, look at this! The traditional farewell of Jewish mourners! “May God comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

PAM:
Yeah, I saw that too, but is that appropriate for a non-Jew to say?

PHYLLIS (…okay, fine):
Let me keep reading.

DWIGHT enters the shot on the other side of the RECEPTION desk, in full assistant (to the) regional manager mode.

DWIGHT:
What are you two doing? Phyllis has been away from her desk for a full ten minutes, this had better be work related.

PHYLLIS glares at him.

PAM (looks up to DWIGHT):
Simon’s mom died. We’re trying to figure out the right way to offer condolences to someone Jewish.

DWIGHT (angered by his own ignorance of who on Earth SIMON is):
…if this is a client, then it should be the *sales* staff who…

PAM:
No, *Simon,* Dwight. (DWIGHT’s frustration isn’t covering that he’s drawing a total blank.) The IT guy? (DWIGHT is still coming up with nothing. PAM heaves a quick but long-suffering sigh.) Ear Hair?

DWIGHT:
Of course! Ear Hair! Why didn’t you say so in the first place, Pam? (PAM shoots a look to camera.) You should ask Jim instead of wasting your time with all this.

He lost PAM there. She and the camera look over at JIM, who shakes his head with a standard Jim-smirk.

JIM:
I really have no idea what we should say, Dwight.

DWIGHT:
Aren’t you Jewish?

JIM:
Uh… no?

DWIGHT:
Are you sure? My grandpa Mannheim taught me 17 different signs to identify Jews on sight, and I can see at least 12 of them with you. 13 if we’re getting technical.

JIM is speechless, and directs a deeply alarmed look to the camera to make sure they’re getting this too.

We cut to the CONFERENCE ROOM for a talking head with DWIGHT.

DWIGHT:
(scoffs) Sure, if you’re gonna take the Wiesenthal Center’s word for it. (He shakes his head.) No, Grandpa Mannheim had nothing to do with any of that. He has extremely detailed documentation of his service record, which conclusively proves he spent the entire war with a regular Army unit. (pause) And what’s remarkable is, he doesn’t even need the paperwork! You give him any day between 1941 and 1945, and he can tell you off the top of his head exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing. All just standard soldiering! (admiringly) He truly is a superior man. (Beat to let the audience absorb that.) I mean, his memory is just incredible.

We cut back to RECEPTION, where PAM decides to steer the conversation away from this particular dark road.

PAM:
I think he’d know, Dwight. And I really want to get this right. I don’t think we’ve done a great job making him feel like part of the team.

DWIGHT:
Who, Ear Hair?

CREED (out of the shot):
You really can’t go too far wrong, Patsy. (The camera spins to find him putting something on the copy machine.) Sharing someone’s grief is always a mitzvah.

PAM (um):
Is it?

CREED (punching copy machine buttons):
Of course. Just write “our condolences on our loss. May her memory be a blessing, and may you know no further sorrow.” That’ll get her done.

PAM (surprised but guardedly pleased):
Okay, great. We’ll send that with the flowers.

CREED:
Oh, you don’t want to send flowers.

PAM:
We don’t?

CREED:
Not very Jewish. They’re bright living things, not fit for a solemn occasion. Also, they die quickly, when you’re trying to say their legacy will live on. Did he tell you when the shiva is?

PAM:
…he sent the name of the funeral home?

CREED:
They’ll have the details. If it’s not being catered, a shiva basket should be enough. When did she pass?

PAM:
Last week.

CREED:
Better get a move on. Jews bury the dead quickly, and they may not do the full seven days if they’re not observant.

CREED retrieves his original and copies, and wanders back towards his desk.

PAM and JIM exchange a WTF? look. DWIGHT stares after him in suspicion. PHYLLIS leans back over PAM’s computer, reading.

PHYLLIS (well, how about that?):
Looks mostly right.

We cut to the conference room for a talking head with CREED.

CREED:
No, I’m not a part of any organized religion. I was raised Episcopalian, but I’ve been pronounced dead any number of times. I’ve never seen a warm white light. Or felt the pierce of the Devil’s nails. (pause) But William Charles Schneider? He was ordained as a rabbi after graduating Hebrew College back in the ‘80s. Held the bimah at a small congregation on Miami Beach for about five years. Wonderful group of people. Very understanding about certain recreational activities. (CREED unconsciously runs a hand across his mouth, fingers pinched as if he’s holding a cigarette, or perhaps a cigarette-shaped object. He pauses again.) Not so much about others.

WE cut to CREED in the parking lot, holding in his hands a framed copy of the Metro section of the Miami Herald he clearly retrieved from a *very* messy and overstuffed car. The above-the-fold headline reads “Miami Beach Rabbi Arrested in Food Drive Scam,” with a subhead proclaiming “Schneider Resold Donated Canned Goods, Pocketed Profits”. If you read the photo caption carefully, it appears to raise questions about whether Schneider faked his identity to get the job in the first place.

Creed smiles proudly.

NETWORK NOTES: REJECTED. I don’t know exactly how this is antisemitic, but I’d rather not read the 8,000 think pieces explaining it, either. And *please* stop reminding people beloved weirdo Dwight Schrute is canonically the grandchild of Nazis. But hey, congrats on writing a cold open that’s actually cold open length!

EMAIL FROM EUGENE.STUPNITSKY@NBCUNI.COM TO LEE.EISENBERG@NBCUNI.COM
SUBJECT:
A Shanda fur die Goyim?

Told you they wouldn’t go for it.

EMAIL FROM LEE.EISENBERG@NBCUNI.COM TO EUGENE.STUPNITSKY@NBCUNI.COM
SUBJECT:
Re: A Shanda fur die Goyim?

Geh kaken afen yahn.

Chapter End Notes:
So this is Jewish humor written by a Jewish writer, pretending to be two other Jewish writers drafting a script for a non-Jewish actor playing a non-Jewish character who pretends to be Jewish. It’s best not to think too hard about it.

For the non-obsessive among us: Creed in one episode reveals he has a fake identity named William Charles Schneider, which in a fun trivia bit is the real Creed Bratton’s birth name. While Schneider is often a Jewish name, to the best of my Googling ability Creed is not, in fact, Jewish. Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, on the other hand…

For the obsessive among us: yes, according to WUPHF.com, “Ear Hair” actually preceded Sadiq as the DMS IT guy. Just go with it.

The idea of a single Jewish answer to anything is usually the set-up for a joke, but the info on Jewish mourning practices included is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate. Here’s a quick guide if you need it:

Mensch: Yiddish. A decent and honorable man. Extremely high praise.

Meshuganah: Yiddish. Craziness.

Mispucha: Yiddish. Family. Usually meant literally.

Tsuris: Yiddish. Troubles.

Heaven and Hell: The Jewish conception of the afterlife is a matter of considerable contention. Suffice it to say it is not central to Jewish mourning rituals, and Pam made the right call to avoid mentioning it.

Reform Judaism: one of the major denominations of Judaism, whose religious practice is typically more liberal. It’s… complicated.

Wiesenthal Center: A Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization aimed at combating antisemitism, probably best known for its Holocaust research and efforts to track down Nazi war criminals.

Mitzvah: Hebrew. Literally, commandment. Often used to describe good acts meant to follow those commandments.

Shiva: Traditional Jewish mourning period. Usually seven days, commencing immediately after the burial. Sometimes truncated to three or even one days, in spite of the fact that shiva is literally Hebrew for seven.

Bimah: Hebrew. Pulpit.

A shande fur die goyim: Yiddish. Literally, “a shame before the non-Jews.” A Jew embarrassing himself in a way that casts shame on or reinforces negative stereotypes of Jews in general. Used here sarcastically.

Geh kaken afen yahn: Yiddish. Literally, “go shit in the ocean.” Figuratively, “go fuck yourself.” Heard with alarming frequency around the Darjeelingandcoke household in my early years. Not used here sarcastically.


darjeelingandcoke is the author of 19 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Rejected Cold Opens. The previous story in the series is Dwight Gets Stuck In The Wall. The next story in the series is Let?s Go To The Movies!.

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