By COLlive reporter
A new commercial for the New York Lottery, using humor and exaggeration to portray what money can buy a lucky Powerball winner, might have pushed the line.
The TV spot, created by DDB New York ad agency, shows a man who has the perfect punch lines for any scenario, leaving people laughing hysterically wherever he goes.
In truth, the millionaire has employed a full-time team of comedy writers who feed him the jokes through an earpiece. He is “that kind of rich,” the ad suggests.
One of the millionaire’s punchlines is told to a group of Chassidic looking Jews seated in a deli.
“You’re the herpetologist,” the man tells them from a nearby eating booth, leading them to burst out in laughter.
A COLlive reader said it seemed like they were referring to the ongoing battle between the City of New York and the frum community over a custom of the bris milah (circumcision ceremony).
The City’s Board of Health says metzitzah b’peh (oral suction during the bris) can lead to fatal herpes infection. Rabbis and mohelim say there is no evidence to support that claim.
“This is no laughing matter and it’s even frightening that the government is trying to regulate religious practice,” Rabbi Levi Heber, the director of the International Bris Association, said in response to the Lottery commercial.
Speaking to COLlive, Heber said: “It’s very unfortunate that people are not taking this matter seriously. The City’s meddling in our rituals reminds many of Communist Russia. What’s most ironic is that in Russia today Jews are more free to practice this mitzvah than in Brooklyn.”
But what might be even more ironic is that the ad agency has mistakenly used the term ‘herpetologist’ which is the occupation of a zoologist that specializes in reptiles, amphibians, crocodiles and turtles, with no connection to the herpes disease.
When asked for a comment on Thursday morning, a representative of DDB New York told COLlive.com they will be responding by email. None has been received.