1

Oh, Passover…

About 48 hours to go, and although I haven’t quite hit the signs of “too much Passover” yet, I’m getting there.

Literally, I’m thinking about food 24/7, waking up in the night hungry, and pounding down the matzah just wishing I had some hummus. And I can’t even remember the last time I ate hummus.

Anyway, I should probably go and get some reading done for fun in this brief break between writing deadlines.

Keep the faith, celebrate your freedom, and chag same’ach, y’all

2

You’re Never Quite Ready

That’s what my mom says about Passover.

It’s just the weirdest thing, Passover. So, the Jews left Egypt without giving time for their bread to rise. In their honor, we spend 8 days every spring on a modified version of the Atkins diet. No bread, nothing with leavening. Basically, every food worth eating. For some reason, someone decided that rice, corn, and beans – vegetable which undergo the great sin of expanding in water – are a no go as well. This wouldn’t be a huge problem for me, except lately I’m been filling up on comfort foods, living off of sushi, PB&J and tuna sandwiches.

So…what do you do to prepare?

Do you…

…abstain from carbs to train yourself?

…eat normally?

…enjoy as many carbs as you can because this time tomorrow you will be craving them?

I’m all for the third option.

1

The Rising of the Mimouna

Today, I went over to the Gellers to celebrate the end of Passover by eating carbs.

I mean, I did the same last night at Short Stack, against my better judgment, with a pile of chocolate chip pancakes, but this morning had carbs mixed with Moroccan outfits and dancing to ululating music.

Mimouna is a traditional end-of-Passover gathering with music, dancing, and pastries. Ora made crepe-like things called mufletas, which are traditionally eaten with butter and honey, along with waffles, pancakes, and milkshakes. There were only a few people there but it was just fun to be around people and eat delicious foods. I only attended my first mimouna in 2011 in Houston, where it was a much bigger deal, with trays of desserts, a DJ, and hookah, and at that point I wondered where the hell this holiday was my whole life. I’m not of Mizrachi descent, sometimes it’s nice to pretend to be.I mean, I am Jewish after all, and this is just a different type of Judaism.

And any Judaism that involves eating mufletas is fine by me.

2

And It’s Still Passover…

And now that it seems like my blog is entirely about my lack of energy and food qualms, here’s some more about my lack of energy and food qualms.

So, I posted on my Facebook about my misadventures with Passover cooking, and immediately got meal invites (and local ones too…I feel special) so I ended up having dinner at the Gellers’ tonight, and at Rabbi Rebecca’s place for lunch on Saturday. I was going to go over to Hanna’s for dinner tomorrow night, but I don’t think that’s happening anymore due to a change of plan. Still, my stomach’s kinda bleh and it’s been crazy hard to focus. In addition, it just seems like other than a few people, no one is observing Passover around here. I’ve been going to Hillel for lunch, and it’s basically been me, the people who work there, some adults, and maybe one or two other students.

Dinner was fantastic though. Even the matzah tastes better when you’re around a table with 9 other humans (11 if you count the babies). They had some kind of orange soup, delicious baked fish, kugel, vegetarian lasagna, and pound cake, and much fun was had. This weekend is going to be full of work I don’t want to do, but I gots to make the most of it. At least I’ll only have to deal with Passover until Saturday night.

Oh, and despite flagging visitors, I got a six-continent day, so hello North America (USA), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece), Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and India), Africa (South Africa) and Oceania (Australia)!

2

A Riddle for A Wednesday Evening

What comes once a year, takes away your appetite while at the same time enlarging it, makes you about as energetic as a dying slug, gives you pornographic thoughts about donuts, wreaks havoc on your social life, gives you inexplicable itching in weird places and causes you to write annoying riddles and bad poetry?

Passover.

Since the seders last week, I’ve had mushy pasta with gross, smelly tomato sauce; way-too-expensive gefilte fish; soupy mashed potatoes; an extremely dry chicken salad; macaroons that are either too soft or too hard but ultimately too full of calories; couscous with a weird flavor/texture; and way too much matzah.

At least it’ll all be over Saturday.

Also, I realized that I never bought any paper/plastic plates, so I’ve been eating my meals out of cups. Not having plates actually hasn’t been that bad.

0

Contemplating My Crazy Weekend Over Matzah

Well hello everyone. The past 72 hours are almost lost to memory, but in an effort at preserving them, here’s an update on what’s going on in my life, AKA why I’ve been such a slacker of late:

Friday: No class, as usual, but an afternoon rehearsal for Saturday’s ballroom showcase with my partner. Then, at 5:30, we initiated about 20 pledges into APO. Immediately following, I went over to Hanna’s place for the first seder, which was a motley collection of ragtag misfits, including my brother from another mother Raimund; Hanna’s son Josh; his girlfriend, Bobbie; her friend, Becca; Haruki, a Japanese guy who is one of Hanna’s tenants; Esti and Gidon, an Israeli couple; Judy, a flight attendant; Bonnie, who I didn’t get a chance to talk to but had a great voice; Helene, an insurance agent, and her lovely mother, Daisy; and from the band, Nick the sax player and Isham and Ibrahim, two Muslim brothers who play percussion instruments. It was the first time sat between a Christian (Haruki) and a Muslim (Isham) at a seder, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. It really felt like a community dinner, and Hanna was an excellent hostess and provider of tempeh, charoset, chicken, and potatoes. Raimund made a salmon salad and baked potatoes, Helene and Daisy made a TON of matzah balls and soup, and Judy made matzah meal brownies. I’m not used to musical instruments at the seder, but Isham and Ibrahim did a great job on the bongos and the darbouka while Bonnie played the shaker. It was all just so homey and fun, and inclusive without feeling diluted. A fun time was had by all.

Saturday: Up early to work on my paper, then to the SAC at 10:30 to present it. I was on a panel alongside Jo, a speaker from the art department, and a speaker from the gender and women’s studies department. The theme of the session was minority women and performance, with papers delivered about modern Indian theatre (Jo), Navajo textiles (art department woman), antebellum slave narratives (GWS woman), and mine, reimagining the Gypsy woman. Only a few audience members, but it was special all the same.

Then, after a quick lie-down at home, I was back up at 3 to meet my partner at the SERF for an hour of practice. Then, back home to relax a little and gather up my costume and makeup for the dress rehearsal at 5. Dress rehearsal went really well, despite the fact that not everyone was in costume, which kind of defeated the purpose, but whatever. The formation group did a hilarious jive to “Dear Future Husband,” there was a samba round and a waltz formation. Other dances included a paso doble, a Viennese waltz, and a few different jives. My partner and I ended up with a combination of American waltz, International waltz, rumba, and Israeli folk dance. The performance started at 7:30, and we were fourth. It was so much fun, and we got some good applause, as well as good photos and a video that’s already up online ::cough::lastsemesterschachachastillwaiting::cough::

I left at intermission/social dancing to hopefully catch part of Avremel’s seder for the second night of Passover, and actually came right on time, it hadn’t even started yet. It was very different than Hanna’s seder, but just as special. It was very classy, with cake from New York and fresh fruit as a starter, and just so much food: brisket, cabbage, roasted vegetables, and two different kugels. It was shorter than I thought, but there were a lot of really nice and fun people there.

Today: sleep and grade.

Welcome to my crazy life.

8

That’s SoMG: The Curmudgeon of Liechtenstein

Take two!

That’s So Jacob presents:

That’s SoMG: Scandals, Secrets, and Shockers That Will Make You Slap Your Hand Over Your Mouth

Episode 2: The Curmudgeon of Liechtenstein

Germany, 1930s.

This is the story of my great uncle, whom I’ll call Uncle Herschel. Born and raised in Germany, Herschel trained as a telegraph operator before meeting his wife, a lovely lady otherwise known as Aunt Greta. Before the war, they had two children, Bert, who passed away of meningitis at the age of 13, and Rosalind, whom they called Lindy. (All these names are fake, by the way).

Anyway, when the war came to Europe, they sent Lindy away to live with some uncles in Dijon, France, while they weathered the Nazi storm in one of the most unusual places.

locator map of LiechtensteinZámek Vaduz na pohlednici

Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein is a principality with only eleven towns. The entire country could fit inside the District of Columbia. It is so small that the Germans were not even interested in getting involved, which was lucky for Uncle Herschel and Aunt Greta.

Fortunately, as it happened, Uncle Herschel and Aunt Greta managed to secure visas for themselves to leave Liechtenstein and immigrate to America. They first tried to get Lindy to Liechtenstein, but apparently she was recognized on the train and had to return to Dijon. They then attempted to have a hearing for her to get an American visa, which did not happen. It is unclear why Lindy was sent to live in Dijon in the first place, but rumor has it she was messing around with a German soldier. Though Herschel and Greta immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland USA, they did not find out until the war was over that Lindy was among the Jews rounded up at the velodrome at Drancy and shipped to their deaths in Auschwitz. She was in her mid-20s.

Meanwhile, in America, Herschel got into business, and Greta was just…a stay-at-home wife. In no photo was Herschel ever smiling, and he treated Greta horribly. He refused to learn English, saying “let the Americans learn German and French.” Yes, he was that guy. They had no more children, mostly due to what happened one day in the 1960s, when my dad was still a kid.

Aunt Greta was found dead.

One day, she was found outside their home, and no one ever found out how she died. Though it is possible that she fell out of an open third-story window or was pushed, she most likely committed suicide by jumping. Nobody was close with her, not even my grandmother, who got along with pretty much everybody. My dad remembers very little of her, other than the fact that she was quiet and enjoyed knitting.

Uncle Herschel lived until the mid 1970s, and died at a ripe old age.

But mostly, he is remembered for always being grouchy.

The story was much better when my father told it, and we had photographs, postcards, letters from Lindy to her parents in Liechtenstein, including one where she describes wanting to go swimming in the river, but she knows that everyone will watch her and go “who’s that’s crazy person swimming in the river?” (Lindy’s words, not mine). The most unique object in this particular collection was Aunt Greta’s passport. Unlike everything else – the letters, the visas, the photos – for some reason, Aunt Greta’s passport was preserved remarkably well. We passed it around the seder table and marveled; it was as crisp and clean as the day she got it. It looked like it had just come out of the printer, aside from the outdated Nazi stamps and visas for Germany, Liechtenstein, and the USA.

And that’s my one connection to the nation of Liechtenstein.

In other news, the sign I have on my door saying “No Advertisements Please” worked for the first time today, as I came home to find pizza menus sticking out of every door but mine.

And although no Africans came to visit today, cheers to a five continent day: North America (Canada, USA, and Mexico), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Belgium, and Germany), Asia (Israel, India and Taiwan), and Oceania (Australia and Papua New Guinea).