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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.

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Later, Seder

Apologies for my absence, it’s been an insane past few days since I got back home. I think I’ve been awake for less than half of the past 48 hours, during most of which I was getting ready for or participating in two crazy seders.

Seder 1 consisted of 23 people, 21 of whom I was related to and 2 non-relatives. We started at about 7 PM and finished just past midnight. Most of it is a blur because I was so hot most of the time (23 people and a hot stove/oven create a lot of body heat) but my dad made one of the best shticks ever (more on that in a later post), and we had a few funny moments:

  • The candles not staying lit.
  • The annual Kissinger & Passover play interrupted by my cousin’s unsuccessful attempts to unobtrusively open our screen door so he could walk around the house to use the bathroom rather than walking over everyone.
  • The many bathroom trips of my poor uncle, including one where he dropped his yarmulke in the toilet (okay, this one’s not as funny as it is sad).
  • But he did troll us later during the “Echod Mi Yodea” song, which was actually funny.
  • Spectacular Moroccan chicken courtesy of my sister.
  • Dessert. Too much and too good.

Seder 2 consisted of 10 people rather than 11, with one not showing up due to illness (which became part of the night’s running jokes). We started at 8 and ended at about 1 AM. (By the way, I slept until 1 PM that day, and until 10 AM today). Highlights included:

  • Fox showing up, a happy reunion of friends after about two or three years. Seriously, it was amazing to see her again, I can’t believe it actually worked it.
  • It was also Fox’s first seder. I hope we did not scare her too much.
  • A repeat shtick, but it was still good.
  • Altogether, a quieter and more enjoyable time, which has never happened to me before at a second seder.
  • More amazing food, and barely being able to finish it.
  • Kissinger & Passover being on point with Fox as the radio announcer and me as Kissinger.
  • Finding out that Wisconsin made the championship game shortly after seder ended (and managing to forget about the game amidst all the fun).

And now, attempting to catch up on all the schoolwork. This trip was way too short; I think I wore a total of three of the outfits I brought over the last four days, including my pajamas, and I read about 50 pages for pleasure and 50 for school. Tomorrow, I need to get some serious headway into my schoolwork, with two huge deadlines coming up (eek) before I get on a plane to Minneapolis at 7 PM, where I’ll connect to my flight to Madison at 9:49 PM. This time tomorrow I will be back in my apartment, hopefully.

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Children Are Always Cute When Saying the Four Questions

And that’s just about the only time.

Yeah, I’m being serious.

Small children at meals usually mean that I need earplugs and two Advil. There’s just something about their voices screeching in unison at unholy pitches that just goes straight through the brain. With babies it’s somewhat more tolerable, since they don’t know what they’re doing, bless ’em. It’s the walkers-and-talkers who are germ-spreading, attention-seeking little future-people.

But at the Passover seder, it’s different.

The first night, I dined with YJP (which was supposed to be at the Concourse, but ended up moving to Chabad, oddly enough) and there were no children, so that was cool.

The second night, I returned to Chabad for an undergrad seder. Basically, it was four long tables of loud, obnoxious undergrads over whom the rabbi had to shout the seder.

At the normal point, the rabbi asked everyone to quiet down for the Four Questions, which the youngest children traditionally sing. The baby is still a baby, but fortunately most of the wild undergraduate elephants quieted their roar for the shy, overshadowed middle child to say the four questions with the help of his father. The talking got a little louder when the older, outspoken one started to do it double-time, English interspersed with Yiddish, but strangely, I found myself siding with the kid rather than the crowd. Maybe I like the underdog, or maybe I just intensely dislike the JAPs who go to Chabad because a) their parents told them to and b) they’re getting free food. And they’re probably going to hit up Wendy’s or Chipotle at the soonest opportunity. Or maybe because it’s actually a legit part of the seder.

The cool part of the seder was, after dinner, the rabbi directed anyone wishing to sing more songs over to our table. Because that’s how we Chabad regulars roll.

Not a lot of new visitors over the past few days, but welcome to The Bahamas. Bring friends. And now that I have people who actually read/comment…I’m taking suggestions.