A kosher Elvis sandwich

Elvis Presley was known for many things including a peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich. I just made a kosher version of it. Take two slices of challah, a healthy schmear of peanut butter, three strips of bacon, cut off the tip of the banana, and feel guilty for eating it.

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A tale of Sukkos past

 

If you are a Jew, you can skip to the second paragraph.  For the goyim (gentiles) reading this, Sukkos (or Sukkot) is a Jewish Holy Festival where we build and then take our meals in a temporary sukka (or booth) in obedience to the command of G-d in Leviticus 23.  We do this to remember how our ancestors lived in temporary booths in the years following the Egyptian captivity.  You’ll find it mentioned in the Christian scriptures in John 7 as the “Feast of Tabernacles.”  On 15 Tishrei (late September/early October) we start the seven-day festival.  With your introduction to Judaism freshly learned, you may be able to appreciate the brief tale that follows.

I have a funny, if not somewhat sad tale of my first Sukkos away from home. I was a freshman at Rutgers University. I went to the Newark campus which was for commuters only.  Newark, NJ, like many big cities, is mostly paved. A few Jewish students and I tried to erect a sukka in the Rutgers quadrangle without the benefit of soil to stake it in or trees to tie it to. As fate would have it, Sukkos started on a very windy day so our sukka did not survive. I have to wonder if G-d looked down and said, “what schmucks, they don’t even plan to build a proper sukka,” or if He said, “such faith and commitment these kids have, believing that an untethered sukka could stand on a windy day.”

I am looking forward to finding out which of these He said.

What they didn’t teach you in Hebrew School

If you are Jewish, you’ll understand this post.  I don’t know who the author is but my nice Jewish mother sent it to me.

1. The High Holidays have absolutely nothing to do with marijuana.

2. Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.

3. No meal is complete without leftovers.

4. According to Jewish dietary law, pork and shellfish may be eaten only in Chinese restaurants.

5. A shmata is a dress that your husband’s ex is wearing.

6. You need ten men for a minyan, but only four in polyester pants and white shoes for pinochle.

7. One mitzvah can change the world; two will just make you tired.

8. After the destruction of the Second temple , God created Nordstrom’s.

9. Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.

10. Never take a front row seat at a Bris.

11. Next year in Jerusalem . The year after that, how about a nice cruise?

12. Never leave a restaurant empty handed.

13. Spring ahead; fall back – winters in Boca.

14. WASPs leave and never say good-bye; Jews say good-bye and never leave.

15. Always whisper the names of diseases.

16. If it tastes good, it’s probably not kosher.

17. The important Jewish holidays are the ones on which alternate side of the street parking is suspended

18. Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?

19. If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. But if you can afford it, make sure to tell everybody what you paid.

20. Laugh now, but one day you’ll be driving a Lexus and eating dinner at 4:00 PM in Florida .

The Socratic Method

During a recent grad school class, I had occasion to explain what the Socratic Method is.

Please let me explain the Socratic Method.  A few millenia ago, this brilliant kid named Socrates asked my Jewish great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother Channa why he was not being effective as a teacher.  She said, “Socrates, stop kvetching and don’t be such a maven all the time.  All you do is tell everybody everything.  They know more than you give them credit for.  Ask them questions and let them come up with the answers.  From now on, no more telling, just asking.  Ferschtay-zie?”  Socrates thought for a moment and said, “Bubbe Channa, so is it better for a guy with all the answers to ask all the questions?”  She looked him in the eye and said, “what do you think?”  The rest is history.