Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh Chanuka!

So last night was the first real night of Mivtzoyim. I went, with several other guys, to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Don't let the name deceive you, it's just a street that's only accessible to buses and bikes with a ton of stores opening onto it. It took us nearly two hours to get there because of terrible traffic. Normally it takes about 35 minutes.
Anyway, there I was standing outside, in ten degree weather, with not-so-great gloves, asking people if they were Jewish. Most just tell me know. Some think they're being hilarious and tell me, "Not today" to which I invariably reply, "How 'bout tomorrow?" If they say "No" again,
then I yell at their retreating backs, "We have openings next week!" A good yell is very therapeutic, I think. And I know that I'll get six comments now asking how I could possibly yell on Mivtzoyim. Well, let me tell you, the only way to do Mivtzoyim when everyone is wearing A. iPod headphones, and B. A scarf, is to yell. My first customer was a non-Jewish guy who wanted to know what the holiday was all about, and so I first explainedChanuka and then gave him a brochure. Next was a woman who actually turned out to be Finnish-Norwegian/Baptist, which I know is strange, but what can you do? So we discussed Judaism a little, including what I do on X-Mas day. Finally a found a Jew. Actually, he came over to me and asked where he could find chocolate coins and Dreidels in downtown? I answered that unfortunately I couldn't help him with those, but did he have a Menorah? Thirty seconds later he did, and the Baptist woman gave me a thumbs up. Turns out he's here on business, and forgot to bring a Menorah. Well, that's what Chabad is for-to send out people like me into the frozen wasteland that is the Twin Cities after 7:00 PM to find Jews. Like (another) guy, also not Jewish, asked me, "Aren't all the Jews inside their houses celebrating Chaunka? Why don't you go home and celebrate?" My answer came a second later, as I accosted a group and asked if any of them were Jewish? "Yes" came the answer from one lady, and I asked if she needed a Menorah. "Not
really" she replied, but when I said they were free she agreed. She was visiting from California, and had also forgotten a Menorah. I asked her why in the world she had come to this frosty corner of G-d's green (in California, that is) world. She didn't have a good answer. I gave another one to a non-Jewish guy who said he'd give it to a friend, and then a deaf guy came over and motioned that he wanted one. I didn't notice the large cross hanging 'round his neck 'till he came back with a note that read, "The spirit of G-d is in you." Well, a nice thought. I found my last customer as I was already walking back to the car, and asked if he was Jewish. He said, looking quite shocked, "How did you know?!" I answered that I have special powers. He persisted, "No, really, how did you know?" And of course, I told him that he has a big nose. He laughed, and took two Menorah's, one for himself and one for a friend. Little does he know that I have no special powers, I just ask every single person. Besides the blacks. Nothing against African-Americans of course, but something tells me that I won't have
too much look with them.
Driving back was fun (ever tried negotiating a parking ramp when your power-steering is shot?) and then came the biggest test of the day. I made Latkes . Unfortunately, we didn't know that there were more potatoes under the box, so we mixed two medium potatoes with some frozen fries, 4 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup Matza Meal, onions, zucchini, salt, and pepper. A carrot in the frying oil to soak up the scum, and there I was, frying up Latkes like nobody's business. They came out nice and fluffy, which admittedly is not how everyone else makes 'em, but that's OK. Even Shillibeer's wife liked 'em, and especially the fact that I washed the dishes afterwards. And that, my friends, was day two. Good stuff, huh?


e said...

Bochur: Excuse me, are you Jewish?
Dude on mivtzoim: How did you know I was Jewish? That's amazing!

Other Bochur: Excuse me, Are you Jewish?
Other Dude on Mivtzoim: What kind of question is that! Of course I'm Jewish!

Bochurim to each other: "???"

Anonymous said...

re: the end of the post: It was good "stuff"? not good "shtuff"?

Just like a guy said...

We all make mistakes...