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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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NJOP Dinner

NJOP is the National Jewish Outreach Program. It's Modern Orthodox run, although it's really nondenominational. The idea is that if people want to get in touch with their Judaism, there they are with lessons in basic Hebrew and basic Judaism, beginners' minyanim and Shabbat meals. They're the sponsor of "Shabbat across America", which has synagogues across the spectrum offering a Friday night meal for whoever wants, with the idea that someone might come out of curiosity and leave with something positive.

It's a lot more low-key than Chabad, and I wonder if things would have been different for me if it had been around when I was in college - the Hillel was too far away and Chabad was not what I was looking for.

The husband of one of the couples being honored last night takes a Talmud class with jonbaker. Maybe there were empty seats or maybe Lloyd got a certain number of tickets and, even with his mother and her father and their three very tall sons and one daughter-in-law, had some going spare. Anyway, on Monday he invited us and the others (and their wives) to this dinner, which would otherwise cost us $750 a person. We ARE giving a donation, of course.

The short notice, btw, produced an odd result. We couldn't find our place card. There was nothing for "Baker". But. There was a Debbie and Jonathan (Other Last Name). The other last name belonged to another member of the class. That's just too much of a coincidence and, given the short notice, made sense. Once we got that straightened out, we got to sit with the rest of the class.

Before that happened,though, I wandered through the smorgesbord rooms. Yes, *rooms*. Two mirror image rooms, both with two bars, a sushi station, a panini station, a smoked salmon station, steamers of dumplings (chicken and veg) with sauces, duck wraps, cold cuts, passed trays of sushi, beef rounds, tiny falafel burgers and lamb chops and more things than I can remember.

Jonathan missed that - there was the seat confusion and then he got drafted for an evening service (with the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. Worth missing the smorg, I'd think.)

Especially since he didn't exactly go hungry. There was a trio of cold appetizers (spiced duck breast on a braised fennel and fresh pear salad, Thai beef with jasmine and pistachio rice *and* slices of chicken roulade over yamaguchi) waiting by our places, and before we got a chance to start them, we got the entreés of chateaubriand, bourbon glazed chicken breast, grilled asparagus (so good!) and roasted potatoes. I didn't even touch the chicken, and Jonathan finished my appetizers.

There were the usual round of speeches (for those of us facing away from the front, there were even screens so we didn't have to turn around, plus video presentation of the honorees.) Two of them has such extraordinary faces that I entered descriptions of them in my pda - one was full of the things he'd seen and done, but also of kindness, and the other had this quality of both youth and age, of serenity...

And then there was the Viennese Table, the dessert buffet. Fruit station, chocolate wantons, ice cream, coffee, a brownie bar, cookies, cakes, apple cobble baked in individual china petrie dishes (I shared mine with Jonathan). Tiny lady apples dipped in chocolate. They even suppled plastic boxes so people could take things home.

I did. And brought it to work with me.

And the Waldorf? Is beautiful in that just pre-deco thirties way. Just amazing. all the way around.

(All that food came at a price. 1. The actual cost of the food was $230 a person. They had to say that so that the people who paid would know that part wasn't tax deductible. 2. They hadn't made arrangements with City Harvest (the kosher division, of course) to take the leftovers. *Sigh*. We told Rabbi Buchwald, so we can hope that it will be done better next year. And there were lots of leftovers.)

Comments

Twenties is height of deco, by thirties as wealth fell away, it started to decline, although still strong; last shreds in Forties - e.g. the Princeton library, it's already moving more towards flat facades with echoes of deco.

It's a more geometric evolution from art nouveau. I can see the beginnings of it in, e.g., the drawings of student artists from the late 1890s - early 1900s at Princeton.

whoops, that was me, posting from your side

Is this where you went last night? I was really curious to hear what you thought of last night's House but if you missed it I'll have to wait for the rerun I guess. Glad you had fun!

It's waiting for me on my DVR. I'll be watching it by Sunday.

Toby Katz' husband watched it last night - it featured a frum wedding, where the wife collapses at the wedding. She's also waiting to see it on her VCR. Her husband said it was a sympathetic portrayal.

Well, you know, Princeton has such a big frum community ... not!

It's an alternate universe where Princeton has on-campus fraternites and winter graduation.

Edited at 2008-02-06 07:50 pm (UTC)

Well, the frats are actually on campus, since they don't have their own buildings. They're semi-underground, usually headquartered in someone's large suite in a dorm. There was one suite in Wilson College that was such a HQ.

And NYU doesn't actually have winter graduations, either. If you finish your coursework for some degree in December, as I did, kol hakavod, but you still have to wait for May to get the diploma and attend a graduation if you want to. Does Rutgers?

No ceremony, but yes, you can finish and get your diploma in the winter. I did.

Chocolate wantons... sounds like something in an Isaac Asimov fantasy. "Chocolate covered girls..."

hasssidim on HOUSE MD

sooo like the day after our wedding me and josh were waiting in line in a deli in LA to get some lunch without having ppl sing at us (read- sheva brachos overload) and there was a lady wearing a SAG strikers shirt and I struck up a convo and it was a WRITER FOR HOUSE. AHHHHH!!! Not only that but shes Jewish. And somewhat traditional/observant. And SHE WROTE THE HASSIDIM EPISODE!!!!!
(sorry about all the all caps but this makes me super excited. Josh too, he hugged the lady)

Wow. I've always wondered what the food is at those sorts of dinners. Sounds decadent.