Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No Pot for Pesach....if you're Ashkenazi!

Reuters reports that the Israeli Green Leaf Party has announced that rabbis consider cannibis to be kitniyos, and as such is off-limits to Ashkenazi Jews during Peasch. Kitniyos are foods such as rice, beans, and kasha that are banned rabbinically during Pesach as they are similar to grain products (wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye) which are forbidden by the Torah during Pesach, and may be confused with them. Sefardim never accepted the ban on kitniyos, so it would seem that if you are sefardi, you don't need to worry.

Isreali politics...oy vey!

On a related note, Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkratz, z'l, writes in his "The Laws of Pesach" that cigarettes contain many chometz, kitniyos, and even treif ingredients, that make them forbidden for Pesach and it seems questionable for year round use as well. So perhaps smokers of all kinds should consider making this Pesach a true season of freedom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The End of an Era

Big things are happening in Santa Cruz. Passover is coming up in a couple weeks, which is the celebration of our liberation from bondage in Egypt and our formation as G-d's People; that, everyone most likely knows. But in case you haven't yet heard, it is the end of an era for the Chabad Student Center as well, which is moving from its location of three years at 136 Iowa Drive to a new location on King Street. Here is an excerpt from Rabbi Chein's most recent email, in case you're not pvrivy:
There are some things you always wanted to try out. Life can be busy and those things can be tried out next week. So you wait for next week, and the week after that, and then the week after that…

There is no next week. Following are events that will take place for the LAST TIME EVER at the Iowa Drive Chabad House!

Café Soul – Wednesday 3/14 7:00-8:30

Friday Night Live – Finale 3/16 7:00 – say goodbye to winter quarter, say goodbye to the Iowa Drive Chabad House, say goodbye to a chapter of Jewish history…

…and be there for the opening of a new, bigger and better, chapter of Jewish history: The opening of the new Chabad House on King Street (Chabad Rules – get it?!)

For the first time ever a
Five Star Passover Seder at 1142 King Street – feel the liberation in this regal new location. RSVP now!!!
Crazy. Mazal tov, mazal tov! Continued and increased success.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"The Producers" in Hebrew

I just got back from seeing "The Producers" musical in Hebrew over in Tel Aviv. I have to say that overall I was impressed with the translation but a little disappointed with the production since I had seen a more exciting one back in San Francisco... :)

The interesting part was seeing the level of sensitivity to all Holocaust related material that was quite uncensored in the original movie/musical. Most of the jokes were the same and obviously they still had the big "Springtime for Hitler" dance but at certain points in the play there was no doubt that this was a performance for Israeli Jews.

In some ways it ended up being funnier. While Bialystock and Bloom are pretending to swear a blood oath to protect Hitler's name they spit and mutter "imach shmo" [may his name be erased] under their breath (but loud enough for the audience to hear and appreciate.) At other points the sensitivity proved to be disappointing, since the spinning and dancing in the shape of a swastika was probably my favorite part of the original movie/musical, and it was cut from the Israeli production. Overall the conscientious visuals and dialogues helped add another level of humor and intelligence to an already complex storyline.

If the Jewish people are ready to sit and watch men in tight leather pants with swastikas on their arms dancing on a stage then I think we have reached a very good place in our growth as a people. Tomorrow night my grandparents, both of whom lived through the Holocaust, will be going to see the show. I can't wait to hear what they'll think of it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I'm so excited! I hope everyone is stocking up on alcohol, planning their costumes, and brushing up on hilchos Purim!

Just keep in mind that the mitzvah to get drunk "until you don't know the difference between 'Cursed is Haman and Blessed is Mordechai'" only applies on Purim day, which this year is Sunday, March 4th. Which isn't to say that you can't get drunk on Saturday night; it just won't be a mitzvah.

There are a number of other mitzvahs associated with Purim day. In short they are: "Hear the Megillah (scroll of Esther). Give charity to at least two people. Give a gift basket of food to at least one friend. Feast and Party!" Click here for more information.

Here's the breakdown of Purim events for UCSC students:

Thursday, March 1
Purim Costume Party
10:00 pm - 1:00 am
@ E3 PlayHouse, 435 Front Street
w/ DJ Boaz from Israel, The Sababa Belly Dancers, Food, Drink and Dancing
$3 in advance, $4 at door with costume, $5 at door w/o costume
(sponsored by Hillel, Israel Action Committee, and the Jewish Student Union)

Saturday Night, March 3
Israeli-themed Purim Bash
8:00 pm - 11:30 pm
@ Chabad Student Center, 136 Iowa Drive
Israeli cuisine, hookahs, Israeli music, costume-clad party-goers, and 18 minute Megillah readings every hour on the hour.

Purim Celebration
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
@ 407 Broadway
w/ Traditional Scroll of Esther Reading, potluck desserts and drinks,
live music with The New Holy Shickers
(sponsored by Congregation Kol Tefillah)

Sunday, March 4
Queen Esther’s Brunch
1:00 - 3:30 pm
@ Hillel, 222 Cardiff Place
w/ Esther Reading, Brunch, Drinks, live music with The New Holy Shickers
(sponsored by Hillel, Chabad Student Center, and the Jewish Student Union)

Be happy and be safe!