Friday, February 24, 2006

Beware of the War Against Our Potato Latkes

Beware of the War Against Our Potato Latkes

Jewish Journal North of Boston
December 31, 2005

December was not the best month for me this year.

Every day I kept hearing about the people engaged in destroying Christmas. All I heard was that “they” were doing it and I was becoming certain that “they” meant me, a Jew, along with all the other Jews.

On Nov. 28, my birthday no less, FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, the reigning king of self-righteous hyperbole, ranted about Christian philosophy being diminished by “secular progressives” operating under “a very secret plan.”

Two weeks before that, Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (R-VA) said, “Christmas had been declared politically incorrect,” and proposed a resolution to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas. To which Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) asked: “Did somebody mug Santa Claus?” And Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) composed a poem stating, “we [Congresspeople] need a distraction, something divisive and wily, a fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly. We will pretend Christmas is under attack, hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back.” The measure passed overwhelmingly.

Crazy? Yes. But, those TV and radio personalities gain fame and income, as in the sales receipts for this season’s popular book, “The War on Christmas,” by John Gibson, another FOX News showpiece.

Yet, funny but sad, a few Jews have joined the Christian zealots (I am not making this up) in an apologia for other Jews. They call themselves the Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation (JAACD) and Don Feder, former Boston Herald columnist, is its president. Other wilted luminaries include ZOA President Morton Klein and comic Jackie Mason.

Shame on them for trying to kasher a war against opponents of Christmas where no war really exists.

I have an idea. We Jews need a conspiracy theory so we can have our own December diversion and maybe a new job for me. So here goes.

Issue: They have a secret plan to remove potato latkes from our American Chanukah holiday. That’s right, the plan replaces our sacred potato latkes, the religious gourmet delicacy of our foremothers, recipes carried on parchment on slow boats from Eastern Europe. The replacement: Israeli sufganiot (jelly doughnuts).

Don’t believe me? Go to Israel during Hanukah and you will find a mountain of sufganiot and just a tiny hill of latkes.
Why jelly doughnuts? Both jelly doughnuts and latkes are made with lots of oil, symbolizing the miracle of one day’s oil lasting eight days.

The few Israeli latkes that surface from clandestine frying pans are often so tasteless that the gourmet Israeli palette rejects them. The pro-sufganiot zealots are now heading for America, with the help of local Jews.

Check out the advertisements from Larry Levine and the Butcherie in the Jewish Journal’s Dec. 16 edition. Both are marvelous stores. Neither advertisement mentions sufganiot but both promise (and deliver) great latkes.

But, check out the Butcherie advertisement in the Boston Jewish Advocate the same week and find under latkes, a line (OK, half the size) selling sufganiot. Why sufganiot in one paper and not the other?

Because, when Brookline and Newton — cities known for Jewish success and accomplishment — embrace jelly doughnuts, the communities north of Boston will follow.

The worry: Within five years, all New England Jews will walk around with powdered sugar on their lips. Our sensuous onion-potato smell will have disappeared. The sufganiot takeover will be complete.

To counteract this, the major goal of my newly-formed organization (please send me your contribution) will be to convince Dunkin’ Donuts to market a whole range of flavorful latkes next year and to make no mention of sufganiot.

Bless O’Reilly and his cohorts, who have inspired the making of something out of nothing, regargless of how much negative tension it produces. Happy Chanukah.


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