However, this year we talk about a new decision regarding Kosher for Passover food: The Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee for Jewish Laws and Standards passed a resolution in November stating that it is permissible for Ashkenazic Jews (from Eastern-European descent) to eat legumes (or kitniyot) on Passover. This is a new development which reverses an 800 year old edict. How is that going to change things?
And we also talk about the Jewish ritual bath, or mikveh — and how it’s being re-purposed for a new generation. Traditionally used primarily by converts to Judaism to seal the deal and by married women ending their menstrual periods, communities (like ones in Boston and Washington, DC) are encouraging mikveh use for personal transitions and reflection. Listen to find out more…
Hi! Did you miss us? We missed you. Honest. (Although it probably doesn’t seem like it — in that we haven’t posted a new episode for nearly a year…)
So — let’s address that first, shall we?
Faiqa and I (this is Mike/Shiny) absolutely loved what we did on a regular basis — developing and presenting Hey! That’s My Hummus! After a while, however, both of us became quite busy with other responsibilities which were taking up more time, and we simply didn’t have the resources available to continue on a regular basis. There wasn’t a “falling out;” we still talk to each other every so often on Facebook. Our podcast series didn’t get canceled or sold to a media content company (we wish!), nor did we get sued by the hummus lobby.
Recently both of us have been thinking about our partnership — a lot of this has to do with the escalating events occurring in Palestine and Israel over the past several weeks. This is a war for which one of the battlegrounds has been social media: each of us has been experiencing a wide range of posts, videos and articles on our Facebook feeds from all over the spectrum. It has become tense. And when tensions rise, it’s usually an excuse to separate oneself from “the other folks” — making it more difficult for solid communication and understanding to occur between people who share different beliefs.
And that’s one of the things we loved about Hey! That’s My Hummus! We obviously didn’t agree on every single issue. But we could discuss it. Not as emissaries of the Jewish and Muslim communities, but rather as two, multi-faceted individuals seeing this from different vantage points. With that discussion often came different possibilities and understandings rather than the expected party lines.
We truly value what we have. And we look forward to collaborating again in the future. We don’t know when, but we both share an interest in it. It could be weeks. Months. Years. We don’t know. (If someone would like to contribute $250,000 to a Kickstarter fund in our names, I’m sure we could move the schedule up a bit…)
Today our paths crossed in a way which was a bit of an unexpected intersection: Faiqa wrote a powerful blog post discussing what she has been observing this past month — stressing that we need to make a connection to those affected by this tragedy on a human level rather than one of ideals or factions. Read it. I certainly didn’t do it justice in the previous sentence. Within the hour, I had a selection of mine posted to The Listserve, a once-a-day email sent to aboout 24,500 people. I wrote about our personal connection as individuals which stemmed from this podcast. (Hi to those of you who are reading this because of my post.)
The message is clear: now, more than ever, we need to connect. Not as groups. Not as “us vs. them.” As individuals. As humans.
I’m posting my Listserve email here for those of you not on the list. (More after the break…)
The bombings at the Boston Marathon occurred two weeks ago. But law enforcement is continuing to put the pieces together — as is the public. This episode of HTMH has us discussing our impressions and our feelings of what happened.
We usually use this space to ask you to support us by shopping on Amazon by clicking on one of the banners on this site. And you can certainly do so. However, if you have some disposable income, we’d like to encourage you to look at helping the folks in Boston and other tragedies which have occurred over the past few weeks. If you’re looking to help those affected by the tragedy in Boston, you can contribute at http://www.onefundboston.org. During the episode we discuss the fertilizer plant explosion in Western Texas as well; you can help that community through The American Red Cross.
We wish you a Merry Christmas / we wish you a Merry Christmas / we wish you a Merry Christmas and a … wait, whaaaat?
Yes. Christmas. I’m Jewish, she’s Muslim. And this is a Christmas episode. Why? Just because. 🙂
We do, however, talk about a couple of other things: Faiqa (the one who isn’t Jewish) wrote an article about the winter holiday of Hanukkah (the one that is Jewish) — and got some flack about it. And the recent shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT was on our minds as well.
But we end it by celebrating Christmas — yes, Christmas — through a way both of us could connect. How? You’ll see…
Dharun Ravi, a Rutgers student found guilty of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy was sentenced to thirty days in jail and community service this past week. We also discuss an interesting rally at Citi Field where Haredi Jews, an ultra orthodox group, met to discuss the influence of the Internet in their lives.
This week’s show also starts off quite auspiciously when Faiqa forgets to introduce Mike, but makes a brilliant save in the second half.
The Learning Channel debuted the first episode of its eight part series set in Dearborn, Michigan called “All American Muslim.” Mike and I had the chance to screen the first two episodes before they aired, and, of course, you want to know what we think.
In search of brighter days, I ride through the maze of the madness,
Struggle is my address, where pain and crack lives,
Gunshots comin’ from sounds of Blackness,
Given this game with no time to practice,
Born on the Black list, told I’m below average,
A life with no cabbage,
That’s no money if you from where I’m from,
Funny, I just want some of your sun
Dark clouds seem to follow me,
Alcohol that my pops swallowed bottled me,
No apology, I walk with a boulder on my shoulder,
It’s a Cold War – I’m a colder soldier,
Hold the same fight that made Martin Luther the King…
Dark clouds seem to follow me…I just want some of your sun… I mean, wow.
The half a point is for saying “Khan” correctly, BTW.
P.S. We’ve gotten a few responses about listeners “being behind” on listening to the podcast. Just wanted to remind you, this isn’t One Life to Live or something, there’s no real order… you can listen to whatever episode you like whenever you like! We’re always thankful for your support. 🙂
The subject of Bar Mitzvahs has been in my mind lately.
You see — I’m a bar mitzvah tutor for my synagogue. This means that I work with specific 12 year-old kids who are preparing for their own special days. I work with them one-on-one learning the specific tunes for chanting certain parts of the religious service — as well as coaching them on the many lines of Hebrew they have to practice over and over and over again. I meet with them one hour a week, and the true payoff is seeing how much they’ve accomplished over the months when I attend a student’s bar mitzvah.
But it also means I’m usually invited to the party as well — which is pretty cool, too.
And the topic was raised by Rachel of I See What You Meme when she posted a link to a segment of American Public Media’s Marketplace which discussed the trend of “adult bar mitzvah parties.” This is a different phenomenon than adults who have decided, later on in life, to engage in the bar mitzvah ceremony at the synagogue. Nope. This is more of a theme party for adults who want to relive the bar mitzvah party experience. Marketplace cited a Boston Globe cover story from last week about this entitled Let’s Do The Time Warp Again.
The author takes a look at a bunch of hip, trendy, Jewish 26 year-olds who have decided to be nostalgic and host their own theme events where they decide to party like it’s 1998. That was their original bar mitzvah year (when they hit age 13), and this being their thirteenth anniversary of that year, they felt it would be a hoot to relive the bar mitzvah party experience (calling it a Double Bar Mitzvah). Only this time they had more creative control instead of their parents (as they were the ones footing the bill). There would be sign-in boards for guests to sign. Jewish circle hora dancing intertwined with Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5. And the inevitable candle-lighting ceremony where they would thank Great Uncle Lester and Great Aunt Mimi who couldn’t be there in person but are there in spirit nonetheless.
This got me thinking on quite a few different levels: I’m not 26 anymore. And I’m far from hip and trendy. However, I just celebrated by 39th birthday a week ago. That means that I’m celebrating the thirteenth anniversary of the thirteenth anniversary of my bar mitzvah — an even which took place on April 20, 1985! I could, theoretically, throw a triple bar mitzvah!
But wait — is this something I really want to do? What does a bar mitzvah entail anyway? I think the definition has really become unfocused due to the pressure of throwing a great party. So before we go any further, I present a helpful guide for those of you who may be unfamiliar with this coming-of-age ritual.
The “Hey! That’s My Hummus!” Bar Mitzvah FAQ
Q: What does the term bar mitzvah mean, anyway?
A: “Bar” is Aramaic for “son.” “Mitzvah” is Hebrew (and Aramaic) for “commandments.” The bar mitzvah is a coming of age ritual where a Jewish boy comes of age to be bound by the Jewish commandments. Simple as that. The counterpart for Jewish girls is a Batmitzvah, where “bat” is Hebrew for “daughter.” Same general idea.
Q: What’s included in the ritual? How does a Jewish boy become a bar mitzvah?
A: He must adhere to the following steps:
He becomes 13 years old.
Q: You’re kidding me. There must be more to it than that. Doesn’t he have to give a speech? Read from the torah? Sing stuff in Hebrew? Wear one of those prayer shawls? Dance with his grandmother at a party?
A: Nope. He just has to turn 13. Once that happens? He’s bound by the Jewish commandments as an adult. None of the other stuff is necessary for the transformation — but it usually takes place because he can finally take on the obligation of reading from the Torah. Or leading services. Or taking on a more adult role in one of many ways.
Q: What about girls? Do they also just have to turn 13? I heard somewhere that the age for them is 12?
A: The tradition of the bar/bat mitzvah is a relatively recent one (hundreds of years, not thousands of years), and the ages of 13 for boys and 12 for girls was chosen because girls would physically and psychologically mature earlier than boys. In the twentieth century with a more egalitarian acceptance in popular streams of Judaism the age just became 13 for both boys and girls in many communities. You will still find many communities, however, where girls will become bat mitzvah at age 12.
Q: So — what’s the deal with the tradition of the lavish bar mitzvah party?
A: Look — not all of them are like this. It’s a milestone with a celebration. For some families, it’s an all out celebration where the parents want to make sure that it’s the event of the season with a special appearance by 50 Cent. For others? It’s a buffet luncheon at the synagogue with plenty of sponge cake to go around. There’s no specific way one is mandated to celebrate the bar mitzvah. I’ve seen a lot of variations — DJs. Live bands. Klezmer Bands. Free t-shirts for the kids. In 1983 I went to one where the family rented out a Winnebago filled with arcade games. Nowadays one of the perks appears to be paid dancers who accompany the DJs and get the kids up dancing. There could be karaoke. Or a caricature artist. It’s a party — but with a whole bunch of family and friends who usually don’t come together in the same circles. Which makes displays like these all the more fun:
Come to think of it — If I had this going for me at my original bar mitzvah? I’d certainly do it again 13 years later…
We love hummus, but we don't always talk hummus. If a Jew and a Muslim walked into a podcast you get, well... this podcast. This site is a community forum for our podcast which you can listen to here or download on iTunes. If you have interesting stuff to contribute, please let us know via the contact form on our About page.
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