It was a balmy night, and the night air was thick and barely breathable, like a polluted milkshake. But dipping into wellsprings of courage and driven by a desire to reconnect with visiting dignitaries, braving obscene humidity; extreme exhaustion; light, semi-baptismal rain; and poor directions, they came from the four corners of the world: Jerusalem, Montreal, the Upper West Side, and New Brunswick. Their destination: a lounge on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, for the Spontaneous 2005 Jewlicious Leadership Summit. The Occasionally Fantastic Four had last convened under the aegis of a good doctor last November, and the reunion was, as reunions often are, both long overdue and a huge tease.

In an effort to throw off blog counterspies, the four arrived separately, provoking no suspicions from the LES hipsterati. The first two to arrive uttered the code words to the server: “We’d like an order of asparagus,” which officially kicked off the gathering. Stragglers were ribbed about their tardiness by those who had already arrived, and shared tales of being lost above and beneath ground.

After noting the notable absences of themiddle and michael, the meeting commenced with the ceremonial ordering of cocktails, with only minimal concern from one of the men as to the wussiness quotient of ordering pink drinks, and with the ladies following their hearts to the minty freshness of mojitos. The Four spoke in hushed tones of gimpy camels and the reproductive abilities of mermaids, and of past excursions to that thing at Hillel with the art exhibit. Bulls tried to mate with monkeys, and then monkeys with mermaids. And there was whiskey. And then beer. And vodka. And narcoleptic computer geeks of Moroccan extraction. And at the end, like some recurring nightmare or running gag, instead of creme brulee, more asparagus.

And at the end of it all, right before we were scattered to the winds –once again reliant on our wits and subway maps to ferry us home–I was appointed the scribe, the Anthony Michael Hall to our Jewlicious non-Breakfast Club, who would record it all in obscure, pointless, yet painstaking, detail, right down to the irony of our clandestine meeting having transpired mere feet from an American Apparel store.

Layperson’s summary: CK, Muffti, Laya and Esther met for drinks all the way downtown. The drinks came decorated with little plastic animals. Then CK and Laya flew back to Cali. Oh yeah, and there was abundant asparagus. Blurry photo to come when CK uploads itabove thanks to Muffti.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

197 Comments

  • You guys had a meeting when I’m bored and have nothing to do because New Orleans is underwater and you didn’t even tell me, much less invite me? You worthless bastards.

    God. I feel so unincluded. This is like middle school gym class all over again.

    Wankers.

  • esther, your writing is brilliant. makes my heart race. though… the “polluted milkshake” imagery was a total turn-off, and a bit unsettling. sounds like you had a Jewlicious time in your soulless metropolis. teehee.

  • esther, very moving and emotional post – as usual. the meeting sounded fascinating ๐Ÿ™‚ – i am sure this story deserves soon to become the most commented post!
    btw themiddle i know you ve already become bored with the neocounter but i still havent seen you welcoming visitors from poland so do me a favor and produce a nice one while i m here.

  • Thanks, gang. Sorry about this Michael, but a) the trip was last-minute (at least as far as I know), and b) it was almost a rave in that we had no idea where or when or if we were meeting at all until a non-literal five minutes beforehand. But you’re right, it’s like middle school gym class. We did sit-ups and a 10-minute mile, followed by that thing where you climb the rope and it burns but it also feels kind of good.

    FWIW, we talked about you and New Orleans, and felt a little bad that it wasn’t a “full-team meeting.” Let me raise a virtual mojito to you and wish you peace of mind and a heart that will soon heal, and most of all, forgive us our trespasses.

  • it was so last minute and i was so so tired. i figured a pink girlie drink might help but it didn’t so much so i settled for a beer. i am in la now fighting jet lag and stuff. gonna meet with rabbi bookstein next week and prolly hit the wine guy’s resto. i tried to wait for esther to get there first but geez, how much can one guy wait? Gimme a holler TM if you wanna have a mojito. Sorry michael, no plans to be in wisconsin any time soon. any time ever actually. but i will be sure to have a mojito in your honor!

  • Silly CK. Caffeine wakes you up. Alcohol can make you momentarily hyper, and then knocks you out. You should definitely have timed your trip a little better, and then we all could have overlapped in Calif. Well, except Michael. Dang. We’ve got to get the whole band back together.

    My delicious nephew wishes you all a Shabbat shalom.

  • An excellent question, IRB. CK’s gone “off the grid,” as we used to say in the CIA. I’m calling in for backup.

  • (Some young women were saying how their closets are full of worn-once, expensive, nice looking, bride’s-maid dresses they had to buy for their friends’ weddings. Where to wear these frilly things?? BUT, at The Jewlicious Secret Prom, next Tu b’Shevat, that is ALL the ladies will wear: Used Bride’s Maid Dresses, maybe with a black Jewlicious T-shirt pulled over, black tights and sneakers. Or, dress shoes if you want. Don’t even ask about the red roses, the cheek mouches and the rhinestone tiaras. It will be very late in the evening, and very far downtown. No marrieds, or Committeds. Past their bed-times.)

  • Does anybody else think Jewish Mother is actually an alien who is trying to learn the ways and manners of the human race, but keeps getting it kind of garbled?

    I mean, does any real live human support the combination of frilly dresses, T-shirts, black tights and sneakers? Okay, well, maybe those girls in college who listen to Alkaline Trio and talk about cutting themselves, but besides them?

  • Middle, maybe all those black and white movies lied to me, but I was under the impression that not only did people back in the day not wear frilly dresses with T-shirts and black tights and sneakers, they actually dressed on average better than people today.

    Look, I’m not hatin’ on her as an alien. I just think it’s time to come clean.

  • Michael, I sent you an email (to tulane) that bounced back. Got another email addy for me?

    And for the record, no matter who is or isn’t an alien, I’m for black Jewlicious t-shirts. Duh.

  • Michael, there’s a little bit of Jewish Mother in all of us.

    Some of us still manage to become Benyamin Netanyahu, Calvin Klein, Albert Einstein, Mordechai Richler or Rabbi Schneerson, but we cannot escape the JM in all of us.

  • (Of course people look better in stockings and heels, but gee whiz not everybody can take all that dignity. And people’s feet hurt sometimes, and it will be cold weather.)

    What a great Tu B’shevat tradition to start! Brides’ Maid’s dresses!

    Michael has high standards. Nothing wrong with that.

  • I’ve suspected all along that “Jewish Mother” is actually a pen-name for Shmuely Boteach, but I didn’t want to come out with my theory until others proposed theirs.
    You guys all looked Jewlicious just they way you are!

  • The funny thing about that photo is that CK looks the most awake and cheery of all of us, even though he kept falling asleep.

  • Chtzpah, you may be onto somethin’. I’d be happy to endorse your theory. Float a few Michael Jackson references & see if “she” bites.

    Cute pic, but it looks as though GM had a little too much asparagus.

  • No, I didn’t get it wrong; “Chtzpah” is actually a code name. Either that or my “u” key is broken. No, that’s not it, either. Dang.

  • Michael,

    What happened to the radio blog on kosher eucharist? Those were some serious tunes. I also noticed that Jewschool took down it’s link to its RadioBlog. Is there something going on?

  • Sick, Email Digital next time… I promise a round of drinks on me, but only one, THe DiGiTaL isnt made of money. He would love to meet the Jewlicious crew. I just thought about it more, you guys are probably scared to meet the majority of your readers, I don’t blame you, but the offer still stands…

  • Hey E-Kvetcher, I’m glad somebody appreciates my awesome DJ skillz. I had to update WordPress so I can begin dealing with the literally thousands upon thousands of spam comments KE received (which is a lot of why I haven’t been doing any posting), and the link to the radio.blog isn’t on the (hopefully temporary) new title page.

    But lucky you, you can still access the radio by going directly to the source
    here
    .

    Michael is always happy to help when people compliment his taste in music.

  • Thanks Michael.
    You do have “awesome DJ skillz”, although given your apparent musical/religious proclivities I am surprised not to find Matisyahu on the playlist.

  • Well, while I do indeed love me some Matisyahu, my thinking went like this: lots of sites put up Matisyahu songs. So people are covered there. But where else can people go to hear Dizzee Rascal against Charles Mingus against the Abyssinians? I gotta carve out that niche.

  • I wouldn’t say we’re scared to meet our readers…I mean, who doesn’t love a brilliantly shaded coterie of Jews and Jewthusiasts? And drinks? It’s all good. However, good sense applies…we’d have to meet in a public place, maybe at one of those clubs with the metal detectors on the way in, and certain people would have to stay in their opposite corners to avoid violence. But there’s a way to do it, for sure.

    But really, it was very last-minute and there was no time to really alert the media…next time, kids.

  • Actually Steve, I find Boteach to be more pro-women than JM, at least he’s never openly advocated frilly bridesmaid dresses, unless that was in the chapter of Kosher Sex that I missed.

  • If you HAVE the Bride’s Maid’s dress(es), you have to amortize them, no?

    Oh, the in-joke humor.

    ALL the women at the party have to be in the same boat, or it does not work. Who could be the only one in a bride’s-maid dress? There has to be female solidarity. And the men have to suspend disbelief and be an audience and cheer.

    Covertly, you will get a glance. Because they are not really hideous dresses. Just orphaned, like 8 track tape.

    (OBVIOUSLY a truly unflattering dress should be chucked immediately or donated.)

    I meant a decent dress you have no place to wear … icky pastel color ok (if it goes OK with your skin), because:

    There IS a way to carry off the ruffle and tulle thing. Black tights and suede heels? Shoes have to be matte at night. Points secretly awarded for looking interesting and adorablel in a bride’s maid dresss! Not easy!

    You have to cut the sugar, like in cooking, when you put coffee in the chocolate mousse.

    Let us appreciate our women. The line dance will look great.

    I know we are sad about the disasters but the weddings must go on. I am not making light of the sorrows.

  • Ah Chutzpah, so how is that book anyway. I can’t seem to be able to find it in a garage sale and I’m not buying it new!
    I find most of what he says ridiculous or obvious. I am reading DH Lawrence at the moment.

  • How ’bout a meeting of the commentariat, no postpeople allowed? (Or, allowed to attend at our sole discretion…)

    We could subvert the dominant paradigm together. Power to the people, baby.

  • I wasn’t going to show up anyplace. I like to stay home, in general.

    Schmuley Boteech is way to the left of me. Eeeek! I am on a chair, clutching my petticoats. Yikes! Yuck!

    Power to which people?

    Hey! The more rights you have, the fewer rights you have.

    Per that, I hope GM’s dissertation is going well.

  • Steve, whatever book you mean, try Alibris.com They have almost every book ever seen in the galaxy, used, and very cheap. They deliver.

  • Jewish Mother – an alien who shrieks at the mention of Shmuley Boteach like he was a mouse in a 1930s cartoon, and espouses vaguely totalitarian beliefs.

    Put on your tin foil helmets. She’s coming for you next.

  • By the way, Tom, counterrevolutionary activity is very much frowned upon on Jewlicious. Mention it again and the Jewlicious Cheka will be on your Catholic tuchus faster than you can say Hail Mary. Esther can snap a bourgeois pig’s neck in 14 different ways.

  • Michael, be nice, JM hasn’t attacked you directly or even indirectly. She’s merely talking about dresses and Jewish weddings.

  • Yeah, Tom, the Muffti is in fact the officer of counter-counter-revolutionary activities. Which means, he really wants you to ivnite him to your commentatory meeting. Plllllllllllease?

  • Steve,
    Didn’t actually read Kosher Sex, ’cause you know, I can’t even get the treif kind, being over 40. BUT, I did recently finish “Hating Women: America’s Campaign Against the Fairer Sex” and I have to say he has good theories, they just would never work in reality, much like Jewish Mother’s. For example, “the women should unite and go on strike from providing sex without committment”. Nice theory, but as with any strike, their are always the scabs.

  • Ummmn, Chutzpah, have you ever thought that perhaps some women like having sex without commitment? Muffti suspects that one would have a rather hard time recruiting them for your strike. However, if Aristophanes is to be believed, such a strike on a local level can be very effective. Lysistrata’s sex strike in Athens brought the war to a halt.

  • Michael, I probably agree with Shmuly occasionally. It’s just not my context; it’s not my world. If he works for people, fine. I have never read the guy and feel no interest. I only read what I genuinely feel like reading.

    Michael’s fair planet is his own, his own, to run his way. With every generation, the world starts again.

    The hurricane is going to leave its effects on people’s minds long after, years. I don’t know what I would do, if NO had been my town.

  • I can attest to the validity of Muffti’s assertion. But unfortunately for our boys in Iraq, as long as Chutzpah can’t resist a man in uniform, there could never be a total sex strike to end our current world conflicts.

    Hey, JM, I don’t read Shmuley either. And it is totally up to you what to read. For example, I don’t read most of the books for my classes, yet I keep getting As. Funny how that works.

  • Well, Michael, you DO go to Tulane…is it really THAT surprising? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Warning Muffti, women liking sex without committment is a HIGHLY controversial subject, I’d advise a separate thread to discuss it… or you could just come over to my place and we could chat about it in person. As to the idea of a sex strike, yeah, I’d be a scab.

  • or you could just come over to my place and we could chat about it in person..

    From that invitation it doesn’t sound like much talking will be done.

  • Actually, having a bride’s attendants lined up in matching dresses is kind of from the other culture, not ours. Laya pointed that out.

    But once you HAVE the dress languishing in your closet … well, make it work for a living.

    Bal Masque?

    You can get the masks in the party stores at Halloween. Black velvet.

    Tinfoil hats ok too, if that’s what you look good in! Even though I am NOT coming.

    The men should balance the formal atmosphere by wearing a lot of black, to defer to, and set off, the wierdly colorful women, gowned to the floor; formal, but nobody matching anybody else – yay! I’m free! … It’s the Jewlicious Secret Prom on Tu B’Shevat. And all the midnight butterflies came out in their finery to dance.

  • JM, do you mean “Tu B’Av”? This talk of Tu Bishvat has me all confused.

    I would embrace the Lysistrata plan to end all war. I think it’s worth it. Especially since, as the kids at yeshiva used to say, “sure, I’m shomer negiah, but not by choice.”

    And oy, just thinking about Chutzpah and Muffti summitting on this issue, in real or virtual venues, is making my head spin out of control. You know, like the subject of this thread.

  • Exactly what in hell do bridesmaid dresses have to do with anything? I’m solost it’s not funny. Synopsis, please. Someone. Or maybe just pass the tin foil.

  • Judi, while you are out there lost in space, say hello to the Governor of Louisana who was obviously lost in space at least a week before Katrina hit.

  • Speaking of Laya, very Tznius outfit there, the shirt AND sweater in what still hot and humid NY Summer???? Shirt sticking out, no middle, hehe, but does show off her long nice legs albeit wrapped in fancy designer jeans.

  • chutzpah, use of the word ‘scab’ in this context is very, uh …. unsettling.

    And what if you can’t get sex with commitment? Strike away, women of America, strike away…

  • Tom,
    The irony of the verbiage was not lost on me.

    I can’t get no satisfaction, and the male orthodox, perhaps virginal, dental student living in the illegal 3rd apartment in my building, which my Kollel Landlord build in violation of every housing permit code in the book, (shhh…it’s a big secret) is looking ever so jewlicious….

  • What’s creepy Mikey? We have the first full length pic of the princess of Jewlicious. Very Tznius compared to Estherke there, w/ her low cut black summer dress.

  • 1) Only my mother is allowed to call me Mikey.
    2) It’s not that frank appraisal of women’s clothing is necessarily creepy, or Go Fug Yourself wouldn’t be so hilarious. But it somehow is when you do it.

  • Middle, I edited by removing the duplicate comments, which is I assume what you meant. I was tempted to delete some of the comments themselves, but then I decided that was censorship.

    I’m also not addressing–or apologizing–for what I was–or wasn’t–wearing.

  • Yup, we do censor. I mean, if the Kahanist dude comments on our site, comments reeking of bad manners are really just a small blip.

  • Mikey, you are being wierd now, or should I say “Fresh”. Don’t call me creepy for no damn reason. I’m not putting up w./ your BS.
    Peace,
    Jobber

  • Top 5 reasons to call Jobber Creepy:
    5) Posting a HelpMoxie blog because she enjoyed rough sex with her boyfriend

    4) Sending Chutzpah fake emails stating to be Robert Sherman, Canadian 44 year old owner of transportation company.

    3) Everything he posted on Nice Jewish Girl’s blog under the name Eish Aish

    2) His anti-American comments

    1) Everything he wrote on his own blog about his masterbating into an old tee shirt and telling his kids he was exercising when they walk in.

  • Michael was going to school in New Orleans, but he is not, any more. Neither, has he many years on him. We must cut him a little slack.

  • Thanks, JM.

    Chutzpah, don’t forget number 6) semi-drooling appraisals of Jewlicious women.

    But yeah, I remember number one. Can’t really touch that.

  • yuck, and following me to every blog I comment on…very creepy…but I fear his wrath of trying to take take all the fun out of blogging for me, so maybe we should just delete my list? I should probably try to take the high road here, for a change.