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April 26, 2006

Shmooze-sponsored, Bubbe-approved?

Good meeting. Kind of a weak turnout, though we did make a quorum (and thanks to those who helped minyanize the meeting). Ian brought in some delicious rugelach and perfectly ripe strawberries. Oh, and don't forget the box of leftover, crumby matzo sticks. A few highlights, apart from the food:

To continue reading the sometimes funny, usually odd, and always amusing minutes, just click the link below. We have the best list of the pesach gripes collected on Church Street, ever.

Thanks for choosing to continue, bubbela.

We thought about doing the most mediocre thing about passover, but because we love to gripe, today's ice breaker is "The Worst Thing About Passover is:"

[Editor's note: Keep in mind that all Passover gripes dealt with food, except Sandra's Yontof complaint. Odd? Or on point? PS. I've never used the phrase "on point" before, but I like it.]

Huge discussino develops over chicken soup. Beginning with David's point: "It’s not really chicken soup and it has finger nails in it." Shira says it's never a good idea to have chicken soup at a restaurant. Adam disagrees, "Steve's Deli has great chicken soup." Shira boasts: Once you eat my mom's chicken soup, you can never go back.? Eli tries to ameliorate these concerns with sports analogy about Baseball and Football in October.

After forty minutes of introducing ourselves, we begin...

Recap of Relay: We achieved our goal. Should we do the hour-by-hour recap, ala 24? No. Ways to improve for next year

  1. Decorate our area.
  2. Attract more people.
  3. Leaflets/pamphlets, anytime.
  4. Shmooze mascot ala the "Brown Squadron". Shmooze submarine?
  5. Grill, if possible.
  6. Hot Dog Cart as the baton with regenerative breaking? [FDR joke interlude. It's okay because it's been at least 14.3 years...]
  7. Only one tent is necessary. Maybe just a canopy/chuppah

Shmooze publicity See article, here.

Shirts. Here are some of the ideas:

  1. Shmooze approved with stamp and block M. Implies pride to be part of the university.
  2. Brody’s store idea. It has nothing to do with anything. "We're going to have a whole [Shmooze-specific] clothing line," Ian.
  3. Kosher symbols venn diagram. Or just OU symbol somewhere.
  4. "Ehh… we shmooze" idea. With block M.
  5. Whatcha know... is a bad idea. ERASED.
  6. Shmooze with pais. Happened at the Jewish Academy, can't be done, again.
  7. Just a picture of someone’s grandma. Maybe Bubbe? We hope to have "Shmooze" written somewhere. Could become the universal shmooze symbol. Not seven-layer cake. Not a gecko. Not holiday lights. Not a stapler. Not OU. Ian with thumbs up is a good idea.
  8. Shmooze in Yiddish.
Jon London can draw things. Sandra is applying to the art school. She volunteered to draw a bubbe. We'll draw some sketches and vote between "shmooze approved" and a variation on the bubbe idea. Tell Elektra. She can draw too.

"Do it" argument goes back and forth between Ruby and Ian. Like Starsky and Hutch.

New House?

The Heisler/Berman Mansion @ Ann & Division. It hasa porch and a lawn.

Festifall. Sept. 7, 2006. We need to get some ideas. In school time, it's two weeks from today. How about a gimmick. Adopt-a-bubbe? Shmooze adopts a bubbe. [Laughter ensues] Something shmoozerific. Bazooka Joe, in Hebrew? Bagels and cream cheese? Shmooze pins? Great idea. People love pins. “Pins is [sic] the new black.“ Shmooze yarmulke? Sexist, religious? Pamphlet? No go. Bagel holes? Sandra’s great idea! Fruits chews? We can bring in a local shul's candy guy to pass out the Sunkist fruit chews. Toss, clap, and mazel tov? Kiddush cups, too?. We should get a posterboard. Definitely a Tri-Fold. E-mail sign up for the blog. [Eli stands up to leave, pauses, and listens to Ian]

Ian has an idea for programming: "Prolonging Stereotypes:" Jews in Entertainment Series. We would screen TV/Film adaptations of Judaism, ie. bar mitzvahs. We would need a facilitator (sp?) [Eli leaves] Bergman?!

[Copi, the landlord, used David’s handtowel to clean the sink and the plunger. David is fuming. Will throw away his handtowel.] “If you schedule it, people will come.? New motto for events.

Shmooze Film Series? First Thursday, every month.

Yiddish Word of the Week Next year, either in the e-mails or on the blog, a new word. Discussion about discrimination of Ladino. No one to speak up for Ladino speakers. We'll consider it, though. Sandra: Why does Zach Weisman live here, and not Zach Weiss? Answer: Well, they’re different people.

Funding application due May 1.

Posted by rubyr at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

Next: The Every Three Weekly

"Perry Teicher is brimming with plans for next year," notes Christine Bremmer in this morning's Michigan Daily. Teicher, the Hillel Governing Board Chair and fellow Shmooznik, described to the Daily his enthusiasm for some of Hillel's programs that students should look forward to in the fall semester. And taking center stage in this excitement: Shmooze! Here is a short snippet from Beamer's article:

Schmooze [sic] made its debut on campus earlier this month at Relay for Life, providing Jewish desserts [that were Kosher for Passover] to participants. Pending the issuance of a vendor permit, Schmooze is also planning to start a kosher hot dog stand on South University Avenue this fall...

The article focused on campus cultural groups'—with their new leaders—plans for the upcoming semester(s). La Voz Latina, Muslim Students Association, Native American Students Association, United Asian American Organization, and American Movement for Israel, amongst other student groups, were profiled.

When reached for comment about the group's newest publicity outlet, Ian shouted "Yes! Yes!" while performing the classic Jordan-esque move, the fist-pump-and-jump, which is way better than the more reserved Tiger Woods' feet-planted-putter-in-one-hand-double-fist-pump. [Editor's note: Ian high-fived David in celebration, causing David's hand to sting for three minutes, thirty-eight second afterward.]

After calming down, Ian said that he was "definitely surprised by the group's publicity in the paper. And in the last issue of the semester's Daily. Yes!"

Speaking of planning and looking forward to events in the coming semesters, all Shmoozniks are invited (and encouraged) to attend the final Shmooze meeting of the year, this Friday, April 21 @ 4. We will be discussing events, activities, and kosher hot dogs.

Posted by rubyr at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Making a difference

BY THE TENNIS COURTS—For twenty-four hours, Shmoozniks dizzied themselves walking around the Palmer Field track to raise money for and awareness of the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. Beginning Saturday, April 8 @ 10 AM and concluding Sunday, April 9 @ 10 AM, Team Shmooze had well over forty members (and parents of members) join the excitement that was brimming in and around Palmer Field. Over the course of these twenty-four hours, team members kibitzed, noshed, shpatsired, shluffed, and "ehh ... we shmoozed" in and around the tent site on the south end of Palmer Field; but never did members kvetch, well at least not until mid-morning when the temperature plummeted to freezing.

The Relay planning committee did an excellent job of engaging its 150+ teams with ceremonies, events, activities, performances, contests, and foods over the weekend. The luminaria ceremony, commencing a little after 9 PM, touched the hearts of all present. Lining the track on both sides, hundreds of decorated white bags with the names of family members and friends who have been affected by cancer, were lit (by candles) as part of a ceremony to commemorate and remember their individual stories, struggles, and lives. The luminaria remained lit until the wee hours of the morning, giving inspiration to those still walking and reminding the walkers that hope remains even when the conditions seem most dark or cold.

Near the end of the ceremony, still on the opposite end of the field, Shmoozniks from around campus assembled around a table overflowing with delectable pesadikhe delicacies. The reason: "Erasing Stereotypes" Passover Dessert Shindig.

Over fifteen dishes were entered by Shmoozers in an attempt to reverse the negative attitude generally associated with Passover desserts. Some entries were familiar to many of the thirty-plus judges who turned out to indulge themselves. Other entries were new and innovative, bordering on creative. Regardless, these judges walked off their indulgences for a good cause—ACS.

"Is this thing kosher for Passover because I don't think it should be here," remarked Frayda. This bewildered feeling, so aptly worded by one Shmooznik, was shared by many who were present.

"This is what we were looking to accomplish with the event," said Ian. "Our goal was to prove to all those naysayers that kosher for passover desserts can be delicious and leaven-free."

Similar to its culinary predecessor, the judging for "Erasing Stereotypes" was slightly contentious, though the best dessert did win. While some desserts didn't receive high praise from the judges, that doesn't mean that they were necessarily bad. One judge even remarked, "Ian, you're thing is not that bad."

The Shmooze leadership would like to thank everyone who came out and walked with us during the 24-hour event. We completely understand that RFL didn't fit in everyone's schedules. But we would like to personally thank the following mensches:

  • The Brothers Robinson
  • The Sisters Heisler
  • Orly
  • Adam M.
  • Aaron
  • David
  • Rachel J.
  • Sandra
  • Fallon
  • Frayda
  • Erick
  • Stefanie
  • Sarah
  • Alyssa
  • Rachel L.
  • Adam S.
  • Jon G.
  • Tedi
  • Jed
  • Jon L.
  • Deb
  • Zack
  • Arica
  • Josh
  • Ari
  • Noah L.
  • Jon Z.
  • Elan
  • Sam L.
  • Sam W.
  • Amira
  • Naomi
  • Scott
  • and you (I'm so sorry. You're still a mensch. E-mail me right now so I can add you before anyone notices my ommission. Though mensches should be more humble.)

We've just received word that the donation site will still be operational for at least a few more weeks. Now's as good a time as ever to donate!

Here are the official results from "Erasing Stereotypes." And in the words of Ian, "I believe those stereotypes were successfully erased. I even saw one participant pick up their cheesecake from the ground and eat it."

1. David's Macaroon Marble Cheesecake - 14

2. Adam and Daphna's Ice Cream Cake - 12

3. Greg's Meringue - 11

4. Sandra's Chocolate-Covered Fruit - 9

5. Ruby's Flourless Chocolate Cake - 6
6. Elan's Mandel Brodt - 5

7. Greg's Fruit Tart - 3
8. David's Extra Cheesecake Pile - 2

8. Aunt Shira's Apple Dealie - 2
10. Ruby's Macaroons - 1
10. Aaron's Chocolate- and Caramel-Covered Matzot - 1

10. Weiss' Matzlava - 1
10. Ian's Apple Surprise (no longer a surprise) - 1

Read on for some delicious recipes...

David's Macaroon Marble Cheesecake

5 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. matzo meal
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 oz. (or more) semi-sweet chocolate
Macaroon Crust
1 cup macaroon crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  1. Mix crumbs, sugar, and butter.
  2. Press firmly onto bottom of a 9" springform pan.
  3. Bake @ 350°F for ten minutes. [Bake @ 300°F for ten minutes if using dark, non-stick springform pan.]
  4. Mix cream cheese, sugar, matzo meal, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream, mix well.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until blended. Reserve 1/4 of batter.
  6. Melt chocolate and add to reserved batter.
  7. Pour white batter over crust and dot chocolate batter on top. Use knife to swirl.
  8. Bake @ 325°F for one hour and ten minutes or until center is almost set if using a silver springform pan. [Bake @ 300°F for same time if using nonstick pan.]
  9. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool before removing rim of pan.
  10. Refrigerate four hours or overnight.

Sandra's Chocolate-Covered Fruit: "Simply delicious: Fruit is a valid passover dessert."

fruit: any. Sandra used kiwi and blackberries.
chocolate: any. Sandra used semi sweet.
  1. Heat up the chocolate.
  2. Dip.
  3. Enjoy!

Adam and Daphna's Ice Cream Cake

1 carton Ray's vanilla bean ice cream
1 carton Homemade brand coffee ice cream
1 carton Breyers chocolate ice cream
1 20 oz. jar Saunders swiss dark fudge dessert topping
1 20 oz. jar Saunders milk chocolate hot fudge dessert topping (cold)
1 10 oz. jar Saunders butterscotch caramel dessert topping
1 8 oz. bag Heath toffee bits
  1. In a 9" springform pan, make a layer of ice cream using all three flavors.
  2. Cover with all three dessert toppings.
  3. Place in freezer until set.
  4. Repeat step one.
  5. Repeat step two.
  6. Cover with Heath toffee bits.
  7. Repeat step three.
  8. When complete, eat remaining ice cream.

Ian's Apple Surprise

1 box Manischewitz Kosher for Passover Cake Mix (includes pan)
1 sliced apple
  1. Follow directions on box.
  2. Add apples and cinnamon.
  3. Bake.
More recipes to follow later in the week. Good Yontov.

Posted by gluckman at 09:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2006

A whirlwind 24 hours

Right now, in dorm rooms, apartments, homes, and Fishbowls across campus, Shmoozim are recovering from a wildly successful day's worth of fundraising, community-building, bonding, eating, not sleeping, and shivering. Thanks again to all involved in this year's Relay effort, those who came to support us, and those who came to share some wonderful Passover-friendly desserts with us.

As of 10:00 this morning the University of Michigan's Relay for Life event managed to raise a record-breaking $224,500+ with more money yet to be counted. This beats last year's total of $138,000 by a mile (or four laps around Palmer Field).

At the time of writing, our own Team Shmooze has raised over $2,900, putting us well within the top 20 of 150+ teams involved. The online donation page is still open for those of you who want to do some last-minute raising of funds and help send that total even higher. Relay was a real success for Shmooze and the University, and we look forward to being involved in years to come.

Please stay tuned (is that saying no longer appropriate in the age of the 'net?) for an extensive recap of our participation in this year's Relay for Life as well as the first annual Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Competition.There'll be pictures, recipes, and commentary aplenty.

Posted by gluckman at 09:06 PM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2006

Free Dr. Brown's Soda!

Productive meeting. Great turnout. Delicious cake, baked by Hillel Gala speaker extraordinaire, Daphna. Here are some highlights from the meeting. For the full schedule of walking times, please see the extended post link.

  1. Relay for Life: From 10 AM on Saturday, April 8 through 10 AM on Sunday, April 9, the Shmooze Club/Society will be participating in this year’s relay on Palmer Field. All are welcomed and encouraged to stop by the field to shmooze with us, walk a few laps, nosh, play some games, donate, or listen/watch the several student groups performing. Full details, as far as the official schedule of events, are below.
  2. ?Erasing Stereotypes? Passover Dessert Shindig: The Passover dessert, since we left Egypt, has been plagued. One can only eat so much chocolate-covered matzo or jellied fruit slices. Thus, along the lines of the Malka and Elimelech Kugelov Kugel-off, we have decided to hold a competition for Passover desserts to be held @ 10:30 PM on Saturday, April 8 at the Shmooze tent site on Palmer Field during Relay for Life. All are welcome to attend and judge. Dessert entries will be taken until the actual event, though if you know ahead of time, please e-mail Ian (irobi@) and he’ll give you some information regarding preparation and/or drop off times. More details available below. Oh, and did I mention Dr. Brown's Kosher for Passover soda as a palate cleanser?
  3. Kol Hakavod: Michigan’s premier Jewish a capella group will be performing their final concert of the year this Saturday, April 8, @ Hillel. This concert marks the 13th year since the group began, thus, a b’nai mitzvah celebration for the performers. Tickets are $5 at the door. Candle lighting and slideshow will begin @ 9 PM.

Always engaging Ice Breaker Activity, as decided upon by Vice Presidente Erick. “The World Cup is starting in under one month. Tell me the team that will win and why.?

New Ice Breaker Activity, proposed by Ian. What events, on the half sheet that you’ve received, are you most excited for, OR, what do you propose adding?

Adam Soclof has the floor. He has one announcement and two questions:

  1. This weekend is the annual O-minyan Lunch-Away. If you haven’t RSVPed, contact apotek@umich.edu soon.
  1. I've heard rumors of a Kosher Hot Dog Cart on campus. Is this true? And is Shmooze involved? I used to drive, out of my way, to North University during high school to have kosher hot dogs. Will it be a reality, yet again?
    • Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of its previous incarnation, the Hillel Hot Dog cart will be back in action soon. This past week, Ian and Daphna spent several hours prepping the cart for inspection by the County Health Department. Shira showed up later. Soon, permits will be requested and obtained to make this fleishig dream a reality once again. [Editor's note: We've heard suggestions that Shmooze ought to sell fruit from the cart as well, both to placate the veggie kids and also because there is no good fresh fruit option on campus, unless you steal it from the dorms.] If you want to work on this project, contact Ian.
  2. I forgot...

Relay for Life
Ruby takes the floor and shares with the Shmoozers as much relevant information about the event as possible. He has a lot of information. "Let’s look at the schedule and I’ll highlight a few things with you:"

"Guys, can I get some attention?" said Ian. I need to know who will be entering the Dessert Shindig. Respondants include: David, Elan, Sandra, Aaron, Rachel/Shira, Ruby/Ian x3, Daphna, Adam M., Adam S. ??? ("Our house is pretty lazy"). Erick will not be frying platanos. Weiss might enter even though he wasn't present at the meeting. If you want to include kitniyot, just make sure that your dessert is labeled sephardic.

Ideas for Shmooze Team uniform for the Relay:Nothing resolved except "Stamp of Approval."
No meeting next week!

Posted by rubyr at 02:18 PM | Comments (1)