September 30, 2006
Chestnuts Marshmallows roasting on an open fire
Camp Shmooze was in session on Thursday, September 28 @ 517 Elm with Sh'morze Fest 5767 (I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of 517 Elm for hosting the event). Whether the name of the summer camp you attended has its roots in/with Hebrew, Native Americana (ie. Pottawatomie, Algonquin, or Ojibwa), or a pond in Massachusetts, everybody feels at home at Camp Shmooze.
About forty shmoozers gathered around the fire to indulge in sh'mores, shmoozing, shome roasted root vegetables, and shweet tunes on the guitar (I really tried for the shibilance). It was the first co-educational Shmooze event of the year dedicated solely to shmoozing (I don't consider the shvitz to be an educational experience).
More than any of the foods, this Shmooze event was about providing shmoozers with a relaxed environment where they could chill out and have a good time.
Things got underway at about 8:30ish with our tripper-in-residence, Rachel, building a roaring fire. As the clock hit the bottom of the hour, shmoozers began to meander down Elm Street, led by their noses to the scent of crisp walnut wood burning in the not-so-far distance.
Once the fire heated up (I would like to thank the former programming director for providing the fire pit, and I promise to return it soon), the first marshmallows started roasting on the open fire.
Earlier in the afternoon, I went on an adventure to the One Stop Kosher Marketin Oak Park, MI, the only place in the area that I know sells kosher marshmallows all year round (even though they may have been sitting around since Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Competition). Check out the four varieties of marshmallow that I picked up. They look different than your treif marshmallows; and they roast differently as well!
Here is the official Shmooze sh'more recipe. It was, hands-down, the most popular item of the night. However, there were some debates about the proper construction and preferred level of well-doneness on the marshmallow.
- One roasted, pink marshmallow
- Two graham cracker halves
- A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
As you can tell from Deb and Ari’s demonstration, proper sh’more consumption definitely involves closing one’s eyes.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is the new Hershey's. After eating a sh'more with peanut buttery and chocolatey goodness, Frayda said "This is the greatest thing that I have every had." (This is high praise from someone who thought that last year's Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Challenge-winning cheesecake should’ve been disqualified for being “too delicious.”)
In addition to the traditional camp fire foods, we had some traditional camp fire tunes. Deb brought her guitar and rocked out all night long! (Can you call it rocking out if the pace is a little slower than rock and roll, the mood is a little mellower, but the intensity still there?). She took requests from the crowd and played some of her favorites. If you want to hire her for your next camp fire activity, wedding, or Quinceañera, she charges a reasonable rate.
As the night wore on, Rachel busted out some root vegetables to throw in the fire. They were truly not undelicious.
As the walnut turned to embers, the night was capped off by Ari’s first trip to the Arb. That’s right in just over a year at Michigan, Ari had never been to the Arb.
Here are some pictures from the event. Make up your own captions.
Stay tuned for registration information for Camp Shmooze ‘06 Session II. Details to follow at an upcoming (semi-productive) meeting.
September 26, 2006
If you can't follow through with your New Year's Resolution, show up.
Sh'morze Fest 5767:
(and all your camp friends, even the weird ones who now live in EQ)!
Thursday, Sept. 28 @ 517 Elm Street from 8:30-10:00.
If you've made it as far as the Shmooze blog, that means our painstaking and super-expensive market research has worked. And if you'd like to be in great pictures with everyone in their winter caps (or toques) around the hearth roasting marshmellows, arguing about marshmellows, and throwing marshmellows at the referees (an old time Michigan football tradition that was banned before I became a student), please stop by 517 Elm. Alright, if that doesn't entice you, how about Deb on the guitar. Yes, she will be standing on a guitar (with just one leg) for over an hour. And if you're still not convinced, I guarantee you will hear the best camp stories you've ever heard (which may or may not be scary). I hope they're not scary because I'm afraid of the dark. Lastly, if you're still on the fence, I guarantee (like Rasheed Wallace) zero mosquitoes and that perfect, crisp fall weather with a hint of burnt pine in the air. (If that doesn't make sense to you non-Michiganders, come on over to 517 Elm and you'll see).
My editor only allotted me six 'ifs'. He's so mean. If I could put some peanut brickle in his peanut-free office (for he is allergic), I would. No I wouldn't. Well maybe. No. His kids might miss him. The answer is no.
September 20, 2006
New Years Resolution: Better Titles
First off, I would like to wish everybody a shana tova u'metukah, a happy and sweet new year. With Rosh Hashanah taking up the entire weekend, the Shmooze "stamp of approval" will be taking a little yontof break. But, let's just say that Shmooze has a lot up its sleeve this fall.
- Shmooze+S'mores = Sh'morze Fest 5767—The Shmooze Club will be having a "bonfire" next Thursday night @ 8:30. Due to fire regulations, the fire won't be big as the ones you may be used to at summer camp, but that won't take away from the good time. Things to look forward to: ample shmooze time, Deb on the guitar (or anybody else who wants to), camp stories, kosher marshmallows, the story behind finding kosher marshmallows at this time of year, Ian's sej (pita maker/barbecue pit), the story behind Ian's sej, and, as with any Shmooze event, plenty of other food and excitement. We are down to two possible locations, check here or your e-mail for an update on where this tremendous event will be held.
- Shvitzes: M-Shvitz and Yentaz—Each week, two groups of Shmoozers (one male and one female) convene in the "shvitz" (dry sauna) of the CCRB fitness locker rooms. The men meets on Thursdays at 6:30, and the women meet on Fridays at 5 (if you want to know if they are meeting this week, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). For the men, the dress code is whatever you feel most comfortable with (For random guys over 60, this means nothing. For Shmoozers, it typically involves boxers or a towel). Frayda, the coordinator of the Yentaz, says that for the ladies, "you've gotta show to know."
- Shmooze and K-Grams—If anyone is interested in participating with K-Grams, a student group that organizes volunteering activities at local/regional elementary schools, via Shmooze, please let me know ASAP.
- 16th Annual Raoul Wallenberg Lecture—Every fall, the University honors a person who embodies the traits of Raoul Wallenberg, a Michigan alum who helped to save tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Shoah. Having him as an alum is the reason that I am most proud to be a Michigan student and I make a point to attend this event every year. The year Sister Luise Radlmeier will be honored for her relief work in Sudan. Past winners have included: Paul Rusesabagina (of Hotel Rwanda fame), Marcel Marceau, Elie Wiesel, and His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. The ceremony will take place this year on October 5 at 7:30 at Rackham Auditorium.
September 13, 2006
Sam Yashinsky made the Michigan Baseball Team and Other Important Information
He is my hero. (Ian)
As always, tonight’s Shmooze meeting was catered. We had cinnamon babka cake and pomegranate seeds. Ari separated the seeds from the fruit. As our resident rimon (pomegranate in Hebrew, but I wanted the alliteration) expert, Ari said that today's fruits are good for early in the season but will not work in a few weeks.
Icebreaker Introduction: With the pennant race in full swing, Ian decided on a “basebally” icebreaker to open up the meeting.
“What would be your at-bat music?”
- Ian was about to introduce himself, but his phone rang (Someone needed to be let into the building) THEN
- Comment from the crowd: Damn these pomegranates are good THEN
- Ian: "Air Force One" by Nelly or "The Baseball Song" from Sandlot. ("Air Force Ones"…best hip hop song ever according to Ian Robinson) THEN
- Deb: I’m still thinking
- Sam (not the one from the title): Wants to think it over also THEN
- Erick: I have never played baseball before THEN
- Shira: "The Redemption Song" by Bob Marley but the cover by Lauryn Hill and Ziggy THEN
- Dina: The Pink Panther theme song AND
- Sam was impressed upon being informed of Ian’s choice THEN
- Orgo talk takes over THEN
- Avie: "The Song Remains The Same" by Led Zeppelin THEN
- Ian, interjecting: Omar Infante has the best intro song in baseball (It's like latino clown music) THEN
- Deborah: "Fearless" by Pink Floyd THEN
- Erick: Reggaeton? (We’ll revisit him later) THEN
- Someone from the crowd: Erick loves the Gasoline song. THEN, IN RESPONSE
- Erick: No, I think it’s overrated. THEN
- Sam revealed his theory for studying for organic chemistry tests which means that one should only study in rooms where the test will be taken and take practice tests at least a week in advance (You don’t need sleep, it’s overrated). An anecdote from Sam’s studying last spring. On Passover, Sam thought it would be acceptable to drink Dr. Brown’s (since it’s a kosher for Passover beverage) instead of coffee to stay awake. However, it doesn’t have caffeine. THEN
- Erick: "El Tiburon" (for real this time) THEN
- Emily: "With My Own Two Hands" by Ben Harper THEN
- Rachel: The “Groovy Blues” ringtone on Nokia THEN
- Ian: I would also accept the Mexican Hat song.
"Talk amongst yourselves portion" while Ian organizes his notes to move on the the meat and potatoes of the meeting
Hillel Open House and Festifall recap
- Deb: I liked how Shmooze was next to the Russian club @ Festifall.
- Shira: Me too
- Sam: Did that attract more people?
- Shira: This one guy came over and told us the story of how his family was Jewish.
- Reuben: The highlight was the "Stamp of Approval."
(Ian tries to segue to the next topic)
- Dina: Ian, how many new names did you get on the list?
- Ian: About fifty or sixty. But I didn’t put most of them on the official Shmooze list.
- Dina: Why?
- Ian: Well, we are hoping to have a Jewish Summer Camp-style Campfire to bring people into the group.
- What can we do at this campfire?
- Deb will play her guitar. We could tell Chelm jokes and Golem stories. Sam thinks we should do a “rose, thorn and stem” event. We will check into marshmallow availability at this time of year. Sam has a camp song book. We are trying to work on the logistics of where to hold this event. We will get back to you when we hear more.
- Annie (A few minutes after entering, she introduces herself): "The Rocky Theme"
Jews in Shakespeare, or how we are going to get Ralph Williams to speak at a Shmooze event:
We are progressing on Williams. We want to have it in the first week of December. It depends on his schedule. Reuben has him as his GSI, which is technically not possible, for Williams cannot be a GSI.
Headbands: I continued the search for a suitable headband dealer. We thought that we found one, but apparently we were wrong. The Shmooze crowd was not really into the idea of white headbands, despite the great price that Ian found. Dina saved the idea of Shvitz headbands by saying she knows someone in the headband industry who might be able to get us yellow handbands with blue writing. Consensus?
(Side conversation that became main conversation)
- Rachel: I don’t like the new football shirt
- Noah (who was wearing that shirt): Thank you for insulting my outfit
Two new people entered and had to introduce themselves
- Noah: "Rockin' in the Suburbs" THEN
- Oren: "Thriller"
Ian brought up the hot dog cart. He will have a meeting in the next week or so
The Yentaz are off to a great start, which is special to see. The guys are not off to such a great start. Ian is pretty pissed off at his gender. He promises that his side will have a stronger performance tomorrow.
Backgammon tournament and regional dip: Ian met with someone from another cultural group today. He wants to do it at the beginning of the next semester. If someone wants to step up and take charge of this event and earn the title “inter-cultural coordinator,” let Ian know immediately.
Reuben wants to know if Sallah Shabati is available to compete. He doesn’t want Sallah’s friend, Goldshtein, to compete (He wouldn’t represent Shmooze very well).
(New person to introduce)
- Tori: "Video Killed the Radio Star." Not the Bugles version but the Safe Ferris version.
Shmooze sponsoring a Shabbat dinner at Hillel? We are going to cook a Shmooze Shabbat dinner instead.
We need to re-register with MSA
Publications: Ian remembers last year’s board room was littered with copies of the Detroit Jewish News, Wasthenaw County Jewish News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other, necessary publications. We need to have more reading material at meetings. Shmooze is hoping to get a mailbox in the Union and a subscription to the (English) Forward. Heeb magazine, fall issue, should be out in a few weeks.
Shmooze wants to bring in a band for a concert. Shira said she’ll look into a hip, Jewish cultural band. On the subject, Ian wants people to look into the Jewish cultural music festival Oy!hoo that takes place this week in New York.
Shmooze Classics: The first Monday of every month will be Shmooze Classics night at Hillel. The first movie that we will screen is the Frisco Kid. Tori offered Zelig, a Woody Allen movie, as a possible second one. The crowd wanted the Hebrew Hammer but some questioned its status as a “classic.”
September 03, 2006
And we're back.
This year, Shmooze hit the ground running at its first meeting in the friendly, internet-connected confines of 543 Church.
As always, we started the meeting with an icebreaker. Ian has been thinking of this icebreaker for the last three weeks: If there was to be a sandwich named after you, what would be in it?
- Ian: At first Ian said a standard shawarma sandwich (on a lafa, obviously) but then the crowd said that it was an illegitamite sandwich for being "too standard."
- Mike: Because his last name is Rubin, he would go with the reuben, which is rye bread, corned beef, thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese.
(If Ian's choice was rejected for being too standard, why was Mike allowed to choose just a reuben?)
- Rachel: Chunky peanut butter, salami (thick, not thin), mustard of all sorts, honey, Cajun pepper, and a lot of basil and oregano on whole wheat bread (the kind with seeds, not flax)
- Erick: Spanish bread (the smashed one, not the square kind), beans, roast beef, and salsa lizano
- Nick: Block of sugar lodged between two pieces of seven-layer cake because I'm "so sweet" (He is getting ready to appear on MTV's Next)
- Amira: Iraqi pita from Or Yehuda with cheese spread, olives, and red peppers
- Fallon: Naan bread with vegetable briani, rogan josh, matar paneer. (Fallon loves Indian food, Ian doesn't know much about it, nor how to spell it (sp?))
- Ian: Cucumber, peppers, labene, and olive oil on pita made with my sej (some people say saj).
- Lizzy: A hot dog, hummus and madbuja, on Hungarian bread with a side of bipinbop, a pierogi, and some sweet potatoes
From this, the conversation shifted to the Detroit-area challah, kikhel, and kiddush scene. Amira says that Zeman's Bakery has really stepped up with their braided challah
Official-ish Shmooze Business Section
1. Hot dog cart-The hot dog cart will hopefully be open in a few weeks in front of Hill Auditorium. We have the permits to be open, we just need to get a few more details ironed out before we open up. We need people to staff. If you have any interest in working it, let me know.
2. Festifall-Shmooze has a booth and needs people to staff it. We will be there shmoozing, distributing cookies and kikhel, and adding names to the e-mail. If you can staff, let me know.
- Rachel thought that we should have a shtetl-themed booth. Ian thinks that we could maybe do it next year but we might not have enough time to get it together. Ian will send Rachel an e-mail to make a poster for the booth.
3. Schemes-People have been scheming (Look at this word. That is why we spell "shmooze" like we do) all summer and this was the forum to present them.
- An Israeli-salad competition (not just cucumbers and peppers, but all types of dips) with the Israeli Student Association. Ian said that he could use his sej to make the pita. (Ian needs to use his sej at least once a week.) We need to get in touch with them to see if they would be intersted. Point person to be decided upon at the next meeting.
- Shesh-besh tournament with other middle eastern cultural groups. People thought that we could combine the shesh-besh competition and salad competition into one super-event.
Point of Contention: "We need a social event that isn't a food competition" -Rachel (Counterpoint of contention: Isn't every shmooze event a social event?")
- Nordau nights: squash, racquetball, basketbalball (I have presented this before but it hasn't gotten off the ground, we will continue to pursue it because we like the name)
- The Michigan Bridge team took home the national championship this summer (Some of the champions are on the Shmooze list or close friends of members). The Shmooze Club thought it would be intersting if some of them could lead an intro to bridge event.
- The Shmooze Club wants (and will get) Ralph Williams to speak. How about a Jews in Shakespeare lecture? (Why hasn't he received a speaking request from the Shmooze PR department?)
- Klezmer night: Cool idea, but where is the interest for this on campus? Shira said we should use our money to get Moshav Band here. We will investigate.
- Yiddish with seniors: We don't have to speak to them in Yiddish. We can just hang out with them. There is a senior home on Main Street. Nick could arrange something.
- Ethnic Shabbat dinners: Rachel offered to host. Ian signaled to Rachel that they will talk more about this (ie. finding a date and culture to showcase)
- Purple gang night: For those that are unaware, the Detroit Jewish community of the 1920-30s had a gangster scene that rivaled that of Chicago and New York. Ian thought that it would be cool if we had a speaker and tour. Nick said he knows someone who knows a lot about the subject. (Students would be required to wear fedoras and carry baseball bats for this event.)
- Shmooze has almost been around 13 months (Bar Mitzvah on the Diag?)
- Ian has been dreaming of getting on the speakers list at a Regents meeting to lobby for the creation of a real steam shvitz on campus. Then people said that it was pointless. Ian was dejected. Then people said maybe there is one on the athletic campus that Shmooze could use for 10-20 minutes/week. Shmooze's contacts in the Athletic Department will investigate further.
- The usual, Shmooze Classics film series featuring Bar Mitzvah episodes from TV shows followed by discussion, perhaps led by Professor Bernstein.
The time for the next meeting will be announced soon. We need people to step up, much like Zeman's did with their braided challah and take some responsibility in Shmooze.
Anyone who will be free for ten minutes or more on Thursday, should (read: must) e-mail or call Ian with a time that s/he can stop by the Shmooze booth on the Diag. Ian does not want to hear about you joining the Squirrels, Solar Car, or Swashbuckling clubs if you do not stop by the Hot Dog Cart. He really needs people between 10 AM and 1 PM. Unless you're working on the North Campus affiliate, Shmooze Tsafon, he expects to see you passing out Kiddush cookies.