OyChicago blog

Big hair, big boobs and a big nose…

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Jacey Bader prom

Jacey, having no trouble attracting a mate

We Jewish girls are so lucky, aren’t we?  I remember going to a friend’s birthday party at YMCA when I was about eight years old.  We were changing out of our swimsuits, and I looked around at the undeveloped, blonde stick figures in the room and concluded that I was a chubby Jewish girl.  Yup, you read correctly.  The truth was that my stomach muscles hadn’t quite developed, and like a little pygmy child, I too, had a belly.

Since this glorious day at the Y, I have been all but obsessed with trying to attain a precise kind of beauty, and I am not alone.  We are told from day one by our mothers, television shows, and magazines that we need to look a certain way. 

I was at a bar the other day, and I was talking with this cute sailor (in uniform).  Everything was great until he said, “Are you Jewish?  You look Jewish.”  What was I supposed to say?  Why yes; as a matter of fact, I do have big hair, big boobs and a big nose?


The Hebrew Mamita had a similar experience

As little girls, we are growing up with constant pressure to look like Swedish models, so what does one expect?  I blew out my hair in the sixth grade, and yes, this was before the blessed Chi.  It was not my best look.  I had a breast reduction when I was eighteen, as I had had it up to here (literally) of both boys and girls talking to my chest instead of my eyes.  No nose job yet, but I can rattle off the names of at least 20 girls from my high school who have had one without even blinking. 

In the past year, I have done more to change my appearance than I care to admit. Of Russian-Jewish decent, I am the palest person I know.  My brother called me Casper for a decade.  So what did I do?  I bought tanning spray. I paid actual money to expose my skin and lungs to toxic chemicals that are supposed to mimic sun damage.  Last month, my roommate had a crazy idea to do a “cleanse”.  This meant that we simultaneously drank some nasty, chunky powder mixed with apple juice for a week, and nothing else.  I convinced myself that I did this for health reasons.  It’s supposed to clean out your colon.  Truth?  Not eating for a week makes your stomach shrink and you lose weight.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning this.  It was pure torture, and I can no longer drink apple juice.

Why do we girls do this to ourselves?  Why can’t we embrace our ethnicity, whatever it may be?  Now is the time to say “enough”.  I am beautiful the way God made me, and so are you. Hey—writing this blog has been a cleanse in itself.  However, if you think this means that I am going to start wearing my Jewfro out on a daily basis, you are dead wrong.  That will simply never happen.


Did you know the Vulcans are Jewish? Or at least their salute is…

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Have you guys seen the new Star Trek movie yet? Ever notice that the Vulcan salute is a bit familiar? That’s because Leonard Nimoy, the original Mr. Spock, borrowed from Jewish tradition when the screenwriters of the original “Star Trek” series needed a special greeting to incorporate into the action. Nimoy remembered the way the Kohanim – the genealogical descendants of the Jewish high priests who used to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem – would position their fingers for the priestly blessing (known as Nesiat Kapayim in Hebrew). The ritual is associated with Pesach, Shavuot, (which starts at sundown tonight) Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur in the Ashkenazi tradition and performed daily in Israel and among Sephardim.

In the Vulcan salute, much like in the priestly blessing, the index and middle finger are kept together and separated from the ring and little fingers. Thus the hand has three sections, which in Jewish tradition resemble the letter shin, the first letter of one of the names of God. Find out more about the Jewish origin of the Vulcan salute.

Nimoy explained his vision for the Vulcan salute as part of a documentary about the iconic series.


Cheers! Chicago

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When someone asks what makes Chicago so great, several possible answers come to mind:

Many natives like to boast about Chicago’s wonderful and illustrious architectural history.

Some can’t wait to point out our culinary fame, persuading tourists to go to deep-dish pizza joints and the summertime gorge we call the Taste of Chicago.

Others mention the city’s natural beauty with its lush public parks and bike friendly avenues, despite the looming skyscrapers.

But I am not like most natives.

Sure, I may have been drinking since day eight like most Jewish males (badam-ching!), but still too many fail to realize the rich history – and promising future – of cocktails available to Chicagoans. We all know that alcohol has been an integral component to human society since the dawn of civilization, and the Jewish community is not without its history, too. Jews have also been a part of Chicago since 1832, when cocktails were in their Golden Age and Chicago was rapidly becoming a major transitional hub between the expanding colonies and the New Territories. Fast-forward to the Prohibition, and you have Al Capone smuggling moonshine and beer into speak-easy joints right in the heart of our city. There is even a tour that takes you around his old stomping grounds, reenacted in a makeshift prison bus. Today, there is no shortage of bars and nightclubs to whet your whistle, including those frequented and managed by members of the tribe.

Since we are discussing cocktails, I will be providing a different cocktail recipe for you readers with each new installment, either to try at home or out on the town.

This time, I have chosen Cohasset Punch, one of the old school Chicago staples that has since vanished from drinking menus.

1½ oz dark rum, 1 oz sweet vermouth, juice of ½ lemon, ½ oz syrup from canned peaches (or peach purée/nectar), ½ oz Grand Marnier, and 2 dashes of orange bitters.

Start by putting half a canned peach/purée in the bottom of a saucer champagne glass; then half-fill the glass with shaved ice (crushed is an ok substitute). Put all the liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the glass.

Try it for yourself and tell me what you think!

Until next time,

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