Growing up we didn’t celebrate Shavuot, but we did eat blintzes. Which reminds me of a funny story, about both. Like most families in the 1960’s, we ate meat most every night. The once a week dairy meal that we did eat was generally blintzes, the frozen kind, potato, cheese and cherry. My mother would handily fry up 24 of them for our family of six. We quickly devoured the fat laden delicacies with heaps of additional fat, aka, sour cream. This weekly tradition ended suddenly when, one evening, after about 30 years of marriage, my father informed my mother that he didn’t like blintzes.
I often wonder, where are all the Jewish professional golfers? True, our tribe has never had a reputation for lighting the world on fire in the field of professional sports, but I know we're out there somewhere. Off the top of my head, only Sandy Koufax and Mark Spitz come to mind. Curiously, I googled Jews in Sports and found a surprisingly impressive list. But when I got to the Golf category there were only five names. Happily I noted that two of them were women, Amy Alcott and Morgan Pressel. Cool, I thought, Morgan Pressel, two time LPGA Tour winner, and I have something in common!
When I was growing up we had few choices for Charoset. You could coarsely chop your apples or you could fine chop your apples. If you really wanted to go out on an exotic limb you could use Cherry Manischewitz instead of Concord Grape. But that was it.
Many years ago, one of my daughters came home from her Jewish Day School and proclaimed that “Vashti didn’t go to the king when beckoned because she had pimples and a tail.” Now I’ve been Jewish a long time and though I had never actually read the entire Megillah of Esther I was, to say the least, skeptical. I pulled out a Tanach (Bible), turned to the story of Esther and began to read. Well, let me tell you, this is not the fairytale-esque story that I remembered from my childhood. The story begins with drunkenness, lewdness and chauvinism and ends with revenge and a bloodthirsty rampage.
The answer is in the heavens. Our secular calendar is based on a solar year of 365 ¼ days. But how do you have a ¼ day? You don’t. You slowly gather those quarters and save them up until you have a whole (which happens, for those of you with a limited knowledge of 3rd grade math, every 4 years) and, voila, you have February 29th! Also known as a leap year.