Menachem Mendel

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Back from the West Coast to an Open Vault

Last night I got back from a wonderful trip to California that I took with our son. We were able to spend a nice amount of time in the San Francisco area and Los Angeles. While in San Francisco we went to the Mission Minyan on Friday night and Chabad of Noe Valley on Shabbat morning. For anyone who is in SF on Friday night and wants a spirited prayer experience, I highly recommend the Mission Minyan. You can read a bit about it in this recent interview with Steven M. Cohen, Highly Engaged Young American Jews: Contrasts in Generational Ethos. From both my experience and Cohen’s interview, I think that minyanim like the Mission Minyan offer an eclectic mix of ideology and practice that would be difficult for any synagogue that belongs to one of the major movements to offer, let alone tolerate. Many people see themselves as post or non-denominational, or they don’t even think about it, and hence the growing popularity of such minyanim.

In LA we stayed in the Pico-Robertson area and took full advantage of the great kosher dining options, among them Jeff’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory. One culinary oddity had to do with peanuts. In Israel one can always find “American Peanuts” (בוטנים אמריקאיים), a.k.a. kabukim, in a nut store. They consist of peanuts coated with a crunchy shell made of sugar, flour, etc. Well, in one of the LA’s kosher markets I saw these and they were called “Asian Peanuts.” I guess that calling them “American Peanuts” in America wouldn’t have made much sense, not that calling them “American Peanuts” in Israel makes much sense either.

In San Francisco I also tried to stop into a few used-book stores, and in both LA and SF we went to the incredible Amoeba Music Store. The SF store had quite a selection of Israeli and Jewish music. While we’re talking about music, today there are thousands of Springsteen fans blessing she-heḥiyyanu. Bruce and Co. announced the upcoming release of a hefty CD/DVD box set to mark the 30th (plus two) anniversary of the release of his album Darkness on the Edge of Town, The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story (3 CD/3 DVD). It seems as if Bruce opened the vaults for this one.

Hopefully next week will see a more steady return to blogging. Shabbat Shalom.

4 Responses to “Back from the West Coast to an Open Vault”

  1. 1
    harry Perkal:

    Sounds great. You think you can take me on your next trip to the West Coast? Harry

  2. 2
    Yoine Cohen:

    אמעריקאנער ניס is the Yiddish name for peanuts, and it is so called in many Responsa; if the ban on legumes for Ashkenazim applies to those ‘pea’nuts, and generally they are considered unacceptable for Passover. See link:
    It is not the Israelis who have given these nuts this name. As a Yiddish speaker, I call them by that name.

  3. 3
    Menachem Mendel:


    Thanks. Another example of Yiddish’s influence on modern Hebrew.

  4. 4

    zi love those crunchy coated peanuts. Do they have a name in English?

    “Many people see themselves as post or non-denominational, or they don’t even think about it, and hence the growing popularity of such minyanim.” ———— I’m not sure what you mean by “many people” and “growing popularity”. Such Jews as you describe are so few as to be statistically non-existent.




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