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When I was young, “Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites” spun on the hi-fi every Jewish holiday. I loved Connie F., especially for her song “Teddy”, a lesser-known Francis spin but one of the first songs where I noticed how important a sweeping melody could be to a record. As a kid, music was like religion to me. Whereas RELIGION always felt so serious. So the fact that there was a Pop influence infiltrating the holidays in the Willis household was of great comfort to me. That Connie Francis was Italian and so far away from being Jewish did not deter me at all. The first paragraph of the liner notes was good enough for me:


I wish that all it took these days to satisfy and amaze everyone was an impeccable Jewish accent.


I only knew a few of the songs Connie chose to sing and am not quite sure how the “Anniversary Song” got in there but back then it was rumored she was dating Bobby Darin so I was fine with whatever she wanted to sing.

Last night I was hitting Jewish high notes myself when I partook in the Rosh Hashanah feast at Street restaurant, my favorite haunt be it Jewish holiday or not. I came dressed for the occasion.


Just as Connie Francis wasn’t on the playlist at every Jewish household during the holidays, Rosh Hashana at Street wasn’t the usual latkes and macaroons fare either. Although my favorite, Gefilte Fish, wasn’t on the menu Matzoh Ball Soup was. It was seriously THE BEST Matzoh Ball Soup I have ever tasted.


We also had Whitefish Salad with Apples, Celery and Bagel Chips. Though I never liked whitefish as much as I liked Connie Francis.


The killer food of the night was the Brisket.


It was served with carrots, onion and fresh herbs and Noodle Kugel.


Sorry for the blurry photo. I was too excited to eat once I realized the kugel was topped with Sugar Frosted Flakes. The Feniger-tweaked food slid down the throat of this Chosen Person faster than freshly skimmed schmaltz.

When I went to pay for the meal I realized that some of my accessories may have been slightly inappropriate for the evening.


I cannot attest to being the world’s greatest practicing Jew but I’m always happy to honor the holidays in above manner.  And I would hope that “Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites” would always be on the menu.



Passover means Seder, Seder means matzoh and matzoh means crumbs. But fear not, the Matzah Sweeper is here, a convenient crumb caddy made from plastic that could not have cost the manufacturer much gelt because it’s so clunky to use.  After having decimated at least half a box of matzoh trying to get my favorite unleavened bread topping, peanut butter and jelly, spread evenly across it there were enough crumbs to make it look like my kitchen table was covered with snow.  But despite the fact that it says “press here”…


after five minutes of trying to pry it open pressing everywhere imaginable I gave up trying to crack the Matzah Sweeper open to dump the crumbs. I finally used it, full of crumbs,  as a  percussion shaker on a song I was working on yesterday. The trade-off worked out nicely.


One of my favorite things from a Kitsch perspective about matzoh is that there’s no clear correct spelling of the name. Sometimes it’s matzo, sometimes it’s matzoh and for the Rite Lite company of Brooklyn, New York it’s apparently ‘matzah’.


And now, an extra Passover bonus! Please enjoy The Temptations circa 1968 singing a Fiddler on the Roof medley. The visual quality of this clip is beyond chaluscious (sp? Yiddish for ‘atrocious’) but to hear this score sung this way will add a little pinch o’ soul to the matzo brei and gefilte fish and ensure you stay in the groove this Passover season.



This matzoh patterned ‘Let Me People Go’ toilet seat cover is one of the biggest hits in my house when I drag it out every holiday season to greet my Chanukah guests who find reason to let it go after a massive bagels and lox/ 8-gift exchange brunch. Made by Davida, guests seem to enjoy this expression of Judaism even more than the ever popular gefilte fish car plaque.

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