Monday, March 29, 2010

Zisn Pesach !! Happy Passover! Get your horshradish and koser wine out! L'Chaim!

Zisn Pesach !! Happy Passover! Get your horshradish and koser wine out! L'Chaim!

Today is a special holiday for Jewish people around the world!

Its Passover or Pesach, a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival remembering and honoring the Hebrews' escape from enslavement in Egypt as recounted in the bible.

Passover is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays (Yom Tov), and is a time to contemplate the endurance of the Jewish people throughout history.

Tonight, in most Jewish households, there will be a special dinner called the Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר[ˈsedeʁ], "order, arrangement").

The Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that is held on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

From Wikipedia: "The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: "And you shall tell it to your son on that day, saying, 'Because of this God did for us when He took me out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8) Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah (Pesahim 10).[1][2] The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs. Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matza and partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world."

The traditional food of the Seder involves some unique items that are eaten in specific orders:
At several points during the Seder, everyone leans to the left - when drinking the four cups of kosher wine,  then eating the Afikoman (desert), and indulging in the korech sandwich

"They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it." (Ex. 12:8)

Korech Sandwich

"Instead of eating the Pascal lamb, however, today we substitute charoset. We take some matzah and smear some maror (horseradish) on one end and some charoset on the other. We then top off the matzah with another piece. When we eat, we begin with the bitter side and move to the sweet side, reminding us that though our slavery was indeed bitter, our redemption is sweeter still..."

This concludes the first part of the Seder. Families will now will eat dinner (shulchan orech) and continue the Seder after the meal is completed....while keeping in mind the spirit of the night, the importance of family, tenacity, endurance and keeping traditions alive! 

Hearty appetite!

CounterCentral hit counters

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why be Italian when you are Iranian

From about 25th to 40th and Broadway in midtown Manhattan is the Fashion/Garmet District in NYC!
Streets filled with wholesale and retails shops selling everything from silk fabrics to Indian jewlery to high end designs and 5 dollar back packs...

So the other day I went in to audition to be a model for a fashion design company that I got through Model Mayhem.
The 2 men, who seemed to be brothers and shared the last name of Yadidi..greeted me and started looking me up and down (as they all do in the fashion industry).

But as the Gypsy...I had no interest in the fashion aspect of why I was there...I was only interested to know where they were from and who they were. SO I asked. "Where are you from"?

One of the men responded with a chuckle, "Italy". I chuckled back, slightly skeptical, bc looking at his small, stocky frame with his pointy long nose, dark skin, dark hair and slight asian eyes...I knew that Italy was not his country of origin. SO in that moment I put a few puzzle pieces together, looked around the room, and made my conclusion. I noticed Hamsa's and the Star of David hanging on all the walls and remembered the big blue eye that protects from the Evil Eye as I entered the shop. Having lived in Los Angeles for years, I spent alot of time in Tehrangeles...a part of LA that is inhabited by over 900,00 Iranian Jews.  To see more about Tehrangeles click here:

Then I assessed how he spoke: with a low voice and a slight roll in the R that was more from the north eastern part of the world then southern Europe.

I said to them, "Are you sure you are not from Iran?"

Both the men froze and started to slowly smile at me, "Well yes we are" they said with a hesitation.

I said, "Well them, Salam! khosh vaghtam! Chetori!!"

They were shocked! And for the next 10 minutes asked how I knew Farsi?, was I Iranian?, and how did I know where they were from?

and I always answer, simply because "I am America's Gypsy"

The bond was sealed. And I got the job!

yalla yalla yee ha!

The message of this experience!

Be proud of who you are! I love Italians but they are NO better than Iranians or Ukranians or Albanians or any other culture!
I hope one day...regardless of what is on the news or in the papers...that people from countries who have a slight mark on their heritage or put that mark on someones country of origin can rise above the politics, prejudices and small minded perceptions and be proud of where they are from and honor where they might be I know there are already many of you out there!

Remember that you are unique and special: just like everyone else!


Desert Gypsy PIcs

Friday, March 12, 2010

Golden Earrings

There are few Gypsy-themed films that really showcase the true essence of the Gypsies.

Regardless of what tribe they are or what country of origin they are from...Gypsies are magical!

This film, Golden Earrings (1947), presents the Gypsies as kind, tribal, rambunctious, happy, sensual and loyal...

With the precursor of war looming in the mountains of Germany and Nazi's patrolling the streets, Ralph Denistoun (Ray Milland) an English officer on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula. Hungry and tired, he sees a beautiful woman by the banks of the river, crouched down, humming Romanian lullabies and cooking fish stew. Whether it was his necessity or destiny; he united with Lydia the Gypsy, (Marlene Dietrich), along with her tribe as they helped him escape out of Germany and back to Great Britian. After recounting his story to a stranger on a plane, he discovers that his true happiness lies with the loving, spontaneous, unattached and wild.
So he heads back to Germany to be with Lydia- adorned in his sacred Golden Earrings.

This film depicted that though the stereotypes of Gypsies can sometimes be true: there is a reason to their madness and beauty in their reasoning. Music always fills the air, women and men dancing, children smiling, food cooking, elders laughing and freedom boiling in their veins. These are their archetypal gifts they share with us, in our modern day society of heavy expectations, extreme attachments and decline in family values. We can now look to the beauty of the Gypsies and see how we can create our own tribe of like minded, free spirited people who above all else are loyal and know how to have a good time!

yalla Yalla YEE HA!
America's Gypsy