Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16

On this day, in 2014, Barbara Cunningham, of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles accepted an invitation to a Purim celebration at the home of her next door neighbors. The Schiffmans, a couple with three children, had been the first on the block to welcome Barbara, when she'd moved in six months before, and she found them to be very pleasant neighbors. As her hosts had indicated that it would be a kosher menu, Barbara decided to steer clear of bringing a tray of pigs-in-a-blanket and chose, instead, to make a batch of fresh doughnuts, using her grandmother's recipe. There were several other neighbors at the celebration, which was a lively affair. After an amazing dinner of brisket, roasted vegetables, and a lentil salad, and several joyous toasts, Myra Shiffman made a pot of coffee, and brought out the tray of doughnuts, over which everyone oohed and ahhed. Gabe Shiffman took a bite of a doughnut and remarked on how wonderfully light and flaky it was. Barbara remarked that the lightness was due to the fact they'd been fried in lard, just like in the old days. Gabe immediately dropped the doughnut he'd been eating, and Myra quickly took the sweets away from her children's dessert plates. Lard, Gabe explained, came from porcine tissue, and thus was in violation of kosher dietary law. Barbara laughed, said she hadn't even thought of that, noted that it wasn't actual pork, and suggested that he should "lighten up" and "consider giving regular, American foods a chance." The other guests remained silent, and Myra Schiffman declared she'd suddenly been stricken by a migraine, and that they ought to call it a night. Later, when Barbara was back in her own living room, she thought about the Schiffman's reaction to her generous offering. "It's no wonder they have so much trouble fitting in, anywhere," she said to herself, "if that's the way they treat a neighbor!"  

(Shout out to Robert Sanchez, who inspired this.)

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