The famous Oreo
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The famous Oreo

When Oreos became kosher, it was a huge deal. Children all over the country no longer had to be envious of their friends who would snack on the chocolate cookies with the mouthwatering cream in the middle. Kosher kids no longer had to settle for the knock-offs that tried to pass as Oreos, but could never be as good. My sons were no different. Son #1 loved Oreos, so it is kind of ironic that he has become a cholov yisroel-eating Oreo and no longer eats Oreos.

That brings me to part of today’s topic — why I call my boys Oreos. Someone had mentioned to husband #1 that it might be offensive that I refer to my sons, and other Jewish men who wear only black and white, as “Oreos.” In the past, I called them “penguins,” but when my sons went to the dark side (dark side being black hats and black pants) I started calling them Oreos as a term of endearment because of their love of, well, Oreos. So I do not mean to be offensive. I say it out of love for my beautiful boys.

Speaking of Oreos, I have another story from Israel (and it doesn’t involve food or bird poop). When I landed in Israel, with tears of gratitude in my eyes, my first stop was to find a sherut. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the very inexpensive way of getting to Jerusalem (or other destinations). Husband #1 insisted that I do that, instead of taking a cab. Of course he did. Miraculously, I find the sherut and I climb aboard. Sitting across from me was an Oreo-looking man with very full payot (sidecurls). We end up talking and talking for quite a while, because these cars don’t leave until all 10 seats are taken. But it was just the two of us, and I needed to get to son #3. I was not wasting any more time waiting for other people who didn’t want to spend money on a cab. I ask my new Oreo friend how much a cab would cost, because he told me he lived in Israel, and I told him that I would pay for a cab if he would come with me and just pay me what he would have paid for the sherut. (Please don’t tell husband #1 that I took a cab…)

So the Oreo and I get out of the sherut and finally find a cab willing to take us to Jerusalem. I introduce myself to the Oreo and he introduces himself to me. After all, we had just spent 45 minutes together in the empty sherut. I learned he was from Brooklyn, I learned he was a musician. I told him how I could play the piano, flute, and the violin and he told me all the instruments he could play without ever having a lesson. Then we were in the cab together for almost an hour, and got into a heated discussion about how much “celebrity” Jewish singers like Mordechai Shapiro and Beri Weber make at weddings. I am not sure how this came up, and I wasn’t sure why he was getting so defensive. We talked about my boys and I showed him pictures; he spoke about wanting to get remarried. We bonded. He convinced the cab driver to drop me off right by the Kotel, so I would have a closer walk to the friend’s house where I was staying, and he kept asking me if I was going to be okay because it was raining, I had so much luggage with me, and, I guess, because I am a middle-aged woman. So we say our goodbyes, and that was that.

After getting to my friend’s house, son #3 finishes his class and comes right over. I open the door, we hug, we cry, we laugh, and then I start telling him about the Oreo from the past two hours. “Do you know a musician named Meilech Kohn?” He looks at me and says, “Mom, that is the farting moshiach guy!!!!” Farting Moshiach is not the name of the song, but what I call the song Ve’Uhavta, because that is what I think the chorus sounds like, and it is my very favorite Hebrew song. Yes, I know. I have a favorite Hebrew song because my kids are Oreos and all they listen to is Hebrew music. And now I know the Oreo who sings my favorite song!!!

The story tells better in person, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway…

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck has only one more story from Israel, and then it is back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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