Tuesday, March 17, 2009


...to our Irish (and Irish wannabe) friends.

Fun fact: Did you know that leprosy is an occupational disease commonly suffered by leprechauns?

Another fun fact: Both the Jews and the Irish refer to a police officer as a “shamus.” What we haven’t yet figured out is whether the expression comes from the Yiddish (where “shammes” refers to a minor synagogue functionary) or from the Irish name Seamus, no doubt a common name among policemen when their ranks were heavily populated by Emerald Islanders.

This day, coincidentally enough, is a day of celebration for us Jews, for it is the birthday of a Woman of Valor in our history: Tovu O’Halekha. “Ma” Tovu, as she was popularly known, is revered not only for her knowledge of Torah (unusual for a woman in her time), but for driving the swine out of Upper Galicia.

To honor her memory, it is a traditional practice to eat corned beef and cabbage. Preferably, the corned beef is sliced thin and served hot on rye bread with lashings of brown mustard, while the cabbage is shredded and presented in the form of a side of cole slaw.

Should you find yourself in the vicinity of Keneally’s Irish Pub in Houston - it’s on S. Shepherd Drive not too far from Westheimer - be sure to order an Irish Lady, a pizza of my own invention. It’s a razor-thin crust (Lair Simon says it’s thin enough to slash your wrists with) topped with corned beef and anchovies. Mmmm, good. And you can wash it down with a pint of Guinness, expertly drawn by the Keneally’s tapsters and with a shamrock traced delicately in its foamy cap.

Jews may be thin on the ground on the Auld Sod, but nevertheless, we have a high opinion of the place, seeing as how some of our most important prayers were written there. Sure and ye’ve heard of the O’Midah and the O’Leinu?

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