The seniors of NYU Local have put together the ultimate bucket list for NYU’s class of 2013. Most of us have spent the last four years under our covers blogging in front of the soft glow of our warm laptops — it’s time we got out out the house.
This past Friday, we sent three Gentiles and their Jewish spiritual advisor to Shabbat dinner. Although the Senior Bucket List stated “Enjoy Shabbat at Weinstein (bonus points if you’re Gentile),” the rules were bent a bit for time, place and manner. The Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life (GCASL) held the Bridges Jum’ah/Shabbat day services and dinner, inviting both the Jewish and Muslim communities to come together for this special occasion. So we had no idea what we were walking into.
Upon arrival, our spiritual advisor forced us to schmooze. And, within the first fifteen minutes or so, President John Sexton showed up to the celebration, dog cradled in hand. As Gentiles, we were penetrating a network previously unknown to us. Andrew was on the lookout for his future Jewish galpal/wife (he came up empty-handed… again), McKenzie beelined towards Sexton to get her first hug (“So how do we do this?,” she asked him) and John couldn’t keep his paws off the frisky pup known as LEGS.
We thought we were showing up for free food before Friday night’s festivities but, instead, we got something really special in return.
Our first challenge: dress code. That’s where our spiritual advisor came in.
@androoolshevski look nice. No jeans, button down. This night is different than all other nights of the week, so look it.
— Eric Silver (@EricLSilver) March 8, 2013
So, obviously, we looked good.
There was a mad dash for the kosher grub. A room full of 200 hungry college students descended upon two rows of catered food; luckily, we planned our strategy in advance and chose the table nearest to the spread. Our in-house food critic, Andrew Olshevski, gave us his Anthony Bourdain-like reviews of what was eaten there:
Prune/Raisin Style Chicken Breast: After being assured by one if the regulars that it was common practice to push and shove to get food, we thought we hit the lottery with a hulking chicken breast. The driest lottery I ever won. ✡ ✡
Everything Salad: This dish was trying too hard. Had like every vegetable from the veggie aisle, but only one weird ladle jaunt to scoop it with. Try again. ✡ ✡
Brisket: Mazel tav. Outrageously Jew-cy and more tender than a J-Sex hug. ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡
Broccoli With Onions: Fine. Nothing special. Like the awkward conversation we tried to strike up with the high school girls from our table. ✡ ✡ ✡
Kugel: Though considerably less cute than LEGS, twice as fluffy and much more appropriate to put in my mouth. ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡
Challah Rolls: Holla! ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡ ✡
We took these gourmet (and not-so-gourmet) dishes back with us to the table. As we ate, two classic douchebags who sat with us invited the underage girls to join them on the Bowery. They didn’t know where or what the Bowery was; in response, one of the guys winked at the girl and said, “It’s fine… you’re not gonna come anyway.” They soon left. That was the end of that.
Before J. Sex spoke, Imam Khalid Latif, the director and chaplain of NYU’s Islamic Center, brought down the house with a harrowing tale of his failed attempt to connect with his roommate, the President of the Zionist Club, during his time at NYU. Then, J. Sex arose, dog still cradled in hand.
All you need to know is that, at one point, John Sexton recalled a tale involving a student in the audience. He publicly reprimanded the young man because he had called J. Sex a “hugslut” on the street.” That’s fine and dandy for us NYU students but, in John Sexton’s words, not if “the schmuck’s from Hunter!”
And then we went out and got drunk. Labatt shalom!
Photos by Julia Berke.