Bacon-Cubed and Cleaning the Anacostia

If you take your blog-reading seriously, then at this point you’ve probably heard about the bacon bra–the sort of bizarre cultural curiosity that only internet can make possible. Last week we mentioned the rise of a new and disturbing bacon lollipop. Now word reaches us of bacon vodka. Isn’t there some rule of three that should have us all very, very worried right now? According to Arlo Guthrie, doesn’t three incidents of gratuitous and bizarre bacon usage indicate an underlying organization?

Ask Randy BaconFor answers we suggest you speak to our resident expert and New Orleans native, Randy Bacon, the Director of the Behrend Builders and co-director of the 16th Street J’s Spring into Action Day of Environmental Service. There are still some slots left for this project taking place this Sunday, April 13 at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Volunteers will clear litter from the Anacostia, (both from the shore and from canoes and kayaks in the river) help remove non-native, invasive plants and renew recreation areas throughout the park. If you’ve never been, the Aquatic Gardens are one of DC’s hidden gems, and your volunteer work is needed to help it continue to shine. Tucked away in Northeast, the gardens are the only Federal Park that displays cultivated aquatic plants. They’ve got waterlillies you could float a large child on (not recommended). It’s a day to reconnect to our city, our environment and to our responsibility to both.

And if you see Randy, you may also learn what is behind the preponderance of pork products in posts here and elsewhere.


This Week at the 16th Street J

Some highlights from the coming week of programming at the Washington DCJCC.

Monday, April 7

  • The Women Who Kept the Songs: From India to Israel — The Musical Heritage of Cochin. A unique partnership between the Embassies of Israel and India provides the rare opportunity to hear the songs of traditional Jewish communities from India’s Malabar Coast. Members of the Nirit Singers from Israel will perform songs in Malayam, recovered through a unique collaboration between the Cochin Jews and dedicated anthropologists and musicologists

Tuesday, April 8

  • Passover Wine Tasting with Jay Caplan. Each Seder calls for four cups of wine (and potentially more than that depending on how close you are with your family). Gone are the days when you needed to choke down sickly-sweet Concord grape, choose from Cabernets, Merlots, Chardonnays, Rieslings, and then if you must have sweet wine, try some specially vinted for dessert.
  • Israeli Rock Singer Etti Ankiri– A Spiritual Songstress. Combining a rare combination of spirituality, feminism and Israeli rock ‘n roll chops, Etti’s music is reminiscent of the Idan Raichel Project, with a Kabbalistic twist.

Wednesday, April 9

  • Seven Strategies for a Succesful Seder with Sarah Gershman. We’re not talking about how to respond when your Aunt Selma asks why you’re not pregnant yet. Rather, come learn how to make your seder experience more meaningful, with special readings, games, songs and my favorite: props! As for Aunt Selma, see Passover Wine Tasting (above).

Thursday, April 10

  • Jewish Flavors From the Silk Road with Susan Barocas. There’s more to Jewish food than gefilte fish. In fact, there’s a whole culinary tradition beyond the shtetl that encompasses Jewish communities from Rome to Tehran to Tashkent, Bombay and beyond.

Sunday, April 13

  • Spring Into Action–Day of Environmental Community Service at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. Spend the day outdoors helping to beautify one of the District’s hidden gems along the Anacostia River. There are tasks appropriate for the whole family from litter collection, to non-native plant removal, to a flotilla of kayaks and canoes cleaning trash from the river

Spring Into Action

Berman Hebrew Academy Students Make My Senior Skip Day Look Shallow

Back in the good ole analog days, when I was in high school, “Senior Skip Day” (you might have called it “Cut Day” or “Ditch Day” or “I Got Into College and I Am Sooo Over High School Day”) was a day for frivolity, goofing off, and in my case heading down to the Jersey Shore, testing out my fake i.d., and trying to convince Heidi McHighschoolcrush that we could be more than “just friends.” But enough of my baggage. (P.S.–Heidi, I am totally over you.)

Yesterday, Erica Steen, the director of the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service got a phone call at around 10am telling her that a group of Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy students were having an impromptu “Senior Skip Day” and were looking to make the day meaningful and thought a community service project would fit the bill. While the department didn’t have any specific projects scheduled for that day, Erica proposed that they come downtown anyway and she would Berman Academy Kids Rebel By Repairing the Worldcreate a project for them.

Within an hour Erica met 14 boys and one girl at a grocery store around the corner from the 16th Street J where they purchased bread and fruit and bottled water, then returned to the J’s community service prep kitchen.

The kids proceeded to assemble peanut butter sandwiches which they then took down to Franklin Square at 13th and I Streets and distributed to the homeless population that tends to congregate in the park there.

According to Erica, much of the conversation amongst the students centered around how much trouble they might be in the next day for cutting class. And while, their headmaster may have to give at least a small rebuke (if he’s a go-by-the-book kind of guy), I have a hunch that they won’t be forced to write on the blackboard 100 times, “I will not cut class to feed the homeless and hungry.”

Bart Simpson Does Not Attend Berman Hebrew Academy

So we congratulate the Seniors of the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy for their good hearts, their kind deeds and hope that the faculty and staff of the school will smile and be proud of all that they did. We were proud to be a part of it.

If you are a high school student (or are parenting a high school student) and are interested in doing community service work for school credit or for personal enrichment, consider participating in the 16th Street J’s summer service camp: Yad B’ Yad. The two-week camp exposes high school students to a variety of service projects in the DC-area including shelter repair, hunger action, environmental clean-up, neighborhood beautification and work with at-risk children. There’s an early-bird registration discount of 10% if you sign up before April 4.

Shabbat Surfing: Spitzer-Free Links

Are we done with Client #9 yet? Can we stop with the references to Alexander Portnoy? Can we stop with the ruminations on the male Jewish id? And by the way, why doesn’t anyone compare the soon-to-be-former Governor’s exploits to more WASPy forerunners like British sex-fiends Anthony Lambton or John Profumo; or 2-dimensional Brenda Starr (courtesy of the City Desk)! And remember, Senator David Vitter, who is accused of similar offenses (although he has denied them) still sits in the US Senate. Then again, he’s from the Big Easy.

Moving on…

Free Community Service Trip to Israel

Community Service Trip to IsraelJoin the Washington DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service and the Washington DC post-college community (ages 22-26) trip this summer! Register now through February 29.

Experience the awesome adventure of Israel through the eyes and hearts of Israeli peers as you travel with them and with fellow Washingtonians to see the country and make a difference through community service. Travel for 10 days; see the beauty, excitement and complexities of Israel. See the land through hikes and tours, and compare the modern Israel of Tel Aviv with the diversity and spirituality of Jerusalem. You will also learn first-hand about the people of Israel as we do hands-on service learning projects throughout the trip. Each trip is a gift from Taglit-Birthright Israel and covers round-trip airfare plus 10-days of programming in Israel.
We will partner with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and trip provider Shorashim. For more information, please contact Jackie Terry at

Eligibility: Jewish, live in the greater Washington area, 22-26 years old and never been to Israel on a peer-led educational trip.

Pictures from D25 and MLK Day

Visit the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service’s brand-spanking-new Flickr page which has pictures from their last two major days of service: December 25th and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

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