(Not So) Jew Orleans - Thursday, May 18

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 12:37pm -- Rabbi Shalom Lewis

Rabbi Shalom Lewis

My daughter Jill and I have been trying to schedule a "Father-Daughter" trip for the past couple of years.

When I was available she was not. When she was available I was not. But finally this week the stars aligned and we were able to get away. Her choice was New Orleans, and so the Crescent City was our destination. Our hotel was in the heart of the French Quarter and fortunately, our rooms overlooked the courtyard so we were spared the never-ending noise of Bourbon Street. New York is the city that never sleeps but neither does New Orleans. Both are urban insomniacs. The former with strap hangers the latter with jazz bands.

Jill and I were unabashed tourists taking a streetcar to the Garden District. An air boat tour of the swamplands. Spending hours in the stunning World War Two Museum. Preservation Hall. Beignets at Cafe Du Monde. But before leaving, when I shared with friends that we were heading to NOLA for a few days they warned me that I would starve. "It is the treiff capital of America," they cautioned. I listened and appreciated their gastronomic heads up but I have navigated such circumstances before and have yet to return from a vacation emaciated. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I must confess that this trip was challenging. On principle, when traveling, I dine only in local eateries and though Applebee's and I Hop beckoned, I refused their invitations.

When checking out the local fare I was amazed at the difficulty of finding something Kosher friendly. I actually laughed as I reviewed the menu thinking that if I read it repeatedly something would change. That the Crustacea would magically grow fins and scales or the Jambalaya would become Jewmbalaya. Alas, the glatt treiff remained treiff and eating in the Big Easy was not so easy. And so, I had to be creative telling the assorted waiters what to eliminate and what to substitute. Sometimes I doubled up on appetizers and surely offended a number of chefs but God's diet comes first. Our ancestors ate manna when they traveled but we don't have that kind of divine nourishment today. It's up to us what we do when on the road and how far we go in maintaining dietary fidelity when far from home.

It's really not that difficult in most places but if I ever return to New Orleans I will bring along a few cans of tuna and some trail mix.







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