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TC Jewfolk: 50 reasons to love being Jewish in the Twin Cities

City Pages had a fabulous article last week, “50 Reasons to Love Minneapolis/St. Paul,” and it really struck a chord for us. What are the reasons we love Minneapolis/St. Paul? There are too many to count. But that got us thinking – what are 50 things we love about being Jewish in Minneapolis/St. Paul?

We started the list (in totally random order), and thought that perhaps you might be able to help us think of a few more. What do you love about being Jewish in Minneapolis/St. Paul? Add your thoughts to the comments.

  1. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company or any number of our other awesome, local theaters that produce shows with Jewish themes or by Jewish playwrights.
  2. Cecil’s Deli. Say no more.
  3. Heidi and Stuart Woodman, The old Heidi’s, and the new one.
  4. The weird sister city thing. Jews on Minneapolis never go to St. Paul, and vice versa. Except for work. But that doesn’t count. Okay, yes, it bugs us, but we love it too, because it makes us laugh. A lot.
  5. The Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival. Because that movie about the Israeli sumo wrestlers last year rocked.
  6. Yum! restaurant. Because it’s run by Jews and kids can run around freely without freaking people out.
  7. We’re The Frozen Chosen. (and we’re claiming the label for ourselves – even if Toronto Jews say the same thing).
  8. We almost have a Jewish Art Museum of Minnesota. Paige Dansiger is working on it. And we love her for it.
  9. Magen Tzedek, the kosher and just food label was born here. Thank you Rabbi Allen, JCA, and the whole crew for making that bubble up and go national.
  10. Our 2008 high-drama senatorial race (and recount) between two Jews – name another Midwest city where that would happen. Oh, and all politics aside, some of us think it’s pretty cool that we have a former SNL cast member for a senator.
  11. Zumba at the Minneapolis JCC. With Leslie.
  12. Minneapolis Federation Young Leadership’s Bat Mitzvah party. A heck of a party every year, and for a great cause.
  13. TC Jewfolk (can we say that? Is that cheating?) And while we’re at it, we love that we’re in a city that has supported Jewish news media since 1912.
  14. Cool, under 40 Jews who are shaking it up and keeping it fresh: Rabbi Avi Olitzky at Beth El, Raysh Weiss founder of the Uptown Havurah, Rabbi Jared Saks at Temple Israel…(We can’t list them all, so let us know your mentions in the comments below!)
  15. MinnPost.com, a fabulous source of political news run by some of our favorite Jews.
  16. Famous Jewy foodies Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl and Andrew Zimmern.
  17. Brochin’s. Best Judaica around. Got a great challah plate there last year.
  18. Bob Dylan. Even though he doesn’t feel Jewy.
  19. Breadsmith challah. Almost as good as Zayde’s. Almost.
  20. The Coen Brothers. Especially “A Serious Man.” Especially the first 5 minutes of the movie that you only “got” if you were Jewish.
  21. Jdate.com. Because you know everyone on it. Unless they’re from the “other side of the river.” See #4. Did you hear the one about the guy whose first set of matches included his sister?!
  22. We’re so creative. Our Middle Eastern restaurants are named Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Holy Land. See a theme?
  23. We live in a city that’s not afraid to engage in interfaith dialogue. Like these ones.
  24. We have very own archives run by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest.
  25. Even though our Jewish community isn’t exactly huge, it’s not so small either. We were tempted to make fun of some really non-Jewy states, but even Montana has a Chabad house these days.
  26. We have gorgeous synagogues filled with some pretty awesome people.  And with plenty to choose from, there’s a smorgasbord of options to get your learning/davening/schmoozing fill across the spectrum of Jewish observance.
  27. Shish Cafe on Grand Ave in St. Paul. Because the owner (originally from Jerusalem) is known to wish patrons a “shabbat shalom” on Fridays if he knows you’re an MOT.
  28. Neighborhood House, started by Jewish women over 100 years ago, and assisting immigrant and underprivileged populations ever since.
  29. No sales tax on clothes is kind of a JAP’s dream.
  30. Fabulous JCCs on either side of the river.
  31. Jewish Heritage Night with the Timberwolves and our chance to kick some Guinness World Record-breaking, dreidel-spinning butt.
  32. Lewis Black’s Minnesota Winters.
  33. Our football team is owned by a guy named Zygi. Yeah, he’s Jewish.
  34. J-Pride: The Twin Cities’ GLBTQ Jewish group.
  35. All of the amazing TC Jewfolk who will keep filling up this list in the comments below!

    This post was written by Leora Maccabee and originally published on TCJewfolk. Follow Leora on Twittter: @leoramaccabee

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Comments (1)

Jewish music in the Twin Cities has held a vital role in the community since the establishment in the 1970's of The Prairie Heym Klezmorim. Today there are at least half a dozen klezmer ensembles -- including Klezmer and All That Jazz, Mazl Tov Cocktail, Klezmerica, and Eisner's Klezmorim. There's no excuse these days for not being able to have a klezmer band at your bar/bat mitzve, wedding, or simkhe!

Also you can learn more yiddish by going to a monthly meeting of the Yiddish Vinkl at the Mpls. Sabes J.C.C. They have been telling jokes, putting on plays and lectures in Yiddish for 18 years now. And if you can actually carry a conversation in yiddish, there is a weekly meeting called Tuesday-Schmooseday.