PARKING LOTKE – The Wednesday Wordapod
As Chanukah concludes, today’s (The Wednesday) Wordapod celebrates Boris-Yuri Fedorov, one of the brave men who gave us the “parking lotke.”
Parking Lotke (n) – a potato pancake, often eaten during Chanukah, which is consumed at an outdoor location
The parking lotke, like a lot of traditional foods associated with the Jewish religion, started as a necessity, but continued because of tradition and commerce. I discussed this with the eminent Russian Jewish scholar, Boris-Yuri Fedorov.
Matt: Mr. Fedorov? Or should I call you—
Boris-Yuri: If please, my friends call me Basha.
Matt: Basha, the former Soviet Union was quite repressive to Soviet Jews. How were you able to keep your traditions alive?
Boris-Yuri: In former Soviet Union, Jews not allowed to pray freely. We convene together in parking lots outside synagogue to partake in some parking lotkes and borscht.
Matt: For the benefit of some of my readers, what is borscht?
Boris-Yuri: Borscht Eastern European soup taste like paint thinner. But add some sour cream, and you’ve got something.
Matt: So, where did you used to convene?
Boris-Yuri: Was hard to celebrate with my people in those times in Moscow. We meet discreetly behind abandoned Politburo building. Natasha and Anatoly light menorah, the men spin our frozen dreidels, and Olga Greenberg bring her beautiful golden brown parking lotkes. Was tasting great, and we never got caught.
Matt: What was the toughest part of celebrating in this way?
Boris-Yuri: I think my friend, Viktor, is KGB agent.
Matt: Why do you say that?
Boris-Yuri: That schlemiel never bring applesauce.
Thanks to the bravery of Basha and his friends, parking lotkes are now enjoyed throughout the world in all kinds of weather, in total freedom—and with applesauce.
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