“We serve a lobster special every Wednesday night,” a manager at Essex restaurant told me this afternoon. “Since next Wednesday is the first night of Hanukkah, we thought we’d throw it in with our promotion.”
And there at the corner of Delancey and Essex, hardly a laundry-line away from Hester Street and the Tenement Museum, Sara Smolinsky and Abraham Cahan (about whom you can read a fantastic book here), the Lower East Side of our forebears was forever crushed with a janky lobster mallet.
“It’s a pound-and-a-quarter of Maine lobster,” he went on, but I had heard enough. What would Judah Maccabee have done if he were offered lobster after laying low some Assyrians and rededicating the Temple? Probably cut somebody. What’s next? Consider it a miracle if the clarified butter lasts eight days in a fridge?
“The Wednesday Night Lobsters are Celebrating Hannukah with Lobsters and Latkes.”
What a line. Essex’s top-hatted anthropomorphic bottom-feeders are
being boiled alive celebrating Hannukah (could someone not find one of the 15 acceptable spellings for Hanukkah?) with Lobsters (themselves?) and Latkes. Lobsters and Latkes. Lobsters and Latkes. It’s alliterative!
“We don’t mean to offend anybody,” he said after I asked if he knew that Jews typically don’t eat lobster, especially during the Feast of Dedication. “It’s just a promotion.”
So was Hellenistic Judaism.