I just returned from a wonderful conference sponsored by Kiddush-Nazi International (also known as KNISH). They recently got together at a swanky resort in the Catskills to talk about the things that Kiddish-Nazis talk about — being mean and setting up kiddush. The keynote address was delivered by Rabbi Billi Middos, the president of KNISH. He spoke about the importance of letting go of any sense of middos in order to be an effective Kiddush-Nazi.
There were workshops on topics related to food purchasing, table set-up, kid control, and cleanup. One of the most popular sessions was delivered by the guy who sets up the kiddush at Congregation Ohavei Mamon of Shaker Heights, OH who spoke about the proper way to recover used chumus, half-a-bowl of herring, and cookie parts for use in next week’s kidudsh.
I also enjoyed the panel discussion about the differences between Polish, Litvish, and Yekeh styles of pushing kids away from the tables before the Rabbi finishes saying kiddush. Apparently the Yekehs are the meanest of the three — and my experience confirms this too.
Most of the conference was filled with boring sessions dealing with trivial questions, like how many toothpicks to use in the herring, how to keep the hockers away from the scotch, and getting other people to do the work that you insisted on doing. The funniest session was about how to avoid brushing up against hips and rear ends when trying to get to the drink table. Apparently some poskim say it’s OK to rub cheek to cheek if it is inadvertent.
The food served there was awful. They served old gefilte fish balls and graham crackers along with 2 liter bottles of Verners and Shasta Cola. And everything was on paper. No booth-babes, and no shwag. The only booth that had any appeal was the one where you could yell at manikins of little kids and they start to cry. There was a line around the corner to get in that booth.
The most heated talk was delivered by Dr. Gary Toshav who’s primary message was the that KNISHers should allow converts to be kiddush nazis. Of course, the KNISHers have resisted this notion for fear that there could be a kiddush nazi who had yichus from real nazis — and the irony would be too much to handle.
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