Category Archives: Falafel and more

Anything related to Israel or being Jewish.

The Kirsch Sukkah

For the first time since I became a self-sufficient adult and incentivized by the lockdown to have another place to be in, we built a sukkah (סוכה‎) for… yes, you got that right: Sukkoth (סוכות‎).

When it comes to building a sukkah, there’s two ways to go:

  1. McGyver-style, using nothing but a swiss-army knife and raw unprocessed materials, which takes way too much work and aren’t reusable. I want a sukkah but not this badly.
  2. Get a pre-made kit, which you can reuse but I’m waaay too cheap to buy. And if you procrastinate like I do, they sell out anyway.
Thanks, but no thanks.

So for all the many readers of The MKX® and other people searching the Internet for instructions on “how to build a sukkah”, this is how I made a really nice, inexpensive, easy to build, reusable sukkah.

Get a canopy with walls

This is the key ingredient. When I bought it it had a nice discount so it was a bit over $200. It comes with walls, and neatly folds into a nice bag with wheels. Buy it in whatever color you want (I got white). Note that the walls attach to the roof using velcro, and I obviously don’t use the roof. So this is a problem.

Unlike most pre-made sukkot, this thing is light, sturdy, and comes as a single piece. No construction or tools needed!

The delight of seeing the future sukkah for the first time.
So easy to assemble even these clowns can do it.

Grommet kit

$12 from Home Depot. Since the walls attach to the fabric roof using velcro, I needed an alternative. Enter this grommet kit. I made 5 holes on each wall – right on the aforementioned velcro – so I can attach the fabric walls to the structure of the canopy. This part took the longest but is also the one part I won’t have to repeat next year.

Serious people trying to figure out how to use the grommet kit.
My signature “not too shabby” face. It all ended up looking quite professional, if I must say it myself.

Zip ties

One of the best things since sliced bread, zip ties are your friend. Buy a big bag and use them to hang the walls and just about anything you need. Apply them generously, mostly because they are so incredibly satisfying.

S’chach

The roof, perhaps the most important aspect of a sukkah is where it could all have gone wrong. My gardener Carlos didn’t come through with palm leaves, and the pre-made kosher roll up s’chach (סכך) would have cost around $300 for my 10×10 area.

My buddy Dajman gave me the ultimate tip: 6 ft. H x 16 ft. W Natural Reed Garden Fencing from Home Depot, $25. Perfect 👌🏻.

Unroll two of these on the to of the sukkah and you’re good to go. Didn’t even need to tie them.

Finishing touches

Add a few string lights and decorations and hang them with those zip ties that are sooo satisfying and… voilà!, we have a festival in our hands. Chag Sameach!

The canopy comes with an extra wall with a roll-up wall. I chose not to use it so the sukkah feels more open.

Happy Hanukkah

Better late than ever…

The staff of The MKX® wants to wish you חג שמח or whatever the hell it is you celebrate around this time.

Shana Tova

The ever growing and ever good looking staff of The MKX® wishes all our numerous readers around the globe a sweet and happy and prosperous new year.

Happy 5777

Time flies… it feels like just yesterday it was 5710, barely a year after the founding of the State of Israel.

Ok, not really. But it will after you see these five Rosh Hashanah greeting cards (cartisei bracha)  from 1949. My mom found them in a box that belonged to my great-grandfather zeide Elias Zack. For the most part, these are well known photos, but it’s still cool to see in this format.

kartis-bracha-1949-1Let’s see if I can track down who these Yaffa, Nili, and Baruch Sandomirsky were.

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kartis-bracha-1949-5

Here is a download link for all five as separate PDFs scanned at insanely high 600 dpi, in case you want them. If you do download, be nice and leave a comment? kartisei-bracha-1949

Darth Ilan

Ilan dressed up for Purim as the Dark Lord of the Sith himself: Darth Vader. Whenever I would ask him “Where’s Darth Vader?” he would look down and point at his costume while breathing heavily.

I couldn’t be prouder.

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This was the least bad photo with the helmet, which lasted on for the duration of this photo.

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Off-frame: the kid that took the ball as the victim of a force choke.

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In his home planet environment.

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Ominous.

Apologies for the shoddy video work: I had to stay close and hold him because he’s standing on a shaky toy rail while recording with the other hand.

 

Happy Chanukah

Ilan’s jewfro is approaching mine. Much better than last year’s.

Happy Chanukah

PS: What is the most widely accepted English phonetic spelling for חֲנֻכָּה?

Purim 2015

With the 10th Annual Kosher Chili Cookoff and the Purim Carnival both happening on the same day at the JCAA, we knew we had to come up with a special costume.

So after lots and lots of deliberation, Ilán and I settled on the classic crowd pleaser: The Ugly Nun and The Ugly Nun mini. Turns out Ilán has managed to put on a lot of weight since he was a week old without really growing much hair. This forced us to create a brand new The Ugly Nun costume. Fortunately, mine still fits.

Unlike every other day of his short life, Ilán decided to actually sleep in that day. That means we missed the costume contest (we were a shoe in for first prize, I mean, look at me) and missed eating chili too! (whatever, it’s kosher chili, can’t be that great).

Too bad, we’ll need to dress up the same next year. And since this blog is like Playboy and people come for the photos and not the articles, here you go:

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Left: The Ugly Nun. Right: The Ugly Nun mini

 

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Blinking contest. He won.

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Believe it or not, women find The Ugly Nun irresistible. Here’s proof.

 

B’nai Abraham Synagogue

I find it kind of cool and terribly impressive that full buildings can be moved from one place to another.

This happened last Friday here in Austin, as the B’nai Abraham Synagogue was moved from Brenham to Austin. This is the oldest synagogue in the state, or at least the oldest in continuous use, if you believe Wikipedia. It was built in 1893. It will now be the only orthodox synagogue in Austin.

I stopped by looking to take my mom to eat Kosher BBQ (they were sold out so the review will have to wait).

Here’s some additional reading in The New York Times and Austin Monthly.

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The guy at the back of the line was the most disappointed of all.

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This week in terrorism

Europe, Charlie, and Hamas

While the European Union debates whether Hamas should be in their “terrorist organization” list, France is hit by two terrorist attacks from islamic extremists.

Hamas condemns the one where Jews were not directly targeted (Jews died in both) but not the one on the kosher supermarket. But then there’s a rally in Hamas-controlled Gaza “in support of French terrorists, Islamic State”.

Later in Israel, a terrorist stabs a bunch of people in Tel Aviv. Of course Hamas praises the attack as a “heroic and courageous act.”

Keep debating, Europe.

Bonus: Did you hear about the CNN anchor quitting over his intelligent tweets on the matter?

Argentina

Over twenty years after the horrific terrorist attack in AMIA, nothing has been solved yet even though it is widely known that the attack was perpetrated by Iran and Hezbollah and there’s evidence the Argentinian government was bribed to block the investigation. Now the Argentinian Prosecutor Alberto Nisman is found dead on the eve of eve of a congressional hearing. Suicide? Yeah right. More info.

It’s inconceivable that a government would work to protect those responsible for an attack on its territory that killed over 80 Argentinian citizens. But this is exactly what’s happening. Also, this happened this week in Argentina.

Depressing.