April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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One of the most enjoyable aspects of a proper Pesach program is the reliable and undeniable Tea Room. For anyone who has attended a Pesach program at the Eden Roc, Fontainebleau or similar hotels along the Collins Avenue strip, the Team Room is one of the most important and memorable components of a successful Pesach program. It is almost as important as mass loitering in the lobby or mass meandering on the boardwalk.

The Tea Room moniker is a bit of a misnomer because it is so much more than just tea. The Tea Room is caterer-created and designed to fill the gaping gap between lunch and dinner when your never-ending Pesach hunger is at its worst. The Tea Room typically offers an assortment of light refreshments, including desserts and beverages, just enough to cure your craving without ruining your appetite. In the Tea Room, macaroons, kichel and mandel bread abound, the kind of classic kosher-for-Passover snacks for which you yearn on Passover and shun the rest of the year. As an aside, there are few things in life that will anger a parent more than a child who over-indulges in the Tea Room and then is not hungry for a regularly-scheduled Pesach program meal. The parent will sternly remind the child how expensive each meal is (often quoting the price right down to the penny) and then the parent will guilt the child into downing a full meal, even if it results in dyspepsia. What a beautiful holiday moment.

Unfortunately, this year few if any Jews are going away for Pesach so the Tea Room will not be happening. Pesach programs around the world have been cancelled and Pesach gatherings have been kiboshed. Even chol hamoed excursions have been scratched. If not for seders, matzahs, and overly-sugary assorted fruit slices, one might not even feel like Pesach has truly arrived. The cancellation of Pesach programs is no small event in the Jewish community. In fact, for some Jews a year without a Pesach vacay, including the Tea Room, is like a wedding without a smorgasbord or a Kumzitz Melave Malke without music.

For the record, the Tea Room is about more than just sustenance. It is a precious moment for mid-day socializing, a time to schmooze with all of the people you ignored at breakfast and lunch. On the flip-side, the Tea Room can be dangerous for those hoping to escape confrontation or awkwardness. In other words, if you want to avoid seeing your ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend or former spouse, then steer clear of the Tea Room. If you enjoy privacy and have secrets to keep, stay out of the Tea Room because, unlike Las Vegas, whatever happens in the Tea Room does not stay in the Tea Room.

The Tea Room arguably is the great equalizer because it is one of the few eating experiences during a Pesach program that does not have table or seating assignments. It’s a general admission, free-for-all frenzy of friendliness where Jews of all ages, shapes, sizes and fashion sense can munch and mingle, the married and the single, together in perfect essen-n-fressen harmony.

The Tea Room also is a terrific opportunity to move up the social ladder and to dabble in social circles in which you have absolutely no business dabbling. For reasons that are unclear, in the Tea Room the snobby and snooty are more likely to give the bourgeoisie the time of day. Beware, however, because even if you temporarily hit it off with the popular and pretty in the Tea Room, chances are that at dinner that night they will revert to avoiding you. Thus, although the Tea Room is effective at encouraging people to temporarily drop their guards, the kumbaya connections are relegated to the room. Do not be surprised if, during a Pesach program, you develop relationships with those who merely become your “Tea Room” friends. That said, a “Tea Room” friend is not necessarily a fake friend. It is more of a situational friend, one you embrace and then erase depending on the setting.

Of course, there are plenty of married couples who first met in a Passover program Tea Room so if you are single, be sure to make an appearance. Your bashert could be just one Tea Room away so go nosh on some snacks and fruit. If you go into the Tea Room with the right attitude, you could quickly go from brownies to bride, from grapes to groom and from cookies to ketubah.

Bonus Passover Jokes:

1. If the mailman delivers the mail, who delivers the matzah? The afikoman.

2. What is the name of the Abbott & Costello routine for Passover? It’s called “Eliya-whu’s on first?”

3. What would be the perfect make and model for a car to drive on Passover? The Nissan Exodus.

By Jon Kranz

 

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