11.30.2011

A Day On the Subway: Follow-Up

At long last! A follow up to this post from more than two months ago. I am sorry for the delay. This is what happened, as much as I can recall at this late date.
I was on the subway this morning, late to a meeting. As I got on, I noticed a man occupying three seats. (He was sitting in one and a half and had his bag on the third.) I had to stand for a bit, until someone else got off, in order to sit. Before someone else got off, I thought about asking him to move his bag, but realized that he seemed to be down on his luck, so decided not to bother him. As I stood up to get off at my stop, he first fell sideways, into the empty seat beside him, and then off the seat entirely, on to the floor. The teenagers near me tittered and got off, but I said, "Sir, sir" to him as loudly as I could muster to try to wake him up. He did not move or appear responsive to me. But I was late for a meeting! And this was my stop! What would you do?
I got off the train after seeing that someone else was trying to wake the man, and telling someone in the next car what had happened. By the time I hurriedly left the scene, other responsible citizens were on it. I think that I thought about alerting a subway official, maybe upstairs as I walked out, but I was leaving from an unstaffed entrance, so that didn't happen. Also, it seemed that the train conductor might already be aware of the situation, since the train was delayed in the station. Oh, right! Some other people called out from the open doors, to the conductor, "Someone needs help here!" I think. In any case, by the time I left, it was clear that others were involved and feeling responsible and actually acting on that feeling of responsibility towards their fellow citizen.

This experience so bothered me--mostly that the teenagers would titter and get off the train, although, also, to a lesser extent, that I hadn't stayed to help--that when I heard that a man was lying on the front steps of my apartment building on Thanksgiving afternoon, I rushed down and tried to see if he was okay. Again, I said loudly, "Sir, sir, are you okay?" No response. A fire truck went by and still no response. He was lying there, not moving. I called 9-1-1, but before the call was completed, an ambulance pulled up and some EMTs jumped out. They took his pulse and he didn't move. One of them shook him, and he jumped up immediately and said that he was fine. They asked him where he lived and things like that, and I went back inside to continue my Thanksgiving cooking.
On the next train that I was on, a bit later that day, I saw a credit card on the floor, halfway under a seat. A few people were standing near it; I wasn't sure which of them had dropped it. Then I looked up and saw a woman standing with her wallet open, looking for something in it. It was a somewhat crowded car and there were several people between me and her, but I didn't want her to get off the train with her credit card still on the floor. What would you do?
As far as I can recall, I told her about her fallen credit card and she didn't care. I have no idea what was up with that. Other people were similarly confused. I guess it wasn't a credit card, but something else? Trash that she was discarding from her wallet? Someone else's lost credit card, perhaps? I don't know. It was crowded and I did not investigate further.
As you get off the train, you notice that something is dripping out of the plastic bag that the woman in front of you is holding. She seems to be carrying a lot--a backpack, a purse, multiple plastic bags. You have no idea what it is, but it looks pretty gross. Is it really any of your business what's leaking out of someone else's plastic bag? Maybe she knows and doesn't care. What would you do?
I was the person carrying a bunch of stuff, and someone pointed out the leak, and I was so grateful and appreciative. A container of salad dressing had opened up in my plastic lunch bag and was dripping and it was disgusting, but I was able to save the situation by going to the nearest trash can in the subway station, disposing of the offending leaking substance, throwing out the now-gross plastic bag, and putting my other food, some of it still ungreased, into another plastic bag that I had on me. Then I could go about my day. Nothing got on my clothes or on anyone's property, including the MTA's. Win!
You see someone crying at a Starbucks as she puts milk and sugar into her coffee. What would you do?
This was me. I was crying at Starbucks. That's where I rushed after I got off the first subway, and I was totally emotionally overwhelmed and feeling terrible about being late to my meeting and I just started crying. It was really, really nice that two people (not one, but two!) asked me if I was okay and if there was anything they could do to help.

Lesson: New York City has a reputation for being large, harsh, and rude, but there can, at times, be something charmingly caring about it. Strangers taking care of strangers, in tiny little ways, every day. If you live here, and see someone in distress or with something dripping, say something. It's what makes living here moderately tolerable!

9.19.2011

A Day on the Subway

I was on the subway this morning, late to a meeting. As I got on, I noticed a man occupying three seats. (He was sitting in one and a half and had his bag on the third.) I had to stand for a bit, until someone else got off, in order to sit. Before someone else got off, I thought about asking him to move his bag, but realized that he seemed to be down on his luck, so decided not to bother him. As I stood up to get off at my stop, he first fell sideways, into the empty seat beside him, and then off the seat entirely, on to the floor. The teenagers near me tittered and got off, but I said, "Sir, sir" to him as loudly as I could muster to try to wake him up. He did not move or appear responsive to me. But I was late for a meeting! And this was my stop! What would you do?

On the next train that I was on, a bit later that day, I saw a credit card on the floor, halfway under a seat. A few people were standing near it; I wasn't sure which of them had dropped it. Then I looked up and saw a woman standing with her wallet open, looking for something in it. It was a somewhat crowded car and there were several people between me and her, but I didn't want her to get off the train with her credit card still on the floor. What would you do?

As you get off the train, you notice that something is dripping out of the plastic bag that the woman in front of you is holding. She seems to be carrying a lot--a backpack, a purse, multiple plastic bags. You have no idea what it is, but it looks pretty gross. Is it really any of your business what's leaking out of someone else's plastic bag? Maybe she knows and doesn't care. What would you do?

You see someone crying at a Starbucks as she puts milk and sugar into her coffee. What would you do?

This all happened to or around me in the past twelve hours. A day in the life, as it were. A follow-up post with what I or others did will appear at some point in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

9.09.2011

9/11/2011

I was trying to figure out what to do on Sunday in commemoration of 9/11, and nothing that came into my inbox felt right. There was a morning of community service planned in my local Jewish community, which included cleaning up parks and preparing synagogues for high holiday services, but it conflicted with another engagement and it didn't strike as what I most wanted to do. Somehow, hanging out with local Washington Heights Jews felt wrong in commemoration of the day of chaos and bewilderment that I experienced in New York City ten years ago today. It feels too parochial, somehow.

Another thing is that I am back at school. The last full school year in which I was sitting in a classroom, taking notes for classes I was taking for academic credit, began in September 2001. In fact, it began on September 11, 2001. I keep finding myself dating things 9/6/01 instead of 9/6/11 (etc.). It's a weird feeling.

I wrote about my experiences in NYC on 9/11/01 here, in 2006. That was the only year in which I wrote about it, I think, in the 6+ years since I began this blog. It was the fifth anniversary of 9/11. In short, on September 11, 2001, I did some early-morning thesis research at the Barnard Archives and was told, while paying for my microfilm, that a plane (or two planes?) had hit the World Trade Center. I was imagining a little, tiny plane. I got on the subway to head to Penn Station to get my train to Boston, where I needed to arrive by the afternoon to register for the classes for my senior year of college. The subway stopped at 42nd St. and wouldn't go further downtown. I got out and walked down to 34th St. Eventually, I got on the first Amtrak train that was leaving NYC for points north later that afternoon, and when I got back to Boston, I went straight to the campus Hillel, where everyone was glued to the television. I was not really clear on what had happened until a bit later than everyone else, since word on the street in NYC was scattered and confused. I watched some TV at an appliance store in Penn Station, and some people on the street turned their car radios on and opened all their car doors for people to listen. But I didn't have the trauma of one tower falling and then another tower falling. I had no idea. All I knew was chaos and confusion and that something bad was going on. Although I didn't know how bad. On the streets of New York, I watched people stream up from downtown, shaken and bewildered and sharing cell phones to try to call loved ones.

I don't know what to do or say or even really feel. I have the feeling that I get sometimes of simultaneously being in two different places in space-time. Here in NYC, downtown, in September 2011, and in midtown in September 2001. It's a weird feeling. Maybe I will write more on Sunday.

9.05.2011

Blast from the past...

Uterine Wars posted an article about "ghost blogs" from 2007, which asserts that blogging would become less popular starting in 2007. (Note that this is also Uterine War's goodbye post.)

The line that gave me the most pause was "[He] has not been heard from for more than two months, the point at which most analysts consider a blog to be defunct."

If that's the case, then this blog has been defunct many times over! Has it been? Maybe.

8.02.2011

When I was in school...

I'm going back to school. There, I said it. It's been eight and a half years. I expect things to be different this time around, and it's making me feel a little bit old.

For example, will the kids be taking notes on computers, not in notebooks? When I was in college, I had a laptop, but other students had desktops. It was not the norm to bring a computer to class--at all. (The laptop that I had freshman year was my uncle's hand-me-down that sometimes shut down suddenly in the middle of work and could only be turned on again by taking the battery out and slamming it back in, hard. So I did a lot of my work in the computer lab that year.)

When I was in college, all of the dorms had ethernet (as opposed to dial-up--remember that?), but wireless didn't arrive on campus until my senior year, and then only one library was equipped (as far as I recall). I babysat for a family that had wireless at home and I remember thinking that it was crazy to be able to connect to the internet without a cord! Like, just nuts! (The paterfamilias was a computer science professor, so it made sense that they were wireless earlier than most.) When I lived off campus my senior year, I had dial-up at home. I remember fiddling with TCP/IP settings.

I just signed some federal loan agreements, and whoa, have they overhauled that system! Back in my day, you went to the bursar (I think?) on the first day of school and signed some papers. I don't think I even read them, at least not after the first time I signed them, freshman year. They said to pay back the loans after graduation. End of story. Now, they make you take a 16-screen quiz before you can borrow money. I was grumbling all the way, because it was extremely boring and I needed to answer their insipid questions and then scroll up each time to close the window that automatically opened to grade my response, but I actually learned some things about my loans that I didn't know, in addition to some repayment incentives that either didn't exist when I was paying back undergraduate loans or that I didn't know about. (They may not exist for long, anyway. See this. Or maybe grad students won't be able to get subsidized loans at all. That seems like a stupid decision to me. Isn't more education good for growing the economy, inventing things, running things more efficiently, etc.? Although I do agree that going to college is more crucial than going to grad school.)

What other changes will I notice when I return to campus this fall?

6.21.2011

Africa: Day 1 (Rwanda)

This is a little bit boring, as Abacaxi Mamao posts go, but hopefully later ones will be more interesting. I am mostly writing this up for myself, and for others, in case they are interested. But mostly for myself.

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I arrived in Rwanda on Tuesday evening, after a 5 am flight from TLV to Amsterdam and then another flight from Amsterdam to Kigali. The 1.5 hour layover in Amsterdam was lovely—just enough time to stretch my legs and gape at the library (!) and little fireplace area (!) in the airport, as well as the sign directing travelers to the casino. I took my first anti-malaria pill of the trip while in the Schiphol airport.

The only notable things that happened at the airport were, first, that I met the wife of the ambassador from Stockholm, who pointed out the American ambassador to me, as well as his second-in-command, whom he was going to the airport to pick up. He looked very tall, white, and American to me, among the international travelers arriving in Kigali. The second-in-command was a smallish white woman with fiery red hair.

Then, as I was walking through the “nothing to declare” customs line, the customs official pulled me over and told me that I couldn't bring plastic bags into the country. I knew that plastic bags were not used in Rwanda, from my sister who is living (and working) there. But I didn't think that they would forbid people from bringing plastic bags into the country. My plastic bags were full of some snacks from the US (peanut-butter-filled pretzels, pretzel chips) and some last-minute things that I bought at the airport in Israel (Israeli chocolate, halva), or from a grocery store in Israel (petit buerre (sp?) chocolate tea biscuits). It was a lot of small stuff, and they were taking my bags away! I stuffed what I could into my retrieved baggage (my carry-ons were full) and stacked the rest precariously on top of my suitcases.

My parents (who had arrived a day earlier and stayed in Kigali overnight) and sister met me at arrivals and we went to the Jeep that Mollie had hired to take us and all of our stuff to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, near Ramagana, Rwanda, and about an hour from Kigali. The driver was a very nice man named Irena. When we got to the end of the paved rode and the beginning of the dirt road, at Ntunga, my mother, as prone to motion-sickness as I am, said, “Uh oh!” as the ride went from silky smooth to slightly bumpy. Had we only known how much more bumpy pothole-filled paved roads would be in parts of Kenya and near Nyungwe National Park, we would have, instead, been grateful for the dirt road! We also marveled at how people walked by and even rode bikes in the pitch blackness, along the dirt road.

After that bumpy start, or, rather, end, we pulled up to the gate at ASYV and moved out stuff into the guest house, which seemed lovely, until we tried to turn on the water. There was none. “Oh, yeah,” my sister said. “Sometimes there is no water at night. Don’t worry, though. There is always water in the kitchen and we will go to the kitchen to get filtered drinking water tomorrow morning.”

We settled into our mosquito-net-laden beds for the night. I was comforted by the fact that I had some water left from a water fountain at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

3.29.2011

The smell of Chapstick

Do you know that particular, waxy smell that Chapstick has? It's different from Blistex or other lip balms. I don't know what gives it that smell. What I do know is that it reminds me, instantly and irrevocably, of Chanukah.

Why the association?, you might very well wonder. When I was little, we kids got eight presents for the eight nights of Chanukah, one on each night. And for as long as I can remember, one of the presents was a stick of Chapstick. At first, it was the clear kind. But then, when I got older, it was the more exciting cherry flavor. And do you know why the cherry flavor was more exciting? It's because it was more like lipstick. And that was exciting, fun, and cool. Especially when I was little.

I thought of that Chapstick smell-Chanukah association as I read Marjorie Ingall's piece in Tablet ("Little Ladies," Marjorie Ingall, February 22, 2011), in which she wonders about the sale of makeup to six-year-old girls. She's not the only one.

I sympathize with her. But when I remember how non-princessy I was (dressed in gender-neutral primary-colored clothing by my mother, the better to hand down to my little brother), and how I still coveted those tubes of Chapstick, plain or fake-cherry-infused, I wonder. My mother didn't wear makeup, so I wasn't trying to imitate her. My grandmothers did, and one grandmother happily introduced me to nail polish when I was about six. I polished my nails intermittently throughout my tween years.

So, is Walmart creating a market with its geoGirl line, or capitalizing on an existing desire among little girls to paint their faces? On the other hand, as the Ms. Magazine blog post ("Walmart’s geoGirl: Doesn’t Every 8-Year-Old Need to Exfoliate?" Mia Fontaine, February 9, 2011) points out, this is a far cry from a tube of Chapstick:
The line, which boasts a total of 69 (let’s hope that’s coincidental) products, contains everything from eyeshadow, mascara and blush to exfoliator, anti-oxidant treatments and face soap. After all, what 8-year-old doesn’t need to slough off dead skin and elongate her eyelashes?
And what of the claim that the push is coming from parents and not kids? That's a disturbing one!

Thoughts?

2.24.2011

"Chocolate's Startling Health Benefits"

Startling to you, maybe, John Robbins! Not to me!

So you don't have to read the whole Huffington Post blog post ("Chocolate's Startling Health Benefits," John Robbins, Feb. 22, 2011), I'll tell you that chocolate's health benefits include:
  • "Chocolate, it turns out, is particularly rich in polyphenols....The polyphenols in chocolate inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol....One of the causes of atherosclerosis is blood platelets clumping together, a process called aggregation. The polyphenols in chocolate inhibit this clumping, reducing the risks of atherosclerosis."
  • "High blood pressure is a well known risk factor for heart disease. It is also one of the most common causes of kidney failure, and a significant contributor to many kinds of dementia and cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate daily can reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.
  • "[C]hocolate thins the blood and performs the same anti-clotting activity as aspirin. 'Our work supports the concept that the chronic consumption of cocoa may be associated with improved cardiovascular health,' said UC Davis researcher Carl Keen.
  • "Chocolate is the richest known source of a little-known substance called theobromine, a close chemical relative of caffeine. Theobromine, like caffeine, and also like the asthma drug theophylline, belong to the chemical group known as xanthine alkaloids. Chocolate products contain small amounts of caffeine, but not nearly enough to explain the attractions, fascinations, addictions, and effects of chocolate. The mood enhancement produced by chocolate may be primarily due to theobromine."
  • "Chocolate also contains other substances with mood elevating effects. One is phenethylamine, which triggers the release of pleasurable endorphins and potentates the action of dopamine, a neurochemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure. Phenethylamine is released in the brain when people become infatuated or fall in love."
  • Another substance found in chocolate is anandamide....It binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as cannabinoids -- the psychoactive constituents in marijuana -- and produces feelings of elation and exhilaration.
  • "[C]hocolate also boosts brain levels of serotonin."

Do you have to eat a ton of chocolate to get these effects? No.
  • "According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding only half an ounce of dark chocolate to an average American diet is enough to increase total antioxidant capacity 4 percent, and lessen oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Of course, to get the full effect, it is best to eat dark chocolate, which also has less sugar and fat added.

And more good news!
  • "As far as fats go, it's the added fats that are the difficulty, not the natural fat (called cocoa butter) found in chocolate. Cocoa butter is high in saturated fat, so many people assume that it's not good for your cardiovascular system. But most of the saturated fat content in cocoa butter is stearic acid, which numerous studies have shown does not raise blood cholesterol levels. In the human body, it acts much like the monounsaturated fat in olive oil."

Happy chocolating! (I knew that I would find a use for this blog category again.)

1.24.2011

In Memoriam: Laughing over chocolate

My paternal grandmother, my last remaining living grandparent, passed away early in the morning of Sunday, January 16, the 11th day of Shevat. This is the eulogy that I delivered at her funeral the following day.

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When I was faced with the difficult task of thinking about what to say in memory of my beloved grandmother, Grandma Joan, I was utterly silenced. Where would I even begin? She meant so much to me—so much to all of us—in so many different ways. It is difficult to know what to say.

When faced with the task of speaking about something that seems too vast to put into words, the Jewish liturgical poets often expressed the enormity and difficulty of the task by writing an alphabetic acrostic, as if to say: Even the entire alphabet is too small to encompass this thing!

This is how I feel about my grandmother. Even the entire alphabet—all of the words made from all of the letters that we have available to us—is too small to encompass all that she was.

While I think that she, of all people, would so have appreciated an acrostic poem written about her, I decided, instead, to focus on a few of the things that I learned from her.

One was the way that when she listened to you, she focused her full, undivided attention on you. Those large eyes, turned on you, seeking out yours, listening closely to what you were saying, and offering so much sage advice—that was Grandma Joan. I honestly never thought about this quality of hers until yesterday, when I realized that I would never again be the focus of her undivided attention. She always treated me this way, whether I was a young child coming to her with a small problem or a young adult, coming with her for advice on a professional matter.

One example of this focus—of her undivided attention that I lapped up—was her memory of my eclectic food preferences. I told her once, when I was around seven, that I liked chive cream cheese, and after that, for years and years, she always had chive cream cheese for me when I came. She also remembered that I loved cranberry juice, and would get it especially for me, and that I disliked tomatoes and salad dressing. I was shocked that she could keep these things straight, with so many grandchildren.

Grandma Joan focused her full attention on you when you spoke and she always took me so seriously. One example of this was our correspondence, when I was perhaps middle school age, about the existence of God and our conflicting views about the role that mitsvot, or traditional Jewish commandments, should play in one’s life. We had a very interesting written correspondence, back and forth, about this.

Grandma Joan not only listened with undivided attention, and took everyone, from adult to child, seriously, but she gave such good advice! Some things that I already knew but had a tendency to forget—break large, overwhelming tasks down into small ones—and others that were utterly foreign to me but have more than proven themselves over my life: you can cook without recipes. Her bean salad recipe is a staple of my non-recipe cooking repertoire.

Grandma Joan not only focused, listened, and advised, she also encouraged. She always expressed such pride in my writing and artistic accomplishments, especially at a time when the school environment I was in did not particularly encourage artistic pursuits. She loved to talk about the genes for writing, storytelling, and art that we shared, and I loved to listen! Although she felt that she had lost so much from the Alzheimer’s in recent years, she continued to take drawing classes and to show me her art, and when I wanted to make a necklace to wear to my brother Avi and sister-in-law Shira’s wedding last May, I went to her for her impeccable eye for design and beading. Although she felt that she couldn’t help me because she didn’t recall all of the principles of beading, I really wanted her eye for design, which she shared, as she always did, so generously.

Grandma Joan shared generously and enthusiastically of all that she had. Whenever we came to visit, she would put out spreads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When Miriam and I would go down to Mount Vernon for our joint annual birthday trip, she would take up to farms, farmer’s markets, the zoo, and doll museums, but more than that, she taught us how to make chocolate pudding from scratch, how to make jello with fruit juice, how to sew our own doll clothes or otherwise craft them from Grandpa Israel’s discarded paisley ties or holey socks.

When I think of all of my grandmother’s many talents—from her psychological insight, to her gift of words displayed through so many poems and essays throughout the years to her studied completion of many New York Times’ crossword puzzles, and her artistic pursuits from drawing to beading, her cooking and meal presentation, her love of reading and her longstanding participation over many years in one book group, the way she was so careful to conserve all that she had so that she could give as much as possible to others—I think of the woman of valor described in the book of Proverbs, in an acrostic, because words cannot contain her wonderousness.

One verse, in particular, stands out as apt when remembering Grandma Joan—Proverbs 31:25:

עֹז-וְהָדָר לְבוּשָׁהּ; וַתִּשְׂחַק, לְיוֹם אַחֲרוֹן

"Strength and splendor are her garments, and she smiles at the last day."

My grandmother was, indeed, a strong, and in her own, utterly unique way, a splendorous woman, and she smiled and laughed almost to the last day.

When I had dinner with Grandma Joan a little under two weeks ago, and brought her a bunch of desserts, since I had read a New York Times article that said that people with Alzheimer’s should have all the chocolate they want, we laughed together a lot. I know that my grandmother’s more recent years were a struggle, and that she was so sad not to have the truly spectacular memory that she had in her earlier years. As late as her 70s, she was learning a new language—Yiddish—and learning new exercises and eager to share in her grandchildrens’ love of technology, as baffling as she sometimes found it, and as proud as she was of her non-touch tone phone. Still, when I visited her a little under two weeks ago, we shared scrumptious coconut ice cream and taste-tested three kinds of chocolate, and made fun of the labels. We were literally giggling like schoolgirls over the overwrought copy on the chocolate labels. When I was looking over old photos of her, her wide, bright, complete smile really stood out for me.

Grandma Joan, indeed, laughed almost to the last day. I feel so blessed that I was able to share in her laughter, and bask of her focus, and learn so much from her, for so many, many years.

1.12.2011

Awkward

I invited a non-Jewish friend of mine over for tea. Normally, someone's status as a Jew or a non-Jew is not so important in my daily life, but it happens to be that the vast majority of my friends are observant Jews. It's difficult to socialize with non-Jews, what with rules about eating out, and since I don't really like to drink alcohol, that remove the ever-popular bar option.

So, I have this non-Jewish friend, who knows that I am Jewish, and I know that she is some kind of religious Christian. She does liturgical dance, which sounds really cool, and refers to Jesus as "Jesus Christ."

So, anyway, she is over for a cup of tea, and because I don't have so many non-Jewish friends, I forget about the calendar on my fridge--with Shevat/Tevet written on some of the days, and parshiyot, and local candle-lighting times. Suddenly, that strikes me as weird. She asks me what "Shevat" and "Tevet" are, and I explain that there is a Jewish calendar that is different from our regular calendar, and that those are the names of two of the Jewish months.

Then she says, "So, you don't believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and savior?"

And I say, "No, I don't."

And she says, "You just believe he's a prophet, right?"

And I say, almost apologetically at this point, "No, I don't believe that he was a prophet, because I don't believe that a lot of what he said was the truth. I believe that he was a teacher."

Super awkward. I hope I didn't offend her. I don't mind if she thinks that Jesus is her Lord and savior. I mean, it's totally alright with me.

But then she asked me what he had said that I didn't believe, but the truth is--Jesus said some pretty nice things! Many of which I believe! And I couldn't remember what was Paul and the various apostles and what was Jesus, so I kind of didn't know what to say. I said something about getting rid of the need to follow all of the commandments, and she said that she followed the ten commandments, but then I told her that there were 613.

Then we got into an interesting discussion about my eating habits:
"So, you'll never have a tuna melt!"
"No, tuna isn't considered meat."
"So you'll never have a hawaiian pizza with bacon and pineapple?"
"No, because bacon isn't kosher, so I wouldn't have it even if it wasn't meat and milk."
"So you don't eat ham?"
"Nope."
"Doesn't that bother you?"
"No, not really. What really bothers me is that I can't eat vegetarian food out cooked. Like, pizza without any meat on it. Or a baked apple. Or a hard-boiled egg. Also, sometimes Shabbat bothers me."

I did not get into the gender thing, or various issues I have about kohanim and converts, or how some Jews are just absolutely crazy.

So I turn to you, dear readers. What did Jesus himself say (even if as reported by Mark, Luke, John, etc.) that was so objectionable to our rabbinic antecedents? Thanks.