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On a Lighter TalpiNote

SeventyPoundsOfSem: Chef Burger No. 150

by Helena Lustig

@seventypoundsofsem’s Chef Burger No. 150 instagram

Amidst the uneven stone ground and Rova juice, just steps from the Rova square, you will stumble upon a sacred and holy site to which a diverse group of people flock. No, not the kotel — I’m talking about Chef Burger No. 150.

Dare I say this place is better than Burgers Bar? Yes, I do. Everything is made right before your eyes, fresh off of the grill or the fryer. I will admit, the last time I went I was peer pressured into getting a salad, but as you should know, salad, for me, does not equal healthy. Don’t worry — it had schnitzel and fried onions in it (and caesar dressing).

If you know me at all, you know that I love fries. More than anything in the world. So I’m just going to throw in that, as a side, the fries are really, really good.

A fellow foodie of mine, Rachie Ehrlich, comments, “the constant chicken we get here at Lindenbaum drives our cravings for delicious meat to the extent that we will schlep to the rova to get it”.

She reviews: Let me help you visualize a burger 150 — a toasted bun topped with guacamole spread (which is extremely rare in this country), a delicious juicy slab of burger meat, crunchy lettuce, tomatoes, and a personal favorite, grilled pineapple (an addition that transforms the burger with its savory juices) and of course, sides of your own. Not only do u get a delicious burger, but also crispy fries, a small salad, and a drink — all for the price of 43 shek!

There is yet one enigma that lies before us: does one receive a free meal if they are the 150th customer?

If you’ve heard an account of this rumored event, please contact midlindnews@gmail.com.

MidLind Obstacle: Toranut

by Yael Beirig

Yael sets up for lunch

At the start of this week, I thought I would have an amazing obstacle to write about: toranut. Everyone has their week of toranut, and everyone dreads it. It makes sense: you have to wake up, clean up from breakfast, cut your lunch break in half, clear everyone’s lunch, cut your dinner break in a quarter, and clean up everyone’s dinner.

This week was my roommate and my turn. The idea of toranut doesn’t seem too exciting to most people. In fact, just 10 minutes ago, I was pouring the garbage into the dump when a nice amount of tonight’s delicious spaghetti and marinara sauce decided to explode all over my roommate and me. It was an experience.

But is toranut really the struggle it’s made out to be? It was only into the first 10 minutes of my shift when I realized that toranut might not be an obstacle, but rather a pretty fun and meaningful experience.

First of all, Yirmi, who runs our kitchen, is the best. It was my first lunch on the job when I accidentally cracked one of the glass water pitchers. I walked into the kitchen holding the broken glass, and with my best puppy dog eyes, said nervously: “שברתי את זה”. Yirmi looked intimidatingly back at me, and with a stern tone, said, “10 shek”. Then he started cracking up. That same day, we accidentally put out the meat cutlery for dinner, which is dairy. The next morning, Yirmi came up to us with a smile, and showed us where the right cutlery is for each meal, having realized our mistake in the last minute. We almost tainted the entire school’s kashrut, but rather than embarrass us, Yirmi was only concerned that we know for next time.

While you are cleaning up, you begin to appreciate the underrated way in which you are contributing to the school, and it’s satisfying. No one really thinks about how the table cloths get cleaned and changed, how the correct dishes for dairy and meat get distributed for each meal or how the soup they spilled on the floor gets cleaned up. After your first day of toranut, you understand the work that goes into each aspect. And truly, you don’t even do half of what needs to get done between each meal; all that is in the hands of the amazingly talented and hardworking kitchen staff. So this might sound weird everyone, but get excited for your week of toranut. It’s actually pretty fun, and very fulfilling. And hey — who wouldn’t want to spend every morning, afternoon, and evening listening to Yirmi sing along to the radio?

MidLind Wonder: Mah Jongg (麻將)

by Rachel Nordlicht

The old Chinese game, Mah Jongg, known as “Mahj” to the girls who reside in Midreshet Lindenbaum, is slowly taking over the school. During any significant break in the day, you can bet that there is a game going on.

Not many entered the school knowing how to play, but plenty have learned, and those who haven’t look on with an envious glare. They walk by our designated ‘Mahj corner’ outside the madrichot lounge, and yell about how we chose a bad place to play, or how the game “resembles Rummikub” (a tremendous insult to the mind stimulating game). They call us old ladies, and talk about how we leave the space littered with garbage. But we don’t let that get us down. We know what they really want is to play, and more importantly, gain access to our exclusive WhatsApp group. This group is how we communicate during off periods to organize a game. Every day, during lunch, at least one girl (usually me) tries to get a game going. We play pretty much every chance we get. Deep into the late hours of the night, the words of a Mah Jongg game echo throughout the halls: “Three crack,” one girl says, as another shouts out “Call! Call! Call!”

I am one of the very fortunate girls who have had the privilege to learn Mahj since coming to seminary, and it has taken over my life. I think about it all day, always wanting to play another round, craving that one last game. Sometimes, when I am spacing out in class, I see the Mahj tiles in my mind, considering future hands I could play. Before Mahj came along, I would spend my lunches sitting alone in my bed, napping or watching Netflix on my iPad. Mah Jongg has saved me from my antisocial habits, and were it not for the deep sense of competition among us, I might even consider my fellow mahj-ers ‘friends’.

We cannot contain this spreading trend to Midreshet Lindenbaum. Other seminaries have been begging to get in the game as well. Aviva Kahn has become a kind of celebrity, known as the “girl who brought Mah Jongg to sem”. One of the avid players in our group received a text from her friend, asking if she could come over after night seder with some friends and play. Of course, the answer was no. Some girls wait around all day just to play one round; we can’t let other seminaries in and cut our playing time in half!

I am confident this trend will continue to grow throughout the year. Every day, more girls join us to observe and learn, and we are slowly adding new people to our Whatsapp group. This initiation is only granted once they have successfully completed their first game of Mahj. Unfortunately, this challenge has proved too easy. Aviva Kahn has been trying to initiate a hazing ceremony to slow the rapid growth of the group. After all, whatsapp groups have that 100 person maximum we must maintain. Thank Hashem, there are only sixty girls in our program, so although we claim to be exclusive, we are happy to spread the glorious wisdom of Mah Jong to anyone who wishes to learn.

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