Habonim Dror North America

The Blackfoot Bayit

In Habonim Dror North America Today on December 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

By Yonah Meiselman

“American Mondays!” I yell. Who wouldn’t? “Who’s going to American Mondays? I think Rachel and David are coming, too.”

“Wow. That’s a lot of people,” Sager realizes aloud. “I should probably tell Lonny.”

“What the hell are American Mondays?” asks Adrian, stirred from his room by the sneaking suspicion of free food. Vindicating him, I explain, for the umpteenth time, that American Mondays are when the entire DC Ma’apilim community descends on American University to voraciously exploit Lonny’s unlimited meal plan. This is one of two mostly weekly gatherings of ma’apilim. The other is organized by Melissa Eisen and myself. We are “rashei ma’apilim,” which in this context basically means we organize Shabbat dinners. Occasionally, we’ve taken groups of ma’apilim to other groups’ organized Shabbat dinners, but in general, ma’apilim shabbat dinners center around one place: The Blackfoot Bayit.

* * *

Allow me to introduce my housemates. First there is Adrian Weiss, a stalwart Moshnik with attitude. He’s like Raphael. He can beat you up and he probably will. Make him a sandwich.

Next is Zack Arnson-Serotta, a fellow FIF-tee-SIX-er and alumnus of Ohr Kodesh Hebrew School. Everyone thinks he’s from Philadelphia, but he’s not. See this thing you’re reading? Zack used to edit this. Back when it was paper.

Alon Diamant-Cohen is a born-again Chalutz. He attended Mosh through Bogrim and even went on MBI Yud Gimel — that’s my MBI — before getting lost in the amazon for five years. But now he’s back!

Which brings us to Sager. I imagine that there aren’t very many readers who don’t already know him, but I’ll go ahead and introduce him anyway. Workshop 54 and 58. Really good at games. Excels at ping-pong, but he does this little snapping motion on the ball that’s kind of annoying. Sells Yu-Gi-Oh cards on eBay.

And then there’s me. I don’t eat meat, except when I do. I was on Workshop 56. I grew up at Mosh, but I’ve worked at both Mosh and Na’aleh. I think you should work in the ken. Yes, you.

* * *

When Adrian and Alon arrived at our new home in August, the place was a dump. Our oft-polo’d landlord had left it in complete disrepair over the summer. The doors were missing deadbolts, one room had mold in it, the basement floor was warped, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. After a month of living under this slumlord’s oppressive regime, we knew we wanted out. Taking him to court was time-consuming in the best of times, but Yom Kippur? Seriously? That’s the best court date we could get? We showed up that day of multiple judgments, but we complained a lot, and I think that makes it okay. In the end, our commitment to social justice (read: a short Asian lawyer) got us out of our lease. We only ever went to see one house together this second time around. A newly renovated house. Lots of parking. Cheap rent. Carpet squares; whoever thought of keeping the carpet in mobile squares is easily the smartest person ever to consider the living conditions of college students.

This Eden of a house is located on Blackfoot Road, a tribute to our country’s regrettable policy of systematically oppressing the Blackfoot Nation. This is our house, the Blackfoot Bayit. Which, as far as I can tell, means we live on Blackfoot, we share stuff, and ma’apilim are welcome to kick it with us.

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