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SERMON: Knaidels and Informers

June 10, 2013

It was the “knaidel” heard around the world! There is no other way to describe what happened on May 30 of this year. The knaidel had not achieved this kind of popularity for more than a decade now. It was in 2003 that the Washington Post reported on a matzah ball eating contest held in New York … contestants had five minutes and 25 seconds to go for the maximum knaidel count. Seven contenders challenged the then champion, Oleg “the Russian Zhornitsky,” who won by consuming 16 ¼ matzah balls. But in 2003 the record was broken … the winner ate 21 matzah balls! His name was Eric Booker; a subway conductor for the Transit Authority and his nickname is “Bad Lands” and he happened to be an African-American!

This year it was not an African-American who put the knaidel on the map. This year it was Arvind Mahankanli, an 8th grader and the son of immigrants from Southern India, who won the National Champion Spelling Bee by spelling “knaidel” right! As soon as it happened, my inbox was filled with articles and videos of this major event in the history of our people … because the word “knaidel” is certainly associated with our people. In the American language any word that begins with “K, N” – words like “knock,” “know,” “knight,” – the “k” is always silent. Not with our people! “Knaidel” joins an illustrious list of words with which our people are associated … words like “knish,” “knobel,” “knipel,” “knocker,” … and Beth Tfiloh’s own “Knisbacher.” READ MORE

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