957.The Smith Connection

Every year my nephew Yitzhak, nee Eric, comes from Israel and stayed with me so that he could say something Jewish on his mother’s, my sister Phyllis’, grave.

This year her praying time came very close to Thanksgiving so he wanted to know if it would be an imposition for him to share the holiday with us.

Now this is no minor thing.

Though I do make Thanksgiving for the family, and we have a big family, there were 4 sisters, it isn’t that difficult a job because I usually just order Indian food. All I have to do is throw out a few cheeses and a cracker or two. Maybe a couple of pigs in blankets.

My sister Marcia always makes desserts

Now if Yitzhak comes all that goes out the window. He is kosher but not regular kosher, glatt kosher. The glatt is hebrew for fucking nuts.

Still I don’t even think twice. The thought of having him with us for Thanksgiving is too great. We’ll just have a traditional Thanksgiving and kosher it up.

Marcia and I can handle it even if it is a pain in the ass.

He can’t eat any food that isn’t kosher. He can’t touch any of my dishes, glasses, or silverware. So it’s all paper plates and cups and plastic silverware.

Yitzhak has 10 children. When 9 of them hear about him coming for Thanksgiving it was just too tempting. One of his daughters, Chaya has just had a baby so the kid was coming too. That makes 11.

When the American family hears that they are coming they are so excited. My nephew Barry who lives in Oregon even flies in. He and Yitzhak are the same age but haven’t seen each other for probably 40 years.


Now where will all these people sleep?

I have sleeping with couches etc for 5. That won’t do. I buy 5 blow up beds but it’s still touchy.

Then I decided to sell my piano. It takes up a huge amount of space and has become nothing more than a place to put family photos since the guy who played the piano ran away.

Luckily Jim Pugh, the best trombone player in the world and the sweetest guy was in New York with Steely Dan. He looked at the piano and decided to buy it for his son and daughter.

With that money I bought another sleeper couch. That made sleeping for 7. That took care of the boys. Where would I put the 3 girls and the baby?

Liz offered her apartment at first for my nephew Brian’s family but they found someplace else to stay so that was settled.

I just realized how boring this is getting.

No reason going into carving a turkey with a plastic knife and the long list of instructions Yitzhak gave me and Marcia to keep his family from eternal damnation.That will just make it more boring.

The Israeli kids are so happy and loving that it almost made me rethink my casual attitude towards religion…. almost.

Some of them don’t speak english but they make every effort to be understood and the one’s that do speak english translate.

Yitzhak’s youngest son understands english perfectly but he’s uncomfortable speaking it. He’s so adorable. He’s the only one who isn’t married. I told Yitzhak that if the kid would lose the beanie I could get him laid in 5 minutes.

I must pat myself on the back for thinking of name tags. That way the Israeli kids and the American kids will know each other’s names. Each  sister’s children would have their names written in the same color.


Ray, my family


Barry and Yitzhak


Everyone was so happy to be together.



The Entire Smith Connection.


26 thoughts on “957.The Smith Connection

  1. Ah, Mattie, I love you. Thank you for this post about your family’s acceptance, love and connection. It was *not* boring, and it made me cry, (in a good way). The person who was once central to your narratives in a negative way got completely, appropriately downgraded from a lowercase d to “the guy who played the piano.” Your extended family is beautiful. As you know I’m especially partial to the beautiful blonde on the right in your photo. When you next see her, please give her a hug and a kiss from me. I send you the same. I’m determined: New York in 2017. Maybe we’ll have a cocktail together with the beautiful blonde. (Raymond, of course, looks fetching in his name tag.) xoxoxo.

  2. Wonder if mendys the kosher eatery on 34th st were I eat many times would be considered kosher by those rabbis

    A new term, I assume it’s from isreal

  3. This is the best Thanksgiving post of the year. I’ve read it several times, fascinated, envious, joyful, chuckling, moved, gratified. You are a good person with an amazing family. Congrats on the reunion, and nice going with the name tags!

  4. Thanks 4 the update
    U didn’t let u know if the Manu was and if the rabbis left it over.
    BTW they look more modern rabbis besides the one at the window with the traditional courls who looks like in Jerusalem
    Seems your family doesn’t dress the traditional uniform

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