How I learned to stop worrying and love the Matzo Ball

January 2nd, 2008

South Park’s Kyle Broflovski’s lament:

“It’s hard to be a Jew on Christmas.”

Christmas, like Super Bowl Sunday for non-sports fans, is the most dreadfully boring day of the year for us Hebrews (and Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and everyone else who doesn’t celebrate the birth of Christ).

Just about everything is closed. D.C. looks the opening scene of “28 Days Later.” The movies—the most reliable source of entertainment for the season, are hit or miss. (I still want my money back from “Night at the Museum.”)

Or I could go to the Matzo Ball, billed as the biggest party of the year for Jewish people.

According to its Web site, the Matzo Ball, now in its 21st year, “…is all about Premiere clubs, great grooves and hot Jewish singles.”

A Jewish singles event? Uch. Thanks, no.

When a now-ex-girlfriend told me about it a few years back, I had a vision our worst stereotypes: Woody Allens and Fran Dreschers, trying to slip that special someone a wedding ring. I imagined a room full of badly dancing dorks discussing Talmud, anxious because this was the one night of the year they might get lucky.

I’ll stick with General Tso and “Meet the Fockers.”

But last year one of my best friends asked me to come with him and a group of his high school buddies. I was actually pretty surprised when he told me he went to these things, because, like me, I really couldn’t see him at the event I had in my mind.

It wasn’t a lame singles event, he told me. It was more like a giant reunion, where you’d drink too much and see people from camp/high school/Hebrew school/college.

I sucked it up and went.” Besides, if I’m going to make fun of something I should probably at least experience it once.

It was glorious—partying in Dupont Circle while the rest of the city watched “A Christmas Story” rerunning on TNT. I caught up with people I hadn’t thought about in year—all those old friends from camp/high school/Hebrew school/college I’d been promised. 

This year, however, my friend made plans to go to New York, home to countless clubs and venues hosting Christmas Eve events for Jewish people. Presumably, New York would have the greatest Matzo Ball ever.

I considered it, but didn’t want to spring for an Amtrak ticket or sit on I-95 stuck in Christmas traffic for 8 hours on a Chinatown bus. Rather than observe Christmas Eve on gchat or reading music blogs, I recruited a few friends to go to the D.C. Matzo Ball, using the same pitch that sold me last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a so many hours at a club pass so quickly. Plus, once you weed out the Woodys and Frans, there are some genuinely cool people who also realize that there are far worse ways to spend Erev Christmas. I spent a part of the evening talking with Lexi, a professional surfer visiting from Los Angeles. (My friend Casey thought she had “mannish” shoulders, but then again, he said every girl there looked like his mom). We got back close to 3 a.m., ate leftover Chinese, played Mario Kart and crashed.

Then there’s the post-Matzo Ball—Christmas Day, spent sprawled out on the couch for 12 hours, watching movies and eating French fries. I’ll probably do it again next year.

I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas.

Staff writer Josh Eiserike can be reached at 703-878-8072



One comment to “How I learned to stop worrying and love the Matzo Ball”

  1. I like Matzo ball soup.