Stan on pizza, latkes, and Chanukah gelt

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Pizza was in the news when the former chief operating officer of a national pizza brand tossed his hat into the ring of presidential nominees. Pizza also hit the headlines when several deliverymen were attacked, robbed, and murdered.

Now, pizza again in the news, as one of the well-known national chains intends to reduce expenses by laying off a large number of employees.

Some who are not happy about this have planned a boycott of the company. These folks are really not thinking clearly. If this particular boycott is successful, the company’s profit will be significantly reduced, causing it to further furlough a number of employees. The net result will be even more people on the unemployment lines.

Think, people! Think!

Here is one of the more important questions of the day that folks wouldn’t lie about. What is your favorite pizza topping? You’re ready to shout “Cheese!” right? Nope. Cheese came in second at 23 percent.

Pepperoni was the first choice of 30 percent of the people who answered. At this very moment Italian-American salami manufacturers are marching around the dinner table shouting, “We’re number one! We’re number one!”

• • •

Here is, in my opinion, the question of the year: If the CIA director cannot keep the FBI from rummaging through his “private” e-mails, what privacy protections do ordinary citizens have?

If you just think Petraeus, the answer is “Probably none.”

Even with its four-star rating from the Charity Navigator, the American Civil Liberties Union is certainly not one of my favorite organizations. Chris Calabrese, the legislative counselor for the ACLU, told reporters, “When the government goes looking, it can find out pretty much everything about our lives.”

Those of us who have something to hide should be concerned. If the government is peeking through my e-mails and tapping my phone for those secretive conversations, all it has to do is ask me. I don’t think the FBI or any other government organization is really interested in my mother’s secret recipe for Chulent or my Tanta Sarah’s secret ingredient in her oh-so-delicious, crispy, golden-brown potato latkes.

• • •

It’s Chanukah, and at this holiday one of the customary items we feast on is the potato latkes. The big question about potato latkes is simple: apple sauce or sour cream? What is served in your home?

It’s also the time we give youngsters Chanukah Gelt. Gelt is the Yiddish word for money. In some families the children are given real money. In other homes they receive chocolate wrapped in foil and pressed into the shape of quarters, half dollars, and silver dollars. Gold foil is used for regular chocolate and silver foil for the white.

My favorite is the real paper money with a lot of zeros on them. After the candles are lit and the latkes are gone, some of these children become millionaires, and some billionaires — in foreign currency, of course.

A few years ago, Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflation was so rampant that the nation’s billion-dollar currency was deemed worthless. You can now go to Amazon and buy a one hundred trillion dollar bill for about four bucks. A hundred trillion dollars! Now that’s Chanukah gelt.

I am wishing my Jewish friends a happy, healthy, and safe Chanukah.

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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