Calling Moshe Waldoks
By Fred Owens
I met Moshe Waldoks 25 years ago. He was not a real rabbi -- they said. But he could substitute for Rabbi Holcer at the Purimspiel. This was at Temple Beth Shalom in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1992.
A raucous crowd was at that event, with Moshe Waldoks astride the Bimah, leading the chants in Hebrew and wearing a yellow hard hat with a propeller on top. You had to be there. It was fun.
One thing led to another and I became his gardener, where he lived in Brookline. Moshe was just doing me a favor. He didn't care about plants. If I pulled out a few weeds, that was enough.
We stood and talked in the yard when I gave him my strong pitch that I was just the fellow to trim his yew hedge. You really need to trim these yews before they get too overgrown, I told him.
Moshe didn't care. Shrubbery was not part of his world. I was only hoping.
So he invited me in for lunch and that's when he served me the gefilte fish. I told you about that last week. I didn't like it. It didn't taste good.
So I wrote about that and three Jewish people wrote back to me and explained that I had not been served really good and proper gefilte fish. That you need beet horseradish to bring the gefilte fish alive and you need matzoh crackers.
Maybe I should try it again. But who has gefilte fish in Santa Barbara? I don't know the Jews around here. I could go to the Jewish Community Center and introduce myself and state my request. That I write a blog called Frog Hospital and that one time, 25 years ago in Brookline, Massachusetts, a man named Moshe Waldoks -- not yet a real rabbi -- had offered me some gefilte fish for lunch and I didn't like it.
But I think maybe I should try it again, I would say to the receptionist. So maybe you can help me find a local Jew who can serve me a nice batch of it. Give me a do over.
I'm explaining this to the receptionist at the Jewish Community Center in Santa Barbara. "Another gefilte fish goy," she utters under her breath and she presses the hidden security button.
But I want to tell her -- I have people, real people, who can help me -- like Peter Goldfarb in Mount Vernon, Washington, and like Harvey Blume in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both real Jews and they will vouch for me. I can give you their contact information.
They would say, "This man is okay. Strange, but okay. Let him try the gefilte fish one more time. He has his reasons."
So maybe I should call Moshe Waldoks. He's a real rabbi now and he has own congregation in Brookline, Temple Beth Zion.