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Morning Spew

New York’s Mizrahi Jewish Community Celebrated Mimouna in Bushwick

The festival celebrating the end of Passover had treats and performances, and fundraised for Palestinians.

Samir LanGus plays at 9 Bob Note. (Hell Gate)

In Bushwick last night, members of New York's Mizrahi Jewish community celebrated Mimouna—a North African Jewish festival held to mark the end of Passover—with live performances and baklava, in the backyard of 9 Bob Note, a new extension to the queer club 3 Dollar Bill.

I had been invited by my college friend, the organizer and party-starter Emily Lever, who I saw wearing a deep green-and-gold caftan. "At the beginning of Passover," fellow organizer Maya Edery said on stage, "Jews would sell their leavened products to their Muslim neighbors, and after eight days were over, their neighbors would sell them back, in a spirit of solidarity, celebration, and community." This spring's season of Abrahamic holidays has seen an intensifying of Israeli violence against Palestinians—which the organizers of Mimouna in Bushwick sought to counter by fundraising for Palestinian causes while celebrating the shared heritage of North African Jewish and Muslim communities.

Subway DJ Naveh Halperin with organizer Maya Edery. (Hell Gate)

Light refreshment of unleavened m'semen, olives, grapes, and the like had been offered—along with the fully stocked bar at 9 Bob Note—but at 8:45, after a traditional song was recited from stage, guests picked eagerly at a bounty of leavened sweets like basbousa and moufleta with dates, and the festival began in earnest. Mimouna is also considered an auspicious time for matchmaking, so singles convened at the back of the outdoor venue to schmooze.

I found a couch and an outlet to charge my phone and spotted the Subway DJ's speaker-suitcase, and knew he was in the building. Sure enough, he was DJing the interstitial moments, as Grammy-nominated Moroccan musician Samir LanGus got the party started with a set of gnawa bangers, with singer and self-styled "diva-in-exile" Laura Elkeslassy to follow.

"Israel coopts Mizrahi culture to justify and brownwash apartheid," Edery said, soliciting donations for the Khalil Sakakini Center, a Palestinian arts and culture organization. The event had been organized in conjunction with Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow, and Jews For Racial & Economic Justice. "Tonight we want to support our Palestinian friends and comrades."

Some links to begin your weekend:

  • The NYPD shot and killed a 78-year-old man in his Bed-Stuy apartment yesterday. His nephew had called 911 to report that his uncle's home was possibly being burgled. Via Patch: "Another man, who did not give him name to Patch, said the 78-year-old had lived in Bed-Stuy for years and was known in the neighborhood as 'Dad.' The 78-year-old carried a gun because he's been robbed many times before, the man said. 'Everybody knows him,' the man said. 'He didn't do nothing warranted to get shot.' The local said of the 78-year-old that he was a 'good fucking man.'" Meanwhile, the NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey had this to say: "An elderly male lost his life today. It's very tough."
  • And yet somehow, there's always money for cops.
  • It's obviously completely normal to have your billionaire friend buy your mom's house, like Clarence Thomas did. You're telling me you never did that?
  • Mayor Pete admits there's still no timeline for the Federal Highway Commission to approve congestion pricing.
  • Representative Dan Goldman sustained a pickleball injury.
  • Ross Cellino Jr. thinks he and the late Steve Barnes "should've stayed together." I think Al Green wrote a song about that.
  • Al Sharpton is mad at progressives.
  • The Eric Adams cinematic universe (of weird cronies you've never heard of) is expanding.
  • And lastly, Philly cops are fast on the trail of some dime thieves, in case you were wondering what was going on with that:
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