pink chrysanthemums: Ruth Esther’s favorite flower

For those of you unfamiliar with our Godmother series, you can read parts 1-4 of our introduction series on this blog.

Hello my dear friends, It is me again, Jose, here to tell you how The Jewish Godmother and I both realized that the only way to rescue Brooklyn from El Diablo was to turn to a higher power. We needed someone who had more influence in the community than Don Bubbieberger herself, someone who could break the will of evil itself. That was obviously Ruth Esther, The Jewish Godmother’s very own Mother!

Don Bubbieberger knew that her mother was the only person in the world who could get rid of the Devil. After all, she was the original Jewish Godmother. She handed down her Dynasty to her eldest daughter Sylvia when she retired. During her reign as Godmother, all feared and respected her. She got the nickname the ‘Poly-Esther Don’ because like the fabric, nothing could stain or ruin her reputation.

But even in her retirement, she continued to wield her power at the B’nai B’rith Senior Housing Center on Ocean Avenue. She controlled most of the daily ins and outs of the place and resolved the disputes between the residents.

As we walked into the Senior Center, Ruth Esther was seated at her favorite canasta table across from two residents, Goldie Bernstein and Fruma Sternbaum. They were having a dispute. Fruma was fuming as she pointed to Goldie, “She cheats in bingo and she stole my favorite wig yesterday and she’s wearing it.” Goldie was angry as well, “It’s my wig you nudnick, you are meshugana! My beloved Morty, may he rest in peace, bought this for me, he said it made me look like Goldie Hawn.” Fruma began to bang the table, “It’s my wig! You’re a liar,” she turned to Ruth Esther and pleaded, “Help me get my wig back!” She tried to yank it off of Goldie’s head. There was so much commotion, the two cans of Dr. Brown’s cream soda fell off the table.

At that moment, Ruth Esther stood up and the room grew quiet. She said in a deep voice, “I have a solution.” She turned around and addressed an elderly Latino gentleman who was holding a broom in his hand. “Guillermo, bring me my sewing shears.” I, Jose Flores de las Guiterrez Perez de Fernandez de Leon de Jesus, saw my future at that moment. But, I digress.

Fruma asked, “Ruth Esther, what’s with the shears?” Ruth Esther then grabbed the wig off of Goldie’s head and with the shears in one hand and the wig in the other she proclaimed, “I am going to cut the wig in half so you can both have it!” Goldie said, “Great idea, you’re so smart.” Then, with terror in her eyes, Fruma leaned forward reaching out to Ruth Esther pleading, “Not my wig, my darling wig, don’t destroy it, just let Goldie have it, I’d rather you do that then cut it in half.” And that’s when I knew Ruth Esther was using her old “King Solomon” technique and the wig was handed over to its rightful owner and Goldie accepted defeat. The ladies then grabbed their walkers and headed over to the cafe for the pastrami on rye sandwich special.

Don Bubbieberger gave her mother a kiss on the cheek. Ruth Esther then turned to me and asked, “Did you bring the cigarettes?” I handed her the case of Pall Malls. She whispered to me, “I mark up the price 3 times to these shmendricks!”

Don Bubbieberger said, “Ma, I need your help and guidance, I need you to come to the deli.” Ruth replied, “Ok, but only for a few hours because Judge Judy comes on at 4:00. Guillermo! Get my good walker, the one with the wheels, we gotta go back to the deli!”

In the Lincoln, The Godmother filled Ruth Esther in with all the details regarding the Devil issue. Ruth Esther seemed unfazed, for she had seen it all. As a matter of fact, she revealed to us that this was not the first time the Devil had visited the deli. “He was young, handsome and he had a way with words. He even knew what my favorite flower was! Pink Chrysanthemums.” She continued, “We had a fling, he was an amazing lover, very limber, and don’t even get me started on his forked tongue!” Don Bubbieberger was shocked and asked, “Ma, why haven’t you ever told me this before?” Ruth Esther said, “Must you know everything, what are you, the Yenta of Brooklyn? I got a life too!” I could see this perplexed Don Bubbieberger, “This could really gum up the works!” She knew her mother was stronger than anything, but now how can she possibly get rid of the devil if she had a weakness for him? We arrived at the deli with great trepidation.

Upon entering, we found the devil sitting at the counter sprinkling bacon bits on his French toast. As he turned to see Ruth Esther walk in, his face turned whiter than usual, he clutched his chest and he fell to the floor. As she rolled her walker to him he cried out, “How are you still alive? I thought you would be dead by now!” Ruth Esther peered down at him, “You would like that wouldn’t you? It’s been 40 years, you don’t write, you don’t call, nothing! You just disappear, every Shabbos I set a place at the table for you with a bowl of matzah ball soup, your favorite.” Guillermo then handed her a cane and she proceeded to clunk the devil over the head with it. “Is this how you treat a lady, you love them and leave them, you should be ashamed!” I could see a smile form on the corners of Don Bubbieberger’s mouth, she knew her plan to bring her mother in to get rid of the devil was going to work. The devil, still on the floor looking like a crumbled nebbish, cried, “Forgive me Ruthie, please, I was young and impetuous, I did love you, I just couldn’t take the constant nagging and criticism, it never stopped, even me, the devil has a breaking point, it was so awful.”

Ruth Esther said, “Oh so you think that was bad? I haven’t even started yet! Why are you bothering my daughter? When are you going to get a real job? By the way, you look too thin, stand up already, your posture is terrible! You’re too pale, what’s with your haircut, it looks like you have horns coming out of your head, straighten your tie, you look like a shlump. I’ll help you, come live at the Senior Center, I’ll make you a changed man!”

The devil, barely recognizable as the demon he really was, looked more frightened than a lamb in a slaughterhouse. My friends, we were watching a true legend at work, no one could dole out the Jewish criticism and guilt like Ruth Esther. He quickly gathered his things, bolted towards the door and Ruth screamed, “Where do you think you’re going?” He answered, “Just like 40 years ago, I’m going back to hell, It’s better than an eternity of this!” And with that, the devil vanished.

Ruth Esther then asked us, “So do you have an extra slice of that Devil’s food cake? I heard it’s the best in town!”

Yiddush and Hebrew word glossary: *Nudnick: an irritating person, a boring pest *Meshugana: silly, crazy, nonsensical *shmendrick: a foolish or stupid person *Yenta: a busybody, a person who is a gossip *Shabbos: The Sabbath *nebbish: a man who is ineffectual and submissive *shlump: a rumpled or dowdy person

You can click on our team follow through link or the related posts below to read The Jewish Godmother parts 1-4 or The Devil and Miss Bubbieberger parts 1 and 2.

Part of the Jewish Godmother series….

What’s on the menu today?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our beloved Jewish Godmother, you can read parts 1-4 of our introduction series on this blog.

Hello my friends, it is me, Jose’, here to tell you what happened with The Jewish Godmother and The Devil. Last time I told you that he offered her a chance to become more powerful, in exchange for her soul. It was a lot for our dear Don Bubbieberger to take in. So, maybe it happened as a result of the stress or maybe it was because of some “devilish” intervention, but Don Bubbieberger and I both came down with a nasty bug. Usually when this happens, her operations slow down and she is forced to deal with things through Google chat, or I assist her daughter Francine in running the business. Well this time, The Godmother and I were bedridden and quarantined. The only thing that kept us alive was the chicken soup from the deli that Francine brought up to us every day. She assured us that everything was running smoothly and it was business as usual.

Chicken soup: Jewish Penicillin

But was it?

After 5 miserable days we were finally on the mend and ready to go back to the deli. Upon arrival, we noticed the blue tablecloths were replaced with black lace. Red curtains hung from the windows and we smelled a hint of sulfur. Every table had a hookah pipe on it and the waitresses were scantily clad. There were strangers lined up at the counter. The Godmother took it all in, and screamed, “What has happened to my beautiful deli, this place looks like an opioid den joined forces with a brothel!” She then grabbed my arm, and we stormed to the back office behind the Chinatown screen.

The Godmother was going to get to the bottom of this!

We found Francine sitting at the Godmother’s table staring at her laptop intently. The Godmother cried, “Francine, you betta explain to me what is going on around here!” Francine said, “Ma, isn’t this great? Business is booming ever since we hired that guy you brought in.” Godmother replied, “What guy are you referring to?” At that Francine answered, “Luke, of course, he was in the other day to see you, remember? He gave the deli a makeover, the kitchen is humming, new delicacies are on the menu and the employees are happier. Also, business is booming, look at the books, and besides, Luke has such dreamy eyes, what a charmer!” I couldn’t believe what I saw next; the Godmother gave Francine a hard ‘patsch’ on the top of her head! “Listen, Francine, the Godmother said very sharply, “There is something you gotta know about this Luke fellow, but first I need to know, where is he now?” Francine answered timidly, “He’s right behind you ma!” Suddenly, as if out of nowhere was El Diablo.

The Devil’s hookah pipe!

The Godmother turned around and the devil said to her in his hypnotizing voice, “It’s so nice to see you Sylvia, you are looking so well with color in your cheeks.” The Godmother was enraged, “Speaking of color, what have you done with the drapes and the tablecloths, what gives you the right to take over while I’m gone? What have you done to my business?” The devil answered, “I’ve only made it better my dear, revenue at the deli has tripled, your influence has reached further throughout Brooklyn and to other boroughs, and I have secured for you a cut of the very profitable Shmurah Matzah business.” When she heard that, she responded with a puzzled look in her eyes, “How did you get those ‘Chassids’ to agree to that? I’ve been trying to infiltrate them for years.” “Well, I gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse,” he said with a slight chuckle. Francine looked smitten as she chimed in, “He can be very persuasive.”

That’s when the devil put Godmother under his spell:

And persuasive he was! The Godmother seemed to calm down as she started to read the new menu items under her breath, “Cauliflower crust pizza… Devils food cake… Gluten free bagels… Deviled eggs…What kind of garbage is this…but if it’s bringing the people in, I guess it’s ok…..” She softened a bit and started to agree to the idea of the devil helping her.

Uh oh…what is that atop those deviled eggs?

But all of a sudden, the Godmother’s eyes narrowed as she stared more intently at the menu and it felt like the air got sucked out of the room. She grabbed my wrist tightly and said, “Everybody, get out, I need a moment to take this all in, talk amongst yourselves.” As everyone filed out of the back room, she pointed to an item on the menu. I read it aloud, “Bacon topped deviled eggs.” Oh no, the devil brought traif into the deli, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Godmother instantly broke out of the devil’s spell and came back into reality. She turned to me with frantic eyes and said, “We gotta do something about this, we gotta put an end to this, but I am not powerful enough to have a standoff with the devil. What will I do? Who can I call upon? Who is strong enough to go against such an evil opponent?”

I replied, “Godmother, you may not be strong enough, but I know who is.” At that moment, we looked at each other and whispered in unison, “Ruth Esther!” Godmother directed me, “Jose’! Bring the Lincoln around to the front, we are busting my mother out of the nursing home!”

So my dear readers, the next time we meet I will tell you how the devil was defeated!!

Yiddush and Hebrew word glossary: *Chassids = Chassidic Jews *Traif= non kosher food *Shmurah Matzah: matzah made under special supervision *patsch: a smack

(You can Click on our team follow through link or the related posts below to view Jewish Godmother parts 1-4)

Part of the Jewish Godmother series….

Ruby begonias..The Godmother’s favorite
Image credit: Pinterest

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our beloved Jewish Godmother, you can read parts 1-4 of our introduction series on this blog.

Hello friends. It’s me, your friend Jose Flores de las Guiterrez Perez de Fernandez de Leon de Jesus. I know it has been a while since I last told you tales of the infamous Jewish Godmother. But now I am back from my trip to South America and ready to share more. This story in particular is one that I will certainly never forget. The time our dear Don Bubbieberger was almost led into temptation by evil forces!! Yes, this wonderful gem of Brooklyn had a tough decision to make, and I was there to witness the whole thing. So, sit back, relax and I will tell you all about it.

It was a slow day at the deli, the godmother was taking a day off from her usual grinding schedule and sat in the back eating kreplach and knitting a scarf for her granddaughter, Rivka Malka. A sharp dressed man in a pin striped suit and a fiery red colored bow tie walked into the deli. He had dark hair, a pointed goatee and piercing green eyes that seemed to look right through me. He spoke in a low monotone voice as he asked to see the Godmother. He did not have an appointment but despite my efforts to get rid of him, he persisted.

I went behind the screen from Chinatown to tell godmother as she was knitting away. “There is a strange gentleman waiting at the counter who insists on seeing you.” She responded, “Jose, can’t you see I’m busy? No appointments today!” I then replied, “Bubbie, he won’t take no for an answer.” Holding up her knitting needle she retorted, “Maybe he’ll take this up his tuchus for an answer!” Suddenly, I saw a shadow out of the corner of my eye. It was the stranger, he was right next to the screen but we did not even see him come in! How did he suddenly appear? He then spoke in his deep voice, “Now, now Don Bubbieberger, no need for hostility, you really should be happy to see me, after all, I brought your favorite flowers.” A pot of flowers seemed to magically appear in his hands. The godmother blushed as she saw the flowers and exclaimed, “Ruby Begonias? How did you know? Where did you get them this time of year?” He simply replied, “I have my ways.” The godmother handed the plant to me and motioned for the stranger to sit down.

Don Bubbieberger addressed him, “Ok, mystery man, you have peaked my interest, what can I do for you?” He answered, “It’s what I can do for you, Sylvia.” At the mention of her real name, The Godmother’s spine stiffened and her eyes widened. You see my friends, for very few people know her real name, let alone use it! The last time she heard her real name being uttered from somebody’s lips was at her own Bat Mitzvah many moons ago. She stammered, “How do you know…who..who are you, where are you from?” He said, “I’m from down south, way way down south.” She replied, “Fort Lauderdale? I have cousins who live in Tamarac, maybe you’ve heard of them!” He said, “Oh, even further south. Anyway, I can tell by the way you handle yourself that you are a very motivated lady, always striving to be more powerful and influential.” She replied, “Well my humbleness prevents me from accepting such a compliment, even though it may be very true, I just do this to better the community I live in.” In which he replied, “The community, I see,” as he scratched his goatee, “What if I proposed a deal to give you more influence outside the community?” Don Bubbieberger replied, “I already have a piece of the action in all of Brooklyn!” He cackled, “Why stop at Brooklyn? Why not another borough?” She thought for a moment, and then said, “Right, why stop at Brooklyn, there’s more to New York than Brooklyn, although some might disagree.” He answered, “So, I can help you achieve more, let us collaborate and make a deal!” “Maybe,” she answered, “but what do you want in return, no one makes a deal for free.” He straightened his red bow tie, and said, “I want your soul!” Don Bubbieberger then pointed towards the fish counter in response and said, “That’s easy! We got the best sole up front for $18.99 a pound!” Upon hearing her comment, the stranger laughed deeply, he was quite amused, “Sylvia, my darling, you misunderstand, I meant your neshama, your jewish soul, I can never get enough of those.” The godmother, quite taken aback, started rocking in her seat and proceeded to think out loud, “You know my name, you come in here without an appointment, you bring me ruby begonias, and now you want my soul, who are you really? Are you from the IRS, is this an audit, or are you from the JNF or the UJA? Do you want money, I already give a cut of what I make to all the Jewish non profits! You don’t need more!” At that he replied, “Sylvia, let me cut to the chase, money has no value in my dominion…. which is HADES!!! At this moment I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, it was El Diablo right here in the deli where I worked! I was so frightened I wanted to leave but I knew the godmother needed me. The godmother screamed, “Get outta my deli you Lucifer!” He replied, “Well since we are on first name basis, I prefer Luke for short.” She kept screaming as she prodded him with her #9 knitting needle, “I don’t care what your fakakta name is, I don’t do deals with the devil!” He smirked, “Oh you will, in time Sylvia, in time. I don’t give up so easily, in fact I rented a flat next door, I will be in touch.”

She then stood up and screamed to the back room, “Avi, we have a problem, the devil moved in next door!” At that Avi replied, “What? Ehhh… did Trump buy the building?”

To be continued….

(You can Click on our team follow through link or the related posts below to view Jewish Godmother parts 1-4)