Where will you find kosher Chinese on the eve of December 24 in Nashville?
Chabad of Nashville will be hosting Chopstix Shabbat, a Chinese themed Shabbat celebration.
The custom of Jewish families dining out at Chinese restaurants, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, has long been a joking matter. “According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5780,” one quip goes, “According to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4718. That means for 1,064 years, the Jews went without Chinese food.”
During Elena Kagan’s United States Supreme Court confirmation hearings of 2010, at a particularly contentious moment, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham directed the discussion to the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner. Graham then asked the candidate where she was on Christmas Day. Justice Kagan famously answered, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” Her comment provoked laughter and reduced the level of tension in the room. Recognizing that some in the room might be unfamiliar with the custom, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York then explained how Jews had a special affinity with eating out at Chinese restaurants on Christmas because they were the only restaurants open in New York City.
The origin of this venerated Jewish tradition of eating out at Chinese restaurants dates to the end of the 19th century on the Lower East Side. Jews found such restaurants readily available in urban and suburban areas in America where both Jews and Chinese lived in proximity to each other.
And what about eating Chinese food on Christmas? It dates at least as early as 1935 when The New York Times reported a certain restaurant owner named Eng Shee Chuck who brought chow mein on Christmas Day to the Jewish Children’s Home in Newark. Over the years, Jewish families and friends gather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Chinese restaurants across the United States to socialize and to banter, to reinforce social and familiar bonds, and to engage in a favorite activity for Jews during the Christmas holiday. The Chinese restaurant has become a place where Jewish identity is made, remade, and announced.
So, what do you do if you are looking for Kosher Chinese on December 24th on Christmas Eve, it is Shabbat and you are Nashville? Chabad of Nashville will be hosting Chopstix Shabbat, a Chinese themed Shabbat celebration. The evening will begin with a joyous and spirited Kabbalat Shabbat, and will be followed by a beautiful kosher, Shabbat Chinese Buffet Dinner, all served with Chopstix, all with Chinese traditions.
Chopstix Shabbat will take place on Friday, December 24th, at 6:30 PM at Chabad of Nashville, at 95 Bellevue Road, in Bellevue. There is no cost to participate, however reservations are required, and can be made online by December 21, at www.chabadnashville.com.