As has been the case for almost 5,778 years, Jews around the world continue the tradition of overeating in preparation for a mere 24 hour fast. “I get light-headed, chilly and cranky if I don’t fill up the hump,” said one portly Hebrew man in Borough Park, Brooklyn, referencing either a camel in the desert or his severe case of kyphoscoliosis. As brisket, chicken and potatoes fly off the shelves, gastroenterologists stay open late to accommodate the masses whose routine reflux, diarrhea and IBS symptoms increase to rates seen only around the High Holidays in the Semitic populations. “It’s an opportunity to serve the community as well as increase petty cash with our new cash-only copay policy,” said one GI specialist in Monsey, N.Y. “Oh and the leftovers they bring,” he added while surreptitiously loosening his waist-belt. As mounds of smoked fish and carb-loaded bagels await the fasting throngs at sundown, invariably one person who whined throughout the day about “life-threatening” hunger pangs, pipes up with, “I could’ve gone a few more hours.”
Always looking for summer frolics, the Yiddish-speaking sect of Jews colloquially know as the Satmar sect, have recently started engaging in mixed-martial art competitions. The village of Kiryas Joel in upstate New York’s Orange County, has become a veritable hotbed of young fighters who seem to draw strength from the long lineage of famous Jewish boxers of yesteryear. From Moshe the Mauler to Pinchas the Pincher, young boys with high bruisability can be found engaging in strength training two-a-days with morning and afternoon brisket-lifting sessions. Inter- and intra-haredi competitions with sect-mates from Williamsburg and Borough Park highlight summer Sundays with fathers furiously davening (ardent praying) while mothers forcefully encourage their sons to take the occasional kishke (derma) snack-break usually to no avail. One mother, Chaya, who refused to give her last name, said that she is proud of her little fighter but is nonetheless concerned about blood clots. Additional rules have been implemented which forbid payos-pulling (ritual side-curls) and grabbing of the fringes of the tallit katan (ritual poncho-like, fringed undergarment). Other than that, nothing is sacred.