Know what a Shmoozalufuguse is? Have you ever shmoozed? If not, you must not know about Shmooze.
Shmooze is a Jewish student organization founded in 2004 with a primary purpose of, quite simply, shmoozing. Students gather once a month to share food and conversation at a member’s home. While the informal meetings generally begin with obscure icebreakers, they quickly turn into impassioned discussions about Jewish culture, past and future club events and, perhaps most importantly, food.
Food is a central part of both shmoozing and the Jewish culture, and most of Shmooze’s events focus on cooking. Kugel, a Jewish dish similar to casserole, is the subject of the organization’s premier annual event — the Kugel Cook-off.
The club’s leader, head Shmoozalufuguse Avery Robinson — a Shmoozalufuguse is any member of the club’s leadership board — explained that the cook-off allows members to “expand what can be kugel,” or even show off their grandmother’s kugel recipes.
The club hosts another annual cook-off that focuses on a different food each fall. Apples starred this semester, yielding creations like apple challah and apple-butternut squash soup, while past years have seen a variety of desserts that experimented within the cooking limitations of Passover.
Shmooze, which receives most of its funding through Hillel, also organizes events such as the upcoming Ashkenazi food symposium, an event which highlights the evolution of Jewish food. An expert on Jewish food from Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Zack Berg, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
While food is indeed important, conversation is the other important aspect of the group. Robinson, an LSA junior, believes that shmoozing is an important skill to have, both in professional and social situations. The meetings allow members to become more comfortable speaking and interacting with others.
The living room often leads to the CCRB’s locker room saunas, as members sit together and talk. Robinson said this form of socializing, known as shvitzing, is a fantastic way to form friendships in a relaxing atmosphere.