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Juicing Hava Nagila

The perils of weekend reading.

In Saturday’s  New York Times print edition (dated Oct. 30 on line), I read the obituary of Snapple founder Arnold Greenberg and discover he once considered naming a flavor "Guava Nagila."

(There’s also this disconcerting sentence: "By the 1960s, with the East Village becoming decreasingly Jewish and increasingly hippie, Mr. Greenberg converted the [pickle and lox] business into a health food store." Since when are hippies and Jewish, and for that matter, health and pickles, mutually exclusive?)

Then, in Sunday’s Washington Post book reviews, I discover this, about Pete Townshend, from his autobiography:

It began when a boy named Roger — with “hair combed into a grand quaff” and “trousers so tight they had zips in the seams” — asked a boy named Pete to join his band. The audition was quick: “Can you play E? Can you play B? Can you play ‘Man of Mystery’ by the Shadows? ‘Hava Nagila’? OK, then.”

I’m beginning to understand the thing about smashing guitars.

No, but seriously — who knew Hava Nagila was as necessary to the emerging British rock scene, as say, Muddy Waters? Why? And so my imagination drifts to a circle of hora dancers wriggling to their knees, one hand in the air, one hand over their nostrils. Was such ever witnessed?

So, yes, now I’m scared to open the Sunday Times, fearing the inevitable Third Mention.