“He came up to me on Birthright and said ‘your face Israeli cute,’ and that was basically it,” said Rebecca Blerberg, 26, from Minneapolis. “After that, we were like two pieces of kugel that got stuck together while baking and are really hard to pull apart so you just have to eat the whole thing together.”
Josh Brickmanstein, 30, said that this was the second best day of his life, the first being when he was accidentally got served vodka at his Bar Mitzvah. “She’s just so adequate,” he said of Blerberg. “I mean, I used to just date blondes, but with her, well, my parents love her and everything is just easier.”
Brickmanstein’s grandmother, sitting in on the interview, began to cry of joy.
The MN NJC award is a cherished cornerstone of Minnesota’s Jewish community, created in 1983 as an incentive for Jewish marriage. “Shiksas are for practice!” reads the award’s website.
While community members are happy for the winning couple, the award is marred with one outstanding difficulty: This is the first year that one partner is from Minneapolis, and the other from St. Paul.
In the past, the award has been given in partnership with a local Jewish federation, providing a free five-year membership to the synagogue of the couple’s choosing, scented candlesticks (and matching Havdalah scented candles) inscribed with the biblical verse “Pru u’Rvu” [be fruitful and multiply], a life-sized copy of the 10 Commandments, a $5,000 grant for the firstborn child, and a stone in the egalitarian Western Wall section named after the lucky pair.
But with the winner’s intermarriage status, award presenters say that the Minneapolis Federation and the St. Paul Federation will have to work together to pay for the associated benefits.
“I mean, this is all Romeo and Juliet, but like, Jewish,” exclaimed Blurgberg. “I’m just hoping we can get through this award without anyone dying.”
Despite the barrier, Brickmanstein is feeling optimistic. “If a guy like me can fall for a girl like her, I think the Federations can get their tuchas’ in line and get us our damn candlesticks.”
Neither Federations were available for comment, but the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas did release a statement that read: “Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, strongly congratulates this year’s winners of the MN NJC award. We hope they will be good ambassadors for bridging the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish communities, and that this will be a step forward in regional Jewish relations.”