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The Jewish Art of Getting Drunk

“We are here to celebrate one of my favorite vices, wine,” said Ruby Namdar, a presenter at Thursday night’s DRUNK: an Evening of Wine Tasting and Text Study, which took place at the 14th Street Y in downtown Manhattan. LABA, run by Ronit Muszkatblit and Elissa Strauss, is a secular Jewish house of study and culture laboratory which selects 10 fellows each year to study classical Jewish texts centered around a specific theme.

Last night was a celebration for artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and really anybody with a love of Judaism. Guests walked into a spacious, black room where they were immediately presented with the first glass of wine, my personal favorite, Dibon, Cava Brut Reserve.

The alcohol content of the wines served only increased from there, from 11 percent all the way up to 39 percent (the evening’s official sommelier explained), including Chinon, Rose, El Porvenir de los Andes, Syrah, and Scagliola, Dolcesvago Muscato. The evening grew simultaneously more introspective and comical as the wine aerated and the participants imbibed.

But the event wasn’t just about drinking. The performances ranged from poetry to art to music, all depicting themes of addiction, power, religion, relationships, devotion, and of course, inebriation, which spoke to the hedonist in all of us.

We were told that wine is a metaphor for a mystical quest, and that there are two different types of imbibers: there are those who drink to get drunk, and those who drink to get intoxicated–basically, the yin and yang of wine consumption.

“Turn your vice into a ladder and you can climb higher,” Namdar explained, and the happy, intoxicated audience nodded in agreement.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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