Two Jews, Five Cream Cheeses


Naomi Miller performing at a brunch. Bagels and and cream cheese for all!

“Two Jews, three opinions” This quip holds true across the board: “two Jews, five cream cheeses”; “two Jews, seven languages”; “two Jews, 15 degrees of separation from a long lost common relative in Bielsk.”

Multiples and melanges of language, food, and culture were strong at Naomi Miller’s comedy/musical performance. (Temple Emanu-El, Bayonne, N.J.) Not only did the laughs come in multiples, but Ms. Miller shook up her performance with interactive songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. She even taught one song in Hebrew sign language!

Alongside the show, there was a table of assorted cream cheeses to match the diverse flavors and tastes of the crowd.


Who wouldn’t think both pink cheeses weren’t strawberry?

Not one solitary cream cheese could possibly suffice! Next to a tray of bagels, there was a display of cheese in five flavors, plus margarine. On the sweet side was strawberry cream cheese; on the savory were chives, garden vegetable, plain, and a lox cheese the color of strawberry ice cream.

The unmarked deli-bought lox spread was a bright, light pink with chunks and shreds of vibrant pink. One would assume it was strawberry. But no! The strawberry Philadelphia was right next to it—a more muted dusty rose color sprinkled with tiny seeds and a few dark pink flecks of fruit. The pink cheeses caused some stir. “Why does my strawberry taste like fish?” and “What are they serving here?”


Vintage wooden Breakstone cream cheese box. Yes, Breakstone – formerly Breghstein – is Jewish!

Thus there were two great shows going on that day. First was Naomi Miller’s lively, humorous performance; second was watching people put the pink lox cheese on a bagel, thinking it was strawberry. The faces they made when they found out! I tried to warn them, but but no one believed me until their mouths puckered up from the salty fish.

Although Ms. Miller didn’t provide the cheese, it made for extra comic relief!

One group of Jews. One great show. One common confusion over pink cream cheese.

Elizabeth Bland

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