What do you do for Hanukkah?

My greater extended family, including my great-aunts and -uncles and their children, all gather at one of my great-aunts' senior centers and have a little party. We also do something with my immediate family later on.

Enjoy PNW beer on Cascade's DIY Bike 'n' Brews
Grab a friend and enjoy Cascade Bicycle Club's urban bike ride, a PNW microbrew lover's adventure

Has anything really wacky ever happened?

Not really. I once got a box of dinosaurs where you would push the knob in the back and the mouth would open. Does that count?

What are your other favorite holidays?

I love Lag B'Omer, AKA Field Day.

What were your favorite activities?

Archery, balancing on a log or on a pole, seeing who can balance the longest on a log or pole, capture the flag, tag, different kinds of tag like freeze tag, scavenger hunt.

Sounds bitchin'! Can I come?

This was when I was five.

But still, where do you do it? I want to come!

In Seattle somewhere—I don't remember where, but it was super muddy, so we had to do it inside. I went to the Hebrew Academy.

What's another favorite holiday?

Well, Purim, of course. On Purim it's a mitzvah to get as drunk as possible.

Do you like Hamantaschen? Because I think they are gross.

I hate them, too. I would like to make a savory Hamantaschen that would have spinach, artichoke, and mozzarella in the cookie, and call it a SAMmentaschen.


Do you understand that SAMmentaschen stands for spinach, artichoke, and mozzerella, but is also my name?

Yeah, I got that. ARI SPOOL

Sam Rousso DJs as Sam Rousso Soundsystem every Wednesday night at Ruff Jemz at the Baltic Room.


How did you celebrate the holidays when you were growing up?

Hanukkah with the family. Christmas was all about Chinese food and a movie.

How do you celebrate them now?

The same as when I was growing up. Now for fun I get my picture taken with Santa.

What's your take on Hanukkah cuisine? Love latkes? Hate Hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen is not a Hanukkah food; it's for a different holiday. Latkes are okay. I am a Sephardic Jew, which means my family descended from the Jews who left Spain during the Inquisition and settled in Mediterranean countries like Turkey and Greece. Our food has that influence. Latkes belong to the Ashkenazic Jews; they are from Eastern Europe. Bagels, matzoh balls, and gefilte fish are all Ashkenazic foods. With the exception of bagels, I am not a big fan of Ashkenazic food. It's not very flavorful. Some of my favorite Sephardic foods are borekas, delicious pastries with a Parmesan cheese and potato filling, and for Hanukkah my Grandmother makes burmuelos, which are like yeast doughnuts drizzled with honey and cinnamon. Very tasty.

Assemble your dream Jewish supergroup and tell me who you would pick and why.

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Drums would be Hal Blaine and myself on percussion. Hal played on so many records, plus he came up with many great homemade percussion instruments to use in the studio. It would be a powerhouse of Jew drumming.

Bob Dylan and Jonathan Richman would play guitar and write songs. They are both great songwriters whose styles I think would mesh well together. Burt Bacharach on piano—why not? He's Burt Bacharach. Joey Ramone would sing. I guess Gene Simmons could play bass but that's only because he's the only Jewish bass player I can think of. He would have to stand toward the back of the stage and keep his mouth shut. Kenny G would occasionally make a cameo, and David Lee Roth would be the band's official warm-up act. Lou Reed would be in the band for credibility. David Geffen could manage us, and I would call the band In Search of Shiksa. HANNAH LEVIN


I heard you were a part of something called the "Jew Crew" when you were in high school. Is that true?

Yeah, I did start a Jewish club in high school. We'd hang out, cook up potato pancakes and matzoh-ball soup.... It was basically an excuse for us to get fat.

Speaking of food, what's your favorite traditional Jewish food?

I'm a big fan of the knish. I'm named for a knish restaurant in New York—there's a place called Yonah Schimmel's in the Lower East Side. Yonah is, of course, my Hebrew name. I'm named after a delicious potato treat.

Do you know where in Seattle to get good matzoh-ball soup? People say it's impossible to find around here.

People are right. I've often thought about opening my own matzoh-ball soup stand.

You should! What would it be called?

Jew Jew Bees Matzoh-Ball Soup Kitchen, maybe? That's my hiphop name, Jew Jew Bee.

That's a great hiphop name. So what's your favorite way to celebrate Hanukkah?

The best is to just chill with the family. I've never done a Hanukkah thing with friends, although I'd love to. Will, from the band Aiden, we always threatened to have Jewish celebrations, and do you know Sam Rousso? He's legit.

Are there any Jewish musicians you've looked up to?

Behind every great band, there's a Jew. In KISS you have Mr. Chaim Witz (Gene Simmons), and what about Joey Ramone, otherwise known as Jeff Hymen? And what about your man Jim Steinman—a Jew wrote "Total Eclipse of the Heart," one of the greatest pop songs ever written! Meatloaf's not Jewish, but Steinman also wrote all of his cuts too; he wrote the Bat Out of Hell record. MEGAN SELING