This Christmas, while the hordes are snagging last-minute gifts and downing spiked eggnog to help them tolerate familial gatherings, Jewish Houstonians will be carefree, dancing at the Meridian's Blue and White Ball.
There's a reason South Park's Kyle sang a song called "A Lonely Jew at Christmas." With the closed shops, the out-of-towners and the chilly weather, it can be a quiet week for the non-Christian set, and in a city where the Jewish population checks in at about 2 percent, Jewish events can be especially hard to come by.
"At this time in New York there's half a dozen parties on any given day during the Christmas week you can go to," says Gary Katz, the party's organizer and a member of the Jewish social group Hayom. "In past years during the Christmas week, I remember sitting at home with very little to do," he says. "I know others feel this way. So we figured it'd be great to throw a citywide party."
Yep, this is Houston, so a quaint cocktail gathering won't do: Katz is expecting hundreds of stylish revelers to pack the Meridian's pimped-out Red Room and VIP Lounge. They'll be treated to the stylings of DJ Mike Cherches, who will be spinning Israeli dance music alongside other world beats.
"I visited Israel in 2000, and when I saw how they party there, it blew me away," says Cherches. "Dancing is really important over there." Cherches, who describes Israeli music as "Mediterranean" with hints of Greek and Arabic, says he'll probably play selections from Sarit Hadad -- Israel's Britney -- and Kobi Peretz, while mixing in French, German and Italian dance hits.
"Obviously, because we are in Houston, you can't help it -- you have to play hip-hop," he says. So there will be a hometown twist. But for the most part, the Blue and White Ball might make the local Jewish community forget about this Christmas-obsessed town altogether.