An Italian Girl Lectures on St. Patrick at a Jewish Community Center

Published March 17, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_3745At one of my “Luck of the Irish” presentations, March 2014

For almost two years, I’ve been a public speaker at assisted living facilities and libraries. I’ve also included Jewish Community Centers to my roster.

Yesterday I spoke at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange and received a ton of compliments. It was just the kind of magic that transpires when you have a true connection between speaker and audience. It’s still cold in New Jersey, so I wore a snowflake necklace my husband gave me when we first started dating. Interesting, it also looks like a Jewish star and over the years I’ve received lots of compliments on the necklace over the years.

When a lady in the audience complimented me on my “Jewish star” I told her I was Jewish at heart.

She asked me why and I told her because I eat a lot of kosher food: kosher cheese, goji berries with the parve label, potato latkes, falafels and pickles (my favorite thing at the famous Katz Deli!)

And as a St. Patrick’s Day side note, which I share in my lecture, corned beef and cabbage is not an Irish dish. Originally the dish was bacon, but it was too expensive and the Jewish New Yorkers, from the Lower East Side, taught the Irish about a cheaper alternative.

Whenever I present this lecture, I ask the audience if anyone has ever visited Ireland and if so, what did they like best about the country. Every time I get the same answer: the people.

I was truly touched that a Jewish audience embraced the Irish (and me, as an Italian, giving a lecture about Ireland to a Jewish audience!) This just goes to show that we’re are all not as separate as you’d think. The world is one big melting pot and we can all learn from each other and live in harmony.

After the presentation, as I always do, I invite audience members to sing Irish songs. This time we not only had a singer, but a pianist. Both brought the house down!

I said to the audience, “Do I know how to host a party or what?”

And as always, I was treated to a grand round of applause. It was an honor.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all my blog followers!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is available for public speaking events. For a list of topics available and upcoming events please visit:

For availability and pricing, call Maryanne Christiano Mistretta at 908-276-1514 or email:

4 comments on “An Italian Girl Lectures on St. Patrick at a Jewish Community Center

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