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The Moon is Made of Green Cheese

Our kids are third generation members of Bnei Akiva. My father-in-law was a member in Kfar Hassidim in what was then called Palestine, during the thirties, the very early days of the movement. Jill and I were members and leaders of the movement in Sydney in the seventies. And our kids were madrichim in Efrat, Tekoa and Yishi in the nineties and the zeroes.

For me, growing up in the Sydney movement, the highlight of each year's activities (except perhaps for the "pitching eight man tents" race at pioneer camp) was the annual "Convincing Competition". You were given thirty seconds, sometimes a minute, to convince the gathered multitude on some, often trivial or silly, proposition. The room was small and the crowd was always large, so the speaker invariably stood amongst the audience. It was an interesting, and amusing, public speaking experience -- and always lots of fun for everyone present. And there was always interaction with the crowd, which was part of the merriment.

One year Big Bob and I made it through the preliminary rounds, into the grand final. We were in what was then called fifth form high school -- today New South Wales follows the international lead and refers to this as eleventh grade.

To arrive at this point in the contest, we had already each spoken three times. The final bout, unlike each of the preliminary knockout rounds, took the form of an actual debate between the two finalists. Since Bobby and I were high profile members of the famed, feared and revered Randwick Boys' High School debating team, the gathered crowd knew they were in for a treat. I was the Randwick team's opening speaker, Bobby was our whip. (Peter, another Jewish lad, who unfortunately is no longer with us, was usually our middle speaker -- but he was not a member of B.A, or the competition would have been even stiffer.)

Bob was a very witty speaker and invariably had the crowd in stitches -- and that was with the serious topics we generally debated. (How do you make "the United Nations Should be Abolished" funny? Bob could do it. I can only remember one light really hearted topic in my entire debating experience, "We've Never Had It Good or So Often", and this was in high school -- Sydney was a fun place in which to have grown up!)

Just about every topic in the Convincing Competition was funny. I knew I would have my work cut out for me in this final, whatever the chosen theme.

We tossed a coin to decide who would defend the (yet unknown) proposition. Bob correctly called heads and put himself in to bat. We opened the envelope containing our assigned topic: "The Moon is Made of Green Cheese". Now please remember, this debate took place a few weeks before the first human supposedly set foot, or any part of his wretched body, on the surface of Earth's only natural satellite. So back then, the proposition was (perhaps) quite feasible, one which was not directly provable by hard, physical evidence. Only the the theories of physics and astronomy as they were in the sixties could be called upon.

And then, there he stood, the first human on the moon, the stars and stripes fluttering behind him in a stiff July lunar breeze, blowing through the atmosphereless Moon. What a lovely day it was for all humanity. One small step for a man -- his boots sinking into the natural mould and fungus covering the moon's green cheese base -- one giant leap for mankind.

As we all know, the surface of our earth is littered with moon rocks. All of these rocks have somehow fallen to earth. And most of these are green and fury. If they are not formed of lunar green cheese, but are fungus covered rocks, what does that tell you about the moon itself? Either the fungus would have burned off on entry through the earth's atmosphere, or if the fungus somehow could survive, it must be of lunar origin.

Now I'm not trying to prove the existence of primitive life on the Moon, other than that the Man in the Moon must have something to eat for his breakfast -- and yum, yum, green cheese is the best! The assembled crowd was unable to remain on their benches -- they were rolling all over the floor.

Now Bob knew a lot about this substance -- he ate green cheese for breakfast every morning. He would even bring a couple of slices to our Sunday morning Tefillin Club at the Great Synagogue. The synagogue only served regular yellow cheddar. Nothing green. Wrapping it in the lettuce didn't help Bob's taste buds.

He ate green cheese sandwiches for lunch at school, sometimes with peanut butter, often with jam, sometimes with Vegemite, often just raw green cheese; invariably green cheese was somewhere buried between his daily two slices of Bronte Bakeries' white bread.

So you can see my was work cut out for me. I was debating an expert in the field -- expert debater and culinary cheese specialist. Sixty seconds each.

If the Moon were made of green cheese, it would not glow yellow -- it would glow green! But it's yellow. I have inspected the cheese factory down the south coast in Bega and they only have a packing facility. No cow every comes near the place. Bega, being directly under the monthly full moon, is the recipient of nearly all the falling moon rocks, comprising solid yellow cheese. They don't even have to add flavour in the factory: Emmental, smooth, hard and sharp, falls from the floor of a huge, low-lying crater called the Imbrium Basin. They gave the game away with Coon cheese, a very hard, tasty yellow cheese. Coon is short for Cheddar from the Moon. Edam from the rim of Shackleton Crater, and Parmesan from Oceanus Procellarum. All of these cheeses, from all over the bright side of the Moon, are YELLOW.

The yellow glow of the Moon is due to the complexion of the man in the Moon. The Man is of Chinese origin, having been sent to the Moon in a previous moon race between the Chinese and Russians. The Russians lost that one too -- but the Chinese fire crackers didn't have enough power to return their astronaut to Earth. So there he stays, right up to this very day, smiling down upon us, perhaps awaiting Neil Amstrong's visit, to, if not restore him to earth, at least to bring him some fresh supply of his favourite long grain rice.

We all know that the Chinese only eat green cheese with their rice; so it is obvious, that in order for our Man to survive, the Moon has a large supply of green cheese, so large a quantity in fact, that the entire Moon must be composed of delicious green. Earth cheese is made from curdling cow juice with rennet. Moon cheese is the way the Good Lord created our Moon. And in order to win this debate, you have to convince us that the Moon's surface is yellow cheese!

I can feel victory slipping from my fingers. I have a twenty second rebuttal to go. He was right. I may not be able to disprove the premise that the Moon was made of green cheese, but had I brought enough evidence that Bega's yellow cheese was of lunar origin, and even if I could, did this prove that the Moon's majority cheese was indeed not green. Could it possibly be made up of both?

Could I now take a new tack. Is this a feasible attack? Use geology and physics and drop the Bega/yellow cheese line of argument? Would this proof be too serious for the present forum?

Quickly now! The moon was formed from random masses of rock which flew out of our atmosphere when the Earth was rammed by a Mars sized meteor. Scientists tell us that our earth is geologically stable. Neither the earth, nor this meteor, which was swallowed up into the bowels of our planet, show any sign of cheese. Of any colour, flavour or texture. Nor in fossil form. Thus it is illogical to assume that earth originating rocks which coalesced, under gravity, to form the Moon, are any different to rocks we find on earth today. No cheese on earth. Hence no cheese on the Moon.

Bing-bing -- the bell -- my time was up! The 1969 Bnei Akiva Convincing Competition was over.


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