Miss Rumphius – #JewishBookFun4Kids #1

Jewish star, star of David

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney has a magical cadence that, just maybe, inspired our daughter to travel widely and to plant flowers – including  lupines. The story begins, “The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers.” As a little girl, Alice lived by the sea, where she watched sailing ships. In fact, her grandfather had come to America on one of these ships. He was an artist, making figureheads for the prows of ships and painting pictures. Sometimes, Alice helped him paint in the … [Read more...]

Introducing SummerBookFun4Kids

kids Jewish book club

Are you part of a book club? I didn’t have time to join one till our kids were older, so you might be in that “don’t I wish” place. But now, I love the motivation to read books that I might not otherwise have chosen – and then meet with nice people to discuss them. What I always made time for, though, was reading to our children. I have wonderful memories of bedtime cuddling. You know the Amelia Bedelia stories? My kids often chose those. But the lilting cadence of “Amelia Bedelia” made me doze off. So I told the girls, “Yes, I’ll read that one. But I have to say “AB” instead of “Amelia … [Read more...]

Test Yourself – A Jewish Food Quiz

Schav - Jewish soup

Kale. Chia seeds. Hemp seeds. Freekeh. Would our grandparents and great-grandparents have raved about these “miracle” foods? I don’t know. But they did know lots of dishes that used to be classic Jewish foods -- some of which you don't hear about much these days. Jewish food quiz Go ahead - give it a try and see how many of these you can get right: First, identify the category of food. Then see if you know what it is. Petcha Main dish Dessert Soup Bread / starch / other Mandlen Main dish Dessert Soup Bread / starch / other Teiglach Main … [Read more...]

What Are Your Top 25 Jewish Foods?

Jewish food favorite

I was pondering that question the other day – and realized that it’s way too hard to narrow down Jewish foods, from all corners of the earth, to just 25. Even if we limit ourselves to Israeli faves + Ashkenazi standards + Sephardi recipes, how could we get to only 25? And then, I found “25 Classic Jewish Foods Everyone Should Learn to Cook.”  Author Deena Shankar gives us a lovely list that includes much of what you’d expect – like challah, matzah ball soup, potato latkes, matzah brie, and more. But she also helps us expand our thinking to spicy shakshuka, brought to Israel by … [Read more...]

Celebrating Shavuot with Flowers

Shavuot celebration

Shavuot is rich in important themes – and equally rich in names, reminding us of the different celebrations encompassed by the holiday: Hag ha-Shavuot – Feast of Weeks – the 7-week period between Passover and Shavuot Yom ha-Bikkurim – First Fruits Day – the tradition from Temple days when Jewish farmers tied threads around the first fruits, then brought them to the Temple Hag ha-Katzir – Festival Harvest – celebrating the season of wheat harvesting Z’man Matan Torah – Time of Giving the Torah Here is a wonderfully moving description of the giving of Torah from Rabbi Lawrence … [Read more...]