Sukkot – “Excuse for a 7-Day Picnic”

Sukkot harvest

“Sukkot is an opportunity and excuse for a seven-day picnic.” – Anita Diamant [Here’s one of our favorite blog posts from the past, edited for 2015] If you’re a nature lover, the holiday of Sukkot is tailor-made for you. And because the festival lasts from sunset on Sunday, September 27 through nightfall Sunday, October 4, you have lots of time to celebrate. During this annual harvest festival, we sometimes eat meals – and even sleep – in temporary outdoor structures called “sukkot” (singular: sukkah). What if you don’t have a traditional sukkah? No worries. There are still lots … [Read more...]

Yom Kippur – Honoring Our Loves Ones

lighing yahrzeit candles

I saw this beautiful explanation about why we light Yahrzeit candles. And I wanted to devote one blog to reflect and to remember. Since my father, z’l, died 34 years ago, I’ve had yahrzeit candles in the house. The glass ones. The metal ones. This year, we’re adding more flames to our memories, including my father-in-law and my brother-in-law. Within a three-week period, we lost them both. A few months later, we lost a funny, quirky, dear cousin. May their memories be for a blessing. Maybe that’s why this article from resonated so much, as we look for ways to celebrate the … [Read more...]

Need More Poppy Seeds in Your Life?

Note from Mom - priceless

Mohn. Poppy seeds. When I was a child, they were – out and away – the most popular filling for hamentaschen. But they were also the key ingredient in Mom's Poppy Seed Cake (see recipe below). And this is the note (above) she wrote on the recipe for me. Check out our new article on, "What Makes a Dessert Jewish?" It wasn't just our home, though, where poppy seeds had an important place, far beyond the triangular goodies for Purim. Joan Nathan invites us to visit a living museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where early 20th century life is preserved.  Reenactor … [Read more...]

Rosh Hashanah Home Fun

Happy New Year!

I feel lucky to live close to a synagogue, because I like the "special" on Rosh Hashanah. I like to hear the blasts of the Shofar. I like to see the Torah scrolls dressed in white. But I know that not everyone has this privilege. Regardless of whether you "Temple" or not, I believe that there are many, many ways to celebrate the Jewish New Year with joy. Food for the new year If you assume that three core concepts for Rosh Hashanah with young children are “round,” “sweet,” and “new,” come up with menus that emphasize those ideas.  Think cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, little round … [Read more...]

Color with Your Kids for Rosh Hashanah

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with art

Our kids love when we play what they want, don’t they? I remember going camping with another family, when our girls were young elementary age and their kids were 4 and 18 months. The toddler could spend hours in a dry creek bed picking up and making piles of sticks and stones. When we all started doing the same thing – even though we were actually looking for “fairy stones” (a specific kind of stone) – he looked absolutely tickled. Wow, he got us to do what he wanted. On another camping trip, our girls and I got out acrylic paints and meandered away the afternoon, exploring color and … [Read more...]