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...]

Blintz Festival for Shavuot

Eat dairy on Shavuot

This year, Shavuot starts on Saturday, May 23rd. So you really can plan for a yummy blintz event with your family and friends. And yes! Involve the kids. Blintzes are a natural for Shavuot, because dairy is one of the three main categories of foods. The others are twin hallot (representing two Torah scrolls) and three-cornered kreplach. Joan Nathan’s How to Make a Cheese Blintz If you are new to blintz-making, start here with Joan’s easy-to-follow video about how to make blintzes. As you watch it, imagine which parts your kids can do, based on their ages. Shopping Search for … [Read more...]

Jewish Values in Spring Discovery Walks

Jewish values in nature

I love walking the perimeter of our yard with the grand kids to look for signs of spring. And they learn where to look for new flower buds, catkins dropping from birch tree branches, and wriggly worms. Even our toddler noticed lots of “daffindils” in the park. And our 5-year-old can go on treks with me, like the one we took around a lake last week. He spotted turtles sunning on a log; we heard peeps of baby birds off in the brush; and he saw a piece of litter that we took with us to throw away. (Do you know the song “If You See a Piece of Litter, Pick It Up?” His teacher would have been … [Read more...]

F.I.N.D.s* – A Mezuzah on the Door

Jewish mezuzah, jewish home

When one of our sweet grandkids was two years old, and when he'd toddle into our home for a visit, he loved reconfirming that everything was where he knew it would be. He especially liked when we held him in our arms and carried him to this mezuzah on the doorpost of Grandpa's office. He’d put out his little hand to touch it, then kiss his fingers, mimicking what he saw us do. Did he see it the way Anita Diamant described in Living a Jewish Life?  The little box or cylinder affixed to the doorways of Jewish homes is a clue, a reminder, a sign of welcome, a decoration, an amulet, and a … [Read more...]