Re-imagine a More Joyful Shabbat at Home – Down-to-Earth Ideas for Your Family

Is a tiara part of your Shabbat celebration? It could be. (See* below.) How about pizza? Yup, that, too. We all live such busy lives. What a gift it would be to “use” Shabbat to unplug and be more present with our families! As we move past the High Holidays, and as the darkness falls faster, the twinkling lights of Shabbat candles are more welcome – and welcoming – than ever. “Celebrate Shabbat” e-guide for less than $1 Until the end of October, we are offering our downloadable “Celebrate Shabbat: How to Create Joyful Home Traditions” for just $.99 using code OCTOBERSHABBAT at … [Read more...]

No Sukkah? No Worries.

Donate a portion of your garden's vegetables to a local food pantry.

Huge thanks to Jane Larkin for this wonderful post! See her bio below.  Judaism is filled with many rituals and symbols that connect us to Jewish life past and present. But while beautiful, these traditions can also hinder our observance by making an absence of the right “equipment” an easy excuse for not celebrating certain holidays. Sukkot is one celebration that falls into this category. It’s joyous and fun. It’s also important. We’re commanded by the Torah to celebrate it. But many non-Orthodox Jews don’t because there are significant “barriers to entry.” Most homes don’t own a … [Read more...]

New Fruit Plus Old Crumbs for Rosh Hashanah

Water for Tashlich

My husband and I experimented with a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year for the first time. It was like getting a surprise box every week. In our second CSA, we pulled out something we’d never seen before.  So next time I Skyped with our grandsons, I told them, “We got a mystery vegetable in our box this week! We have no idea what it is.” Our 4-year-old, puzzled, asked, “Not even Grandpa?” Well, there’s a world in that answer! Surely, Grandpa knows everything. Even he doesn’t know what it is? Turned out, it was kohlrabi. And we really liked it. Discovery in a new … [Read more...]

Planting the Seeds of Jewish Tradition

Apples-CrateIMG_7187-smaller

As we move toward Rosh Hashanah, we are drinking in the last bits of summer. Where we live, we can see the occasional leaf turning yellow or red. Often, the Jewish calendar enhances our appreciation of this shift from one season to the next. Encourage your young explorers A simple way to celebrate the movement toward Rosh Hashanah is to go for a stroll in a nearby park, looking for little signs of fall. Here is a lovely recollection of one Mom's experience doing just that with her little boy: “This week my toddler and I discovered (and rediscovered) the joy of crunching through … [Read more...]

Playing Games Brings Families Closer

Rosh Hashanah Bingo

My husband comes from serious games-playing people. On my first visit there, we played no-holds-barred contract gin. Coming from my small, quiet family, I found it overwhelming. But I liked it. So when we had children, it seemed natural to incorporate family games from a very young age. Our version of contract gin was more restrained. We take turns. We do not slap at the cards. But we are very serious and competitive, through the laughter and loud music. When our girls were young elementary school age, I sketched out our first version of Hanukkah Bingo onto pieces of cardboard. As … [Read more...]