Wrestling with New vs. “Old” Hamentaschen

Purim cookies

I’m not talking about the hamentaschen vs. latke debates. There’s no question – choose both! What concerns me is my attitude toward hamentaschen. Can I expand my narrow view? Can I be truly open to new recipes? Since I generally only eat hamentaschen once a year, why would I want to deviate from my favorite (mohn – poppyseed) for myself and hubby or more kid-friendly versions (e.g., jelly-filled, chocolate-filled, Nutella-filled) for our little ones? I admit. I am incredibly drawn to some of the newer options. Like these mint chocolate hamentaschen, drizzled with chocolate … [Read more...]

Purim Fun for Little Kids

Purim Clock 2015

As a very basic crafts person, I love discovering truly easy art projects and costumes for all celebrations, including Purim. Check out our Pinterest board for some of my finds. For me, the basics of a Purim shindig for 2- to 5-year-olds include: Putting together a simple costume Baking hamentaschen Crafting a noisemaker   And finding ways for the little hands to help with all of these makes them, well, honestly, take more time, but so much more fun and much better learning experiences. Mother nature or woods man  When I found this nature crown, I realized that we had the … [Read more...]

Why Jewish Holidays in a Box? – Q&A

In the past few months, I’ve talked to people from California to Europe who asked us how we “do” Jewish Holidays in a Box. Here are some of the questions we hear most often: Q: When did you come up with the idea? A: I started noodling the idea when our girls (now all grown up and fabulous!) were young elementary school age. I wanted to make Jewish holidays more fun, but I didn’t have a lot of personal experience to draw on then, so I made it up as we went along.   Q: Why is your emphasis on simple crafts? A: I had to find ideas that were easy for me, because I’ve never been a super … [Read more...]

A Personal Journey into Intermarriage

A story of intermarriage and Jewish continuity

Intermarriage is a word that can be freighted with lots of emotion. “Did she marry a Jew?” “Are they raising the kids Jewish?” “Is he going to convert?” Jane Larkin shares her personal journey in “From Generation to Generation: A story of intermarriage and Jewish continuity.” In the process, she offers us much to think about, regardless of our own family’s configurations. And she gives the kinds of intimate details that help us truly grasp her reality. Like the dread she felt on awakening one morning and realizing that she had chosen the wrong husband, for the wrong reasons (the first … [Read more...]

Tu B’Shevat – Make It All About the Trees

Tu B’Shevat 2015

For centuries, artists (and photographers like me!) have tried to capture the beauty and majesty of trees.  So to have a holiday where we can honor them makes a lovely break from the gray days of winter. Check out Max Greenberg's take on the celebration in his article with the funny title from the National Wildlife Federation, “How to Celebrate New Year’s for the Trees, OR: Obscure Jewish Holiday of the Month.” As the article shares, many Americans who celebrate focus on the seven species of foods that the Torah tell us were grown in ancient Israel, including grapes, figs, dates, … [Read more...]