Rosh Hashanah and the Bees


Well my tech free summer is over so I hope to return to this blog and I hope some of my readers are still with me. We are harvesting winter squash and fall greens and getting ready to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I want to share a new piece I have up on Jewish Food Experience about apples, honey and pollination. I learned so much writing this piece and now I want to go out and learn about the hundreds (thousands?) of different pollinators that fly through our farm during the season. The photograph above is a wild bee on a …

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Purim is Coming: My Hamantaschen Wrap Up


This year I was determined to find my own “house” hamantaschen recipe because it seems every Purim I go searching through my cookbooks and Google and I have never come up with a recipe that I love.  I was looking for something bakery style with a thick cookie crust. So I sent out a plea on my Facebook page asking for suggestions and suddenly recipes were arriving by email and weblinks, even one from a friend of a friend which was so nice.  In the end I wound up combining two recipes but I did keep enough notes to repeat …

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Note to a Young Jewish Farmers by Scott Hertzberg


I am very inspired by the budding Jewish intentional communities movement. As someone who has farmed for more than a decade and thought a lot about past Jewish farming communities in America and how to build ones today, I’d like to share some thoughts on developing communities based around agriculture. My first suggestion, which has been made by others, is to stay close to the city, even right in a city.  Jewish farming communities in the past near metropolitan areas thrived for a generation or more (Petaluma CA; Farmingdale; NJ Lebanon CT area, among other places), while those far out …

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The Giant Menorah that Almost Fell


We stood shivering in a hotel parking lot waiting for the lighting of a giant outdoor menorah. It was my first public menorah lighting and I was in full “mom mode,” pulling up hoods, chasing dropped dreidels, handing out gelt, and sort of pretending to be excited–but we were really there for the children. Since we live on a farm outside of Jewish community, they need to see that Hanukkah doesn’t just happen at our house and at their grandparents’ house. There were a few brief speakers and I was feeling pretty distracted, thinking of the Thai restaurant right across the …

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Catching up and Getting ready for Sukkot

The weather has changed suddenly from the last of the summer heat to perfect autumn days with a slight nip in the air, mornings for fleece jackets at the bus stop that you will will be shed by recess. My blog has been very quiet lately, many hurdles getting in the way of regular writing.  And once I lose momentum, it is harder to get started again.  But I want to write and writing begets writing,  so here goes! So in the way of catch up, I want to share a wonderful article that ran in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz …

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Yom Ha Shoah: Remembering to Remember

Tonight is the start of Yom Ha Shoah or Holocaust Memorial Day.  I feel like whoever set up the Jewish calendar made a strategic mistake by placing Holocaust Memorial Day after Passover when everyone is exhausted and just getting back to normal. Maybe if it were in the middle of Passover it would be more widely recognized.  Passover naturally brings up thinking about the holocaust, and there are similar themes but with completely different outcomes.  In our post-holocaust era, Passover has lost meaning for many. How do we celebrate God actively saving us once upon a time, when in more …

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The Four Grown Ups: A Haggadah Supplement

This morning I was thinking and reading a little about the four children in the Passover Hagaddah, which are usually depicted as the wise child, the wicked child , the simple child and the child who is too young to ask. Every Haggadah will interpret these children a little differently, but they all have suggestions on how to parent each child according to their needs. While not directly related, I was also inspired by this piece by the Velveteen Rabbi about parents obligations at Passover to children.  And since the children were playing with magnetic tiles for a long time …

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Keeping Children and Parents Engaged at Passover Seders

This piece originally ran in the Washington Jewish Week. With Passover just a few days away, most of us still have a long list of things to accomplish.  Between cleaning the house, removing chametz, shopping, gathering recipes and planning a Seder, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you are a parent it is worth adding one more thing to the list: deciding about how to occupy young children during the Seder and holiday.   Since Passover is all about passing on tradition, ideas abound for engaging children. One way to engage children during the week of Passover is by …

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My Passover Parenting Fail

This piece originally ran at On the way home from Sunday school, my tiny children asked so many uncomfortable questions. They asked about God, and death, and bad guys, and then something even worse. That Egyptian child from the tenth plague was just temporarily frozen, I told them. Once Pharaoh realized his mistake all the children were fine. Then I desperately tried to change the subject, but it kept coming back. My children watched Prince of Egypt in Sunday school this weekend. They didn’t watch a short excerpt either. They watched a pretty big chunk of the movie and it was nowhere near …

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Shabbat and Farming Piece

Those of us in in the mid-Atlantic are hopeful that tonight will bring our first real snowstorm of the winter.  We need the moisture and I am ready for a nice mid-week snow day. Maybe it will give me a chance for a real post tomorrow if we don’t lose power. In the meantime, I want to share an article I have up on Huffington Post Religion today about the challenges of trying to do better at observing Shabbat beyond Friday night during the farm season.  Please jump over there to read it and feel free to leave a comment …

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