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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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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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 Kveller.com. 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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It’s Tu B’Shevat – Happy New Year to the Trees

(Note: This piece originally ran on 1/24/13 in the Washington Jewish Week). Did you know Tu B’Shevat coincides with Shabbat this year and starts tonight?  A January Tu B’Shevat is one of the first signs that the Jewish holidays will come early this year. You may have heard that the first night of Hanukkah will fall on Thanksgiving this fall. We will have to stay on our toes and keep our Jewish calendars close at hand in 2013. It’s not just the Jewish calendar that seems to be coming fast this year. Spring is on its way to Washington early …

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Hanukkah Goes to Public School

This week I went to my son’s kindergarten class to talk about Hanukkah.  My husband and I read a story, showed the children a manorah, introduced the Hebrew letters on the dreidel and the talked about olives and olive oil.   It was all over in a short and sweet 20 minutes! While preparing for our 20 minutes in the Kindergarten spotlight, I did some research and wrote a piece for the Washington Jewish Week.  Following are some resources and my article in case you are planning a similar presentation. My blogging friend, Joanna Brichetto, aka The Bible Belt Balabusta is …

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Jewish New Year and Tashlich at the River

We celebrated the Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year this week with a visit to synagogue to pray and hear the shofar, a delicious apple cake modified from the Smitten Kitchen (ok, very modified), and tashlich at the river. Tashlich is the ritual of throwing bits of bread in the water while recounting things you are sorry about on or shortly after Rosh Hashanah.  You can find an official description from Chabad here.   It has always been one of my favorite rituals, because it is personal, hands-on, and takes place outdoors. We went down to the local Patuxant …

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