Kosher Food


One of my favorite blogs is Rachel Mankowitz’s The Cricket Pages. She just published a post about her memories around kosher food, which I share with my readers. Enjoy.

Originally posted on rachelmankowitz:

When I was nine or ten years old, not long after my family started to keep kosher, we went to a hotel up in the Catskills for Presidents’ weekend. It was a skiing resort, basically, and it was kosher. I’ve worked hard to block out the skiing portion of the trip because it was truly harrowing, but there was also an outdoor ice skating rink, and an indoor pool, and a theatre where the last gasp of the Borscht Belt came to perform. But most of all, there was the food. They made fake scallops from halibut, cut into rounds, and whenever they were on the menu, that’s what I ate. The waiters were convinced I was lying about my age, because I could have had a hamburger and French fries, or spaghetti and meatballs and I chose this?

But I’d grown up on seafood, at my best friend’s house…

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A Note to Readers

I am down with one of my periodic bouts of sciatica. Sometimes it gets out of control. During those times, the worst thing I can do is sit at my computer.

I have a number of things I want to do and cannot right now. The first is to get back to you about the class I proposed. Another is to answer some questions too involved for me to address via my phone from an exercise mat on the floor. The last is new posts.

I am catching up on my reading, and if I find goodies to share I will do so.

I hope to be back after Shabbat. Don’t worry about me; this is a nuisance, not a tragedy.

I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!


Leonard Nimoy – “You and I” – A Poem for Elul and All Times


Rabbi John Rosove’s blog is well worth reading on a regular basis. This particular entry, with a poem by Leonard Nimoy z”l, is particularly appropriate for Elul.

Originally posted on Rabbi John Rosove's Blog:

It’s been six months since we lost Leonard, and his family misses him dearly, his gentleness and intelligence, his profound interest and concern about the world, his very large heart, curiosity, and penetrating mind, his simple loving presence.

This poem of Leonard’s below came to me from a friend. I had not seen it before which points to one of Leonard’s virtues – his modesty and humility. Though he knew what were his strengths and gifts, he didn’t talk about himself that way. He spoke rather about ideas, the creative process, the arts, world events, politics, and his family.

Leonard’s poem is part of a longer work that he published in 1973 that included a blend of poetry with black and white photography.

Given the poem’s theme, it is particularly appropriate for us to read now, during this season of Elul, the Hebrew month preceding the High Holidays. I post…

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Why We Love “Once-a-Year” Jews


This conversation is so wonderful, I can’t wait to share it via my own blog.

Originally posted on downtowndvar:

In this blog dialogue, Rabbis Elyse Goldstein of City Shul and Ed Elkin of the First Narayever Congregation, friends and colleagues in downtown Toronto, converse on matters of contemporary Jewish import. We publish everytime the spirit moves us, or when you send us a hot-button question. Readers are welcome to submit suggestions for future topics in the comments below.

Elyse Goldstein holding Torah mantle

Hi Ed,

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services. I imagine how it feels to shul regulars: a fashion-show of strangers, preening, talking, walking in and out, coming late, leaving early. It’s a bad theatre scene— with people exiting before or even during the final act. It’s a concert gone wrong— with fans singing their hearts out while the others don’t know the songs, weren’t there when the band first formed, and don’t understand the lyrics. 

And I also imagine how it feels to those who come only for those days: they’ve…

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Prayers for the Survivors of Suicide


Prayers from the heart of someone who knows.

Originally posted on Reflecting Out Loud:

The following prayers are written in memory of my father, Lowell Jay Herman. He took his life on April 20, 2015. They are a reflection of the pain that my family & I have grappled with.

A Prayer for My Father

Adonai, darkness descended upon him;
cloaking and immersing him in a shroud of shame and sadness.
Mental illness took hold and metastasized into his soul
until he could bear the pain no more.

Adonai, we who loved him are left to navigate the murky waters, the tsunami of grief and the inexplicable pain of his suicide.
Help us not to lose ourselves in the unanswerable question of why, though it is a question we must ask; over and over and over again.
Strengthen us in the face of despair, guilt, shock, anger and overwhelming sadness.
Adonai, help us find the courage to speak the truth, his truth, our truth.

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“A Wasted Yom Kippur”


Yasher koach, Adam!

Originally posted on Wrestling With God:

The High Holy Days are just over a month away. The time of the New Year and, ten days later, the time of repentance at Yom Kippur are almost upon us.

As a Jew by choice who will be officially a member of the Tribe only sixteen days before Rosh Hashanah (if I’ve counted correctly), and who had a powerful, meaningful experience at last year’s Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days will probably hit me hard every single year.  Last year, part of what hit me so hard was that we aren’t getting singled out for our sin. We are all confessing, communally, as a community, to grave sins.

This is on my mind today partly because of an article in this morning’s New York Times.  This article is talking about the recent murders of Shira Banki and Ali Saad Dawabsheh by Jewish extremist fanatics. I could quote from…

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How Should Reform Jews Observe Tishah B’Av? (published on URJ.ORG)


One Reform rabbi writes about his practice for Tisha B’Av.

Originally posted on Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives:


I had never even heard of Tishah B’Av until I was 12 years old and participating in the inaugural season of the Camp Institute for Living Judaism (later to renamed URJ Eisner Camp) in Great Barrington, MA. Since then, I have struggled with the significance of this day for me as a Reform Jew.

On Tishah B’Av, traditionally observant Jews fast in memory of the two magnificent Temples of Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Romans in 70 CE. The day also commemorates other historical tragedies. For example, it is said that the beginning of the first Crusade in 1095, a time of persecution and slaughter of the Jews of Europe and in 1290 the expulsion of Jews from England both took place on that date. Tishah B’Av also coincides with the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492…

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