Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Well, it wasn’t exactly a clash but I thought the title might catch your eye!  Last night was “erev” Yom Kippur which means it was the eve of the holiday.  Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish faith, a day of reflection and atonement.  Being a Catholic it seems like it’s a day where you think about your sins and ask for forgiveness, sort of like a day long confession.  However, the Jews take it one step further and not only ask forgiveness from God but also from those to whom they may have done harm to during the year.  Very nice idea.

Having said all that, I am married to a non-practicing, atheist but somewhat cultural Jew.  He doesn’t go to synagogue unless there’s a Bat Mitzvah or wedding and he eats shellfish, pork and dairy at the same meal as meat.  In other words it’s very easy for an Italian Catholic to be married to him since I don’t engage in my religion although I deeply espouse it.  It’s a marriage not of compromise but rather one of peaceful co-existence regarding religion.  Fortunately for us, we don’t have any children together and we didn’t raise any together so their religious training or lack thereof has never been issue.  We have a crucifix in the bedroom and a menorah in the living room.  Christmas is celebrated as is Passover and Rosh Hoshana, the latter two dependent upon invitations from friends and family.  I am a good cook but I haven’t ventured very far into Jewish traditional cooking and would rather leave the making of tsimmis to my sister-in-law.

This past week or so I have been playing a lot of Mah Jongg and all of the women in my group are Jewish, what a surprise!  Anyway much discussion has taken place about the holiday food, the going to Temple, and the traditions in general.  The other day lots of talk was centered around the tradition of the Yahrzeit candles.  These candles are purchased and lit on the anniversary of the death of a loved one and also at sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur in memoriam of those who have passed away.  There are also several other occasions when one might light a Yahrzeit candle.  We have never done so in our house.

I guess it was the culmination of much discussion and the one holiday falling on the heels of the other that inspired me yesterday to surprise my husband with some “treats”.  We were planning a quiet evening and dinner at home so on my way  home from work I stopped at Fairway and bought gifilte fish, potato latkes, and noodle kugel as well as 4 candles.

I waited till he had made himself a martini and then brought out the gifilite fish with some horseradish (a tradition).  He loved it.  I looked up online when sundown was to occur and precisely at 7:10pm last night I produced 4 candles lit in honor of both of our parents who have been long gone but not forgotten.  There was no praying just the lighting and it made me cry when I thought of what this stood for and how much I have missed my mother my whole life, since she died when I was 9 years old.

English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that...

English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that is lit on the Hebrew anniversary of a loved one’s death. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now here’s the clash (in some eyes perhaps but not ours);  I made dinner which was a pasta dish I created while cooking .  I sauteed aspargus in lots of garlic and oil, tossed in a small can of drained and rinsed garbanza beans and then the ale-dente-cooked linguine to the braising pan with the asparagus.  I topped it off with some shredded parmigano-reggiano cheesw and I have to say it was delicious as evidenced by the fact that there was none left over.

Once the dishes were cleared and we were settled in to watch Minority Report, I went into the kitchen and came back with two dishes of noodle kugel.  I thought it was great, so full of cinnamon, he thought it a bit dry, but what do I know?

A s you can see cultures don’t have to clash;  They  can mesh into a lovely evening and a delightful if not varied dinner.  Today true to his own set of beliefs, he is not fasting  but I keep reminding him of his sins LOL LOL. He’s also wearing a suit!


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Sometimes I get a bunch of photos from Murray and Fab Foto Friday just doesn’t give me enough space to put a lot up.  So today because I also have an ulterior motive, I’m going to post some of the photos of the Who and What hang out in the park.  Oh so you want to know the ulterior motive?  Well the last few days and all the rest of this week is filled to the top with what is known in Yiddish as tsuris.  

There are ISSUES and more ISSUES with work, with the adult kids, with health, with timing, with trying to be in two places at once and God how I wish I had the power of bi-location!  Anyway, all that stuff is really personal and since I don’t want to put that stuff up on the blog because that I will have to bite my tongue a lot more than in chic!

Blue Jay On A Dead Tree

Blue Jay On A Dead Tree

Wood Duck Hanging Out in the Pond

Wood Duck Hanging Out in the Pond

Who Knows?

Who Knows?

Two Dogs Frolicking

Two Dogs Frolicking

Do Pigeons Really Kiss?

Do Pigeons Really Kiss?

2 Shades of Gray-Look Closely

2 Shades of Gray-Look Closely

A Cat in a Collar

A Cat in a Collar

Look At That Snout!

Look At That Snout!

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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Passover plate with symbolic foods: maror, egg...

Passover plate with symbolic foods: maror, egg, haroset, karpas, zro'ah, dish of salt water

I haven’t taken the time to calculate how often the Jewish holiday of Passover coincides with Easter, but of course it does happen now and again.  That makes this weekend VERY HOLY and VERY  SPECIAL!

It started on Thursday for the Christians with Holy or Maundy Thursday services.  I remember them well.  This was the terrible night in the Garden of Gethsemane when, while Jesus prayed, Judas dropped the dime on him or in his case, 30 pieces of silver.  Now the term 30 pieces of silver has come to denote ultimate betrayal.  Once the deed was done, and Judas was remorseful he hung himself which only would have compounded his sins in the eyes of the Church.  But then again, there was no Church at that time!.

Next came Good Friday which ironically is one of the most somber days of religious observation for the Christians and an evening of joyous celebratory feasting for the Jews.  Although also threaded with somewhat somber overtones as the story of the Jews plight from Egypt is read at the evening’s Seder, it is also a time for families to gather together to share in this traditional meal replete with special and significant dishes.  While Jewish families are feasting on brisket, gifelte fish and matzoh ball soup, Christians are fasting between meals and eating only seafood as is their tradition on Good Friday.  Why do they call it GOOD?  I haven’t done any research prior to writing this blog and I’m ashamed to admit that 6 years in St. John’s Parochial School didn’t leave me with the answer, but if you know it, please share with us all.  My only guess is that according to my Catholic beliefs, it is characterized as good because that’s the day Jesus saved us all by sacrificing himself for our original sins – well that’s the way the story goes anyway.  Also, the word good is derived from the word pious which means holy, so perhaps we should refer to it as Holy Friday.  We always went to a long and arduous service on Good Friday;  There was the Stations of the Cross,  a long sermon and most of all I remember that at one point, the priest would call out things we would implore God to grant or guide us by responding with “Lord, Pray for us” or “Lord Hear Our Prayer”. One of my favorite memories, as I like to tell my Jewish husband,  is kneeling in church and the priest intoning something about the Jews of the world and our collective response “Lord, Hear our prayer” .

Today is Holy Saturday and as a kid, I remember it as thank God, we don’t have to go to church today, we can eat what we want and tomorrow although a going-to-Mass day would still be a celebration.  My girlfriends were allowed to gather but it was supposed to be a day of quiet play and I remember so clearly, sitting on my front steps playing ball and jacks with my two best friends.

This year Saturday is also the second night of Passover and we are on our way to Brooklyn to join in a non-religious Seder meal at my sister-in-law’s.   They will read from a Haggadah, however it will be devoid of any reference to God.  Mmmm unusual…but befitting of their own atheistic beliefs.

Tomorrow is Easter, the hat is ready, the outfit sort of picked out.  Photos to follow.

A Zissen Pesach and Happy Easter to all.

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Oh yes it’s that time of year again! Thankfully the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah and the Christmas festivities which stretch to Little Christmas at least coincided for some of the time! 

Ugly sweaters were out and about EVERYWHERE!  These are some of the best out there!

pink ugly sweater  BRSG blo, Bridgette Raes

Truly Accessorized

Hanukkah Ugly sweater, BRSG, Bridgette Raes

Dreidels In Space

BRSG, Christmas Ugly sweater, Bridgette Raes

It's All Here

Hanukkah ugly sweater, dreidel, BRSG

Hanukkah Hanging Dice

BRSG, Bridgette Raes, Christmas ugly sweater,

Full Blow Santa

Hanukkah sweater, Bridgette Raes, BRSG

Not So Ugly After All

BRSG, ugly Christmas sweater, Bridgette Raes,

"...and up the chimney he sprang"

Hanukkah ugly sweater, BRSG

Hanukkah Harry

BRSG, ugly Christmas sweater

Yes, She Did Win This Year's Contest

Hanukkah ugly sweater, dreidel, menorrah

Why the Snowmen?

All of these photos are from Bridgette Raes, a style expert and her BRSG blog.You will enjoy her matter of fact, tell it like it is style comments and advice at http://networkedblogs.com/s4GnE

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Hanukkah, Menorah, Chanukah

Hanukkah Menorah

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights is about to begin.  Well actually the count down is two days because it begins on the 20th of December this year.  I’m excited because this is a holiday I sometimes get to share and I don’t have to do anything! YAY!  Luckily I have a lot of Jewish friends and this year I’m going to have some homemade latkes, can’t wait. 

The Menorah is probably the most widely recognized and produced article of Jewish ceremonial art.  The photo above depicts a nine-branch Menorah.  There are eight nights of Hanukkah and a candle is lit for each evening.  The ninth candle holder is in the middle and is known as the shamash candle and it’s the one used to light the other candles every night.  The shamash candle is usually set higher than the other eight which must all be at the same level.

The celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple after the successful revolt against the Seleucid.  They discovered they only had enough pure olive oil to light the Menorah for one night but the supply lasted eight nights until a new supply could be obtained.  In celebration of this miracle the Menorah has eight branches.  Candles are placed from right to left and are kindled left to right.  The manner of lighting on additional candle each night follows the opinion of the House of Hillel.

It’s time to polish the Menorah if it’s brass.

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DSC04059 Six-Word Memoir banners

Six Word Banners

Well that’s me and sorry that my six word title had nothing to do with today’s (OK yesterday’s) Six Word Memoir theme which if you recall was about love and relationships (of all kinds).   So first let’s get to those clever gems sent in by some of my readers:

Rich is coming home. Thank goodness! – Susan Celtic Lady

She better be the last one! – Spinny Liberal

I loved. I lost. Leaving Vegas. – Weez

Listen to gut when wavering – Heide

Can’t wait till tomorrow. Maya Thursday! – Anonymous

Second marriage – my best friend forever. – Me

Since last Monday, a couple of other events have occurred;  First off, we had April15th, the dreaded Income Tax Due Day come and go with a blessed 3 day extension, Passover began and Spring showed itself for maybe 2 of the last 7 days.  Here are some Six Word Memoirs reflecting this past week.

Tax day, Ocean Grove, no line! – Heide

No more pancakes. Thank you Passover! – Lauren

Tennis, lunch, read, nap, dinner, bed –Heather

I do think themes are a good way to get you thinking about summing up an experience in just six words, no more, no less.  This week is a continuation of Passover and ends in Easter, not to mention some people are on Spring break.  Let’s try to come up with something along those lines.  AND remember there REALLY IS A SIX WORD PROJECT  online at Smith Magazine.  The editor and publisher ACTUALLY stopped by the blog one Monday and read what we have been doing and encouraged all of you to visit the site and post your own Six Word Memoir.  www.smithmag.net

See you all in the blogasphere.

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Cover of "Annie Hall"

Cover of Annie Hall

It’s Thursday’s Top Ten and then some.  A couple of days ago I watched Annie Hall (again!), one of,  if not the best of Woody Allen‘s movies.   Pure genius!  I was so taken with the dialogue that I started to jot some of what I thought were spectacular lines and thought these quotes would make a great Thursday’s Top Ten blog.

  1. “Im comparatively normal for a guy raised in Brooklyn.” – Alvie
  2. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.” – Annie
  3. ” You speak shellfish” – Alvie
  4. ” …If anyone had ever told me I would be taking out a girl who used the phrase, ‘La di dah’ …”. – Alvie
  5. ” The country makes me nervous, you get crickets and the screens with dead moths behind them…” – Alvie
  6. ” The rest of the country thinks of  New Yorkers as a bunch of left -wing Communist Jewish homosexuals;  personally I think of us that way sometimes.” – Alvie
  7. ” …my mother locked herself in the bathroom and overdosed on Mah Jongg tiles”. -Alvie
  8. ” Don’t knock masturbation, it’s having sex with someone I love”. – Alvie
  9. “…my feet haven’t touched pavement since I landed in L.A.” – Alivie
  10. “…penis envy? I’m one of the few men who suffer from it”. – Alivie
  11. “…the only cultural advantage is right turn on red”. – Alvie
  12. ” I forgot my montra” – ?
  13. “… it’s like living in munchkin land”. – Alvie

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