The Oliver Thomas Tote Giveaway: Perfect to Schlep Matzah, Gym Clothes and Lipstick During Passover

The Oliver Thomas Tote Giveaway Jewish Food Hero Blog

What does a terrific tote bag have to do with Passover? One word.


Every year, I “keep” Passover and abstain from eating chametz (although I decided last year to admit that I eat Kitniyot for my health)

Today, most women I know are hypermobile for work and life all the time, including during Passover.

“Passover food” schlep

During Passover, I need a bag to carry my normal life stuff plus all my “Passover food”. Most women today schlep kosher-for-Passover food for themselves and their family. My Passover food includes quinoa-cranberry-mandarin salad and for dessert a container of Tapioca rum raisin pudding.

That is a photo of me in Tokyo during Passover in 2016 holding my box of Manischewitz tam tam crackers on a pedestrian highway bridge. I carried this box of snack crackers around in my bag for 7 days and it was….well awkward.   

I need a bag for Passover that will make my life a little bit easier.  

The Oliver Thomas Wingwoman Tote

I found the perfect bag for Passover (and the rest of the year too): The Oliver Thomas wingwoman large tote.  

Oliver Thomas is on a mission to create joyful and functional and attractive bags for busy women.  

Here are a few things we like about Oliver Thomas bags:

  • Their bags are super lightweight and have a special shoulder snap strap that keeps the bag in place (tell your Mom that the Head of Orthopedic Surgery at Mass. General even validated this bag as healthy for our back and shoulders).
  • Their bags are durable, water resistant, and machine washable.
  • The tote bag has a “My Secret Stash” pouch and additional compartments in every bag to keep us organized and to give us some privacy!  
  • The bag has an internal key clip so we will not lose our keys every other minute.  
  • 100% vegan

To help us live better during Passover, Oliver Thomas is offering one lucky reader a free large Wingwoman Tote. Please note that to enter, you will need a USA shipping address. To enter, visit their site and post a comment below telling us which color tote you’d most like to wear this Passover. A winner will be picked at random on Thursday, March 16th.  

You can see all Oliver Thomas bags and accessories here. (I especially like their fun emotional badges that you can stick on your bag to express yourself.  I am waiting for them to launch this yiddish line of badges!)

Thank you for supporting the purposeful brands that support Jewish Food Hero.

From the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen: Vegan Coconut Raisin Rum Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca is made from cassava (yuca) root vegetable. It is considered kosher for Passover.   

Tapioca is a comeback Passover food. I asked my parents and aunts and uncle and they all agree that they enjoyed tapioca pudding in their youth.  This “old-fashioned” food is perfect for Passover breakfast or dessert because it is comforting and versatile.

Tapioca is a lifelong food that can be enjoyed by everyone – from babyhood to old age. It is a gooey, creamy mouth food that is eaten by the spoonful. The added rum soaked raisins makes the dessert fancy and may reminds me of a favorite ice cream flavor.

Vegan Coconut Raisin Rum Tapioca Pudding

From the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen: Vegan Coconut Raisin Rum Tapioca Pudding
Jewish Food Hero
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  • Medium strainer
  • Medium saucepan
  • Individual bowls for serving
  • ½ cup of small tapioca pearls
  • 3 ½ cups of good mineral water
  • ½ c coconut milk cream
  • ¼ cup of natural cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 Tsp dark rum (or brandy)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum
  2. Set aside
  3. Rinse the tapioca pearls in strainer
  4. Place tapioca in medium saucepan and add 3 cup of water
  5. Soak the tapioca for 30 min
  6. Do not drain after soaking
  7. Add the coconut cream, sugar, rum soaked raisins and rum (it may be all soaked into the raisins) and kosher salt
  8. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a gentle boil.
  9. Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick (it if becomes too thick add a bit more water)
  10. Stir well
  11. Pour into a bowl and either serve immediately or place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the bowls so that the pudding does not develop a crust
  12. Serve warm or chilled

; Yield: Serves 4-6

If you like this recipe, you’ll love The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant Based Recipes For Your Holiday Meals

Jewish Food Hero Cookbook //

From the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen: Quinoa Cranberry Mandarin Salad

This high protein salad has it all: crunchy celery, sweet oranges and tangy cranberries. Its colorful appearance makes it a lovely addition to the meal. It is inspired by my cousin Jenny’s salad.

It is perfect for Passover and can be enjoyed all year around.

Quinoa cranberry mandarin salad

Quinoa Cranberry Mandarin Salad
Jewish Food Hero
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1 ratings
Category: salad

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium Fine mesh strainer
  • Medium saucepan
  • 6 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups dry quinoa)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 X 10.5-ounce cans of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage (or more if you like it)
  • ½ cup minced red onion
  • ½ cup of fresh orange juice (keep extra ¼ cup aside in case you want to add more)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (keep extra 2 tablespoons aside in case you want to add more)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: 4 cups baby arugula or baby spinach (or more)

  1. In a medium saucepan:
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer a few times
  3. Cook 2 cups of quinoa, according to the directions on the package
  4. Set aside to cool
  5. In a large mixing bowl:
  6. Place quinoa, red cabbage, celery, red onion, and cranberries
  7. Stir to combine
  8. Add mandarin oranges and stir into salad lightly so they retain their shape and color (no mushing)
  9. In a small bowl:
  10. Combine orange juice, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste
  11. Add more lemon and/or orange juice as desired… or…add to a glass of water and drink it!
  12. Adjust seasoning to taste
  13. Serve over a bed of arugula or baby spinach if desired

; Yield: Serves 8

Use These Modern and Beautiful Place Cards To Decorate To Your Passover Seder Table

These Passover place cards are beautiful and practical. They add a decorative design element to your table and also allow you to intentionally place guests at your Passover table. According to Martha Stewart, the correct place for these place cards is “On a folded napkin, which rests on the dinner plate at each place setting, or on the table just above the dinner plate.” (I learn something everyday. Thank you Martha!)

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The decorative element on these Passover name cards is a custom illustration of 4 cups of wine. During the Passover seder we drink 4 cups of wine or grape juice to symbolize the redemption of the Israelites from slavery.    

Passover Place Cards

These Passover name cards are available for immediate download and come in a high quality (300 dpi) PDF file for ease of printing. When you download the file you will receive one PDF that contains 8 Passover name cards. You can either print out the file and write your guests name by hand or you can use your computer and type your guests name in your favorite font and then print.

Here is an example of the name cards with the name Yaël.

Passover Place Cards

Here is an example of the name card with the name David.

Passover Place Cards

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This Passover name cards are simple to make.

You need:

  • A4 paper
  • Printer (a home printer works fine for these and going to your local print shop is also a good option)
  • scissors

You can complete these Passover name cards and/or also enlist your family to help you write or type the name of your guests.

To our beautiful Passover Seder tables.

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Your turn:  Tell us what you think of these Passover name cards!  Feedback welcome.

What’s In Your Pantry, Amy Zitelman Hersch?

Amy Zitelman Hersch

What’s in Your Pantry? is a recurring feature where I ask women to tell us more about their food and eating habits by opening up their kitchen pantries to us. This week I’m featuring Amy Zitelman Hersch. She is the youngest of three food loving entrepreneurial sisters (they all are co-founders of Soom Foods). Dog-Mom to Taz, a sensitive black lab mutt. Wife of Darren, the most reasonable man in the world.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Philadelphia, PA with my husband, Darren and our dog, TAZ. TAZ stands for Teddy Afro Zitelman – he’s named after the Ethiopian pop-star, Teddy Afro. I grew up in Rockville, Maryland – the youngest girl (of all girls) to Cindy and Rick Zitelman. We call our dad Rabbi Rick because he is learned and insightful and wonderful. Our Mom is our entrepreneurial inspiration. Our Dad was able to start his own business in the mid-80s because our mother’s was doing so well.

I attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School from first through 12th grade where I learned the balance of work hard-play hard, and made some of my closest friends. I received my B.A. in Communication with a focus on interpersonal communication from University of Delaware, where I had the fortune of learning what it really takes to have healthful relationships and finally put a positive spin on my grandmother’s qualm that I have an answer for everything.
I played basketball competitively through high school and for fun through college. I don’t play anymore but I’d be down for a game of HORSE. Now, I get my exercise through walking TAZ and doing yoga. I love yoga for the physical and mental strength it helps me work towards.

Darren and I met in a Jewish Bowling League (the Chutz Bowl) at North Bowl in Philadelphia. We bowl every Wednesday. I read every night before bed – sometimes one page, sometimes several chapters. I’m currently reading The Rent Collector. I’ll read for hours a day when I’m on vacation. In the evenings, Darren and I are currently indulge in How to Get Away with Murder (we’re about to start the third season on Netflix.)

When we cook, we keep it simple because, to be honest, we love to eat out. Our go-to meal consists of chicken or salmon (sometimes a sweet turkey burger) with couscous, a baked sweet potato, and something green (brussel sprouts, green beans, or zucchini).

My favorite food is pizza and I prefer everything on bread. My sisters and I started Soom Foods almost five years ago – I took my degree and have applied it to talking about tahini. All day. Every day. For five years. Believe it or not, I still eat tahini at least once a day.

Amy Zitelman Hersch

How do you typically feel, emotionally, when you open your kitchen pantry?

Calm. I can only imagine how much anxiety someone feels when they have little to nothing in their pantry. I’m really very lucky.

What’s your process for organizing your food pantry?

Spices go together, grains go together. Really, nothing special. We keep our entire “pantry” in the shelves above the dish rack. It’s small – we don’t keep a lot in our house.

What’s inside your pantry right now?

Most of what I love is brought to me from Israel:
Honey. Klil is a small “off-the-grid” kibbutz in the North. A woman there makes the best honey.
Naot Smadar dates. I like to keep my dates in the fridge, they’re more refreshing.
Silan date syrup
Soom tahini and chocolate sweet tahini spread. I mean, obviously. But the chocolate is so so so good.
Life cereal and Golden Grahams – I will always love cereal.

Amy Zitelman Hersch - Soom Foods

What’s inside your healthiest item you keep in stock?

Flax seeds, from an old Soom Foods photoshoot. I never eat them : |

What about your guilty pleasure that you always have on hand?

We don’t keep many (if any) sweets in the house. But Darren’s favorite ice cream is Chocolate Haagen Dazs.

Amy Zitelman Hersch - Soom Foods

What are your go-to cookbooks?

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking: The James Beard Award–winning chef and co-owner of Philadelphia’s Zahav restaurant reinterprets the glorious cuisine of Israel for American home kitchen,
The Short Stack Cookbook(s): The ethos behind Short Stack Editions is simple: Pair honest, common ingredients with trusted voices in the culinary world for inspired recipes home cooks can actually use.

Amy Zitelman Hersch - Cookbooks

Compared to your mother, how is your pantry the same or different than what you grew up with?

It’s so much smaller! I think that will change when we have kids…

If you could change anything about how your pantry is now, what would it be?

I would organize my pantry! Organizing to make room to store dried beans, legumes, and pasta.


Your turn: Like Amy, I also love to bring home food from my travels. When you travel, which foods do you tend to bring home with you?

Jewish Food Hero’s 18 Vegan + Kosher Pantry Essentials For Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Keeping healthy food stocked in our pantry supports us to cook better. I like to use Jeff Novick’s five healthy diet guidelines when I am purchasing food staples. I enjoy having simple systems that can guide my decision making. The more I recall these guidelines when I shop, the easier it is for me to purchase food staples that support my health and the the health of my family.

1) Plant-Centered – Center your plate and your diet predominately with plant foods (fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils).

2) Minimally Processed – Enjoy foods as close to “as grown in nature” with minimal processing that does not detract from the nutritional value and/or add any harmful components.

3) Calorie Dilute – Follow the principles of calorie density, choosing foods that are calorie adequate, satiating, and nutrient sufficient.

4) Low S-O-S – Avoid/minimize the use of added salts/sodium, oils/fats, and sugars/sweeteners.

5) Variety – Consume a variety of foods in each of the recommended food groups

Keeping those principles in mind, here are some healthy vegan and kosher items for your spring pantry:

Spices and Seasonings

Simply Organic Spice Set

This wonderful 24-pack of spices is the perfect addition to your pantry. Great if you’re moving, starting fresh or well overdue for replacing old spices. These spices are organic, certified Kosher, and gluten free!

Coconut Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos

This is a soy free seasoning sauce that you can use instead of soy sauce. It might even taste better than soy sauce. It is slightly sweeter (even though there is no added sugar) and can be used as a seasoning when sauteing vegetables, added to salad dressings and eaten with vegan sushi.


Short grain rice

One of my favorites for an easy addition to any meal or great to eat on its own in a hurry with a blend of seasonings. This is an heirloom short grain brown rice made from 100% whole grain. No GMOs, gluten free, and vegan!

Pancake Mix

Sweet breakfasts can be wonderful but most of our convenience store pancake mixes have a lot of additives we don’t need. This pancake mix is an organic recipe with minimal ingredients.

Israeli Couscous

I may be a little biased but everyone should have couscous in their pantry. Perfect on its own, with seasonings or add fruits and nuts to make a wonderful side dish with your meals. This couscous is certified Kosher parve.

Tri-color quinoa

Another staple grain to keep handy in your pantry. I enjoy this tri-color for adding a little color and variety.

Old fashioned rolled oats

Bob’s Red Mill Oats are a classic. Once discovered, it’s difficult to go back to other oats again. The flavor from the kiln-toasted process makes them significantly more flavorful than other rolled oats I’ve tried.


Organic vegetable broth

Keep 1-5 of these in your pantry at all times. Vegan vegetable broth is one of the simplest replacements in soups, sauces, and other instances where a recipe may call for an animal based broth.

Coconut Milk

Another base ingredient to always keep on hand if you enjoy curries, baking or inventing fruit smoothies. There’s so many uses for coconut milk, I don’t like to ever be short in case I need it for something I’m making in the week.


Red lentils (then you can make this soup every Thursday night)

Along with Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats, these red lentils are wonderful. Lentils are rich in fiber, minerals, and protein. Red lentils are fast cooking and very easy for most people to digest.

Organic chickpeas

One of my favorites to add to cold salads, on top of a grain dish, or from which to make an oil free hummus. Chickpeas have a great texture and are also high in fiber. You can enjoy these right out of the can, no prep involved.

Chocolate, Nuts and Seeds

Cocoa Powder (for smoothies and baking)

Bake healthy and without all the added sugars! I love having natural hot chocolate and cold refreshing chocolate “milk” and feel so much better about my sweet treat when I make it myself.  

Vegan and kosher chocolate chips

If you keep Vegan or are interested to try some of your favorite home recipes with Vegan chips instead, try these! Made in a dedicated nut free facility, if you have loved ones with nut allergies. They taste yummy in this vegan nutty chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Ground Flax Seed

This flax seed is fresh, finely ground and has a nutty taste. This organic flax seed is perfect to add 1 tsp to your a bowl of oatmeal, to a smoothie, in baking or on top of vegan yogurt.

Almond butter

Great for breakfast on toast, mixing into hummus instead of tahini for a little change of taste or working into baking for a subtle and aromatic flavor. This almond butter is also dairy and soy free for those looking for alternatives.

Lastly, although they are not food, to enjoy cooking it is helpful to have good tools.

Here are some basic tools for our kitchens.

Kitchen Tools

Vegetable Peeler

Such a simple tool that makes meal prep easier and safer for your fingers! This is a great three-pack of peelers that I found while I was living in Switzerland.

A good knife

Sometimes these age old adages can be tough for us to accept or we want to deny them. Do not let investing in a good knife be one of them. This really does make all the difference in enjoying putting meals together.

Instant Pot

Great for so many reasons. Easy meal prep, works great for those with busy lives, simple use, and the recipes available are endless. The perfect kitchen assistant.

ENVIRONMENT TIP: If you are buying these products online via Amazon use this special Amazon link. You can find their lowest price and with every purchase you help plant trees.

Your turn:  What healthy vegan and kosher staple should be added to this list?  Tell us in the comments below.


What’s In Your Pantry, Melanie Weiss?

What’s in Your Pantry? is a recurring feature where I ask women to tell us more about their food and eating habits by opening up their kitchen pantries to us. This week I’m featuring Melanie Weiss. Melanie is the Director of Education at Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville, Maine, and the Co-Director of Summer Programming for the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. She also presented a Ted Talk on Finding Yiddish.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in New York, and have also lived in Israel. I’m married to the awesome Rabbi Rachel Isaacs. We have 2 daughters under 3. We lead very food-centric lives!

How do you typically feel, emotionally, when you open your kitchen pantry?

Ready to get to work!

What’s your process for organizing your food pantry?

I try to put the most breakable things where the shortest people (under the age of three) cannot get them. We have two kitchens, so I have one kosher dairy kitchen and one kosher meat kitchen. That makes the sorting much simpler!

What’s inside your pantry right now?

Macedonian tahini with cocoa (the brand I love is Taxini Me Cacao).

Hibiscus Rose kombucha from the Urban Farm Fermentory.

Kabob spice mix from the spice shop in Kibbutz Hulata, Israel.

Fresh rhubarb from the Portland, ME, farmers’ market.

Goat Cheese Paneer from Kennebec Cheesery.

What’s inside your healthiest item you keep in stock?

Living in Maine, we are never without local kale!

What about your guilty pleasure that you always have on hand?

Girl Scout cookies in the freezer!

What are your go-to cookbooks?

Not a huge cookbook fan, but Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food is a holy text for me. I “read” anything Ottolenghi for the food-porn pictures.

Compared to your mother, how is your pantry the same or different than what you grew up with?

My pantry is more similar than different — lots of organic, lots of fresh produce, lots of whole grains. That said, we have a much stronger emphasis on local foods and seasonal foods, and probably a more eclectic spice rack, too.

If you could change anything about how your pantry is now, what would it be?

If someone wanted to give me a kitchen 2-3 times the size, I would not say no.

Your turn:  Melanie gave a list of local Maine products in her pantry.  Which one would you try first?

Shabbat Shalom 23 February 2018

Pre-Shabbat Prospects

Who says we can’t make Vegan Sloppy Joes for Shabbat dinner? We can call them “Vegan Sloppy Shlomos” for a good laugh at the Shabbat table.

A massage sounds blissful to me or even a real hug before Shabbat. It turns out that we all need more non-sexual intimate touch in our lives. If you work out but do not have the budget for massage, practice self care for your muscles with a foam roller.

I know Hanukkah is long behind us but we can still serve these vegan chocolate coins for dessert any day of the year.

Mental Nourishment:

One benefit of me writing this bi-monthly Shabbat Shalom posts is that it makes it so I read about the Parashat. I read a summary (I usually read this one to get the general lay of the land) and then watch the Bimbam video commentary.

This week’s Parashat Tetzaveh seems to be a precursor to male Vogue in that it is caught up with what male Priests must wear.  

Of everything that I read, this quote stood out to me from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks commentary “Do Clothes Make the Man”:

“Civilization always runs the risk of substituting “seems” for “is.” Those who dress like kings may have the heart of slaves, fearful, resentful and vindictive. Those who wear the robes of holy people may (like the sons of Samuel) be corrupt. That is why Jewish sensibility is, on the whole, sceptical of official uniforms. G-d sees, and teaches us to see, the inward person, what Hamlet called, “that within which passeth show.”

Speaking of clothing, today, many people think of modesty as only being about how women dress. Do you ever wonder what else modesty refers to in a Jewish sense?

Vegan mock chopped liver is evergreen and even your grandmother would have enjoyed this recipe!

Good news for us, yogi teas are kosher.  This is a perfect tea to drink before bed. If you’ve been having a difficult time falling asleep, there are countless free guided meditations in this wonderful app. Or you could try a natural eye mask for some added comfort. 

Shabbat Shalom, here’s to your restful Shabbat!

Your turn:  Knowing that clothes do not make the woman, what do you choose to wear for Shabbat?

*This “Shabbat Shalom” series is about sharing inspiring and supportive ideas with you before Shabbat.  Please note that it is not a recommendation to “do” these activities during Shabbat.  Rather it is in the spirit of giving you nourishing resources before Shabbat that they may intentionally bring into your life at the right moment.

7 Smartphone Habits To Help You Feel Calmer and More Connected To Your Real Life

Since their release in 2007, Smartphones are taking a toll on our health and our relationships.

Here are a list of my most urgent questions about my smartphone experience:

  • Is it possible for me to have a smartphone and use it in a balanced and sane way?
  • Does smartphone use naturally lead to compulsive overuse?
  • Are some of us more at risk for smartphone addiction that others? (i.e. experiencing symptoms like craving, anxiety and spending too many hours using our smartphones even when it is having adverse effect on our life)
  • My smartphone use makes me feel speedy, interrupted, mentally/emotionally exhausted and distracted?  Is it just me or does everybody feel like this?
  • How does my smartphone use impact others? Namely my daughter.
  • How much time do I spend on my smartphone everyday, really?

To illustrate what I am pointing too, here are three multiple choice questions for you about your smartphone, and the impact your smartphone is having on your life.

This best describes my relationship with my smartphone:






This best describes how my smartphone makes me feel:






This best describes how smartphone use impacts my important relationships:

It interrupts my IRL (in real life) relationships

It distracts me when I am with people I care about

Sometimes, I find I am fighting with my children and/or partner about smartphone usage

Too much time on my smartphone makes it harder for me to connect with people IRL.

Keeps me connected to the people I love


Yes, of course there are a lot of wonderful things we do with smartphones: read maps, look up recipes, buy things, listen to podcasts, call my Mom on video, edit photos, and scroll social media, etc.

However smartphone overuse drains away all the positives. In a paradoxical way, the tool that is supposed to make us feel more connected is making us feel more separate and isolated. Smartphone overuse is damaging our health and our relationships.

Families face a particular conflict around their smartphone use. Parents have their child(ren) as their audience to their smartphone use. To me, when I am “on” my smartphone, I am “doing” all kinds of things on my phone: reading the NY Times on my smartphone, or texting about dinner plans, finding a recipe for dinner tonight, relating to a friend’s social media post, editing photos. To my daughter I am simply locked into a one-way gaze and looking at a screen I am holding in my hand. Added to this, our children mimic our smartphone use and soon want to be on our phone all the time or to have their own.

The saddest sight is going to a restaurant and see a family, a couple, and/or friends at a table “sharing” dinner except each person is only relating to the smartphone in their hand.

Martin Buber said in I and Thou “All real living is meeting”

Without good habits and boundaries, smartphones interfere with real living.

Here are 7 simple habits that will help you to create supportive boundaries with your smartphone:

Respect Your Real Life Morning Routine

Refraining from checking your smartphone first thing in the morning is a way of respecting your morning routine. Diving right into smartphone use creates speedy energy. Waiting to engage with your smartphone helps create a calmer start to your day. If you have children, not using a smartphone makes morning go smoother for them too. Beginning your day with real life activities like drinking water, making coffee/tea, getting breakfast, giving your partner and/or children a hug, or taking care of a pet is better way to start your day.

Relax and Connect to During Mealtime

Mealtime, whether you are eating alone of with others, can be a time to relax and connect. Smartphones interrupt meals and cause people to eat mindlessly and in isolated virtual silos. To create a good atmosphere at meals, we can put our phone on silent/vibrate, take it off the table or even place it away in our handbag.

Evening Are a Time to Rest Our Minds and Pay Attention To Real Life

Having a specific time to turn off your smartphone and focus instead on your real life is helpful. Place your cell phone out of sight to signal to yourself that it is time to turn your attention towards other activities and real people. Evenings can be a time to rest and refresh through real life activities and connecting with people in our real life.

Our bedrooms are for resting and intimacy

Make your bedroom a smartphone-free zone to encourage resting and intimacy. Remember when people used to read books in bed? By removing your smartphone from your bedroom, there is less temptation to compulsively check social media, read another article, or watch clips on Youtube before bed. Instead read a physical book, cuddle with your partner/children or pets, share a conversation about your day, or simply lay down, close your eyes, and relax after a long day.

Take a weekly 25-hour break from Technology

Powering-down our computers and phones (and other electronic devices) for specific and routine periods of time during our week can rejuvenate us and allow us to reconnect with ourselves and the people around us.

Put Your Phone down and Put It Away

So many times when we are with other people in real life, we keep our phones in our hands or in our sight. Many people place their phone on the table during a meal or a meeting and anxiously keep glancing at it or picking it up during conversation. This is an intimacy interruption and makes it difficult to sustain human contact because it breaks up eye contact, conversation and body language. This inattention hurts the people we are with in real life. It feels horrible to feel like the person you are with is more interested in their cell phone than in you! Set the stage to connect in real life by putting down your phone and placing it out of your sight.  

Know Your Somatic Limits

We are all different and therefore each of us has our media/technology tipping point where engaging with our smartphone stops feeling helpful or good for us. Martha Graham said “The body never lies” and this idea applies to our unique response to technology. Our body sends us a clear signal that we need to take a break to rest and refresh. Some people get a headache, other people’s eyes hurt, and some people just feel more distracted and forgetful. Whatever your body’s signal, honor yourself and take a break.

Your turn: Tell me in the comments, which of these boundaries feels the most supportive to you right now?

“Sobering” Jewish Quotes on Alcohol and Partying (Pun Intended)

In honor of Purim, the Jewish holiday where many people drink too much alcohol, here are Jewish quotes on alcohol and partying for your reflection and pleasure.

People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim.

-Ann Launders

In a place for wine, pour not forth talk.

-Ben Sirah, Jewish moralist 3rd century B.C.E

In Jewish culture compulsive eating is more likely to be selected as a means of alleviating psychic tensions [than] addictive drinking.

-Charles Snyder

We think life is nicer when you have people to share it with. Whether it is sitting around Sadie’s living room playing mah jong, joining Hadassah or our synagogue’s Sisterhood, a bottle of wine on Tuesdays on Rachel’s couch, or commenting on one another’s Facebook page, Jewish women get by with a little help from their friends.

– Elissa Strauss

Drunk emotions aren’t real emotions.

-Lena Dunham

Like a bird on the wire, / Like a drunk in a midnight choir / I have tried in my way to be free.

-Leonard Cohen

Drink no wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, that you die not; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.

– Leviticus 10:9


While many Jewish traditions involve alcohol, Jewish culture condemn actual drunkenness.

-Lew Weiss

Drinking alcohol for women can be complicated. Some women drink on Purim and some women do not.

Jewish Food Hero

Who has wounds without cause? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who sit late over wine, those who come to search for mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red; when he puts his eye on the cup, it goes smoothly. Ultimately, it will bite like a serpent, and sting like a viper.Your eyes will see strange women, and your heart will speak confusedly.

-King Solomon, Proverbs 23:29-33

“One must drink on Purim until that person cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai.” – Megillah 7b

Jewish law recognizes a special blessing on drinking wine, which is said only when people drink together in fellowship – never when they drink alone.

-Orthodox Union

Wine that cheers the hearts of men, oil that makes the face shine, and bread that sustains man’s life.

– Psalms 104:15

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

– Proverbs 20:1

Judaism is not for absolute prohibition of alcohol. Wine is an integral part of Jewish ritual. But like all matters in life, Judaism preaches good common sense, necessary restraints and discipline and a social responsibility for the general welfare of all society. Alcohol has to fit in to that pattern.

– Rabbi Berel Wein

If a person drinks excessively for the wrong purpose it can cause immoral conduct and destitution. If however one drinks alcohol in moderation and with the right intentions, it can make the person more moral, become more aware of other people’s needs, and heighten the intellect. – Rabbi Eli Brackman

Bodily harm through intoxication is not a [religious commandment] on Purim.

-Rabbi Judah Issacs

So what is wine? Is it a holy beverage with immense powers, reserved for holy and special occasions? Or is it a destructive agent with the power to bring down mighty people; a substance to be avoided at all costs?

-Rabbi Menachem Posner


Wine’s ability to bring joy is because it relaxes our inhibitions and weakens the body’s natural defenses. This “weakening of the body” allows the soul to shine through.

-Rabbi Menachem Posner

Wine in, secret out.

-Talmud Eiruvin

Wine is the cause of a great deal, and so is childhood.

-Talmud Sota-Rabbi Menachem Posner

Getting drunk in order to escape responsibilities we have to ourselves, to our families, and to those around us, is highly destructive. A person who is in an “escapist” mode is a dangerous person, because very often he is also escaping many of the rules that he would be wise to follow.

– Rabbi Menachem Posner

On her motivation for creating a new line of low-alcohol wines, Dr. Ruth’s Vin D’Amour:

“The biggest concern — and correctly so — is having an erection for men. That is one of the reasons I came out with the wine. It has only 6 percent alcohol. Drink a little because everybody has stress; don’t drink too much. She falls asleep and he can’t have an erection.”

-Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Your turn: Do you have a quote to add to this list?  Please add it in the comment section.