Israel Independence Day is a good moment to remember what’s so special about Israel. I’ve gathered some quotations which celebrate the many faces of Israel.
Yiddish was the daily language of many European Jews for about 1,000 years. On the eve of World War II, there were about 11 million Yiddish speakers, but the decimation of European Jewry in the Holocaust greatly decreased this number, and today there about 1.5 million Yiddish speakers in the world. Despite the small number of speakers, Yiddish words have made their way into other languages, and many Yiddish words and phrases can be found in English and Hebrew.
Yiddish is a truthful language and it captures the depth of emotional experience.
That makes Yiddish the perfect language for women who need precise words to describe their emotional reality. Here are Yiddish words you can use to describe how you feel, what you think and observe.
Judaism has its roots in the Exodus from Egypt, when the tribes of Israel became the Jewish nation, a free people. The Exodus is mentioned numerous times in the Bible as a reason that Jews must be extra-careful how they treat others. Throughout Jewish history, Jews have valued freedom – physical, spiritual and emotional. Here are some quotes that reflect that:
I grew up in an Ashkenazic non-Orthodox home in rural Maine. Passover was a consistent experience during my childhood. We refrained from eating chametz and kitniyot (legumes, rice and other items which Askenazic Jews traditionally don’t eat on Passover). I never questioned our tradition.
As a vegan single woman in my 20s without children, my Passover food focus was potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, vegetables and fruits. I did of course eat matzah but even then I limited the amount every day because too much matzah makes me feels constipated during the holiday.
This felt fine to me at the time, as I am a person who loves potatoes, simple foods and rules. For me, Passover is a physical experience and simplifying my diet is a way of experiencing freedom.
Dear Jewish Food Hero,
I love Passover but I don’t think Passover loves me! I put a lot of effort into making interesting dishes for the holiday, but due to the dietary restrictions I find myself using the same ingredients over and over.
I make matzah brei (I have an awesome recipe from Grandma), matzah lasagna, chicken soup with matzah balls, matzah blintzes… OK, you get the idea. I love all the matzah-based foods, but I end up spending most of the week with stomachaches and constipation. I need to find a new way to eat so I can feel light and energetic all week long!
Yearning to be Free (from Constipation)
This dairy-free sweet potato coconut soup is smooth, tasty and filling. Children and adults enjoy this soup. Sweet potatoes endlessly please and nourish.
The recipe calls for a small amount of coconut cream – just enough to make the soup velvety (and not too much to make the soup too rich).
This soup can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish.
This soup recipe is Pesach-friendly* and it can be enjoyed all year around.
The words Passover and cleaning raise a strong response from most women. To prepare for Passover, there is a call that Jewish families should clean their house to get rid of chametz (bread and its by-products).
I have had informal conversations with women and here is what women really feel about cleaning for Passover:
“I have such a busy life that the idea of a major cleaning project is, frankly, frightening.”
“Despite the fact that I know that Passover cleaning is about getting rid of chametz (bread and its by-products), I always fall into the trap of doing a full spring cleaning because I am a perfectionist.”
The Passover haggadah is our guide for the seder, but it’s really only an outline, into which we can add content which is thought-provoking and meaningful. One way to make the seder richer is to stop periodically and have one of the participants pick a note up randomly from the table and answer the question on it. Then others can chime in as well to create a fruitful conversation around the themes of the holiday.
I have prepared printable notes with questions for the Passover table discussion which I feel are inspiring and reflective. I’ve added a few blank notes as well, so you can add your own discussion points and personalize them for your family and guests.