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Ellen Zimmerman

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What are your earliest memories of “doing Jewish”? I have a smattering of recollections from when I was 5, 6, and 7, though not much before that. Even from those years, I can only call up bits and pieces: moments, vignettes, colors, flavors. Those snippets, though, wove into a happy childhood tapestry.

Now, as a grandmother, I wonder what our little guys will remember of being Jewish in our home – especially around the High Holidays.

Will they remember parading around to the upbeat, symbolically rich music video "Dip Your Apple" by the Ein Prat Fountainheads? What about...

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I’m a big fan of a monthly magazine called Our State, all about North Carolina – a wonderful home for our family for 16 years. Their cover last February set up the challenge "Pie vs. Cake."

Proponents of each side argued their cases for which makes the greatest slice of all time. That reminded me of the latkes vs. hamantaschen debates – so popular that they have their own Wikipedia entry! And it made me ponder: “What are typically Jewish desserts?”

As a child, the only time I had pie was when my mom had us pick sour cherries from our cherry tree and she made wonderful...

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My husband and I experimented with a CSA (community-supported agriculture) this year for the first time. It was like getting a surprise box every week. In our second CSA, we pulled out something we’d never seen before.

The next time I Skyped with our grandsons, I told them, “We got a mystery vegetable in our box this week! We have no idea what it is.”

Our 4-year-old, puzzled, asked, “Not even Grandpa?”

Well, there’s a world in that answer! Surely, Grandpa knows everything. Even he doesn’t know what it is?

Turned out, it was kohlrabi, a turnip cabbage - and...

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Do you love to make special foods for the Jewish holidays? Shavuot (which starts at sundown on June 3rd this year) can really inspire creativity in the kitchen. Or, if you prefer, it can be extremely simple.

The three main categories are dairy (cheese and milk), twin challahs (challot), and kreplach.

Eating dairy is a staple of Shavuot. In fact, I remember the complicated milk and honey cake that my friend Risa and I made one year – using almost every bowl in the kitchen.  As I recall, it was remarkably unremarkable! (This, no doubt, was the fault of the bakers and not the...

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about unplugging for Shabbat – and wondering what that would mean for many Reform and Conservative Jews. Most of us drive on Saturday, answer the phone, write, and turn lights on and off. What would it look like for us to “power down” over Shabbat?

Robert Long’s article “The Backyard Clothesline” in the June 2012 issue of Our State magazine prompted me to think about lives with less technology. Long lovingly explores the value of hanging clothes outside.

Through his vignettes, I could smell the sweetness of sheets that had dried by flapping...

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