Hafrashat challah (separating the challah) is a practice popular in Orthodox circles, as it is one of three mitzvot (commandments) considered special for women. The practice also offers opportunities for women to gather to say special prayers, often for people in need.
My husband introduced me to techina (tahini), a staple found in most Israeli kitchens, as soon as we made aliyah in 1992.
One favorite dish of the Ashkenazim that survived the move from the shtetl to North America was the hearty mushroom-potato-barley soup called krupnick.
This recipe is a twist on classic babka. Instead of being made with challah dough, it is made from the baked challah!
While my neighbors were putting their Christmas trees to the curb, in what seems like a ritual of replacement, I was preparing to plant for Tu BiShvat.
Tu BiShvat is a reminder that we spend our lives planting seeds. Time and effort are needed for our efforts to bear fruit. Wait patiently. One day, like the seed, we will be blessed.
This morning I met again with my usual cohort of Jewish clergy who study sacred texts together each week in the coffee shop.
Jewish communities around the world marked the "new year for the trees" last week with tree planting ceremonies and seders that celebrate Israel's seven species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates if you are keeping track!).