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Yom HaAtzmaut

There are plenty of ways to observe Yom HaAtzmaut from home during this time of quarantine. Choose one or all of the following options to celebrate and demonstrate your love of Israel on the anniversary of her independence!

Israel Independence Day celebrates the oneness of the Jewish people in all its colorful diversity. What if we carried that spirit with us every day?

Israeli Chocolate Spread

By: 
Deborah R. Prinz

Chocolate spread permeates Israeli meals and experiences as it is eaten for breakfast, served on bread at teatime, toted in a lunch bag, and packed in army supply kits. The original version from the Tzena, the period of food scarcity in Israel between 1949 and 1959, would have used margarine.

This spread is great to serve on toast, with fruit, or in a sandwich.

Ingredients: 
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 large pasteurized eggs (in-shell pasteurized eggs may be used safely without cooking)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions: 
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and put in a blender.
  • Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and blend well.
  • Add the cocoa powder and blend well again. Put in a container and refrigerate. 

Reprinted with permission from On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (2nd Edition) by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz.

Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz speaks about chocolate and Jews around the world. The newly released 2nd Edition of her book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, (Jewish Lights) contains 25 historical and contemporary recipes. The book is used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings. She blogs at The Forward, The Huffington Post and onthechocolatetrail.org

Israeli Fish Kebabs with Yellow Tahini Yogurt Sauce

By: 
Orly Ziv

Packed with fresh herbs, these fish kebabs are bursting with flavor. Since there are no binding ingredients, like eggs, the secret is to knead the mixture like dough to break down the proteins. The kebabs are good on their own, but even better with the creamy yellow tahini sauce.

I recommend that you use this recipe, and all of my recipes as inspiration, as  jumping-off points to make them your own. Change the ingredients or spices to create your own flavors, because there's no such thing as failure in the kitchen, only learning experiences.

Ingredients: 
KEBABS
2.2 pounds (1 kg) fish filet, finely chopped (tilapia, sea bass, mullet, red drum)
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
....................................
SAUCE
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 tablespoon ground tumeric
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 cup thick goat's milk yogurt or buttermilk (preferably drinking yogurt)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt
Directions: 

Fish Kebabs

  1. Mix together all the kebab ingredients in a large bowl and knead until you obtain a uniform mixture.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Shape into small round or oblong patties. Working in batches, cook on a hot grill or skillet for 3 to 4 minutes per side until cooked through and golden.
  4. Transfer to a plate or put in a pita and serve with  generous spoonful of the tahini yogurt sauce.

Yellow Tahini Yogurt Sauce

  1. Heat the oil and turmeric in a pan until just before boiling, or heat for 30 seconds in microwave. Strain and allow to cool fully before proceeding.
  2. Mix together the turmeric oil with the remiaing sauce ingredients until smooth and pale hyellow in color.

Reprinted with permission from Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv. 

Because Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) fall back to back on the Hebrew calendar, Independence Day festivities begin almost immediately after the mourning and solemnities of Memorial Day.

How much do you know about Israel? Take this quiz, created by the folks at NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement.

Learn about Israel's history and culture with Grover and friends in these Shalom Sesame videos, and engage with your children using the discussion ideas and activities.

Intrinsically linked to Israel's war of independence against the countries that surround her, Yom HaAtzmaut symbolizes the belief that by standing strong, the state of Israel will persevere for all time.

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, marks the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It is observed on or near the 5th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in April.

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