Love and Religion

Interfaith Consultation for Jews and their Families

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Five Things to Think About as You Prepare for Passover

My mother kept a calendar that revolved around the Jewish holidays. As soon as one finished she began talking about the next one. We hadn’t yet finished all the hamentashen and she began thinking about her Passover preparations. I have vivid memories of her polishing all the silver flatware and serving pieces. Then the bathtub was filled with glassware, dishes and any other kitchenware that could be made kosher for Passover by the “soaking with stones” method. She also started the cleaning of the house with a vengeance making sure that every surface had been scoured and cleaned thoroughly. Her way of thinking about time has become one of the ways I think of time. When I think of getting ready for Passover, I remember all my mother’s efforts and I will also change my dishes as she did. However, I have other aspects of the holiday I like to focus on. Here’s my list of things I focuses on during Passover: First, think about how you want this Seder to be. Of course, there is the basic text of the Haggadah, but think of what you would like the people at the table to reflect on. Is it freedom, […] Read More >
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How Does Judaism Inform My Daily Life?

How Does Judaism Inform My Daily Life?

In my interfaith classes, I’m often asked the question, “How does Judaism inform your daily life?” Yesterday, I had one of those days where everything that is meaningful and special to me was a part of my day from sun up to sun down. In the morning, I gathered with my friends and family to celebrate my dear friend’s 80th birthday. To honor someone’s life, to mark the event by being present, and to share our love of his presence in our lives was very special to me. All of these activities give my life meaning, and fill up my internal psyche. Next we went to celebrate the brit milah of our Cantor’s newborn baby. The entire Adas Israel Congregation was invited–our cantor and her husband wanted to include us in bringing their child into the Jewish community. I was both honored and grateful to be included. For me, this invitation represents an authentic building of our congregational community. And lastly, I ended the day by having a good friend over for dinner. I knew she was grieving a loss, and hadn’t been out in a while, so having her at the table was a gift to us all. To […] Read More >
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Malbec and Midrash: Developing New Traditions and Creating Memories

It always pays to do someone a favor. While the benefits are obvious, the gifts we receive can be totally unexpected. About a month ago, I received a phone call from a wonderful young woman who had been a participant in my “Love and Religion” workshop many years ago. She had a favor to ask of me. She belongs to a Jewish women’s discussion group, and the Rabbi who leads the group was going to be out of town. Could I please lead the group in her stead? While I was flattered, I am certainly not equipped to lead a biblical text study. She sweetened the pot when she added, “You can talk on whatever topic you want.” This was irresistible! As she described the goals for the group, I began to formulate what I wanted to discuss with them. Since we were meeting before Thanksgivakkah I knew the holidays would be one of the themes we would address. I also wanted to know if there were any interfaith families within the group and she said there were a few. When this group meets, they start with wine and cheese–what a civilized ritual after a long day of work and […] Read More >
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Happy Thanksgivukkah…Recipes Pt. 2

I’m back with another one of my family’s favorite holiday recipes, this time a Chanukah recipe. You can bet these will be on my Thanksgivukkah table this Thursday. Marion’s Sweet Potato Latkes  1 lb [about three] sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped 1/3 cup flour 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper   Mix all together Make latkes by using a slotted spoon Fry in hot oil. I use Mazola Corn oil Makes about 20 small latkes Read More >
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Creating New Traditions: A Canadian Learns about American Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving, my parents fly from Montreal, Quebec to Washington DC to celebrate Thanksgiving with me and my family. One Thanksgiving in particular stands out in my mind, it was 1977, and one of my very first “American Thanksgivings.” We never celebrated Thanksgiving in Montreal. As observant Jews, my parents thought it was a great time of the year to go to New York, visit our relatives, go to the theatre, and have a great vacation. Since I never celebrated Thanksgiving growing up, I had no Thanksgiving memories to rely on when it came time for me to host the holiday. Everyone was obsessing over where they were getting their turkey, how they were going to prepare it, and what other dishes they were serving and I was at a loss. Okay, I understood that I had to serve turkey, but that was it! My father and I cooked up an idea that would combine our Canadian heritage, while also embracing the American holiday.  My father knew how much I loved smoked turkey, a Montreal delicacy, so we decided that he would bring one with him when my parents came for Thanksgiving. To go with our meal I made sour […] Read More >
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Happy Thanksgivukkah…Recipes

Happy Thanksgivaukkah! I bet you are busy preparing for your family’s celebration-I know I am! I thought it would be fun to post some of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving and Chanukah recipes, incase you need any last minute additions to your family’s food table. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, and be sure to let me know if you try any of my recipes! Marion’s Thanksgiving Brussel Sprouts:  ½ lb thick cut duck bacon [found in kosher stores] cut into ¼-inch lardons 36 Brussels sprout, trimmed and cut in ½ 2 tsp sea salt 12 chestnuts, roasted, peeled broken into chunks 3 garlic cloves, minced 6 sprigs of thyme ¾ cup non-dairy cream kosher substitute ¼ cup maple syrup ½ lemon   In a large skillet, render the duck bacon over medium heat. Cook until brown, remove with a slotted spoon. Put on paper towels. Leave fat in the pan and cook Brussels sprouts for 1 minute. Add chestnuts, cook for 4 minutes Add garlic and thyme, cook for 3 more minutes Pour in non- dairy creamer. Reduce liquid in half. Season to taste Add duck bacon bits; pour in maple syrup and a squeeze […] Read More >
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Thanksgiviakah Cookies

Thanksgiviakah season is upon us! Yesterday, my granddaughter, Tess, and I made cookies to celebrate. I loved spending time with Tess in the kitchen! Below is Tess’s recap of our day together. Enjoy! Today Nana and I are going to make cookies. Nana made two different kinds of dough so we could have a taste test. First we got the dough out of the fridge. Next, I rolled out half a portion of dough. My favorite cookie cutters are the Jewish Star, the menorah, the turkey, the dreidle, the apple, and the snowman. For Thanksgivakah we included the dreidle and the turkey. I put sprinkles in the first batch of cookies. Nana bought lots of decorating icing so we used them to decorate all the rest of the cookies. We like the brown sugar recipe better. Cooking with Nana is fun because she lets me eat the cookies. She also lets me eat the raw dough. Please don’t tell my parents!!!! Happy Thanksgivakah from my family to yours!       Nana’s Sugar Cookie Recipe: What you need: ½ cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt […] Read More >
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Guest Post from my Great-Niece Marnie Kremer: Hillel at UVA

You all might remember my great-niece, Marnie Kremer, she posted here about her experiences as a Jewish camp counselor. Today, Marnie is back with a post about her experiences as a leader at the UVA Hillel. I am very proud of Marnie, and the fantastic work she is doing for Jewish youth! Since the beginning of this year, I have been working with my fellow leaders at the UVA Hillel to organize a program called First Year Connection. First Year Connection works to introduce incoming first years to Jewish life at UVA, and acts as a resource for information about life at UVA in general. So far First Year Connection has: created a Facebook Group to let students know about the activities going on at Hillel, and created an intramural basketball team for Jewish first years to get to know each other outside of Hillel. Older members also act as mentors for first years. We meet them at their dorms so they don’t have to walk to Hillel alone, and we talk to them about how they can become involved in Hillel leadership. The most important thing to me about my work with this program is to create connections among […] Read More >
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Marion’s Blueberry Tart

Blueberry Tart If I have one recipe that I have given out the most, it is this one. As a result, it is now made in many countries including Israel and England! I think I first started to make this tart over 30 years ago. It really is quite easy after you try it once. Now a sweet part of our Rosh Hashanah tradition, this is my family’s favorite dessert, especially when I serve it with vanilla ice cream. Ingredients Crust 1 cup flour Pinch of salt 2 tablespoons sugar ½ cup butter 1 tablespoon white vinegar Filling 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons flour Pinch of cinnamon 3 cups blueberries Powdered confectioner’s sugar (optional) Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. To make crust, combine flour, salt and sugar. Work in the butter by hand or in a food processor until just blended. Slowly add the vinegar as you work by hand or through the processor funnel until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide the dough into two separate balls, 2/3 and 1/3 of the whole. Press the larger ball evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish or a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a […] Read More >
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Marion’s Fancy Mac and Cheese

This recipe is a mélange of, at least, four other recipes. I make this every Rosh Hashanah.  I thought this would be great for all the children, and then I realized that all the adults loved this dish as well. This recipe makes a large quantity, so you might want to cut it in half. Recipe:  What you need:  -2 lbs of penne pasta -2 large jars of Newman’s tomato sauce -2 containers of alfredo sauce from the refrigerator case in the grocery store (or you can make your own bechamel sauce) -1 lb of grated cheddar cheese -Buttered breadcrumbs -Parmesan cheese What you do:  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. 2. Butter a large baking pan and set aside. 3. Cook the penne pasta. 4. In a small pot combine the tomato sauce, alfredo sauce, and half of the  cheddar cheese. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts. 5. Add a layer of pasta to the bottom of the baking dish, add a layer of sauce, and a layer of cheese. Repeat this step until you have used all the pasta, sauce, and cheese. 6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on the top. 7. Place in a […] Read More >
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