Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How many is 6 million?

There are a lot of different ways to try and illustrate how many 6 million is.

Putting the whole thing into perspective is very difficult. Even I, as an adult, can't truly fathom how many people died in the Shoah, the Holocaust. How, then, do I teach young people to comprehend it?

One teacher tried with paperclips.

Others have used pop-top lids, math tools, pennies, written words, and others.

In Glencoe, we use yellow flags. A field full of them, about 5000 in all, to honor the memory of the victims of the Shoah. Yellow flags that draw the eye, set in the middle of town, in Kalk Park.

Tonight, our 7th and 8th graders planted the field of flags.

(my husband, planting flags with his students)

And they heard the story of a woman, Kate Lipner, who saved many Jews in France during the war. Her incredible. And yet, she said "I am not a hero. I just did what I had to do." Our young people are rarely quiet. You could have heard a pin drop in the room as she spoke.

If you are in the area, drive through Glencoe before Friday afternoon. The flags are near the train station. Their beauty is stunning. So were all the lives lost.

Zecher tzadik livracha...may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.
May we always remember. May we learn not to forget.

I'm a winner!

I am an award-winning blogger! My matzah brei recipe won the contest over at Jewish Holiday Cooking, Jayne Cohen's blog and website. Wow.

And I haven't been blogging this week.

But I will!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Haveil Havalim #163

Haveil Havalim #163, the Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere is now live at Tzipiyah.

Go check out all the great posts!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Came and Went?

What happened? We were so excited to end Passover on a spring-like note. Friday was a gloriously warm day, so wonderful that we spent a bit of time at the Botanic Gardens.

Good thing we did because then it all seemed to go downhill!

Saturday and Sunday were cold and blustery...we still managed to get outside a bit, but nothing like the glory of Friday.

Here are some of my favorites, I couldn't pick!

Yael with Auntie Liz
The Girl, discovering the bushes at the Gardens...this was before she tried to eat them, of course.

Sam loves water, and here he is heading off to his favorite fountains. Even after a winter away, he still remembers what he likes!
For a kid who loves water, the Chicago Botanic Gardens are a great place to be!
Look, Mom, more water!

It's very hard to keep him out of the water and still take pictures. After this shot, he basically tried to dive right in! But I love the splash effect here.

I tried to take some pictures of him visiting with the ducks, but I was so afraid that he would go for a swim in the lake that I had to keep one hand holding tightly to the back of his shirt as he reached for a gorgeous pair of mallard ducks that were swimming right by us. He did enjoy meeting those ducks! I think sometimes he wishes he were a duck...he does like water.

What did you do to celebrate the end of Passover over this weekend?
See more great pictures here...

Opportunitiy to Help...and Five Places I've Been

The Bloggers helping Jeni auction is now up and running, arranged by the amazing Bella. This is an amazing opportunity to help out Jen Ballantyne, who blogs here at The Comfy Place. She is currently in hospice but still blogging, her latest post was about how much she wants to help others. Go check out the auction by clicking here to go straight to the ebay store they have set up.

There are over 130 items in the auction, including:
* photography
* one of kind services and gifts
* gift certificates to online boutiques
* Hand Crafted items
* Yummy Bath Products
* Toys and clothing for baby and child
* Jewelry
* much more!

The auction will be up and running until Thursday, May 1st.

I think this is truly harnessing the power of the blogosphere. It's amazing that most, if not all, of the people who are participating have never met Jeni IRL (in real life). I find that to be awesome....


Five Places I've Been This Week...

Toyota 2009 Corolla
...welcome to the family, Hedwig the Corolla! Stay tuned for pics;-)

Healthy Living Organic T-shirts

Hadag Nachash latest music obsession

Family car stickers ...I had no idea I was such a trend-setter? follower?

Flourless chocolate-walnut cookies

from my -- where have you been?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Plenty to Go Around?

This matzah crisis
is getting to be crazy
read here and here too.

I went to Target
there was matzah in plenty
want me to send some?

Matzah brei to eat
and matzah meal pancakes too
only 2 more days!

To prepare our homes
it takes weeks and weeks of work
as though for always.

But then it's over
almost in a flash it ends,
quietly slips off...

Until next year's date
April 8, 2009
is the First Seder...

Chag sameach...and Shabbat Shalom...

see more haikus here...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Great Passover Books for Kids

Here are some of my favorite picture books for Passover...

1. The Matzah Man, a great re-telling of the Gingerbread Man

2. Only Nine Chairs: A Tall Tale for Passover

3. Sammy Spider's First Passover (I ♥ Sammy Spider)

4. Too Many Cooks, a Passover Parable

5. Rebecca's Passover

6. Matzo Ball Moon

7. The Mouse in the Matzah Factory

8. What I Like About Passover (a board book)

9. No Matzah for Me!

10. Matzah Ball: A Passover Story (baseball themed!)

11. The Matzah Ball Fairy

12. The Magician's Visit

13. Matzah Meals: A Passover Cookbook for Kids (and if the theory worked that if the kids cook it, they'll eat it, this one might be right for my family! But alas...picky eaters...)

What are some of your faves?

See more Thursday Thirteen here...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cool Blog Stuff Goin' On....

There is some cool stuff going on in blogland this week.

Jen is going to Rwanda. It's pretty neat what she's doing. You can help her part of a Hope Revolution.

The Crunchy Domestic Goddess is giving away an amazing array of earth-friendly stuff in honor of Mother's Day and Earth Day. Go check her out!

Don't forget that 60bloggers is still going strong, celebrating Israel each day with a post from a different blogger. Mine was up on Monday!

Oh, and if you like post-Pesach pizza, check this auction out (although I suppose it helps to be in Brooklyn on Motzei Shabbat)

What have you seen around the blog-world that is cool?

Matzah Brei Variations....

Have you ever had Matzah brei? It is one of my favorite Passover foods. Basically, it's like matzah French toast. But better and with more variations. It's also a GREAT way to use up matzah. (because it uses a lot but many people will eat it!)

(Like most "traditional" foods, you might hear that Bubbie's is "the only way" to make it "right." But I promise you, there are a lot of variations...endless!)

A basic recipe:
Take about 5-6 boards of matzah. Crush them up in a big bowl. Put in some warmish water and let soak for a few minutes while you do the next step. Crack about 5 eggs into a bowl (egg substitute does work), scramble. Some people add milk. Some don't. If you're planning to make the matzah brei savory, then add salt and pepper to the eggs. If you're planning sweet, then don't. Drain the matzah, squeezing out as much water as possible. Add the eggs to the matzah and mix it up. Then heat some butter in a large frying pan and pour the mixture in. If you like it pancake style, then let it cook until you can flip it. If that is too complicated, then just stir it around as it cooks until it's all done. Serve...with salt and pepper, or syrup, or jam, or honey...

Okay, some variations:
- Saute onions in the pan before you add the matzah/egg mixture.
- Saute the onions. Add some lox (smoked salmon) to the matzah/egg mixture and cook.
- After it's mostly cooked up, add about a cup of pico de gallo and a few handfuls of shredded cheese. Mix well, until warm through, and serve with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.
- Saute spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, you name it and add in. Add a little garlic too. Why not?
- Add cream cheese, lox and green onions into the cooked matzah brei.
- (I'm a vegetarian but I know that some people add salami...then you wouldn't want to add milk, of course.)
- Add cinnamon and sugar to the matzah/egg mixture.
- Soak the matzah in warm apple juice instead of water. Add few dashes of vanilla and cinnamon to the matzah/egg mixture.
- Chocolate chips go over huge.
- Chop up strawberries, mangos, bananas, etc and add to the matzah/egg mixture before cooking.
- Toppings: chocolate syrup, melted white chocolate chips, caramel sauce, raspberry sauce, dust with powdered sugar...use your imagination!!!!
- Some people use Matzah farfel to make it, which is actually just pre-crushed matzah. Why do they sell this stuff? We can just break up our own, you know. Sometimes the farfel is finer/softer than regular matzah but this year it is clearly just broken-up matzah. Whatever.

Each year we have a Matzah brei cook-off at our synagogue on the first day of Pesach, before services. I, ahem, have been the winner on a couple of occasions...I make a mean matzah brei. The other night I had it with lox and onions and then, um, added maple syrup. It might sound weird but that's how I like it! This year I made the Mexican variation at our temple event and it was a huge hit.

That's what works for me. How 'bout you?

(Yes, those are Matzah boxers...available at Menschenables Judaica. If you think that this is a necessity for your Pesach observance, of course.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Giveaway...expires at Midnight

Get Your FREE Download of my cousin David's
Brand New Bestseller Go Green, Live Rich
Today Only!

From David...
Dear Friends and FinishRich Community Members,

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that my newest book, Go Green, Live Rich is an instant bestseller, debuting on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller lists! This is huge news because as far as we know, this is the first time a book on the environment ever opened on the NY Times bestseller list. So thank you so much for helping to make this happen!

I also want to invite you to help us celebrate Earth Day with a very special offer. We've teamed up with our friends at and Sony, to offer a FREE download of Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth (and Get Rich Trying). That's right! For today only you can download the book absolutely free.

Here's all you need to do to get your free download. If you're an Amazon Kindle user, head over to or search Go Green, Live Rich directly from your Kindle and start your download from there.

Remember, this offer is good for today only! And please feel free to share it with family and friends!

How cool is that????

It's Just a Week....


...but doesn't it feel stressful when the ads on your blog are for PASTA!?

No, seriously, it does seem like the whole world is not with us during Pesach. Everywhere I go, everything I see, I am aware more than ever during the year that I am separate. We can't just stop for a snack...keeping Passover doesn't bother me. Eating chametz-free isn't the difficult part. It's figuring out how to keep it together in a world that isn't on break, doesn't remember or think about what we are thinking about.

This is when I miss living in Israel, when it really felt like the whole world was Jewish, the whole world revolved around me and my Pesadik my friend FrumeSarah, I too feel a bit of discontent at this time of the year.

I love Pesach. I love Jewish life.

I sometimes just wish it wasn't quite so hard.

And you know it must be when even the rabbi-mom says so.

What's your torah this week?

Monday, April 21, 2008

We came from Egypt, what did you do this weekend?

Who are you? I am Israel.
Where are you coming from? I am coming from Mitzrayim, from Egypt.
Where are you going? I am going to Yerushalayim, to Jerusalem.

We went out of Egypt and into Jerusalem as we celebrated the beginning of Pesach. Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I've been getting ready for weeks! The time has come, and all the hard work and preparation paid off. Our Seders were wonderful.

Our Seder table...

My dad was so proud of my award-winning post that he printed it out for the whole family!

We wear masks to illustrate the 10 Plagues. They were a big hit with Sam & Yael...

David was such a hit! He sat right next to my dad, who ran the Seder, and he recited the Four he sang a whole bunch of cute songs including a great version of Who Knows One that made the whole family roll with laughter. Such kvelling, such naches!

For the Second Seder, it was just our immediate family and we sang songs and did a really brief service. It wore everyone out!

Enjoy your matzah!

See what other people took pictures of this weekend...

Friday, April 18, 2008

...and to all a Chag Sameach!

It has been a wild week for me in blog-land.

I won a cookbook from Nosh with Me.

Bella interviewed me.

The Write-Away Contest hosted by Scribbit

I won an Honorable Mention in Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for this post on the Seder. (Wow! I'm so excited about this!)

I agreed to be an upcoming host for the Haveil Havalim Jewish Blog Carnival. (Thanks, FrumeSarah...)

And I cleaned my house! (okay, that was IRL but you get the idea.)

Wow. I need a break.

So...chag sameach (that's Happy Holiday), a zissen Pesach (a sweet Passover), and Shabbat Shalom.

May this holiday of freedom bring the blessings of hope and peace to our whole world.

A final Pesach's a funny new song from Michelle Citrin.

See you Monday! (When I'm posting on -- this just keeps getting better and better!)


I feel so special
I'm someone else's subject --
front page of her blog!

A series of posts
interviews with awesome gals
and she picked me too!

I hope I can be
always as wise as I sound
in my interview!

Go see Bella's blog
read all her amazing posts
she's so inspiring.

Plus she's helping Jen
in a really awesome way
make sure you go see.

Thanks for the amazing opportunity, Bella! It was such a joy to answer such thoughtful and thought-provoking questions. I really look forward to our meeting in "real life" too!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach (a happy Passover) to all!

P.S. Torah haikus will return next week after Pesach cleaning...

See other haiku-writers here...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random Passover Tips and Tricks

Ack! Passover is almost here. A whole bunch of last-minute Pesach tips, tricks, and interesting things...perhaps for Seder conversation....

1. Are you worried about feeding your goldfish this year? In case you are, here is some information on how to make sure that even your fish's diet is appropriately chametz-free.

2. Passover can be, um, binding. One good way to ensure that you stay, um, regular, is to eat dried fruit, or even better -- fruit compote. A yummy recipe: 4 lbs mixed dried fruits, 1 1/2 cups orange juice, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, one piece of cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder to taste, peel of one lemon, left in one or more large pieces. Remove the sulfates in the dried fruit first: pour boiling water over the fruit and let stand for at least 1 hour. Drain thoroughly. Put the fruit in a large pot, with all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes until tender. Cool in the saucepan, remove the lemon peel, and store it in the fridge, covered tightly. It will keep for a long long time. Unless you eat it all.

3. Don't screw up and buy the wrong kind of matzah. FrumeSarah, I'm embarrassed to say that this is what I fell for. Here's how the story goes. This year, Manishewitz isn't making Tam Tams. For those of you who don't know, Tam Tams are wonderful, yummy, not-low-cal crackers made Kosher for Passover each year. They are my family's favorite Pesach food. What I didn't realize was that they were also not making any cracker-shaped matzah stuff this year. I had no idea. I'm a little slow. I thought to myself, maybe I'm just late to the party and it's all been bought at my local stores (did anyone get any???). So I went online to Amazon. I got really excited to find this. I bought it. Late at night, I suddenly realized that this was NOT the Kosher for Passover stuff. Why do they make chametz-dik matzah? Please explain this to me, Manishewitz! I knew this -- I always check my matzah in the store. But online...I got so excited by the matzah cracker shape that I bought ...get this... 12 boxes. Yep, that's how it's sold on Amazon. By the case. My husband got a good laugh that I had just spent hours cleaning my pantry of all the chametz and I went and bought 12 boxes of the stuff. Lovely. Food pantry?

4. If you aren't done yet with the cleaning thing, check out A Mother in Israel's great checklist. I always forget the cars.

5. Check out this beautiful handout from Storahtelling. Try their Leap for Freedom game. It's great!

6. Looking for a new Haggadah? Want some games or stories or ideas for the Seder? They're all over, people.

7. Passover isn't always the most "Green" of holidays - we throw out stuff, we clean frantically, we might use a lot of disposables or papergoods. So here is Hazon's take on sustainable Passover resources.

8. Why put an orange or other innovation on your seder plate? There are a couple of explanations for this - although it's typically thought of as a feminist statement - I like to think of it as inclusive and adding something new to the seder to keep it lively, interesting, and modern. Here are two different opinions and ideas about this, both of which are thought-provoking and interesting. What do you do to make your seder new each year?

9. A video for you:

Plus this very cool ASL version of the Four Questions.

10. Even though the Passover seder talks about our redemption from Egypt, the need for freedom in our world is still ongoing. Here is a wonderful Seder addition from American Jewish World Service, imploring us to remember those in Darfur who are not free from fear and terror.

11. My favorite Passover joke: As Moses was leading the Children of Israel through the parted walls of the Red Sea, some complained of thirst after walking so far, so fast. Unfortunately, they weren't able to drink from the walls of salt water on each side of them. Then a fish from the wall of water stuck his head out and spoke to Moses. He told him his family had heard the complaint, and that they could, thru their own gills, remove the salt from the water, and then force it out of their mouths like a fresh water fountain for the Israelites to drink from! But, said the fish, before his family began to help, they had one demand. They wanted to be a part of history, and wanted to always be a part of the Seder meal to commemorate the Exodus. Moses readily agreed to this, and gave them their name which remains to this very day. He said to them ... "Go, Filter Fish." (you have to say it out loud to get it. trust me. you'll laugh.)

12. My second favorite Passover joke: (these are great for the Seder, I promise!) The queen was going to knight a prominent Jew in England. He was welcomed to the palace along with all the other knights-to-be. They were instructed to go before the Queen, kneel down, and recite a phrase in Latin. All the other candidates nodded. The Jewish almost-knight said it over and over to himself, trying to remember it. When it was his turn to stand before the Queen, the phrase simply flew out of his head and he said the first non-English phrase that came to mind: "Mah nishtanah halaila hazeh mikol ha-laylot?" And the Queen turned to her advisors nearby and said, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?" (it gets 'em every year!)

13. Make sure you look up on Seder night. Hopefully the sky will be clear and you can see the beautiful full moon. The beautiful fullness represents, I believe, the beautiful fullness of Jewish life, especially on this night, the night that so many Jews and friends around the world are sharing in the Feast of Freedom. What an amazing moment for us all to know that we are all telling the same story, we are all re-living the dramatic moment in which we celebrated the understanding of the true meaning of freedom.

May this holiday bring joy and peace. Chag sameach!

See more Thursday Thirteen here.

Yummy and Healthy Pancakes

In the spirit of using up everything in the house before Pesach (Passover) comes, here's my newest favorite healthy pancake recipe...

Using Hogdsen Mills Whole Wheat mix, I follow the directions for "apple pancakes" and add a cup of applesauce (or whatever mushed up fruit I can find, I used up some leftover babyfood bananas and prunes once too!), instead of regular oil, I use flaxseed oil, and I add some cocoa powder and cinnamon for a kick. Plus, of course, a few chocolate chips in each pancake. That way the kids think they're getting a treat and I know they're getting a really healthy breakfast! Plus, they keep really well in the fridge or freezer...and of course they taste great.

Even better with some fake sausage on the side.


That's what works for me today.
Come back tomorrow for some great last-minute Passover tips!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Seder night...

matzah crumbs
horseradish stains
wine drops
parsley blooms
salty tears

same old jokes
same old stories
like a well-worn sweater
not ready for Goodwill yet.

add a little flower and it's like new again.

on Seder night, we come home again each year...

What's your Torah this week?
shared in Scribbit's Write-Away contest...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Haveil Havalim is up...

Haveil Havalim #162 - Pesah Edition is up over at Esser Agaroth... and it's great!!!

(Not to mention that one of my posts is in there...)

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'

Go check it out!

To Cut or Not To Cut...

Jewish tradition says that children (okay, boys, but I tend to be more inclusive) should not have a haircut until the age of 3. This has two major rationales: in Leviticus, it is stated that one is not allowed to eat the fruit that grows on a tree for its first three years. This principle is applied, then, to the cutting of a child's hair. The other is that with the long hair that grows on these little boys (yes, I'm back to just boys), they become indistinguishable from girls, and don't tempt the "Evil Eye" or the Angel of Death to take them...of course, assuming that boys are more valuable than girls. Another explanation, newer to me, is that this indistinguishable nature of boys and girls during this period makes them "genderless" and therefore boys are under the "protection" of their female mother. After their haircut, the boys enter into the "realm of men" and are no longer part of the women's world. (Read more here, at Wikipedia)

All a very interesting sociological explanation...right? But in practice, it's not something that I've ever done. My oldest child, a boy, had his first haircut at about 7 months old. His beautiful curls were definitely getting in his way and when the daycare started putting little bows in his hair, I knew it was time. My second, I held off until about a year, but he too was bothered by hair in his eyes.

Then came the Girl.

No one will bother me about her hair, I thought to myself.

But remarkably, they did! "It's in her eyes!" "How can she see?" and..."couldn't she choke on that cute little hairclip in her hair if she pulled it out?"

The boys desperately needed haircuts this we snuck them in Friday afternoon before naptime...and while we were there, I took a deep breath and said, "okay, the bangs!" But I insisted that it wasn't the "First Haircut." (which saved me a lot of money, incidentally, they only charged us 5 bucks!) I didn't even bring the camera because I was not sure I was going to go through with it.

So here she is...with little bangs, perhaps a bit shorter than I would have liked but they'll grow...thank God. (and it's my Best Shot Monday, of course)

So what do you think? Does this count as a haircut or not...and why do I care?!:-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Farfel & Cheese Casserole (and Five Places I've Been)

By popular request, from my recent post on Pesach cooking, here is the recipe for Farfel and Cheese Casserole. (Any one else missing the archives? Where did they go?)

Farfel and Cheese Casserole

Original source: Laura Shomshak, via

Yield 5-6 servings

3 1/2 cups matzah farfel (or 7 boards, crushed by your kids with rolling pins)
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
3 large eggs
1 tsp salt
pepper, onion powder, garlic powder to taste
2 cups fat-free yogurt
1 cup milk
1/2 pound (or more) grated cheddar cheese

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Butter/grease a casserole dish. Transfer mix to casserole, bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until brown on top and bubbly around the edges.

(If your family is adventurous, you could add mushrooms, spinach, or even a can of tuna to this recipe.)

Delicious! What's your favorite recipe for Pesach?

Five Places I've Been This Week

Healthy, Sustainable Passover Resources

Removing Permanent Marker

Jen's Going to Rwanda!

Feeding your fish on Pesach

Want Obama at your Seder?

from my have you been this week?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Yucky Stuff

This week's Torah portion is Metzora, but usually it is read along with last week's parasha, Tazria. Since I missed last week's haiku-ing (no good Internet hookup at camp), here are both portions together in all their yucky fun!

When you have a boy
you have seven days unclean
after childbirth.

When you have a girl
it takes longer to regain
ritual pureness --

Fourteen days it is!
A sacrifice will suffice,
restore purity.

If you get a rash,
swelling, discoloration,
scaly affliction,

redness or burning,
you must report to the priest
to check it all out.

The priest will decide
if the disease or rashes
make you pure or not.

If you are unclean
you have to live outside camp
until you're better.

Wool, linen or skins
can also be affected
and have to be checked.

Priests decide: pure? not?
Wash the fabric, check again.
You want it all pure.

(Metzora starts here)

If you have skin-yuck
the priest has a whole process
to fix it right up.

Sacrifices and
spices and shaving are part
of the cure-it-all.

You might not know this
but a house can get sick too
and the priest can fix.

It's not just disease
that can make you impure.
Boys, girls...different ways.

For men, a discharge
from his genital area
makes him impure-ish.

It takes sacrifice
and/or a bath to fix it,
make him pure again.

That time of the month
for the gals makes them impure,
what she touches too.

Seven days for her
until she is clean again,
back to a pure state.

Shabbat Shalom!
See more (probably less gross) haikus here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Passover Musical Adventures!

Part of preparing for Pesach (Passover) in our house is to pull out all the Passover music/cds. (Actually, now that I have an iPod, I made a Passover Playlist in my iTunes...but that's another post, I think.)

In no particular order, some of our favorite Pesach songs/albums:

1. Paul Zim's Seder Night, which has some great traditional songs rendered in a listenable format. I really like this one! (This is the one we listen to the most and it's helpful for teaching the Four Questions)

2. Celebrate Passover, put together by Craig Taubman, a little eclectic but worth a listen.

3. Reggae Passover do I need to say more?

4. A Taste of Passover with Theodore Bikel (who my parents dragged me to hear when I was in high school and I wish that I had appreciated it then...)

5. The So-Called Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah with Matisyahu and others

6. The Passover Lounge, also put together by Craig Taubman

7. ShirLaLa Pesach! by Shira Levine

8. Miracles: Chanukah and Passover Songs for Kids by Jill Moskowitz (this is where the iPod comes in handy! Half the album is in the Passover Playlist and half is in the Chanukah Playlist. Perfect.)

9. Let my People Go! A Jewish and African-American Celebration of Freedom by Kim & Reggie Harris

10. Peri Smilow and the Freedom Music Project - she is great!

11. The Journey Continues, by Debbie Friedman (the First Lady of Jewish Music)

12. Rabbi Joe Black's Alef-Bet Boogie has 2 great Passover songs: Afikomen Mambo and a nice version of Dayenu.

13. And don't I wish some of these Chanukah cd's had Passover versions?????

What Passover music do you like? How do you get your family in the Pesach mood?

P.S. Looking for How to Lead a Seder? Check out my guide on Amazon.
And here are some of my favorite Pesach cookbooks...
More's that time of year!

More Thursday Thirteeners here...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Signs of spring?

Signs of spring?

Driving through downtown Highland Park, IL :

NPR: It's 47 degrees at O'Hare

My window is half-open.

I woman in a down coat...and another in a tank top?

Well, the sky is blue, the sun is shining.

But a tank top?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Walking in Right Paths

We bought my daughter, Yael, her first pair of shoes yesterday.

New shoes are an exciting thing. The *first* pair of shoes is even moreso.

(And the pink-mary-jane-ness of them doesn't hurt either!)

She will walk many steps in her lifetime.

Will she walk towards goodness? Will she run to help others? Will her feet carry her forward into a life filled with passion?

I do hope so.

May she walk in right paths.

And may her shoes always sparkle.

What's your Torah this week?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kosher Cooking Carnival is up...

Mother-in-Israel has posted the Kosher Cooking Carnival #29 today -- it's fantastic! All about preparing for Pesach...go over and see!

Creative Living...

(In case you're a regular reader (hi dad)...and have wondered where I've gotten to this it is!)

Each year I am blessed to spend a long weekend with an amazing group of ladies at the Devorah Jewish Quilting Kallah* at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute.

We spend a whole weekend celebrating our creativity and our ability to be artists, in whatever capacity that is for each of us. Everyone brings their sewing machines, piles of fabric, thread, needles, beads, ribbons, rotary cutters, name it. I definitely pack more for the quilting studio than I do to wear!

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I was thinking of how to fully explain the event here on my blog. Why quilting? Why Jewish quilting? Most people expressed it this way: we have quilting friends, we have Jewish friends, but there aren't so many avenues to put them both together. This is an awesome opportunity for women to gather from all over and share both their faith and their art. And that is marvelous. The atmosphere is thick with creative juices and we manage to eat some pretty good ice cream too! We study, we sew, we sew, we pray, we talk and laugh and cry (and unfortunately, sew our fingers into the machines occasionally and end up at the ER!) and eat (and eat and eat), we walk and we talk and we sing and sometimes even dance. It's quite a remarkable group and a remarkable weekend. are some of my best shots from this weekend...

from our creativity exercise...collages...

piecing it all together...

my workspace...

our "studio"

For more best shots, go here...
What did you do this weekend?

*Kallah means gathering. Devorah, the character in the Bible also known as Deborah, means "bee", which is a very nice pun on the Quilting Bee....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I ♥ a greener Target!

Seriously, though, doesn't everyone ♥ Target?

And now even moreso...because Target has...reusable shopping bags!

Not only that, but they're cute and red.

AND they have, along with the usual flat-bottomed ones, ones that zipper back into a handy little pouch that fits nicely into my purse.

Oh...I think I've gone to Target heaven!

Why is no one making a bigger deal of this!?

But...I must admit, the checkout clerk tried to put my re-usable bags into the plastic ones. We straightened that out right quick. She did put the ice cream into a little plastic bag before I caught her (didn't notice until I got home) but I guess that's okay.

Small steps, people, small steps.

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is a "Greatest Hits edition." My post here is basically a continuation of this one, which I think was one of my favorite WFMW posts. What works for you?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Savoring the Season...Tuesday Torah


As I've said's that time of year.

Yes, Pesach is just around the corner.

For many Jews, this season brings a little bit of fear. Fear of the work, fear of not getting it all done, fear of the family get-together, fear of the week's worth of strange food.

For me, it is a season to savor. I love the the preparations, I love the cooking and the cleaning and the shopping. I love knowing that this is happening all over the Jewish world. I love knowing that generations of Jewish women before me have embarked on the journey of getting the house ready for Pesach.

I love the learning and the study that I do each year. Re-reading the Haggadah, looking for new stories and ideas for the Seder, finding new recipes, learning new songs. Just as the spring begins to blossom, I find the chance to renew myself in this holiday.

The cycle of the year feels so right to me. My body, my heart, my mind, my home, are all ready for spring to be here, and all ready for Pesach to come in with its cleansing effect...body and soul. I'm ready!

What's your torah this week? Leave a comment and join in.

Written also as part of MamaBlogga's March/April Group Writing Project "Savoring the Season." Why don't you join in too?