Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're counting WHAT?

Yes, my friends, it's that time of year again for the Omer Counter to show up on my blog.
Have I mentioned how cool my dad is? He wrote it for me.
<-------------------------- over there on the left-hand side bar.

Busy with Pesach and Spring Break so just a quick post. Read about the Omer from last year and I'll be back shortly with some fun posts about Pesach and the joy of spring!

I'll also be part of TweetingTheOmer, much like TweetTheExodus (same crew) only less stressful intensive. So join me there!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passover Crumbs & Laughs

The story is wrapping up at TweetTheExodus - come by for the final words....

My newest favorite Pesach joke:
There once lived a king who had an favorite advisor. The other advisors objected because he was a Jew.
The King accepted their argument and ordered him to convert. The advisor obeyed the king, and converted along with his whole family. But it made him so depressed and despondent, that he went to the king and said, "I'm a Jew. I can't change who I am. Do whatever you want with me but I've gotta go back." The king had no idea that his advisor felt so strongly, so he told him to go ahead and be a Jew again. "Your counsel is just too valuable to me to lose." The advisor, overjoyed, ran home to tell his wife. "We can be Jews again!" he shouted. His wife looked at him and said, "Couldn't you have waited until AFTER Pesach?"

Some more jokes:
Why did the matzah quit his job? Because he didn't get a raise.
Who is behind Pharaoh's evil empire? Darth Seder
What did the Red Sea say to the Jews when it parted? Nothing, it just waved.
What's the difference between Matzah and Cardboard? Cardboard doesn't leave crumbs on the rug.

(Many adapted from Bangitout's Seder Sidekick)

Here's a great video from G-dCast

Some of my old Passover posts, worth a visit:
Great Passover Books for Kids
Haggadah Wordle
YouTube for Pesach
Matzah Brei Variations
Misc Tips and Tricks (including my other favorite Pesach jokes)
Award-winning Seder Poetry

May you have a zissen Pesach, a sweet Passover, and may your celebration bring joy and freedom.
Help end modern-day slavery with Free the Slaves.


Sam: woof, woof
Ima: Are you (pretending to be) a dog?
Sam: No, I just speak the language.

P.S. Did you notice my updated header? It was time :-) (If you're reading in a reader, come on, click over!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's OUR Story: TweetTheExodus

My dear friend and pie-maker, FrumeSarah, said it best:

The way we approach the Exodus story is bibliodrama at its finest. In each generation, we turn the story over and over, looking for ways to insert ourselves into the story.
Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav taught that “the exodus from Egypt occurs in every human being, in every era, in every year, and even on every day.”
How do we understand the Exodus? And what if we were to experience the Exodus in our own day, in our own time? And how would we transmit the story? We’ve moved beyond tablets. 

Oh yes we have.
We're Tweeting the Exodus, and let me tell you, it's quite a ride so far!

I woke up this morning to these alerts in my Google Reader:

It's like a dream - I can't believe my name popped up on the Wall Street Journal website. It's a great article, even though I think that the point of TweetTheExodus is a little bigger. This isn't just about fun, but it's really about creating something new, about expressing ourselves in a way that speaks to our generation, and find new meaning in the story.

I'm proud to be a part of this experiment in telling an old story in a very new way, and I think that it has such a great potential. So far, as I write this, there are 780 793 (it changed while I was writing this post!) followers of the @TweetTheExodus account, and I really believe that's a lot of people thinking about the ancient story of freedom - and for many of them, they might not have thought about that story at all, or they might not have related it to their own lives at all.

Some of the TweetTheExodus press:
Passover Meets Twitter - Wall Street Journal
A Bunch of People Are Tweeting the Exodus - NY Mag
Tweet The Exodus - Boulder Jewish News
Oy Vey, as it Turns Out, My Rabbi's Tweeting the Exodus
Tweeting the Holiday of Passover - New York Daily News
Twitter: A New Passover Tradition? AOL News
Exodus Twitter Feed: Twexodus? - Guest of a Guest
Exodus Hits Twitter - Tablet Magazine

So join me and a bunch of my friends and colleagues and tweeps as we tell the story, live the story, build the story, feel the story....we ARE the Children of Israel, and we are going forth from Egypt...from darkness to light, from slavery to redemption, from the narrow place of Mitzrayim to the wide open spaces of our own potential and possibility.

And it's going to be amazing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

We welcome the month of Nisan

The time is upon us
for freedom...
for freeing
from the bondage
of slavery
of winter

spring comes
and we break free

Nisan comes and it's like the world opens up.

The waters part
the world renews.

The new moon of Nisan is only 15 days from the moment of the takes only a few moments for freedom to come, but a lifetime to truly believe in it.

Experience the Exodus as you've never experienced it before - in every generation, we should feel as though we personally went forth from Egypt. If I had been there, I'm sure I would have tweeted it - - it will be amazing.

Kosher Cooking Carnival #52: Rosh Chodesh Nisan

I am very happy to be hosting my first ever Kosher Cooking Carnival. Let's start, as we usually do, with the links to previous editions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, KCC Meta Carnival, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51...and here we are at #52!

The next one, #53, will be on Rosh Chodesh Iyar (April 15), hosted by Shimshonit.
(Submit posts through Blog Carnival here.)

Now, onto the posts!
Batya: Fussy About Food
G6: Broccoli Cheese Potatoes
Yisrael Medad, husband of the great Batya: Cooking (roasted oven fries - sound yummy!)
Mrs. S.: The end is nigh (turkey stew)
Batya: Is Purim Really Over? Only Thirteen Lunar Months Till The Next TimeFrume Sarah: Made a Pi(e) (and I think it's somehow my fault :-) )
Jew and the Carrot: Watch that Lox it Might Not Be Kosher


Batya: Defining Kosher as Ethical (halacha and ethics - interesting questions!)

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

Home Shuling: Could these be any cuter? (mini hamantaschen, even though Purim is over, these are so cute)
Batya: Yes, I Baked Challah!! (and even raw, it looks delicious!)
Leora Wenger: Kira's Potato Leek Soup (Check out the really cool way it looks!)
mominisrael: Gluten-Free Products on Passover | Cooking Manager (very useful for the GF people in your life)
Chana Rubin presents Healthy Kosher Eating With Chana: Passover (She has a ton of Pesach posts, I couldn't choose!)
Batya: And What Do You Serve At The Seder Meal? (I'm just the opposite, Batya, I like all the side dishes instead of the main course!)
Mordechai Torczyner: Is Quinoa Kosher for Passover? (really great halachic discourse)
Israeli Kitchen: Thinking About Passover Cooking (I'm with you - no more fake matzah products than totally necessary!)

Ima on and off the Bima (that's me): Lots of Hamantaschen Recipes here
Ilana-Davita: Gato de Muez de Pesah (a yummy looking cake, which is not what I thought it was since I read gato=cat...ha ha)
The Shiksa in the Kitchen: Spinach Matzo Mina and this PIE for Passover (plus a contest)

Restaurant Reviews

Batya: It Sure Paid To "Window-shop" (Check the Prices) The Breakfast Deals 
Batya: Yes, A Sports Bar and Grill in Jerusalem!

In other Kosher Cooking News...
@koshereye hosted a Passover Twitter Party, hashtag #passoverpty
- will there be another one before the big week?

That's all from here. I'm sure that next month will be full of Pesach posts and post-Pesach posts. Hard to imagine what "post-Pesach" will be like while we're in the throes of preparing! 
A zissen Pesach...may your Passover be joyous and sweet!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Springing Up...

Warmer weather and blue skies got some of us to peek our noses outside...
Others ventured all the way out...
"I'm making you a cake, mama!"
Things went well until we realized that spring was not quite here yet... 
she asked for a hat. Brr!
*See more Best Shot Monday posts here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Craft for Welcoming Guests

One of the biggest mitzvot of the Passover Seder is to welcome in guests.

Let all who are hungry come and eat.

I found this adorable project from Just for the Mitzvah, and we made them in my Shabbat class this past week. In case you can't quite tell, it's a coat hanger.

What a lovely way to help your kids welcome guests into their home.
How do you teach your kids about hospitality?

Preparing for Pesach with Ima on and off the Bima

Friday, March 12, 2010

Overheard at Shabbat Class today

As I brought out the challah...
little girl says: 
I don't like the skin.

Other girl: It's okay, you can just pick it off.

And so she did.

Shabbat Shalom! 
May you only get the part of the challah that you like this Shabbat.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Am I Worthy?

Hanging out with a lot of other rabbis can bring up many feelings of inadequacy for me.
(I'm currently at the Central Conference of American Rabbis' annual convention)

We're all the same, we all have the same degree and training. But so many of my colleagues are wise and talented, well-spoken, well-written, and doing amazing work.

I am NOT fishing for compliments here, I'm being serious. I know very well that I'm happy with my work, doing well in my job, and outside of the professional realm, absolutely unbelievably BLESSED  with my family and friends. But it doesn't really matter. I still feel that little question nagging at me - do I really belong here? How on earth can I stand shoulder to shoulder with so many amazing people and really feel my own sense of worth?

The rabbinate isn't really like academia, for example, with its concept of "publish or perish." I can dwell in obscurity and do my work happily. I don't have any need to be "important" in the rabbinic world - I'm not aiming to be president of the CCAR or even sit on a board. But I do want my voice to be heard, I do want to bring something to the table and share my ideas and beliefs with my colleagues. Often, though, I am reticent to open my mouth since I usually think "oh, there's someone way more qualified than me to say that."

Maybe when I'm older.
Maybe when I've been at this for longer.

And so it goes.

It just so happens, however, that the blogging  world has done it again. It has reminded me, in its infinite wisdom, that I AM WORTHY.

Just by being me. That no matter how I feel in the presence of colleagues and friends, no matter how I might, in the secret moments just before bed at night, wonder if I'm really just pretending to be something that I'm not....that no matter....I am worthy. Today and Everyday.

But, damn, it's hard to say sometimes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Traveler's Prayer

I am NOT a nervous flier.

While I don't get to do it all that often, I do love to travel. I like the whole thing, from the packing to the waiting in the airport (although not beyond normal wait times, please!) and the people watching and the little cups of coffee on the flight and the feeling that I'm doing something special and fun.

But I also like to have a little personal insurance:

Each time I get onto a plane, as the captain announces that we'll be taxiing to the runway, I pull out my trusty Tefillat haDerech, Traveler's Prayer. I actually carry two of them - the traditional Hebrew text, and a more modern interpretation of the prayer. And I say both, quietly to myself. If I'm traveling with someone else, I usually place my hand on them (today it was my sweet husband) as I say the prayer.

Let's be honest here. Do I think that my saying of the prayer has any impact on the safety of the flight? In truth, I think it's doubtful. But it has an impact on me. It sanctifies the journey, even a simple vacation or family trip. It reminds me that each and every step of my life, even if I don't always remember it, has the potential for holiness.

I'm heading to San Francisco for the 121st Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. I have the honor of participating in the group blog for the convention here. I will also be tweeting, using the hashtag #ccar10. When rabbis get together, we talk a lot of shop, learn together, pray together, and generally try to have a great time!

(Plus I'm taking advantage of in-flight wi-fi to write this post. How cool is that?)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Haveil Havalim #259: Post Purim Edition

(AKA the Mishmosh Edition)
haveil havalim
What's going on here today?
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.'
Please please please publicize HH on your own blog and share the news about it!

(I had a little trouble with BlogCarnival. So therefore, I'm calling this the Mishmosh Edition. Categories are overrated, right? I hope I didn't miss anything.)

Allison Josephs presents A Purim Story | Jew In The City.

In Search of the Real Deal is Keeping it Real.

Mottel presents When I Thought I Saw a Dead Man.

Chabad shared Blog: Purim At Riker's Island.

Yisrael Medad presents No Scotch in Scotland If In Medina and Is Netanyahu Doomed to Repeat History? He also has Would That Israel Receive The Sympathy That This BBC Presenter Did.

Isramom has this piece: Rehovot! What's new? What's old?

Batya presents Peculiar Purim Printer Problem and Not My Kind of Mechitza, Separation. Here's another one from her: The Sin of Being Merciful to One's Enemies

Tikkun Olam is talking about Snow on the East Coast: New Definition and Again, Hard to Let Go..., also Such a Fuss - Can Israel Do No Good?

Israelity posted Art lovers rejoices, Haman rears his ugly head, and HMO bait and switch?

Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress is making sure to Accentuate the positive.

The Rebbetzin's Husband talks about Israel Apartheid Week at York University and offers this Passover Seder Preparation Checklist.

Good News from Israel has Photos of Purim in Ma'ale Adumim

Frum Satire asks: Rabbi Sara Hurwitz is the first orthodox woman Rabbi – is this wrong or just against the status quo? posted at .

A Chassidishe farbrengen posted The power of self-refinement and Inspiring through exampl.

Chaviva celebrates Purim at Chavi Goes All Purim On Yo Tush! and she has I've Got MORE Big News! Also, she asks the question Have I Become a Monster?

Hadassah Sabo Milner wrote No Mikvah for You! and also tells a gossipy lady to Butt yourself out of my life, woman!

Shira Salamone considers Women in Judaism:Taxation without representation

Seraphic Secret presents From Jew Hater to Orthodox Jew.

Bored Jewish Guy is Asking Out Someone You've Already Dated.

If The Shiksa is Jewish, is she still going to keep calling herself The Shiksa? (She says yes, by the way.)

Did you see this cute Shabbat video from JewishTreats in honor of Shabbat Across America (and Canada)

Did you follow Interesting ideas and innovations for the Jewish community. What do you think?

The Home-Shuler reviewed some challah recipes. They sure look yummy to me!

Adventures in MamaLand is growing stuff.

A Soldier's Mom is helping her now-former-soldier buy some civvies.

FrumeSarah is learning to let go.

Leah Jones is celebrating her birthday.

The Minnesota Mamaleh is talking about girlfriends.

Need to use up flour? Here's what Israeli Kitchen is doing. They look delicious!

Chaviva wants to know if she's become a monster? (FTR, I don't think so.)

Mom in Israel has four questions to ask BEFORE Pesach.

Speaking of Pesach, @KosherEye is hosting another #PassoverTwitterParty on Monday, 3/15, from 7:00-8:30pm Central Time.

Creative Jewish Mom is decorating on the advice of a pigeon.

The Reform Rabbinate is holding its annual convention. Check out #ccar10 for tweets if you want to learn more about #whatrabbisdo.

Tablet Magazine (which is pretty good) is serializing The Frozen Rabbi. Interesting....

Shameless Plug: I'm participating in TweetTheExodus - an innovative, multimedia "live time" retelling of the Exodus. We start Rosh Chodesh Nisan (March 16) and will tell the story up until the first Seder! In every generation, we should feel as though we personally went forth from Egypt. I don't know about you, but if I was doing it now, I'd be tweeting about it for sure.

That's all for this week's Haveil Havalim! Please link up so lots of people can share the Haveil Havalim fun... don't forget to submit your posts for next week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Purim is OVER!

A Somewhat-Wordless Wednesday

(Yes, he's a dragon with a sword.)

It looks like she's making herself smile, doesn't it?
A little Dora the Explorer. Hard to tell.

He abandoned his costume before the carnival even started!
(Taken from a distance - from the Bima during the Purim Spiel!)

Monday, March 1, 2010


A while back I said I would start an infrequent feature called "What I do" - which is a tiny little insight into the life of a rabbi.  Then I started the hashtag #whatrabbisdo on Twitter, which offers insight into so many things that rabbis do, mundane and spiritual both!

Last week, a group of 6th graders from the local Catholic school came into the synagogue for a tour and discussion with The Rabbi. I showed them around and answered all of their questions, which seemed random but interesting: "what do you wear for your Mass?" "Can you get married?" "Why do Jewish people want to live in Israel if that's where Jesus lived?"

You get the idea.

I answered question after question, in no apparent order but they sat still for nearly an hour as I talked about all sorts of things from ritual garb to holidays to food to politics and history.

Today I got two envelopes stuffed full of thank you notes from the kids. Most were very simple - thanks for teaching us about Judasim.

I did, however, have two favorites:

Dear Rabbi Sommer,
Thank you for teaching us about Judaism. It was cool. You are really smart.
Thank you!

Thank you for all of those questions you answered. You answered them very accurately and clearly.

Aren't you glad to know that I answered all the questions accurately?

Me too.