The Between Space: Parashat T’tzaveh/ Shushan Purim


Parashat T’tzaveh/ Shushan Purim
Exodus 27:20-30:10

The focus of this Torah portion is the investment and initiation ceremonies for the Tabernacle functionaries, the priests. Special costumes must be created for them, by master artisans who are “wise of heart, who have been filled with [the Divine] spirit of wisdom.” (Ex. 28:3) They are to take some of the gold and special fabrics and dyes and turn them into the specified articles of clothing that the priests must wear when they are serving in the sanctuary.
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It’s Cauliflower Time


Cauliflower has come into its own. It’s become the vegetable of the moment. It’s healthy, versatile, and usually available. You can rice it, dice it, roast it, puree it… and hide it.

Enjoy some of these cauliflower discoveries that are certainly not like the way my mother made cauliflower.

Here’s a cauliflower menu from appetizer through main course. I haven’t tried it in a dessert yet, but I know there must be recipes out there. And most of these are also suitable for Passover which will be here before we know it. Continue reading

The Space Between: Parashat T’rumah/Zakhor 


Parashat T’rumah/Zakhor
Exodus 25:1-27:19

A new House of Meeting, a meeting place between God and the Children of Israel, is introduced in this Torah reading. Many elements – its structural components and its furniture – are described here.

The most awesome element is the Ark of the Covenant, to be ensconced in the Holy of Holies. That ark is composed of a box, in which the Tablets of the Testimony are placed, and a covering lid. The lid is made of gold and is shaped to present the forms of two angels – cherubs – who stand facing one another, their wings outstretched over the box. And their placement thus creates an open space between them that hovers above the box. Continue reading

Responsibility: Parashat Mishpatim

click to enlarge Planning diagram of a slave ship. More info:

click image to enlarge
Planning diagram of a slave ship. More info:


Parashat Mishpatim/Rosh Hodesh/Sh’qalim  
Exodus 21:1-24:18

The cruel and immoral institution of slavery is allowed to continue to function within limits established in our Torah portion. We have discussed some ways of seeing our Torah as paving the way to its eventual elimination (- see Sparks for 2015 and 2017). Most of us have thankfully moved forward to see slavery as the evil that it is. Yet the abolition of slavery in this country, over 150 years ago, has not washed away its stain or its human and societal damage. Indeed, some segments of our nation have repeatedly – and often with great success – tried to obstruct the full acceptance of people of color into our communities in various deviously conceived ways, enshrined and supported by new laws. Continue reading

Sources to Educate, Elevate and Entertain

Feb.13 ClimateWhile Tu B’Shevat is behind us, we should always be aware of our natural surroundings, their blessings and their challenges. Dayenu: a Jewish call to climate action is a “movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. We care deeply about equity and justice in our world and about the future we create for our children and future generations. We believe that together, drawing from our Jewish tradition, experience, and faith, we have the power to create real and lasting change.” Continue reading

Not to Be: Parashat Yitro



Parashat Yitro  
Exodus 18:1-20:23

Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law comes to meet Moses, bringing with him Tzipporah, Moses’ wife, and their two sons. We are told that one son was named Gershom (- “stranger there”) “for I was a stranger (ger) in a foreign land.” (Ex.18:3) And the younger son was named Eliezer (- “My God is my help”) “for my father’s God was my aid and saved me from Pharaoh’s sword.” (v. 4)
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Starting with Starters

Recipe blog picture

Back in September at the start of the (Jewish) new year, I started a new project – compiling my recipes into a book for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The project posed several challenges – many of my “recipes” were just scribbled suggestions of ingredients while some were not written down at all. Still others were actual recipes that I had found over the years – except that I didn’t follow any of them as written and had not noted down my modifications.

So …. I have embarked on a year-long (or possibly longer) journey which involves making each recipe and writing down the ingredients and directions for all the items I cook. In addition, at the request of my daughter-in-law, I am taking pictures so that she knows what the finished recipe looks like. Continue reading

Mmm, Mmm, Good! and Good for You

1 27 recipes seven species

Today, January 28 is TuB’Shevat. What better time to celebrate soup made with vegetables, herbs, spices, and grains from the earth.  Accompany soup with a salad featuring fruit; add a cracker made from grain, and end with a sweet treat like dates or grapes. You now have a meal that is a  slightly unorthodox tribute to TuB’shevat. And don’t forget a glass wine.

Traditionally, the following foods are eaten on TuB’Shevat: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. In addition, nuts -especially almonds- are included along with other fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Bible. See if you can find a mention of each of the seven species in this article. Continue reading