When a person shows up on the doorstep of a Sephardic home, they can be sure of one thing: if they cross the threshold, they will be made to eat. In our concept of hospitality is the notion that you feed everyone who comes to your home – even the unexpected visitor – and you get right to it. Dragging your heels to put out a snack is very bad form, as is a visitor’s refusing food when it’s offered. This means chances are you can’t pop over to a Sephardic home for just five minutes, but that’s soon forgiven. In my parents’ home, pretty much everyone who showed up at our door was greeted warmly and welcomed this way, which frankly was really nice. Continue reading
Happy New Year!
Today I offer you an audiovisual mash up that’s best appreciated during this holiday. It’s brought to you by a biblical blast from a ram’s horn, and one of the musical heroes of my childhood. Continue reading
Wishing all a Sweet New Year… Shana Tova u’metuka!
Raise your hand if you’re not sure what Shavuot is about.
This very nice holiday commemorates the Jewish people’s receiving the Torah – from God! – on Mount Sinai. Needless to say a pivotal moment, and this was after they’d fled Egypt and slavery, and been traipsing around the desert for seven weeks trying to sort themselves out. That was quite a spring, full of momentous occasions, big decisions, and major commitments.
This year the holiday begins on June 3. If you’re so inclined, a few days from now you’ll be staying up all night in a Torah study group somewhere, which is what people do to observe Shavuot, and maybe still wondering what to cook, because of course there’s a meal before the all-nighter. Or you might be worrying about what’s on the menu, if you’re not doing the cooking, and with good reason. In Ashkenazi tradition, the night kicks off with a dairy fest: cheesecake, cheese blintzes with sour cream, and I don’t know what else. Everything served should be white and have started out inside a sheep, a goat or a cow. Continue reading