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Covid and the Importance of Rituals

​Covid-19 has reminded us that we simply cannot control what happens in life - and for a control freak like me that’s really hard. What we can control, however, is how we deal with the chaos around us.

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Our Favorite (Non)Traditional Latkes

Zucchini Latkes with Mint & Meyer Lemon LabnehBy Lauren Braun CostelloMakes 4-6 servings.Latkes are fried potato pancakes traditionally made to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. But the frying is the symbolic part of the recipe, not the potato. This latke is made with grated zucchini and mint, which makes for a lighter pancake so good that even the kids won’t know they are eating their greens! Paired with a labneh (strained yogurt) spiked with Meyer lemon juice and zest, the flavor is vibrant and bright. You can serve this pretty pancake any time of year for an elegant appetizer or side dish.Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; box grater or food processor with a shredder disc; measuring spoons; dry measuring...

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What do I give for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Gift?

My upbringing has taught me the importance of gifting, of marking a momentous occasion with the appropriate monetary amount or the perfect item.  But knowing how and what to gift poses its own challenge.  We've tried to lay it all out for you in a simple way so you can just show up and enjoy the party, with the perfect gift in hand, of course.MoneyThe Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy or girl will love receiving money. They just won't like the part where their parents take most of it away to put into a savings account for future use.If you're giving cash or check, the most common rule in Jewish gifting is to gift in multiples of $18. In numerology, 18 is Chai (no, not...

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The Danger With Labels: An Opinion Piece

Illustration: Michael Arnold Woman.  Wife. Mother.  Daughter.  Sister.  American.  Israeli.  Zionist.  Jew.   ​I get to define myself.  I get to prioritize my labels.  Daily.  Hourly, if I so choose.   The world defines me as Jewish and woman.  Those are the two labels I wear with my outer appearance.  “You look like so-and-so” or “you must be from New York” or “I work for a Jewish woman who saves her pennies” (I got that one, completely unprompted, at the Target checkout last night while my 13-year-old raised her eyebrows at me in surprise and horror) follow me everywhere I go.  And I’m OK with it.  I choose to wear my Judaism as a badge of honor, with my curly hair and...

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Yair's Iraqi Charoset

We grew up eating this charoset and let me tell you it's so good.The great news is that it's also super easy to make. Last year I shared my initial recipe for my our dad's charoset which only included walnuts and silan (date syrup). This year I've further improved it by also adding pecans.Eat it at the Seder on matzoh, as a dip with lettuce (that's what we do), or use it as a spread or topping for yogurt during Passover. It's so sweet you'll just want to eat it with a spoon!Makes: About 1 cup (double this if you're having a large Seder)Ingredients: 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts1/2 cup silan (date syrup) - I used SoomDirections:1. Mix...

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