RSS Feed

Tag Archives: jewish

Welcome! !ברוכים הבאים Read Me First If You’re New Here!


Welcome
Creative Commons License photo credit: disparkys

I wanted to take a minute and offer a hearty “Bruchim HaBa’im” – welcome – to any new readers who’ve wandered over here from the Cleveland Jewish News. An article that appeared in this week’s edition (“Connect with each other on CJN Connect“) listed a number of sites “by or of interest to members of the Cleveland Jewish community.” If you want to get the latest GoingKosher information there, click on over to CJNConnect, create an account and check out the “Chatter” section (about halfway down the page).

While I’m extremely excited to be included in the blogs listed, the others are, quite frankly, incredible and worth mention here as well:

That said, if you are new here, feel free to click around and get the lay of the land.

To get a quick overview of the site, check out the “About Us”  page. You might also find the posts on “What This is All About” – Part1, Part2 and Part3 – to be helpful.

If you like what you see, you can stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feed or good old email updates (use the box in the sidebar to sign up).

Most of all, thank you for stopping by, even if it’s just this once. But I hope you’ll come back for more.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Seder


NOTE: This post was too fun NOT to share, both here and on The Edible Torah

image courtesy of JoyOfKosher.com

One of the things I’ve marveled at is how, once you start making Shabbat part of your weekly routine, previously “big” holiday meals start to feel a bit empty

Last year I posted links to a few Thanksgiving Haggadot, which gave our American Turkey-centric festival the old Passover treatment.

This year, just in time for your own feast, I’m posting my notes from last year in case you enjoy tormenting your guests and children as much as I do.

Our seder began before we even sat down. You see, on the night before Pesach we hunt for chametz – bits of bread-stuff. So of course a Thanksgiving seder had to include that experience as well. But with all the stuffing around, bread was NOT the target of choice. No, we hunted for… CHOCOLATE!. In this case, we had secreted away some pareve chocolate Hanukkah gelt (we opted for pareve rather than milk chocolate in case some of our kosher-observing guests had already eaten a meat meal before arriving.).

Once we were certain that our house was clear of chocolate, we were able to begin the seder proper with a rousing rendition of America, The Beautiful – all four verses and four (slightly different) choruses, including the one about Pilgrim’s feet (my boys loved that one). You can find the lyrics here.

Next, we said a shehechianu and said the blessings over wine and bread.

We read responsively, sharing the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence together as a group.

That was pretty much the end of the serious stuff. From that point on we borrowed liberally from “Company’s Coming“, with the following additions:

  • When we mentioned “The Bitter Herb”, we produced our ancient beloved bottle of Goldschlager. We keep it around because every year when it’s time to read Parsha Ki Tisa, we say we’re going to drink it. We never do.
  • We included an explanation of the Thanksgiving Seder plate. Of course, we first had to INVENT the Thanksgiving seder plate. Like the Passover counterpart, this plate contained all the items emblematic of Thanksgiving, including:
    • a football
    • a figuring of a pilgrim
    • Pepper (Passover is all about salt – in the water, in the soup, etc. Let another spice get some attention already!)
    • Marshmallows (on top of the candied yams. Nobody in my house ever ate them. It just sat on the table turning into a paperweight.
    • nondairy creamer (as a reminder that this is a fleishig meal)
    • matzo (to remind us of the joy that this holiday brings since WE DON’T HAVE TO EAT ANY!)
    • a cantaloupe

OK, the cantaloupe requires a bit of explanation. One summer, we took a family vacation to visit a friend in Boston. Part of the trip involved going up to Plymouth. But the line to see it’s most famous rock was too long, and the day was already over as far as our kids were concerned. When we expressed our disappointment back at home base, our hostess grabbed a cantaloupe and wrote “1620” on it. She explained that weather and memento-seekers had worn the rock down until it was about that big so we now could say we’d pretty much seen it. Thus, the presence of the cantaloupe on our seder plate.

  • After the meal, we had a rousing hunt for – no, not the afikomen – but the wishbone instead!. The finder of this scrumptious morsel won the right to take it home (her parents were so proud) along with a Sacagawea dollar.

My Girlfriend “Betty”


I tend to play a little fast and loose when it comes to rules. I don’t exactly break them (at least, not usually), but I do tend to see how far they’ll bend.

How that translates to kashrut is that I’m don’t break a sweat when I cut a (cold) cold cut with the wrong knife. Cold is cold, after all. And I’m not always so careful about whether I use the dairy sponge or the pareve sponge to wash a (dairy or pareve) dish.

When it comes to kashrut, part of the reason I’m comfortable doing this is because of how far I am from the original Torah commandment. (And yes, I know that the Rabbinic commandments are (almost) just as important.) But we’re still a few kilometers from that truck stop.

How far is my dishwashing “faux pas” from the original injunction of not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk?

  • First, it’s not goat meat.
  • Second, it’s not meat at all.
  • Third, it’s not directly touching – it’s something (milk) touching something else (a pot or fork) touching something else (a sponge) touching something else (the pareve item).
  • Fourth, it’s not being done to “flavor” the other object.
  • Fifth, IT’S COVERED IN DISGUSTING DISHWASHING LIQUID!!

I might have casually mentioned this to my Rabbi recently. I was expecting a knowing wink and a smile, an indication that yes, young grasshopper, I have learned The Way of The Kashrus.

Instead, his eyes bugged out a bit, and in tones that showed he was attempting to remain calm despite an overwhelming desire to hit me with a kosher clue by four.

“You can’t do that,” he explained. “Even though you are right – all of that is essentially ‘protecting’ you, you can’t work with that in mind as your initial plan.”

Then he started talking about some girl named “Betty”. Her last name is Eved, I think. The upshot is that (according to this girl, I guess) if you do some of the stuff I mentioned above by accident it’s OK. But you can’t expect or plan to do it that way because all that happens is people (ie: me) push the limits just a bit further until you actually do mess up a commandment.

It’s clear that Betty dated guys like me in High School. Or maybe she had brothers.

Anyway, I got the point: no planning to make a mistake. My wife will be so pleased to hear that yet another loophole in my “live fast, kosher as you go” philosophy has been closed. In the meanwhile, I am sure I’m going to make legitimate mistakes, and that Betty and I will have a chance to become better acquainted.