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Purim Pleasures Fit for a Queen (or a Jewish Princess!)

March 10, 2006, by

The quest for a recipe for Mohnlach began several weeks ago with a phone call from my mother’s cousin Roy. “Norene, maybe you can help me? I keep thinking about the poppy seed candy my mother used to make for Purim when I was a little boy. I thought if anyone would have the recipe,

A Williamsburg Purim

March 8, 2006, by

Purim is one of the most joyous holidays of the Jewish calendar. On the 14th of Adar we celebrate a heroic victory over those out to destroy us, by recounting how in ancient Persia a plot to annihilate the Jews was thwarted by Esther and Mordechai. Among traditional observances, dressing up in costumes and masks

The Wandering Purim Pie

March 8, 2006, by

The story of Purim is a tale of venahafoch hu – things turning around and about and turning out, much to everyone’s surprise, just right. Things like that happen nowadays too. It was late one Friday afternoon on erev Purim… “Hello, Ima? Are you finished in the kitchen yet? Can I come over for a

A Tu B’Shevat Prayer

February 8, 2006, by

Sometimes I think I’ve been endowed with an overabundance of feelings. Things often seem to affect me more deeply than they do other people. I used to think this heightened sensitivity was a blessing, a gift to be treasured, but lately I’m beginning to have my doubts. It often seems to bring more suffering than

The Ancient Infant Within Us

October 11, 2005, by

You and I know what it’s like, because we’re both human: the sense of innocence, and of having been wronged. The keen desire to craft some put-down that will diminish the other person as he has diminished us, to put him back down and ourselves back up; to restore our dignity as it must be

What If?

September 30, 2005, by

What if the shofar sounded last week, last month, last year? And what if we slept right through it? We all have moments when we feel something deep within our hearts and souls. When the core of our being tells us that something is so. Tells us we must do something, and do it now,

Ki Tavo: Selichot Prior to Rosh HaShana – Part One

January 18, 2005, by

The custom of reciting selichot (penitential prayers) in the days preceding Rosh HaShana is quite ancient, and is mentioned already in the early Rishonim. The custom of the Sephardim, as mentioned in Shulchan Arukh (OC 581), is to recite selichot from the beginning of Elul; the Rema adds that the custom of the Ashkenazim is

Shoftim: Confusing the Accuser – Part One

January 18, 2005, by

A theme which we encounter repeatedly in the mitzvah of Shofar is “confusing the accuser” (Satan). For instance: The Gemara tells us that we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana both sitting and standing “in order to confuse the accuser” (Rosh Hashana 16b). In the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon and in Machzor Vitry, this