A New Take on Ha”Tikvah”

The Fountainheads have a new video out for Yom HaAtzmaut – Israeli Independence Day:

If You Are Looking for a Great Passover Dessert….

I wanted a change from the chocolate mousse that I usually make for Passover, and I found this lemon mousse recipe on the internet. It came out really well, and it was a lot of fun making it using the lemons from our tree in the backyard.

I froze it – partly because I like the consistency better and partly because I had more room in the freezer than in the refrigerator. It came out like ice cream (not slushy like ices).  If you are looking for a great pareve (non-dairy) dessert and are willing to spend some time, this is a winner.

Breaking Free

To celebrate my finishing the Pesach cleaning, (kashering tomorrow and cooking Sunday and Monday) I thought I would share this video by the Fountainheads. Enjoy!

Just A Reminder

Just a reminder…..

Sisterhood Support

Now that Purim is behind us, Jewish women all over the world start what for some is a very stressful month – the time before Pesach (Passover). Some have known for a while where they will be for seder and some are just deciding now. Some have started to clean already and others are refusing to even think about it.

What we all have in common though, is the almost Pavlovian reaction to seeing another Jewish woman during this month – the inevitable question “what have you done so far for Pesach?”.

I’ve thought a lot about this situation, and I have come to the conclusion that what we are looking for when asking this question is not information (who really cares how your neighbor or friend does the cleaning?) but emotional support. What we really want to hear is that someone else is farther behind than where we think we ought to be at the given moment – so that we can feel less guilty about procrastinating, and less stressed out about the whole thing. After all, if Mrs. X has so much more to do than I do then surely I will be able to manage in the end. In addition, we also want to show off a bit, giving ourselves a pat on the back for whatever work we have done so far, and giving us further incentive to do more so we can brag again.

The main problem with the above scenario is that we don’t always hear what we want to hear. If your neighbor has done way more than you have then instead of the emotional support you are looking for you get a tremendous source of stress.

In addition, the conversation can take an insidious turn if we start to talk about what the other members of our family are doing to help. We all know women who are married to angels from heaven who not only know how to clean like professionals, but are willing to do this cleaning after long days of work, and do the cleaning EXACTLY as we would. Others have daughters – and sometimes sons, who are tremendously helpful and just live to ask “what more can I do to help, mom?” Most of us, of course, are married to wonderful but regular men who don’t exactly fit into this category, and have children who don’t think cleaning for Pesach is a top priority. Comparing our families is not only deadly for shalom bayit (peace in the home) but it almost always just adds to our anxiety and stress and feelings of jealousy.

What we should really be doing during this month is giving each other support. Asking “how are you doing” and responding that “yeah, this time of year is tough” and reminding each other that we somehow all get through it is what we really should be doing. I for one am going to give it a try this year. Who is with me?

Fun Videos for Chanukah

The Aish HaTorah site always has great stuff for the Jewish holidays. I especially like their videos for Chanukah.

Check out Chanukah songs throughout the ages – each generation and their own version of “rock of ages”.

For a more serious take on Chanukah, look at this video about Chanukah and greatness.

 

Shana Tova U’Mtuka to all of My Readers

I would like to wish a Shana Tova U’Mtuka (a good and sweet year) to all of my readers. Although the world situation, and perhaps your personal situation, may be going through changes and challenges, I always take comfort in the belief that the ruler of the world knows what he is doing, and things will eventually be all right. There may be some bumps in the road, but things always work out.

 

Let the Cheesecake Begin….

The holiday of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) is known for its emphasis on dairy foods, and many Israeli households feature cheesecake for dessert. We love dairy foods in our house, so I make sure to make lasagna, quiche, fish, and of course, cheesecake.

Since it is difficult to find cream cheese (not to mention how expensive it is) I decided to try my hand a few years ago with the Israeli type of cheesecake. The no-bake version features sweet whipping cream, gevina levana (soft white cheese), and pudding mix. I know, it sounds like something that you make in elementary school (which they do here too!) but it is delicious! Since graham crackers are impossible to find here, the cheesecake also features crushed up biscuits (cookies, for the Americans!) mixed with butter and milk and pressed into the pan to serve as the base and topping. Here is the recipe I have used for the past few years (which I got from a promotional booklet for Tnuva):

For the base of a 24 cm. springform pan and the topping:

100 grams vanilla biscuits (I use Gattegno Brothers, but you can use any Petit Beurre type cookie)

100 grams chocolate biscuits (see above)

125 grams melted butter

two tablespoons sugar (optional)

For the filling:

375 ml.( 1.5 containers) 32% sweet whipping cream

200 grams (1 container) 15% sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

50 grams instant vanilla pudding mix

500 grams 5% gevina levana

Put each type of biscuits  into a separate zip lock plastic bag and crush them into crumbs. Put the crumbs into a bowl and mix each with half of the melted butter and the sugar if using. You may want to add a bit of milk to enable you to press them into the bottom of the springform pan. Mix both types of cookies lightly. Put baking paper into the bottom of the springform pan and press 2/3 of the biscuit mixture into it. Put the pan into the freezer.

Whip the whipping cream, sour cream, sugar and instant pudding mix with a mixer until it comes together. Mix in the gevina levana gently. Put the whole mixture into the springform pan with the crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Jerusalem of Gold

Today we celebrate the unification of Jerusalem, which happened 45 years ago today. I couldn’t think of a better way (besides dancing in the streets of Jerusalem of course) to celebrate than by listening to the classic song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” – Jerusaelm of Gold. I found a video of Ofra Haza singing this, with English subtitles. Enjoy!

Joy

Where will you be next Sunday and what will you be doing? I don’t know what I will be doing, but I do know what my sons and thousands of others like them will be doing – dancing in joy.

Next week is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) – the 45th anniversary of when the IDF liberated divided Jerusalem and Jews could approach the holiest site in the world – the Kotel (the Western Wall) and Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount). Since then the Jews have been celebrating this day. I remember when I was a student here (back in 1982) I danced with the yeshiva students from Mercaz HaRav (the Rav Kook yeshiva) all the way from Kiryat Moshe to the Kotel.

Looking at the video from last year I get goosebumps, especially at the long shots of the huge crowds of dancers, with the circles in the middle. These pictures resemble those of the Israelis dancing on the eve of Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day). For some segments of society this joy might seem corny, but for those of us who are Dati-Leumi (national religious) it is real and uplifting.

Enjoy:

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