Showing posts with label Kiddish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kiddish. Show all posts

September 12, 2019

What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What's Your Fantasy Synagogue."
We all go to synagogues that we like in some ways and don’t like in others, but have you ever thought about what your fantasy synagogue would be like if you could make one?Last Shabbat, we were invited for lunch by some wonderful friends who had been sports writers, and the topic of fantasy football came up, where people compete for coming up with the best team by picking their own players and forming their ideal team. I said, half jokingly, wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing with synagogues and pick the best aspects of each and make an ideal house of worship for ourselves where we could pray, learn, grow, and experience holiness and community. 
In the article, I detail "the best of the best" when it comes to synagogues and the ultimate ideal synagogue is of course, in the coming of the Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 30, 2018

Preparing Simchat Torah Dinner



















It was great going to Magen David Synagogue today to help prepare for the big Simchat Torah Dinner tomorrow night. 

First, we started with great ingredients.

Then all the prep.


The cleaning, slicing, dicing, mixing, laying it all out, and braising.

Then the cooking--stovetop, and oven.

And before you know, it comes out all done and ready for the scrumptious shul dinner to honor the Torahs.

I want to thank all the women and men that helped out today and many other times to prepare.

But especially, I want to call out Naomi Elimelech who coordinates everything and is the brains behind all the delicious and healthy food. 

She and her husband, Itzik, who is also the President of the synagogue, are truly wonderful, caring, and giving people and a role model for all of us--and it's not just the cooking!

B'tayavon everyone and Chag Sameach!  ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 22, 2015

Synagogue Time

So this is an interesting new phenomenon with synagogue. 

Usually, we like to go a little later so that basically we are there for about an hour and a half of services. 

That's about my attention span and then I start to get claustrophobic and antsy. 

(BTW, some friends that go to Church told me that they have the same experience.)

But the last two weeks something changed...(no, not me). 

Last week in Maryland, we went to synagogue and the people were standing in front with the Ark open and I thought wow they are way ahead and are finished with Torah reading and are putting the Torahs away already. 

But after a moment, I realized they were only just taking out the Torahs for the weekly reading, and we were actually earlier than usual. 

When I inquired in synagogue why they were behind schedule, I learned that to get people there for more of the services, they had decided to start later. 

Ah, it's a trick!

This week in Florida, I went to the Chabad shule and we were running late (hey, it's vacation) about 10:45 and thought shule would almost be over, but they were just in the morning prayers still, and there wasn't even a minyan yet.  

Two places, two synagogues, two weeks and they are changing the start times...

Seems smart from their perspective to try and get people there and for more of the services, but for the people who just want to come for a certain amount or parts of the service, isn't this just going to cause people to come even later in an endless cat and mouse game. 

Start later, come later, start later, come later...

I'm no Rabbi, but how about a serious focused service--ONE solid hour (plus)--full of REAL kavanah (concentration), meaning, and sincerity, and everyone comes on time?

Start on time, come on time--really pray (no talking please)!

And still plenty of time for socializing and bonding after services at the yummy Kiddish. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Brian Smithson)
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August 11, 2015

Cholent Stew - Not Just A Game

So I can't believe they actually made a "strategy card game" about cholent. 

The only strategy that I know of with cholent is to make it hot, goopy, meaty, and savory. 

Cholent is a beef stew typically eaten for Shabbat lunch. 

Basic ingredients: beans, barely, potatoes, fatty fanken meat, sometimes a kishka is thrown in, onions and other veggies, salt, pepper, and lots of savory spices. 

Usually it cooks in a crock pot overnight. 

The sephardim call this dish Hamin (instead of cholent) and typically put in some hard-boiled eggs as well. 

With cholent, you can essentially throw in the kitchen sink as long as it add to the heartiness and flavor of the dish. 

Eating cholent is such a tradition that it is almost considered a special mitzvah to do it. Ah, would that make it commandment #614? 

When cholent is served at the kiddish (the meal after Shabbat services in synagogue), it is usually the highlight where everybody gathers around with big laddles to dig in and get the nice portions of meat bopping around in the stew or often sunken to the very bottom to be found and surfaced by the lucky lunch patrons. 

In New York, my friends used to have a running joke that there was a secret ingredient the Rebetzin used to make it so good--what it was, all bets were on. 

The biggest problem with cholent are the loads of beans ("the musical food") and the most unpleasant odor-filled aftereffects--and of this we will not speak again! 

What type of game can you play with cholent? You can probably just toot out the answer when you're ready. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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