Gambling for Education and Retchene Latkes

To continue with the story of Chanukkah and latkes, Judea was eventually captured by the Romans. Some of the Roman rulers could care less about various religions of the occupied territories, or provinces, as long as the taxes were collected regularly and accurately. Some others, however, persecuted Jews relentlessly; Emperor Hadrian even earned the nickname “Destroyer of the…

Coconut Latkes Full of Light

On the second night of Chanukkah, two lights are on, spreading their warmth and glow throughout the house.  We use the old-fashioned olive oil and wicks, rather than candles, as it has been done since that original cruse of oil in the Temple that lasted for eight days (for explanation of Chanukkah miracle of oil, please see But Hannah…

But Hannah Did Not Have Potatoes! Latkes with a Tropical Twist.

Chanukkah is coming, and kids are looking forward to stuffing their faces with latkes – potato pancakes. When I was growing up, we had all kinds of latkes on Chanukkah, and sometimes my grandmother skipped the deruny (potato latkes) altogether because of the variety of other, more interesting ones: carrots with apples, zucchini with raisins, and my father’s favorite rechene (buckwheat) latkes. When a guest inquired about…

Get Your Game on With Chocolate Halva Balls

In honor of the World Cup – and for those of you, Beautiful People, who call it soccer, it’s FOOTBALL! – with all its surprising results and insane scores, we made chocolate halva balls at our Lasting Joy Club get-together – watch the videos here. Actually, according to http://www.sportsaspire.com, the word itself came from an abbreviation assoc. (Association of Football),…

Placinda – Flaky Pumpkin Pie

A prominent Rabbi picks up an apple, pronounces the appropriate blessing, and bites into it. One of his students also picks up an apple, mutters a blessing, and takes a bite. Then he stops and asks: “Rabbi, what is the difference between you and me eating an apple? We both say the same blessing, yet…

Sweet Rose of Thanks

This beautiful rose and a beautiful sentiment by Paolo Coelho are for all of you, Beautiful People, with all my love and best wishes for Thanksgiving! I also have a delicious sweet potato rose to grace your table with love and heartfelt promises. I have been asked to post “something new to do with sweet…

Smoking Turkey

This is not a mistake. It’s not smoked turkey; these are turkey cigars. You can’t smoke them, so you’ll have to eat them! They are pictured next to a real cigar, made by my husband’s boutique cigar company Senor Solomon Kosher Cigars. This unique cigar is 12 inches long, 70 gauge, and it’s called The Senor. Some…

Something Wild About That Turkey

Of all the silly infantile jokes, this one takes the cake (or a pumpkin pie, in this case): What did the turkey say when he saw a computer? “Google, google, google!” I guess that was a wild turkey who had never been introduced to a Publix freezer. But then, if we believe the story about…

Strong and Sweet: Poached Pears

Holidays are over, yet there is one more recipe for dessert that I usually serve on Shabbos Chol-ha-Moed (in the middle) of Sukkos. “For never was a story of more woeThan this of Juliet and her Romeo.” Do I really have to cite a source for this one? I’d rather have you enjoy the beginning…

Silver Chair, Polygamy, and Mount Sinai

Rabbi Gershom ben Yehuda, widely known as Rabbeinu (our teacher) Gershom, lived in 10th century. He can’t really be called a Renaissance man, since he pre-dated Renaissance by a couple of centuries, so let’s call him a pre-Renaissance man. Like some other medieval Jewish scholars, he was also a scientist, a mathematician, a physician, and as a…

Count Your Blessings – Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

The Holiday of Sukkos is called Zman Simchoseinu – The Time of Rejoicing.  We are commanded to rejoice for eight days, and to do it outside, open to elements. For the duration of this holiday, eight days, we dwell in the sukkah – a booth, or tent, erected outside. Some people actually sleep in the sukkah, but we only eat there. During this…