What it means to be Jewish — in a star spangled leotard!

Learning, Laughter & Light!

Aly Raisman’s gold medal has taken on more symbolism than she might ever have imagined.

So I happen to be the Interim Director of Education at one of the Newton synagogues that DIDN’T win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics!

Mazel Tov to Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman, whose family belongs to Temple Beth Avodah in Newton Centre, Mass., for bringing home two golds and a bronze for the USA. (Rabbi Keith Stern sums up our community’s collective joy here).

To borrow the lexicon of that popular Passover ditty, Dayeinu, it would have been enough to just know that the girl on the Olympic podium was American…

… and it would have been enough to swell us with pride to know she was — bonus! — from nearby Needham, Massachusetts.

… and Dayeinu, Aly also happens to be a mensch who grew up at Beth Avodah…

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Seeing the world through Jewish eyes: Hoover Dam & Microsoft Office

Learning, Laughter & Light!

As the 3-D glasses in my blog masthead will attest, I can’t help but look at the world through Jewish eyes 24/7.

This is a snapshot my husband took of the stylish safety railing that keeps pedestrians safe at the Hoover Dam.  He immediately thought of a menorah and so did I.  Although, depending on where you crop the picture, there could be too many or two few candleholders.

This is not one of those ambiguous Rorschach tests where someone sees the Virgin Mary in a parking lot oil slick or Hello Kitty in a piece of burnt toast. The candelabra is obviously there.

I often think of Stars of David when I see Sheriff’s badges and Jewish stars frequently pop out when I stare at tile floors and the tops of diner salt-and-pepper shakers.

Does this ever happen to you?  Where are some of the unlikeliest spots you…

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Italian Easter Wheat Pie (Pastiera di Grano)

Judy's Culinaria

Easter morning was one of the most exciting days of the year when I was growing up. After the baskets were opened and we attended church services (in our new Easter clothes), we drove up to North Jersey to visit my grandmother and have Easter dinner with my mom’s family. I remember driving by Italian pastry shops and seeing lines of customers out the door waiting to pick up Easter specialties, particularly wheat or rice pies. They are also know as Pastiera or Torta di Grano, a southern Italian dessert. For those who may not be familiar with wheat pie, it is a ricotta cheesecake, encased in a sweet pie crust (pasta frolla) that contains wheat and is traditionally flavored with citrus. The pies I have tasted are flavored with orange flower water (available at Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets). You can use rice in place of…

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What the First Words of the Torah, New Testament and Quran Say About their Religions

In a God Who Could Dance...

As I was reading through the Quran earlier I noticed a beautiful trend of relationships that all three religions seem to emphasize, or at very least can be teased out, from the very first words they use in their texts.  I invite my various religious friends and everyone else who reads this to give me their own understandings (disagreeing or agreeing with me) on these key introductions.  Let me start in the order they are written.

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The Torah – Bereshit, בראשית, is the first book of the Torah and called Genesis in English.  The very name comes from the first concept expressed in the book: “In The Beginning.”  However, the first few words I’d like to look at now are “In the beginning God created.”  This is the full meaning of the English term ‘genesis,’ which implies

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M.A. Vukcevic: Earthquakes and Geomagnetic Storms

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Regular contributor M.A. Vukcevic has kindly given permission to reproduce some ongoing research which will be of interest to people learning about earthquakes and their precursor indicators. Vukcevic states:
“the tb’s talkshop does not take any responsibility either for statements or data presented.
Please note that there are number of the geomag parameters which I have not labelled, in case I decide they are no longer relevant, or if pattern does hold for some time I might be able to publish results.”

EARTHQUAKES  AND  GEOMAGNETIC  STORMS
This is an ongoing ‘live’ project (started on 02/03/2011, prompted by the N. Zealand earthquake) to establish if there is a link between the geomagnetic activity (magnetic storms) and acceleration of the earthquake’s occurrence. It is not claimed that geomagnetic storm is a primary cause of any earthquake. However if conditions for an earthquake are ‘ripe’, then solar storm could be a trigger (not the…

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Preserving Salmon Three Ways

Lost Arts Kitchen

Growing up in Maryland, I didn’t eat much salmon; we were white fish and blue crab people. I’ve been slowly learning, with help from my husband the fisherman, about when the different salmon runs happen here in Oregon and up in Alaska, how to cut up whole fish, and how to cook and preserve them. I still confuse king and chinook, silver and coho*, and could use more practice with a fillet knife, but I daresay I’m getting the preserving bit down.

Smoking

Last summer, members of our buying club bought shares in a salmon CSF (community supported fishery) from Iliamna Seafood Co. Each share included 22 pounds of sockeye salmon fillets. Sockeye assertively flavored and the second oiliest of the salmon (king/chinook is the oiliest), making it an excellent fish for smoking, which is just what we did.

Smoking is a preservation technique used for centuries by people living…

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