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Nearly a year and a half ago, my family of four attended a local Jewish community Rosh Hashanah event. There were other young families there, and my three year old had a blast petting chickens, sampling different flavors of honey, and forgetting about her pesky newborn brother for a few minutes. As is often the case at events like this, my wife and I could clearly see we were the only queer family in attendance.
While our children were too young to observe family dynamics at the time, there would be a time in the near future when they will begin to notice being the only family in the room with two moms. I schmoozed with the event coordinator and heard about the great programming for Jewish families. I asked, “Why are we the only gay family here? What have you done to reach out to other LGBTQ families?” The answer I got took me by surprise. She asked, “Why do Jewish LGBTQ families need a special invitation? Everyone is welcome at all of our events.”
Why do we need a special invitation?
That question stuck with me. Since having children, I have felt compelled to seek out other LGBTQ Jewish families. Rather than looking for an invitation to be included in other programming, why not create community programming that celebrates families that are queer and Jewish? Why not create spaces where my children can see their experience reflected in other families?
Eighteen months later, as Keshet’s Families with Young Children Coordinator, I am doing just that. I work to create spaces for queer, Jewish families to come together to celebrate, to learn, to build community and make connections with one another and the Jewish community. I am delighted that, at every event, I meet at least two or three new families who have also been seeking these experiences for themselves and for their children. Keshet and PJ Library, our funder, have empowered me to bring together so many of these families who otherwise may not have crossed paths. I am excited every day to meet new people, build connections, and expand a growing network of families like mine who are full of queer, Jewish pride.
This post is sponsored by Jewish National Fund.
It’s Tu Bishvat – the birthday of the trees! And we are celebrating again this year with the folks at Jewish National Fund and a unique, Moroccan braised chicken recipe made with three different kinds of dried fruit and fragrant turmeric and cinnamon. This recipe actually comes to us from Mas’uda Swissa who was born in Casablanca, Morocco and immigrated to Israel in 1963.
The seven species celebrated during Tu Bishvat actually comes straight from the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes (or wine), olives (or olive oil), pomegranates, dates and figs. It is traditional in some communities to host a Tu Bishhvat seder, where these foods are enjoyed as part of a Passover-like seder.
No matter how you celebrate the holiday, this easy braised chicken is savory, sweet and perfect to serve for a table of your loved ones. Watch our short video below.
The post Moroccan Braised Chicken with Dried Fruit for Tu Bishvat appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
To take a step back for just a second, harissa is a North African condiment made from chilies, peppers, herbs, oil and a variety of other ingredients depending on the region, family, etc. I have made my own, but I have also fallen madly in love with NY Shuk harissa, which is way easier and more delicious than making my own. (You can read more about harissa here). Harissa is very popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Moroccan, Tunisian and other Jews of North African descent. As Israeli food has gained a following in America, it’s a condiment that is increasingly easy to find: I have seen it gracing the shelves of Shop Rite, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods.
I made an enormous batch of these meatballs for a recent shindig we hosted, and there was not one meatball left over afterwards, so I figured they might be a hit. For the party I served them with toothpicks, refreshing the platter as the evening went on. But I have also served these on top of a bed of freshly fluffed couscous and a little extra fresh herbs for a satisfying, but not too heavy, dinner.
These can be made the night before, and they reheat very well on the stove over low heat.
Have you always wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t know how to get started?
In addition to the myriad editions of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanach) available in book form, the entire Bible can be read in Hebrew and English on Sefaria, an online resource that enables users to search by keyword and provides links to commentaries and other related materials. Below, we outline the contents of the Bible, with links to our articles about each section.
Along with the numerous articles linked to throughout this guide, the following provide some general information about the Bible, its origins, scholarship on it and the Jewish tradition of commentary.
The Torah is divided into the five books below, and each book is divided into about 10 portions. There are 54 portions in total, which are traditionally read one a week over an annual cycle. To find out this week’s portion, check My Jewish Learning’s homepage. We also have an index page devoted to each portion, which includes a detailed summary, quiz and multiple commentaries.
Each week a reading from the Prophets, called a Haftarah, is read after the Torah reading. Each Torah portion is paired with a specific Haftarah, which is listed on My Jewish Learning’s page for that portion.
Many of the books, or chapters, in Ketuvim, are associated with Jewish holidays, when they are read. In these cases, the holiday is listed in parentheses after the book name below.
On January 5, my mother’s family gathered in Columbia, Missouri, to remember my grandmother, Gerry Barkovitz, who had died two days before after a brief respiratory illness. Although the funeral service and memorial reception provided us the opportunity to say goodbye, most of us had already done so, to some extent. We had lost Gerry slowly, over fifteen years, as Alzheimer’s disease chipped away at her memory, her social skills, and her personal identity.
As we dealt with our feelings of loss, gratitude and relief, we looked through old family photographs, read letters that Gerry had written and received, and shared stories about her. More than one of us expressed the hope that, with Gerry’s long decline finally ended, we could start to remember her as she had been before the illness. For me, as both her grandson and also a historian of the Jewish South, commemorating Gerry means recalling her individual story, as well as her role in the Jewish community of northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel, and the resonance of her personal experiences with a generation of Jewish women in the rural South.
Geraldine Lee Robinson was born in 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Arthur and Bess Robinson. Her parents were East European Jewish immigrants, and she grew up in a largely Jewish milieu. Gerry married Noah Barkovitz in 1947, and the couple moved to the small town of Hayti, Missouri, where his family owned a small clothing store. In Hayti, Gerry became the bookkeeper for the family business, raised two daughters, excelled as a homemaker and hostess, and contributed to the local Jewish community, which was centered around Temple Israel in nearby Blytheville, Arkansas. She was an avid reader who kept up with arts and culture, tuning in to public broadcasting and making frequent trips to the larger cities of St. Louis and Memphis.
As a grandmother she was attentive to our interests, generous with gifts, and slightly irreverent. She always used to say that she knew she would love her grandkids but was thrilled that she liked us all too.
When Gerry moved down to Hayti, the local Jewish community was still growing. The Blytheville-based congregation completed construction on its synagogue the year that she was married, and a cohort of baby-boom children soon enrolled in its small religious school. The women played instrumental roles in congregational life: cooking for holidays, administering and teaching in the Sunday school, coordinating the music for services, and hosting visiting rabbinical students in their homes. Several of the most active women of Gerry’s generation became close friends, eventually referring to themselves as the MALTs (middle-aged ladies of the temple). Several members of this group had grown up or spent time in cities with large Jewish populations, and their shared ethnic background and cosmopolitan aspirations fostered decades-long friendships that often ran deeper than their relationships with non-Jewish neighbors.
Although Temple Israel’s membership peaked by the late 1950s and began to decline in earnest in the 1970s, my grandparents’ cohort kept the congregation open until 2003, when only a handful of members remained. Annabelle Imber Tuck, a younger woman who knew the congregation well remarked that, “When the temple closed, in that last few months… there was such a sense of grief with the women. It was like breaking up a family.” Noah and Gerry moved from their home in Hayti to a retirement community in Columbia the following spring. Gerry’s short-term memory had started to fade, and they needed to be closer to my parents.
After Gerry’s funeral, while our family exchanged memories of my grandparents, the family store, and the Blytheville temple, I reflected on the historical phenomena that Gerry’s life reflected. She belonged to a quickly vanishing generation of American Jews that, although born in the United States, grew up in a Yiddish-inflected world and heard firsthand about East European Jewish life from their immigrant parents. Furthermore, her postwar experiences as a Jewish woman from an urban center who moved to a small, southern town parallelled the stories of other women, not only from Gerry’s own community, but from across the South.
The ISJL’s Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities and our oral history collection are full of such stories. In their roles as wives, mothers, congregational leaders, and civic volunteers, women like Gerry enlivened smaller Jewish communities and, in many cases, worked diligently to promote education, progressive politics, and arts and culture in towns and cities throughout the region.
Due to the nature and duration of Gerry’s illness, her passing did not evoke a sharp sense of grief for me. She used to remark, after all, that everyone should have access to a quick and easy death, and she would have been furious to witness her own decline. So, even as I acknowledge my family’s loss, I am able to feel a great deal of gratitude and love at the same time. This has become an occasion for remembering and celebrating, not only Gerry’s individual life, but also the life of her Jewish community and the slice of southern Jewish history that it represents.
May her memory be a blessing. זיכרונה לברכה
The inherent drama of the Holocaust lends itself, too easily, to bad filmmaking. The less-talented filmmaker relies on tropes so well-worn that what might be a compelling and complex narrative comes out, instead, as flat, even offensive. It’s why there are so many bad Holocaust films — Hollywood productions that wind up delimiting naturalism, reducing real-live people to archetypes and going for cheap emotional manipulation.
With all that said, the excellent Holocaust films, the truly must-sees, transcend ratings. They have humanist aspirations, tell stories that need to be told, and do so in the affecting and often brutal ways of high art.
You’ll find few clichés in the films below — only power and feeling and nuance. Unlike Life is Beautiful, The Pianist or Steven Spielberg’s inescapable Schindler’s List, these are films you might not know about. But trust us: They are dramas that shouldn’t be missed.
Winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Polish filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski’s masterpiece Ida ranks as one of the greatest Holocaust—or otherwise—films of all time. Ida, which takes place in 1962, is the story of Ida, an orphan raised by nuns, who learns that she is, in fact, a Jew. Together with her aunt, her only remaining relative, Ida searches for the truth about her past, leading her, in lush, gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, to realizations better left buried.
On the strength of Rod Steiger’s earthshaking performance, this Sidney Lumet tour-de-force was the first American film to depict the horrors of the Holocaust as they manifested after the war was over—and still remains perhaps the greatest. Steiger is Sol Nazerman, a former university professor who survived the camps after losing his two children and wife. Years later, Nazerman owns and runs a pawn shop in Harlem, where he has become an abject misanthrope, emotionally numb and ruthlessly unsympathetic—until, finally, he snaps. In the annals of survivor depictions, nothing touches Steiger’s grandest achievement.
German filmmaker Christian Petzold’s modern film noir is an undertaking of breathless beauty and duplicity. Starring Nina Hoss as Nelly, a survivor rendered unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, Phoenix is the story of Nelly’s search for her husband, a lout who may have been the one who betrayed her to the Nazis. Petzold indulges in some of the genre’s well-trod tropes, but his attention to Nelly’s psychology, a survivor plopped back into a world that would prefer to ignore than remember, is more than commendable. And the ending simply devastates.
Nothing will be the same after Son of Saul. Hungarian director László Nemes’ debut, the film is a day in the life of Saul Ausländer, a member of the Sonderkommando — a unit of Jews forced to aid in the killing of other Jews — at Auschwitz. Shot mostly over-the-shoulder, or in very-blurry close-up, the film depicts the mundane horrors of Ausländer’s work — salvaging valuables, removing corpses from the gas chambers and scrubbing the floors — with an unflinching chill. Even without the exceptional work of Géza Röhrig as Saul, a first-time actor and poet, this winner of the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film film would be formidable.
Ferenc Török’s recent film begins on a summer day in 1945, when an Orthodox Jew and his son get off a train in a tiny Hungarian village. This doesn’t bode well for the villagers, who are worried their community’s deported Jews will come back to reclaim the property and possessions stolen from them.Quiet, subtle, and fair, 1945 is a very different kind of film.
Released a year after Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, this French film approaches the Holocaust in much the same way: as a cocktail of slapstick and tragedy. Whereas Benigni’s film controversially suggests that optimism trumps Nazism, director Radu Mihaileanu’s Train of Life treats the fictional, hilarious tale of an entire shtetl’s escape from Europe as exactly what it has to be: a complete, utter, devastating farce.
Based on a true story, this film follows Solomon Perel, a young German Jew who survives the Holocaust by falling in with the Nazis and posing as a non-Jewish translator. Though the film’s desire for verisimilitude renders it silly at times — there are many coincidences, tricks of fate, that test patience — the story of Perel is simply too bizarre and too extraordinary to be missed.
With the growth of #MeToo and deeper conversations about how we act and talk ethically in general, the question of character has once again become a critical question for us. How good are we? And how do we become better?
Philosopher Christian Miller has been studying this question for years, and recently published the book The Character Gap: How Good Are We? In a review of the book, Mark Moring explains this “character gap” as follows:
[M]ost of us think we’re basically good, honest, trustworthy people. But we’re kidding ourselves. We all have serious character flaws that most of us don’t even recognize in ourselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you or I are bad people, but just indicates that there’s a “character gap” between how good we think we are, and how good we really are.
“The pressing question thus emerges—how can we become better people?” Miller writes. “What can we do so that gradually over time our children, our friends, and we ourselves are close to being virtuous than we are now?
How, in other words, can we bridge the character gap?
The book outlines several strategies (many of which use both science and religion), but there is one that is particularly effective and deeply consonant with Jewish practice. As one way to become a better person in 2018, Miller suggests that we use “moral reminders.” As he notes:
We usually know the right thing to do, but we get ourselves into trouble when we don’t pay attention to it in the moment. A note on the bathroom mirror, to tell the truth, can help. Or an automated text message to think about what someone else is going through. Studies have found, for instance, that recalling the Ten Commandments eliminated cheating that otherwise would have been rampant on a test.
In other words, use ritual. We all use rituals to help us remember to do things, and they have both instrumental and inherent value. Many parents have bedtime rituals, for example — in my family, specifically, it’s brush teeth, bath, pajamas, and then snuggle for some reading and singing (“books and bed,” we call it). It both cues them for sleep and also allows us to end the day with deep closeness.
But another ritual extends to an ethical element. On Shabbat, we give tzedakah right before we light the candles. It reminds us that we need give to others, and the ritual of Shabbat cues us. We love the hugs and kisses on Shabbat, we love the light that exudes from the candles, and we love the feeling Shabbat brings to us. But it also gives us built-in tools to help us ensure that we try to act morally.
Many liberal Jews love the ethical teachings of Judaism but feel uneasy towards ritual. If we truly want to bridge the character gap, however, we shouldn’t ignore the tools that exist right in front of us. Instead, let’s try to live by the words of the late Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, who told us “ritualize the ethical and ethicize the ritual.”
If we can do that, perhaps we can truly become the people we wish to be.
The post Jewish Ritual Can Help Us Bridge the Character Gap appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
The thing about Los Angeles is that in this enormous metropolis each part of town is like its own city with its own culture, and often each area is known for its own dominant types of ethnic food. LA has a huge Jewish population, and there are many pockets of the city with great Jewish and Israeli food. But for years on the Eastside of LA, which includes neighborhoods like Silverlake, Echo Park and Los Feliz, there’s been a noticeable absence of Jewish food. No good bagels, matzah ball soup or pastrami. The tide has recently shifted, and seemingly all at once Jewish food is everywhere around here… and it’s some of the best in the city. Maybe it’s because there’s been an influx of New Yorkers moving to Silverlake and Echo Park, or maybe it’s because there is a very real Jewish food renaissance happening across the country, or maybe it’s just long overdue and our time has finally come. Whatever the reason, as a longtime Eastsid resident, I’ll happily take it.
If you’re a Los Angeleno, or if you’re a New Yorker visiting Los Angeles, then at some point you’ve probably found yourself talking about LA’s lack of good bagels. Carb-phobic Los Angeles will likely never have the range and scope of what’s available on the East Coast, but a few folks are changing the West Coast’s bagel game, and at the top of that list is Jason Maury Kaplan of Maury’s Bagels. Jason is an East Coast native who moved to LA in 2004 and couldn’t believe the state of bagel affairs. Ten years after moving the problem still hadn’t been solved, and so he set out to fix it.
Jason’s bagels are so good they rival any good bagel from any geographic location. They have that perfect crisp impossibly shiny shell, revealing strong, but not too dense, dough with good chew. Each bagel, from plain to za’atar-topped, is full of flavor. I’m especially a fan of the jalapeno cheddar, which places thin disks of hot pepper on a generously cheese-encrusted bagel. Maury’s Bagels are so good you don’t even need cream cheese to enjoy them. But, why would you have a dry bagel (ever) if you could have arguably the best whitefish bagel on the West Coast? The perfectly seasoned tender whitefish tops a layer of good quality cream cheese, and then paper-thin cucumber slices finish the sandwich off. You can find Maury’s Bagels at its Saturday pop-up at Dinosaur Coffee, on Sunday at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, and thankfully it’s opening up a brick-and-mortar space in Silverlake this coming year.
Address: 4334 Sunset Blvd
LA is known for housing some of its best restaurants in humble strip malls. At one such unassuming strip mall on Sunset Blvd, smack dab between L.A.’s Eastside hipster meccas of Silverlake and Echo Park, Freedman’s recently opened up shop. Entering this modern Jewish restaurant feels like walking onto the set of Mad Men. Actually, my first time at Freedman’s a commercial was being filmed inside the restaurant, which added to the surreal Hollywood feeling of the place. Freedman’s decor features a rich mahogany wood bar and matching built-ins, marble tabletops and tasteful floral wallpaper. The interior feels straight out of the 1950s, but the menu harks even further back to the food of our Ashkenazi grandparents. While the menu features kippered salmon, veal tongue, dishes topped with chicken skin and other old-school classics of Eastern European culinary Jewishness, it also enthusiastically leads familiar family dishes into the present with touches like nasturtium flower topping a lox bagel, a latke waffle and sweetbread schnitzel.
Freedman’s house-made pastrami sandwich is without reproach, but the standout of this restaurant is its matzah ball soup. The broth tastes rich, like it’s been made with many fresh chickens and simmered carefully for hours on the stove, in contrast to the often yellow-shaded powdered bouillon-made broth one encounters at other delis that shall remain nameless. The matzah balls are pleasingly small, light and tender with an agreeable amount of chew, and they are almost unnervingly perfectly round. The soup gets served for two in a dish that could easily have come from your bubbe’s house. On the topic of bagels, credit has to be given to Freedman’s for what it’s making in-house. Its bagel is Toronto-style. The owners come from Canada, and they reference Toronto’s legendary Gryfe’s bagels as their inspiration. They make a bagel that is a cross between New York and Montreal-style: not too big, not too dense, not too airy and just right. Freedman’s is brand new, and it’s still getting into the swing of things, and seemingly also adjusting to the vibe of the neighborhood. But this is definitely a spot I will happily return to, preferably after a long day when I can sit at its beautiful bar, have a martini, and transport myself to another time and place.
Address: 2619 Sunset Blvd
If you hate long lines, or sitting outside on stools precariously placed alongside a steep hill, and if you prefer menus to be printed on nice paper as opposed to scribbled on stained paper bags, this is not the place for you. If, however, you have been craving an authentic creamy hummus, one that gets topped with a rainbow of pickled vegetables and served with a good chunk of earthy seeded bread for dunking, then you will not be disappointed. MhZh is the Israeli-inspired spot that’s been missing on the Eastside of LA. Even though it’s missing vowels, this restaurant’s name is pronounced “mah zay.” Hebrew speakers will immediately recognize this as the phrase for “what’s that?” or “what is it?” Chef Conor Shemtov grew up in LA, but his father is Israeli, and he had lots of exposure to great Israeli food growing up.
MhZh fits right into the aesthetic of its neighborhood, but it equally feels like it could exist in the heart of Tel Aviv. The restaurant sits on a busy corner with lots of pedestrian traffic. The building is brick with large windows on each side, and most of the seating is located outdoors. The plates are all shareable, the vibe is exceedingly casual with a hint of unattainably cool, and the food is outstanding. There’s the must-have lamb ragout; spiced ground cooked lamb in a velvety sauce that is the definition of savory, and is instantly comforting. Then there’s the stunning grilled beets with their sweet earthiness, complemented by thick, tangy, creamy labne, and topped with crunchy roasted hazelnut. Another favorite for me is MhZh’s unique lemony charred potato wedges, which are crisped, creamy and smoky. The prices are affordable for the style and quality of the food, and if you snag a table on the hillside right before sunset, your plates will get perfectly lit by the golden-hour glow. In that moment, you might feel a deep connection between Southern California and the land of Israel, and the fresh, flavorful, light, food of both places.
Address: 3536 Sunset Blvd
Honorable Eastside mentions:
Belle’s Bagels, a one-of-a-kind bagel shop in Highland Park selling its bagels out of a takeout window. Its bagels stand out in their quality, and are made as much as possible with organic and local ingredients
Dune, located in Atwater Village, elevates falafel with its unique style of this Israeli favorite. Dune’s falafel is made with house-made flatbread and pickles, a shoestring potato topping, and marinated cabbage and onion.
Kismet, a new take on Middle East food by two notable young Jewish chefs with a fresh, modern menu.
The post Where to Find the Most Instagram-Worthy Jewish Food in Los Angeles appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
Winter is citrus season. The sweetest and juiciest oranges, lemons and grapefruits appear in stores just when we seem to need them the most. What could be more welcome on a gray January day than a sunny burst of vitamin C from your favorite citrus fruit?
Not only are citrus fruits delicious and healthy, but they also have a long association with the Jewish people. Humans have cultivated citrus fruits, which originally came from south and east Asia, for thousands of years. Indeed, we Jews are aware, if perhaps unconsciously, of the ancient connection between humans and citrus fruits because of how we celebrate the festival of Sukkot. An etrog — which in botanical terms is an ancient citrus variety known as a citron — is an essential part of that holiday observance. While the Bible does not mention the etrog by name, the citron was identified as the required “fruit of the goodly tree” as early as the second century B.C.E.
As Jews began to spread out into the Diaspora during the late Roman Empire, they had to ensure that, come autumn, they could still find a perfect etrog to use for this important religious observance. Thus, one of the many agricultural activities these settlers engaged in was cultivating citrons. (Interestingly, these early centers of Jewish population coincide with continued areas of citrus production in the Mediterranean today: southern Spain, Sicily and Calabria in Italy, the Nile Delta, the Levant and Algeria.) Many scholars attribute the continued cultivation of citrus fruits in Europe following the collapse of the Roman empire, and the ensuing chaos, to Jewish horticulturists whose need for the fruit was undiminished.
The cultivation of other citrus species was a byproduct of these early Jewish settlers’ need for citron. Almost all citrus varieties are sexually compatible with one another, and they are highly prone to mutation. Such traits allowed their genes to mix naturally for thousands of years and made it feasible for humans to cross-breed the different varieties. Indeed, just about every citrus fruit you have ever seen comes from just three ancestors: the citron, the pomelo and the mandarin.
From the 10th century onward, citron trees served as grafting stock for other kinds of citrus. By the end of the 13th century, fruits that we would recognize as oranges and lemons were widely grown in the land of Israel and by the next century Jewish merchants, through their contacts in the Levant began importing them to Italy.
Thus began the long association between Jews and the citrus trade in the eyes of Europeans. Starting in the Middle Ages, Jewish merchants traveled from the Mediterranean to northern and eastern Europe with citrons to sell to their brothers and sisters living in colder climes. This led to a thriving trade in all kinds of citrus, not merely etrogs, and not only to Jewish customers. Italian Jewish traders who settled in Germany used their contacts to import citrus from the Mediterranean to sell to any customers who could afford the high price. In 18th-century England, Jewish peddlers were known to specialize in citrus fruits.
Beginning in the 19th century, Zionist rabbis and other Jewish leaders began encouraging their followers to seek out citrons grown in Palestine instead of those grown around the Mediterranean. This was due in part to anti-Jewish riots on the Greek island of Corfu where many of the citrons destined for northern Europe were grown. Today, of course, Israeli farmers continue to grow and export citrus — more to Europe than to the United States, which has its own robust citrus industry — especially the famous Jaffa orange, which in the 1950s and ’60s was a symbol of pride for the young nation.
So, when you peel a perfect round orange or squeeze some lemon into your tea this winter, know that it is in large part due to the efforts of Jewish farmers and merchants from centuries ago that today we enjoy such a wide variety of citrus fruits.
In that spirit, at this bountiful time of year, do not limit yourselves to the familiar lemons, limes and navel oranges. Explore the whole range of citrus fruits from blood oranges and Key limes to Meyer lemons, pomelos and kumquats. Your local grocery store should have a wide variety of these novel citrus fruits available through March. Here is a guide to some of the best of winter citrus for your enjoyment.
Blood orange: There are three types — Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello — with a flavor that ranges from tart to semi-sweet depending on the type and season. Named for the deep, beet red color of their flesh, blood oranges are usually smaller than navel oranges and have a dimpled peel. Because of its unique color, the blood orange is often incorporated into recipes, from cocktails to preserves.
Cara Cara: Chefs love this pink-fleshed navel orange. It’s slightly sweeter and less acidic than a regular orange and has a very delicate berry flavor. Use this variety in place of oranges in any recipe or add them to a citrus salad for extra color and brightness.
Seville sour orange: This variety is sometimes called the bitter orange and commonly used in the production of marmalade. The Seville is tart and grown throughout the Mediterranean, but can be hard to find in the U.S. It’s also the a key ingredient in the orange-flavored liqueur Triple Sec.
Meyer Lemons: This lemon-orange hybrid is the darling of the citrus world. Its rind is a vibrant, deep yellow and has a strongly perfumed, almost herbal aroma. Its flesh is darker in color than a regular lemon and more sweet than tart, which means you can use the raw segments in a salad, much like an orange or grapefruit. Delicious in baked goods, marmalade or lemon curd.
Key Limes: Smaller than its cousin, the Persian lime, the Key lime is particularly juicy and acidic. It has a smooth rind, a greenish-yellow color when ripe and lots of seeds. Key limes have a distinctive aroma and taste which make them a favorite of bakers everywhere. Of course, pie is what Key limes are best known for, but you can substitute Key lime juice in any lime recipe for a fresh twist.
Pomelos: Often the size of bowling balls, pomelos can look intimidating. The rind can range in color from yellow to green, and the pulp can be white, pink, or somewhere in between. The pith is very thick, so it’s best to cut away as much of the rind and pith as you can first before peeling away at its segments. Think of the taste of a pomelo as akin to a mild grapefruit—sweet and without bitterness. Pomelos are common in southeast Asian cuisine.
Kumquats: You can actually eat the skin of these tiny citrus fruits. About the size of a large olive, kumquats tend to be sweet on the outside and quite tart on the inside. You can slice them into salads, muddle them in a cocktail, candy them or even cook them down into a sweet and spicy chutney.
Buddha’s Hand: This citrus easily wins the prize for most bizarre looking. The fingerlike fruit has a complex lemon aroma and actually contains no pulp or juice—it’s made up of a yellow rind and white pith. The rind can be used in any place lemon zest is called for, or try candying the peel.
Craving some citrus? Try one of these:
Between 1919 and 1945, Bulgaria was one of several kingdoms located in southeastern Europe, an area often referred to as the Balkans. In 1934, Bulgaria had a population of more than six million people. In that year, Jews constituted 0.8 percent of the total population, or roughly 50,000 individuals.
In early March 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance and, in April 1941, participated in the German-led attack on Yugoslavia and Greece. In return, Bulgaria received German authorization to occupy most of Greek Thrace, Yugoslav Macedonia, and Pirot County in eastern Serbia. Though Bulgaria participated in the Balkan Campaign, the provisions of its adherence to the Axis alliance allowed it to opt out of participation in the war against the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Beginning in July 1940, Bulgarian authorities instituted anti-Jewish legislation that excluded Jews from public service, restricted their choice of places of residence, and restricted their participation in many occupations. The legislation also prohibited marriage between Jews and non-Jews.
During the war, German-allied Bulgaria did not deport Jews from the core provinces of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian authorities did, however, deport Jewish residents from Greek and Yugoslav territories that Bulgaria had occupied in 1941. In March 1943, Bulgarian police and military units rounded up all the Jews in Macedonia, Thrace, and Pirot. Bulgarian officials interned 7,000 Macedonian Jews in a transit camp in Skopje. In Greek Thrace, Bulgarian officials deported about 4,000 Jews to assembly points at Gorna Dzhumaya and Dupnitsa and then handed them over to the Germans. In all, Bulgaria deported over 11,000 Jews to German-held territory. By the end of March 1943, virtually all of them died in the Treblinka killing center in German-occupied Poland.
In accordance with the Wannsee Conference, German diplomats requested the Bulgarian government in the spring of 1942 to release all Jews in Bulgarian-controlled territory into German custody. The Bulgarian government agreed and took the necessary administrative steps to implement deportations, including the establishment of a Commissariat for Jewish Affairs in the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior. By winter 1943, the Bulgarian government had arranged with representatives of RSHA office IV b 4 (under command of Adolf Eichmann) to deport 20,000 Jews as a first stage. Targeted in these first deportations were the Jewish residents of Bulgarian-occupied Thrace, Macedonia and Pirot (about 13,000 Jews), and approximately 8,000 Jews from Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.
During the first half of March 1943, Bulgarian military and police authorities carried out the deportation of 13,341 Jews residing in the Bulgarian-occupied territories. Once the Jews were in German custody, German authorities transported them to Treblinka, where virtually all were killed in the gas chambers or shot.
As news of the successful deportations and the imminent deportation of Jews from Sofia reached the capital, opposition politicians, Bulgarian intellectuals and members of the Bulgarian clergy raised the alarm and began to protest openly against deporting Jews from the core provinces of Bulgaria. Czar Boris was inclined to go forward with the deportations until Dimitur Pešev, the deputy speaker of the Parliament, a representative from Kustendil, and a prominent member of Boris’s own Government Ruling Party, personally intervened and persuaded the czar to delay the planned deportation. On March 19, 1943, Pešev introduced a resolution in the parliament critical of the deportations and demanding a halt to them. The majority in the Government Ruling Party, undoubtedly with Boris’s tacit approval, voted down Pešev’s resolution and forced his resignation in late March.
After Pešev’s resignation, Bulgarian officials resumed preparations to continue the deportations. The growing wave of public protest, which included an intervention from the Metropolitan of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, eventually forced Boris to change his mind and cancel the deportations in May 1943.
Shortly thereafter, the Bulgarian government announced the expulsion of 20,000 Jews from Sofia to the provinces. (In 1934, the Jewish population of Sofia was about 25,000, 9 percent of the capital’s total population.) Police brutally suppressed popular protests staged by both Jews and non-Jews. Within about two weeks, Bulgarian authorities expelled almost 20,000 Jews, relocated them to the Bulgarian countryside and deployed males at forced labor in forced-labor camps. Bulgarian authorities also confiscated most of the property left behind by those deported.
Although allied with Nazi Germany, Bulgaria remained neutral in the German-Soviet war and maintained diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union until 1944. As Soviet forces approached in late summer 1944, however, the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria. In September, a military coup overthrew the Bulgarian government, a Regency, which had governed the country since King Boris’s sudden death on August 28, 1943, leaving his son Simeon, a 6-year-old, as heir. The military government sued for peace with the Soviet Union, and in October 1944, Bulgaria switched allegiances and declared war on Germany. After the war, Bulgaria, which fell under Communist rule in February 1945, retained the Dobruja region, which it had acquired from Romania in 1940, but had to withdraw from Macedonia, Thrace and Pirot, returning these provinces to Greek and Yugoslav authority.
In 1945, the Jewish population of Bulgaria was still about 50,000, its prewar level. By 1948, however, more than 35,000 Bulgarian Jews had immigrated to the British Mandate in Palestine, a part of which became the state of Israel in May 1948. Most of the rest had also emigrated from Bulgaria by 1950.
Excerpted with permission from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia.