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This decadent chocolate mousse is made with milk, but you can easily make it non-dairy with a few minor changes. You will want to substitute almond milk for the whole milk and substitute a swiss-style meringue for whipped cream. Recipe follows.
Swiss Style Meringue appropriate for this batch is:
Directions: In a KitchenAid bowl, mix the egg whites and sugar together, then place over a double boiler (a pot with boiling water). Using a spatula, mix well, scraping the bottom constantly to prevent the egg white from cooking — until the mixture is very hot to the touch. Then place on the mixer with the whip attachment and whisk on high speed until thick and cool. Use as a replacement for the whipped cream.
Read Chef Alex Levin’s full baking tips for Passover here.
Master pastry chef Alex Levin has an impressive background. He received his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from Yale, was the top student in the class of 2012 at the Culinary Institute of America, and trained under some of the industry’s leading pastry chefs at restaurants Jean-Georges and Café Boulud. But his talent with desserts pre-dates all of those degrees and formal training. He started baking as a child in the kitchen of his grandmother, Martha Hadassah Nadich, Rebbetzin of the Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan.
Mrs. Nadich was esteemed for her intelligence, love of family and for her prowess in the kitchen. She was a sophisticated baker, cook and a hostess par excellence. The renowned New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne was her friend, and he included her recipes for traditional Jewish desserts in his books and columns.
At Passover, Alex and his family still channel his grandmother by preparing some of her classic desserts, like sponge cake. Alex loves that cake and the nostalgia it elicits. It is, he says, a great cake, one he wouldn’t dare mess with. While he embraces the traditional foods and cakes that his family expects at their Seder table, he is open to mixing old with new and coming up with something deliciously unexpected.
Alex’s favorite class at the Culinary Institute was “Chocolates & Confections,” where he learned to work with delicate chocolates to produce fabulous treats. The year he took that class, it coincided with the holiday of Passover.
You can expect to find parve chocolate mousse enriched with lightly beaten egg whites and almond cakes in a variety of forms at the Passover meals in Alex’s home. It is, however, this simple matzah toffee that he most likes to prepare for his family. Odds are that in the not-too-distant future this dessert will be as revered as his grandmother’s sponge cake is today.
Some Passover baking tips from Chef Levin:
The post This Chef Has the Secret to Perfect Passover Baking appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
There was nothing typical about photographer Jaime Permuth’s Jewish childhood in Guatemala. Even so, Passover stood out among the holidays he experienced. In the first of two posts, Be’chol Lashon caught up with Jaime to learn more about Jewish life in Guatemala and Passover in particular.
Be’chol Lashon: You grew up in Guatemala. How big was the Jewish community? What was your childhood like? Was your family religious? Involved with Jewish life?
Permuth: There are more Jews in a single block of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, than in the whole of Guatemala. As far as I know, the Jewish community has always hovered between 1,500 to 2,000 members strong. And yet, there were three synagogues growing up and for a time we even had a Jewish school as well. My father was a founder of Maccabi Hatzair and later in life served as President of the Jewish Community as well. My mother was President of Keren Kayemet. When my parents asked me if I preferred to have a big party in Guatemala City for my Bar Mitzvah or just have an intimate ceremony at the Kotel in Jerusalem, I didn’t hesitate for a second, and we all visited Israel as a family for the first time. This was a turning point in my life. As soon as I completed high school, I moved to Israel, where I studied both psychology and English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Be’chol Lashon: Guatemala is a largely Catholic country. Did you feel welcome and accepted there as a Jew?
Growing up in a tiny Jewish minority was difficult at times, and I probably made it worse than it needed to be. I answered the usual childhood taunts and provocations with my fists when just a bit of wit and humor would have been enough to quiet them. At any rate, I always felt like an outsider. The camera around my neck didn’t help either; people always took me for a tourist in my own country. It wasn’t until I was living far away in Jerusalem and later in New York that I started to yearn for my native country and feel how deeply rooted and connected I was to it after all.
Be’chol Lashon: Passover stands out among the Jewish holidays, why?
Permuth: Of all the Holidays, Passover is the one that makes me most nostalgic. Our family Seder would always take place in our country home, located on the outskirts of the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. Somehow, when we opened the door for Eliyahu Hanavi to join our table, the entire house was filled with the murmur of the night outside, in a valley surrounded by volcanoes. The promised redemption of an eventual return to Jerusalem seemed near at hand.
Be’chol Lashon: Where there any particular Guatemalan customs or foods?
Permuth: Not during the Seder, which was strictly old country Poland: gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, roasted veal shank, and potatoes, and for dessert a hazelnut torte. But the rest of the holiday would most certainly see its fair share of hand-made corn tortillas, carne asada, guacamole, refried black beans, and fried plantains!
Be’chol Lashon: Given your family history, did the story of the Exodus have a particularly personal meaning?
When I left Guatemala at age seventeen and moved to Jerusalem, I saw that journey as the ultimate homecoming. However, I eventually realized that, as much as I loved the country, I was not an Israeli either. There were—and may yet be—many other journeys waiting for me.
Be’chol Lashon: How do the story and themes of Passover resonate for you as an artist? As a person who has moved homes several times?
Permuth: During the course of my artistic practice, I have returned over and over to the themes of exile and redemption. What makes a person leave behind their country of birth, their family and traditions, to wander among strangers in unknown lands? Is this a form of betrayal or an act of love? What is the meaning of faith, freedom, and servitude in an open society? Where lies the threshold between the sacred and the profane?
With each new decade of life, a face I no longer recognize stares back at me from the mirror. The continuity in my life is the art-making. Every new project is an effort to deepen my understanding of things, to reconcile myself with the passage of time, and an opportunity to return to old questions from a fresh vantage point.
And through it all, the golden light of Jerusalem still shines, beckoning from a distant horizon.
I love words. Part of my initial interest in learning Hebrew was my desire to delve into the Hebrew of our sacred texts, to go ‘deep sea diving’ into the words, seeking meaning and relevance hiding under the obvious. This parsha, detailing the priests’ responsibilities and actions for five varied types of sacrifices, contains minutiae, apparently trivial specifics about a ritual which seem today, without the existence of a priestly class, irrelevant. But, oh, the words!
I want to comment on just two of them.
First, “Tzav,” which is the title of the parsha, is the first word in Leviticus 6:2, and is usually translated as ‘command.’ It is the root of the verb “Mitzvah,” which, in common American conversation, is translated as ‘good deed.’ This translation misses the mark!
When the letter ‘mem’ appears before a verb in Hebrew, it changes that word into a noun—as if the ‘mem’ adds the idea of ‘that which’ performs the action at the root of that verb. For example, the Hebrew verb root “chashav,” to think, was used to invent a new Hebrew word for the computer “machshev,” ”that which thinks.” Thus the word “Mitzvah” therefore means “That which is commanded.”
Digging more deeply, the verb “tsav” also means ‘to connect,’ the way the vav before a word in Hebrew means “and”, thus connecting the previous word with the one having the vav prefix. In ancient Hebrew, the pictographic depiction of a vav was a hook, looking a bit like a crochet hook, indicating a connection. Following this thought process, the word ‘mitzvah’ could more accurately be translated as “a commanded connection.”
In Rabbinic tradition, a mitzvah always requires action, just thinking about a commandment does not fulfill one’s obligation to it. A blessing containing the word ‘mitzvah’ must be followed by the appropriate action. Without that action, the blessing would be considered a “b’racha levatalah” (an unnecessary blessing), being careful not to transgress the grave prohibition of taking God’s name in vain.
Combining these ideas, one derives a more complete translation of the word “mitzvah”: “A commanded opportunity to connect with God through action”! The detailed descriptions of the priests’ responsibilities in this Parsha follow this logic well.
The second word I want to comment upon also appears in verse Lev 6:2, in the phrase “al mokdah al hamizbeach.” “Mokdah” is an Hapax legomenon, a word that only appears once in the Bible in this form; it only refers to the altar-hearth on which burnt offerings were laid and consumed. This word comes from the root “yud kuf dalet” (to be kindled, burnt). Adding the ‘mem’ as a prefix would turn the word into ‘that which is burnt.” But a pyre is not burnt, it is a place where offerings are placed for burning. The phrase reads (in the Jewish Publication Society translation) “The burnt offering itself shall remain where it is burned upon the altar.” The English translation by JPS leaves out the word “mokdah’, which could have easily been translated as ‘altar-hearth.’ When a word in the Bible is not translated, my interest increases.
Looking at the way the word actually appears in the Torah scroll, there’s a fascinating surprise. The ‘mem’ is tiny, miniature, inserted and raised above the rest of the word! Why?
I have been taught by Torah scribes that such instances of scribal peculiarities are in fact Midrashim, commentaries on the Biblical text. The Rebbe of Kotzk, commenting on this ‘little mem’, explained that it was there to teach us that the fire in one’s soul should be understated; it should burn within, but show nothing on the outside.
Our own hearts are hearths, the altars upon which spiritual fires can be ignited and kept burning. Even little letters and little words can remind us when we pay close attention. What an apt lesson for this Shabbat, Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Sabbath just before Passover, which ushered in our freedom to fulfill our spiritual destinies.
Most years, my family’s seder plate is the same. A bitter herb, sprig of parsley, and boiled egg are just a few of the symbolic foods that we keep on our table. But this year…this year my family has decided we want to do something different.
For my family, there is another, less traditional ritual that we engage in every Passover. When we sit at our seder, we don’t simply retell the story of the Israelites in Egypt – we take time to discuss modern day examples of injustice, taking to heart the statements that we, too, should consider ourselves slaves in Egypt and that none of us are truly free until systematic oppression has been eradicated from our global society.
While our family conversation has taken a few forms in the past, last year our discussion started with adding an orange to our seder plate. We were not the first to do so; Susannah Heschel first put an orange on her seder plate in the 1980s. The orange was said to represent the need for inclusion of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized individuals in the Jewish community.
Now, thirty years later, my family is asking ourselves: what items should we add to our seder plates in the twenty-first century? Who, in our modern age, is in need of the freedom that we so joyously celebrate this time of year?
Sitting there, at our table, we came up with a few different possibilities. An olive, to represent peace, my mother offered. Cocoa beans, to remind us to fight for fair trade and labor practices, my father proposed. Jokingly, my grandpa recommended that we substitute the shankbone for tofu, since so many people we know are vegetarians. But even in his joke, we found meaning – ethical treatment of animals and sustainability in the farming industry are both issues that could theoretically be represented at our Passover seder.
By the end of our meal, we felt energized. Ready to act. Our conversation did not end along with our holiday meal. Instead, it charged us with being more conscious of our daily actions and to continue working for equality and freedom in ways we hadn’t thought of before.
This year, as we get ready for Passover, consider adding something new to your seder plate. Think about an issue that you care deeply about, be it criminal justice reform, fair trade practices, or working towards peace. With that issue in mind, find something new that you can add to your seder plate this year. Use that as a reminder that, while we celebrate the freedom of the Israelite people (and by extension, the Jews), our freedom is a powerful tool for us to use to end the oppression and ill-treatment of those around us.
It has been a month of daily check-ins with students–one whose friend died, one whose friend survived, one who grew up in Parkland, Florida before her family moved to Atlanta. “A month ago you never heard of the town where I used to live,” she told her classmates at an assembly, “and now you’ve all heard of it, for the wrong reason.”
Our students are grieving and they are mobilizing.
They are ready to speak for those whose voices have been silenced.
They are ready to march to the Georgia State Capitol, and in New York, and in Washington, DC.
Our children are ready to lead us, to demand an end to lifeless responses in the face of another school shooting.
Our students are making a statement with their feet; they are walking out of school.
Standing near the staircase, looking out the windows, watching them set up 17 chairs and 17 desks in the courtyard, my breath catches in my throat and I swallow a small cry.
It is a cold and windy, but impossibly sunny and beautiful, morning.
I walk down the stairs and outside, together with my students and colleagues.
There is a crowd gathering on the lawn. We stand in solidarity with students all over the country, who stand in support of the students and teachers at Mary Stoneman Douglas High School.
Some school officials in Georgia and around the country have threatened disciplinary action against students who interrupt the school day by walking out. The 17-minute walkout happened to coincide with an all-school enrichment/study hall and prayer block at our school. Even if it hadn’t, we adults viewed the walkout, not as a disruption of learning, rather as our learning how to be a community.
At 10:00 a.m., four students begin reading the names of the 17 people who will never return to the Mary Stoneman Douglas High School. They tell us how each of these people lived and recount how they died. They speak unwaveringly, stopping only to draw breath between the names.
“Reish Lakish said in the name of Rabbi Yehuda Nesia: The world only exists because of the breath of schoolchildren.” (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 119b) This breath is understood to mean the recitation of Torah by school children.
After this recitation, three of the students share their personal connections to Parkland. The fourth asks us to join in several minutes of silence to honor the memories of the victims.
We stand facing the row of empty desks and chairs. On one end, posters with messages of support are propped against the desks. On the other end, the flag sways precariously in the wind. I watch as four brokenhearted teenagers grasp hands, strengthening one another, for nearly five minutes of silence. An airplane rumbles overhead. I hear myself and those around me sniffling, crying softly, exhaling deeply.
The world seems to exist only for the breath of these school children, so young to have suffered such loss.
Finally, the silence is broken.
The students announce they will not conclude the walkout with the recitation of a Psalm or memorial prayer. Instead, they instruct us to listen to a song that conveys their message of hope: “We will be the change we want to see in this world.”
We stand together for seven minutes more, as the sun warms our faces and the music fills our hearts.
There comes a time when we heed a certain call,
When the world must come together as one,
There are people dying,
And it’s time to lend a hand to life,
The greatest gift of all.
We are the world,
We are the children,
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving,
There is a choice we’re making,
We’re saving our own lives,
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.
If the thought of firing up the oven for some Passover baking has you wishing you were never born, then this list is for you. Let these 11 completely no-bake, Passover-friendly dessert recipes be your lifeline when feeding family and friends on this food-heavy holiday. Chocolaty, fruity, fun, and creamy, this list has it all, and doesn’t involve using even one crumb of matzah meal.
This idea is everywhere you look this year, and it’s trending for a good reason: sweet deliciousness. If you have ever made an ice box cake before, you know that there’s not a lot that you can do to screw it up — they are, shall we say, easier than pie. Way easier. And, this one from Tasting Table scores big points for using up all that matzah you over-zealously purchased, fusing it together with chocolate mousse and melted chocolate while somehow managing to resemble a tedious European layer cake. Another version of this cake is Matzah Tiramisu, which is seriously easy-peasy and delicious.
So your guests are done with the richly satisfying seder meal and could use some fruity refreshment. This raspberry and wine flavored sorbet is both refreshing and on topic (after all, there is that one last post-meal cup of wine to be had). Good enough for both you and Elijah the Prophet, you’ll only get bonus points here if you use Manichewitz, or at least a good Israeli red.
Looking to class it up a little? Nothing says adulting like serving fruit slowly stewed in wine. One bite of this dessert and you will start to doubt your chocolate obsession. Pears in warmly spiced syrupy wine sauce — where have you been all our lives? And don’t even get us started on the mascarpone whipped cream, which reminds us of sophisticated spring nights in the Italian countryside.
Sweet and tart raspberries macerated in raspberry liqueur and sugar, mashed, and folded through luscious whipped cream make this luscious and easy dessert. You can take away the crushed-up cookies, or replace them with your favorite Passover-friendly variety, and you’ve got yourself a deal. This recipe proves that simple is best, a happy reminder on a holiday that has the oven occupied to capacity with braises and kugels anyhow.
Embrace your inner ’90s kid and surrender to the pudding pop. These ones contain Passover-friendly tapioca starch and a good helping of innocence and nostalgia. A conversation piece for sure, the taste will bring you back to the good ol’ days, before you had to worry about whipping up tasty desserts to feed all the hungry kids, family, and guests.
Decadent, while at the same time registering as super healthy, this is our ultimate Passover no-bake creamy pie recipe. If you’ve never made coconut whipped cream, now would probably be a good time to start. Taking the traditional boring dry coconut found in many a Passover dessert and transporting it to the tropics, this coconut-infused vegan strawberry cream and sweet crust will have you breaking out the recipe year-round.
Dip fruit, matzah, mandelbrot, coconut macaroons, or whatever else floats your boat. This dessert is both delicious and entertaining. The life of the party, it will distract guests from your hot mess of a kitchen while you clear the dinner plates, sedating them into a happy chocolate coma. Plus, fruit dippers means it’s healthy, right?
Who says Easter gets to have all the springy fun? These cream cheese mints are scrumptiously delicious, no bake, and can be made in all the shades of the rainbow (try making a combo of gently swirled colors for the rainbow/unicorn variety). To make your own kosher for Passover powdered sugar, check out this recipe by Epicurious that cuts the sugar with potato starch.
Forget the traditional jelly-slice K for P candies you find in the grocery aisle. These orange wedges are filled with fun, slurp-worthy jello in the same bright and cheery colors, but with an added boost of vitamin C. A fun activity to assemble, it’s even something that could occupy your kids while you prep for the Passover madness to come. A win-win.
Chocolate, peanut butter, and beating “the system”? Count us in, as we make a double batch of these no bake peanut butter cups. Because why would you buy just two at a time when you can have a whole freezer full at your beck and call? Just make sure you give them the hiding spot they deserve, so they don’t disappear on you, if you know what we mean. You can also use almond or cashew butter if you don’t eat kitniyot (legumes) during Passover. Better yet? Try this recipe for almond butter and coconut cups.
Has it been a while since you enjoyed a nice tapioca pudding cup? Then you may want to give tapioca a second look. This recipe gives your grandmother’s go-to pudding a much needed Asian influenced make-over, with coconut milk and fresh mango. A delicious combo that also makes this a creamy milk-free dessert, that seems anything but.
Father-son rabbinic dynasties are nothing new, but Rabbis Sion and Braham David stand out as a family of firsts who have an especially strong dedication to Jewish tradition and a love of Passover.
Both Rabbis David are Bene Israel Jews who trace their roots back more than a thousand years in India. The documentary evidence of the roots of this community are lost to time, but as Rabbi Sion David explains, the story that was passed through the generations tells of travelers who were shipwrecked off the Indian coast, long before the Romans captured Jerusalem or the Maccabees rebelled.
The community thrived through the generations; they were shopkeepers and merchants, movie stars and professionals, but not rabbis. Until Sion David.
In 1966, Rabbi Sion David was the first Bene Israel to be ordained a rabbi when he graduated from Hebrew Union College. In 2003, his son Braham David followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming the first Bene Israel to be ordained in the Conservative movement.
The majority of Indian Jews have in recent years emigrated to Israel and other Western countries, and neither Rabbi Davids have served pulpits in India. But the customs and memories of Jewish life in India remain part of their Jewish lives in America.
Rabbi Sion David recalls that in India, preparation for Passover included having all the household pots refinished so they would be kosher for the holiday. “We did not have the packaged goods like the matzot, and you did without the stuff we take for granted today,” he says. Matzah was made by hand. It was large and round and crisp like a cracker, made at home or purchased at the synagogue. It was not rolled out. Instead, the ball of dough was tossed from hand to hand back and forth until it was thin and round. Then it was put in a stone oven built into the ground and baked within the 18 minutes allotted.
Serving as rabbi of Temple Shalom in Medford, Massachusetts, Rabbi Braham David does not make his own matzah, but he does still make the traditional Bene Israel Indian haroset called shira. Shira is similar to chalek, a version of haroset made by North African and Middle Eastern Jews, but unlike chalek, it is made exclusively from dates. “It is more of a syrup than a paste,” explains Braham David. It is work and time intensive but it is well worth it, he says.
The flavor and texture of shira is so central to the David family seder that when the junior David was studying in Israel, he went out of his way to make it. Finding the dates was easy enough, but the recipe pivots on squeezing the cooked mixture through cheesecloth and “I did not know where to find it, or how to say it in Hebrew.” In desperation, Braham David went into a fabric stall in the market and tried in vain to explain what he was looking for. “I was getting nowhere,” he explains, “until I said, ‘haroset.’ Then the shop owner pulled out a bolt of cheesecloth and the effort was saved.”
Directions for making David family Shira
The following is a recipe in the loosest form. As with many historic recipes, it comes down to us as a set of directions. Feel free to adjust.
Water (approximately 6 cups)
Best quality dates you can find (Medjool dates are best) approximately 2lb pitted and chopped, approximately 6 cups
Place chopped dates in a heavy saucepan.
Cover with water.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer over very low heat.
Simmer until the dates are well dissolved, this can take more than 20 or 30 minutes. Stir constantly. Dates should fall apart.
Remove pot from heat and let the mixture cool completely.
When the mixture is cool, gather large spoonfuls in cheesecloth.
Squeeze out the liquid from the solids over a heavy bottom pan. This will take time and effort. Do not stop until all the liquid has been separated from the solids.
Put the heavy bottom pan over a medium flame. Stirring continuously bring to a boil.
Reduce to a low simmer. Continue to stir. If you do not stir there is a danger the shira will burn.
When the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency and coats a metal spoon, remove from the flame. Be careful not to overcook! Syrup will become thicker as it cools.
Cool the shira fully before serving.
Helaine Mazin David, Rabbi Sion David’s wife and Rabbi Braham David’s mother, was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Despite her non-Indian roots, she has been making shira for many years and offered this additional insight to the recipe the rabbis shared:
“When Sion and I make shira, it is a team effort. Depending how much shira we make, we use one to three pounds of medjool dates. (The ratios stay the same.) We cover with water and cook until the dates pull apart. We then let it cool. At this point Sion uses cheesecloth to squeeze out the liquid and dispose of the remains. For many years we would cook it on the stove and keep stirring it constantly. Now we use a microwave with a glass covered pot. We start off microwaving for 20 minutes. We check often to see if the liquid is thickening. As it starts to get thicker, checking often is the key. One year I went a little too far and the whole thing exploded!”
The post A Special Father-Son Duo and Their Unique Indian Haroset appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
I had a lucky Southern Jewish break: Soon after moving to North Florida from California, I was hired as the 5th grade teacher at the Block Family Religious School at Temple Israel in Tallahassee. I adapted quickly to my new congregation and fully embraced all aspects of Temple life. I figured Jewish life in the South would basically be like Jewish life anywhere. And in some ways, it is; but in other ways, it has a special nature all its own.
I didn’t put my finger on it right away; but one morning during Sunday school, it struck me.
We start each Religious School morning with a t’filah (prayer) service in the sanctuary. As the song-leader led us through the service, I watched a father in the first row, his arm around his kindergarten-age daughter. They were sharing the prayer book; intensely focused on the page. The dad was pointing out each word to his little girl, and they were reciting the prayers and songs together.
The sight of a Jewish father holding his young daughter close to him as they both participated in the children’s service was something I rarely saw in my old San Francisco Bay Area synagogue. At that larger religious school, a few parents did stay for t’filah, but those who did mostly sat in the back of the sanctuary, away from their children.
Don’t get me wrong; the parents at our synagogue in California were of course devoted and caring. But there was an important difference, I believe—the surrounding environment, and how that culture brings us together.
The Jewish population in the San Francisco Bay Area is in the hundreds of thousands. Where we lived in the East Bay alone, there were four established Reform-affiliated synagogues. People had plenty of Jewish choices, and it was not uncommon for families to leave one synagogue and join another.
The situation could not be more different in Tallahassee, with our Jewish population somewhere in the range of 4,000–5,000, and only one Reform synagogue. In Southern towns and cities with smaller Jewish communities, I believe that the synagogue plays a more central role than it does in areas with a large Jewish population with multiple synagogues.
The synagogue is often the only Jewish organization in a small Southern town. As a result, Southern Jewish life in these communities is more concentrated and focused. The Jewish community is concentrated in terms of where we gather to pray, worship, learn, socialize and send our kids to school. The synagogue is where you see your “family.”
“I’ll see you at synagogue,” we say to each other.
No need to specify which one: Everyone knows where you are talking about.
In Tallahassee, Temple Israel is my oasis of Judaism. Like an oasis, it is a welcoming sight; indeed, life-giving. You linger there, dwell there, meet and relax with others there. You feel safe, and comfortable.
In Tallahassee, we Jews are fortunate to enjoy an excellent relationship with the community at large, and do not feel threatened or excluded; Temple Israel is valued as cherished pillar of the community. This is due in large measure to the efforts of our rabbi, Jack Romberg, who for the last 18 years has made outreach to the non-Jewish community a core value of our synagogue. To our own membership and our neighbors, our synagogue is welcoming and friendly.
This, then, is the special nature of my small town Southern synagogue, and what sets it apart from bigger metropolitan congregations. It is my outpost, my safe harbor where my spirit is set free. I believe that we embrace our synagogue more fervently here than elsewhere because, frankly, there is nowhere else to go for Jewish life; so the one uniting place we have is a space we all cherish, support, and sustain. Our Southern synagogue is our lifeline to all things Jewish – our oasis of Judaism – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Schnitzel is one of my family’s most favorite dishes all year, but especially during Passover. With very small changes (as in, use matzah meal and almond flour instead of bread crumbs), this dish is 100 percent Passover-friendly. And it’s so satisfying as the week of Passover eating lags on and you are craving some serious eats, not matzah slathered in whipped cream cheese for, like, the 20th time.