It is the eighth day following the birth of my baby. I sit upstairs in my home nursing my child in preparation for the vigors of the ceremony that welcomes newborns into the covenant of Israel. A few minutes later, I gently hand the baby to my father and join my mother and my husband, Dan, at the back of the living room downstairs. The baby emerges in my father’s arms to the sound of our guests greeting the child with the traditional Hebrew welcome. My father sits in the specially designated chair of Elijah, the prophet known for defending the covenant and protecting children.
You may be able to buy canned pumpkin year round, but there is something about pumpkin desserts that just begs to be eaten this time of year. It's a little colder than fall, it's not quite the bitter freezing and constant snowfalls of winter. I've made these muffins from a whole pumpkin and I've made them from a can - and they taste just as delicious either way. And finishing them in 30 minutes instead of 4 hours is quite a perk.
I am not among those who routinely dismiss President Obama’s presidency as a failure, nor do I count myself among those who see him as an enemy of Israel. I regard him as a good and honorable man- a thoughtful man- who was swept into office on the wings of his great oratorical skills. In so doing, he carried on his back the desperate hopes of an American people, fearful that the economic meltdown of 2008 was destroying the way of life that they had come to know, and depend on.
It’s Chanukah season in San Francisco — and in a city where every weekend features some one-of-a-kind festival, you can expect a lot more than candle lightings and latke parties. Try Yiddish drag queen caroling, a pop-up Jewish record store, Chinese-food comedy on Christmas, and a historic tribute to one of history’s wiliest Jews, Harry Houdini..
Traditionalists will still find menorahs and latkes. But San Francisco embraces the holidays with the same blend of hipster irony, earnest identity-probing and wacky originality that are its trademarks.
Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz will be installed Dec. 4 as president of the Long Island Board of Rabbis, the first woman to hold that position. The group serves about 160 rabbis on the Island from all streams of Judaism.
Its official name is the Forest Hills Spa, but to most of the people who come to the small building on a Corona side street for a massage or a shvitz, it’s the Russian banya.
That’s Russian for steam bath.
The spa, one of a half-dozen such vestiges of the former Soviet Union in New York City, is a reminder of home for the émigrés who grew up with frequent visits to a banya, where they would lie on wooden benches while steam rose from water poured over hot rocks and a masseuse would flay away with leafy branches.