Thursday, October 27, 2016

Holiday joys and oys

We had a delightful time at a bring-your-own dinner in the synagogue sukkah on the first night of Sukkot, then enjoyed a catered kiddush-lunch in the shul sukkah on the first day, and rounded out our good times with another bring-your-own-dinner in the shul's sukkah on the second night.  Unfortunately, we then had to get up at the crack of dawn the next morning and sign my husband in for ambulatory surgery to remove his latest round of kidney stones--this was not elective surgery, and couldn't be postponed.  :(  All went well, I'm happy to report, though my husband will need another round of surgery to ensure that all of the stones were removed completely.

My husband went back to work on Thursday, and I came down with a whopper of a cold on Saturday--I was losing my voice, and if my nose had run any faster, it might have been eligible for the Olympics.  I spent Hoshana Rabbah at the doctor's office instead of at synagogue, walking out with two prescriptions.  I never made it to synagogue for Sh'mini Atzeret at all, and the only reason I went on Simchat Torah was to ensure that we got a minyan for the Torah service.  It didn't help--we were still short one person on Erev (Eve of) Simchat Torah, and just davvened/prayed a regular Festival/Shalosh R'galim service.

We did, though, manage to get a minyan for the Morning Service.  But what a crew we were!  My husband, with his new kidney stent, was forbidden by his surgeon from carrying more than five pounds--good luck finding a Sefer Torah scroll that weighs five pounds or less.  I couldn't sing, and didn't want to risk infecting anyone by participating in the hakafot.  Our cantor had recently lost a close relative, and was forbidden by halachah/Jewish religious law from participating in the hakafot.  And one other fellow was off of the hagbah list due to a visibly-injured hand.  But, though we started the Torah service with exactly 11 people, we ended up with 17 by the end of the unusually-quiet and unusually-quick hakafot, so I took my sick self home.  My husband told me that a congregant with tennis elbow ended up being hagbah for both of the larger scrolls because he was the only one there who was strong enough for the job, bad elbow notwithstanding.  What an adventure!

Now, if you'll excuse Ms. Foghorn here, my herb tea with honey awaits.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A strange Sukkot in New York City

80 degrees Fahrenheit/26.66 Celsius on October 19?!  Seriously?  Well, it's great weather for eating in a sukkah, which I'm about to do.  Moed Tov!

On the other hand, welcome to global climate change. :(

Check out my tzimmes recipe directly below, and also my High Holiday highlights 5777/2016.

My simplified tzimmes recipe

I should have published this before Rosh HaShanah, but at least it's in time for Sh'mimi Atzeret.  Sorry about the delay.

Here's a link to the parve original, which includes a link to the fleishig/b'sari/chicken-based original.

  • 1 fresh apple, with core removed (Do not peal--the skin keeps the apple from falling apart during the cooking process.)

  • 1 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks--since you want to be able to taste the pineapple, chunks work better than crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits--in unsweetened juice (no syrup allowed!). Dole brand is kosher.

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds  of baby carrots (easier on the wrists and fingers than cutting full-sized ones, and there's no reason to cut them at all except for Rosh HaShanah, when they're supposed to represent the coins/currency in your future), or 1 and 1/2 pounds of full-sized carrots (sliced or cut into chunks).  [If you use 2 pounds of carrots, the tzimmes won't be sweet enough, but if you use only 1 pound, you'll wonder where the carrots disappeared.  :)]

  • [I eliminated the sweet potatoes, which are a pain to cut and which I don't like anyway--you can serve the tzimmes with noodles or rice.  I also eliminated the orange juice, which is bad for my acid reflux.]

  • ground cinnamon to taste
Place the cored apple in the center of a three-quart pot. Sprinkle the interior of the apple with ground cinnamon, stuff it with pineapple chunks, then sprinkle the exterior of the stuffed apple with cinnamon. Alternate layers of carrots and pineapple chunks.  Pour the remaining chunks of unsweetened pineapple and pineapple juice over everything. Sprinkle cinnamon on everything. Mix a bit, if possible, without dislodging the apple from its pride of place. Bring to a boil, then cook on low-medium heat until the carrots are soft. Have a good and sweet year!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

High Holiday highlights 5777/2016

Seeing all the congregants who rarely attend anymore (often because of poor health), and all the "three-times-a-year" folks who are so happy to see us, albeit only three days a year.

Hearing all those wonderful tunes that are reserved for the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe).

Listening to sermons by an actual ordained rabbi, and seeing my husband enjoy being off the hook for giving a d'var Torah, for a change.

Hearing one of our more senior members chant Yonah (the entire Book of Jonah, which is read as the haftarah at the Minchah/Afternoon Service on Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement). May he continue to do so for many years.

Visiting friends for the holiday, and eating all that yummy food.

Forgetting to say Minchah as soon as I came home from work on Erev Yom Kippur (Eve of the Day of Atonement) again.

Forgetting to get up early enough to say Birkot HaTorah (Blessings on the Torah) and Birkot HaShachar (Blessings of the Morning) before leaving for synagogue on Yom Kippur.  I never have time to say them at shul, and ended up sneaking them in during the rabbi's intro to the haftarah, on the assumption that it wouldn't make much sense to say Birkot HaShachar/Morning Blessings after Shacharit/Morning Service.

Doing a congregational reading-aloud of part of the V'Chol Maaminim prayer in English on Yom Kippur because it takes so darned long to sing it in Hebrew, and being bothered by the constant repetition of "He is/does this" and "He is/does that."  Can't we just say "G-d" instead, and skip the masculine pronoun?

Finally officially giving up praying as much of the Silent Amidah prayer as possible in Hebrew--I gave up davvening in Hebrew all but the Malchuyot quotations, which I can read without much difficulty, several Rosh HaShanahs (New Years) ago, but I now davven almost the entire Al Chet (For the Sin [which we have committed before You]) section on Yom Kippur in English in order to finish in time for the U-n'taneh Tokef prayer.  I'm still coming to terms with the fact that, as someone who refuses to mumble her way through prayers, I'm a walking tircha de tzibura (burden on the congregation), and nobody's going to wait for me to catch up.

For the curious, here's more information regarding tircha d'tzibura, but it comes with an untranslated-terminology warning.  Amud = lectern from which the chazzan (cantor) or shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) leads the prayers.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Teflon Don

Donald Trump broke the law by seeking investments in Cuba.

Donald Trump may have found a perfectly legal way to take credit on his personal income taxes for losing money that he didn't really lose, and, as a result, "the real estate mogul claimed about $916 million in losses "that would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years," the [New York] Times reported."

Not to mention that I think it would be reasonable to assume that the reason why the Trump Foundation was never certified by New York State to solicit money from the public is that "Charities as large as Trump’s must also submit to a rigorous annual audit that asks — among other things — whether the charity spent any money for the personal benefit of its officers", and Trump didn't want to be audited.

Trump even stood up at last night's debate and threatened to throw Clinton into jail, if he's elected, because she used a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of state, blithely ignoring the fact that he himself had used his illegal foundation to make an illegal donation to a political campaign.

Scandal after scandal after scandal, and Trump's supporters don't care.  :(  They talk about "lying Hillary" and "cheating Hillary," but their own candidate is Teflon-coated--no matter what he does wrong or how many times he breaks the law,  it doesn't make any difference to them.


Friday, October 07, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Here's the bad news.

"Who [will die] by water," says the U-N'taneh Tokef prayer that we recite on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.  I pray for the loved ones of those who've already died, and hope that that list will stop growing.
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