Thanks so much to Maya Bernstein for this great cross-post from Lilith Blog. Some of her other work can be found here and here.
Michelle Obama is hula-hooping for health on the South Lawn of the White House. Jamie Oliver’s going to teach obese America how to cook their vegetables, and eat them too. Herbivores, frugivores, and locavores are putting their stakes in the ground, amidst the moist dirt of organically grown slow food.
Meanwhile, my 20-month-old daughter went to synagogue over the holiday of Simchat Torah and learned the word “candy.” We were spending the holiday with my parents, and my girls were dressed in traditional New York Jewish holiday autumn glory, patent-leather shoes and red wool coats. On the way to synagogue, I noticed that other children on the sidewalk were carrying big plastic bags (luckily for them, they don’t live in Palo Alto, where plastic bags are illegal; I considered hauling them back West by the thousands, to sell on the sly at Whole Foods).
While most of us in the Northeast who are plugged in to local agriculture are reveling in our early CSA bounty, many of the producers of this bounty are worrying about the future of this year’s crop.
Laura, a friend in Cambridge, MA, who is a participant in this summer’s Adamah Fellowship in Falls Village, CT, writes on her blog that the Adamah CSA, which delivered its first share this week, is in danger of losing its crop due to the high volume of rain received by the Northeast US in the past few weeks. This amount of rain, combined with the fact that the rain is predicted to continue for several more days at least, and the fact that the farm is located next to a river, mean that it could cost them the viability of many crops, especially so early in the season.
Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it. – Mishna Avot 5:22 A beautiful idea for the Torah, but one also worth considering when it comes to composting! (This is a Jewish food blog, after all…)
Have a joyous and sweet Simchat Torah! Love, The Jew & The Carrot
(Cross posted on Mixed Multitudes)
Wednesday is Simchat Torah, which generally means dancing around with the Torah, watching little kids wave some flags they made in Sunday school, and lots of drinking. Simchat Torah is second only to Purim in its association with alcohol. I don’t think there’s any halakhic obligation to drink this week, the way there is on Purim, but if you walk into any synagogue on Tuesday night, you’re likely to see a bottle of schnapps or two (or six). Now I like Schnapps, but I also enjoy mixed drinks, and thought I’d share some nice Jewish cocktail and shot recipes to help enliven your Simchat Torah celebrations. Chag Sameach!
Thanks to Tuv Ha’Aretz farmer and founder of the Shorashim:Roots program at Chava v’Adam farm in Modi’in, Israel, Yigal Deutscher, for this insider look at the shemita year).
22 days have passed from the moment we celebrated the New Year with the blowing of the shofar until yesterday, when, after hours of dancing, drinking, and singing, we rolled the Sefer Torah back to her beginning and read the story of creation.
This stretch of time has been a stretch out of time, a microcosm of creation itself, mirroring the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the 22 building blocks that God used in creating the world we live in.
Yesterday, we stepped back into time, into the Hebrew year 5767, the seventh year of the seven year cycles that guide the flow of time in the land of Israel. This year itself is an extended dimension out of time, one Shabbat stretching from now until next Rosh Hashana. We are already 22 days into Shemita but only now will we come face to face with this moment.
We cannot make this transition alone. We can only begin our year if the land begins with us. Our awakening, reemerging into the normal flow of time, is hand in hand with the earth itself. We have been in a cocoon, nursing from spiritual banks of forgotten reservoirs. The soil of Israel has been in a cocoon herself, deep in sleep after 5 months of hot sun and barren skies.
Many so-called unaffiliated Jews find their connection to this here people through the very thing my family didn’t seem to have: Jewish food. Gourmania.com calls this denomination of our faith “Gastronomic Judaism.” But I am not a Jew by food.
Growing up as an Army brat in the Great Plains, away from any Jewish community to speak of, with a mother who didn’t dig the cooking schtik and a dad who converted from Christianity, I missed out on everything from knishes to gefilte fishes.