Monday, April 14, 2014

Giveaway: GetKosher, Why Don'tcha?

I was contacted by the creative (and hungry) minds over at GetKosher.com to host a giveaway for their stellar services. Although I don't live in the New York/New Jersey area, I'm familiar with the need for a one-stop shop for kosher food delivery, especially with all of the tasty options available.


Not familiar with the company? Keep reading to learn how you could win a $100 gift card to nab delicious, kosher nosh from GetKosher.com!

The site and concept were built by 22-year-old Morris Sued, a Brooklyn local who founded the company on just $10,000, partly with money he won in a Baruch College startup competition in 2012.

The first of its kind on the web, GetKosher also has a rewards-point system where you can redeem points for gift cards to Amazon, Apple, and tzedakah (charitable organizations).

So far, GetKosher -- which has options for corporate and catering accounts, too -- has served more than 2,100 kosher keepers and sports more than 100 partner restaurants. You can find GetKosher rocking New York options in

  • Five Towns
  • Midwood
  • Williamsburg
  • Borough Park
  • Queens
  • Manhattan
  • Livingston
  • Orange County
  • West Hempstead
  • Monsey
  • Great Neck

GetKosher also is available in Deal/Lakewood and Teaneck in New Jersey. Maybe they'll show up in Denver sometime soon, too? (Fingers crossed!)

Ready to enter to win $100 gift certificate to GetKosher's delicious kosher options? You've got plenty of time. Questions? Let me know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: Because I don't live in the region, I'm not benefitting from this giveaway. I am, however, happy to help a kosher-keeping consumer benefit! Giveaway can only be eligible for readers in our serviced areas.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: 'Tis the Season for Haggadot

Ah Passover! What a time of year, right? You get to spend hours cleaning your house of all that chametz (leavened goods made of barley, wheat, spelt, rye, and oats) and other shmutz that might have accumulated over the past year, while also meal planning the most amazing chametz-free week of food that won't fill you full of potato starch, potatoes, and more starch.

Preparing for the season, I've lamented that our books are all packed up and leaving on a barge for America today. I also don't have all of the haggadot that I used when I was living in the U.S. (because I sold them ... sigh). We don't have many things laying around that offer Pesach-season inspiration, unfortunately, so I've been blessed with the most amazing seasonally inspiring books from Mosaica Press, including Darkness to Destiny: The Haggadah Experience by Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein.

I'll admit right off the bat: The cover is cheesy in the style of so many pieces of Judaica these days, which is off-putting if you don't spend a time reading books of the Feldheim/Artscroll variety. But please, give it a chance!

One friend commented that the haggadah "seems a bit 101," which in truth is the way you want a haggadah to be. Sitting at a Passover seder table is not the place to be knee-deep in midrash, folks. It's small morsels of awesome, inspirational thought that will get you through the seder and allow you the option of participating by providing the other guests with some fun facts, tidbits, and takes on different aspects of the seder "service."

Reading through Darkness to Destiny, I was inspired to pursue a few topics and even wrote about them on About.com. I had zero clue that the four cups of wine were in any way remotely related to the dreams that Joseph interpreted in the Pharaoh narratives. Curious by this morsel shared in the commentaries in the beginning of the haggadah, I ended up writing up a look at the different reasons for the four cups of wine at the Passover seder for About.com. That led me to considering the three matzot and the reason for having three instead of, say, four (as is the theme of the seder with the cups of wine, the sons, and so many other things).

And this, folks, is what you want in a haggadah: Questions that raise more thought-provoking questions. The theme of Passover is, of course, "Why is this night different than all other nights?"

So if you're still considering what haggadot to have at your seder, may I suggest this mix-and-match selection for the diversity of your guests that includes this very easy-to-read take on the classic.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Toes Out of Shoes in Ramat Beit Shemesh

The culprit.

We haven't spent many Shabbatot outside of Neve Daniel since Ash was born, which means my consideration for the diversity of communities and their expectations is a "head in the clouds" kind of situation. When friends invited us to Ramat Beit Shemesh for Shabbat, I'd forgotten that there's just a certain way things are done in those parts. 

Yes, Mr. T packed his suit because colorful shirts and Chuck Taylors just don't fly, but I didn't think twice about packing my open-toed shoes because the weather was toasty and warm and my feet are my traveling air conditioning units. 

So after the gents went to synagogue, Ash and I went for a little walk up and down the road in an (futile) attempt to get him to rest after a few days off schedule thanks to movers coming and packing up our apartment (it takes 6-8 weeks for stuff to transit to the U.S.). 

As we walked near the park, I noticed little girls staring at me funny. Yes, I was wearing a tichel (head scarf) in a very wig and snood heavy area, but it wasn't completely abnormal for Ramat Beit Shemesh. I considered my outfit as we did another round, and despite my long black skirt and simple blue top with a black cardigan over it, one girl made it painfully obvious what was resulting in the funny looks. 

Open-toed shoes. 

Yes, I was exposing my toes. What's more, I was exposing toes without any kind of pantyhose or tights (which, let's be honest, would have masked my naked toes anyway). 

Naked toes! May HaShem strike me down. 

Truth be told, they don't know any better. They're told not to wear open-toed shoes, so seeing someone with them must be like someone walking down the street in a burqa, I guess. They can't help but stare. 

I'd forgotten that there are places like this. They didn't throw rocks at me or say anything rude to me (that I heard anyway). They didn't go to my  hosts and demand they never invite me again. But when we're back over Passover, I'll remember to pack the black shoes and maybe, just maybe, some stockings. 

Note: The most beautiful thing about RBS is the sound of singing, children running around through the streets without a care in the world, families gathering and moving about at a slow and comfortable pace. Sometimes I'd like to take the people from my community and embed them there, mix it up, and see what kind of community I get. I think it might be the perfect community -- for me anyway. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Going to America

With a heavy, heavy heart and the anticipation of assumptions, we're moving to the U.S. for a few years to be near my family. I'm not going to go into the details, but your thoughts and prayers are always welcome.

We're heading back after Passover, where we'll be stationed in Colorado with very frequent trips back and forth to Nebraska (the drive I've done 1 million times).

Stay tuned for more details. It's all happening very fast. This approach is like a bandaid, folks.

Note: We're coming back to Israel as soon as we possibly can. Most definitely by the time Ash hits school. Never fear. Eretz Yisrael hasn't spit us out for good. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Did You Know? I'm Rocking About.com


I can't believe I didn't post about this here yet, but big news: I'm the About.com Judaism Expert!

Yes, I'm rocking the Judaism page with new and updated articles, blog posts, and weekly newsletters about all things Judaism. So far, topics have included

  • Asara b'Tevet 
  • Yom Yerushalayim 
  • Ezra the Scribe 
  • Jewish Holiday Calendar 
  • The Fast of Gedaliah 
  • Passover Fun for Kids 
  • What is the Talmud? 
  • Judaism and the Environment 
  • The Jewish Divorce 
  • What are the 613 commandments?  
  • The Difference: Menorah versus Chanukiyah 
  • The Four Mitzvot of Purim 
  • Hair Covering in Judaism 
  • Who was Rahab? 
  • What are the Noahide Laws? 

If you never thought you'd need the About.com Judaism page, think again! Please give my articles a read, comment, share them wherever and whenever you can, and please feel free to send me article ideas that you think are missing from the site.

My greatest success will come from providing you all with fascinating and informative information about the religion of the once-Israelites and now Jews!