YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 1

Posted on October 9, 2011. Filed under: Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Comfort Foods, Cookies, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Hope, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Paerve, Parve, Quotes, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Rochester, Tried and True Recipe, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


I think this quote plus our seven themes of Yom Kippur (Self-reflection, Forgiveness,  Remembering our past,  Honoring our ancestors,  Personal change,  Return to good values and ideal, and charity and putting values into action) sums up everything that the High Holidays are about.  I wish all of you a good atonement (I stole that from my friend, Michael Arvé), and an easy fast!

Here are the rest of the recipes for our Yom Kippur Break Fast:

Gladys Gooding’s Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

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Ingredients:

BARS:

3/4 cup Margarine OR Butter

1-1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

3 large Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1-1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

3 tablespoons Baking Cocoa

1/2 cup Nuts; chopped

4 cups White Miniature Marshmallows

TOPPING:

1-1/3 cups Chocolate Chips

3 tablespoons Margarine OR Butter

1 cup Peanut Butter

2 cups Crisp Rice Cereal  (i.e. Rice Krispies)

Directions:

BARS:

PREHEAT oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

GREASE a 13″x9″x2″ pan.

Cream 3/4 cup butter and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until fluffy.

Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder salt and baking cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chopped nuts.

Spread batter into GREASED 13″x9x2″ pan.  Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes. Take pan out of oven and sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake.  Return the cake to the oven for 2-3 minutes.

Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over the cake.  COOL.

TOPPING:

Combine chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over LOW heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, until melted and well blended.

Remove from heat; stir in cereal.  Spread over bars.  Chill.

SOFTA123’S AKAMARILYN’S NOTES:

For the topping, I would combine chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a MICROWAVE SAFE POT OR BIG BOWL.  I would heat in microwave for 1 minute on HIGH, stir and if not all melted and smooth, I would put into microwave for another 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat until everything is melted and smooth, and mixed together thoroughly.

Gladys Gooding, a friend from the Monroe County Branch of the New York  State Home Bureau made this for our annual pot-luck picnic in August of 1994.  These bars were the HIT of the picnic!  I just fell in love with them. I have not made this recipe yet. Gladys belonged to the Bayview Chapter and I belonged to the Nosheri Too chapter, which I began.

The Fleddels will not be this high!!!

 

 

 

FLEDDELS

===============

SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  This is the BEST recipe I have ever gotten anywhere (except my family’s and my friends’ recipes, of course!)!!!  You have got to try making these.  When you cut them, don’t cut in wedges, cut into squares, diamonds or rectangles.  I made this recipe in two disposable pie pans.  BE WARE!  These are so good I can eat one batch in a sitting!!!

Fleddel Ingredients

3 cups Flour

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

3/4 teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 tablespoon Grated Orange Rind

1/2 teaspoon Salt (but I always use half)

3 Eggs

1-1/2 cups Thick Jam

1 cup Sugar

1-1/2 cups Raisins

1-1/2 cups coarsley chopped Walnuts

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 tablespoon Sugar mixed with

3/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Instructions for Fleddel

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Beat eggs slightly; add to flour. Add oil, lemon rind, lemon juice and orange rind. Mix with WOODEN SPOON to combine, and if necessary, use your hands to finish mixing the dough and to shape it into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

Cut the ball into 6 portions; parts not used leave in refrigerator.

Roll out 1 portion at a time on a floured board; roll to fit an 8 inch pie pan* so that the dough comes up at sides but not over rim.

Spread the dough with 1/2 cup jam, 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup nuts.

Roll out another portion of dough to form the top. Wet edges of dough with water and seal with a fork. Either wet the fork or dip fork into flour as you go, whichever works best as a seal for you.

Refrigerate as you work the other two pies.

Before baking, sprinkle tops with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake in medium 350° Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

RUTH’S NOTE:  “Fleddel freezes beautifully. I sometimes use a rectangle pan – a jelly roll pan will work. Then you only make 1 large fleddel.”

ORIGINAL SOURCE:  Posted to JEWISH-FOOD digest V97 #011 From: sybel@ix.netcom.com (Ruth Donenfeld) Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 21:59:43 -0700

 

This Mandel Bread Will Be Yummy!!!

 

Mandel Bread

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1-1/4 cups Sugar

1 cup Peanut Oil

4 Eggs; at room temperature

3-1/2 cups Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder; (heaping teaspoon)

1 teaspoon Salt

2 teaspoons Vanilla OR 1 teaspoon Vanilla AND 1 teaspoon Orange Juice*

1-1/2 cups Nuts or Coconut*

Sliced Almonds

*SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  I use chocolate chips instead of nuts and/or coconut. Also, I use the vanilla and orange juice–1 tsp. each.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs until fluffy and pale.

Add sugar, oil, and flavoring. Add sifted dry ingredients. Add nuts or coconut. Flour board and shape dough into strips 2 1/2-3″, or scoop with large cooking spoon directly on UNGREASED cookie sheet and shape into strips with fingers. (SOFTA’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  I use scoop method.)

Decorate with sliced almonds or coconut or sugar. Bake at 350 degrees-375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and slice in desired size and then lay slices on their sides on cookie sheets. Use extra cookie sheets, if necessary. (SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  I always find it necessary!!) Crisp slices in the oven for 5-10 minutes on each side.

Pack in wax paper in tin or glass containers. Keeps for weeks. (SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  I freeze in Tupperware!!)

SUGGESTION: Save crumbs to use in strudel or kuchen.

This is my favorite recipe for Mandel Bread. I first made it for Rosh Hashanna in 1973. This recipe comes from the newer edition of the “Rochester Hadassah Cookbook.”  ~SOFTA123 AKA Marilyn

I am posting another article after this one as this would have been yesterday’s post. So look for DO IT YOURSELF FORTUNE COOKIES ~ SOFTA123

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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 3

Posted on October 6, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Chairty, Chocolate Chip, Dairy, Desserts, Help, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Poverty, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


 

Tzedakkah is the last theme I will be talking about in relation to Yom Kippur.  Tzedakkah is a way to atonement.

Is there a difference between charity as most non-Jews see it and tzedakkah?  The Talmud tells us that charity is equal in importance to all the other mitzvoth (commandments of the Jewish law) combined. The Hebrew word “tzedakah” is commonly translated as “charity” or “tithe.” But this is misleading. “Charity” implies that your heart motivates you to go beyond the call of duty. “Tzedakah,” however, literally means “righteousness” — doing the right thing. A “tzaddik” is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether in the mood or not.[1]  Please go to this link to read the entire article that the citation comes from.  It is an incredible article about true tzedakkah.  Here is the link and it also appears in the footnote:  http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_charitytzedakah.htm

Giving Tzedakkah

The most famous formulation of laws concerning the relationship of donor to recipient is Maimonides’ Eight Degrees of Charity.[2]

From the lowest to the highest level they are to give

  1. but sadly,
  2. less than is fitting, but in good humor,
  3. only after having been asked,
  4. before being asked,
  5. so that the donor doesn’t know who the recipient is,
  6. so that the recipient doesn’t know who the donor is,
  7. so that neither knows the identity of the other, and
  8. in a manner so that the recipient becomes self-sufficient, thus avoiding the loss of self-respect that may result from receiving the lower degrees of charity.

Tzedakkah is more than giving money to the poor. Done properly, tzedakkah requires the donor share his or her compassion and empathy along with the money. In the writings of Maimonides, “whoever gives tzedakkah to the poor with a sour expression and in a surly manner, even if he gives a thousand gold pieces, loses his merit. One should instead give cheerfully and joyfully, and emphasize with him in his sorrow” (Just Tzedakah 1998).[3]

Does this look familar?

In many Jewish homes you will see a puskah (tzedakkah box) like this one or an updated modern bank time of puskah.  My parents had one in their house that Mom would put into the cupboard.  I don’t know why she put there, but probably because it was special to her and she wanted to always know where it was.  She would put coins into it every Shabbot (Sabbath) whenever she could spare the money.  And if there was a sickness in the family or a friend was sick, she’d say, “put money into the puskah,” as if the action itself was a prayer to G-d to heal that person.  If there was something one of us wanted very badly like to pass an exam, she would say, “put money into the puskah.”  When I got married, I got my own puskah.  Both my grandmothers had puskahs in their homes.  Now both my step-children have puskahs in their homes.  Theirs are beautifully hand-made large boxes that were made by my step-son-in-law’s cousin when my step-children’s mother passed away.  We always took our boxes to my Aunt Hushie’s house as she knew just where to take them.  The donations went to plant trees in Israel.  As I grew older, I discovered that these boxes were for the JNF (Jewish National Fund).  Here is an excerpt of how JNF began:

“It was the fourth day of the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1901. The delegates had spent the day debating a proposal for the establishment of a national fund to purchase land in Ottoman Empire-controlled Palestine, as had been suggested at the first Congress four years earlier by mathematics professor Zvi Hermann Schapira. Although Schapira had died in the summer of 1898, the idea of a fund had won a large following. Yet three congresses had passed without any practical decision being taken. At times it seemed that the dream of a Jewish state was destined to remain just that–only a dream.  But Theodor Herzl, a Viennese journalist, was unwavering–it was time to take action, and he was determined that before the Congress came to an end, a national fund would be established.

Herzl stood before the delegates and delivered a passionate plea for the immediate establishment of the fund: “After striving for so many years to set up the fund, we do not want to disperse again without having done anything.”  His speech turned the delegates around, the motion passed and the congress resolved that a fund to be called Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) (JNF-KKL) should be established, and that “the fund shall be the property of the Jewish people as a whole.” JNF’s first undertaking was the collection of £200,000.  One of the delegates immediately pledged £10 in memory of Zvi Hermann Schapira. Herzl made the second donation and his aide, the third. And with this, the dream of a national fund–to be used to build the foundations of a Jewish state–became a reality.

TURNING THE DREAM INTO REALITY

One month after the fund was established, Yona Krementzky was appointed to head JNF-KKL, headquartered in Jerusalem, and he set to work immediately.

Krementzky initiated the Golden Book, which records special moments in the lives of inscribers, or those they wish to honor, with paid inscriptions which to this day remain a coveted badge throughout the Jewish World.  These beautiful books are housed at JNF-KKL headquarters in Jerusalem for all to see. The very first inscription was that of Theodor Herzl.

Krementzky also began publishing JNF stamps, the proceeds of which went into the fund. These stamps were affixed to official Zionist documents as well as personal letters, and many people collected them. The first stamp was issued in 1902 and showed the Star of David and the name “Zion.”

Krementzky also adopted the suggestion of a small-town Galician bank clerk, Haim Kleinman, who had written to the Zionist movement’s newspaper Die Welt, proposing that a collection box be placed in every Jewish home so that contributions could be made to JNF at every opportunity. In the period between the two World Wars, about one million Blue Boxes could be found in Jewish homes throughout the world.”[4]  There is more to this story, so please check out the website.  The link is attached to footnote 4.

In conclusion, tzedakkah is monetary.  We are expressly obligated to provide for those less fortunate than we are.  So, fill up those tzedakkah boxes and donate anything you can whenever you can.  It is our obligation to cloth, feed, shelter and educate those that lack in one or more of these areas.  Volunteering is not tzedakkah, although it is a mitzvah.  So, we need to do both to the best of our abilities.

I am still looking for my niche in volunteering.  I am trying to find that niche and hopefully will find it before Yom Kippur.  I will keep you posted.  Now, for today’s coffee cake recipe.  Please note it does not have sour cream in it.

 

 

 

Chocolate Swirl Coffeecake

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Serves/Makes: 8

Difficulty Level: 3

Ready In: 30-60 minutes

Ingredients:

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons margarine or butter, divided

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Mix together coconut, nuts, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of the butter or margarine; reserved. In another bowl mix the baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, the remaining butter or margarine, the egg and milk; beat vigorously 30 seconds.

Spread into prepared pan. Spoon melted chocolate over batter; lightly swirl batter several times for marbled effect. Sprinkle with reserved coconut mixture. Bake until light brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.


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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 4

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Change, Comfort Foods, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |


Personal Change is another theme of Yom Kippur…personal change and a return to values and  ideals that you know are right.  Are those two themes contradictory or are they the same?  Hmmm, I wonder.   I just read a great post about personal change and the High Holidays.  I am copying it right here with the express permission of the website and writer.  This is very generous and I hope you will go to their website to check it out.  The name of the website is Positive Articles and here is the link http://www.positivearticles.com .

The High Holy Days: A Time of Personal Change and Spiritual Return

 

 by Nina Amir

As the leaves on the trees begin to turn, local Jews, as well as Jews all over the world begin the process of t’shuvah, a Hebrew word meaning repentance which comes from the root “to turn or return.” For them, autumn ushers in the High Holy Days, during which they turn their attention away from the distractions of everyday life and toward God, away from outward denial of wrongdoing and toward acknowledgement of sins, away from unwanted behavior and toward repentance.  At this time of year, change is in the air for Jews all around the world.

The High Holy Days include Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance.  Thus, this period marks the joyous beginning of a new year as well as a somber period of introspection. However, preparations for the “Days of Awe” – the period between Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur, begin on September 8 with the observance of Selichot, a late evening or nighttime service involving the recitation of penitential prayers.  Many Jews take time both with their community and on their own to begin the process of evaluating their own behavior over the past year on this night, and then continue doing so until the last sound of the shofar, the ram’s horn traditionally blown on this holiday, at sundown on Yom Kippur.

Although some Jews observe Selichot for a full month prior to Rosh Hashanah, others begin their observance approximately a week before the start of this holiday. In either case, this religious observance might be likened to a “warm up” for the High Holidays, my old Rabbi Steven Bob of Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, once told me.  “Before you go running, you want to stretch a little bit. This is spiritual stretching.  The Selichot service introduces the theme and melodies of the High Holy Days while also stressing God’s royalty and our modest position.  We recognize that God is judging us, but…we don’t want justice, we want mercy,” said Bob.

Selichot marks the first time during the High Holidays that Jews hear the shofar blown. Much symbolism surrounds the blowing of the shofar, but it is most commonly seen as a wake-up call.  Likened to an alarm clock, the shofar says, “Wake up and take a look at the way you’ve been living, and do something about it.” Blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah represents a call to return to God. During the year, we tend to stray from the path or get distracted, and we have to come back, turn towards God once again.

At the conclusion of the Selichot service, Jews have a week to begin their self-assessment before Rosh Hashanah.  Although this holiday is a joyous one, it does mark the beginning of 10 days of introspection and repentance.  On Rosh Hashanah the liturgy speaks of people “being written in the Book of Life.”  If they sincerely repent for sins and rectify wrongs from the last year, on Yom Kippur their names are “sealed” in the Book.  If they do not, their names are erased. While this language can be seen as a liturgical poetic image, it serves to remind Jews that what we do counts whether it is well known or whether it is secret. With our deeds, we write on the pages of our own Book of Life.

The Book of Life also provides a beautiful metaphor that reminds us we are fragile and don’t know whether we will survive the year or not.  Should we not survive, it seems a good idea to atone before meeting God and facing whatever fate lies before us.

The stress on being written in the Book of Life also allows Jews to think about the fact that our fate is not sealed forever, that we have an active role in what the future may bring us. Judaism has a doctrine of fee will; thus, we not pawns that play out Divine Will.  The Yom Kippur liturgy stresses this fact, repeating over and over again that repentance, prayer and just actions can avert the severity of the decree.

Change YOUR Channel!

We don’t often think of change as easy.  It seems easier to stay the way we are and where we are.  Yet, change is inevitable and often forced upon us. At this time of year, the Jewish tradition doesn’t force us to change but asks us to change.  We are reminded of the necessity of change – change for the better.

We can see this as an obligation.  We can see it as an opportunity.

Either way, the Jewish New Year offers us a chance – for some of us a second chance in addition to the secular New Year – to look at ourselves, our relationships and our lives and to set new goals, to create new priorities and to make amends for the wrongs we might have consciously or unconsciously, purposefully or accidentally committed over the past 12 months. This, too, can be difficult – to honestly look at ourselves and our deeds.  If we are willing to do the work, however, the period from Selichot to Yom Kippur provides a chance for t’shuvah, to turn towards what we want in our selves, in our lives and in the world, to return to our best selves. It’s a time to write our life for the coming year, to envision the year as we would like it to be and ourselves as we would like to become. And then when we hear the shofar blown in those last moments of Yom Kippur, we know that change has descended upon us. Or, more accurately, we have brought change upon ourselves

Nina Amir, a writer, motivational speaker, workshop leader, and Kabbalistic conscious creation coach, teamed up with Karen Stone, a life and love coach, writer, speaker, and workshop leader to publish “Planting Seeds of Change…And Watching Them Grow.” They co-lead a 4-part Teleseminar Series based on their booklet. The next series begins on September 6th. To enroll, visit http://www.purespiritcreations.com.or call 408-353-1943 or 770-435-2030.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about changing my life and turning it back around.  I have decided that after the holidays I am going to make three changes in my life.  First, I am going to choose a charity project, then I will begin once more to get my house in order and I am going to return to better eating habits.  Possibly, I may even throw some exercise (YUK!) in!!!  I’m not making promises, but I am at least going to try to do these things.  If I fail, well, maybe someone will GENTLY help me get back on track.  I know I can’t go on living the way I have for the past three years.

So how does one change?   First you have to have a self improvement plan and a system for your personal development and growth. Then you need to take consistent and continuous action. When you know in which direction you want to go, you will work on yourself, do all that you can and do your best. This is self help. And you will change and grow.


  •       Identify what is in your control to change.
  •       Identify your options.
  •       Create a support system.
  •       Examine your attitude.
  •       Remain flexible.
  •       Give yourself a break.
  •       Strive to achieve balance and perspective.

Remember, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”~ Jim Rohn Quotes

The above quote is a good one.  If you think about that quote, it will make you remember that you can’t blame anyone for your life.   You’ve made your choices, so you have to blame yourself.  For example, you are really upset with your boyfriend today so YOU decide to splurge on a pint of ice cream, you cannot blame the “fall off the wagon” on him.  It was YOUR decision to “fall off the wagon, not his. And ok, so you “fell off the wagon” today.  Don’t punish yourself, just get back on that wagon and take it day-by-day.  Soon your preferred behavior will become habit and you will make the changes that you want to make.

If you want to make lifestyle changes that last, you must be open to changing it up and not necessarily reusing the same tired plan of attack. Be open to new approaches and to the idea that you might not get to the finish line in the exact way you are currently imagining. In fact, it might even be easier and more fun than you are planning on.

A good example of changing a life style and making it last is when I tried to quit smoking.  I had tried going cold turkey, I tried acupuncture and I tried cutting back.  None of these methods worked for me.  Then one day my Dad said that he would buy me a computer if I quit smoking within a month.  My husband said he would sweeten the deal and buy the printer.  I wanted that computer very badly!  So my husband suggested that I use the filter method to quit smoking.  I did and I had, as the directions suggested, a quitting partner.  The bribery and the filters worked!  To maintain the habit of NOT smoking, my Dad said that if I reverted to smoking, the computer would be his!  To this day, I have been smoke free…that was almost 15 years ago now.  Do I crave cigarettes still?  Yes, but I remember how hard it was to give up the habit so I try not to think about it.  Also, I’m still afraid someone will take my computer away, and I’m hooked on the computer habit!  Good luck on whatever you choose to do to make a positive change this year!  Let me know how you are doing, I’ll be very interested in hearing your stories, success stories, I hope!

Today’s sour cream cake recipe:

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

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If you like crumb topping as much as cake, this recipe’s for you. A thick layer of cinnamon-spiced crumb topping sits atop coffee cake that starts with a cake mix.

Makes 24 servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into chunks
1 package (18 1/4 ounce) white cake mix
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, sugars and cinnamon in large bowl.  Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

2. Beat cake mix, egg, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or just until mixed.

3. Spread evenly in greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with topping mixture.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.

Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Tips

To make a Blueberry Crumb Cake: Prepare topping and batter as directed. Spread batter in baking pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup blueberries, then the topping mixture. Bake 45 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION – per serving

Calories: 265

Fat: 13 g

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Cholesterol: 41 mg

Sodium: 226 mg

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 3 g

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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 5

Posted on October 4, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Cherries, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Family, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Recipes, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


The theme running through Yom Kippur that I like the best is remembering and honoring our ancestors.  In our busy daily lives, we often don’t take the time to remember those we cherish who are no longer with us.  We don’t take the time to remember those past generations that we might not have had a personal recollection of but who are a factor in who we are.

Yizkor-Remember

In Judaism, a memorial service, called Yizkor (meaning “remember”), is recited as part of the prayer service four times during the year. This is based on the Jewish belief in the eternity of the soul. Although a soul can no longer do good deeds after death, it can gain merit through the charity and good deeds of the living.[1]  It is a proven fact that more people attend services on Yom Kippur Day than any other time of the year because Yizkor is said on Yom Kippur.  In the synagogues, not only do we pick up a prayer book and a Chumash  (Jewish scriptures are sometimes bound in a form that corresponds to the division into weekly readings (called parshiyot in Hebrew). Scriptures bound in this way are generally referred to as a Chumash.), but we also pick up a pamphlet that gives the names of the congregation’s deceased and a form to fill out for charity.

In many, if not all, the synagogues, you will find a large plaque with the names of deceased loved ones of the congregation and next to it will be a lit light bulb, and in our homes we light a Yahrzeit (memorial) candle or plug in one of the more modern Yahrzeit lamps that is left on from Erev Yom Kippur (the night before Yom Kippur Day) until we end our fast on Yom Kippur at sundown.  We do this in honor of our beloved ancestors, especially for a parent, a grandparent or a child as we believe that the candle flame symbolizes the human soul.  We only light one candle that includes everyone.

History is of the utmost importance in Judaism. Whereas the sacred texts of most ancient religions focus on myths and philosophical concepts, the Jewish Bible is centered on historical narrative; and most Jewish holidays are intended to connect modern Jews with their historical ancestors and traditions.  We see this most acutely on Yom Kippur when we remember our own recent history.

We remember our ancestors during the year in others ways too.  If there is a birth, the baby is named after a deceased relative.  We do this because people believed that if they would not name their children after their ancestors, their heritage would be forgotten. Naming children for the grandparents (which is normal but a baby can be named for any deceased ancestor) fosters a sense of continuity and purpose.

At Passover we recall our ancestor’s Exodus from Egypt and their journey to the Promised land.  As children we are told bible stories which tell the history of our people.  Each time the Torah is read, we remember those of biblical times that came before us.

But the best way to remember and honor our ancestors is to practice charity in whatever way we are able to.  We should strive to be the best person we can be so we can live up to their expectations of us.  We may fail, but if we at least try, that is a mitzvah (a good deed).

So, this year, as you sit around the table at your break fast, tell family stories, remember and pass those stories down to the next generation and remind your own generation of stories that may link them to you whether you know it or not.

This year, I will take the time to remember my beloved father, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles who are no longer with us.  I will remember my cousin, Roger, who died way too young, and I will remember my best friend, Beverly Clark.  I will remember my friends Sam & Florence Vyner, Elaine Rubin, Sam Goldstein and Florence Epstein.  I will remember those that died during the Holocaust at the hands of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party.  I will remember those martyrs that died because they were Jewish.  I will remember those who have fought to protect our freedom and our country in all the wars that we have been involved in.  I will remember those who died on September 11, 2001. May they all rest in peace.  Amen.

To help sweeten the remembrance of these special people, I offer you this sour cream cake recipe:

Sour Cream and Cherry Coffee Cake

Sour Cream & Cherry Coffee Cake

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1 – 18 oz package white cake mix

1 – 8 oz container sour cream

3 – eggs

1/4 – cup water

1 – 21 oz can Lucky Leaf cherry pie filling

1/4 – cup sliced almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a jelly-roll pan or 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Mix together the sour cream, eggs and water. Combine with the cake mix. Spread mixture into a greased baking dish and drop the pie filling over the batter in spoonfuls. Make sure to swirl the pie filling throughout the batter. If not the pie filling will settle in the middle.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Test with toothpick for doneness. Cool in pan and drizzle with a simple icing if desired.

Simple Icing

1 ½ – cups powdered sugar

2 – tablespoons milk

½ – teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over coffee cake and garnish with sliced almonds.

 

 

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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 6

Posted on October 3, 2011. Filed under: Autumn, Cakes, Dairy, Desserts, Jewish, My Ramblings, Poetry, Recipes, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


Remember!

Remembering our past is another theme of Yom Kippur.  I don’t know about you, but I have trouble remembering what happened yesterday!   Ok, so I shouldn’t make light of this.  Yes, I can remember the past, but mostly in feelings about a specific event tied to that time, whether it is a year or a decade.  But it’s not only years and/or decades etc.  that we are asked to remember on Yom Kippur.  We are commanded to remember the times we hurt someone or misspoke.  We are commanded to remember the times that we created difficulties.  The reason for our remembering these things is so we can truly repent because it is only after we remember our past acts that we know what it is we need to change. And by remembering what it is we are supposed to do, we can grow. Memory is what allows us to do teshuvah (repentance).

Remembering in the context of Yom Kippur also means remembering those times we were hurt by someone or we were someone’s victim.  Without remembering these times, even though the feelings of those times may still hurt, we cannot practice forgiveness.  Are we supposed to forgive a Hilter, an Idi Amin or an Osama Bin Laden?  I don’t think so.  Their crimes were too evil to even contemplate forgiveness on a human scale.  Their crimes are against all of humanity and G-d, thus I think their forgiveness must come from G-d.  But we should remember their crimes and evil and we must never let anyone forget them.  To do so would be to forget our martyrs.  That, to me,  would be a sin!

Remember to share your memories!

 Figure 1 Remembering Our Lives

Remembering our lives is very important and is probably one of the most important things we are to do in our lives.  It most probably is what G-d intended the gift of memory to be.  The High Holidays are a “time for remembering the all of our lives—where we have been in order to set the course for the future. This is a time for remembering your life, your own story. We have engaged much with stories over this past year, our own personal narratives and experiences. We shared them around tables, over food. And we did so with the goal of building connections among each other. That by sharing our stories we will come to understand that we all have stories to tell, that they are uniquely ours, that they are no more valid or correct than anyone else’s story, and that among our narratives there may be common themes or situations, challenges and emotions.”[1]

Some suggestions for remembering your life and for sharing those memories are:

  1. Keep a personal journal or diary.
  2. Make a regular or digital scrapbook.
  3. Write a book.
  4. Make a family tree.

If you don’t have someone to leave these gifts with, inquire at your local historical society, genealogy society and libraries to see if you can leave it to them for posterity.  If you have more than one person who would like a copy, make photo copies for each person, but leave the original with someone.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to start their own now so they will have a love of these arts and will remember their whole lives.  As we say, “from generation-to-generation…”

Here is a beautiful poem about remembering that I came across on the Internet at Poemhunter.com.

Write things down to help you remember!

Remember This

By Kat Mercado

Remember where you came from.

Remember you name.

Remember where you have been.

Remember whom you have encountered.

Remember whom you have known,

Remember joyous moments.

Remember sorrows too.

Remember the choices you’ve chose,

Remember the mistakes you’ve made.

Remember all the lessons.

Remember the lessons you forgot.

Remember your Father.

Remember Mother.

Remember your Mentor.

Remember to remember.

Remember gratitude.

Remember to be humble.

Remember your heart.

Remember always to love.

Remember This

And now, today’s sour cream cake recipe!

 

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake

 

SOUR CREAM PUMPKIN BUNDT CAKE

=============================

A surprise filling of brown sugar streusel makes this pumpkin-flavored cake a special treat. Save a bit of icing for drizzling over each serving of this wonderful cake!

STREUSEL:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons butter

COMBINE brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in small bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly.

CAKE:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 large eggs

1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 container (8 oz.) sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.

COMBINE flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat granulated sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

TO ASSEMBLE: SPOON half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle Streusel over batter, not allowing Streusel to touch sides of pan. Top with remaining batter.

Make sure batter layer touches edges of pan.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan on wire rack. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with Glaze.

GLAZE:

COMBINE 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice or milk in small bowl; stir until smooth.

Estimated Times:

Preparation – 12 minutes; Cooking – 55 minutes.

Yields 12 to 16 servings.


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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 7

Posted on October 2, 2011. Filed under: Bananas, Cakes, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Recipes, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


A theme that is central to Yom Kippur is forgiveness.  I think this is one of the most difficult themes we have to deal with throughout the High Holidays as well as throughout our lives.  “Forgiveness” is defined as :

1. The act of forgiving or the state of being forgiven[1]

2. willingness to forgive[2]

A Mothers Kisses by Jared Kendall

A Mother’s Kisses by Jared Kendall

(God) pardons like a mother who kisses away the repentant tears of her child —Henry Ward Beecher

“The overarching theme of Yom Kippur is repentance. During the holiday all thoughts are supposed to be centered on this theme. From Kol Nidrei to the repeated Viddui to Neilah, the day revolves around the theme of communal repentance for sins committed during the past year, in order that both the community and the individual be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.”[3]

“There are two distinct relationships in Judaism: person to person and person to God. To atone for deeds committed against another person, Jewish tradition teaches, you must confront that person directly and apologize. Yom Kippur will address the impact that deed had on your relationship with God, but without the personal apology, the deed remains uncorrected. This element of the day often leads to difficult self-assessments and personal accountability for the choices made in the previous year.”[4]

I find it very easy to ask G-d for forgiveness, but I am not sure he forgives me or not.  Some years I really wonder.  I also am not confident at this point that I know how to truly ask him or anyone else for forgiveness and I’m not sure I know how to be truly repentant.  I wonder if it is the same feeling for the criminal who wants to repent his crime.  Perhaps he/she is truly wishing to repent but does not know how.  What does that person do and how does he/she approach G-d for forgiveness?

We are taught by the Rabbis that repentance is the prerequisite of atonement.  So, without repentance there is no forgiveness, but we are given chance upon chance upon chance to repent.  Every day we can repent, not only during the High Holy Days, and not only during Yom Kippur.

Rabbinic Jewish literature contains extensive discussions on the subject of repentance. Many rabbinic sources state that repentance is of paramount importance to the existence of this world, so that it was one of the seven provisions which G-d made before the Creation (Talmud Bavli, tractates Pesahim 54a; Nedarim 39b; Midrash Genesis Rabbah 1).”[5]

It is too bad that repentance doesn’t work with countries.  Perhaps, if it did, there would be fewer wars.  But, countries are made out of people, and it seems that the people in charge don’t want to repent or don’t think they need to repent.   Perhaps if they really cared and if they really understood the 10 Commandments and their religion’s version of the Bible, there wouldn’t be so many wars.  Taken on a purely personal basis, perhaps there would be fewer divorces and torn apart families.  And perhaps neighborhoods would be safer places to live in.

In Order To Repent You Need To Turn Your Behavior Around!

G-d saw the importance of forgiveness so why can’t we practice it more?  I know it hurts to admit to being wrong.  I know we would like to think of ourselves as perfection.  I know that it can be humiliating to ask for forgiveness.  But we need to try.  We need to focus on our actions not just on the words, “I am sorry.”  The core of a true apology is the recognition of injury or wrong-doing, and a genuine expression of repentance for it. You have to recognize and admit the wrong-doing; and you have to be genuinely sorry.  Let go of the wrongs, let go of the engrained patterns — forgive and be forgiven.
I have an idea.  Try to truly forgive one person this year.  That is a good starting place.  Then next year try to ask forgiveness from someone you have wronged.  To start off, I ask anyone whom I have offended in any way during the past 64 years of my life to please forgive me.  I will try harder this year to be a better person.  So, here, publicly, I forgive Bonnie Stoler, a girl who I went to grammar school with who was not very nice to me.  I am finally going to let go of my grudge against her.  Please, Bonnie, if you are reading this, and I hope you are, I forgive you.

To help sweeten my apology, I am offering this recipe:

Bananas Yummmm!

Banana-Sour Cream Coffee Cake

=============================

Yield: 1 (10-inch) coffee cake

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed banana

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Stir together 1/4 cup sugar, pecans, and cinnamon; sprinkle half of mixture in a well-greased 12-cup Bundt pan. Set remaining mixture aside.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy;

gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

Add banana, sour cream, and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; fold into butter mixture.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.

Source:  Mrs. H.W. Walker, Richmond, Virginia, Southern Living OCTOBER 1997


[2] Ibid.

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YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 8

Posted on October 1, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Recipes, Rochester, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 8

Reflections

Figure 1 Winter Reflections by Josephine Wall

I hope everyone had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah! In reflecting on Yom Kippur I know it has always been the least favorite of my holidays. Why? Because I had to fast and I had to go to shul for a whole day and be bored and not at all where I wanted to be. My mind always wandered during services and until I was an adult I fled at sermon time. It wasn’t until Rabbi Shamai Kanter of Temple Beth El in Rochester, New York entered my life (I credit him with bringing me back to Judaism and giving me the knowledge that not all Rabbis are bad.) that I really listened to a sermon. But I had respect for him (and I had none for most of the Rabbis I had come into contact with in my lifetime). The first time I heard his sermon for Yom Kippur I couldn’t believe how cool this Rabbi was. He made me listen because his sermons always featured a movie he had seen. So year to year I would wonder what movie he would talk about this year and how would he tailor it to his theme. He never disappointed me! But, I mostly looked forward to going home, having a cigarette or two or lots more, and taking a nap before I would break my fast at 4:00 p.m. I would not fast any longer than that. And then, at 4:00 p.m. the holiday really began for me as I set up the trays and serving dishes with holiday delights so that my parents and their friends could have a pleasant break fast. I was very sad when my Mom decided that it wasn’t worth doing because no one every reciprocated and money was tight in our household. A few years later we would go over to the house of one of my parents new friends and join her wonderful break fasts.

When I got to college, I hosted my own break fasts if I couldn’t get home for the holidays. I was often the only Jew there, but I wanted to share my holidays with my friends. I continued this tradition when I got married. We would have a house-full of friends and family members and the attendees were 50% Jewish and & 50% Jewish. I would set out lots of goodies and everyone ate well. So, in remembering the pleasure I got from feeding everyone after fasting for however long they did, I don’t think I really minded Yom Kippur.

One of the themes of Yom Kippur is self-reflection. According to Wikipedia,

“Human self-reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose and essence. The earliest historical records demonstrate the great interest which humanity has had in itself. Human self-reflection invariably leads to inquiry into the human condition and the essence of humankind as a whole.”

I think that by keeping this blog, I do open myself to self-reflection. I try to be honest with myself and you, my readers. Therefore I sometimes open my eyes to things about myself I never really thought about or realized before. But, I didn’t realize that that was the role of Yom Kippur in the life of a Jew. I just assumed that it was all about self-denial and asking G-d to forgive us (as in me) for who knows what sins. Oh yes, I could enumerate on my sins while I was in temple. I could name them and ask forgiveness for them. But, they were not the deeper, most important truths and sins. I don’t think I ever really understood that it was only the sins against G-d that I was supposed to be asking for and via that mechanism, I might find a way to ask for forgiveness from fellow human beings whom I had wronged in one-way-or-another. It is very hard to ask for forgiveness, but we’ll cover that in another post. Now, as I am reading more, I am looking at Yom Kippur’s self-reflection in a different manner. I am looking at it as a journey to G-d and to me. I am going to begin a private journal for that purpose and I am going to look for just one way to make a difference in the world. Just one. If I can find that one thing, it is a start. I have decided that the one thing I will do this year is to do a volunteer project. I haven’t decided upon one yet, but this is something I just decided, so between now and the end of Yom Kippur, I will make a decision. I am not going to promise G-d this, just in case I fail in carrying this task out. I will not make a deal with G-d that “if you forgive me, I will do this,” as I don’t want to make light of his more important works. So, I will keep you abreast of my quest .

Now, for the big reveal of how I will commemorate this countdown, I have decided to include a sour cream cake recipe for each day of the Yom Kippur countdown and thought I would start the countdown recipes with this easy to make sour cream cake recipe:

We have the pan ready, now we need to pour the batter into it...

Sour Cream Bundt Cake
=====================
Submitted By: Sue Smith

Servings: 12

“This recipe is great for both yellow and chocolate flavored cakes! It makes a Light, fluffy, and SERIOUSLY moist cake.”

INGREDIENTS:

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

Make the batter following the directions on the box, EXCEPT replace 2 teaspoons water with an equal amount of vanilla. Fold in sour cream.

Bake according to directions given for baking a Bundt cake. Cool on
rack, place on serving plate, and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Nutrition Information Servings Per Recipe: 12

Calories: 234 Amount Per Serving Total Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 9mg Sodium: 293mg Amount Per Serving Total Carbs: 35.8g Dietary Fiber: 0.5g Protein: 2.5g

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