Books I Love – Jewish Treasures of the Caribbean

One doesn’t often think “Jewish” when they hear the word “Caribbean,” but Photographer Wyatt Gallery has captured a nearly-extinct world of wonder in his remarkable new book, Jewish Treasures of the Caribbean.

In modern times, the Caribbean is viewed mainly as a vacation and Honeymoon spot, but hundreds of years ago, it was a safe haven for Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution. They established communities in Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Thomas, St. Eustatius, and Suriname, which thrived for centuries and are home to the Western hemisphere’s oldest synagogues and cemeteries.

Thumbing through the colorful pages is a true delight, allowing the reader to journey through time, back to a world filled with brightly painted buildings, ornate gravestones, sand-strewn floors, and candlelit chandeliers.

One of the things that surprised me most was the extravagance on display. Neve Shalom Synagogue in Suriname has eleven Torahs (rare today even in the wealthiest American congregations). The obvious pride and love for Judaism is so touching!

Sadly, modern “progress” has taken over in unexpected ways, demonstrated perfectly in this photo, taken in Curacao: an oil refinery was built adjacent to the Beth Haim Cemetery, corroding many of the stones from pollution.

Without preservation, what’s left of these dwindling communities could disappear forever—a true tragedy. Only five historic synagogues remain left in use, and many of the cemeteries have been damaged or lost as well. 

Should the worst come to pass, when nothing is left standing, Jewish Treasures of the Caribbean will serve as a moving tribute to these extraordinary landmarks, creating a photographic legacy of a little known Jewish experience. This book should be in the collection of every history buff.

Do Moms Need “Me Time?”

Moms, when was the last time you took a “time out” just for yourself? Probably not lately! Luvs—the official diaper of experienced parents—conducted a formal poll of moms across the country to take a look at what parenting is really like and to uncover what they truly value most. The survey revealed that nearly 2 in 3 moms have never taken a day completely for themselves. (I am very guilty of doing this!)

As we welcome in the New Year, perhaps the best resolution for parents is to give themselves a well-deserved bit of “me time.” In 2017, I am setting aside 20 minutes every morning to drink my coffee, journal, and enjoy a quiet, uninterrupted moment without any distractions. This allows me to start off calmly and helps me to be more focused and less frazzled.

All moms know that parenthood is a roller coaster ride, but I try to take it in stride and not sweat the small stuff. Instead of dwelling on the negative, I look for little things that help me get through my busy days and make life easier. Using products that get the job done and don’t break the bank can be so helpful! That’s why I buy Luvs diapers.

 

Luvs recently introduced the new and improved Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™. Softer and more absorbent than before, with large stretch tabs for easy fastening, ultra-leakage protection and a money-back guarantee, Luvs provide features babies and parents need for less cost than premium brands.
 
Also, to make sure everyone gets their share of value, Luvs is offering a  printable coupon, good for $1.00 off any one diaper pack. All Luvs diapers are included in this particular offer, except trial/travel sized packs.

Parenting can be difficult, but diapering doesn’t have to be when you choose Luvs. 

 

This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

Super Savings Saturday – 1/14/2017

Welcome to another edition of Super Savings Saturday!

This week’s deals mean a lot to me and I owe it all to my dear readers. By saving up affiliate credits, I was able to purchase a new microwave and slow cooker—for FREE. I can’t thank each of you enough! I enjoy blogging so much and I would truly do it for nothing, but earning a little bit of compensation feels wonderful.

Best Buy:

The microwave is a white countertop model made by Frigidaire that’s replacing an 8-year-old(!) Kenmore that had a broken turntable and barely worked. It’s much more powerful and heats up in a snap.

The slow cooker is a 6-quart programmable made by Hamilton Beach. My old one was smaller, only had a warm/low/high switch, and the stoneware was cracked after lots of use. Expect to see some new recipes in the near future after I’ve had the chance to try it out.

Food-wise, my best deal was finding a huge box of red onions on clearance at a local produce store. I’m not sure of the exact weight, but it was well over 10 lbs. Total price: $6.99! Only a couple were moldy or spoiled. We ate a few fresh with salads and the majority were sliced, bagged, and put into the freezer for future use.

I also picked up some reasonably priced produce: 2-lbs of zucchini and 3-lbs of broccoli for $0.99/lb each, 5-lb bag of russet potatoes for $1.00, and Gala apples for $0.88/lb. By shopping the sales, I’m able to stock up on lots of healthy fruits and veggies for very little cost.

 

Have you found any deals lately? Share/link in the comments.

Actress Leah Gottfried: Balancing Religion & Hollywood

Is it possible for an Orthodox Jewish lady to have a successful career in Hollywood? According to Leah Gottfried, it’s possible, but very challenging. She recently shared her personal experience, trying to balance the two, and often feeling unwelcome in both communities, stating: “I felt rejected. Rejected by the people of my faith who told me it wasn’t possible to be an Orthodox actor. Rejected by a Hollywood system that gave me that same message. And yet I loved both worlds and couldn’t imagine living my life in just one of them.”

While her experience is unique, everyone can relate to not fitting in, longing for a dream job that seems unattainable, and dealing with countless naysayers. Because of her beauty, talent and determination, Leah has been able to carve out her own path while staying true to her faith. Not only does she act, write, produce and direct, she created Soon By You, a comedic web series—which I’ve blogged about before—that centers on young Orthodox Jews dating in NYC.

Leah is living proof that one can be religious and have a career in the secular world, without compromising their ideals. Very inspirational!