Author Archives: The Jewish Lady

5 Fruit Desserts for Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat, aka the New Year for trees, is traditionally celebrated by eating fruit, specifically the fruits of Israel, which includes grapes, figs, pomegranates and dates.

Here are 5 of my favorite fruit desserts that will add a sweet treat to your celebration:

1. Frozen Yogurt Grapes 

Quick option for those short on time and popular with kids.

2. White Chocolate and Fruit Bark

I love how the colors pop against a smooth white background. Really yummy and can be prepared in advance.

3. Fig Bars with Walnuts

Anything with a crunchy topping is popular at my house. These are like upscale Fig Newtons.

4. Citrus and Pomegranate Fruit Salad 

A lighter option for anyone on a diet or diabetics.

5. No-Cook Date Truffles

No baking, very little fuss and a fun project for the whole family.


Do you have a special fruit recipe to share?

Turpin Family Horror: 13 Kids Tortured

David and Louise Turpin appeared to be caring parents that loved their children. While their choice of having 13 babies was far from typical, they posted “normal” pictures on Facebook that showed fun activities like trips to Disneyland, vow renewal ceremonies in Las Vegas, and Dr. Seuss inspired matching outfits.

That Facebook page, and the illusion it presented, was exposed as a total sham when their 17-year-old daughter escaped and told a tale straight out of a horror movie that involved decades of abuse so severe it’s hard to imagine—children who were chained to beds, deprived of food, locked in closet “cages,” denied schooling and medical care, and terrorized mentally and emotionally.

This mother and father, who are despicable beyond words, are currently in jail, with multi-million dollar bails each.

A rational mind can not understand such behavior and folks around the world are struggling to make sense of this extremely odd case. I hesitate to speculate before all the facts come out, but clearly something was very wrong in that house. There may be mental illness involved, or the parents might just be pure evil; we just don’t know yet.

I’ve read some accounts that the Turpins were Pentecostal fanatics who lived like a cult, insisting on extreme separation from society. Supposedly, David’s own mother said that “God commanded them to keep having children” and also said they were “a well-respected family.” (Obviously, that lady is in deep denial, but her point of view sheds some light on the family dynamic.)

Keeping 13 kids, ages 2-29, in such abusive conditions that they didn’t eat regularly, didn’t grow normally, or even have the freedom to use the bathroom without permission is not respectable, not normal, and definitely not about religion.

Truly religious people, who base their lives around Scripture and its teachings, would never terrorize, beat, starve, chain, or otherwise mistreat anyone, let alone a child. Doing so is the complete opposite of what morality teaches. Some twisted minds do get confused and look to justify their own sickness, claiming that God wants them to do it. That is the worst type of self righteous, immoral behavior and nobody has the right to do evil in God’s name and pretend it’s ok.

It’s natural to wonder why extended family, neighbors, and other people who knew the Turpins didn’t contact the authorities. If any good can come out of this tragic tale, it’s a warning that we all need to be more aware. If something seems wrong or scary, it is totally okay to get help. Nobody should have to suffer in silence, either as a direct victim or fearful bystander.

Children are precious. They deserve everything good that life has to offer. We must help, as a society and as we’re individually able, to ensure that they are well cared for and not harmed needlessly. Becoming a volunteer, or a foster parent, or a coach is a great place to start. So many youngsters are suffering and in dire need of love. It’s an outrage to do nothing!

“One of Us” Paints a Miserable (and False) View of the Hasidic Community

Because life inside the notoriously private Hasidic world is rarely filmed, One of Us, a Netflix original documentary, makes for interesting viewing. Focusing on three members of the community, all of whom are at a personal crossroad, it paints a terrible portrait of abuse, depression, forced marriages, dysfunctional families, and corrupt leaders.

While these problems definitely exist within Orthodox circles, the documentary is so one-sided it comes off as a hit piece, making it seem like every single member of that community is a victim held against their will, which is not true.

I personally know people who became Orthodox later in life by choice and others who were raised in it. Most Jews do not desire that intense level of religion—me included—but that doesn’t mean being Orthodox is a bad thing.

For individuals that want a highly structured, faith-based, family atmosphere, the Orthodox lifestyle may work perfectly. Those of us who prefer a more liberal attitude won’t, but everyone should be free to pick and choose, according to their own will.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of the folks in the documentary; they are justifiably bitter about their own mistreatment and deserve to be heard. But what I wonder is why the directors didn’t present the other side as well? It would’ve painted a much more balanced picture. Surely, they could find at least one Orthodox Jewish family that would have something good to say.

Years ago, there was a movie made about the same subject that starred Melanie Griffith. Due to the Hollywood touch, A Stranger Among Us was farfetched in some ways, but it did offer a glimpse into Orthodoxy, from a Gentile’s perspective, that was very respectful without fawning. I’d much rather see something like that rather than an intensely negative portrait of Orthodox Judaism.

Documentaries are exciting because they offer a slice of life that may otherwise remain unknown. It’s too bad One of Us deliberately chose to present a biased account.


If you’ve seen the documentary, what did you think of it?

Soup Recipes Wanted

Since I have the best readers in the world, I’d love to get some advice on the subject of soup.

Every January, I go on a health kick which always includes making a huge pot of veggie soup. I like to fill up before my meals with soup as an appetizer and while plain veggie is good, I want to branch out.

Does anyone have a good soup recipe to share? In addition to veggie, I make chicken soup regularly, but I really need something else. It can be stove-top or crockpot and I’m not picky on ingredients (within reason, of course).