Category Archives: Judaism

Holocaust Remembrance Day: Triumph over Tragedy

There are few subjects more somber, disturbing, and devastating than the Holocaust. Naturally, a lot of the photos most of us clearly recall are the awful images of death. While I feel those are important, I also think it’s equally powerful to show an image like this, that demonstrates triumph over tragedy as a Jewish People.

Yes, there is still anti-Semitism and it is arguably thriving. Recent bomb threats, cemetery destruction, and other awful acts of terror are an important reminder that this world is not a perfect place. Jews have always faced these threats, and for most of history we were totally alone, at the mercy of whatever government happened to be ruling. The modern-day miracle known as Israel changed all that. Now, regardless of politics or personal circumstances, Jews will never again be left without a place to go or a way to survive.

No matter how many years have passed, we must remember the victims, honor their memories, and showcase their stories as warning to current and future generations.

Making Passover More Environmentally Friendly

Specialty items, extravagant menus, tons of leftover food, and then needing to restocking the kitchen afterwards—Passover can be a very wasteful time, if we’re not careful.

Foodtank has created a list of 7 ways to create a more sustainable Passover, with great tips like eating locally, preventing food waste, meatless options, and much more.

A few things I’d add to the list: Reducing or eliminating paper plates/napkins; using mobile or audio Haggadahs; and/or eating whole, naturally parve foods instead of paying extra for “Kosher for Passover” items.

We all want to celebrate, and that’s an important thing, but there’s no reason to throw good sense out the window entirely. Let’s strive for a reasonable balance between the two.

Pomegranate Guild: A Jewish Needlework Group

Love to do needlework with a Jewish theme? Looking for other ladies who are interested in sharing their knowledge and techniques? There is a club especially for you! It’s called the Pomegranate Guild.

Started in 1977, this warm, welcoming and inclusive group strives to create a unique experience that blends needlework, culture, tradition and religious practices (as they relate to Judaic textiles) for members. There are local chapters throughout America and one in Canada. Can’t find anything nearby? A very cool convention will happen in May!

Though my sewing skills are extremely basic, I love looking—and marveling—at what others make. I know they say practice makes perfect, and I do try. Perhaps in about 100 years I’ll actually be proficient.

More info is available on the website and Facebook page.

Outrage in Israel over “Sexy” Smurfette

Is Smurfette an offensive sex symbol? According to community members of  Bnei Brak, an ultra Orthodox enclave in Israel, the answer is yes and they’ve demanded that posters be censored for the soon-to-be released Smurfs movie.

While I respect everyone’s point of view and understand that some folks have strict religious sensibilities and extreme views on modesty, this strikes me as pure insanity. Though it should be obvious, it bears stating anyway: Smurfette is not a real person! She is a cartoon character in a movie made for children. Nobody with a reasonable sense of decency would object to anything about her.

Maybe it’s her sleeveless dress or high heels that bug them. Perhaps it’s the mere fact that she’s female (even a fake female). Whatever it is, it’s a simple case of faith turned into fanaticism. When religion is practiced as part of one’s life, as opposed to consuming one’s entire life, it is healthy, normal, and good. When an individual becomes a slave to the Laws, it’s very, very unhealthy and promotes an atmosphere where abuse can—and often does—flourish.

With anti-Semitism on the rise world wide, never ending problems with our Arab neighbors, and global terrorist threats, surely there are more important issues to contend with than a cartoon being dress provocatively!