Category Archives: Judaism

The Best Passover Hosting Guides

Whether you’re hosting Passover for the first time or the fortieth, a guide can be very helpful, especially if you’re overwhelmed and unsure where/how to start.

Here are a few that I really like:

Want step-by-step instructions? As usual, Chabad is the best resource

Dealing with allergies? Kosher.com has great advice for those who need to avoid eggs, ground nuts, and other holiday staples.

The Forward has a very comprehensive guide, with activities divided up over a few days, instead of a single marathon night of cooking and cleaning. 

Heritage Florida suggests visualizing the Seder you want, then planning. They also recommend potluck as an option, which is fun if others want to chip in.

Reform Judaism has a nice checklist that can be printed—wonderful for those who enjoy crossing things off as they go.

 

Are you hosting Passover this year? I’m having 11 people at my house!

Chabad Rabbi’s Mezuzah Project Changes a Community

It started at a synagogue appreciation dinner in Brooklyn, when Heshy Ceitlin, came up with a unique idea for outreach: gift and install a Mezuzah to any Jewish family that wanted one. Only a few years later, over 1,000 door posts—and numerous hearts—have been changed for the better by the Chabad Rabbi. 

Many of the individuals he has shown kindness and support to were formerly secular, never had a Mezuzah, and some weren’t even sure how to find one. Because he was willing to put time and effort into these people, they were able to connect with Judaism.

This is what makes Chabad so special. They are the only Jewish group that is actively doing outreach, unlike the Reform which actively pushes members out the door. (Yes, there are good Reform temples/rabbis, but overall, they’re not willing to go the extra mile and meet someone where they’re at.)

You don’t have to be orthodox to love Chabad, or to attend a Shabbos service or a holiday event. Not only are you welcome, you are wanted! Seriously, if you’ve become unaffiliated, if you are fed up with liberal Judaism that isn’t Torah based, try Chabad. There is little or no cost and you can be sure that there won’t be rejection or judgment. 

Judaism is supposed to be about love—God’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for each other. You can definitely follow a religion on your own, but it’s so much nicer to have a community where you feel safe and included. 

Putting a Mezuzah on a door is a simple act that may produce incredible results. Even if you’re not religious, embracing tradition is worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Every effort counts, no matter how small. 

“Jexodus” Campaign Encourages Jews to Stop Voting Democrat

“Jexodus” aka “Jewish Exodus” is a new political campaign that encourages Jews to stop voting Democrat. Similar to Blexit and Walk Away, Jexodus concentrates on Millennials, but folks of all ages are invited to join the movement.

Because the majority of Jews vote for Democrats (over 70%), their support is taken for granted. That misguided allegiance led to some truly terrifying candidates being elected to Congress recently—Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to name a few.

The Democratic party is moving away from the middle and headed towards a radical left. It promotes an ideology that is viciously anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and anti-Israel. We are seeing it on a national, state and local level, with bad politicians and bad policies in the news daily.  

I’m a little unusual because I’ve been a registered Republican since I was 18-years-old. That’s not common for a Jewish lady, but I sincerely hope in the future that it will become mainstream. That’s not to say that the Republicans are perfect; they have terrible bigots in their party, too. The difference is that the Republicans are not pro BDS, they’re not against religious freedom, and they’re not pushing an atheist agenda. 

Because the spokeswoman for Jexodus used to work for Trump, it’s being dismissed as a sham and a joke, which is so unfortunate. The Republican party existed long before Trump was even born! He will not be the President forever. This is so much bigger than him, or a single election. It’s about the future of America and the future of Israel. I want these great nations to flourish. 

If the Jewish community continues to vote Democrat as a block, that’s going against our own interest. Of course, each candidate should be judged on their individual merit. I would vote for a Democrat if they shared my values; the problem is that the majority don’t. I want politicians who will defend Jews, support Israel, and discourage anti-Semitic sentiment and attacks. Good luck finding a Democrat, especially one who’s under 30, that does.

I don’t know if Jexodus can have a large impact, but anything is better than nothing. Vote according to your conscience, not because you’re “supposed” to be a Jewish Democrat. 

Free Printable Purim Planner

Simplify Purim prep with a free printable planner from Beyond the Balagan. (Getting organized with a list makes it so much easier!) The planner covers 5 separate sections: costumes, menu, gift baskets, services and Things to Do.

Instead of having random notes spread throughout my home and in the car, a single sheet of paper that includes everything I need will be a dramatic change for the better.