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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Dairy’

Dairy Keeps Me Up

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Dear Mordechai,

Why are there no special mitzvos for Shavuos?



Dear I.,

You’d think there would be, right? This is the Yom Tov on which we got the Torah. If there’s any Yom Tov that would have mitzvos, you’d think this would be it. Yet there are really no unique mitzvos to speak of, besides for eating cheesecake.

Maybe the point is that we should concentrate on the basic mitzvos before we move onto the fancy ones, like koshering our kids’ braces. The mitzvos of Shavuos are more like “Don’t have any other gods before me,” “Don’t kill,” and “Honor your father and mother and let them sleep.”

Maybe Hashem’s trying to give us a break after all that Pesach prep. Or maybe he wants us to have time for a nap. No one gets a nap before Sukkos or Pesach. Erev Pesach we have to burn our chometz and prepare very specific Seder plate foods, and on Erev Sukkos we have to hang decorations so they at least won’t blow away before Sukkos and figure out how we’re going to preserve our aravos for seven days so the leaves don’t fall off when we shake it. Before Shavuos, we do have to buy flowers (that’s one chiyuv), but once we buy them, it’s our wife’s problem to figure out how to preserve them. We’re taking a nap.


Dear Mordechai,

How do I keep my flowers fresh for a whole three-day Yom Tov?



Dear D.,

This is a pretty common question, because flowers are one of the few things we don’t buy to consume; we just buy them so we can set them out indefinitely and watch them slowly die, like goldfish. We can buy food, we can change the water, but eventually we’re going to end up flushing them down the toilet.

But there are definitely some ideas experts recommend that may or may not work in real life:

  1. Pour in about ¼ cup of sugary soda. Soda might be bad for you, but apparently it’s good for plants. The sugar keeps the flowers alive and bouncing off the walls. Maybe something with caffeine would be great. If you have a clear vase, though, I would advise that you use clear sodas, such as Sprite, as opposed to brown sodas, such as Coke; red sodas, such as Mountain Dew Code Red; and orange sodas, such as Orange Soda. Pouring ginger ale into a clear vase would also look pretty bad.
  1. A little bit of hairspray keeps the flowers standing up, probably even if they’re dead. Kind of like rigor mortis. They won’t be able to flop over even if they want to.
  1. There are people who say that you should add vodka to the water, but these might be people who’ve already drank vodka. The vodka serves to kill bacteria in the water. A few drops of vodka is best, though.
  1. Add ¼ tsp of bleach per quart of water. You’d think this would kill the flowers, but apparently it just kills the bacteria. It doesn’t even turn the flowers white. Just your pants, when the vase tips over.
  1. Throw in a copper penny. This is the only reason they still keep making pennies. I have hundreds of pennies at home, most of them buried in the couch, so I can probably fill the vase with nothing but pennies.
  1. Add mouthwash. This sounds ridiculous, but it’s antibacterial. How bad can it be? The mint might overpower the flower smell, though.
  1. Put the flowers in the fridge. Good luck clearing space in there. You might have to take out a shelf. But putting plants in the fridge is what we do for our aravos, and those are generally good at least until the first day of Yom Tov. Of course, the downside is that no one will see your flowers, except when they go into the fridge to get stuff and they knock the whole thing over. Bleach and all. So maybe if you want to increase visibility, you should leave them in front of the air conditioner and let it blow the flower smell (or mint smell) and later, the petals, all over the house.


NOTE: All these recommendations are for flowers. Do not try any of them on goldfish. Especially the vodka. Or the caffeinated soda. Or the bleach. You know what? Don’t try any of them.



Dear Mordechai,

What’s the halachic minimum for eating cheesecake?



Dear C.,

You can probably get one of those size charts like they have for Pesach. I think it’s ⅔ of a round cheesecake or an entire square one. And you can’t talk the entire time you’re eating it, and you have to eat it in the time it takes to eat three eggs (minus peeling time).

Sefardim, meanwhile, have to go by weight. Or they can just eat it and then weigh themselves. So they probably eat a lot less.

Basically, the goal here is to gain as much weight over two days of Shavuos as you normally would over eight days of Pesach or nine days of Sukkos. With Sukkos, you get an extra day because of the walking for hoshanos and the dancing the last day. Whereas Shavuos you mostly spend 2-3 days in bed, sleeping off the one night of learning.

If you can’t tolerate that amount of dairy (and no one can), know that this may be why there’s a minhag on Shavuos for married couples to sleep in shifts.



Dear Mordechai,

My kids, ages 8 and 10, have been begging me to let them stay up this year. Should I? They have no idea what they’re getting into.



Dear M.,

Absolutely. Let it be your revenge for all the nights that they refused to go to bed when you told them to and all the nights they woke you up for a drink of water. In fact, keep bringing them drinks of water.

On the other hand, there are certain responsibilities you have once you start taking kids. Like you can no longer fall asleep across a table. Or spend a half hour downstairs schmoozing over coffee. Or be the guy who falls asleep in the women’s section so you can make brachos for everyone before Shacharis. (“You guys are definitely going to wake me up, right? Or am I going to be woken up by women pouring in for the late minyan, asking me to put my shoes on and stop using their tablecloth as a blanket?”)

Taking kids can be great, though, because it gives you something to learn. Because as a regular working father, it’s not easy to figure out what to learn on Shavuos night. You never learn for a 4-5 hour stretch like that anymore, and you would have to be seriously behind on any regular limudim or sedarim you have for you to fill up a Shavuos night. What are you supposed to do – not learn for 30 days before Shavuos, in the same way we don’t eat matzah for 30 days before Pesach? This is why you chose to be the brachos guy.

But now that you have kids, you can do what they do, and attempt to learn everything they learned in school all year. Let them repeat what they learned, and you sit slightly behind them so they don’t see if you drift off. Or you can probably keep yourself upright with a huge amount of hairspray.


Have a question for “You’re Asking Me?” I can’t breathe.

Mordechai Schmutter

How to Match Wine and Cheeses Like a Pro

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Wine and cheese go together so well that it’s practically a cliché. The naturally opposing flavours create an excellent dining experience. But, not every cheese is suited to every wine, so in time for Shavuot, here are some tips from Debby Sion, Head of Wine Education at the Golan Heights Winery:

Soft and soft-ripened cheese: e.g. Brie, Camembert, Feta Soft cheeses go best with aromatic dry white wines that have a fruity character. Suggested white wines: Gamla Chardonnay, Yarden Viognier, Galil Avivim. Suggested red wines: Gamla Pinot Noir and Yarden Pinot Noir.

Blue-veined cheese: Blue cheeses tend to have a sharp and salty character, a crumbly texture and a strong smell. Paradoxically the most suitable types of wine are sweet wines or dessert wines. Suggested sweet wines: Yarden Muscat or Yarden Heightswine.

Goat cheese: e.g. Chèvre The high proportion of fatty acids in goat’s milk give these cheeses a tart flavour that pairs well with a refreshing dry white wine, Recommended wines: Yarden Sauvignon Blanc, Galil Sauvignon Blanc, Yarden Mount Hermon White, Gamla Brut.

Sharp cheese: e.g. aged Gouda, sharp Cheddar, mature Stilton These are strong flavoured cheeses are balanced best by deep and complex wines. Recommended wines: Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden Merlot, Galil Alon.

Hard and Semi-Hard Cheese: e.g. Gruyère and Emmental Hard cheeses can be described as sweet yet with a slightly salty quality. These cheeses pair well with light reds or buttery, fragrant white wines. Recommended wines: Gamla Chardonnay, Galil Pinot Noir, Yarden Mount Hermon Red, Yarden Rose.

Very Hard Cheese: e.g. Parmesan, Pecorino
Hard cheeses have a very strong, compacted, salty flavour that pairs best with red wines Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Recommended wines: Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarden Merlot, Yarden Blanc de Blanc, Galil Yiron.

Jewish Press Staff

Price of Dairy Products to Drop by 5-10 Percent

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

A government revision of dairy products has led Tnuva Foods to cut prices, including some items not under price control, by up to 10 percent.

Tnuva sells to supermarkets, which will be under close scrutiny to pass on the savings to consumers.

It sliced 6.8% off the price of white cheese and 6% of the price of milk.

Sour cream will cost 10% less, and the price of cottage cheese, the symbol of the social protest movement in Israel, will fall by 4%.

However, Tnuva is not lowering the price of yogurts, puddings chocolate milk, all of which Globes business newspaper says are high-profit items.


Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel Cuts Cost of Milk

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Israeli consumers will be able to afford double cheese on their pizza again — not to mention plain milk for parents to be able to give to their children.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has signed an order to create a 4.62 percent drop in the price of milk. The committee on price controls last week cut the price of raw milk by 6.48 percent.

Hopefully the move will lead to a drop in the price of other dairy products as well.

“This is a reduction whose entire purpose is aimed at reaching the pockets of the consumer,” Ariel said, adding in his warning to dairy companies that the measure was “not in order to enrich your coffers.” The minister said he also plans to cut the prices of unsupervised dairy products as well.

Hana Levi Julian

How to BBQ for Shavuos

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

We received word that #1 Muqata fan Eric doesn’t think our Shabbat BBQ of chicken is manly enough, and we need to throw something from a cow onto the fire.

So in honor of Shavuot, and to make #1 Muqata fan Eric happy, here you go… something from a cow…

Source: BBQLodge


Israeli Chief Rabbinate Working to Lower Kashrut Costs

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is hoping to lower the cost of kashrut by approving more foreign kashrut certification organizations. The initiative comes in context of a general move by the Finance Ministry to lower the cost of living in the Jewish State.

In addition, it was announced Tuesday that the Chief Rabbinate will create a committee to explore new ways to supervise the kashrut and quality foreign dairies. The agency said itis hoping to use enhanced technology to reduce the price of dairy imports while improving competition in the field.

Data presented at a ministerial meeting on Tuesday indicated a wide disparity between the price of imported dairy products and those produced in Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Done Deal: China’s Bright Food Buys Israel’s Tnuva

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Chinese government’s ‘Bright Food’ group inked the deal this morning (Thursday) to purchase Israel’s national dairy company, Tnuva, from Apax Partners for NIS 8.6 billion.  The Israeli government had no part in the deal.

Apax, which owns a 56 percent stake in the firm, will make a cool NIS 4 billion on the deal, and will not be required to pay any tax, according to a report posted on the Globes business news website.

The national kibbutz movement, which owns 23 percent of the company’s shares, did not sell. But Mivtach-Shamir Food Industries, which owns 21 percent of the company, is still negotiating, according to the report.

In a statement released to media, Bright Food said, “We are proud to acquire Tnuva. For us this is a long-term sound investment that will help Tnuva become a company that enters global markets. It is our intention to continue to keep Tnuva as an Israeli company and continue cooperating with all relevant local bodies including employees, farmers, and cattle farmers to faithfully serve the Israeli consumer.”

Under the terms of the deal, Tnuva’s CEO will be Israeli and its chairman of the board will be Chinese, from the Bright Food group. Its center of operations will remain in Israel as well.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been deeply invested in strengthening ties economically and diplomatically with China, and bilateral commercial ventures have risen over the past several years. Tourism projects between Israel and China has increased as well.

However, it is not clear what would happen if diplomatic relations between Israel and China were ever to falter, or if for some reason Israeli consumer regulations differed from those preferred by the Chinese food conglomerate.

The bottom line remains: What will happen to Tnuva — and by extension, to the Israeli dairy consumer — if relations between the two countries go sour?

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/done-deal-chinas-bright-food-buys-israels-tnuva/2014/05/22/

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