web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Reuven’

Routes And Roots To The Truth

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.

With an independent mind at such a young age the boy would not do as his parents did, namely bow down to a statue. Looking back decades later, he would say, “It seemed ridiculous” to do. But to avoid his parents’ probable spanking, he had to do something to appear as if he was interested in what was going on. So he moved his lips, pretending to pray.

Child number 10 of 19, he would not eat the pork his mother would cook. He would say later, “All my brothers would eat it and I wouldn’t.”

Why not? Why not just go with the program? Was he just a rebellious kid trying to be different from everyone else?

After many years of seeking his own way, he arrived at some startling facts and recalled certain remembrances. Research into his family background revealed that his ancestors on his mother’s side came from southern France. A key recollection was having seen his mother’s mother light candles on Friday night. When he asked her why she did this, she said she didn’t know.

After more research the fateful day arrived when, at the age of 40, he contacted a cousin in Florida who was also trying to understand his family history. She asked him, “Did you know we’re Jewish?” A short time later he confirmed his cousin’s statement, and after spending some time learning about his heritage he has been living the life of a shomer Shabbos Jew for nearly 15 years.

What a path the life of “Reuven” has taken! Brought up as a Catholic in a very religious home, his goal throughout that time was to search for Hashem. “I wanted the truth,” he said.

He read the New Testament and discovered that some central characters were Jewish but deviating from the right path. “They were trying to deviate from the path,” he said. “No one’s going to deviate from my path.”

The searching and learning processes went on. In the years before learning he was Jewish, Reuven went from being Catholic to being a Seventh Day Adventist in California. He kept learning from their leaders but they could not answer certain questions, raising his suspicions about what they were telling him.

Reuven felt like he was finding the truth when he began studying Jewish sources. “My family was very upset with me,” he said. “Some of them didn’t want to talk to me. I didn’t care. This is my life and I live it as I want. But it wasn’t easy.”

Of course it wasn’t easy. He was leaving behind the very foundation of his life’s first decades. And he was leaving it for what? For the joy of learning that he’d been Jewish all along.

While he lost some contact with his family, he found a new family among the people who warmly welcomed him in Brooklyn. It was there that he continued to investigate even more into his religious roots. And how has he taken to his new lifestyle of religious discovery and commitment? “The best part of being a Jew is that you know this is what Hashem wants.” Quite a statement from someone seeking the truth!

Reuven has faced many challenges along the way. Before ascertaining his Jewish roots, he was married with children – with whom he now has limited contact. In his new setting, rabbis urged him to undergo a bris milah. He complied.

And then there was the significant amount of property in Puerto Rico to be managed (before attempting to sell it). This forced him to live there, cutting him off from being involved in any type of meaningful Jewish life. Shabbos after Shabbos was spent sitting alone in his apartment – davening, eating and learning. But instead of this challenging period being a negative part of his experience, it strengthened his resolve and commitment to religious Judaism.

Things changed for the better and thankfully, over time, this gregarious and friendly man found a small religious community in San Juan. Warmly received there, he now spends Shabbos and other parts of the week in the company of fellow Jews.

The Hat

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I do not dress like the average Orthodox man in my Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s not that I’m trying to make a statement by often going hatless and wearing blue and brown suits, it’s just that in becoming religious I have changed so much – there are certain things I don’t want to give up, especially since my religion doesn’t truly ask me to do so.

So my fashion sense from years ago lives on and, more importantly, my inclination to try, at least occasionally, to go out of my way to do good deeds – such as visiting people I don’t know in the hospital to offer some words of cheer.

To be sure, I like to dress modestly and in good taste. But there’s a concern I have going back to my childhood, that too much emphasis is placed on the way one dresses – what’s on the outside – and not enough on what’s on the inside.

The first time this topic touched my life was as a 12 year old in a conversation with my friend’s mother when I definitely didn’t prescribe to the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Boy, was I heard in those days, with an opinion to counter any statement that I thought was at odds with the truth.

One summer day, my friend and I went back to his house after playing ball wearing t-shirts and shorts, and somehow ended up in a discussion about the topic of clothes. My friend’s mother at that time commented, “When people are dressed up nicely, they are good people.”

I could not let that statement go unremarked upon. So, hopefully, with a tone of voice that was respectful (I was speaking to someone around 35 years older than I was), I said, “You mean, people who rob banks, if they’re wearing a nice suit, they’re a good person.”

To my surprise, she replied “yes.” In retrospect, she was probably just trying to get my goat, but at the time it added fuel to the fire of my beliefs regarding the importance of the clothes we wear in the total hierarchy of life.

Fast-forward around 35 years. Slowly but surely (and sweetly) I had become religiously observant. When my wife and I got married, I did wear a hat at the chupah because I thought it was important. But for the most part, since then, whatever hat I wear is not of the kind that most religious men in the neighborhood have on their heads.

The most important thing to me is that I get along with people and they get along with me. I am told that I am a friendly enough kind of person that the clothes I wear don’t seem to create a negative impact on the positive interactions I have with my peers.

This feeling of togetherness probably blindsided me to what some other people were thinking about my wardrobe, or at least one other person who I’ll call Reuven. I met Reuven at a shul that is rigorously Orthodox that I attended on Shabbos in order to learn with a friend between Mincha and Maariv. Over the months that I was there I would exchange “Good Shabbos” greetings with Reuven whenever we crossed paths, which was fairly often as it was a small shul.

We never had a conversation of any great importance until one fateful Shabbos afternoon, right before Yom Kippur. As we left the shul after the Shabbos Teshuva drasha, given by the rabbi, people were milling outside and talking. My friend was engaged with someone else and it was then that Reuven approached me – and this time he went beyond “Good Shabbos.”

Reuven said, smiling, “Since this is the head of the year, this would be a good time for you to get something for your head…a hat.” I was surprised and dismayed by what he said. Did he really think that if I wasn’t wearing a hat up until now, that his one statement would get me to change to the way he wanted? Those are the key words – what HE WANTED. He never stopped to consider what I wanted…what was important to me.

More importantly, what right does he have to tell me what I should or should not be wearing? Perhaps if he knew me better and had engaged me in a conversation, it could have come out more naturally. But as it was, all it did was leave a bad taste in my mouth. Rather than respond with a caustic remark, though, another thought entered my mind and I said it. I doubt I would have said it under different circumstances. I don’t push my way of life on to other people. (I figure if I’m doing something of merit, and other people see it, if they like it, perhaps they will emulate it. It more than likely would backfire if I told them they should do it.)

Shas MK: All Israelis Should Serve Their Country

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem, writing in a column for the Jerusalem Post, lambasted UTJ MK Moshe Gafni for his “cynical declaration” that the ultra-Orthodox should not serve in the IDF.

Amsalem wrote that he was “confused and angered” by Gafni’s statements earlier in the week because they had “no basis in Jewish law or tradition, or in basic human ethics . . . they were nothing more than a continuation of extremist haredi policies and politics.”

Amsalem said that “Jewish tradition is replete with teachings regarding the responsibility we have toward one another,” and cited the Bible portion where Moses rebuked the tribes of Reuven and Gad for attempting to shirk combat in order to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan River.

Amsalem added: “I plan to continue encouraging haredim to serve in the IDF while working together with the army leadership to make sure all their needs are met.”

Help Others Get On The ‘Marry-Go-Round’

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

A new shidduch initiative has created an ear-deafening buzz in frum communities across North America and beyond.  How it works and what it requires from its clients has been the hot topic of discussion at dinner tables, in shul, online chat rooms, at Simchas – just about everywhere two or more heimishe Jews have congregated.

Called the NASI Project, it has generated a storm of opinion as to its merits, its integrity and its potential in solving what has been universally viewed as a shidduch crisis.  Basically, it has been presented as a possible “cure” to the growing “epidemic” of unmarried frum women who are in their mid twenties and beyond. From what I have gleaned, its success in resolving the issue of older single women (22+) is based on the premise that if shadchanim have a greater financial incentive to set up  these girls; if they receive monetary compensation that takes into consideration the more “strenuous” effort they must make in getting dates for these “over the hill” women, then they will be more motivated to take on these challenging cases, instead of focusing on the younger, more in demand “just back from seminary” girls. To that end, older girls will be charged a considerably higher rate than their younger counterparts for shidduchim. Hence it would   cost thousands of dollars more for example, for a 29-year-old female to be set up than for a 20-year-old – since getting a date for the former is considered much more time and labor intensive.

There has been an avalanche of opinions as to the merit, effectiveness and affordability of this project; like every idea or system, there are pros and cons to what its designers have come up with and people will perceive it either as a solution to a vexing problem or something to avoid. The purpose of this column is not to lambaste the idea or praise it – everyone needs to examine it for themselves and come to their own conclusion.

However, one fact of life that the project brings to the fore, and that no one in the yeshivish/modern Orthodox community can dispute – is that with each passing year, the number of never married girls over the age of 25 is escalating, and there is much palpable despair, hopelessness, distress, resentment and anger besetting this population and their families.

We are taught that all Jews are responsible for each other – that we have a moral obligation to help one another. If we see someone floundering, it is incumbent on all in a position to do so to extend a helping hand, be it financially, emotionally or spiritually.

To this end, I feel that every adult in the community needs to get involved to prevent what to some degree should be viewed as an existential threat to our community’s viability – the huge numbers of singles who may never build batei ne’eman b’Yisrael, nor launch future generations.  We cannot afford to have a reduced birthrate due to women staying unmarried well into their child-bearing years.  The Jewish people lost too many millions to a deranged but tragically efficient Nazi genocide. We must replenish what we lost to the best of our ability. Each unmarried daughter of Israel represents a lost opportunity to do so.

At the end of the day, Hashem determines every outcome. Some women and men may never marry and create families. But we must make the effort to help them do so.

And we do so by becoming, to the best of our abilities – shadchanim – (matchmakers)!  

A daunting idea since there are no shadchan schools where we can get a PhS (a Doctor of Shidduchim) – so how do we go about doing so?

The Greatest Act of Tzedaka – A Lifesaving Kidney Donation

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

            What was the biggest single donation to Tzedaka (charity) or greatest act of Chesed (personal kindness) in your life? How much of a difference did it really make? Did it change a life? Did it save a life? How do you know for sure?

 

            Contributions to the most noble of causes do not usually go entirely to the advertised purpose. Even when we give Tzedaka to poor people face to face, whom we encounter in the street, or who come knocking at our door, we cannot be sure what they will spend it on.

 

            Even if we invited them into our home and gave them something to eat, we know that after eating from our table, they were no longer hungry, but what will happen the next day, when they will be hungry again, and we will not be there to feed them?

 

            But there is a way to give a gift of Tzedaka that keeps on giving for many years. We can give someone in end-stage renal failure one of our healthy kidneys to carry out the vital functions that his own kidneys can no longer perform.

 

            Medical science has made major strides in treating people with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Periodic dialysis can filter the poisons and waste products out of their blood, prolonging their lives. But ultimately, the only effective replacement for two failed human kidneys is another healthy human kidney.

 

            Fortunately, our marvelous bodies can survive quite nicely with just one normally functioning kidney, while each one of us was born with two of them, including a built-in spare.  Healthy people never really need their second kidney, while for someone with ESRD, its donation literally means the difference between life and death. On average, a patient in end-stage renal failure will live 10 to 15 years longer with a kidney transplant than if they remain on dialysis. Younger transplant recipients enjoy an even longer extension of their life expectancy. Two U.S. teenagers who were among the earliest kidney transplant recipients in 1966 and 1967 are both alive and well today.

 

            Live donor kidney transplantation is often (but not always) an exception to the rule in Halacha which forbids mutilation of our bodies because of their inherent holiness, having been created “b’tzelem elokim,” in the image of G-d. In cases of ESRD, we are dealing with “pikuach nefesh,” saving a life, which, in Jewish law, is often considered to be a compelling reason to permit a normally forbidden act.


 


Dying for a Kidney

 

            Kidney transplantation is a life-saving procedure. Today, nearly 90,000 Americans await kidney transplants, according to UNOS or United Network of Organ Sharing. Each year, 8% of U.S. patients with ESRD die while awaiting the donation of a kidney from a compatible donor. On average, another person is added to the kidney list every 11 minutes, and 18 people die every day suffering from kidney failure.

 

            The primary requirements for live kidney donors today is that they be in excellent health and share the same blood and tissue type as the recipient. While an identical twin makes for the best live kidney donor, advances in the use of immunosuppressive drugs has reduced the risk that the recipient’s body will reject a kidney from any person as a foreign body.

 

            Kidneys can be donated by live donors or taken from the bodies of individuals declared to be dead. However, the overwhelming majority of deaths are ineligible for donation, resulting in a severe shortage of kidneys available for transplant.


 


Take a Number and Wait

 

            Since 1984, kidneys have been allocated by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), which was created at that time by an act of Congress to assure that available transplant organs are distributed impartially. The same legislation made it illegal to sell an organ for transplant in the United States. In the case of kidneys, the main criterion for selection is the length of time that a potential recipient has spent on a centrally maintained waiting list.

 

            One option for those who need a kidney transplant, but are unwilling to wait until their name is on the top of the list, is medical tourism. Some travel to China where organs are taken involuntarily from executed prisoners. Others go to countries like Pakistan and India where organ sales are legal. In those countries, organ transplant has become a big business, but the practices there have also been criticized as an immoral exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised.

 

            A living kidney donor in the U.S. may legally specify the recipient of their kidney, as long as there is no direct financial quid pro quo. It may be a family member or friend, or a complete stranger in what is known as an “altruistic” donation. Living donors account for about one-third kidney transplant operations performed in the U.S. today.

 

            A Jewish communal organization called Renewal, which was formed in 2006, specializes in finding living kidney donors for patients suffering from ESRD. Renewal works in cooperation with hospitals and medical teams across the U.S. specializing in transplants, and with the National Kidney Registry, which maintains the kidney waiting list in the U.S., and assures that the established medical and ethical guidelines are followed.


 


Only 1 in 10 Complete the Donation Process

 

            According to Menachem Friedman, the Program Director of Renewal, only about 1 in 10 people who volunteer to donate a kidney actually do so. Some are not deemed healthy enough to safely donate one of their kidneys. Others cannot arrange to take off from work or other obligations for the procedure and recovery. Some prospective donors cannot donate due to objections from their own family members. Renewal also recommends that donors seek clearance from their Halachic authority, who generally has a better understanding of their situation and how the donation will impact the home.

 

            Live donor kidney transplants have been carried out since 1954. There have been many advances since then, including the use of laprascopic surgical techniques, significantly reducing recovery time and scarring.

 

            The kidney transplant process begins with a compatibility test followed by a full medical screening. After all the test results are back, which takes several weeks, the procedure is scheduled. The actual operation usually takes 4-hours, and the donor usually stays in the hospital for about two days. Renewal recommends two weeks of recuperation before returning to a desk job, or a few weeks longer for those with physically active jobs. At times the procedures have to be delayed for months in order to meet the scheduling requirements of donors imposed by their work or family commitments. After recovering from the immediate effects of the operation, kidney donors go on to live normal, healthy lives.

 

            Kidney recipients are required to remain on immunosuppressant drugs to guard against rejection for the remainder of their life. They are also closely monitored to make sure that their new kidney is functioning as intended.

 

            Medicare or other health insurance covers the direct cost of the transplant operation itself for both the donor and the recipient. Renewal covers the ancillary costs of the procedure for donors, such as compensation for loss of wages, convalescence and transportation expenses, which can amount to $5,000-$10,000 per transplant.

 

            Renewal does not solicit donations from the family members of prospective recipients. It does not receive any government funding, and relies on donations from members of the community.


 


Lifesaving Kidney Swaps

 

            The organization arranges for an average of two kidney transplants a month. However, there are still patients in the community who are dying because no suitable kidney donors are available. To accommodate their needs, Renewal has become involved in the newest trend in kidney donation, “swaps,” also known as “paired exchanges” involving multiple simultaneous donors and recipients.

 

            Often times a recipient has an eligible family member who can donate, however the blood types of the donor and recipient are incompatible. When another family with a similar situation comes along, Renewal arranges for a swap. For example, suppose Reuven needs a kidney donor with type A blood, and Shimon needs a kidney donor with type B blood. However, the only potential donor in Reuven’s family has type B blood, and the only willing donor in Shimon’s family has type A. Looked at individually, neither transplant is viable, potentially dooming both Reuven and Shimon to premature death due to renal failure. However, if Shimon’s family member gives his kidney to Reuven, and the donor in Reuven’s family gives his kidney to Shimon, both Reuven and Shimon can be saved.

 

            The concept of a swap was first suggested in 1986, but did not start gaining wide acceptance until the 1997 publication of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. L. F. Ross, exploring its ethical considerations. The first transplant exchange in the U.S. was conducted at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 2001.

 

            The logistics required for successful swap arrangements can be difficult to set up. To minimize the element of mutual trust required, kidney swap operations are generally scheduled to be performed simultaneously, to prevent any of the participants from backing out at the last minute. This requires both donors and the necessary medical facilities and personnel all to be available at the same time.


 


Complications and Rewards

 

            In recent years, there have been complex swaps involving more than two pairs of donors and recipients. The first multihospital kidney exchange involving 12 patients was performed in February 2009 by Johns Hopkins, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

 

            The great advantage of these swaps is that they permit the lifesaving utilization of kidneys from more willing donors who are of the wrong blood type for a direct donation to the specific family member or friend whose life they want to save. This gives these donors another way to save that particular life, by giving a lifesaving kidney to a complete stranger, in what could be seen as the ultimate win-win situation for all involved.

 

            These complex chains of kidney swaps can present significant additional logistical and timing challenges, and much work is being done to streamline the process and make it as smooth as possible. Renewal is working closely with the National Kidney Registry in this area, and hopes to make the first international swap with Israel.

 

            Becoming a kidney transplant donor is not an undertaking to be entered into lightly. But for most donors, it is well worth the inconvenience. Given the tremendous satisfaction they get from knowing that they have given someone suffering from ESRD a new lease on life.

 

            For further information about kidney donation, contact Renewal at its web site, www.renewal.org; email: info@renewal.org; write: 5904 13 Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219, or call: (718) 431-9831.

The Tragic Vacuum (Part Four)

Monday, April 18th, 2011

In last week’s column I began my response to the woman who wrote expressing her fears regarding the escalation of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel throughout the world. I explained that our Sages and Prophets predicted it; they tell us that what we are witnessing today isikvesi d’Mashiach – a period in which we can hear the footsteps of the Messiah and experience the birth pangs that will precede the coming of that great day.

At the conclusion of the column I asked how long the labor will last, and how we can protect ourselves from the suffering that will accompany that period.

For that too, our sages have an answer. “Let he who wishes to be spared the birth pangs of Messiah occupy himself with Torah and gemilas chasadim (acts of loving-kindness) and let him be scrupulous about Seudah Shlishis – the third Sabbath meal.”

The first two recommendations – Torah and gemilas chasadim – are self-explanatory and do not require much elaboration, for he who is committed to Torah and mitzvos and to reaching out with loving-kindness must, of necessity, become a better, more spiritual person. But eating a third Sabbath meal is not as readily comprehensible.

We are enjoined to have three seudos on the Sabbath – Sabbath eve (Friday night), Sabbath noon (following prayer in the synagogue) and the third onein the late afternoon as the Sabbath queen prepares to depart. Through these three meals we honor the three Patriarchs, the three sections of our Scriptures (Torah, Prophets, and the Writings), and we recall the three Sabbath meals of manna G-d provided us with during our sojourn in the wilderness (Exodus 16:25).

The final Sabbath seudah is called Shalosh Seudos, which translated literally means three meals, rather than Seudah Shlishis,the third meal. Our sages explain the reason for this is that all three Sabbath seudos are embodied in this one.

This third meal presents a most auspicious time for prayer. To this day, when I close my eyes I can hear the sweet voice of my revered father and my beloved husband, of blessed memory, leading their congregations in singing Psalm 23, the psalm that is traditionally chanted at the Shalosh Seudos.

“The L-rd is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” The task of the shepherd is a lowly and lonely one. Day in and day out he is destined to wander from place to place seeking pasture for his flock, and yet David did not hesitate to refer to G-d as a shepherd, for he perceived that G-d’s love is so total, so encompassing, that when it come to caring for His children, nothing is beneath Him.

What a magnificent and fortifying thought – for no matter where life takes us, even if we have to walk in the treacherous valley overshadowed by death, we need not fear, for G-d our Shepherd will always be there to lead us to greener pastures, even if at first we do not recognize the pasture as being green.

Still, it is difficult to comprehend how the mere eating of a third meal, singing Psalm 23, and discussing words of Torah have such awesome power that they can actually protect us from the suffering that will accompany the Messianic birth pangs. But there is a profound lesson at the root of this teaching. The first two Sabbath seudos are eaten when we are hungry, but after a festive noontimeseudah we are hardly in the mood for another meal. So it is not to satiate our hunger that we gather around the Shalosh Seudos table. Rather, it is to celebrate the Sabbath and sing her praises, and that is why the Third Meal encompasses them all.

The Third Meal is symbolic of the conversion of the physical to the spiritual, and ultimately that is our purpose – to become spiritual beings and to free ourselves from the shackles of materialism. This is something our generation, obsessed with materialism and the pursuit of pleasure, has yet to learn.

But why must we experience birth pangs in order for Messiah to come? Why can’t he just announce his presence?

The Messianic period will be very much like Shalosh Seudos, when we sit around the table not to satiate our physical hunger nor to glory in our material achievements, but to celebrate our spiritual attainments.

In order for that to happen, we will have to divest ourselves of all the icons we hold dear. Therefore, our hallowed institutions, the bastions of strength in which we placed our trust, will have to fall away. It is that painful disintegration to which we are witness today. The corporate world, governments, religious institutions, science and medicine – all have failed us. And worse, we no longer feel safe or secure in our daily lives. Terrorists and suicide bombers have become a reality of our existence and no army or police force is capable of shielding us from them.

Shorn of all of our defenses, we stand vulnerable and terrified, and wonder what life is all about as we see our idols crumble before our very eyes.

How long will these birth pangs last? Until we recognize the simple truth – that “we can rely on no one but our Heavenly Father.” So let us sound the shofar, awaken ourselves from our lethargy and heed the voice of our Father calling us.

But even as we do so, let us not despair. There is an amazing Midrash that recalls the story of three great biblical figures, Reuven, Aaron and Boaz – about whom the sages said, had they only known the Torah would record their deeds, they would have done even more.

How can we understand such puzzling teachings? How can it be that such spiritual giants would have needed the additional incentive of being inscribed in the Torah to conduct themselves more nobly?

It has often occurred to me that there is a deep lesson to be gleaned from this Midrash that could be a great source of spiritual strength in our troubled times.

When Reuven discovered that the pit into which his brother Joseph had been cast was empty, he was overcome by inconsolable grief and cried out (Genesis 37:30), “The lad is gone! And I – where can I go?” But had Reuven known Joseph was on his way to Egypt to prepare the path for the family of Jacob – a path that would eventually lead the nation to Sinai – he would have rejoiced.

When Aaron went to greet Moses upon his return to the Auschwitz of Egypt, his heart fell, for he feared for the life of his younger brother. Had he only known Moses was coming to redeem the nation, he would have greeted him with an orchestra.

Had Boaz, from whose fields Ruth gleaned, known Ruth would one day become his wife and the great-grandmother of King David, he would have been overjoyed and made her a magnificent festive meal.

Had they only known what the Torah had mapped out for them, their hearts would have been filled with elation rather than trepidation.

Similarly, all our journeys, be they personal or national are guided by G-d. There is an ultimate goal – a destination at which we will all arrive. It is not for naught that we are launched on our paths. Our struggles are not in vain. So when our journeys become difficult, when our hearts tremble with fear, let us recall Reuven, Aaron and Boaz. Let us remember that we have not yet witnessed the end – and the end will be good.

We are experiencing birth pangs. Let us hold fast, for very soon we will see blessed new life that will make all our sacrifices and suffering worthwhile.

Finally, dear friends, every day when you daven, read the little closing paragraph withgreat concentration: “Do not fear sudden terror or the holocaust of the wicked when it comes. It shall not stand, for G-d is with us.”

You need only believe it. You need only place your full trust in G-d. Follow the light of His Torah and that light will pierce even the most dense darkness.

Here’s To A Sweet New Year!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Photos by: Reuven and Tamar Ansh

 

Even those people who do not normally make challah all year long usually do find that they want homemade challahs for Rosh Hashana. Round challahs are most traditionally used for this time of year, as a reminder of the cycle of life.  Many people also have the custom to serve sweetened foods as a harbinger to usher in a sweet ad delectable judgement and challah is no exception to this custom! For this reason, Rosh HaShanah challahs are often sweeter than those served the rest of the year. Some add more sugar, others add raisins, still others do both. I enjoy adding all this to my challahs, but with a twist: after they are egg-glazed and ready to be baked, I sprinkle each with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The smell they emit while baking is absolutely heavenly and the taste is out of this world. Truly a holiday treat!

 

Delicious Egg Challahs

 

This is quite a nice recipe, but as challah recipes abound at this time of year, the shaping I would like to demonstrate can be done with any good dough. However, this recipe is quite good, so it’s worthwhile to try it out

 

Makes: 5 large loaves or about 20-25 small individual sized rolls

 

Remember, that if you have a small family or don’t want to use so much challah at once, either halve the recipe or freeze the extra challah.  

 

2 ounces/50 gram cube of fresh yeast or 2 Tablespoons of dry yeast

3-4 cups very warm water, divided

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/heres-to-a-sweet-new-year/2010/09/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: