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Eating Jewish: Chittarnee (Sweet and Sour Chicken in Onion Sauce)

I want to start off by saying that this may not be the prettiest dish to look at, but trust me, it is very tasty. I will admit that I was doubtful about how this dish would taste while it was being prepared. It looked more like an unappetizing mix of chicken and tomatoes to me than a delicious Indian chicken dish, and not something I wanted to be eating for dinner that night. I almost gave up on the whole thing and decided that I wouldn’t be writing about this dish for Eating Jewish, when my friend insisted otherwise and added the remaining ingredients that brought the dish together.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Remembering Carla Cohen

This week, Washington, DC is mourning the loss of a towering figure in the literary and political community. Carla Cohen, the co-owner of the legendary Politics and Prose bookstore in Northwest DC, died October 11 at the age of 74 . Cohen was a model of socially conscious entrepreneurship.

Who Scribed Your Torah?

Every Shabbat, Jews all over the world go to synagogue, pray, kibbitz, and, of course, read from the Torah. And while there is plenty of debate among and within the Jewish movements about who wrote the words of the Pentateuch, there is no question that the words got on the parchment thanks to the master skill of the sofer.

Topics: Bible

We Remember Those the New York Times Won't

I admit it: I am a third-generation compulsive reader of obituaries.

Topics: Journalism

Mazel Tov, Nancy Kaufman!

Nancy Kaufman, a longtime friend of the Jewish Women’s Archive, has been named the new CEO of the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW). NCJW’s President Nancy Ratzan described Kaufman in terms that would be familiar to anyone who has worked with her:

Nancy is a dynamic, bold, and visionary leader, who is devoted to NCJW’s commitment to deliver the voices and actions of progressive Jewish women as a powerful force for social change. 

A Year Later

Last year, b’etzem hayom hazeh, on this self-same day, As It Is Written: Project 304,805 opened

Another important event in my life happened on this day as well: sixty-one years ago, on October 8th, 1949, my mother, z”l, was born.

While this convergence may seem a mere interesting coincidence, there is precedent in our tradition for the notion that related events occur on the same date

Topics: Bible

Eating Jewish: Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

In the middle of brunch with friends on Sunday afternoon, a leaking ceiling in our apartment left my roommate and I scrambling. In the middle of preparing the meal we were going to serve, we had to stop cooking and deal with the water that clearly should not have been coming through the ceiling. Rather than frying eggs and baking potatoes, we were trying to strategically place buckets under the leaks, mopping the water that had accumulated on the floor, moving furniture and assessing the damage.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Comparative Religion Isn't Just for Academics

An interesting article popped up on the side of The New York Times recently--an article about the lack of knowledge among Americans about religion, including about their own. The article discussed the fact that on average, Americans were only able to correctly answer 50% of the questions on a recent survey by the Pew Research Center on the teachings and history of major world religions.

The Jewish Press Must Not Kowtow to Religious Homophobia

On October 4, the New Jersey Jewish Standard published an apology for printing a same-sex wedding announcement. In that apology, the paper’s editor, Rebecca Boroson, made it clear that the decision to stop running same-sex wedding announcements, and the apology, was in response to pressure from the so-called "traditional/Orthodox" Jewish community. Thanks to the internet, the outrage felt at this editorial decision was felt across the nation.

TLC's Sister Wives: A Closer Look

I returned home from my cousin’s wedding Sunday night, happy and exhausted with barely enough energy to flop onto the couch and turn on the TV. That is how I found myself watching the two new episodes of TLC’s Sister Wives, a reality TV show about a modern polygamous family.

Why I Hate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Dear Breast Cancer:

I am aware. It’s not because of the extremely effective marketing, with the pink ribbon campaigns. It’s because I lived in your house, and you lived in mine.

Kavanah

I am, among many defining facets, a woman and a maker of tallit. A few days ago, I was gathering materials to write about the choices we make--to pray, to wear a beautiful prayer shawl, to leyn from the Torah, to actively weave ritual into our busy lives.

The Colors of Water

Water has no color, and yet it contains the rainbow. Transparent and reflective, water reveals the myriad shades of cloud, sky, and light; the rosy glow of dawn, the orange burst of sunset.

The soul has no color, and yet it imbibes the flavors, melodies, and histories of humanity. Intangible and sacred, the soul is never generic; each one tells its own story and sings its own song.

Topics: Art, Theater

Eating Jewish: Plum Kuchen

As I walked through the fruit and vegetable section of my local grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice the pile of oval shaped, deep purple Italian plums that were for sale. For weeks I had been buying deliciously juicy peaches and nectarines (of which every bite evoked summer), but it was impossible to ignore the dark color of these plums, which stood out against the bright oranges and reds of these other fruits, signaling the onset of fall. Aside from buying a few to eat that day, I knew I had to find a recipe that would highlight these fruits.

Topics: Food, Recipes

"You're doing it wrong": Finding my voice on Simchat Torah

At twelve (or sometimes thirteen), a Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah. Bat Mitzvah means daughter of the commandments, which, for a religious girl, means taking on the obligations and traditions of the Jewish religion. The Bat Mitzvah celebration and ceremony is a relatively new invention, as compared to an equivalent ritual for boys, but it is important and beautiful nonetheless. After my Bat Mitzvah, I was eager to participate at my synagogue as much as I could.

Will America's Next Top Model Be Modern Orthodox?

There has been a lot of talk lately in the Jewish community about a particular contestant on the CW’s reality hit America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). Esther Petrack, an 18-year-old, self-identified Modern Orthodox Jew, is an aspiring model on the show. When asked by Tyra Banks, the show’s host, whether or not she observed Shabbat, Esther said yes and proceeded to explain all that that entailed. But Tyra fired back that contestants on ANTM work on every day of the week. Would Esther be prepared to break the Sabbath in pursuit of her modeling dreams? “Yes, I would do it,” Esther replied.

Happy Hutting -- A Sukkot Link Roundup

Please forgive the light posting this week. It's a short week for us at JWA, and therefore a very busy one! In the meantime, here are some great links to check out. We wish you all a joyous Sukkot! 

JWA: Our Year in Review

Last week Jews celebrated the High Holy Days by pausing and reflecting on the past year, both personally and as a community.

Meet Elizabeth, JWA Intern

It is my third day here as a JWA intern. It is a privilege to be working at such a fantastic organization, and I am so grateful to everyone at JWA for their warm welcome. In my first-ever Jewesses with Attitude blog-post, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit about my background and why I am so pleased to be here at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

A Gender-Free Yom Kippur

I wanted to write this post about women and Yom Kippur, as I often have done for other Jewish holidays, on topics such as what roles women should play during the holiday, stories about women associated with the holiday, etc. But I searched, and was kind of surprised that I found nothing in particular to write about.

Eating Jewish: Almond Sponge Cake, to break the fast

The meal that breaks the fast of Yom Kippur is one that is needed to revive the body after a long day of reflection and repentance, and the food which one eats to break the fast is an important consideration. The meal that is served after the fast should consist of dishes that are light on the stomach and easy to digest after this long period without food. Every community has their own traditions concerning the food that is usually served at this meal. Within the Ashkenazi community the fast may be broken with a dairy meal including things such as bagels and cream cheese or coffee cake.

Hannah as a Precedent-Setter

On the first day of Rosh Hashana last week, I listened to a congregant at my synagogue chant Haftorah, the additional reading from Jewish scriptures that follows the reading of the Torah on Shabbat and holidays. This particular Haftorah continues to hold great relevance and importance for Jews today, and particularly for Jewish women. It tells the story of Hannah and her desire to bear a child. In the story, we learn that Hannah and Peninah are both the wives of a man named Elkanah. Peninah goads Hannah because Hannah, like many of the Jewish matriarchs, is barren.

Those "Twice a Year" Jews

In the space between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are inundated with messages about self-reflection, our responsibilities as Jews in the world, and our level of involvement with Jewish life.

Eating Jewish: Rice with Chicken - a pre-fast meal

After the celebration of the New Year and feasting on the many foods that make up a central part of its celebration, comes Yom Kippur and the time to fast. Despite the fact that this day is concerned with the abstention from eating, food still plays an important role in the observance of this holiday. One needs to fortify themselves with the proper food prior to the beginning of the fast in order to help sustain themselves through the day. Ideally foods should be filling and those that are salty or spicy are usually avoided so as not to cause excessive thirst.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on December 7, 2016) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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