Archive for the 'menorah' Category

17
Dec
12

Jew in the City


Last Thursday eve, at Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun, Allison Josephs – blogger extraordinaire at Jew In the City – launched her video (JITC’s Orthodox Jewish All Stars)  featuring 10 Jewish Orthodox celebrities. The event was proudly sponsored by Freeda Wigs, The Patchke Princess, Gift of Life and this very blog (The Kosher Scene), among others.

Allison was interviewed by Marshall Hyman from The Wall Street Journal…

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Allison Josephs and Marshall Hyman from The Wall Street Journal.

Allison Josephs and Marshall Hyman from The Wall Street Journal.

…as well as by Atara Abersfeld from The Jewish Press, Tammy Marks from New Jersey’s Jewish Star and more.

Allison Josephs with the all star Maccabeats and Dimitry Salita

A delicious latke bar (with lots of topping choices), was presented by mother and daughter catering team of Michicas, as well as a donut fondue bar and a superb selection of Israeli wines by Shlomo Blashka (from the Royal Wine Corporation).

Sara Lasry (The Patchke Princess and Kosher Street) this event’s main organizer, followed Dimitry Salita. She explained the significance of this event and what made it important to the media.

Sara Lasry

Sara Lasry

A member of the Maccabeats lit the candles for the sixth night of Chanukah…

No event of this kind would be complete without lighting the Chanukia.

No event of this kind could be complete without lighting the Menorah.

After the lighting, Allison herself gave an emotional speech about her 7 year journey of breaking down stereotypes about Orthodox Judaism. In describing the occasion and her video she said:

This video celebrates freedom – Chanukah is about freedom and contrary to popular belief, Orthodoxy is freedom – it is freedom to seek our path in an elevated way, to become what we are meant to become, the best possible version of ourselves — in a way that is true and fine and full of substance.

The video features nationally known figures from the world of politics, arts, entertainment, sports, publishing and more. It was not only an enjoyable evening with delicious food and wine, not only was a video launched, but the close to 200 people present saw proof positive (as will anyone else watching it) that being an Orthodox Jew does not in any way shape or form preclude following one’s dreams or reaching the highest pinnacles in one’s profession. Nothing of importance is closed to an Orthodox Jew, and neither does he or she need to sacrifice one’s beliefs.

During immediately after the speeches, a interesting and enjoyable music ensemble took over, The Brooklyn Jazz Warriors

Y.A. Gootblatt, vocalist and keyboard player - Brooklyn Jazz Warriors

Y.A. Gootblatt, vocalist and keyboard player – Brooklyn Jazz Warriors

Bravo, bravissimo Allison! I’d be remiss if I did not again mention Sara Lasry’s herculean efforts, the driving force, in putting together this beautiful event in just two weeks.

CS

02
Dec
12

Elegant Desserts


Recently I stumbled upon Elegant Desserts website and having tasted some of their delectable creations at various catered affairs I couldn’t help but order a few items…

This past Friday eve, to cap off a delicious Shabbos meal, we shared some of the goodies…

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ElegDes6

We started out with the Hazelnut Pyramid, it comes with nuts and chocolate in hazelnut ice cream. A superb opening salvo of flavor! We followed with a Strawberry Rose Sorbet

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…a Green Apple Square (green apple sorbet topped with a lemon sorbet rosette), Strawberry Square (strawberry puree sorbet with strawberry sauce and white drizzle), and a Mixed Berry Tower (mixed berry puree sorbet one with a vanilla rosette and one with a lemon).

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Frankly, the fruit sorbets and puree tasted so incredibly fruit like, it’s obvious that instead of using a common base for sorbets and adding flavors (as most American manufacturers do), Elegant Desserts obviously prefers real fruits! We loved all the flavors and the only thing that marred everyone’s delight was that I hadn’t ordered enough!

Although I’d gotten some items that I was planning to bring out during Chanuka, it was hard to contain ourselves and we succumbed to temptation at Shabbos lunch…

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We started with the set of four Dreidlach (lemon,green apple,cherry,orange) and finished the meal with the Menorah

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Flavors were great, my personal favorites were the Green Apple Square and the green apple puree, followed closely by the Strawberry Flower and the Strawberry Square; the lemon flavored sorbet, however, received more votes from the rest of our company.

Now I’m left with no other choice but to order their Chanuka specialties again!

CS

20
Dec
11

Rekindling the Soul


Tonight Jews around the world will celebrate the first of the eight days of Chanukah. Does the celebration solely commemorate a miraculous military victory? Does the festival of lights merely reflect a historical re-enactment of the providential discovery of a tiny jug of consecrated oil which relit the Temple candelabra, and whose miraculous radiant flame lasted eight days instead of one?

After years of serving as a temple to some Greek idol, the Holy Temple’s service was reinstated in 167 BCE; why then, do we concentrate on the miracle of the Menorah instead of the renewal of proper worship to Hashem? What is so special about the Menorah?  As we read in Mishley – Proverbs (20:27): Ner Hashem nishmat adamHashem’s candle is the human soul; the candle is a representational symbol of that soul as  Hakadosh Baruch Hu shines His divine light upon us through the Menorah. The essence of that divine light is Torah!

"Chanuka gelt" - Chanuka chocolate "money"

It is customary, even praiseworthy, to use pure olive oil when lighting the Menorah. Why? Ve’atah tetzaveh et Bney Yisrael: Vayikchu elecha shemen zait zach… And you will command the Children of Israel thus: Take to yourself pure olive oil… (Shmot 27:20)”  ChaZa”L  likened learning Torah to olive oil;  they taught that living within those teachings makes us pure. Just as pure olive oil enhances the flavor of the food it is combined with, so too does the pure learning and living within the Torah’s teaching enhance our lives, enabling each and every one of us to reach his/her true potential.

In Ohev Yisrael, the Apter Rebbe – Avraham Yehoshu’a Heschel of Opatow, writes that the reason the word “elecha – to yourself”, is used instead of just saying “vayikchu shemen zait zach… – take pure olive oil…” is in order to stress that one must do more than just just follow a command. Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants us to go beyond simple obedience, He wants us to absorb His word until it totally melds into and becomes one with our being, therefore the individual is told “take to yourself,” even though vayikchu is plural!

The Boreh Olam, The Creator, stresses and reminds us, year after year, what is of  greatest intrinsic value to Him. It is the absorption, saturation, and reflection of His message within us. It is the purity and beauty with which we bring ourselves to and act out His guidelines without defiling ourselves amidst the galut of our own history making as we talk, walk and act out the roadways of our individual and collective lives. May this Chanukah rekindle in each of us His the brigh lights of Torah and re-establish our own internal worthiness and sense of purpose. May our hearts and spirits become again that pure consecrated olive oil empowered to light and return us to our former greatness meriting the rebuilding of His Holy Temple in Yerushalayim, bimherah biyamenu. Amen!!!

A freilachen Chanukah, Chag Chanukah same’ach, a happy Chanukah!

SYR & CS




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