Monthly Archives: February 2010

Piros Krumpli (Potatoes with Paprika)


1 large onion diced
2 tablespoons of oil (recipe calls for olive oil but it isn’t necessary)
2-3 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet or smoked paprika
6-8 potatoes cubed

How to:

Boil potatoes in salt water till soft – about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile sauté diced onions till transparent in oil. If I am cooking these for Shabbat, I fry my schnitzel first and use the oil to sauté the onions. Adds incredible extra flavour.

Take off heat and add paprika. Mix well.

Drain potatoes and mix with onion mixture.

If it’s dry add a little more oil.


*I got this recipe a couple of years ago from the sister of a friend.

Bookmark and Share

My Judaism

A Guest Post from Leslie

My Judaism, much like your Judaism, is a work-in-progress.

As a young adult I was religiously certain of two things:  The first, that there was nobody up there.  Instead I was positive that somebody could be felt and found right here in the world, an ever-present light filtered through people like my parents, shiny puddles of oil-stained water in the driveway, and the faces of stray dogs.  The second was that the Methodist paradigm I’d been raised in was not at all cutting the mustard when it came to communicating with that light — at least not for me — which was something that I needed to come up with a solution for as quickly as was humanly possible for a high school freshman.

By the age of fifteen I honed in on the doctrine of salvation via belief in a savior – or else –  as being the primary “issue” I was having with my home church.  I found it unbearable to sit in the same room with a God who would be willing to banish people who did not believe the “right” thing to a place of endless suffering.  After much soul-searching (and practicing saying, “Mom and Dad, I’m not going to church with you anymore” in front of a mirror) I stepped off the Methodist derech once and for all.  I read a ton of women’s spiritual writing, everyone from Queen Elizabeth I to Iranian poet Farough Farrokzhad.  I lovingly dissected poems and chapters that spoke to me with a chunky yellow highlighter, underlining the bits and pieces that stirred my heart so that I could return to them later.  I did return to them – and to countless other books that began to form my own personal canon – with some pretty serious reverence.  My parents were disappointed at first, but amazingly tolerant, and I love the heck out of them.

It took me another four years or so to articulate this, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve never had any problem with God, per se.  I’m a big fan of his/her work, even though I don’t always agree with everything that’s made it into the Books and Writings and So On.  In the back of my heart I have always known that my disagreements (and, at times, all out hair-pulling, name-calling arguments) with God have somehow been productive.  In other words, I have always, always been wrestling, and that wrestling has been the source of much anguish and elation for me.  In college I did everything but major in religion, filling my schedule with courses on medieval women’s spiritual writing and embodiment theology.  My preferred form of worship utilized the Chicago Manual of Style, if you catch my drift.

After college I began working at a foster care home for teenage girls with some rather special emotional and therapeutic needs, and I’ve been there for almost three years now.  I case manage, hold hands, and break up fistfights.  I gently entreat police officers not to click the handcuffs too tight on the child I am having them escort to the ER for yet another psychological evaluation on yet another 3 AM court order.  I confiscate Lady Bic razors and put band-aids on forearms and thighs.  I invest my whole self into a kid only to come into work the next day and find out they’ve been returned to the custody of their abusers.  And I am not, for the record, always a very good person for this job – I get burned out, whimpery, and useless.  Sometimes I find myself utterly exhausted by our bipolar universe and its insistence upon buffeting us little people about between alternating waves of explicit meanness and inexplicable mercy.

Those two facts are extremely difficult to integrate.  In fact, it didn’t take me but a few months on the job to realize that the spiritual vocabulary I had worked so hard to build for myself was strong, but not quite capable of making sense of what I was seeing and doing.  And it certainly was nowhere near comprehensive enough to carry me into the hospital chaplaincy work I hoped (and still hope) to do in the future.

(This is where Judaism finally peeks in, quiet and barely insinuating at first – like, hey, word on the street is you’re starting to grow out of your amorphous, wandering spirituality.  Do you want to try this Monotheism thing again?  This is some really good stuff.  You liked it before, but it got uncomfortable, and I respect that.  But you and I both know something is missing.  You have all these prayers and thank yous and longings, but nowhere tangible to send them.  Sometimes you got to go old school, you know?  Get back to basics.  And you say you like studying?  Well damn, girl, have I got something for you … )

I’m sorry.  I know, I just made Judaism sound like a pusher.  But it was so seductive.  I got pains in my heart every time I drove past the synagogue in town … I missed God.  I don’t know how else to explain this to you.  It was like wanting a cigarette plus missing a lover times grieving after the death of my grandfather to the nth degree.  Judaism’s allowance for argument and discussion, the insistence upon an ongoing intellectual life that questions and interacts directly with the divine – these are not things that I was able to find as a Methodist, or as a woman floating in her own suspension of nebulous universalism.  Universalist sensibilities are in my blood, no doubt, but I personally needed a more concrete language, one that resonates naturally and directly with my spirit.  To that end I’ve been drawn to the living Hebrew language, recently resurrected and yet old as dust, stretched across the intricate canvas of the alef-bet.  Before, I was struggling to get along in a spiritual tongue something more along the lines of Esperanto: loving, idealistic, but terminally nomadic.  Now I am building a home for myself in which I can grow, into which I can invite others.

All of that said, I am still a convert-in-progress.  This is not a finished house, shall we say, but I’m pretty sure where the furniture is going to go when everything’s said and done.  I was slogging through some “incident reports” at work a few months ago, and I thought to myself, totally off the cuff:  I wonder what my Hebrew name will be when it comes time to think about those kinds of things?  I felt bad for even thinking about it, as it seemed like a presumptuous thing to consider.  I stared at my computer screen, at whatever recent tragedy I was trying to explain to my superiors via a Word document.

And although I risk sounding like a total whackjob, I will be honest with you about what happened next:  I heard, or thought, or whatever, the syllables A, Hu, Vah, as matter-of-factly as if I was hearing someone say A, Cheese, Sandwich.  I perked up.  Suddenly the dutiful stenographer, I spelled it back in my head.  Ahuvah.

Promptly, I sought out the wisdom of Google.  The internets assured me that Ahuva(h), a feminine Hebrew name, means “beloved.”  Further exploration, however, suggested that the name more accurately translates to she has been loved.  The face of the one who has always been loving me has not been particularly clear until now.  But the harder I look, the clearer that face becomes.

I’ll take it.

Leslie is a writer and youth care worker originally from Texas, now residing in the mountains of Virginia.  She is (almost) a Jew By Choice, the adult advisor for her shul’s youth group, and a part time theological student.  She talks in her sleep. Leslie’s a blogger too – read it here)

If you would like to submit an essay for the MY JUDAISM column, the guidelines and disclaimers are here.

Bookmark and Share

Frozen Bugs – Yum!

Our community up here in Montreal seems to be very machmir when it comes to food and kashrut, I believe.  I have written before about how most families that I associate with up here will not eat Pas Akum (bread made by a non-Jew) whereas the same types of families down in NY do.

I had a discussion today about whether or not frozen veggies have to have a hechsher. I was of the impression that anything you buy to eat has to have kosher certification, but apparently if there is no risk of bugs being mixed in with your frozen peas and carrots, there is absolutely no need. (This applies to only frozen veggies that have nothing added and have not been processed with anything else). But I remember learning that if you have the choice between buying a kosher brand and a regular store brand, you are supposed to choose the kosher brand and give the money to a fellow Jew.

What about pure fruit juices? Rougemont makes awesome apple juice. They used to have the MK certification. I guess they decided to save themselves some money and no longer bear kosher certification. Most people that I know will no longer buy it due to lack of hechsher. But is there anything non-kosher about it? It’s still the same juice. 100% pure is 100% pure.

Is my community just extra machmir, or does this make sense to you? All thoughts appreciated.

Bookmark and Share

Grocery Shopping with the KoD

We hardly ever do a large grocery shop together. By large I mean enough to feed my boys for a week. This is partly because when the KoD comes up (which isn’t that often due to work and kid constraints) it’s for a brief weekend and I don’t want to spend a couple of hours doing groceries where we could be spending quality time together as a couple / family. Plus when I go to NY we don’t have that much time either…

So, I was thrilled when the KoD asked if he could come with me to go grocery shopping this morning. I had planned to take full advantage of the fact that I have a car at my disposal. (My van, oh how I missed my van). But of course I welcomed the company. I was worried that shopping while fasting would be a no-no for him, but he wasn’t phased.

Ladies, why is it that men get so easily distracted in a grocery store? Men, why? Why did my usual shop take almost twice as long this time? I am walking along the aisle piling stuff into my cart, carrying on a conversation with the KoD, and more than once I realized I was talking to myself, he was lost somewhere down the previous aisle checking out some food item he hadn’t previously seen.

Now, food IS his business so I guess we can reason that he was doing market research, but from my experience, many men seem to get lost in the supermarket. Or take a long time. Or buy things that are not on the list but seemed like a good idea at the time and then it sits languishing on the bottom shelf of the pantry behind the maraschino cherries. I can zip through the grocery store in 45 minutes, still find time to check out the new items (they have Tabachnik broths in stock now. Looks good for cooking with) and check out. I don’t stand there for hours feeling each plum for softness, or knocking on twenty different melons to see if they are ripe. (Not that I am saying KoD did this….but anyone could have theoretically).

However, all tongue-in-cheek griping aside, the awesome KoD did not let me lift a finger to put the items on the cashier’s conveyor belt, nor did he let me shlepp even one item up to our apartment. A total gentleman all the way. He would have shlepped all the bags to the car, except that our store has a car order service, where you pull up in your vehicle, give them the ticket, and they put your bags, that they packed up in the store, in the trunk for you, for free. Spoiled, totally spoiled.

So we are sitting there, in my van, waiting for the guy to pack up the trunk, and the KoD casually asks me if I had ever had a problem with the car order, them giving me someone else’s stuff or items being missing etc. I told him I never had a problem although Z! could tell him a story or two. It’s interesting the conversations that God appears to be listening to with extra attention. Not two minutes later, we realize they were searching for something inside the car order bay where all the orders wait. They had lost one of our bags. The guy asks me for our receipt, and proceeds to go through all the bags they had in the bay. Eventually they found it, the grocery packer had neglected to put a tag on it, and somehow it ended up with all the delivery bags. First time ever that had happened to me. Of course I blamed it all on the KoD (we do joke around a lot)….but the main thing is we arrived home with our grocery order intact.

I am so loving having him here. The kids do too. There is a spring in my step, and a huge smile on my face. I feel complete.

Bookmark and Share

The things they say!!

I got up at 4.45 this morning in order to wake my men so they could have something to eat and drink before the Fast of Esther started (around 5.30 am). They all got up, ate and drank and went back to sleep till 6.30.

I went in to wake Squiggy up. He looked so peaceful and sweet. So I sat down on his bed, and stroked his hair and face gently to wake him up, and told him “you look so sweet and yummy”. It was a tender moment. He cracked his left eye open a bit, and with a slight tilt to his mouth he said “So how about I stay in bed and look all sweet and yummy instead of going to school?”

Nice try son!!

Bookmark and Share


In writing this blog, I express my thoughts and opinions. I share a slice of my life with you. I have learned so much from blogging, and from you, my commenters. I have expanded my knowledge and understood ideas both old and new. You open your hearts to me and I love that window into your lives.

For the most part, the comment threads, even on controversial topics, have been respectful. For the most part you civilly agree to disagree, and we move on. Basically, the way adults are supposed to behave.

In the last couple of days there have been some heated exchanges in the comments sections. Name calling, rudeness, personal attacks, unnecessary nastiness. I will not, I cannot accept that kind of attitude here on MY blog. It may be appropriate on other blogs, but here, on In The Pink, it will not be tolerated.

This blog is MY home. I invite you in. You will not track mud deliberately all over my pristine carpet, nor wipe your sticky hands and face all over my curtains. This is my home, and as such, you will follow my rules or you will not be invited back. It is as simple as that.

I don’t want to have to use the DELETE option, as I feel differing opinions are important to every discussion. Both sides of an issue need to be seen. Bad language and vitriol obscure any point you are trying to make. Be respectful, I implore you, if you want your voice to be heard. Think before you press the SUBMIT button.

COMMENTS are closed on this post. If you wish to discuss further I can be emailed at

Bookmark and Share

WE HAVE A DATE!!! (Immigration Update #654)

I hold in my hot little hands a love letter from the USA Consulate in Montreal. Well, it’s a bit impersonal, but it’s asking me to show up and visit, and to bring the kids!!

We have our appointment in April (of this year) which is further away than we had imagined, but still at least we have something scheduled. It means that we may be free to move by the end of April. There are a lot of decisions to be made, weighing up the pros and cons and everyone’s best interests.

Apparently the interview is the final stage, and that’s when they decide whether or not to let us into the country. It’s really a formality from what I understand.

So I have two months to make sure I have all the paperwork together (that I had ready 6 months ago!!), take more passport pictures, and make some decisions about a moving date. (But technically we are not supposed to take any steps whatsoever to sell houses or end leases or give up jobs, until we possess the visas.)

I have been sitting on this news until the KoD and I could inform the kids together, which we did tonight. I have to say the whole thing has been rather anti-climactic at this point. The kids were excited but seeing as we still don’t have a final moving date it’s hard for them to conceptualize. We just want to be there already. By the time of our appointment it will have been 14 months since we got married. 14 months of waiting. 14 months of limbo. It’s soon over though. Yippee!!

But we are looking at the positive – we have a date, we have an idea of timing and we can start to move forward and plan for happily ever after in Monsey.

Just wanted to let you all know.

Bookmark and Share

Circumcision – bodily harm?

In furtherance of our discussion the other day about circumcisions, I came across this news article today in VosIzNeias :

Helsinki, Finland – A couple who had a British rabbi circumcise their baby boy has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit bodily harm by the Helsinki District Court. The court ordered the parents to pay their child 1,500 euros for pain and suffering.

The court ruled that the procedure met the characteristics of bodily harm as the baby was circumcised without an anasthestic. Furthermore, the rabbi who performed the circumcision is not licensed to practice medicine in Finland.

The prosecutor had sought to convict the couple on grievous bodily harm charges or the conspiracy to commit such harm. The court, however, dropped the charge to conspiracy because the parents did not themselves perform the circumcision.

The rabbi circumcised the week-old boy at Helsinki’s Jewish Community Centre last spring. The baby was later rushed to hospital because of excessive bleeding.

Expert witnesses testified that circumcision complications are very rare. That said, the court ruled that neither the rabbi nor the parents can be perceived as having willfully caused the problems that arose after the operation.

Finland’s Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that male circumcision carried out for religious and social reasons and in a medical manner does not constitute a criminal offence. At the time it pointed out that the circumcision of Muslim boys is an established tradition and an integral part of the identity of Muslim men.

Bookmark and Share

Miriam’s Cup

A twitter buddy of mine was clicking through and came across this – a cup for the Passover Seder that initially looks like Elijah’s cup, but on further inspection it is actually a “Miriam’s Cup”. The site has one Elijah’s Cup for sale, but three different Miriam’s Cups. (*please note, since this post was put up Eichler’s has clarified that the three Miriam’s Cups vs one Elijah’s Cup is only in this specific “Emanuel” collection. For more Elijah’s and Miriam’s Cups go here)

I had never heard of Miriam’s Cup at the seder before and I set out to find out what it means, is it feminist, conservative, reform, or modern orthodox?

I came across this website (not sure which brand of Judaism the writer is from) which I think takes it a little to the extreme – what with dancing at the seder with tambourines and all. (Also there is a section for the feminization of some brachot….) But I do like that it encourages the celebration of women in our history. The cup is apparently filled with water, not wine, based on the Legend of Miriam’s Well and is not meant to replace Elijah’s cup during the seder. From what I understand the whole point of it is that women in our history, according to this website, have not been acknowledged enough – “their stories have been too sparingly told”. The whole Miriam’s cup idea started out as a Shabbat ritual and evolved to have a place at the seder.

I am still researching. I have to say there are parts of this that really sound interesting and different, and parts that just will not gel with our celebration of Passover. From the reading I have done so far it seems a liberal tradition. Perhaps if I would ever have a women only Seder I would include Miriam’s Cup. But then again, isn’t the seder long enough without it?

I have to read more – just read (on the same site) about some people putting an orange on the seder plate as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gays and others marginalized within the Jewish community…..An orange?!!

Please let me know your thoughts on Miriam’s Cup, if you know anything more, have been to a seder where there has been one, would you include it in your seder, and as usual, your thoughts on this subject.

PS I am a little surprised that Eichler’s carries them, in my mind they are a RW Orthodox store, but I guess they have to cater to everyone.  But it’s a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

Bookmark and Share