Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Rosh Hashana is a’coming and I decided to do a roundup of all the random stuff that’s been floating in my head for a while. This will hopefully give you some food for thought for the new year. Included are two product recommendations, a recipe, some mussar, and of course, me being the Vard, some sarcastic political commentary, too.
In short, in this particular column, there’s a little something for everyone. So if one segment is not to your liking, by all means, skip past it to the next. I hope you’ll find some of it, useful.

Apple Noodle Kugel Recipe On An Old Orange Post-It

Last year, disaster struck and I could not find my special apple noodle kugel recipe in time for the holidays. And no wonder: it was on a teeny-weeny scrap of old stained paper, an orange post-it.
This year, I got proactive and went through every single recipe in my scrapbook, discarding any “loser” recipes. I also went through every single one of my cookbooks (there are a lot of them).
Well, what do you know: that old orange post-it turned up. But the experience prodded me to type up a fresh copy of the recipe, for posterity. I might as well share it with yinz.

Apple Noodle Kugel


·         1 lb. wide noodles, cooked
·         1/4 cup margarine or coconut oil
·         1 cup yellow raisins
·         4 eggs
·         1 cup sugar
·         1 T. cinnamon
·         1 lb. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
·         1 cup apricot preserves


1.       Mix hot noodles with margarine. In separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, and cinnamon.
2.       Add apricot preserves and blend.
3.       Stir in raisins and apple slices.
4.       Bake in greased 9"x13" baking pan at 350° F (180 C) 75 minutes or until golden brown.
5.       Cool kugel on wire rack.
Notes: To freeze, cool completely and double wrap as airtight as possible before placing in freezer. To serve, thaw overnight in fridge before reheating.

Speaking of Apples (and the Land)

It was ‘way back in August that I contemplated getting organized to bake for the upcoming High Holiday season. In our home, Rosh Hashana means apple and plum cakes, but I wasn’t so happy with the first apples coming onto the market.
I was tempted to complain, to post a status on Facebook about the crummy apples and my inability to bake as a result, but then I stopped and thought about the sin of the spies. Maybe I should better keep my mouth shut than appear to be slandering the Land of Israel and its produce?
And so I kept quiet, merely moaning to myself as I watched the days go by, calendar days wasted for not being able to bake and freeze some apple cakes. Fourteen days, to be exact.
Because only two weeks later, perfect apples began flooding the shelves of Israeli supermarkets, the kind of apples that when you cut into them, this gorgeous winy smell flies up into your nostrils reminding you of autumns past, and your family sitting around the table, dressed in their best, dipping slices of fruit into honey for a sweet new year.
These are the kind of apples that are a reward for good behavior, for not posting stupid comments about Israeli apples on Facebook for all and sundry to see.
And I only had to wait a little bit for that to happen.

Childrearing Advice from Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski

Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski is renowned for his work in the field of addiction. He’s also a Pittsburgh phenomenon, who was, in the past, known for dropping in on local AA meetings to lend moral support to those who suffer. When the good rabbi spoke at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak earlier this month, I was glad someone made the effort to film the talk for posterity. But I was overcome with nostalgia when I recognized two of the stories he told as stories I heard in my childhood, repeated to me secondhand by my brother, who knew Rabbi Twerski personally.
Here is one of those stories, a personal story about Rabbi Twerski and his father, on the right way to discipline a child, that I must have heard a dozen times growing up. It is still every bit as pertinent and lovely a story. It offers us a glimpse into the making of a sage.

Can Arabs and Jews Make Peace?

There’s a story in Shir Miriam, the book by Miriam Peretz who lost two soldier sons, of what it was like growing up in Morocco. As a little girl, Miriam went to the store on an errand. She waited in line and right as it was her turn, a group of Arab school children came in, rudely pushed her away, and the shopkeeper waited on them instead of her. Because she was a Jew, which meant she was inferior.
I read stories like that and I feel bad inside. But then I came across this clip shared by Miss Iraq, Sarai Idan, of two childhood friends, an Arab and a Jew, reuniting in Tunisia, and I felt much better.

Remember Miss Iraq? She posed with Miss Israel during a Miss Universe contest and when the photo hit the newsstands, Idan and her family were threatened. They actually had to leave the country! But Idan is still pushing coexistence on Twitter, for all that.
Now, I know I’m a starry-eyed fool, but I could watch that clip all day long. Does it change anything? Probably not. But I’ll keep watching, nonetheless, while continuing to follow Sarai Idan on Twitter.

Two Blue and White Products

Us pro-Israel people like to buy blue and white. So when I find a product that makes me happy and is made in Israel, I figure I should share this information with other like-minded souls. One product I’m currently in love with is this Even Shampoo with Linseed Oil for Dry/Damaged Hair. I found this expensive (just under $10) but amazing product at a pharmacy located at the Gush Etzion shopping center. But you can order it online at the Judaica Webstore if you don’t mind paying more.
Even professional linseed oil shampoo

Why do I like this shampoo? Well, for one thing, this shampoo is not like the cheap stuff that lathers up like crazy. You get this thick, velvety lather. And the smell is clean, subtle, and sophisticated. Finally, my hair looks better than it has in about 3 decades. (So sue me. I’m a toiletry snob.)
The other blue and white product I’m in love with is the signature room scent from the Carmel ForestSpa, a place I’ve always wanted to go. Well, the spa may be too rich for my blood ($10 shampoo is about as far as I go), but the room scent is divine and it’s a bargain. I first got a whiff of this air freshener when friends treated me to a facial after I quit smoking, many, many years ago. The woman who did my facial, Allegra, sprayed this stuff around the room and it smelled so good I nearly swooned. I liked it so much, in fact, that Allegra insisted on handing me her spray bottle, to keep. The only problem was that when the spray finished, short of going to an expensive spa, I had no way to get more.  
Flash forward to last year, when the hubster and I visited the newish Jerusalem branch of the Isrotel chain, the Orient Jerusalem, to have coffee in the lounge (note that the coffee is excellent!). After, we took a stroll around the hotel, and in the process checked out the shops where we saw they have all the room scents for the various branches of the hotel chain in various formulations. We bought a small bottle (4.05 oz.) of the Carmel Forest scent for 100 shekels (or $28.59, as of this writing). Nine months later, the level of the liquid inside the bottle is only one-third of the way down, so it is definitely long-lasting stuff.

I looked at the website for the hotel and while you can’t order the spray online, it says they take orders over the phone. Doesn’t hurt to try giving them a call at 972 2 5699027.
It’s a luxury item, for sure. But a relatively inexpensive one. I spritz a few sprays in the air and suddenly it smells like a luxury spa. When the smell rises up, Dov always says, “Now, we’re rich,” because that’s mamash what it smells like. Like we’re rich. And sometimes illusion is everything.

Is the Poway Shooter Colorblind?

At a September 19 hearing described as “dramatic,” a judge ruled that John T. Earnest would stand trial for murder and attempted murder at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California. Those in attendance at the hearing, were treated to a recording of Earnest’s 12-minute conversation with a 911 dispatcher, in which he said, “I'm defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people.”  
I read that and my mind flashed to the photos I’d seen of Lori Kaye, the woman he’d murdered in cold blood. She was fair and blond and absolutely white. Which had me wondering with not a little sarcasm if perhaps Earnest is colorblind and whether maybe he could use that as a defense, kind of like the insanity plea.
Lori Kaye, HY"D, who took a bullet for her rabbi.
Of course, not all Jews are white, but plenty of us are, so you have to wonder how anyone believes this stuff. (Or maybe they don’t and they just want to believe it so they can handle guns and shoot people up. Like John T. Earnest did in Poway.)

The Annoying Resurgence of Jewish Life in Europe—Next Year in Vilna??

Every time I read of the resurgence of Jewish life in Europe, I get annoyed. What? Close to 7 million of us you gassed and burned, and still we build synagogues in your cities? A lokh in kopf.
And now the latest in the rush to repopulate Europe with Jews (to kill): Vilnius is getting its first yeshiva since WWII. Now I read that and think: why would you learn Torah in the Jerusalem of Lithuania when you can learn Torah in the actual Jerusalem, in Israel? (I really don’t get this. Will someone please explain it to me. Slowly, in words I can understand.)

Wishing all of us a Shana Tova, a sweet new year.
Next year, in Jerusalem.

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