Sukkot or soccer?

Softball or Sunday school? Friday night services or the Friday night football game? It’s hard to balance the demands of our kids’ secular lives with our desire to be active in Synagogue life as well.

Last week the choice was between the annual Sukkot Barbecue and service and after school sports practice–my younger daughter plays soccer and the older one is on her school’s volleyball team.

As a general rule I would have chosen the barbecue, but soccer practice is only twice a week–Wednesday and Friday and she just missed last Friday’s practice and Saturday’s game because it was Yom Kippur.

For us it is compounded by the fact that it takes almost an hour to get to our shul on any weekday after 3:00 pm and it’s an hour drive home if we leave before 6:30 pm. Traffic and distance are a huge roadblock to our weekday participation.

We are committed to Sunday morning religious school. Our kids rarely miss a class for that. I have heard other parents talk about their struggles because their kids games are scheduled at the same time. We haven’t ran into that conflict yet. In that case I would forgo the sport.

How does it work for you?

L’shanah Tovah and bon appetite (or b’tei avon)

It’s the holiday season which brings up the discussion of food. No, not that holiday season….the Jewish High Holy Days. For each one we eat traditional foods symbolizing our deeper understanding of that particular observance, bringing us together in celebration of the joy that it brings. That’s just how we roll.

Rosh Hashanah means apples and honey and honey cake and honey buns (okay, I added that one.)

On Yom Kippur we fast, which is the distinct absence of food. The day is a solitary journey of internal reflection. But when we do  break the fast, we once again come together.

For Sukkot we eat outside under the stars and on Simchas Torah there is candy.

No wonder I love being Jewish.

Today I would like to share with you the challah that Rachel Nudelman gave to me on Erev Rosh Hashanah. While she didn’t bake it exclusively for me as a special gift, it sure feels that way and I am loving every bite as if she did.

She brought it to serve at the oneg after services at the Aloha Jewish Chapel on Pearl Harbor. But it was announced between the Aleinu and the Kaddish that there is a child with nut allergies and no nuts of any kind could be served.

Rachel had brought platters of honey cake, frosted and plain, made with walnuts and a gorgeous Rosh Hashanah challah coiled in the traditional holiday fashion to symbolize the cycle of the year.

Instead of adding raisins as a symbol for the sweetness of the new year (thank goodness, because I do not like raisins in challah,)  she folded apples and nuts into the coil. She said that they had their own at home and offered this beautiful, sweet challah  to me. Not one to have to be asked twice, I readily accepted and heartily thanked her.

I carried it carefully to the car, nestled it close to me, protecting it like I would my own baby the entire way home.

I cannot stop eating that challah.

I had a piece as soon as we returned from services. We had it for breakfast this morning, sliced straight onto our plates. Tomorrow it will make excellent french toast.

I can’t help but mention that Rachel made the most amazing matzah ball soup for our model seder at Temple Emanu-El School of Jewish Studies last spring. She is definitely among a new generation of balabustas and I am pleased to be in her acquaintance–for more reasons than just food.

Thank you, Rachel. Shanah Tovah U’metukah.

Wishing your family a healthy and sweet new year.