Winter Beet Borscht
Recipe: Liz Rueven @kosherlikeme
8 generous servings
Dairy but may be pareve by using dairy-free sour cream or coconut cream.
Supplies: Cutting board and sharp knife, vegetable peeler, 1 sheet pan, foil, parchment paper,
blender or food processor, spice bag or twine for fresh dill.
Borscht is all about subtle contrast of flavors (sweet and sour), textures (silky and crunchy), and
colors (deep pink with a freehand swirl of white). It’s seasonal, warming, healthy and absolutely
gorgeous in all of it’s fuchsia glory. DO try to buy beets at your farmers’ markets and keep the
nutritious beet greens that top the roots. They are tasty simply sauteed with a bit of olive oil,
garlic, salt and pepper.
Tips: Allow time to roast the beets and cool them before blending.This soup is better the day
after you make it so hold off on adjusting seasoning until you’ve given it time to rest.
About these croutons: Croutons are not essential, but a nice touch if you like crunch. Dry the
bread overnight or a few hours before baking them into croutons.
Ingredients:
SOUP
2 lbs. red beets, skins on
3 Tb. olive oil
3 large shallots, peeled and rough chopped
2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
1 celery stalk, rough chopped
1 parsnip, peel and rough chopped
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
2 Tb. ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tb. lemon juice
8 cups vegetable broth
10 sprigs fresh dill, stems on, encased in spice bag
1 lb. yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8ths
Sour cream, whole fat yogurt or coconut cream (pareve) for serving
CROUTONS
4 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed, dried overnight on a cooling rack

2 Tb. honey
1 Tb. olive oil
1 heaping Tb. fresh dill
1⁄4 tsp. Salt
Cracked black pepper to taste
MAKE THE SOUP
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 1 sheet pan with parchment paper.
Scrub the beets, keeping skin on. Wrap each beet with silver foil and place on a sheet pan.
Roast beets for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and
unwrap the beets. Slide the peel off the beets and rough chop. Place beets aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil.
Sautee the shallots over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Do not brown.
Add carrots, celery, and parsnip to the pot. Sautee for 5-8 minutes.
Add ginger, garlic, ketchup and lemon juice to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and saute
for another 3-4 minutes, stirring to combine.
Add vegetable broth, potatoes and dill to the pot. Add roasted beets and stir.
Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Potatoes should be fork
tender.
Remove the pot from heat, uncover and allow to cool.
Blend contents at high speed, in a blender or food processor, until velvety smooth. Refrigerate
overnight (if you can wait).
MAKE CROUTONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 1 sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut or crumble dried sourdough into small pieces. If cutting into square croutons, they should be
about 1⁄2” square. Place croutons into a medium mixing bowl.
In a small bowl or cup, combine honey, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Drizzle
and coat the bread bits with the mixture. Spread coated croutons evenly onto the sheet pan and
bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and store in a tightly
sealed container until ready to use.
SERVE
Warm soup gently on simmer. Ladle into bowls and top with a swirl of sour cream. Dot with
croutons and enjoy.

bucket

The Jewish Spiritual Bucket List

1,000 places to see before you die. That is the book that sits on the commode in our home. It has been there for about 20 years. In our community, having 1,000 places to see before you die is aspirational. Many of us have the travel bug and have felt frustrated in the past year when we could not travel as we might have planned.

As we began a pandemic inspired slow and unsteady purge of tchotchkes, books, and old clothing from our home, Jodi asked, why do we have this book? Do we need it? Or as Marie Kondo would ask, does it bring you joy?

Now I view the book as a challenge.

After reading an opinion piece in the NYTimes on August 29, the book has become a thought experiment. Kate Bowler wrote that she had spent much of her life make lists of the activities she wanted to achieve.  See the pyramids. Explore Venice. Perform a cello recital. Publish a Book. Then she got cancer.

Her prior focus on accomplishments and activities – setting these goals – often diverted her attention from the pleasure and enjoyment she could find in the here and now, in the ordinary, day to day. Because living fully each day was not on her bucket list.  She wrote this amazing sentence: “I did not understand that one future comes at the exclusion of all others.”

One thousand places to see before you die? And then what? If you saw all 1,000 places, is your life over? Are you done? Ready to die? What if the book were only 100 places to see? Of 10 places to see? Would you feel satisfied – ready to Kick The Bucket?

Here’s what Bowler wrote – another take on this issue.  The problem with aspirational lists is that they often skip the point entirely.  Instead of helping us grapple with our finitude, they approximate infinity.  They imply that with unlimited time and resources we can do anything, be anyone. We can become more adventurous by jumping out of planes, more traveled by visiting every continent, or more cultured by reading the most important books of all time.”

Or here’s another approach, make a spiritual bucket list. Forget the destinations and the “best of all time”. Create a list of ways that you can best connect; connect with others, connect with the best person you can be.

The 1,000 places to visit before you die book might be a fun goal to achieve.  I wonder if I should rip out each page for the places I have already visited. The book would get thinner and thinner.  Or the bucket would get emptier and emptier.

With a spiritual bucket list, the bucket would fill up.  I would need a bigger bucket as life progresses.  I would not have to focus on the limits that keep me from reaching the 900th place or reading the 100th book.  Rather, I would live in the limitless expanse of being the best person that God created me to be.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Last year ended with a thud as buildings crumbled. We saw the Champlain tower in Florida flattened. We watched the reporting on Hurricane Ida as homes were destroyed in Louisiana. Perhaps this is a fitting image for these High Holidays. How will you build back?

Rabbi Alan Lew, in his book This is Real, and You Are Completely Unprepared, wrote that the process of teshuvah, repentance, begins with Tisha B’av.  In the middle of summer’s hottest days, we stop to mourn the destruction of the temple. The walls were breached, and the temple structure was looted and destroyed. From the low point of Tisha B’av we climb back upon the rubble. We look forward for seven weeks readying ourselves for the High Holidays, thinking about what went wrong to lead to the damage in our lives and how to build back better.

The Hasidic master, Rabbi Shalom Noah Berezovsky offered a powerful parable.  The task of a person is like that of a builder who is building a house on a foundation of rubble.  Are we willing to clear away the rubble and build on a solid foundation or do we build on an unstable base? If we don’t clear away the rubble, the new structure will be unsteady, develop cracks, and will not endure. You can keep trying to fix the cracks and leaks but eventually, the house will collapse.

Berezovsky offered that we must have the courage to clear away the rubble of our lives and lay strong foundations.  Only upon a clean and sturdy foundation, can you establish a strong life. Otherwise, your spiritual life remains always in danger of collapse.

Rosh Hashanah is about having the courage to go deep into ourselves, clear away the Schmutz and establish stronger foundations to build a life of health, happiness, and meaning that can endure.

These issues are personal and global.  Do we build back coastal residences that have already dared the environmental forces of wind and water?  Do we make efforts to repair the climate damage that plagues our planet, or do we just keep rebuilding with every wave of destruction?

The same is true for us. Foundations built on rubble like our bad habits, constructing emotional barriers to engagement, building wealth as a life’s purpose, and erecting fences through which we lament the world’s problems but stay safely in our homes.

The prophet Zechariah addressed the community returning from Babylon to Eretz Israel, about to rebuild the Temple. He urged them not to make the mistakes of their ancestors, not to build upon that rubble. He called out in God’s name, return to me and I will return to you.  Teshuvah is the restoration of relationships.

With each Rosh Hashanah we are reminded that we have an opportunity to rebuild our lives. It begins with the way we are in relationship with ourselves, with our community, and with God. With a foundation of solid relationships, we can build lasting and sturdier lives.

PS. It has been 20 years since the collapse of the world trade centers after an ungodly episode of terrorism. The site was cleared. Pieces of the towers were distributed as memorials. Careful consideration was given to how we rebuild upon sacred rubble. Today, instead of two towers there is one tower and two memorials. The one tower is more beautiful than its predecessor and the site has become a tribute to America’s resiliency. Building for the future mindful of the past. That is a message of Rosh Hashanah.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

In 1985, Guinness World Records accepted that a ten-year-old girl had answered every question correctly on an adult Stanford-Binet IQ test, a result that gave her a corresponding unearthly IQ of 228.  Marilyn Vos Savant became widely known as the smartest person alive.  Marilyn’s husband says Savant’s gift is to be able to approach questions dispassionately, without our usual fears or hopes for a particular answer. Given her talent, she is the author of the Ask Marilyn column of Parade Magazine for her 30 years, answering questions posed by readers.

There was a backlash to the Marilyn Vos Savant phenomenon.  People began to wonder why Savant has found no higher purpose beyond answering questions like “is a lark really happy?” and “will my wife go deaf from using a blow dryer every day?” Yes, those are actual questions.

We love testing for intelligence: IQ Tests, SAT tests, Jeopardy, and the like.  We even measure human value based upon our intelligence. Political Scientist Charles Murray argued that intelligence test scores were both a good indicator of social success and strongly determined by our genes. The implication? that an unequal society was inevitable and, according to Murray, fair. Murray co-authored the Bell Curve in 1994. His thesis warned that America’s fertility policy subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. He worried that a black, inner-city “cognitive underclass” was having too many children.  Murray’s work exposed a dark underbelly of focusing on intelligence as the factor in valuing our lives.

The late Rabbi Harold Shulweis wrote in the 1990s that IQ had become the holy divining rod. “Nothing is more fateful than that single number that ranks us, that holds in its hands the measure of our mental worth and holds the secret of our future. The IQ is our life’s verdict, our “unetaneh tokef.” Who will succeed and who will fail? Who will be enriched and who will be impoverished? Who will be elevated and who will be depressed? All of this is written and sealed in the numeric IQ decree.” From Rabbi Shulweis we learn that society’s focus on measuring intelligence is dehumanizing.u

Professor John Rust of the University of Cambridge said: “Tests of IQ have never simply been about our ability to solve problems,” “There has always been the idea that people with high IQs are actually more advanced, more evolved, closer to the human destiny, if you believe that sort of thing, closer to God. But in fact, all you have really got is answers to questions.” The IQ-SAT approach is the mismeasurement of our lives, a modern form of idolatry worshiping numbers. Your goal in life should not be that you want to be more like a computer. Rather, your goal should be that you want to be more like God.

No wonder that there is one question that has always haunted Marilyn Vos Savant: ‘what could she have done better with her life’ than answering questions in a Sunday newspaper magazine?

A new measure of human existence emerged in the 1980s – Emotional Intelligence.  What exactly is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

A study, published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, found that emotional intelligence was a stronger predictor of entrepreneurial success than general mental ability. General mental ability refers to the cognitive skills necessary for higher-order thinking, such as reasoning and problem-solving. Success in business, by contrast, requires the ability to recognize, understand, and effectively manage one’s emotions. Both mental ability and emotional intelligence were important but emotional intelligence was by far the most determinative factor.

In the 1990s Daniel Goleman wrote the book, Emotional Intelligence. Goleman was a science writer for the New York Times and a Harvard-trained psychologist where he studied how little intelligence tests told us about what it takes to be successful in life.

Goleman argued that it was not cognitive intelligence that guaranteed business success but emotional intelligence. He described emotionally intelligent people as those with these characteristics:

  1. They were good at understanding their own emotions (self-awareness)
  2. They were good at managing their emotions (self-management)
  3. They were empathetic to the emotional drives of other people (social awareness)
  4. They were good at handling other people’s emotions (social skills)
  5. They were passionate about work for internal reasons (internal motivation).

Hallmarks of emotional intelligence include a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure and organizational commitment.

While the intelligence quotient and the emotional quotient had their turns as predictors of success, another measure of our lives emerged in the 1990s, Spiritual Intelligence. Emotional intelligence involves understanding one’s emotions and addressing them in a healthy way that honors all concerned. Spiritual intelligence lifts this awareness to a higher level, to a place where we can connect with our divine nature and the truth that unites us all.

Instead of chalking up points for what we know or building financial capital as a measure of successful lives, begin with the true measure of happiness and fulfillment – your spiritual capital.

Spiritual intelligence transcends the false self (ego) by revealing the true self (soul). Spiritual intelligence is experiencing the qualities of the soul, in the form of peace, joy, love, and compassion. The spiritually intelligent person is skilled at witnessing and listening, ego-less perception, ego-less motives, wisdom, intuition, integrity, inherent self-esteem, and creativity. Sounds easy, no? These characteristics result in better life performance. Consequently, EQ combined with the SQ is more powerful than EQ on its own, in the absence of SQ. Thus the essential difference between EQ and SQ is the identity shift from ego to soul, which provides access not only to the qualities of the soul but also to the soul’s capabilities.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Judaism. From my perspective, Judaism has all along taught that Spiritual Intelligence is the building block of a satisfying and successful life.  It is a life where faith in a higher purpose motivates our actions.  It is a life where relationships are mutually satisfying and nurturing.  It is a life where we are eager to help the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the ill.  Judaism asks you to focus first on your relationships with partners, family, and community seeing yourself as God’s agent, compelling you to do more.

I don’t expect you to absorb all of this today, so I promise to follow up in blog posts and classes on these essential elements of spiritual intelligence and their basis in Torah and Jewish thought.  If ever you needed a reason to delve into Judaism, I present this hypothesis to you.  Before there was IQ or EQ, there was Judaism, urging us toward the most important quality of our existence, Spiritual Intelligence. Our Torah is a source of spiritual intelligence that leads to winning ways of life.

These are challenging times.  Climate change, coronavirus, economic disruption – Did you dare read the Washington Post today?  It is hard to relax and get good rest when we are all under stress. However, we can’t best function to improve the world when we are both physically mentally, and spiritually exhausted!

I offer one critically important example of spiritual intelligence for you to try. Rest.

Rest is essential to your good health.  There are other forms of rest besides sleep.

In addition to sleep, there are spiritual practices like prayer, meditation or contemplative walks. These modalities of rest can be energizing. Prayer is not merely reciting rote statements of faith capped by blessings. Prayer can be what the Hasidim call “hitbodedut”, a walking conversation with God. You probably do this in a limited fashion already. Haven’t you talked to God when late to an appointment and looking for a parking spot? Or when a relative has been ill and you ask God for healing?

There is a long tradition of meditation in Judaism. In the Talmud, Tractate Brachot, we learn that the pious ones would get up early to meditate before beginning prayer. Torah beckons us to meditate on its words. Kabbalah asks us to meditate to deepen our relationship with God.

Torah also commands purposeful rest. This commandment is of great interest this year. Every seventh year the fields of the land of Israel are to lie fallow. This is known as the shmitah year and 5782 is such a year. Scientifically, a respite from farming is important to replenishing a field for future crops. Yet Torah offers another reason. In parshat Vayehlech, Deut. 31:10, Moses instructed the people that every seventh year. the year set for remission; the people are to gather so that the Torah can be read aloud to them. By this understanding, a reason to let the fields lie fallow is so that the people can reduce time devoted to work and make time for the study of the Torah.

As we don’t live in an agrarian society, the cycle of planting and lying fallow is unfamiliar to us. In our world workers spend more hours than ever at their employment.  During Covid times, the home has become a primary workplace for many. Vacations are a challenge to plan and execute. More workers are foregoing their vacation leave than ever before. We work to excess, and rest is too often a result of exhaustion.

Let’s be inspired in this shmitah year to build spiritual intelligence.  Let’s start by creating opportunities for meaningful rest. Learn to meditate or take time to simply be. Whether you walk in nature or relax without distractions, give yourself the gift of you. And make this shmitah year even more meaningful by adding Torah to your days. I’ll study with you if you want.  I love talking Torah. It is a blueprint to a better life and improving the world. We just have to commit to improving our spiritual intelligence. May you be strengthened this year and strengthen each other, as you improve your spiritual intelligence to create a better life for you and a better world for us all.

Rabbi Evan Krame

Scene 1

Narrator: Long ago in a land not so far away, there was a lavish inaugural ball for President Trumpaverus. All of the lobbyists, political hacks, ambassadors and business moguls were in a banquet hall, smoking cigars and drinking Russian Vodka. Off to the side, a Presidential advisor is speaking with the Supreme Leader.

Stephen Shoeshine: “What a ball you have here President Trumpaverus”

Trumpaverus: Thank you Stephen Shoeshine. Is there any place better than a Trumpaverus party? You know, people are saying this is the biggest inaugural ball of all time. It’s a fantastic, fantastic ball. I just love throwing huge, classy balls. This is way more fun than a “Weekend at Bernie’s”. I was the best candidate. I won every debate. I won everything I did and I won easily, and now I won the United States. America is mine. My administration will do amazing things. I will do more in the first 100 days than any president. I will be the best President ever. I will make China buy all of our American products, I will cut all taxes, no more taxes for anyone, I will create more jobs for real Americans and I will build up our military with a space force and the space stewardesses will have beautiful little uniforms. While the media is screaming about my tweets, I’ll be creating The United States of Trump! The Democrats are going to feel the BERN.

But we’ve been here in this hotel for so long. And I haven’t seen the most beautiful woman on the planet, who I happened to have married. Where is that amazing Slovenian Goddess of mine. Vashtiania? Vashtiania? Where are you Vashtiania? Hey Stephen Shoeshine go get Vashtiania and tell her to come out here. And make sure she is wearing one of her tiaras. In fact, that’s enough, just the tiara.

Stephen Shoeshine: Of course, your Presidential royalness. Off I go to the harem. (he climbs stairs) Oh Vashtiania! Vashtiania! Grab your crown and come on down.

Vashtiania: Stephen Shoeshine you hot little Xenophobe! As much as you beg, I will not come back to that party!

Stephen Shoeshine: Vashtiania, you are going to make Trumpaverus very angry. Lord knows what he will tweet.

Vashtiania: Don’t worry you little white nose dog! I’ll take care of Trumpaverus later.

Narrator: Stephen Shoeshine returns without Vashtiania.

Trumpaverus: Where is she, where’s my best ever first lady?

Stephen Shoeshine: Vashtiania says she wants you to come to her. She wants to make you number one in the Lincoln bedroom.

Trumpaverus: Tonight, I think I’ll take her to the Rose Garden where I can grab her by the bushes. She lets me do that you know. I just start kissing her and wowee! But if Vashtiania is not going to listen to me she should be punished. I know. Let’s get her to undertake a First Lady’s campaign. It gives me something to tweet about. It has to be the best First Lady’s campaign ever. Jared Kushyjob, my Jewish son-in-law, what shall we call it?

Jared Kushyjob: How about we call it Jews Are Best!

Trumpaverus: No Jared that’s just a little too Jewy. Have you any ideas Shoeshine?

Stephen Shoeshine: Given your immigration policies, how about we call the campaign, “Only the Best Get In”

Trumpaverus: that’s a little scary – how will I find staffing for my resorts?

Stephen Shoeshine: Then I think her campaign should have every American aspire to be just like you Mr. President. Let’s call it BE BEST!

Trumpaverus: yes, BE BEST. I love it. I have to show the world how much the women love me. And I have tremendous respect for women. I should have a female apprentice! We need her to be like a spokes model. She can tell everyone about our Administration’s great successes. We just keep winning! So much winning. And I need a beautiful woman to distract me from the losers. Let’s have a contest to see which woman should be our spokes model. We can have a swimsuit competition and a night gown competition and a multiple choice question and answer session. Who have we got for the contest?

Kushner: Well, sir, we have Jewvanka, your first and best most beautiful daughter, and then there’s Hope Hickies, Kellyanne Cutaway and Sarah Slanders.

Trumpaverus: that’s a good list there Jerald!

Kushyjob: that’s Jarred, Jarred. Remember me, from the wedding with the chuppah.

Trumpaverus: Sure, thing Rabbi. And now I’m off to the White House. What a location. I’m in the real estate business and I know a great location! We could build a big beautiful building with a big beautiful wall around it! Let’s go!

Scene 2

Narrator: Jared was sitting in synagogue on Shabbes hiding under a tallit. He overheard two democrats talking about deposing Trumpaverus – their names are Shifty Schiff and Randy Raskin. He rushes out of synagogue and calls President Trumpaverus.

Jared Kushyjob: President Trumpaverus?

Trumpaverus: Yes, is that you Jeremy?

Jared Kushyjob: President Trumpaverus, I was in synagogue this morning.

Trumpaverus: (interrupting) Were you working on a peace deal for Israel and the Palestinians?

Jared Kushyjob: No, but I overheard two people from the deep Jewish prayer state talking about impeaching you.

Trumpaverus: Okay Julian, stay calm. I’ll get my Jewish attorneys on it – Dershowitz and Giuliani.

Jared Kushyjob: But Mr. President, Guiliani isn’t Jewish.

Trumpaverus: Yes, that might be true, but I saw him eating a bagel yesterday. Doesn’t that make him Jewish? I’ve got to go now Junior. We are planning a spokes model beauty pageant. Shoeshine, tell me about our contestants!

Shoeshine: Jewvanka says that she will be an advocate for women who need a day off from work to give birth and clean up afterwards. Hope Hickies promises to demonstrate her loyalty by staying quiet and not answering any questions. Sara Slanders is in hiding but she wrote to us accusing the press of being unpatriotic. Kellyanne is busy attacking Jake Tapper and talking about how unfair the press has been to Kanye West.

(Knocking heard nearby)

Trumpaverus: Whatever happened to my African American woman? What was her name? Amoretta Manitsgood! You know I’m the least racist person you will ever meet. And now I think I’m going to order in some McDonalds and go to bed. Someone turn on Fox News for me! I’m hot for Judge Jeanne Pirouette. And I have a few tweets to write if I can’t sleep.

Scene 3

Narrator: Below the West Wing in secret rooms, Jared Kushyjob has a meeting with Steven Shoeshine.

Stephen Shoeshine: (speaking to Jared) Once we eliminate all of the Mexicans, we still have millions of other immigrants to deal with. Maybe we can put them to work in the coal mines so we can produce more clean coal?

Jared Kushyjob: Let’s not be too hasty here Stephen. Remember, Trumpaverus’s wife is an immigrant.

Stephen Shoeshine: Oh yes, I know. His third and not yet final wife is most definitely an immigrant. We’ll keep her deportation an option. But we can’t stop there – we’ve got to get rid of the Jews.

Jared Kushyjob: But Stephen, I am a Jew and aren’t you a Jew?

Stephen: Yes, but only on my parents’ side. I despise the Jews, their piety, their pride and their lousy Purim songs. They have got to go!

Jared: But you know the President’s daughter married me. She has switched teams and bats for the Hebrews now.

Stephen: Sure, sure, but in any great endeavor there will be casualties. Trumpaverus knows that! We all have to make sacrifices for our supreme leader and there will always be exceptions for beautiful white women.

Scene 4

Narrator: Jared rushes off to find his bride, Jewvanka.

Jared: I had to share this with you. That guy Shoeshine, he is like a hungry alligator waiting online for a Popeye’s chicken sandwich. All he wants is white meat, if you know what I mean.

Jewvanka: I never really trusted that guy – I hear he eats bratwurst and sauerkraut for lunch and dinner every day.

Jared: That’s just it, Shoeshine is a Jewish Nazi. He wants to kick all the Jews out of the country. That would wipe out half of our campaign funding. We’d lose Sheldon Adelstein’s money.

Jewvanka: Jared my dear, it is time for us to formulate a plan. I’ll go to the mikvah and I’ll pray and I’ll fast. Then, I’ll find a nice outfit left over from my fashion collection and make an appointment to see Trumpaverus.

Jared: Jewvanka, you’ll have to use all your skill and charm to convince Trumpaverus not to kick out the Jews. Stephen Shoeshine wants to start by building a new border wall around the Upper West Side, where they will send the Jews.

Jewvanka: That’s horrible. Everyone knows there are no good restaurants on the Upper West Side.

Jared: We are all relying on you to be the rational one Jewvanka. You have to speak to your father!

Jewvanka: Don’t worry dear. I’ll invite Trumpaverus and Shoeshine to a feast. Just keep praying to that Hashem person you keep talking to so that Hashem will keep us safe, just like Hashem kept your father safe.

Jared: My father went to jail, Jewvanka.

Jewvanka: Yes, but God protected all his investments while he was away and gave his real property interests to you.

Scene 5

Narrator: The dinner party with Jewvanka, Trumpaverus and Steven Shoeshine takes place in the Kalorama Palace:

Trumpaverus: Jewvanka, my little Hebrew princess, thank you for inviting me and Stephen Shoeshine to this dinner. I was hoping you would invite me to Christmas dinner. You know I ended the war on Christmas. And they say I don’t know foreign policy.

Jewvanka: No father, it is not Christmas dinner. But it is your favorite food. Cheeseburgers.

Trumpaverus: That’s great Jewvanka, but don’t serve French Fries. Emmanuel Macron is a loser and I don’t want any reminders of the way he treated me. From now on we shall only call them Patriot Potatoes. And let’s serve the food fast. I need to get home early to watch Fox news. Hannity is going to report that cow farts cause climate change. (Trumpaverus laughs but then looks carefully at his daughter who is weeping). Jewvanka, my dear you seem sad tonight!

Jewvanka: I am sad. Someone is a threat to us.

Trumpaverus: Wait a second! Is it a Jewish Man who yells about corrupt leadership, thinks he is God’s gift, and wants to sacrifice himself for us? I thought Crazy Bernie was a joke but you are right he is a religious fanatic. I’ll bet he’s waiting for a second coming.

Jewvanka: No, it’s not Crazy Bernie.

Trumpaverus: Is it Crooked Hillary? Should I lock her up? Is it crying Chuck Schumer? Or Mayor Pete Boot Edge Edge?

Jewvanka: No, Someone is plotting to get rid of me and my husband, Jared!

Trumpaverus: It can’t be, Jewvanka. You are my favorite of all. No one shall ever hurt you. And Jeremy, your husband, he sends me reports on efforts by evil democrats who want to impeach me. How could anyone want to harm either of you? Who is this hateful man?

Jewvanka: Why it is him, Steven Shoeshine – right over there.

Trumpaverus: Steven Shoeshine? I liked Steven, but a lot of people liked Steven, but some people probably don’t like Steven and now I don’t like Steven. He wants to get rid of you Jewvanka? I thought he just hated Mexicans. In fact, he looks a little Jewish. Is he a Jew? If he’s a Jew, why would he want to kick out the Jews? I’m so confused. I need a Coke and a cookie. (Trumpaverus exits, Steven Shoeshine throws himself at Jewvanka’ s feet.)

Shoeshine: Please Jewvanka, I’m begging you, please don’t ruin my plans. (he grabs her dress)

Jewvanka: Don’t Touch Me! (just then Trumpaverus returns) Trumpaverus: Hey, wait, Stephen, what are you doing touching my daughter? This is outrageous. He must be punished! Get that son of a bitch out of here right now! Shoeshine YOU ARE FIRED! Jewvanka, what do Jewish people do when a man makes a sexual advance on a woman?

Jewvanka: Well, we can stone him. . .

Trumpaverus: No, that’s a bad precedent. Bad idea.

Jewvanka: Well, we can hang him.

Trumpaverus: No, that would be too messy. No hanging. How about we just banish him to a windowless office in the basement of the Old Executive office building? He’ll never see sunlight again. And we will have a Honduran cleaning crew come into his office and wipe him down every other day. That should do it.

Jewvanka: Daddy Trumpaverus, you are a genius!

Trumpaverus: Yes, Ivanka. Nobody is a more stable genius than I. And now I have to call the president of the Ukraine –They have a delicious dessert called a quid pro quo. I want to see if he can get it for me. Narrator: . . . Three years into the Trumpaverus Administration, he has brought more to this country than anyone else has ever brought. And the American people will never ever tire of winning unless they do so much winning that they get tired of winning. On November 3, 2020, do whatever you need to Keep America Great!

The End.

Pasta Social Club x The Jewish Studio
Sunday, April 11 | 3pm Central / 4pm Eastern

Ingredients

Serves 2-4
300 grams (2 cups) semolina or semola rimacinata flour
150 ml (⅔ cup) warm water
More semolina flour, for dusting

Serves 4-6
450 grams (3 cups) semolina or semola rimacinata flour
225 ml (1 cup) warm water
More semolina flour, for dusting

Equipment
Large mixing bowl
Fork
Butter knife
Bench scraper or sharp knife
Wooden cutting board or surface
Gnocchi board, cheese grater, sushi mat, zester, or any sturdy textured surface
Baking sheet
Plastic wrap

Another challenging year. A second “corona seder.” A year ago we did not imagine a second Passover with social distancing. Yet, we can reinvent the seder with a fresh look at the core commandment: In each and every generation a person must view himself as though he personally left Egypt.

1. The constriction of movement is a key element of the Passover story. Start by considering the word for Egypt (mitzrayim) מצרים. Mitzrayim comes from the same root as the word for narrow place. How can this seder be a celebration of our pending exit from restriction? What ritual or ritual object might you add to the seder plate to remember this time?

2. On the last night in Egypt the people were instructed by God: “None of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” (Exodus 12:22) The directive to constrict your movement can be understood either as holy or oppressive. How are these two views represented in our world today?

3. As difficult as this era of Corona has been, enslavement is far worse. Where does enslavement continue in our modern world? Ask seder participants to offer a perspective on modern slavery such as sex trafficking, Uighur internment camps, unlawful recruitment of child soldiers in Africa . . .

4. Considering the mitzvah to view one’s-self as personally having left Egypt there is both the physical and psycho-spiritual aspect of this exercise. How might your memory of surviving this time of corona virus be a physical or tangible trigger for actions you might undertake – giving to charity, supporting vaccination efforts, political activism?

5. The exodus from Egypt engendered faith in a despondent, enslaved Hebrew people. How has the corona virus affected your faith? Have you questioned God for the pandemic or related the development of a vaccine to your faith in God?

Jews have always deployed memory as a tool for comprehension and action. Let’s use this Passover Seder as a way of committing ourselves toward creating a better world for ourselves and for others. Chag Sameach.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Shakshuka

 

Ingredients

–        4 cups medium diced yellow onion (approximately 2-3 medium onions)

–        2 cups medium diced red peppers (approximately 2 peppers)

–        2 cups medium diced tomato (approximately 2 medium tomatoes)

–        2 cloves garlic (sliced)

–        1 can crushed tomato or tomato p

–        1 t ground cumin

–        1 t ground corriander

–        ½ t smoked paprika

–        Salt and black pepper to taste

–        4-6 Tablespoons canola (or vegetable) oil

–        4 eggs

Equipment

–        Chef’s knife

–        Cutting board

–        Measuring spoons

–        Measuring cups

–        Kitchen spoon

–        Rubber spatula

–        Large saute pan (or cast iron pan or Dutch oven)

Procedure

1.     Gently heat the saute pan over medium heat.

2.     Add 4 Tablespoons of oil, onions, a pinch of salt, and cook (sweat) until the onions are translucent.

3.     Once the onions are translucent and soft, add the peppers and garlic and cook until soft.

4.     Add the cumin and corriander and toast for approximately 1 minutes.

5.     Add the tomatoes and cook the tomatoes until they release their liquid.

6.     Bring to the liquid to the boil, reduce to the simmer, and cook until the liquid reduces by half.

7.     Add the chopped tomato and simmer until the color darkens and the liquid reduces by approximately 10%.

8.     Add the smoked paprika and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Sauces
Cavatelli taste great with anything, but here are my recommendations:

Chef Susan Barocas

 

ANCHUSA 

Anchusa can be made thicker and more substantial like a casserole (or kugel) or thin and crispy. The onions, cooked to golden deliciousness, are critical here, so don’t skimp and feel free to add even more. The thinner version makes a very tasty, gluten-free pizza crust or  appetizers ready for toppings when cut into small pieces.

2 16-ounce bags frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large or 3 medium onions, diced

4 large eggs, beaten

1 cup matzo farfel or 1 1/2 sheets matzah, crumbled into small pieces (optional)

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste

1/2 cup shredded kashkaval* or sharp white cheddar cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Open the bags of defrosted spinach into a strainer set in the sink and let drain there or over a large bowl. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté onions, stirring occasionally until soft and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Turn down the heat if the onions are cooking too quickly; they should caramelize, not get crispy dark brown.

As the onions cook, squeeze all the moisture out of the spinach with your hands or the back of a large spoon. When the spinach is well-squeezed, put it in a large mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to mix in the fried onions. When well combined, add the beaten eggs, farfel or matzo pieces if using, salt and pepper and stir until everything is very well blended.

If using cheese, stir it into the mixture now before baking. Another option is to add the cheese to the top of the anshusa during last 10-15 minutes of baking.

Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 9×9-inch baking dish or, for thinner, crispier results, on a 9×13-inch baking dish ir rimmed baking sheet. Heat the oiled baking dish or sheet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. When the pan is very hot, take it out of the oven and quickly spoon the mixture into the baking dish, hearing it sizzle. This will help ensure a crusty bottom. Pat the mixture so it’s evenly distributed with a smooth top. Bake according to how thick the mixture is until turning golden brown and crusty, about 45 minutes as a casserole, 30-35 in the baking sheet. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold.

* Kashkaval is a hard sheep’s cheese from the Balkans, available at specialty markets and some Middle Eastern markets.

Prep ahead

·       Defrost spinach and put in a strainer over a large bowl

·       Dice onions

Equipment

·       Cutting board

·       6- to 8-inch knife for dicing

·       Strainer (preferably not a colander as the spinach can fall through the holes)

·       2 large mixing bowls

·       Metal or wooden spoon

·       12-inch sauté pan (or 10-inch if that’s what you have)

·       9×9-inch baking dish, or 9×12-inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet

QUAJADO DE PRASA

Leek and Potato Casserole

 

Quajado (kuajado in Ladino)—aka sfongato, asfongato, almodrote, frittata—is traditionally made with vegetables, eggs and cheese, although the cheese can be left out to create a non-diary dish. The dish is served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, as a main course or a side. Because it holds up well to cutting and is enjoyable served at room temperature as well as hot, it’s also a good side dish, buffet offering or, when cut into small squares, an appetizer. Satisfying any time, quajado is especially popular at Passover when eating leeks is part of the Sephardic tradition. It works best to use starchy potatoes that mash well.

4-5 large Russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 3 pounds)

6 to 7 leeks (3-3 1/2 pounds)

1 large or 2 medium carrots, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

5 large eggs, well beaten

1 teaspoon salt (less if using feta or another salty cheese)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

3/4 cup crumbled feta or shredded hard cheese such as parmesan or kashkaval* (optional)

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil

Peel and cut potatoes into even pieces about 1” in size. Set aside in a bowl of cold water.

Cut off dark green tops of the leeks and save for making vegetable stock. (Wash and store in the freezer until ready to use.) Cut off the roots at the very end of each leek. Pull off a couple of the tough outer layers of the leek, wash and save for stock. Split each leek lengthwise and then cut across into half-inch pieces, resulting in 8-9 cups of leek pieces. Place in a strainer and wash well under cold water. Set the strainer into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Swish the leek pieces with your hand, then let stand a few minutes so the dirt settles the bottom of the bowl. Lift out the strainer and rinse again under cool running water. Toss and mix the leeks, checking for remaining dirt. If needed, rinse the bowl well and repeat the process.

Place a steamer basket into a very large pot with a few inches of water that does not come over the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and put the potato pieces in the basket first, then the leeks on top. (By steaming, you eliminate a lot of the moisture the leeks get from boiling.) Cover the pot, turn the heat to medium low and let the potatoes and leeks cook about 20 minutes until both are soft.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 Put the cooked leeks and potatoes into a large mixing bowl and mash together very well. Mix in the shredded carrots if using. Add the beaten eggs, salt, pepper and cheese and stir to combine well.

Swirl 2 tablespoons oil in a 9×12-inch glass baking dish, then place it in the hot oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Heating the pan with the oil helps create a crust on the bottom and sides of the casserole. Once the baking dish is hot, carefully remove it from the oven. Working quickly, pour in the leek-potato mixture and spread it out evenly, patting the top smooth. Lightly brush the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Bake, uncovered, for about 45-50 minutes, or until the center is firm and the edges golden brown.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting, if serving immediately. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cooked quajado can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 weeks. To serve, defrost and heat in a 350-degree oven, covered for the first 10 minutes, then uncovered for another 10 minutes or until heated through.

Note: Other vegetables can be used in various combinations totaling 3 to 4 cups including raw shredded zucchini (salt lightly, let stand for 15-20 min, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible), blanched chopped spinach (also with liquid squeezed out) or roasted, drained and mashed eggplants.

Questions, comments, feedback? Contact me at shbarocas2@gmail.com

Tag and follow me on Instagram @susanbarocas and Facebook