Hamas admitted that 50 of the 62 people killed in the recent violence on the Israel-Gaza border were Hamas members, while others among the dead have been identified as members of Islamic Jihad. In fact, organizers of the violence had laid out their intentions clearly, with the co-founder of Hamas saying unequivocally, “This is not peaceful resistance.”
Hamas official, Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil is clear about terrorist involvement in the riots pic.twitter.com/p5My6JGQRr
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 16, 2018
We should take the organizers of this confrontation at their word. Orchestrated by Hamas, approximately 40,000 rioters gathered at the border and several thousand tried to storm into Israel at 13 locations. The campaign’s title “March of Return” reflects Hamas’ aim: to break the border fence and storm Israeli towns in order to attack and kidnap Israeli civilians. The closest Israeli communities are only half a mile away from the border. Israeli soldiers have been defending the border from what could lead to a successful breach of the fence. In this way, Israel has been acting as any sovereign nation would be expected to.
Israel made relentless efforts to prevent the Palestinian masses from violently breaching the border. These efforts included early warnings by leaflets, direct phone calls, radio and social media in Arabic, and other means.
In contrast, Hamas is taking steps to exacerbate the difficulties faced by its own people, as a play for international condemnation of Israel. Hamas turned back aid trucks containing medical supplies donated by Israel after the supplies had already entered Gaza. Despite the deteriorating health situation in Gaza, Hamas refused this humanitarian aid, returning it to Israel. This happened a week after Palestinians had sabotaged the Kerem Shalom aid crossing multiple times, including blowing up gas pipelines, in an attempt to bring about total chaos.
Israel’s need to defend itself and Hamas’ efforts to aggravate the plight of its own people are fundamental issues at the very core of the current violence. However, the way recent events have been framed does not do justice to the realities on the ground for either Israelis or Palestinians.
American Jewish Committee and its Latino Jewish Coalition hosted a Latino Jewish Entrepreneurial Summit at Temple University’s Fox School of Business on May 15th. Established in 2013, the coalition works in a collaborative manner to expand interactions and works in areas, such as immigration reform, economic empowerment, civic engagement and homeland/diaspora relations.
My favorite inauthentic part of eating at a Chinese restaurant is the fortune cookie at the end of the meal. Many modern Chinese restaurants won’t serve fortune cookies because they are not part of the Chinese tradition. I decided to bake my version of these biscuits for Shavuot. Rather than containing fortunes, each cookie will celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai by revealing one of the Ten Commandments. My new tradition may be as American as the creation of the original fortune cookies. [Read more…]
In Israel, the arrival of Spring brings with it the smoky smell of Lag BaOmer bonfires. The outdoorsy Jewish holiday falls on May 3 this year, and where there will be fire, there will be creative outdoor cooking. In honor of Israel’s Jaffa oranges, here is a recipe for a truly sabra Lag BaOmer treat. This year you may try buns cooked in orange peels in the embers. If you do not have time to prepare the dough in advance, use refrigerated dough from the supermarket or brownie, cake, or muffin mix. If lighting a bonfire near where you live is completely out of the question, the outdoor grill or fire pit will do.
One teacher who cares can change the trajectory of a student’s life. Alon Shaya, an Israeli-American James Beard award-winning chef, credits his success to such a teacher. In his new cookbook, Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel, he thanks Donna Barnett for guiding him to his track to success.
Alon Shaya came to Philadelphia from Israel when he was a young boy. He grew up in a challenging family situation. Although he was surrounded by love, he did not experience the stability he longed for. Barnett saw the talent and potential within him. She helped Shaya blossom in her Home Economics class at Harriton High School. When it was time to graduate, she found a scholarship and encouraged him to attend culinary school.
Now, Shaya is a famous chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author. He retraces his steps from Israel, to the United States, Italy, and back to Israel in his book. His recipes reflect his love for his maternal grandparents. There are delicious foods from their native Bulgaria such as burekas, kebabs, and a variety of eggplant dishes. These are the staples he learned to cook as a boy while standing on a chair in the kitchen next to his grandmother and mother. Alon Shaya then shares some of the classic dishes he discovered while training in Italy, such as hand-made gnocchi, pizza, and semifreddo. Next, Shaya takes us to New Orleans, where he opened his first restaurant. Some of these recipes are treif (non-kosher), such as those with crab, Andouille pork sausage, shrimp, and bacon. Those of us who keep kosher may adapt by substituting kosher ingredients, or omitting some of the non-kosher elements. He ends the book by circling back to Israel. His newest recipes are infused with Israeli ingredients and flavors such as za’atar (oregano), preserved lemons, pomegranates, and muhammara (red peppers and walnuts).
In the end, despite his fragmented upbringing, Alon Shaya was able to find his way home. In this moving book, which is much more than a cookbook, he shares his journey with us.
We have been blessed to merit participation in the celebration of 70 years of the modern State of Israel. The dreams of countless Jews have been realized in our times. After the Holocaust, it was the goal of the survivors who participated in building the new State of Israel to create the “New Jew,” one who would be different than the ones in Europe before the war. This “New Jew” was the Sabra, the Israeli. Sabras were strong, proud Jews. They did not look, act, speak, or dress like their parents. They also did not eat the foods of Eastern Europe. They ate Israeli food such as pita, falafel, hummus, and olives. Lets celebrate this wonderful occasion with an Israeli falafel bar.
Your falafel bar may replicate the experience of going to a falafel stand in Israel. You may purchase most of the components of a falafel ready made. Your guests will be free to compose their falafel any way they like. You will need:
- Pita bread
- Falafel balls
- Baba ganoush
- Israeli salad
- Pickled cucumbers
For your convenience, the only thing on this list that I recommend that you prepare from scratch is the Israeli salad. This salad is very versatile and open to interpretation. If you like you may add diced radishes, fresh mint leaves, or parsley. You may also omit anything you don’t like and strip it down to the basic tomato, cucumber and pepper salad. You may purchase the rest already prepared either refrigerated, canned, or frozen.
- 1 tomato
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pepper
- green onion, to taste
- cilantro, to taste
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Dice the tomato, cucumber, and pepper.
- Cut up the green onion and cilantro.
- Juice the lemon and add to the salad.
- Add the olive oil.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Toss well.
Passover is a time of visiting with family and friends, as well as entertaining.
It is easier than you think to make a delicious home-baked dessert to sweeten these encounters: All you need is a torte to form the base, freshly whipped heavy cream, melted chocolate, nuts, and spring berries.
In my family, these cakes were rolled, with the filling on the inside. Something always goes wrong when I try this, so I just serve them like strawberry shortcakes.
For all of these cakes, preheat the oven to 350°F, and oil a 9-inch round cake pan. Note that peanuts, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds are kitniyot (not kosher for Passover).
- 2 3/4 cups toasted and ground walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, or coconut.
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 eggs, separated
- Place the ground nuts, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks and the cane sugar for about 5 minutes.
- When the egg mixture is fluffy, fold it into the nut mixture.
- In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
- Fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- 1/4 cup matzo meal
- 2 tablespoons potato flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Whip the egg yolks, orange zest, and 1 cup of sugar in a bowl.
- In a different bowl, whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Add the matzo meal, potato flour, and orange juice to the yolk mixture.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk batter.
- Fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
- Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 70 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Photo by Tim Sackton. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups ground almonds (or other nut of your choice)
- 7/8 cup sugar
- 10 eggs, separated
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.
- Whip the yolks and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add the melted chocolate and ground almonds.
- Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl.
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour the batter into a prepared pan.
- Bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool.
All of these cakes are delicious unadorned, and pair very well with coffee or tea. However, you can have fun garnishing them. Here are some easy ideas you may use separately or together:
- heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Whip the cream with the sugar and brandy.
- Spread the whipped cream over the cake.
- Sprinkle some nuts over the cream.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle some powdered sugar over your cake, melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and spread the melted chocolate over it, or garnish it with fresh spring berries.
Too Good To Passover, by Jennifer Abadi, is an exploration of the diversity of Sephardic and Mizrahi Passover traditions. Abadi spent six years interviewing people from Jewish communities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Along with their sentimental memoirs, her subjects shared treasured family Passover recipes. [Read more…]
It has been 70 years since Israel declared its independence. So this year, the Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia (IFF) will showcase films that highlight different aspects of the region’s history. The movies will be shown at various locations in Philadelphia and the nearby suburbs from March 3 to March 25.
Several of the documentaries and feature films epitomize the struggles that the infant Israeli nation underwent as it transitioned from survival mode to inclusion. Others deal with the acceptance of minorities, modern day dilemmas, and affairs of the heart. [Read more…]