I had the pleasure of speaking at Olney Kehila for Rosh Hashanah services today. Below is the text of the “D’var” that I gave on a Jewish spiritual practice of naming your year as a way to determine how you will be written into the Book of Life.
I finally was able to do my Shavuot Seder with a group of people. An amazing thing is that it was done with people who were all over the world thanks to OneShul.org. I give the experience a pretty big thumbs up. I think I’d give a good 1.5 hours in the future, and I’d want to have a little more time to prep the study sections.
This seder uses cheese, which is a traditional food for Shavuot. For each of the prophetesses in the seder I picked out a special cheese. Here’s my list of cheeses, prophetesses and why — other than it was available at the store.
This is a middle eastern goat’s milk “spread.” I chose this because it’s a simple cheese made from goat’s milk and it seemed it this case like the place to start and also the kind of food that Sarah might have actually eaten.
Miriam: Goat’s Milk Brie from Wellspring Creamery
The name is why I chose this one. Miriam is deeply associated with water and wells, so it was a natural choice when I saw it.
Devorah (Deborah): Big John Cajun Cheese from Beehive Cheese
This one was chosen for the spicy nature of it, because there’s a line I use from Leah Novick in the seder, which refers to Devorah’s “fiery spirit.” After I picked it up, I realized there was a bee aspect too — and since Devorah means bee — it couldn’t be more perfect! In writing this post, I realized this creamery also makes one of my other favorite bee-themed cheeses called “Barely Buzzed” and “Sea Hive.” So yummy!
Hannah: Vintage 5 Year Aged Gouda
Hannah’s life seemed dry and hard, but you never know what can come from truly heart-felt prayer. Aged gouda looks dry and hard, but it’s so tasty and delicious — like Hannah’s child, it was something worth waiting for.
Abigail: Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove
How do you not choose a cheese called “Midnight Moon” for the prophetess who sees the future, even if she is just following the obvious signs?
Hulda: Mitica Raw Goat from Murcia Curado
Strong, simple, clear and biting. That feels like the lesson of Hulda
Esther: Ash-coated Chèvre
Esther was hidden away until it was time for her to be revealed.
Welcome to the Peeling a Pomegranate Guide to Counting the Omer. I created this free workbook to help people explore the practice. We begin counting the Omer on the second night of Passover. If you do a second seder, it starts that night. Remember that Jewish days begin at sundown.
My latest post over at PunkTorah.org explores the transformational power of food, especially during the Jewish month of Adar and the Purim tradition (mitzvah) of sending Mishloach Manot — baskets of food to family, friends or those in need. I explore the history of the tradition, the possible earth-based roots, and modern ways to think about how and why to do this. This post will have you thinking beyond hamentashen this Purim!
Ever thought of this tradition as a social justice issue?