Memorial Day 2008

Saturday night I lead a silent vigil walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the George Mason Memorial. Our small group joined pilgrims from all over the country and world who were in Washington, DC to remember the fallen. The vigil held the silence as we walked from memorial to memorial. We would come together and remove our silent bubble and share our thoughts before entering our silent temple to continue the walk. We honored those who died in our name, even if we disagreed with the war they are fighting.

Our Route:

View Larger Map

Below are the readings I prepared to read at each memorial. Two of the readings are poems I wrote after the last Memorial Day vigil and the rest are the words of Octavia Butler from her book “The Parable of the Talents.”

Setting our intent before beginning our walk:

All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes You.

The only lasting truth
Is Change.

God
is Change.

by Octavia Butler

Read after viewing the Lincoln Memorial:

Read the words child, just read the words
It matters not why — just read the words
You say a word is misspelled?
Which one? Where?
Never mind – keep reading — maybe you’ll find it.
Wait what’s it saying about slavery and war?
Just keep reading and you’ll discover much more.
Read the words, child
Please — just read

by Ketzirah (Carly Lesser)
I wrote this after the 2007 Memorial Day Vigil after watching a group of teenagers actually read Lincoln’s second inaugural address because one of them said there was a typo in it.

Read after the Korean War Memorial

The ghosts of Korea rise in the night
Scared young boys haunt my sight
Through them walk the living hushed into silence
Flash bulbs pop
Tears are dropped
As the ghosts of Korea rise in the night

by Ketzirah (Carly Lesser)
I wrote this after the 2007 Memorial Day Vigil

Read after walking through the FDR Memorial

To survive
Let the past
Teach you–
Past customs,
Struggles,
Leaders and Thinkers.
Let
These
Help you.
Let them inspire you,
Warn you,
Give you strength,
But beware:
God is Change.
Past is Past.
What was
Cannot
Come again.

To survive,
Know the past.
Let it touch you.
Then let
The past
Go.

by Octavia Butler

Read at the end of the vigil:

Darkness
Gives shape to the light
As light
Shapes the darkness.
Death
Gives shape to life
As life
Shapes death.
The universe
And God
Share this wholeness,
Each defining
The other.
God
Gives shape to the universe
As the universe
Shapes God.

by Octavia Butler

[tags]memorial day, washington dc, honor[/tags]

5768 Passover Menu

After more thought and menu planning, I’ve finally settled on a menu for Passover this year. While the idea I came upon during my last post on this subject was in my mind, I actually went in a slightly different direction when planning the final menu.

Below you’ll find my final menu with links to either the recipe, if I found it online, or the book it can be found in. I’ve opted once again for a vegetarian menu for Passover, but I think a lamb dish would go beautifully if someone really wanted to include a meat dish. The dishes I’ve made before are the Sephardic-style Charoset, Bitter Herb Salad, Tofu Marsala, and Tiramatzah.

And just for fun here’s my Passover adaptation of a MS Word menu card template (doc). Feel free to use it for your dinner.

5768 Passover Menu

~ Charoset Sampler ~
Date & Fig Sephardic-style
Apricot-Pistachio
Fig & Port Wine
Orange-Ginger

Matzah

———-

~ Bitter Herb Salad* ~
with lapsang souchong eggs and
oil & vinegar dressing

———-

~ Tofu Marsala ~

~ Cauliflower Leek Kugel ~
with Almond Crust

———-

~ Tiramatzah ~

~ Matzah Baklavah ~

———-

Coffee, Tea, Wines, Sparkling Water

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m not great at the wine pairing thing, so if you have any suggestions — it would be much appreciated.

* There’s no recipe for the bitter herb salad, just a lovely salad made from bitter herbs.

[tags]passover menu, recipes, menu planning, sacred eating, pesach, vegetarian passover[/tags]

Pesach Menu Planning

Passover is only a couple of weeks out and I still haven’t decided on a menu for this year. Actually, I haven’t even narrowed down a theme! Last night I was going through the haggadah and doing yet another round of editing for my use and a future edition. As I was going through it, I was trying to think in terms of what meal would serve this haggadah really well.

Last year, I did an “18 minutes” theme, which was actually suggested by my lovely and talented husband. He suggested it based on our conversations about matzah making and how the time constraints are symbolic since 18 = “chai” and is the word for life. I had a rather major epiphany a couple of years ago while trying to make matzah. The 18 minutes theme worked really well. Most every dish took less than 20 minutes to prepare and it was a delicious and entirely vegetarian experience.

I thought I might do a colonial seder this year and base all the dishes on what 18th Century Jews in America would have served, but I’ve had little luck in discovering much information on this subject. But that’s just to have a theme.

What I’m trying to do now is, without driving myself crazy, focus on the metaphysical and symbolic properties of the foods. With some dishes like charoset or a bitter herb salad it’s easy. But what about the Strawberry-Mint Soup with Panna Cotta I found in Herb Quarterly?. I thought it would make a lovely change from Chicken Soup for the soup course — or dessert.

I suppose if I wanted to invoke a “sense of wonder” then my Strawberry-Mint Soup with Panna Cotta would certainly do the trick. Now that I think about it, this dish is a great way to make a table full of adults relive a sense of child-like excitement. That’s definitely what elements like the first person “maggid” section of my haggadah are about.

I think I’ve discovered my theme, the Oasis Elim! Go with me on this for a second. We repeat several times in the haggadah, “I am here to remember. I am here to be free.” Looking at the order of things, the meal is just like the respite at the Oasis Elim.

And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm-trees; and they encamped there by the waters. (Ex 15:27)

Based on the position of the meal, at least in a my Haggadah, it really does seem to be the moment of 15:27 at the Oasis Elim:

  • Escaping Egypt = Maggid
  • Song at the Sea = Dayenu
  • Bitter Waters at Marah = Reciting of the Plagues
  • Waters at Marah turning sweet = Eating of Matzah, Maror, Charoset
  • Oasis at Elim = Dinner!

The menu for the meal will all be intended to invoke the sense of joy and giddiness that the Israelites must have felt when they realized they were safely across the Nile and then finally made it to the lush oasis to rest. Now a meal can hardly inspire the same level of enthusiasm that an escape from 400 hundred years of oppression can, but it can bring surprise, delight, and joy. It can remind of that moment of happiness before we think about all the work that still needs to be done. It can play the role of the gorgeous Oasis that revives and refreshes us before we continue our long journey.

[update 4/15/08: final menu went in a different direction]

[tags]passover, pesach, menu planning, food, sacred eating, eco-kosher[/tags]

Yom haShoah

This was my quote of the day that is randomly chosen by my Palm Pilot from a list of quotes each day:

God is hiding in this world. Our task is to let the Divine emerge from our deeds
— Abraham Joseph Heschel

remember remember remember strength remember remember remember hope remember remember love remember remember remember dreams remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember hope remember remember remember heal remember remember remember courage remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember sacrifice remember family remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember life remember remember remember Darfur remember remember friends remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember remember remember remember resistance remember remember remember remember remember remember promise remember remember rightous remember remember hope remember remember heros remember remember remember remember remember names remember remember remember dreams remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember peace remember resitance remember remember peace remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember strength remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember hope remember remember names remember resistance remember remember remember remember remember peace remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember courage remember remember remember sacrifice remember remember remember resistance

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
— Hannah Szenes

remember remember remember children remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember laughter remember remember Auschwitz remember dreams remember remember remember family remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember prayers remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember names remember Cambodia remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember redemption remember remember remember remember remember heros remember hope remember remember remember remember liberation remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember lover remember remember remember Bosnia remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember Treblinka remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember remember love remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember prayers remember remember heros remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember Dachau remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember liberation remember remember remember Kurdistan remember courage remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember music remember remember remember family remember remember love remember dreams
remember peace remember love remember hope
ACT DO CHANGE LIVE LIFE SUCCEED

[tags]yom hashoah, remember, genocide, life, remembrance[/tags]

Pesach 2006 – The Menu

The links are to either the recipe or the cookbook. There are a couple of things that don’t have recipe, so that’s why they aren’t linked.

The Menu:

Fish and Salad
Smoked Salmon and Egg Canapes on Matzah Crackers
Spinach Salad with Grapefruit, Orange and Avocado

Main Course
Lamb Kabobs
Quinoa Salad
Cucumber Lemon Salad
Mushroom and Tofu Marsala
Algerian-style Charoset

Dessert
White Stilton with Mango and Ginger
Pineapple
Kiwi

p.s. yes, I know that tofu is not kosher according to Ashkenazi — but I tend to follow Sephardic rules for Pesach. And since I’m serving cheese as dessert after lamb kabobs — I think it’s clear that I don’t keep trad-kosher. And yes, the lamb is from an eco-friendly farm. I’ve even met the farmers and they are good, decent people who believe in doing things right and treating the animals with respect.