A Few of My Favorite Posts from Past 10 years

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Cimaruta Amulet

Size: 5″ Diameter Materials: Muslin, Metallic floss, glass, pewter, leather, wood hoop Stitches: Satin Stitch and Straight Stitch Private Collection This piece was made as a gift for a friend who is a gifted henna artist, and regularly practices her craft on me. She’s not Jewish, so I didn’t want to give her a hamsa. I asked her if her tradition had an amulet/luck charm like the hamsa, and she told me about the cimaruta. The design is based on the one I found on a Stregheria website, which is the foundation my friend’s spiritual path. Traditional cimaruta are made from silver, so I used metallic silver floss for the majority of the design. It’s a floss that is “antique silver” so it has a mix of black and silver. the final result, before the charms were added, reminded me of a silver gelatin print. The traditional items embedded in a cimaruta didn’t speak to my friend, so I chose things for her that I thought would be protective and relevant. From left to right: algiz rune of protection, yoga practice, evil eye ward, henna’d hand, cat. The small image in the bottom right corner is my signature cipher: a pomegranate with the Hebrew letter Kuf in the center for my name Ketzirah. [tags]amulets, amulet design, cimaruta, embroidery, fiber art,...

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Healing Herbs in Judaism

Apr 29, 09 Healing Herbs in Judaism

Posted by in Spiritual Practices

Knowing the symbolic nature of a food or its metaphysical properties can help you to draw the most out of these foods and use them for healing of body and spirit. Learn two from the Jewish perspective

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Thoughts on Tazria-Metzora 5769

Thoughts on parsha Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33).

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5770 Passover Menu

Not a thrilling theme for this year, but some good food none the less. Here’s the menu for my 5770 seder:

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Iyyar: Healing and Growth

Iyyar is the month of introspection for self-improvement. It is a time to explore our relationship to ourselves and the world, and can be a time for deep spiritual healing.

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Why “Peeling a Pomegranate”

I get this question a lot and have never answered it in writing before.   I wrote this essay as the afterwards for the 5th Anniversary edition of the Peeling a Pomegranate Haggadah, but I want to share it with anyone who reads this site too. There is no direct correlation between Passover and the pomegranate. In fact, pomegranates aren’t even in season during Passover. “Peeling a Pomegranate” is an approach to spirituality. Like the four children of the seder, I also see four levels of spiritual practice. Each is wholly complete if that is what you need. I use the pomegranate to illustrate this principle. Level 1: A pomegranate is beautiful as it is. You need never eat a pomegranate to appreciate its beauty. Even in the ancient temple pomegranates were used as adornments and embellishments. Level 2: Slicing a pomegranate open with a knife is a perfectly valid way to get to the fruit. If you cut in half, you may make quite a mess, but you’ll get to the fruit inside. Level 3: Peeling the pomegranate. Carefully scoring the rind and submersing the pomegranate in water and then peeling it section by section, may take more work, but yields a bounty of pomegranate goodness. Level 4: Pomegranate as spiritual exercise and practice sustenance. Transforming the act of peeling the pomegranate into a meditative practice where you work through levels 1-3 in your mind as you work. The act of preparing food and eating food becomes a spiritual practice. Each of these levels can be applied to any spiritual or religious tradition. How deep do you want to go? This is Judaism. We allow everything from a Secular Humanistic approach to orthodox Hassidic Mystics and Kohanot at every level of observance. [tags]judaism, earth-based judaism, spiritual...

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Passover 5769 Menu

Passover menu planning is always a fun experience for me.  I just love food and creating a menu that enhances the spiritual experience of the seder is a great exercise.  I like to try a few new things every year, but also mix in a few fan favorites.  This year I’m bringing back the charoset sampler, but the rest of the menu is new.  I hope this menu works well the with the latest version of the Peeling a Pomegranate Haggadah (shameless plug, I know). 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.  As I have a freezer full of local beef,  I opted to serve meat this year.  Be sure to see my 5768 menu, if you are looking for a vegetarian Passover menu.  I always try to serve a few good Kosher wines, just to prove to the skeptics that they exist.  I discovered a new winery this year: Yogev. The store had a tasting, and I bought two bottles.  They are both blends. The Shiraz blend is a smoky flavor which made me think it would go well with a mushroom dish (which I’m not making) and the Merlot blend is a nice spicy wine -which is exactly the opposite of what I would have thought.  I’m not great at wine-pairing, so I hope these and whatever my guests bring will go well with the food. 5769 Passover Menu Menu Card template (doc) ~ Charoset Sampler ~ Date & Fig Sephardic-style Candied Walnut Charoset Fig & Port Wine Matzah ———- ~ Salad ~ Fresh Farmers’ Market Salad* ———- ~Main Course~ Cumin-Flavored Meatballs with Onion Jam and Spicy Tomato Sauce Potato and Green Olive Stew ———- ~Dessert~ Dates Filled with Almond Paste Oranges with Pomegranate Molasses and Honey ———- ~Beverages~ Coffee, Tea, Sparkling Water Kosher Wines: Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot 2006, Yogev Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz 2006,  Golan Chardonnay 2007 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *No recipe for...

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Emperors and Maidens Make Miracles

Excerpt from Nisan Rosh Chodesh Guide Nisan begins at sundown on March 25th, 2009. The first of Nisan is one of the four Jewish new years. It is really “the” new year, although we generally consider Rosh Hashanah to be the Jewish new year. Rosh Chodesh Nisan is the new year of Kings, which seems very appropriate considering it’s spring in much of the world and kings play big part in the story of Passover. Jewish kings are decended from the tribe of Judah, which is the tribe associated with the month of Nisan. There is another “king” we will be honoring this Pesach – the sun! Don’t worry, I’m not talking about sun worship here. But the sun is the “king” of the lights in the sky. “And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars.” (Genesis 1:16) According to tradition, which does sometimes defy science, the sun returns to its exact position in the sky that it was on the 4th day of creation every 28 years, which we call Birkhat HaChamah (Blessing the Sun). Now, we know that it probably isn’t scientific, but we’re talking mythic truth — not science. Every 28 years for millenia, Jews have gone out to bless the Divine by blessing the act of creation.  In our lifetime this has such resonance.  Just think for a minute where you were 28 years ago? Where will you be in 28 years? What kind of a world do you wish to see at the next return of the sun?  This happens on the morning of April 8th, 2009, which is the morning before the first seder of Passover (at sundown). Nisan is also the month of the Maiden, but how does that correspond to the kings? Maidens, historically, have been the most powerless against the King and we have plenty of stories of the abuse of power. More important thought, have of stories...

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5th Anniversary Haggadah

Holy cow, it’s been 5 years.  This version has the most extensive edits I’ve made to the haggadah since the original edition. To celebrate, I’m selling it for only $5 this year!  That’s right — it’s crazy – usually it’s $18! I want to thank everyone who has purchased it in the past and encourage everyone who hasn’t to do so — so $5 for 5th anniversary edition! Learn More about the PeelaPom Haggadah Purchase on Etsy – only $5! And remember this is the only haggadah I charge for.  There are several other seasonal haggadot available for free. [tags]passover, pesach, haggadah, seder, pdf,...

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Purim: Enter the Trickster

Ahh….Purim.  Let’s invite the trickster in and see what havock s/he can wreak!   We think of Purim as the light-hearted, silly holiday, but the trickster sometimes has her own plans.  The month of Adar is the month associated with the Kesilah, the Fool, in the Kohenet model.  Generally, I think of the Kesilah as the light-hearted clown who’s sacred play helps us to break out our normal way of thinking.  There is also the trickster element, which is a bit more mischievous and dangerous than the fool. I think the Trickster what is what’s at play  in our current economic situation in the United States, and much of the rest of the world.  The Trickster has taken the entire world we know and turned it upside down.  The foundations of our economy have been entirely shaken — and the Trickster is waiting to see if we’ll ask the right questions here.  The Trickster knows that our economy has been  based on a joke.  How can our entire way of life be  built around buying things we really don’t need, can’t really afford, and are so low quality that we’ll have to replace them in a couple of years?  What an amazing joke has been played on us all. Now it’s Purim.  Now we can sing, dance, laugh, drink and make jokes.  Now we freely invite in the Trickster.  So, what will you do with the Trickster — now that you’ve invited her/him to dance? Purim is just one short month before Pesach.  I think I’ve realized this year, that Purim is when we take notice of what enslaves us.  Tradition says that the Israelites had gotten to the point they didn’t even know that they were enslaved and oppressed.  It’s just the way life was.  I think we have been in the same place.  We’ve allowed ourselves to be shackled to a economic system that is spiritually bankrupt.   We work so we can have more, more, more.  Quantity has replaced quality in too many...

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