Friday, September 30, 2011

Pomegranate Juice and Recipes for Rosh HaShanah

The Photo that inspired this post. Photo Source:
 To begin with let me first mention that I have a deep fascination and love of Jewish Holidays, I don't actually know much about them (yet, I intend to study up on it), but the bits that I do know about, I can really appreciate. So naturally, I have been googling "Rosh HaShanah" - the Jewish New Year, which is now (yesterday and today),  over the last few days. One of the reasons why I love Jewish Holidays so much is that everything is so symbolic and significant. It is a very articulate religion that has created traditions to remember the significance of God and his commandments and his many blessings. Everything seems to mean something special.

I was happy to discover that on the second day of Rosh HaShanah they eat something called "new fruit". An article titled, "Rosh HaShanah Food Customs", explains it like this: 

Pomegranate Juice and seeds. Photo Source:
"On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a "new fruit" – meaning, a fruit that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat. When we eat this new fruit, we say the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season. This ritual reminds us to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them."
What a wonderful ritual... I continue reading on to the second paragraph and discover that one of the fruits often used as "new fruit" is none other than one of my very favorites ... da-da-dum... Pomegranate. This is what the article says about why pomegranate is used: 

"A pomegranate is often used as this new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot. Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh HaShanah is that we wish that our good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate."
See what I mean about significance in everything? How awesome is that? So, I dig into google a little deeper hoping to find a really hip Jewish blog that has some amazing pomegranate recipe that someone is using for Rosh HaShanah. Google did not disappoint. I stumbled across this little gem, a blog called, "The Shiksa in the Kitchen", written by Tori Avey. 

Image Source:
Photo Source:
Beautiful and awesome blog that I WILL be going back to. The blogger/author is a Jewish convert that loves all things food, Jewish cuisine, and food history. Very interesting, I highly recommend you read her "about" page. I am looking forward to reading more. Oh... and her recipes look amaaazing. The article that brought me there was a very thing I've always wanted to know, "How to Seed and Juice a Pomegranate". I have only ever eaten them raw or drank the juice from the store, but I love that I now know how to do this. She lists two methods for doing this. Pretty thrilling. And she even takes it two steps futher, a few later postings she lists a recipe for "Pomegranate Molasses", uhh.. yum... and then another recipe for, "Pomegranate Molasses Brisket". So you get the whole process: juicing, making the molasses, making something with the molasses. 
The Shiksa herself. Photo Source:
Her photos are beautiful too. Head on over to her blog (this page has been linked to the hilt so it should be too hard to find). So my little bit of Rosh HaShanah research led me to the sweetest new blog and I learned great new things about one of my old favorite fruits and new ways to consume it, complete with instructions. It's been a lovely Rosh HaShanah for this gentile. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inspire Me Monday: A Mother's Love

I saw this posted on Facebook and it made me cry.

This is a true story of Mother’s Sacrifice during the Japan Earthquake.
After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supporting by an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.

With so many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman’s body. He was hoping that this woman could be still alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.
He and the rest of the team left this house and were going to search the next collapsed building. For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his had through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement,” A child! There is a child! “
The whole team worked together; carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up.
The medical doctor came quickly to exam the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said,” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passing around from one hand to another. Every body that read the message wept. ” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” Such is the mother’s love for her child!!
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