Thursday, June 02, 2011


 היום ארבעה וארבעים יום שהם ששה שבועות ושני ימים לעמר
Today is forty-four days, which is six weeks and two days, of the omer
גבורה שבמלכות
A day of strength in a week of majesty

It's time to start thinking what I've gleaned from this year's omer practice.

One thing I've learned is to separate my Facebook count from these blog posts. The count is easy--just sign on and type the information in my status. Doing that, I can keep the base ritual by counting each night, since the start of a day in the Hebrew calendar is at sundown.

The blog posts are more of a commitment and sometimes, neither the time nor the inspiration are there. I can push these into the next day. But still, sometimes, my mind is a blank. Even with the post-it of writing ideas on my bulletin board, the words don't make it to the screen. I fill a post with words from others, or just note the difficulty and move on--an entry is an entry no matter what it says. But I won't put many of those on Facebook--no need to share my writer's block.

Hopefully, I'll be more inspired on my next post.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Loooking for lessons in the Kosher Nation

היום שלשה וארבעים יום שהם ששה שבועות ויום אחד לעמר
Today is forty-three days, which is six weeks and one day, of the omer
חסד שבמלכות
A day of loving-kindness in a week of majesty

Today I received my copy of Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America's Food Answers to a Higher Authority by Sue Fishkoff. It will be the next book in line for me to read. Friends have given it good reviews. But more importantly, I hope it gives me some ideas on how to teach the concept of kashrut to my students next year.

I teach in a Reform synagogue where the laws of kashrut are no longer followed. However, the students often bring up the subject. They are curious about the what and why's of the practice.

I need to be careful how I teach this--after all, it is not part of the culture of their synagogue and unlikely a part of their home life. When it comes up, I talk about mindful eating--being aware of what is in the food, where is comes from, how it gets to the plate. I show them the animated G-dcast for Shemini which gives the kashrut laws in song. I point out that the verses following the laws talk about each of us being holy--a kind of "you are what you eat."

But I'm hoping this book will enable me to bring in a worldly relationship to kashrut that would be in line with the philosophy of the Reform movement while letting me be true to the mitzvah aspect.

I'll post my own review when I'm done and let you know :)