Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Mar 25, 2011.
How about the first day of Spring?
Shoot, I forgot to do something for Ostara.
Purim was last week but Hamentashen are so yummy we can celebrate again.
Well I have a bad calendar! My freinds - my apologies!
And svengandhi - I'm not sure what hamentashen are but it sounds delicious and I'm always up for new foods. So dish -
Hamentashen!!! Yummy. Star, they are these yummy cookies filled with apricot filling, prune, or cherry. (Google images- you'll see)
Star, you are so funny! Purim was last week, it is a really interesting festival, based on the Book of Esther and that story. It involves a lot of celebrations, a lot of noise, fancy dress, and a real carnival atmosphere, ending in a very lavish meal (what else? all our festivals involve eating!!!).
Now we are getting ready for Pessach -- Passover -- and we have to spring-clean our homes really well, and it is such a headache and drives all of us mad, but in the end we have a lovely clean home and we celebrate coming out of bondage in Egypt etc. etc.
With the enormous family that I have (eight children, six of them married) we have a logistical problem how many will come each time. We do NOT have room for all of them at one go to sit around the table, since we are now over 40 people. We are at the moment deliberating who will come for the first day of Passover, including of course the first night which is the seder meal in which we tell about the Exodus from Egypt with all sorts of symbolic foods. So far I have one son with his wife and five children, one daughter with her husband and six children, one unmarried son. Two others are still deliberating, and I shall have to ask neighbours to let them sleep there because I DO NOT HAVE ROOM FOR ALL OF THEM!!! You can see that I am already getting hysterical about Passover coming near!! Heeelp!
PS. Star, I am waiting for you to come and visit me here in Israel. I know that within a couple of days you will be speaking Hebrew fluently!
I can pass on the prune hamantashen but apricot, yummy! They are pastries shaped like a tri-cornered continental soldier hat, for lack of a better description. They are named after Haman, the villain of the Purim story or the Book of Esther. Basically, the king of Persia got tired of his wife and decided to have a beauty contest of sorts to pick a new one. Juxtaposed with this is the continuous plotting of the king's vizier, Haman, to rid the country of Jews. The king has a Jewish advisor (Mordechai) who is working to foil this plot. His niece, Esther, is chosen as the new Queen but she hides her religion from the king (easier for women to do than men, LOL!). The king gives in to Haman's importuning and through the use of Purim (lots, kind of like straws), each with a date written on it. One date is selected and this is the date on which all of the Jews in the entire 127 provinces of the country are to be slaughtered.
There's more to the story and if you'd like to know the rest, I'll post it... One of the best parts of the story is how relatively empowering it is to a young woman, Esther...
I went and got the video on Ester - it was AWESOME. They didn't say anything about the Purim in it though. I liked the story, kinda remember it from Sunday school, but the video for me was better. Of course in the video she is very beautiful, and she's a no-bones kinda woman.
Esther - (oh I get it - ESTHER) are you named for this strong woman? That would be very cool. Yup I am pretty sure my Hebrew 1/2 will surface immediately and I'll be fluent flem in no time. I'm Mediteranian you know.....yup....have that Thalassemia and everything to prove it. (Thank you crusty gene pool) I rode back on a plane with a few military guys that were talking about the middle east crisis weeks before all these wars broke out - but I'm not sure I'd fly now. I would love to come there. I have a list - things I want to do. Places I want to go in Israel. I bet I wouldn't get patted down in YOUR airport. lol....look to native. hahaha. ahem. But I thank you for thinking of me yet again. What is that thing women have to wear over there? Like a dashiki or something? Do you get that there or here? I want to ride a camel too. Probably wrong country on the dashiki huh? I'd like to see the pyramids, but Egypt not anyplace we'd be going right now huh? NOT SAFE I bet. But then again theres bombs going off at your bus stop - I just don't get people. I mean I get it - belive me - all the way back to the mixed blessing and all but WOW. It's dirt - get over it.
Anyway it sounds like you are going to have a housefull, and that just sounds like fun. One question? When you read the Passover story? Do you read it in Hebrew or do you chant it /sing it? or is it just read in English? See these are things no one like me knows and yet most people are like - OH you shouldn't ask that ----and yet I think...WHY? So I'm asking. I flip through the TV channels here and I hear services in Jewish temple and they are chanting and I listen because 1.) I've never heard it before and it's beautiful and 2.) I think - wonder what would happen if one day I just decided to go to THAT service and listen instead of Sunday church? Would someone say - YOU - with the cross - get out. I think it would be neat.
Hi, I'm not Esther but at my seders, I read some in Hebrew, everyone else reads english and the singing is in hebrew. When I was a kid, my mom's aunt used to change the end of the Diaspora seder, which is "Next year in Jerusalem" to "Next year in Miami Beach."
About 20 years ago, my H was sponsoring a friend who was converting to Catholicism (she was originally Jewish and Greek Orthodox). They do this on the Saturday night before Easter. Imagine my surprise at the mass when they basically start telling the Exodus story. I thought the service would have been all about the crucifixion. Then I found out that the Last Supper (I actually saw the painting in Italy) referred to a seder. Of course, the "best" parts of the service were when my son, who was 20 months, saw the communion wafers and started screaming for cookies and when the priest said "We must renounce Satan" and my 5 month old daughter started making raspberries so loud that the whole church heard them and started laughing.
As for going to a service, it would depend on what kind you went to. Reform is primarily done in English, Conservative can be a mix and Orthodox is in Hebrew and the sexes are separately seated. Wearing a cross would be fine, it's your religious symbol, but waving one around might be a little much.
OMG that story about your kids and the service is a scream -
I'm pretty sure I'd leave the vampire kit at home - but it's good to know that no one would throw me out. I think it would be neat to go to a service where it was sung. It'd be nice to have crib notes - or manger notes - oh.....shoot wrong again. Drat.
Many shuls have prayer books that are transliterated (the Hebrew words are written out in English letters). That's how H follows along.
If I knew how to post pictures, I'd put up the sacreligious holiday picture we sent out when difficult child was 3 months old. H and his friend (a professional photographer) set up a little stable type thing with wood. We covered difficult child's car seat and propped him up in it, put oldest boy (then 4) in one of H's shirts and daughter (then 3) in a sari an Indian friend had given her. We put hay on the floor and spread out their stuffed aninals around them. We arranged the 2 older ones around the car seat. Every time I see the picture (and difficult child will graduate HS next year), I have to laugh.
For our conservative friends, we took another picture with the boys in baby tuxedos and daughter in her bridesmaid dress from sister in law's wedding.
The service story is a scream now but at that time, I remember thinking that everyone in that church just knew I was Jewish and was preparing to stone me. After the whole thing was over, the priest approached us and said he'd never seen us before and were we going to join the parish. I just stared and H, fortunately, knew to tell him that we lived in X parish...
Well, we do the whole Seder in Hebrew, but if there are guests who don't understand, then someone who speaks English will sit next to them and explain. It's a big thing, the Seder night, because it actually tells the story of the formation of the Jewish people, their basic history, and it is a commandment from the Torah to tell that story every year on Passover eve.
As for wearing a cross: Star, if it's not too obtrusive that's OK. Once at a Seder night at my parents' home in England, one of the guests was a mother superior of a convent, and I sat beside her and explained. It was slightly embarrassing at a couple of places, but I sort of ignored them and she also went along with me. I'm not sure whether she realised I was missing out bits or not!
We are orthodox, so there is absolutely no bending of the rules. That means four cups of wine (or grape juice is also allowed), and quite a lot of matza have to be eaten, along with bitter herbs etc. etc. Yes, it is fascinating, full of symbolism, the children all love it and look forward to it every year. There are the four questions to be asked, and usually the youngest child asks them in a singsong that he/she has learned. It is very traditional, full of meaning, and full of fun as well.
Star, you and your DF will always be welcome -- please come! I promise you it will be an experience you will never forget!!!
Oh yes, by the way, I am named after "that" Esther. And my father's name was Mordechai (Esther's uncle in the story). And I have a son who was born on Purim (which happened to be 29th February that year), and he is a joker and prankster to this day!
That is soooo incredibly cool!
Okay one more question - What are the stones or rocks on the graves for? I think it's beautiful. Just have no idea what the significance is for. We have similar traditions (not with stones) in Native culture of gift giving - but always wondered what that was - and it's not like I can't look it up on wikki - I just would like a friends version. Thanks. I'm guessing also - Sedder is the ceremony?
I was always told that it was done to remember that we are of the earth. I'm not sure if that's the actual religious reason but I was told that by my mom. I would defer to Esther (by the way, my Hebrew name is Malka Esther, which translates into Queen Esther) on this. I fell away from Orthodoxy at age 10 when I was told that I was not allowed to study the same parts of the Torah as the boys, even though I was the top student in my yeshiva and had just skipped a grade. I was told to stop damaging my brain by too much studying and that I should be thrilled because the rabbi was planning to marry to a very prominent rabbi's son when I was older because such a rabbi should have intelligent daughter in law's! I married an Irish Catholic instead.
I asked my husband why we put a stone on the grave when we "visit" the grave. He said he doesn't quite remember and he will look it up for me, and then I will post his reply. Hey Malka Esther. My name is actually Regina (Regina was the name of one of my grandmothers), so that makes me Queen Esther too! How about that! But actually, I have always been called Esther by my parents -- I think it hurt my father too much to use his mother's name after she died in the Holocaust.
Hi, Esther -
My H's fiance before he and I got together was named Regina. I told him he has high aspirations of royalty. I haven't been called Malka Esther on a regular basis since 1972 but I always preferred it to my sister's Hebrew name, Chaya Leah.
The funny thing is I have never been to Israel. My daughter applied to Birthright but didn't get accepted because SO MANY kids are asking to go. She wants to do a summer in Ireland next year and hopes that she can build in a Birthright trip. If she can't then, I have told her to wait till she graduates and go with the older crowd.
I was named after my paternal grandmother's favorite brother. I was supposed to have a really horrible name but then my grandma said she had a dream in which her brother said he wanted a name, so I got named after him. I love my English first name. My middle name is after my maternal great-grandma. My sister got the really horrible name (it's worse in English than in Hebrew).
I will say that it's really hard picking names for multiple children when you don't have that many dead people in your family. Our rabbi once suggested that I name one of the kids Menachem (this was shortly after Begun's assassination) and I just looked at him and said "Menachem O'Reilly? I don't think so!" O'Reilly's not really my last name, but it is really very Irish.
Separate names with a comma.