Recognizing that going to synagogue for the first time can be a challenge, we offer you our booklet, What To Expect At A Synagogue. In it, you will find an overview of what Shabbat is, and how it is celebrated in synagogues. Language is explained, the prayer services are broken down, and many common questions are answered.
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It’s time for another Hanukkah blog post! All month I’m going to be doing links to IFF writers’ blogs, and through the end of Hanukkah I’m providing Hanukkah resources and (hopefully) entertaining videos.
It’s been a few years since rabbinical student and poet Rachel Bahrenblat last wrote for IFF, but she contributed some beautiful articles to our site. It’s a pleasure to read her blog Velveteen Rabbi, but in particular this past week when she shared her joy and the naming ceremony that she created for her son. This is a big pleasure of my job, getting to read stories about important family milestones. You are going to love this–she shared her innovative baby naming ceremony as a .pdf.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, it’s also Shabbat, and my parents are coming to visit. I am not sure what to do about latkes, because it’s hard to make them in advance and them have them hot on Shabbat. I dug around for my old favorite latke recipe. Even though it was originally published in Gourmet, it’s not on Epicurious, which usually has all old recipes from there. It’s from Rozanne Gold, a chef who specialized, for some time anyway, in recipes with only three ingredients (not counting salt and pepper!) Finally I found a version of the recipe that I’d retyped when I found it:
The Gold Family Latkes Gourmet, December 1999
This recipe makes two large latkes, which are cut into small wedges for serving.
2 lbs. large boiling potatoes
3 Tbs. coarsely grated onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Cook whole potatoes in salted water to cover until barely tender, about 20 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Cool potatoes and peel. Coarsely shred potatoes into a bowl, lengthwise–long strands help hold the latkes together–on the large holes of a grater. Add the onion, salt and pepper.
Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then add half of the potatoes, spreading with a spatula to form an even cake. Cook until underside is golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Invert a large plate over the skillet and invert the latke onto the plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and slide it back in. Cook another 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the other side. Slide latke onto a serving plate and keep warm. Make another one in the same way. Cut into wedges to serve.
I can’t remember which of the many Jewish blogs I read embedded this nice video, so instead of a hat-tip, imagine a comprehensive wave of my stetson toward the stands in this internet rodeo. It’s the amazing elementary-school choir from New York that you might have seen elsewhere, singing Maoz Tzur.