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Rosh Hashana Gift Giving Advice

August 28, 2014

With Rosh Hashana less than a month away (starting at sundown on 9/24), many thoughtful people are contacting us looking for Rosh Hashana gift giving advice. Some of the questions we have heard are:

-What should I give my Jewish boss or coworker for Rosh Hashana?

-I’m not Jewish but my best friend is—what should I give?

-What do you recommend for my college student?

-Is it appropriate to give a Rosh Hashana gift to clients and customers?

-We are going to our neighbors’ for break fast, what should I bring?

-What are the best Rosh Hashana gifts for young kids?

-What should my Rosh Hashana gift message say?

These questions make us so happy. Why? We find it genuinely touching that people take such care and thought into giving the right gift for a Jewish holiday. So let us be as generous with our advice. Here are some general Rosh Hashana gift giving recommendations:

BUDGET

Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket, Challah Connection

Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket from Challah Connection

How much do you want to spend? Our Rosh Hashana gifts and kosher gift baskets run the price gamut—from our Holiday Challah Set ($39.99) to our Sweetest 5775 Basket. ($299.99) Or you can send a simple jar of honey and some apples for $20. (Don’t forget the shipping cost!). Whatever your budget, stick to it. There is no need to exceed it as whatever you send from the smallest to the most impressive will be appreciated.

FOOD vs NON FOOD

Let’s face it, Rosh Hashana—like all Jewish holidays—is a foodie’s delight. With the focus on sweetness and apples and honey, there are plenty of choices. My top 3 favorite kosher Rosh Hashana gift baskets are Bee Fruitful Basket, Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket and Sweet New Year Basket. All of these kosher gift baskets honor the apples and honey tradition that is key to ensuring a sweet New Year. Click here for our complete Rosh Hashana dept or here for our online catalog.

If you are a baker, as I am, I would bake an apple cake (terrific recipe here) or some round challah (my favorite challah recipe here).

If you prefer to send a non food Rosh Hashana gift, a honey pot with honey is a great choice or any beautiful Judaica such as a mezuzah, necklace, or wall hanging. Sending something from Israel is a very special gesture. Click here to see our gorgeous Israeli products.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOVE

-What should I give my Jewish boss or coworker for Rosh Hashana?

Work related recipients should receive gifts that are not personal in nature and should not include alcohol (alcohol is appropriate for clients and customers). It is best to select a Rosh Hashana gift basket that reflects Jewish tradition such as our 5775 Breakfast Basket, Rosh Hashana Nosh Platter or for a different idea: Honey Server and Dish Set with honey. All 3 are impressive and will show your thoughtfulness.

I’m not Jewish but my friend is—what should I give?

For a friend, perhaps you are looking to acknowledge the holiday without breaking the bank. A serving dish, tin of rugelach or round challah and honey are great, low cost choices.

What do you recommend for my college student?

Our experience working with parents of college students indicates that parents have 2 specific goals when sending Jewish holiday gifts to their kids: 1) Remind the child that the holiday is here and 2) Send a taste of home and love. Our Rosh Hashana Nosh Platter and Traditions in a Box were specifically created with college kids in mind. These gifts reflect holiday traditions and are also great for sharing with roommates. Another kosher gift basket often sent by parents is our Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket. Please be sure to read our advice about shipping to college dorms or apartments.

Tupelo Honey Flute for Rosh Hashana

Tupelo Honey Flute for Rosh Hashanacollege dorms or apartments.

Is it appropriate to give a Rosh Hashana gift to clients and customers?

Not only is giving a Rosh Hashana gift basket or kosher gift basket to a client or customer appropriate, but it makes great business sense. The point of gifting a client is to thank them for the business and solidify the relationship. What better way to do this than to acknowledge their own holiday therefore honoring them and who they are? We have many many corporate customers—most of whom are not Jewish—who send gifts for all of the Jewish holidays to their clients. This is a terrific business practice that will pay dividends toward your future relationship. One of our most popular corporate kosher baskets for Rosh Hashana is our L’Chaim Wine Extavaganza.

We are going to our neighbors’ for Yom Kippur break fast, what should I bring?

Break fast is typically a dairy meal. After fasting for 24 hours, we try to avoid the “shock” to our bodies that meat can bring. The typical menu for Break fast is lox and bagels, sweet kugel (noodle pudding), assorted cheeses, blintzes and fresh fruit. For dessert, rugelach, apple cake, babka and cookies are great choices. A dessert such as apple cake or rugelach are excellent choices that your host and hostess will very pleased with.

What are the best Rosh Hashana gifts for young kids?

When it comes to kids and Jewish holidays, INVOLVMENT is key. Like all of us, kids learn best when engaged. For Rosh Hashana, consider a toy shofar, a fun puzzle or an imagination playset. Of course, some added sweetness like apples and honey is a great addition.

What should my Rosh Hashana gift message say?

When sending a gift, including a gift message is key! A great gift message is “Shana Tova! Wishing you a sweet, happy and healthy New Year. With love, Your Name.” If your gift is to a client or customer, a great way to sign the card is “Your friends from ABC company.”

I hope that this Rosh Hashana gift giving advice is helpful to you. Feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions. Shana Tova to you and your family.

 

Written by Jane Moritz (jane@challahconnection.com), Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection

Challah Connection is the premiere online kosher gift company specializing in Jewish traditional gifts for Jewish Holiday, Shiva, Jewish Birthday and all Jewish gift giving occasions . “Creating Kvells Since 2002”

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Rosh Hashana Gifts for College Students

With Rosh Hashana coming we are thinking of our kids at college and Rosh Hashana gifts for college students. Jewish Holidays, particularly Rosh Hashana, since it falls at the beginning of the school year, is particularly difficult for parents. We miss our kids Apple Cakearound our holiday table! However, from my own personal experience as well as that of thousands of customers, this sadness can be diminished by sending Jewish holiday foods and Rosh Hashana gifts that your student will love.At Challah Connection, we have created kosher holiday gifts specifically with college kids in mind. When my first son Sam left for college, I missed him terribly. There was a hole at our holiday table that was tangible to us all. However I did get some solace knowing that I had sent Sam enough round challah, honey, rugelach and apples to share with his dorm friends. When he called to tell me how much the kids loved the goodies (many of whom had never had challah) I felt a sense of happiness and peace.

IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR COLLEGE GIFT GIVING

1) Shipping to a dorm? Allow 1-2 days for the gift to navigate its way from the dorm loading dock or entrance to your child’s mailbox. Be sure to tell your student to check his/her mail. Often, the kids forget to do so. These are simple steps that will ensure smooth delivery.

2) Shipping to Apartment? Ask your student when he/she or roommates will be there to receive the package. If no one will be there during the day and there is no doorman, then you may need to consider delivery to an alternate address such as a friend or jobSweet New Year address. Fedex will only leave packages if the driver feels it’s safe to do so andwill attempt delivery 3 times before leaving a note that the recipient needs to come to the Fedex office to retrieve the package. You may want to select a gift that is not perishable in this case.

TOP FIVE ROSH HASHANA GIFTS FOR COLLEGE KIDS

-Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket
-Rosh Hashana Nosh Platter
-Traditions in a Box
-Sweet New Year Basket
-High Holiday Challah Set

Share the traditions of home and know that you have sent your student a delicious reminder that it’s Rosh Hashana—the time for new beginnings and promise. L’Shana Tova to you.

Written by Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection

Challah Connection is the premiere online kosher gift company specializing in Jewish traditional gifts for Jewish Holiday, Shiva, Jewish Birthday and all Jewish gift giving occasions . “Creating Kvells Since 2002”

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The Traditional Jewish Holiday Meal

With Rosh Hashana coming soon, there’s lots of talk of the traditional Jewish holiday meal but what is it and how did it become the meal most served at Jewish holidays?

The typical components of the traditional Jewish meal include gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzo balls (also called Kneidlach), brisket, roasted chicken, a potato dish such as kugel or latkes and tzimmes. Like many “Jewish” foods, the Jewish meal components are Ashkenazi as they originated in Eastern Europe. Before World War II, countries such as Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland had sizable Jewish communities where Jewish life including food traditions thrived. So many of our favorite foods have their roots in these countries including babka, rugelach, kichel (bowties) and of course the meal including brisket.

Why brisket? Brisket has some key features that have propelled it to become the “Jewish meat staple.” First, it’s relatively cheap vs other cuts such as steak. Second, brisket is typically sold in comparatively large amounts (usually at least a 3 lb cut), which is generally too much meat for a typical dinner or Shabbat but plenty for a holiday. So when serving many people for Rosh Hashana or Passover seder, brisket is a relatively inexpensive meat option. Third, it’s hard to ruin or overcook brisket. Letting it simmer for hours only makes it better.

Note that none of the Jewish meal components have any dairy ingredients. This is another reason that these foods have become traditional Jewish holiday foods. One of the primary kosher rules is that meat and milk should never be mixed. Butter or milk is not necessary in the preparation of any of these dishes. Instead of butter or fat, often schmaltz (chicken fat) is used or oil (canola, vegetable or olive). It is this reason that Jewish dairy foods such as blintzes, and lox and bagels with cream cheese tend to “go” together as a lighter meal, often for brunch.

Finally, tradition and heritage play a huge role in the evolution of these foods as the traditional Jewish meal components. Most American Jews have roots in Europe and there is no better way to connect to previous generations then through food. You have heard about “Bubbe’s” recipe for this or that. While there may be an actual bubbe (grandmother) in the family, “bubbe” is often intended as the universal Jewish grandma that knows how to cook to perfection and is an all around Balaboosteh or a maven at everything in the house-from cooking to cleaning to entertaining.

Let’s honor tradition and good taste as we enjoy a traditional Jewish meal. Click here for some useful Jewish recipes. Or, if you prefer not to cook, you can order a terrific glatt kosher meal at Challah Connection.

Written by Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer Challah Connection

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Another Birthday is Here, But Wisdom to Share

When I was a kid and it was my Dad’s birthday, he often gave gifts to us, his 5 kids. The first time he did this, he actually gave each of us a HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL! He didn’t give us “reverse” birthday gifts every year and they were not usually that generous, but overall, my dad was extremely generous.

Dad grew up with little extra money and did well for himself between dentistry and his passion for real estate, but he was always a giver and never stingy with his warmth, care or money. Whether with his kids, the Jewish community, our local Connecticut town, or his alma maters of Tufts and Georgetown, my Dad taught me to be a giver and not to be cheap when it came to people that you love and care about.

Like my Dad, I too have found that when I give and not take, I feel happier. When I feel cranky or find myself picking at my husband or kids, I find that if I put myself aside and focus on them with all of my genuine love and attention, I feel so much better. Even simple acts of kindness can truly make my day—opening the door for someone who is not able, smiling at people walking by or in the grocery store or offering to help someone who is in need. I often seek out “giving opportunities,” moments in other peoples’ lives when I can make a really helpful difference. If I can “touch” lots of people in one day, I know it’s been a great one.

Aside from feeling happier, I find it genuinely exciting to know that my small acts of kindness will have a viral effect. For example, if I do something this afternoon that will help a stranger, he or she may likely pass on an act of kindness and on and on and on. So, in fact what started out as a small act that was really quite easy and pleasurable for me to give, is going to help repair the world! In Judaism, this is called Tikkun Olum—repairing the world–one of the most basic tenets of Judaism.

A few things I have learned about giving:

-Giving to oneself is job #1. We need to take care of ourselves first and foremost and then we can give to others. For me, I have found that I am best off when I start the day with a healthy breakfast, meditation and then yoga or a long walk outside in nature. What is it about nature that is so healing? The never ending sky, the trees and the colors are all reminders that there is something far bigger then us. This helps to put our small lives in perspective and realize that so much is not in our control so why work so hard trying to control everything? I work hard with passion and direction and then let the universe take over. Whatever will be will be, right?

-It always feels so much better to give then to receive. Feeling down, angry upset? Find someone for whom you can do something really helpful and nice and watch how quickly you will start to feel better.

-Giving with authentic kindness and generosity is key. Never give out of resentment or anger, this tends to backfire and only make you more angry.

-Give without expecting anything in return. That’s right! Your reward for giving will be feeling good about yourself and realizing that there is more in this world than you and your wants and needs.

-Giving is not relegated to humans only. Did you know that in Judaism it is a mitzvah (good deed) to walk your dog? Before you kill that mosquito or bug crawling around your house, ask yourself if killing is necessary. Could you gingerly remove it to the outdoors where it really belongs? Isn’t this how you would want to be treated?

-You are a giver when you apply empathy to others. Someone didn’t thank you for something? Don’t be so quick to think they are ungrateful takers. Perhaps they were distracted by something going on that you aren’t aware of. Or maybe they were just given an awful diagnosis. Let’s not be so quick to make judgments and get angry. Empathy goes a very long way.

SCIENTIFIC PROOF–I’m not kidding!

Do you know that it has been scientifically proven that kindness can breed more kindness and is truly good for you? Here are some great articles that will help you become a happier person—a giver.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200607/pay-it-forward

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you/

http://www.wired.com/2010/03/kindness-spreads/

So, this year, for my birthday, I am sharing this wisdom with you. Try it and watch your world become a happier, kinder and less stressed out place.

Written by Jane Moritz, CEO, Challah Connection, the premiere online kosher gift company specializing in Jewish traditional gifts for Jewish Holiday, Shiva, Jewish Birthday and all Jewish gift giving occasions . “Creating Kvells Since 2002”

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Glossary of Jewish Foods

Here at Challah Connection, Jewish food is our passion and the kosher bakery is the heart of our most popular gift baskets. From our many conversations with customers, we know that there are many who are not familiar with some of our outstanding delicacies. Our hope is that this glossary of Jewish foods will be useful to those seeking a deeper understanding of Jewish foods. For those of you who are know these foods well, feel free to add any personal anecdotes, family recipes or helpful comments. And, if you feel we’ve missed a favorite food, rather then kvetch, please post it as a comment!

-Jane Moritz, Challah Connection CEO, Chief Maven

-Babka: bab-ka. From Eastern Europe/Polish origin-a loaf-shaped coffee cake made with sweet yeast dough. A favorite treasure of the Jewish bakery.  Babka Set Challah Connection
-Bagel: ba-gel. A dense bread roll in the shape of a ring, made by boiling dough and then baking it. The origin of the bagel is still an issue for debate. Most food historians have come to the conclusion that the bagel is of Jewish origin, probably in Poland, sometime in the 17th century.  Bagels Challah Connection
 

 

-Bialy: bi-a-ly. A flat breakfast roll that has a depressed center and is usually covered with onion flakes. Yiddish, short for bialystoker, from bialystoker of Bialystok, city in Poland.

 
 

 

-Blintz: A thin pancake folded over a filling usually of apple, cream cheese, or meat which is fried or baked. Russian Origin.

 
 

 

-Brisket: Braised meat from the chest of a cow. In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast, especially as a holiday main course, usually served at Rosh Hashana, Passover and Sabbath.

 
 -Challah: chal-lah. Hebrew Origin. The traditional loaf of rich egg bread, usually braided or twisted, eaten by Jews on the Sabbath and holidays.  Challah, Challah Connection
 

 

-Charoset: ha-ro-seth. Charoset is one of the symbolic foods that Jews eat during their Passover Seder every year. It represents the mortar that the Israelites used to make bricks while they were slaves in Egypt. A mixture of chopped nuts and apples, wine and spices.

 
 

 

-Cholent: cho-lent. A Jewish Sabbath dish of slowly baked meat and vegetables, prepared on a Friday and cooked overnight. Origin is Yiddish: from uncertain or unknown; perhaps French.

 
 

 

-Farfel: far-fel.   A popular side dish in Jewish Ashkenazi cuisine, are small, pellet-shaped, egg noodles. Yiddish origin.

 
 

 

-Gefilte fish: ge-fil-te fish.In Yiddish, gefilte fish means “stuffed fish.” A dish of stewed or baked stuffed fish, or of fish cakes boiled in a fish or vegetable broth and usually served chilled.

 
 -Hamantashen: ha-man-tasch. Triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. “Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther.  Hamentashen, Challah Connection
 

 

-Holishkes: hol-ish-kes. A traditional Jewish cabbage roll dish, served at Sukkot. Yiddish origin.

 
 

 

-Honey Cake: A traditional cake of the “land of milk and honey.” A must for Rosh Hashana since its sweetness symbolizes the wishes for a good year ahead.

 
 

 

-Kichel: kich-el.  A popular Jewish and Israeli sweet cracker or cookie commonly made with egg and sugar rolled out flat and cut into large diamond shapes. Origin Yiddish for “small cake”.

 
 

 

-Knish:   A knish or knysh is an Eastern European snack food made popular in North America by Eastern European immigrants.  A knish consists of a filling covered with dough that is either baked, grilled, or deep fried.

 
 

 

-Kugel: ku-gel. Kugel is a baked pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles or potato. It is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish, often served on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

 
 -Latkes: lat-ke. Potato pancakes are a traditional Jewish dish, often served during Hanukkah. The name is of Yiddish origin, and may have come from either Germany or Russia.  Latkes, Challah Connection
 -Lox: A fillet of brined salmon. Traditionally, lox is served on a bagel with cream cheese, and is usually garnished with tomato, sliced red onion, and sometimes capers. The word lox is derived from the German word for salmon.  Lox and Bagels, Challah Connection
 -Macaroons: A type of small circular cake, typically made from ground almonds or coconut, with sugar and egg white. Origin from French macaron, from Italian dialect maccarone.  Macaroons, Challah Connection
 

 

-Mandel Bread: The Yiddish word mandelbrodt literally means almond bread. It is made by forming dough into a loaf, baking it, slicing the loaf into oblong cookies. It is likely that Eastern European Jews fell in love with mandelbrot because it made the perfect Sabbath dessert.

 
 

 

-Matzah: Matzo, matza or matzah; is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday.

 
 -Matzo Ball Soup: Matzo balls are an Ashkenazi Jewish soup dumpling made from a mixture of matzo meal, eggs, water, and a fat, such as oil, margarine, or chicken fat. Matzo balls are traditionally served in chicken soup.  Chicken Soup & Matzo Balls, Challah Connection
 -Rugelach: rug-a-lach. A Jewish pastry of Ashkenazic origin. Traditional rugelach are made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling.  Rugelach, Challah Connection
 

 

-Sufganiot:   A sufganiyah is a round jelly doughnut eaten in Israel and around the world on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The doughnut is deep-fried, filled with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar

 
 -Teiglach: teig-lach. A Jewish confection made from spiced dough shaped into small balls and boiled in honeyed syrup. A popular dessert for Rosh Hashana to usher in a sweet New Year.  Tegalach, Challah Connection
 

 

-Tzimmes: tzim-mes. A sweet stew of carrots, yams and sometimes raisins or other dried fruits such as prunes or apricots. Including tzimmes in Rosh Hashanah is an old tradition traced back to Germany and Eastern Europe.

 
   

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What is Shiva? The Jewish Mourning Period

For those who have not experienced the passing of a loved one and therefore learned this difficult lesson, death is a natural occurrence. We can only hope that death comes easily and at a very ripe old age. Here at Challah Connection, we have become experts at helping friends and family console their friends and family. Through our work, we have heard many stories of tragic deaths as well as those of individuals who led vibrant and meaningful lives right up to the end of a very long life. We should all hope that that is the way we will go. However, while we are still here, let’s all understand the Jewish way of mourning and Shiva.

Sitting Shiva is the tradition of mourning in the Jewish religion. Gathering together as a community is at the core of sitting Shiva, just as it is at the core of many Jewish traditions. The strength and support of friends, family and neighbors plays a key role in helping the bereaved through the process of grieving. “During a time of loss, there are heightened emotions.  An awareness of traditions and customs can be very helpful,” says Michael Shimmel , Shiva.com CEO, an online resource dedicated to helping mourners, friends, family and co-workers seeking information about Shiva.

Shiva, which means “seven” in Hebrew, is the mourning period observed by the family of the deceased. During Shiva, which is a seven day period that begins immediately after the funeral, the family stays home to focus on their grief, remember their loved one and receive visitors. Many families sit Shiva for a shorter period; perhaps 1, 2 or 3 days, depending on family traditions. The Shiva period is often announced at the funeral or in the obituary.

You Can’t Attend the Shiva—What to Send?
Jewish custom discourages sending flowers since Shiva is a time to allow complete mourning, not for being uplifted. Attempts to distract oneself from the task at hand—mourning—is shunned. During Shiva, friends and family visit the mourners to support them and show their care. Food is served to the visitors and this is where the need for Shiva baskets comes in. Food is brought or sent to alleviate the need for the mourners to do any work regarding food preparation. It is best to send a Shiva basket or Shiva foods that are easy to serve and require little heating or other prepping. At Challah Connection, we make sure that all of our Shiva gifts include foods that are both soothing and easy to serve. We have also found that sending a kosher Shiva basket is optimal so that everyone who attends can enjoy the food. Additionally, we have found that even non-religious people tend toward religious practices during this time.  Our most popular Shiva baskets are those that feature baked goods that are both comforting and nostalgic including Sympathy Comfort Basket and Sympathy Essentials. Danna Black, owner of Shiva Sisters in Los Angeles says “Deli still remains the most popular food for Memorial or Shiva meals however we see more requests for leaner meats, less roast beef and more turkey. Healthy salads have been added as well as vegetarian options. It does appear that the comfort of Deli, which is the most familiar, is still preferred.”

Gift Message-What to Say

Writing a gift message for a Shiva gift is perhaps one of life’s most difficult tasks. The truth is that there are no words that can appropriately console a mourner but we can try. We find that people often struggle with the words but the best advice is to keep it simple. Mourners are not going analyze each word and including a simple note that expresses your own heartfelt words is going to resonate most powerfully. Here are some messages we recommend, please feel free to use any.

“We are so sorry for your loss and send our deepest condolences.”

“With our heartfelt sympathy”

“May XNAME’s memory be a blessing to all who knew him/her.”

Or the most traditional, “May G-d comfort you among all mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Please be sure to sign your note and consider a closing that includes “love.” This is the time for generosity of spirit. Please don’t be shy with your loving kindness at a time like this.
Shiva-An Act of Kindness
Shiva calls should be thought of as an act of kindness, not as a burden. Sharon Rosen, owner of Shiva Connect, a free Jewish registry service where Shiva details and more can be posted, states that “Judaism teaches us that when a member of our community feels the heart-wrenching pain of grief and loss, we should be there to comfort, console and sustain them.” The visit can be an hour or less to avoid tiring the family. Different families will observe Shiva in different manners. It is traditional for mourners to have a tear in their clothing to symbolize their loss. They may sit on low stools or even on the floor to show the depth of their sadness.

Usually a 24-hour candle burns in memory of the deceased. In some homes, mourners will recite Kaddish up to three times a day with a minyan, which is a group of 10 Jewish adults. At times it is difficult to gather a minyan, so visitors who can participate are especially appreciated.

Written by Jane Moritz, owner, Challah Connection, the premiere online kosher gift company specializing in Jewish traditional gifts. “Creating Kvells Since 2002”

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This Father’s Day, Appreciation Is a Great Gift

As my 3 sons are getting older and more independent—24, 22, 18—and I see them out and about in the world, I am thankful for my husband. I married Josh because unlike the other men I dated who were braggers and selfish, Josh is kind and generous of heart—a true mensch.

The thing about having kids who are on their own is that we are no longer controlling them (if we ever really did). This is not an easy transition for a Jewish mom like me! Now that they are on their own all we can do is hope and pray that the lessons and values we taught them are going to keep them protected and moving in the right direction.

But perhaps even more important now is “Dad.” It is said that boys in particular need a Dad but not having any daughters, I can’t vouch for that. However, I am very grateful that my boys have gotten to see their Dad as a down to earth, hard working and honest person who is good to his wife, his own mother, mother-in-law and family. Josh has his values and priorities straight and I pray that they model themselves after him.

This Father’s Day, I am hoping that my boys will honor their Dad. Fancy gifts are not important but acknowledging him and making an effort to show their appreciation is.

-Happy Father’s Day, Jane Moritz

 

Jane Moritz is owner of Challah Connection and Kosher Gift Box, the leading online destination for traditional kosher and Jewish gifts.

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The Popularity of Jewish Food: Taste, Nostalgia, Tradition

Here on the East Coast, it’s not hard to come across a media story about the popularity of “Jewish food.” Recently, much of this coverage has been about the food entrepreneurs—mostly in Brooklyn—who are “reinventing” recipes. Since my company Challah Connection is all about Jewish food traditions and kosher gifts, I find this new coverage really exciting. Not only does it validate our mission, but it makes me proud of our younger generation who are embracing traditions which will help to make our Jewish heritage live on and on and on.

Having spent time in places like Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Israel and therefore being familiar with the source of great rugelach, babka, knaidelach and more, it’s almost like coming full circle seeing these foods being reinvented right here in New York City. Jeffrey Yoskowitz, an owner of Gefilteria, a boutique purveyer of old world Jewish food, said in a recent New York Times article: “It turns out that our ancestors knew what they were doing.” and “The recipes and techniques are almost gone, and we have to capture the knowledge before it’s lost.”

Traditional Jewish Meal from Challah Connection

Traditional Jewish Meal, what makes this some alluring? Taste, Tradition and Nostalgia

Thanks to these new food entrepreneurs, the new versions of these foods will be more appropriate to the way we eat now. For example, my husband talks about the gribenus (fried chicken skin) his grandmother cooked on the Lower East Side. No chance that we would eat that now. But on the other hand, Gefilteria’s gefilte fish, which we sell at Challah Connection, has nothing bad! Ok, a little bit of sugar—but other than that, all of the ingredients are simple, clean and gluten free. It’s downright exciting that Melissa Weller and Black Seed Bagels are bringing bagels back the way they used to be and should be. Bagels should not be a puffy mound of dough enough for 3 people!

But thinking broader then just food is the idea that these younger people are embracing and redefining being Jewish. In addition to new takes on favorite Jewish foods, concepts like Moishe House and Pop-up Shabbat are bringing a new, easy going and inclusive way to be Jewish. You just need to love the food and the warm, homey feeling to go to these events. At these venues, everyone is invited and accepted. Hopefully, you’ll sing and dance-and EAT– and come back next time. Of course, not everyone agrees that this new Jewish openness is “kosher” but of course, that is another discussion topic for another day.

There is no doubt in my mind that “Jewish food” creates a strong connection to being Jewish and it does for 3 important reasons: Taste, Tradition and Nostalgia.

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Our Jewish Bakery Favorites are the Hit of the Holiday Weekend

It’s Memorial Day–almost. When it comes to desserts for weekend guests and barbeques, I think of ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and so on. So, I am happily surprised to see that Jewish Bakery favorites–our Classics Care Package–which includes challah, babka, rugelach and black and white cookies are flying out of our doors! When I think about it, I get it: these are are yummy, homey, nostalgic foods that people LOVE. These are foods with soul! Not to mention that our challah makes the BEST french toast–perfect for breakfast for the visiting friends and family.

Jewish bakery favorites, kosher bakery

Classics Care Package from Challah Connection

Happy Summer! If you are looking for some the finest from the kosher bakery you know where to find it–at Challah Connection, of course.

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Passover Recipes To Make Your Meal

I am so proud of my fellow kosher foodies! They have recently written a terrific new Passover cookbook–4 Bloggers Dish: Passover, Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors.

4 Bloggers Dish: Passover, Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors contains over 50 new recipes from four award winning food writers who have gotten to know each other  through their blogs: Whitney Fisch of Jewhungry, Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me, Sarah Lasry of The Patchke Princess, and Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat.
In addition to mouth-watering modern recipes such as Balsamic Braised Short Ribs, Matzah Brie Caprese, Spaghetti Squash with Quinoa Meatballs, Sautéed Kale, Tomato, and Mushroom Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust, and Cinnamon Donut Balls, this e-cookbook also includes step-by-step instructions and beautiful visuals as well as helpful tips such as Freezer Instructions, Prep Ahead Rules, and a To-Go Guide.

4 Bloggers Dish, Passover: Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors, is now available online via Amazon and compatible for Kindle, the iPad and the Nook.

Click here to purchase: http://amzn.to/1iSZr7h

 

 

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