Archive for June, 2011

The True Meaning of Camp

Camp Keewaydin
Way back during our dating days, in addition to how many kids we wanted to have, where to live and more, my husband and I discussed–and agreed–that we wanted our kids to go to camp. We both had had life changing experiences there. I learned lots about strength and resilience at my Canadian swimming camp where the motto was “we don’t sew beads on belts.” Josh made friends that are still an important part of his life.

In 2000, Sam, our first son, went off to camp, leading his two brothers, who followed shortly after. There is no doubt that after over 20 collective years of camp, all three boys love it deeply and have taken the essence of it into their everyday lives. Sam, almost 21, just started his third year on staff. Harry, 19, is leaving soon for a 6 week cross country camping trip. My “little” 15 year old, Mike, just started his eighth and last summer there. Lessons like “help the other fellow” and others that are gleaned from 17 day canoeing trips in Canada have shaped them in so many ways. Our camp, Keewaydin, is all about fun, adventures and challenges through rugged trips and outdoor living. It is truly a remarkable place.

This article, “A Lost World of Family Time,” written by Michael Thompson, author of “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys,” really brings to life the spirit of camp that Josh and I were looking for when envisioning the lives of our future children.

Please share with us your thoughts and experiences about camp by posting on our blog. I know everyone in the Challah Connection Community will find them interesting.

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My Favorite Mensch–My Dad

The summer I turned nine, my parents sent me to camp for the first time. That first day, after filing off the bus in our gingham shorts and sleeveless shirts, we new campers huddled together, nervous, excited, waiting for the camp director to call our names and send us to our bunks. Half way through the list of names, the director called “Tiger Mark,” but no one responded. Eventually, all the names were called, but I didn’t hear my name. Maybe I had gotten on the wrong bus?

“Tiger Mark,” the director called again and smiled at me. Then I understood. I recognized my last name “Mark.” My Dad, ever the jokester, had filled in my name on the camp form as “Tiger.” It was his nickname for me, his way of reminding me, even hundreds of miles away at camp, to set my eye on my goal and never give up. I raised my hand and smiled big. “That’s me,” I said.

Not giving up was the third most important thing my Dad taught me. The second most important? Be straight and clear and true with others. His straightforward approach never caused us to doubt him or question his meaning. Once, for example, when we asked him what death meant, he told us it meant you stopped breathing. So last summer, when he stopped breathing, we knew what it meant. There is a time to not give up, but there’s also a time to let go, my Dad seemed to tell me as he took his last breath.

Despite these profound lessons, one lesson transcends them both. The third most important thing my Dad taught me: love. He loved his family first and best; we always knew it, and we know it still. For his lessons and for his love, I remember and honor my father this Father’s Day. He is my number one mensch.

Who is yours? Please share a short story, essay, or remembrance of your favorite mensch on this blog. To read more about my Dad, Julian Mark click here.

Best, Jane (Tiger Mark) Moritz

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Counting in Hebrew, Just Like Riding a Bike

This morning, I got a call from a lovely man who wanted to order a cheescake as a Shavuot gift for his wife. After a few minutes of various questions and answers, he told me he was in the subway. I was impressed that his cell phone carrier was so competently keeping our call alive when we arrived at the point in the call where I needed to ask for his credit card info:

Me: “Is it secure there for you to give me your credit card number,” imagining him flanked on both sides by other riders.

Him: “Do you know Hebrew?”

Me: “Not really, but I’m probably ok at my numbers.”

So began the jogging of my memory to forage the ehad, shtayim, shalosh that I learned in day school so many years ago to obtain a Visa card number. It was actually kind of fun–he said a few numbers in Hebrew, I read them back in English. It was nice–we had formed a real partnership-2 strangers in a joint endeavor.

It was a very fruitful call: my customer’s wife is getting a delicious cheesecake and I am feeling empowered that I was able to remember my hebrew numbers–just like riding a bike! I hope you have a great day too.

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The Land of Milk and Honey

The phrase “land of milk and honey” is one that many of us have heard before. First mentioned in the book of Exodus as a description of Israel’s agricultural abundance, it was Moses’s destination while leading Jews out of Egypt.

Since then, it has become a visual metaphor for all things flowing and abundant. It is a term that conjures up pure pleasure including freedom, delicious, birth, fertility and more.

The holiday of Shavuot is on June 8 and celebrates the giving of the Torah* at Mt. Sinai, and the season’s first harvest of fruits. It’s customary to eat a dairy meal on Shavuot, reminding us of the land of milk and honey.

Assorted Gourmet Mini Cheesecakes

My favorite dairy dishes are blintzes, lasagna, noodle kugel, cottage cheese pancakes and cheesecake. As a matter of fact, cheesecake has become the most popular Shavuot dessert.

* the Torah is the primary “Jewish document” showing Jews how to act, feel and participate in every aspect of life and death. It is the “blueprint” for Jewish life and death.

Marble Truffle Cheesecake

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Delectable Cheesecake Recipe

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot is approaching fast so we would like to take some time to slow things down and enjoy the dairy products this holiday surrounds us with!
Shavuot marks the first fruit harvest of the season, yet it is customary to enjoy a dairy meal to celebrate. And why not, the spring is a perfect time to munch on some dairy! Forget the meat! Therefore, we think a fun and delicious part of this holiday is the cheesecake!

Jane’s mom is an extraordinary baker (she is where Jane gets her culinary skills from!) and loved to make cheesecake. Jane has fond memories of this glorious cheesecake resting in the middle of their Shavuot feast! And you’re in for a treat as we reveal her favorite cheesecake recipe!

Now this recipe comes from the book The Wonderful World of Freezer Cooking by Helen Quat and is as follows:


1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons ground almonds or walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground lemon peel
½ cup melted butter

(My mouth is already watering!)


1 ½ pounds soft cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon rind
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the crust ingredients (graham cracker crumbs, nuts, sugar and lemon peel) while stirring in butter till thoroughly blended.

3. Press mixture firmly against bottom of 9” spring form. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

4. In a large bowl or mixer, beat cheese until creamy. At medium speed, add sugar gradually, then vanilla, lemon juice and rind. Blend well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes, until fluffy. Pour into pan on top of crust.

5. Bake at 250 degrees for 35 minutes. When 35 minutes is up, turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar.


1 pint ice-cold sour cream
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla and whip for 10 minutes until foamy. Spoon over top of cake. Bake in 250 degree oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cool*. Wrap. Freeze.

Serving Day: Remove from spring form and thaw in refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours.

* To serve without freezing, refrigerate for 2 hours or more before unmolding.

This recipe is delicious, but if you don’t have time to bake you can always fulfill your craving of cheesecake with the equally delicious display on our website!

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