Challah Connection’s “Kosher Cookie Clash” Featured on The Forward

theforward pressIn an article posted on July 16, 2015, Jewish news site www.forward.com talked about our Rainbow Cookie Kerfuffle. “You might have read about the not-so-sweet situation: Soon after the Supreme Court announced its Obergefell v. Hodges decision, codifying the right of LGBT Americans to marry across the country, Moritz placed a picture of kosher rainbow cookies on the homepage of her company website, along with the line, ‘Never have these treasured cookies had such meaning.’ And that’s when the hate mail and angry social-media postings began to arrive.” Read all about it here.

 

 

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Meditations on the New Year–5776

JaneChaibraceletI had dinner last night with someone who quoted a beautiful Irish saying:

“Humans aren’t meant to live long but are meant to live happy.”

And, I recently read an article comparing the view of work and vacation between Americans and Europeans:

For the most part, when Americans meet each other, they will typically ask what they do for a living vs Europeans who ask where they are going on their next vacation.

Both of these have left a real impression on me and with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year coming soon, they are fueling my “new year thinking.”

I have already started sorting out this past year, thinking about what I could have done better, where I could have used more love and patience and how I want to improve myself for the coming year.

For this upcoming year, 5776, happiness, joy and fun are going to be priorities for me. Who knows how long we are here so why not enjoy the things we love to do with the people we love?

So, let’s get started sorting out last year and planning for this coming year, 5776. There is a wonderful quote from the poet Mary Oliver that feels perfect right now:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I’m sure Mary would be fine with you changing life to year, if you’d like. Happy New Year, L’Shana Tova to you and your family!

Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection

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Challah Connection’s Fabulous Rugelach featured on JNS.org

Click below to read more about delicious rugelach, both dairy-based and parve. Ours use butter – as do most of the most moist and delicious rugelach recipes. Thanks, JNS.org, for including us in the debate!jns feature image

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Connecticut Magazine calls us “The Amazon of the Jewish Gift Basket world”

Have you seen this coverage in Connecticut Magazine? We love how the author thinks of Challah Connection! Click below to read the whole article. Enjoy!CT Mag Press

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The Big Rainbow Cookie Kerfuffle

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage – or “marriage,” as it can now be known. Brands large and small were quick to show their support for this decision (see an interesting article on that here), with reportedly 3.6 million tweets created using the hashtag #lovewins after Friday’s announcement.

rainbow cookies Here at Challah Connection, we were quieter about the big legal news. We simply put this image on our website’s home page, featuring our beloved Rainbow Cookies and stating that their colors had new meaning after the Supreme Court decision.

Here’s another famous cookie making a similar statement:

rainbow cookies grahamsHoney Maid graham crackers stated that “wholesome has always been at the core of our products” and that it recognizes, “while the makeup and the day-to-day lives of families have evolved, those wholesome family connections remain the same.” Nice sentiment, zero out lash.

Not so for our rainbow cookie statement. We were a bit taken aback by what transpired. If you didn’t hear about it already, you can see this response online.rainbow cookie kerfuffle

The website OnlySimchas.com wrote about the displeasure of some of our kosher consumers concerning our “endorsement and support of a lifestyle and activity that is unequivocally condemned and forbidden by Jewish Law.”

I was quoted as responding to criticism of our “stance” on these delicious treats by saying Challah Connection will “stand firm in the Jewish values that implore upon us to show compassion and kindness to all beings”. And that, my friends, IS where I stand!

We believe in freedom. We believe in love, and compassion – for all people, of every faith, everywhere. We are here to help all people gain more access to wonderful items that have sprung from our Jewish faith. Our customers include Jews and non-Jews alike,  and that’s one of the things we love about Challah Connection. We are a conduit to Jewish customs, cultural practices, and of course specialty Jewish foods. But anyone can enjoy the special items we sell, regardless of their religious belief. Do you have to be a devout Jew to enjoy a delicious rainbow cookie? To send some rainbow cookies as part of a shiva basket? Certainly not.

This is a big kerfuffle over a cookie. A fabulously delicious cookie. A cookie which is kosher – just like all of the other products at Challah Connection, which are kosher. If we want to have a big Jewish-style debate about rainbow cookies, let’s have it about where their stripes originated, or whether they are more delicious than rugelah. Not about what they mean, or could mean, to people symbolically. Because that is up to each individual person to decipher.

We do not pass judgement on anyone’s lifestyle. We are here because we love our religion, and the many values it teaches: education, compassion, and even questioning our own beliefs among them. No one movement, group or sect “owns” Judaism, it belongs to us all and holds a unique place in history as one of the world’s oldest religions.

It is not up to us to determine what moves people’s spirit, nor judge the direction in which it moves them. But if they are seeking things Jewish – whether that’s rainbow cookies, Sabbath candle sticks, or a mezzuzah to consecrate their new Jewish home – we want to help them connect because Jewish traditions are worth sharing.

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Jewish Housewarming Gifts: About Mezuzahs (Mezuzot)

Why a Mezuzah is a Great Housewarming Gift

One of the ways you can identify a Jewish home is by the mezuzah that marks the door frame. The word “mezuzah” is Hebrew for “doorpost,” and the plural form of the word mezuzah is “mezuzot.” The torah instructs Jews to “write these commandments on the doorpost of your home,” which is why people place a mezuzah on their doorposts.

What is a Mezuzah?

It’s a long narrow case that contains a scroll with the Shema prayer inscribed on it – the holiest Jewish prayer.

There are many kinds of mezuzot, some more traditional, some contemporary, all crafted to contain this special scroll. Sometimes a mezuzah will have the word “Shalom” on the outside, or some are decorated with Jewish symbols.

Jewish housewarming giftThis gorgeous pewter mezuzah, with the shin in the form of an olive branch, embraces peace – in the home, in the heart, in the world. It comes with contrasting brass screws and paper scrolls, is for use indoors or out and measures approx. 4.5″x1″.  It’s also Handmade in the USA. $44.99 – Send One Now

Not only do people put mezuzahs on their outer doorposts, but sometimes also on their interior ones. So anyone who follows this Jewish tradition who’s buying a new home will appreciate a mezuzah as a housewarming gift.

mezuzah as housewarming giftThis mezuzah is so pretty, it would be appreciated in any doorway. It is made by hand painting, followed by a variety of materials meticulously arranged inside the delicately cut stainless steel frame. $127.99 – Send One Now

Even if they have one mezuzah already, there are plenty of doorways in every home! That’s why we think a mezuzah is a wonderful Jewish housewarming gift. See more ideas for housewarming gifts here.

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Video: Shiva, the 7 Day Jewish Mourning Period

Death is part of our journey. The more we can accept that, the more free we will be to live our lives to the fullest. Here is some helpful information about Shiva, the 7 Day Jewish mourning period. May we all live to be 104, but if not, there are things we need to know…

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Let the Challah Connection Mavens Help With Your Mother’s Day Shopping

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How to Write a Sympathy Message

Writing a sympathy message is one of life’s most difficult tasks. Jane Moritz, Challah Connection owner shares with you give messages that customers have used over the last decade.

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Preparing for Passover, Beyond the Brisket

JaneChaibraceletFrom Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection:
Now that our 3 sons are out of the house, my husband and I are cleaning out and packing up our house as we get ready for our next home in our next life phase. With the dumpster filling up outside our garage and my no-tchotcke-left-unturned focus, I was particularly moved when I received a recent email, “From Purim to Passover,” about preparing for Passover. The author, Nigel Savage, President of Hazon beautifully discusses prep that is well beyond the brisket. I wanted to share it with you and whether you are Jewish or not or religious or not, these are thoughts that we can all make use of. Here is an excerpt from his email:

From Nigel Savage, President, Hazon.org:
nigel-savage“I think of the period from seder night until Shavuot as a sustained reflection on the nature of freedom, and in particular about traveling from freedom from (want, oppression, slavery) to freedom to (make a difference in the world, exercise choice, restrain oneself in certain ways.)
The period from Purim to seder night is thus preparation for this. It’s the work we need to do to be able to start to leave our own enslavement and to think freshly and confidently about our freedom.

And the tradition’s great insight – hidden in plain view – is that a significant part of that process is about getting rid of stuff.
Certainly this involves removing chametz, traditionally understood – bread and beer and whisky and other fermented products. But the deeper gift of this period – certainly in our time, certainly in the west – is the deeper notion that we have too much stuff of all sorts, and that if we truly want to be free – if we want even to begin to imagine our true freedom – the road to doing so involves getting rid not only of literal chametz but of existential chametz – the superfluities that hinder our freedom.

So in our household we do kasher our home in the traditional sense; we keep a fairly strictly kosher kitchen and that is important to us. But as well as the traditional koshering, we take the opportunity to try to get rid of stuff. We take stuff to goodwill, or to the office. Give things to friends. Throw things out.” For Nigel’s complete letter, click here.

Happy Passover!

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