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04/13/2020 04:42:09 PM


Michael Greenfield

This sheltering in place won't last forever, but according to the emergency broadcasting system message that blared through my phone earlier, we've got at least a couple more weeks. So this is a good moment to take stock of what we have in our Jewish pantry and improvise in ways that bring us both nourishment and joy.

My hope is that you're enjoying a sweet Passover, and that this finds you well and learning to improvise, in the kitchen and in life. I never did find matzah in the store, so we made our own Bread of Affliction for the seders. It's just 3 parts flour to 1 part water. The next morning, we made some far less afflicted Cinnamon-Sugar Matzah. And the day after that, craving The Bagel Project, we made a batch of Everything Matzah using the spice mix from Trader Joe's, along with a second batch of Olive Oil & Sea Salt Matzah in solidarity with the Jews of Italy. Fantastico! It might be the best thing to happen to matzah since the matzah ball. I improvised my recipe but Mark Bittman can walk you through his. The two most important things to know? First, even though Bittman doesn't, put your baking sheet in the oven upside down while you preheat to 500 so that you lay the matzah down on a super-hot surface when you cook it. Second, it doesn't need to be square. I promise. Think outside the (actual) box.

If you're craving a third Seder, but with better voices and comedians, you're in luck. The celebrity filled Saturday Night Seder is still online with or without a donation to the CDC Foundation. If your younger kids can read lips, the bleeps probably aren't enough to make it 100% family-friendly, but I'll let you decide for yourself. And if you've already re-watched the classic Jon Stewart Faith Off this year but are curious about why Easter isn't always the Sunday after the First Seder, here's a really great explanation of the Hebrew lunar calendar from The Atlantic that helps explain why Jewish holidays (and Easter) seem to float from year to year. Watchmaker Patek Philippe made the most complicated watch in the world by correctly giving the date for Easter every year, but that watch is nothing compared to one that would tell you when the Jewish holidays fall. If you're a horologist, that million dollar idea is yours for the taking.

Many of you have been watching the new Netflix show Unorthodox based on Deborah Feldman's book of the same name which explores the story of one woman attempting to disconnect herself from the Satmar Jewish community. For those who enjoyed it, I highly recommend the similarly beautiful memoir All Who Go Do Not Return written by a man attempting to leave the Skverer sect of Hasidic Jews. Also in a literary vein, The Jewish Book Council is bringing together authors Esther Safran Foer and Kei­th Gessen in a con­ver­sa­tion with Stephanie But­nick about personal Jewish journeys and ancestral homes. The event is free but requires an RSVP.

Rabbi Levinsky is teaching a class this Thursday at 7pm about one of the central elements not just of Passover but of Judaism in general - hope. And his Jews in America series returns for week 3 next Monday at 1pm with a focus on Groucho Marx.

The Jewish Museum in NYC has a world-class collection of Judaica, and they've made much of it accessible online via audio/visual tours. There are featured tours of Ludwig Wolpert Passover sets and ritual objects like a Miriam's Cup used in the Seder, but there are also kids' tours, artist tours, and things like Isaac Mizrahi talking about the Joys of Yiddish.

Stay connected to your loved ones, stay healthy, stay nimble. Gam ze ya'avor - this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, do some Jewish and let us know how we can help.

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784