Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pirsum Project - Food Photo Edition


All I can say is WOW WOW WOW to itsagift's mother's menorah challah.
That is EXQUISITE!!!
Thanks for sharing.

Pirsum Project - Reflections


Many thanks to Gavi for sending in this photo of his menorah, reflected in his black glass chanukas habayis sign, which hangs directly opposite.

What an interesting shot.....

For another lovely "dark shot", check out SiBaw's menorah here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Choir of KAJ Sings Lo Omus for Shabbos Chanukah

In honor of Shabbos Chanukah the choir of KAJ introduced a new composition of Lo Omus in Hallel.
The following audio recording was taken at a rehearsal in shul last week.
I hope you enjoy it.

Pirsum Project - Super Sized Menorah Cookie


How many children do you suppose it will take to devour this adorable GIANT menorah cookie?

Thanks, to blog reader C for permission to post!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Think They LOOK Good? They Tasted EVEN BETTER!!!

Pirsum Project - First Night, First Light


Our first submission to the Pirsum Project comes from Jonas..... A real "blast from the past".
Jonas originally hails from Germany, though he is currently on a kibbutz in Israel on leave from the Israeli Army.
Jonas came to us as an unexpected guest whom we met via a mutual friend outside of shul on Purim afternoon three years ago and promptly brought home for seudah (and yes, he was delicious ;) .....). Imagine the challenge of quickly getting him his own verse in the traditional grammen!
Having never visited Washington Heights before he was astounded that there were "true Germans" living outside of Germany. In a veritable "bringing coals to Newcastle" story, Jonas had never seen Gruenkern before and promptly took a bag home to his motherland.
Thanks Jonas, for staying in touch and for this lovely photo of the shul in Sde Eliyahu!

More submissions are always welcome: guesswhoscoming2dinner@gmail.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Make Way for the Kitsch.....

While I should be on a lowfat diet in preparation for all the oil soaked delicacies I am about to indulge in to celebrate a miracle that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with stuffing one's face, I find myself doing nothing of the sort.

I do find myself rummaging through designated "Chanukah Drawers and Shelves" to locate all the necessary 'accouterments' that grace our home. To that end, the dreidels and gelt are happily swinging from the light fixture, assorted other dreidels are scattered throughout the house on mirror tops and decorative platters, menorahs have been polished, sentimental home-made dreidel signs nearly a quarter century old have been posted on the front door and I have managed to locate one menorah pin and two NON-MATCHING menorah earrings (sigh....).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gearing Up for the Second Annual "Pirsum Project"


Things at the G6 household are slowly inching forward in the Chanukah spirit.
Once again this year, I welcome your menorah photos, Chanukah "kitsch" photos and any other submissions that might marginally fit the theme of the Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Pirsum Project.
Send submissions to guesswhoscoming2dinner@gmail.com and tell me how/if you would like to be credited.

Now for the big question: Will adding gelt on top of the dreidels be overkill?
Now for the obvious question: Who wants to guess how many dreidels are in the glass?
Remember to check out this photo for sizing.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chanukah Approaches - Let The Insanity Begin

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry about this one....


A must have! Menorah kit includes:
  • Tin can for used wicks
  • Plastic bag liners for tin can
  • Scissors
  • Wick remover
  • Wick adjuster
  • Digital timer
It's a wonder we've managed all these years without a dedicated receptacle for our used wicks and a timer (!!) to grace our menorah display. What is next????

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday's Wacky Signs

Spotted on the refrigerator door of a dear friend of mine (and a most capable "Mommy")......



Although I must admit that I myself have once or twice texted my child so as not to have to (a) shout for them or (b) go to wherever they were....

Friday, November 25, 2011

More Tradional and Popular Melodies Sung by the Choir of KAJ











KAJ Choir Sings Bendigamos

The Choir of KAJ went out on a limb yesterday and added an unsual piece to their repertoire when performing at the Moriah Senior Center.

Who would expect that along with the traditional renditions of Mizmor L'Dovid, Lecho Dodi, Tzaddik Katomor and even an old Carlebach favorite, Eilecho, one would hear the beautiful Ladino bentching, BENDIGAMOS?

According to Wikipedia:
Bendigamos is a prayer said after meals according to the custom of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. It is similar in meaning to the Birkat Hamazon that is said by all Jews. Bendigamos is said in addition to Birkat Hamazon. The text is in Castilian (Spanish language). The prayer was translated by David de Sola Pool. … The melody is that of the “Az Yashir".
Bendigamos

Bendigamos al Altísimo,
Al Señor que nos crió,
Démosle agradecimiento
Por los bienes que nos dió.

Alabado sea su Santo Nombre,
Porque siempre nos apiadó.
Load al Señor que es bueno,
Que para siempre su merced.

Bendigamos al Altísimo,
Por su Ley primeramente,
Que liga a nuestra raza
Con el cielo continuamente,

Alabado sea su Santo Nombre,
Porque siempre nos apiadó.
Load al Senor que es bueno,
Que para siempre su merced.

Bendigamos al Altísimo,
Por el pan segundamente,
Y también por los manjares
Que comimos juntamente.

Pues comimos y bebimos alegremente
Su merced nunca nos faltó.
Load al Señor que es bueno,
Que para siempre su merced.

Bendita sea la casa esta,
El hogar de su presencia,
Donde guardamos su fiesta,
Con alegría y permanencia.

Alabado sea su Santo Nombre,
Porque siempre nos apiadó.
Load al Señor que es bueno,
Que para siempre su merced.

Hodu Lahashem Ki Tov Ki L'Olam Chasdo

English:
Let us bless
Let us bless the Most High
The Lord who raised us,
Let us give him thanks
For the good things which he has given us.

Praised be his Holy Name,
Because he always took pity on us.
Praise the Lord, for he is good,
For his mercy is everlasting.

Let us bless the Most High
First for his Law,
Which binds our race
With heaven continually,

Praised be his Holy Name,
Because he always took pity on us.
Praise the Lord, for he is good,
For his mercy is everlasting.

Let us bless the Most High,
Secondly for the bread
And also for the foods
Which we have eaten together.

For we have eaten and drunk happily
His mercy has never failed us.
Praise the Lord, for he is good,
For his mercy is everlasting.

Blessed be this house,
The home of his presence,
Where we keep his feast,
With happiness and permanence.

Praised be his Holy Name,
Because he always took pity on us.
Praise the Lord, for he is good,
For his mercy is everlasting

More videos from this event will follow shortly, but I'm interested to know who of my readers are familiar with or sing Bendigamos at their table.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Shabbos Flowers

I love natural beauty - Hashem's artwork if you will.
I appreciate brilliant flowers and eye catching stones.
With the new vase I bought, we can meld the two for a beautiful Shabbos table arrangement. The vase is a piece of quartz sliced from an unassuming rock, cloaking unbelievable beauty within, mounted on a hidden base.
...'מה גדלו מעשיך ה



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Challenges Everywhere

I can't tell you what it is like to run a marathon. That is a challenge that I have as yet not attempted. The only thing that I can write about, is what it is like to be the proud mother and mother-in-law of marathon runners.

We too feel anticipation of the day, though our hopes are a bit different. We don't focus on a specific finishing time. We want our loved ones to be safe and feel good about themselves at the end of the race. In short - we continue to be "Jewish Mothers".

I spent the day racing around the city, from downtown Brooklyn to Williamsburg (the New York Times caught a better shot, but I had fun trying to get a photo of the natives trying to dodge the runners as they crossed the street {now THERE'S a challenge!} - see my photo below), then on to the Bronx and Manhattan's East Side. I think I covered more miles on the subway than Joey did on the course, and I made WORSE time (I actually missed him in one location and near missed him in several others...). I couldn't have done it without a certain person who hates to be mentioned on blog but who knows the NY Subway system like nobody's business. So you know who you are - thanks a LOT!!


We were there to cheer on the runners, provide sustenance in the form of bananas and "goo", and rejoice in the spirit of goal setting and accomplishments.

... and the end result? Two very happy runners who are eager to push themselves again to achieve newer and greater heights.

Cristoph Niemann of The New York Times, embarked on a project to "live illustrate" the marathon as he ran. He completed the course, and 46 sketches in an undisclosed amount of time but the results are quite entertaining. You can see his works here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

G6 Jrs. Get Ready for Race Day

Technology is finding more and more ways to become a part of Marathon Sunday.

Aside from being able to track your favorite runner with cool smartphone apps that pinpoint their locations with surprising accuracy all along the route, Asics, one of the race’s sponsors, is allowing people to send a message, video or text to specific runners that they will see as they pass giant screens along the route.

Message submitted at SupportYourMarathoner.com will be seen by racers in three spots along the course, because the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag in their bibs that track their time will also send signals to the big screens and trigger the messages at the exact time that the runners approach.

Here's one that my granddaughters made to cheer on their father as he triggers the sensors along the route:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Food Photo Friday - Marathon Birthday Cake

My daughter Erica is totally rocking the buttercream transfer technique. That little marathon runner on the birthday cake she made for Moshe (shhh ... it's a surprise...) this weekend (complete with his actual bib number for Sunday's race) is not fondant, but buttercream.

I reall need to try this out!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Others' Words: Why Joey and Moshe Will Be Out Running. Why I'll Be Out Watching


Mary R. Wittenberg, president, New York Road Runners Club:
"A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow. It's all in conquering the challenge."
Kathrine Switzer, women's marathoning pioneer:
"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."
The New York City Marathon will be held this Sunday.
Both my son and son-in-law will be running.
I will be dashing madly through the NY Subway System from mile marker to mile marker, ringing a big orange cowbell in support.

They are covering this 26.2 mile course to raise money for the Blue Card Fund. It is not too late to donate to this worthy cause which helps holocaust victims.

It's also not too late to make plans to be somewhere along the route to cheer the runners on.
Thanks to Steve Jobs, I will hopefully be able to pinpoint Joey's location with incredible accuracy throughout the run. Shoot me an email if you'd like to be kept updated.

And to everybody, everywhere who refuses to remain content with the status quo in their life and insists on challenging themselves constantly to achieve new heights and accomplish greater goals - I Salute You!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scene Around Town - Green Leaves Atop Snow


Here's a sight you don't see often anywhere.
Fresh green leaves laying atop a blanket of snow.
It's global warming, I tell you!!

"Dinner" Etiquette III

It's been a while since I've done an etiquette post, or linked what I think is a must read article for all guests, so for all those who've gently and not so gently prodded me to continue the series, here goes.

This post concerns guests with special diets.

I always make it a point to ask potential guests if they have any food allergies or strong food preferences at the time I extend the invitation. This affords me enough time to shop for and prepare a meal that the guest will enjoy. A guest that eats with gusto makes the hostess feel that her endeavors were not wasted. So a little advance knowledge is a win/win situation for everyone in my book. For instance, I don't have to serve a fish appetizer if my guest hates fish. There are other options.

There are some guests though (usually the ones with the most restrictive and complicated requests), who "don't want to inconvenience" the hostess and don't mention their food preferences until very late in the week. Now to my mind - this is rude. Don't come to me Thursday night with a laundry list of off-limits foods and tell me "not to bother".
Either:
a) tell me earlier in the week and I will bother or
b) don't tell me at all and I won't bother
But telling me Thursday night with the caveat not to do anything different is disingenuous.

I have mixed feelings about option "b" by the way. If your diet is highly unusual, you run the risk of having nothing at all that appeals to you, and then I feel like a failure, despite your gentle smiles and demure assurances. You are trying to save me the work, but you create a different problem in the process.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Belated (and Photoless) Food Friday - Sweet Potato Leek Soup

This weather BEGS for comfort food.
So I'm going to share with you a new favorite of mine.
SWEET POTATO LEEK SOUP.
This recipe was given to me by a friend of mine and I adapted it a bit.
It's been home and blog reader tested and you don't need to like sweet potatoes to love this soup! It's not sweet. It's savory with a little kick of cayenne (it had a bigger kick - that's one of my adjustments. Feel free to "up" it if you wish...).

2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Leeks, chopped
4 Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
32 ounces Broth (or water seasoned with a bullion cube)

Heat the oil. Add onions, garlic and leeks. Sautee five minutes. Add sweet potatoes, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix and cook five minutes more. Stir in broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Puree.

This is a very thick soup. If you'd like it less thick (though I can't imagine why...) either cut back to two sweet potatoes, or add more water.

Delicious on a cold and snowy October (?!?!?) night!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop - Succos In The City Part II




The Bryant Park succah has always been a favorite of mine. The park itself offers free ping pong (free ice skating each year in the winter, but not over Succos) a well stocked outdoor "reading room" for little ones (tiny tables and chairs provided), a sweet carousel for children and a lovely fountain - all in a few square blocks. (Special events take place throughout the year - definitely worth checking out)

The succah is beautiful, well appointed and spacious.
Not to mention the fact that the Bryant Park bathroom is without a doubt the nicest public bathroom around (full time attendant, piped in music, fresh flowers, automatic seat covers....).


Your Mother Doesn't Live Here......

... kindly "clean up"accordingly.

You might not guess from the title of this post, but it is NOT about our homes... it is about SHUL.

It is surprising how many people who need to revitalize their arba minim over Succos, think nothing of leaving the detritus of their lulav's previous life scattered about shul. Dead haddassim. Woefully overshaken arovos. Just left for garbage where ever they were removed. Is this kovod beis hakneses? Am I expecting too much? Does your wife follow you around with a garbage bag at home?

Don't get me started on residents and guests alike who borrow seforim, siddurim and machzorim from the back of shul and when davening is over, just leave them at the seats. You're passing the book shelves on your way out any way, IS IT SO MUCH TO ASK TO RETURN THINGS TO THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE??! Am I the only one, who when travelling out of town for Shabbos or Yom Tov still returns seforim to where I got them? Is this also becoming passe? "Go with the changes... Lighten up".
Must I?

Monday, October 17, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop Visits Moriah Senior Center

As a rule, I don't blog about work.
It's too personal.... it's too real. (Those of you who think you really know everything there is to know about us bloggers, THINK AGAIN!)

I'm making an exception this time because it fits so nicely with the theme of the Hop.

Moriah Senior Center hosted a Succos Lunch today and I just had to share a photo or two (OK... three) from the event. Though the main dining hall remained open, over 50 seniors chose to dine al fresco and enjoy a fun filled, music filled afternoon. (Our own Music Man dubbed it a "Senior Bais Hashoeva")



GWC2D Succah Hop - Succos In The City Part I



Chabad of Midtown, in partnership with Stonehenge NY, has erected this lovely succah located in the Ritz Plaza Firefighter's Memorial Park at 235 West 48th Street, between 8th Avenue and Broadway. {The peaceful fountain memorial commemorates firefighters from the station house across the street who were lost on 9-11} It is the first ever public succah in the Times Square area.

We found the schach to be a bit sparse, but the Chabad representative at the Succah Hop's next Succos in the City location (stay tuned for Part II... there's more ;) ), assured us that he will remedy the situation asap.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop - Staggered Succos in Betar Illit

Thanks to Etty Robinson over at the Quilting Corner, our Succah Hop gets a chance to stroll down the streets of Betar Illit, Israel.

I REALLY enjoyed these photos! Thanks for sharing Etty.





GWC2D Succah Hop - Scene Around Town Edition


Thanks to Yekke Wannabe for sending in this photo of our local Center for Rehabilitation's succah. Look what lovely environs the patients have to enjoy!

GWC2D Succah Hop Visits Chicago


Jron's family in Chicago just built their dream succah and I think it's lovely - made lovelier by the fact that they shared it with family and friends and filled it with guests!!
Enjoy the rest of Succos, guys.
Keep sending in those succah pix to guesswhoscoming2dinner@gmail.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

GWC2D Succah Hop Stops in at Chashmonaim

Thanks to Annette for sending in this lovely photo.
Keep them coming and enjoy your chag - wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Succah Hop Begins

Rafi over at Life in Israel has been kind enough to share his succah photos with us.
Since they are a few hours ahead of us, and it's obviously not raining there like it is here in New York, his table is already set!
Chag Sameach, Rafi!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Get Ready to HOP!!

Yes, that is correct.
We here at Guess Who's Coming To Dinner are gearing up for our Second Annual Succah Hop!
We are accepting your photo and/or video submissions at guesswhoscoming2dinner@gmail.com
Let me know if/how you would like to be credited.
Photos can be of either your completed succah, or the building process, or the decorating process.
It doesn't even have to be YOUR succah.
Send in photos of succahs you pass on your travels!
Share with the rest of us!!
Thanks for playing.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions....


Since all of you are the ones who visit this site, I feel as if I should include you in my next design opportunity.

Blogger is offering all bloggers the opportunity to try out new designs which may make it easier for readers to navigate the blogs. If you are interested in all the technicalities, you can read about it here.

If not, you can still help me make my choice, by clicking HERE and previewing what the new format might look like for my blog. There are several choices - Classic, Flipcard, Magazine, Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot and Timeslide. Click on each choice at the top of the page to see how they would look.

You can then feel free to leave me a comment stating which, if any, you'd prefer over my current format (am I ready to say good-bye to the pretty orange background?).

Thanks for your feedback!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

כתיבה וחתימה טובה


Wishing all of my readers a year of good health, happiness, success in your endeavors and nachas, along with all of Klal Yisroel.
May all our tefillos be answered for the good and may we see the Geulah Sheleimah speedily in our days.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ונתנה תוקף - Unesane Tokef


There are plenty of websites out there that will provide you with current and contemporary Rosh Hashana music.

This year, I decided to pull something out of the archives for you.
Chazzan Robert Frankel led the davening in K'hal Adath Jeshurun (Breuer's) for over fifty years and his soulful Yomim Noro'im davening moved many hearts.

So sit back with me for a moment, close your eyes, and be transported back in time listening to the voice of Chazzan Frankel singing ונתנה תוקף, one of the most stirring pieces in the Rosh Hashana liturgy.






This audio player below has some difficulties. The video above (click above) is more reliable.
(For those of you viewing this post in Google Reader - there is an audio player inserted here. If you do not see it (I do not) please click and listen on the blog itself)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ruby Tuesday - Mini Cooper

Where can you see a red mini Cooper hanging overhead upside down?
Only at New York's World Financial Center.
Why?
I have no idea.......



You too, can participate in Ruby Tuesdays! Just post a photo of something red, and link to her blog, Work of the Poet. Then go there, and sign up. Or if you don't have a blog of your own, you can send me your Ruby pics and I'll post them for you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Washington Heights - A Saner Succos

This post may seem a bit premature, but ProfK, over at Conversations in Klal has some very nice things to say about my little corner of the world and how Succos is approached here by the Kehilla.

I couldn't agree with her more.

Our Kehilla provides both catered meals for elderly residents who find preparing Yom Tov too difficult but who want to stay home and not leave their beloved community, as well as a public succah for use by families for whom catering costs become prohibitive and who enjoy the camaraderie and sharing with other families. This public succah is available for ALL meals, to men, women and children, throughout the entire week.

Our Kehilla provides this option at NO COST to the local residents. They provide refrigerators and indoor storage space. They provide a well stocked washing station outside the succahs. They provide security. They make it as easy and as pleasant as possible to keep the mitzvah of eating in the succah, and for this I am very grateful.

They serve as a model for other communities to aspire to.

Thanks, ProfK for noticing!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The 9-11 Memorial

Avram and I went today to the newly opened 9-11 memorial at the site of the World Trade Center. One of the names I wanted to find was Boris Khalif's. Boris was the son in law of a man that I worked with at the time of the attack and he left behind a 2 year old son.

I found Boris' name - and many others.
The site is a fitting tribute to the nearly 3,000 lost lives.
It is beautiful, peaceful and moving.




... and as you can see, the American Spirit continues to rebuild.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Always Time For One More Shabbos Table Photo

Wishing all my readers a beautiful Shabbos, full of peace, healing and love.
(You all know which ones apply.... and if you think I mean you, I probably do... and if more than one apply - feel free to grab the bunch)