Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hang in There - Yom Tov is Coming

We are encouraged this Yom Tov to actively feel as if we accepted the Torah ourselves at Har Sinai and with decorations such as the ones we have in our shul, it is quite easy to close one's eyes, smell the scent of cedar in the air, listen to the melodious tunes, and imagine that we are in Hashem's presence at Matan Torah.

The video that follows depicts a time lapse chronicle of the 48 hours leading up to Shavuos in our shul.  That is how long it takes to make the sanctuary look as amazing as it does. (of course the whole thing comes down motzoei yom tov in record time.....)

Many thanks to all those who helped with the project, specifically Victor and the three G6 men depicted in the video.

Chag Sameach to All.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Man With The Keys

Every neighborhood/shul/school has one.
Now, he's not to be confused with the man with the blackberry/pager/hatzoloh radio.
This guy is different.  He's much more unobtrusive, despite the fact that swinging pendulously from his belt loop is an astonishing array of keys in all shapes, sizes and colors.
This fellow has the key to EVERYTHING (even the key to bathroom door in your apartment when your two year old accidentally locks himself inside and can't figure out how to get himself out)!
He never takes them off.
He wears them to your children's wedding (even though every door in the wedding hall has a "shabbos combination lock" on the door).
He wears them to HIS childrens' weddings.
Does he really know what every single key in that conglomeration opens?
Do you think he has special belt loops affixed to his pajamas? (I sure hope he doesn't roll over in his sleep.....)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where I Come From, OMER is a Verb.....

I grew up in the same German-Jewish community in which I now reside.
Every cultural subgroup has it's own "dictionary" of words, idioms and usage.
Sure, we have "aufshnit" (cold cuts) and I didn't even realize that "besteck" (cutlery) wasn't an English word until my teens, but did you know that where I come from Omer is a verb? Proper usage would be something like, "Did you Omer today?" or "Don't forget to Omer".

Somwhat akin to the British, who have been known to say that someone is "in hospital", in my neck of the woods, people "have birthday" - as in, "Opa (note: not zaidy) has birthday today... go give him a hug".

It's a good thing that I've always had friends to pull me aside and tell me, "you know this is another one of those things that only you say...".

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quiche? Check! Cheesecake? Check! Flowers....?

I just love Shavuos. (I think it may be obvious by now that I just love ALL yomim tovim!)

And doesn't every family have traditional foods and customs that make each Yom Tov their own?
In our house, it's Oma G.'s green and white handpainted milchig dishes. No plate is exactly like any other.
It's also the flower napkin rings. They only come out once a year and we have the florist create a centerpiece to match them each year.

For the meals it's the asparagus soup, the mushroom onion cheese quiche and the choice of TWO cheesecakes (smooth 'n creamy classic or cranberry).

But let's not forget the FLOWERS!
Flowers in shul - flowers at home.  I have the great fortune of having my husband dedicate himself to decorating our shul for Shavuos and then come home and do the same in our apartment.  For those who have never seen Breuer's on Shavuos (and for some of you who have, but just want to feel a bit of nostalgia) I'm posting a few pictures.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Joey's Millionaire Show Airs

I was up until 2:30  this morning working on these videos so that my mother in Israel could have them and "shep nachas" as soon as she woke up and before anybody could spill the beans.
You all are merely a beneficiary of my kibbud aim ;)

I'm not going to bore you with all the glitches and problems we had producing these, but suffice it to say that at 2am, we had to download a free converter that we needed (because the experts were already sleeping) that put a small watermark on the first minute of the first video.  It shows up again for a short time at 4 minutes and then disappears.  I will try to upload a better version as soon as one is available.  The other two clips are pristine.

Enjoy the show.......

I also must tell you that I could NEVER have done this without the help of CGMW and Eric.  Their dedication to this project goes beyond words.

For those of you who want to share the show but not the blog (you know who you are ;) ), feel free to use this link to the playlist.

Good Shabbos to all.
I hope I don't fall asleep at the table.......

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blood Drive Tonight

There is a blood drive at Mt. Sinai Jewish Center tonight until midnight.
You know my feelings on the subject already.
Be part of something important.
You'll be glad you did!
Leave me a comment telling me you did so I can be proud :D

"Dinner" Etiquette

While I do love having guests of all stripes at our dinner table, I have one (minor) pet peeve - - - guests who cancel on short notice. (That, and guests who "stack"- but that's a whole other post... our regulars just love to catch our newbies doing it and read them the riot act....)

I recently saw a quote attributed to Ward McAllister, the self-appointed arbiter of New York society from the 1860's to the early 1890's.

"A dinner invitation, once accepted, is a sacred obligation. If you die before the dinner takes place, your executor must attend. "

I couldn't agree more. Did I ever tell you about Lester and how Erica & Moshe's shidduch almost never came to pass? Lester is the one who first brought Moshe to our table, who then met Erica (and the rest is history). Lester almost never got the opportunity to do that because after accepting his very first invitation to casa G6, he chose to cancel less than 24 hours before. Suffice it to say, it took 8 months and some not so subtle prodding by Avram, to garner him a second offer... (which subsequently led to a very special friendship). I shudder to think what would have happened if I had not succumbed.... yet I still stand stubbornly by the quote.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Joey in This Week's Millionaire Promo

Click this link for a sneak peek of Joey's performance on the show this week.
The video plays on the right hand side of the page.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Joey Featured on the Queens College Homepage...

I thought you'd all enjoy this link to a press release about Joey's upcoming Millionaire appearance featured on the Queens College homepage...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dinner Entendre

I have been struck recently by how frequently of late my blog's name is being contorted into double entendres by people during the course of our regular conversations.
  • "I will look for updates at Dinner."
  • "I'm not so sure I'm comfortable being a topic of conversation at Dinner." 
  • "When are you going to have me to Dinner?"
  • "Any plans for Dinner?"
  • "I'll see if I can make Dinner tonight...."
You know.... I think I like it! :)
Keep them coming.

{In a similar vein, due to the incessant ringing of the *can I come for dinner* phone, I'm considering changing the name of the blog for this weekend to Guess Who ISN'T Coming to Dinner... it's good thing I made all that stuffed cabbage!!!}

The Smell Won't Kill You; You'll Only Wish it Had...

I like to think that when guests arrive in my home, the wonderful aromas of home cooking release all sorts of pleasant "feel good" chemicals in their brains.

An older gentleman down the hall from me has even commented to me on more than one occasion that he loves to stand just outside my door because the smells emanating from within remind him of his mother and her cooking :)

It is for this reason that I dread making a delicacy that my family enjoys so much.  No matter what you do and no matter HOW GOOD the finished product tastes, there is no way to mask the offensive odors produced by cooking stuffed cabbage.  Which is in part why when I do undertake the task, I make enough for a small army to last for several months.  Yesterday was "the day".....  I'm attaching the recipe for all you gluttons for punishment brave souls.  The end result is DELICIOUS.  Make sure you do it on a day when the weather is nice enough to open all the windows and you have plenty of scented candles on hand.


                             Stuffed Cabbage (I double this recipe - it freezes very well)

  1               head  cabbage


  1 1/2           lbs.  ground beef -- seasoned to taste
     3/4           cup  raw rice
  1                     egg


  1 1/2           cups  ketchup
  2               cups  ginger ale

Freeze cabbage head in plastic bag for 2-3 days.  Defrost 24 hours. Core and pour boiling water over the inside.  The leaves will fall off.  Check leaves.

Fill cabbage leaves.

Stack in pot with boiling sauce.

Cover pot and cook for 2 hours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Single Digits!

I know many of my followers use Google Reader to keep up with my posts and therefore don't visit my actual blog as often as I'd like.  
Those of you who do stop in might have noticed that the countdown timer in the upper right hand corner of every page is now well into the SINGLE DIGITS.  For those who remember when the count read 200+, it has been quite a wait. At long last we will see how Joey's Millionaire Story ends.
I once again invite anyone who lives locally to swing by my office next Wednesday and Thursday at 12:30 pm and join in the group of people who will be sharing the excitement.  Joey will certainly be around on Thursday. And yes, he WILL be wearing his (in)famous blue and orange shoes - THE VERY SAME SHOES FEATURED ON "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE" (Whether or not he won enough money to replace the worn, hole-riddled, monstrosities remains to be seen.....)
Another item of interest:  The contestant who preceded Joey in the hot seat on Tuesday and Wednesday's shows, Kara Olsen, is also frum. I hear the kosher food in the green room was pretty good that day :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lag B'Omer Links...

I'm sure many of my readers can relate to the fact that refraining from listening to music during sefirah can be quite difficult (a friend of mine postulated today that this restriction is more difficult for women than for men... I wonder....).  I am going to turn down my music for just a moment though, to share with you a very cute link I found on another blog.

Adventures in Chinuch has an amusing post about the various cast of characters present at school Lag B'Omer outings that any parent, child, educator or child at heart will enjoy.

We now return you to your long awaited music fix....... here's one I enjoy very much.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Little Things Make Me Happy (Shabbos Wrapup) ...

... like when my guests who've never met before all arrive in coordinating pink ties. :)
Among others, we were pleased to meet and host fellow blogger Harry-er than them all at our Shabbos table this week.  I have a not-so-secret goal of "having to dinner" (not to be confused with having for dinner) as many bloggers whose work I enjoy as possible.  (I should also note that Harry-er is not only a great guest, but he has the world's best recipe for peanut butter pasta!)
A few of my commenters have inspired me to want to invite them as well, but sadly those that continue to call themselves anonymous don't have a chance.  I hope you all realize that you can select the "name" button on the comments form, and give yourself any name of your choosing and still remain anonymous while no longer blending in with every other anonymous, perhaps one less clever than yourself.
Along that vein, anonymous from last night.... thanks for the chuckle.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt - Man In the Arena Speech

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hang in There - Shabbos Is Coming

I'm very excited.
After Eliezer's birth/sholom zochor/bris/pidyon, after Pesach, after London, (after jet lag), we are hoping for our first "normal" Shabbos in quite a while.
On top of that, once again I have the opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of a fellow blogger at our Shabbos table. I am not at liberty to say whom until I get permission ;)
This will actually be the second time this week, as I attended Ezzie's presentation on the initial results of the Jewish Economics Survey this past Wednesday night.  Well done, Ezzie!
Now all I'd like is for the sun to come out a bit :)
Good Shabbos to all!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A "Behind The Scenes" Peek at the Famous Choir of KAJ

The KAJ choir was introduced in Germany by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. The choir was reintroduced in the United States by Rav Breuer over seventy years ago and has sung on a regular basis since then with the exception of a few weeks off during the summer months owing to the absence of some of the choir members who are away on vacation. Rather than consisting of paid professionals, the choir is comprised of volunteer amateur men and boys who are members or children of members of the kehilla. The choir’s conductors have also always been volunteer members of the kehilla. The choir has always had professional musical directors who have taught and trained the members at their weekly rehearsals. The purpose of the choir is to lead the kehilla in the singing adding a sense of dignity and majesty to the avodah in the bais haknesses.  

KAJ's choir is often asked to sing at weddings and has also periodically presented their Shiro V’Zimroh concerts when they have been joined by such greats as Chazzan Joseph Malovany along with other guest chazzonim. The choir’s reputation for their beautiful renditions and perpetuation of the kehilla’s traditional melodies as well as the occasional introduction of new and fitting melodies has gained them worldwide renown especially as it is one of if not the last shul choir of it’s type.

Many people may not realize all the hard work and dedication that goes into the choir's seemingly effortless performances.  Their extensive repertoire necessitates weekly rehearsals, where they not only review the music and the nuances, but they are given voice training as well.

You, my readers are being given a rare treat.  I am going to share with you a look at KAJ's Choir rehearsing.

(If you made it all this way and still want more, there are some warm up exercises on my YouTube playlist)

Please also be aware that this is raw rehearsal footage. Any constructive criticisms contained therein should be viewed as just that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Alec Garrard's Amazing Project

Alec Gerrard, a 78 year old from the United Kingdom, spent 3 years researching his 1:100 scale model of the Bais Hamikdash, that took him 33,000 hours to date and measures 20' x 12'.
He hand painted every clay brick and tile and sculpted all of the 4,000 half inch, correctly dressed figures to populate his creation.
Mr. Garrard began this project in his 40's and does not expect it to be fully completed in his lifetime. All I can say is WOW!!