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Sep 28 2012

Have a Great Sukkot–See You Wednesday

By at 4:25 pm
hello kitty sukkah

Hello Kitty inspired sukkah created by 5-year-old Ezra.

Get your sukkah shoes on–Sukkot starts this Sunday at sundown, and that means it’s time to hang in the sukkah, shake those lulavs and etrogs, and enjoy the outdoors for an entire week.

We’ll be off Monday and Tuesday, but if you’re looking for some last minute Sukkot ideas, be sure to check out how to build your own sukkah, what to decorate it with, and what to eat once you’re safely nestled inside. And what’s that? You want your kids to be entertained? Lucky you, we can help with that too.

We’ll be back on Wednesday, when the Sukkot festivities will still be going strong (it is a week-long festival, afterall). Chag sameach!

Free Stuff Alert: The At Home Gourmet Kosher Cookbook

By at 3:18 pm

the at home gourmet sarah lasry cookbookYom Kippur is said and done, so we won’t be fasting anytime soon. That means it’s time to talk about FOOD. The At Home Gourmet is a phenomenal kosher cookbook by Sarah M. Lasry and we’ve got a copy to giveaway to one lucky Kveller reader.

If you’d like a sneak preview of just what kind of recipe you can find in The At Home Gourmet, Sarah was kind enough to share one of her classic Sukkot recipes, which you can find below.

As for entering the contest…

Sign up for Kveller’s e-newsletter by clicking here, and then drop us a note in the comments below. If you’re already signed up, just skip ahead to the comment part. We’ll choose a winner next Friday, October 5th. Read the rest of this entry →

Sukkah Extravaganza

By at 12:18 pm

Sunday night marks the beginning of Sukkot! To get into the right mindset and find some inspiration for your own sukkah, here are some of our favorite designs.

Sukkah photo courtesy of Jeremy Price (flickrcc/forestfortrees)

Design options are endless. Whether you prefer a more natural or colorful theme, there are decorations available and creatable to suit your needs. Read the rest of this entry →

Why Sukkot is Awesome

By at 10:24 am
little girl playing in fall leaves

via Flickr/sugarfrizz

Sukkot, one of the three great pilgrimage festivals of the Jewish year, begins this Sunday evening. But poor Sukkot… she often gets lost in the great High Holiday shuffle.

For many of us, the whirlwind of Jewish holidays has wound down. We’ve stuffed ourselves silly with bagels and kugel at the break-fast. We’ve eaten our share of apples and honey, we’ve heeded the call of the shofar and tried to think about ways in which we’ll make 5773 better than 5772, and, if you’re anything like me, we’ve lost sleep shuffling our young children between grandparents’ homes, sleeping in different beds, coming back to our apartments in the city smelling like chicken, only to turn around and realize another holiday is upon us. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 27 2012

How to Build Your Own Sukkah

By at 8:03 pm

building a sukkahGot some free time this weekend? Hows about building your own sukkah? Sure, it’s a bit labor intensive, but you will definitely feel accomplished and then you get to enjoy your creation for all of Sukkot, which begins this Sunday at sundown and lasts for an entire week. Plus, once you’ve done all the hard work, your kids can help with the decorations.

To learn how to build your own sukkah, including all of the detailed requirements set forth to us by our handy ancestors, click here. And once you’re ready to decorate, try making these recycled paper chains or take the short cut and buy some of our favorite sukkah decorations from Modern Tribe.

Last Minute Goodies for Sukkot

By at 1:53 pm

So, the High Holidays happened and that kept us super busy here at Kveller. So busy that we kind of forgot that Sukkot was sneaking up just around the bend. We know this is last minute, since Sukkot starts this Sunday, September 30th at sundown, but if you need to stock up on some last minute Sukkot supplies, here are some of our favorite products. They’re all from our partner Modern Tribe, so remember, part of every purchase goes to support Kveller–you can think of it as a little Sukkot tzedakah.

These Star of David lanterns come in an array of colors and look pretty with or without an electric lamps inside. They’ll bring just enough light into your sukkah and can be used again and again!

This mobile allows you to mesh colorful autumn leaves with photographs of your family. It’s the perfect semi-homemade sukkah centerpiece. Read the rest of this entry →

Onto the Next Jewish Holiday–Sukkot!

By at 10:10 am

lulav and etrog for sukkotNow that the High Holidays are over, we can all relax and take a break from all that Jewish holiday excitement…er… NOT. Sukkot starts this Sunday at sundown and lasts for a whole week.

If you’re not familiar with Sukkot, it’s a festive holiday that features fun activities like hanging out in huts and shaking weird looking fruit. Want to know more? Read our rundown of the Sukkot basics here. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 19 2011

Sukkot Ain’t Over Yet

By at 11:44 am

This totally happened to the box of tissues in my house the other day.

Personally, I’m a fan of celebrating holidays as much as I can. Sukkot is usually one of them–though we have no outdoor space to build a sukkah, I try to find my way into someone else’s. Or do some fall baking, or something like that. But this year–well, all of the members of my household have colds. And Sukkot–a holiday where you celebrate by being outdoors in a hut–doesn’t go so well when you’re sneezing and coughing all over each other.

So we’re doing Sukkot a bit late–and in our own style. My daughter and I are going to celebrate the end of Sukkot with this delicious edible sukkah craft. All you need are crackers, cream cheese, carrot sticks, and some cherry tomatoes. Since my 2-year-old will only eat the crackers and cream cheese, I’ll be left to eat the vegetables on my own. But it’s cool–because we’ll be spending time together and learning something,  too.

(If you’re not feeling like doing Sukkot–try this edible turkey Torah craft for Simchat Torah! We’re big on eating our crafts these days.)

Chag sameach–a happy holiday!

Oct 17 2011

I Went to Work on Sukkot

By at 3:31 pm

Mayim Bialik on the set of Big Bang Theory. Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

I work on “The Big Bang Theory” and I was required to work on the first two days of Sukkot. We had rehearsal and run-throughs of the script for producers, writers, and CBS; there was no filming involved. Normally, I would have been in synagogue, but this year, I wasn’t and it’s okay. This is my life right now, and here are 3 ways I made it work for me (in addition to making festive meals, drinking kiddush and lighting candles at home.)

1) I hired a car service to drive me to work. Sure, being in a car is halachically different than driving a car myself, but it’s not how i would choose to observe the holiday. That being said, it was relaxing and a nice change of pace to commemorate the holiday this way. And, no, my driver wasn’t Jewish, so I didn’t cause any Jew to break the holiday on my behalf. That would’ve been a bummer so close to Yom Kippur, because I totally just atoned for everything I have pretty much ever done, thought, or fantasized about. Gotta keep the slate clean.

2) I didn’t use my laptop or my phone from work. What a lovely break this was, and it made it really feel like a yontif (holiday)! I normally keep my laptop constantly running at work, and I respond to dozens of emails a day about meetings, publicity, my book being edited, etc., right when they come in. I am a real slave to technology, and for those 2 days, I really embraced the aspects of observance that force us to focus on ourselves, and not on the things we distract ourselves with.

3) I dressed fancy. I grew up with parents who were snazzy dressers, and who encouraged me to have special “shul” clothes. It always made holidays and Shabbat special, and I have carried this pattern into my own adult life, and have passed it on to my sons, who also love dressing fancy for shul, even though they call it dressing like “Maccabeats” (of Yeshiva University fame). Anyway, I dressed in shul clothes for work this year, and it felt really special. I don’t tend to wear sparkly dresses to work in general, or my hair in a French twist with pearl studs. I didn’t wear heels, since we work long days, but I put on proper make-up before the holiday started (it’s customary not to put it on during the holiday) and really felt like I had brought the holiday with me to work by dressing fancy.

One day, I hope to be in a position to set my taping schedule around the 8,000 Jewish holidays that I want to observe according to halacha, but for now, I remain a Jew in exile, a soul yearning for its way home, and a happily employed actress on “The Big Bang Theory.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be so public about me working on the holiday, but I have never claimed to be perfect in observance, and I hope that by sharing ways I make observance fit my life, I can give someone else the support to know that it’s it’s not all or nothing as we learn and grow, that while we are on any particular path, we can still enjoy it even if it’s not moving exactly where – or as fast as – we want it to.

Oct 12 2011

Sukkah Lessons From a “Hard-Core” Jew

By at 10:42 am

“What is THAT?”

When I hear someone say this sentence in a certain tone as they peek into our backyard, it’s a good indication that it’s sometime just after Yom Kippur and they’re looking at our sukkah.

I grew up in a neighborhood full of Jews, but most of them were more on the “Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur-Hanukkah-bar mitzvah” side of the observance spectrum.  In contrast, we were deemed “hard-core” for observing other holidays generally. The fact that we went to synagogue instead of school on holidays such as Simchat Torah and Shavuot made my siblings and I curiosities. “Now you’re just making these holidays up,” one of my high school friends said when I returned to school after Shavuot.

Curiosities, though, were one thing. My dad getting out the tool kit, canvas, scaffolding and skhakh (the covering) for our reusable sukkah, though – that was closer to “weird.” And, as an ever-self-conscious adolescent, I was pretty sure that no one except us was eating breakfast, weekend lunches, and dinners in the backyard. I was sure no one had to make sure they didn’t trip over makeshift electrical lighting while they cleared the table. None of the other kids at school were trying to get warm in a down vest as they ate butternut squash soup, relishing the feel of steam on their faces. I even wanted my family to keep their voices down as we made the blessings, worried that our (Jewish) next-door neighbors would hear us and be freaked out. Read the rest of this entry →

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