A Purim Experiment

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Today I’m happy to introduce you to Revital, a mother of five boys who lives in Israel and blogs for Jewish Journal, as well as doing writing and creative work at aJudaica.com. She sent me an email back in January, and we’ve been in touch many times since then. Meeting people is one of my favorite parts of blogging, hands down. Blogging just makes the world so much smaller, in a good way.

Revital is sharing a little Purim experiment she and a friend did with their kids, and what she learned from it. Speaking of Purim, I also have a post up on Kveller about how my habit of calling Purim the “Jewish Halloween” does a disservice to Purim, and why Purim is so much better. Head over to read that when you’re done here.

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Selling a Home, Keeping my Sanity

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Well, I didn’t post at all last week, for the first time in a while. And why is this? Oh, nothing big except we’re moving in less than two months and just put our house on the market.

Yep. We are moving back to Cleveland, city of warm Jewish community and cold, snowy winter. My husband found a job there and gave his notice to his job here and off we go! Our move date is late March, and so, despite the winter not being an auspicious time to sell our house, that’s what we’re doing. Continue reading

Of Interest

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Sometimes it feels like everything on the internet flies by so quickly that even really interesting things get buried in the rush to post post post. In the hopes of at least remembering some of the interesting things that are going on around the web, here’s a post with some notable links, things that you may or may not be interested in. And some shameless self-promotion (hey, it is my blog, after all). Continue reading

My Daughter, Jewish Aggressor

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One thing I’ve enjoyed about living on the east coast is proximity to so many interesting places. Growing up in the midwest meant a drive of at least three hours to get to another metropolitan area, and sometimes that metropolitan area was still on the small side (I’m thinking of you, Des Moines).

We’re in the thick of midwinter vacation, and my husband didn’t work on Sunday for a change, so we took a trip to Philadelphia. Our destination was the Please Touch Museum, a enchanting building full of delights for the eyes and the imagination. Continue reading

State of the Blog

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The last few posts I’ve written here have been kind of intense, and then last week this post went up on Kveller, so I’m taking a breather this week from all things personal! I thought I’d do some state of the blog announcements instead.

What’s the plan for the blog?

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Beyond Europe – A Review of Pepper, Silk & Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East

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This book is clearly a labor of love.  For over forty years, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer has been collecting anecdotes and histories of Jews in the Far East.  With the help of Dr. Ellen Rodman, the rich information he has gathered is presented in the 23 chapters of Pepper, Silk & Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East.

Rabbi Tokayer is uniquely suited to author a book like this.  He served as a chaplain in the US Air Force, and was stationed in Japan in 1962.  He returned to Japan in 1968 and served until 1976 as the only English-speaking university educated rabbi for the Jewish communities in the Far East.  He has written twenty books in Japanese (!!) on Judaism and Jewish life, as well as The Fugu Plan:  The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews during World War II.

Before receiving the book, I assumed that most of the content would focus on Jews of Asian descent. While there are some chapters dedicated to communities like the Bene Israel in India, and the Jews of Kaifeng, China, the vast majority of the book consists of tales of Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews who found themselves living in Asia.

I read about a baseball player turned spy, a case of mistaken identity leading to the discovery of an ancient Chinese Jewish community, the story behind the logo of a major corporation, a Jewish general in the Chinese Army, a banker who saved Japan, and a place where no one can really say when Shabbos starts.  And that’s not even half of what Rabbi Tokayer shares with us. Continue reading