New Walking Challenge

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After the 10K Challenge, Treppenwitz is challenging us with a new competition: Six days… and then you rest.

All you need is to get a pedometer, get a Walker Tracker account, sign up for the competition and then walk.

I found the previous challenge to be a great oportunity to walk more and raise my awareness about the exercise I was getting.

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Red Sign in French Village

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The red sign reads: Accés interdit aux véhicles pendant les heures de classe; which as everybody will have understood means that access is forbidden to vehicles during school hours.

On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to this blog.

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Mesorah Project II

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Thanks Rachel for contributing to the Mesorah Project in your unique way.

If I had read about this project this time last year, I would probably have thought that I had nothing to offer. There I was, at almost the very beginning of my conversion journey, knowing very little about what I was about to do, other than that I was totally driven towards the day when I would become a Jew and then be able to continue on my journey of constant learning and developing.

Indeed, I still describe myself as a sponge – constantly soaking up all things Jewish. But now, I can see that I am beginning to help others on their journey, whether they are Jewish from birth, or just embarking on their own conversion process. I have a historical knowledge that I have garnered from being a high school student. Studying as I did, modern world history, I have learned things that others have not had access to, for whatever reason. This knowledge, and the ability to absorb large amounts of detailed information (a skill I constantly hone through my work), has enabled me to put my theological learning into context and pass it on where I can.

To me, Judaism isn’t just about the rites and practices – what happens in the synagogue, the prayers we say, the blessings, the Torah, the Siddur – although of course they are absolutely fundamental. Judaism is also about the history of a people. How we have survived through the centuries, despite having to globetrot in order to save our lives. It is also about how we live on a day to day basis, in the world at large and outside our communities. People have noticed a change in me – how I treat others, my approach to charitable giving, the time I spend doing things not for me, but for others. I consider this ‘doing Judaism’ in a most positive way since if asked ‘why?’ it is the perfect opportunity to tell them what drives me to be different.

Perhaps this interpretation of mesorah isn’t the traditional approach – I must admit I am looking at it in a more secular way than some might. This is probably due to the fact that my Torah knowledge is relatively limited compared to many others and my skills at interpreting all the nuances therein are going to take a lot of brushing up, that’s for sure! But I am looking forward to a lifetime of learning, in that department.

So, I guess my viewpoint now is that most people have something to offer. You don’t need to be extremely learned, you don’t need to be born Jewish. You just need to embrace Judaism, enjoy its wonders and pass on your love for your faith and your tradition to the best of your ability. Even if what you know doesn’t fit with someone else’s understanding or theological viewpoint, you can at least enjoy the very Jewish discussions that will follow…

By Rachel of shavuatov.wordpress.com. Contributions are still welcome; just send them to me (ilanadavita@orange.fr).

A Week Here and There

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On My Blog

Photo memes:
Yellow Series for Today’s Flowers
Grimm Revisited for Ruby Tuesday
Hungarian Windows for Window Views

Mesora Project I; thanks again Raizy for this beautiful post.

Conversations: Jewish Education

Weekly Recipe: Peppers Stuffed with Cheese

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

My recipe for Tomato Pie has been translated into Finnish and can be found, complete with photo,s on Krisu’s blog.

Leora sugests an Alternative to Tomato Sauce. Don’t forget to read the comments.

Iran: Its about the Women by Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman. This article appeared both on Kolech and in the Jerusalem Post.

Mother in Israel and Baila remember Gilad Shalit.

Shimshonit discusses Bereshit.

Peppers Stuffed with Cheese

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In an effort to lose weight, I have gone back to a more low-carb diet and am currently trying out some new recipes. Here is a variation (or should I say simplification) of Claudia Rosen’s Pipiruchkas Reyenadas de Keso, Peppers Stuffed with Cheese, a dish from the Judeo-Spanish communities of the Balkans.

6 red peppers
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsps olive oil
1 can tomatoes
salt and pepper
1-2 tsps sugar
Kefta – Moroccan meatball spice
cilantro or parsley
mozzarella cheese

1. Roast the peppers, peel them, and remove the stems and seeds, trying not to tear them.
2. Make a tomato sauce: fry the garlic in the oil until it colors slightly. Add the canned tomatoes and juice, a little salt and pepper, the spice and the sugar. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Slip 1 large slice of chhese inside each pepper and place them in a baking dish. Pour the tomato sauce over them, sprinkle with ciantro or parsley and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is soft.

Conversations: Jewish Education

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Anyone interested in the future of Modern Orthodox education is likely to find the latest edition of Conversations stimulating. Whether you are a parent, a school leader or a Jewish educator you will find food for thought.

Here is the sort of the articles you can find:

– A symposium of four leading Jewish school leaders.

– Ideas for Jewish schools to save money at a time when Jewish tuition might have become too expensive for some parents. The idea is for Jewish schools to pool some of their ressources and purchases so as to shorten running costs. In the end, everybody benefits.

– An article about Samson Raphael Hirsch and secular education.

– One about Nechama Leibowitz‘s teaching technique. Apparently she was a skillful facilitator – someone who encourages students to learn and think by themselves – and a pedagogue – here the term is used to designate someone who controls what the students learn. As a teacher I found this particularly inspiring.

– An essay dealing with the challenges of fostering midot (virtues) and Derech Eretz in children.

– An article which addresses the issue of religious education for children with special needs.

– A mother’s perspective on homework for children.

The article on Jewish American literature to which I have already referred.