Pesach Post 1 – Pesach Lists


This year, I want to try and post about Pesach once or twice a week with ideas, suggestions and guidelines for those of us who do not live in places with lots of kosher products and are busy with work – in other words people for whom Pesach looks like a nightmare and who wish they could disappear from the surface of the earth for the full eight days of the chagim. I’ll also post a few simple and quick recipes.

My first suggestion is to plan in advance. I know what you are already saying ‘I’ll be lucky if I can think about it a week in advance so a month….’ By planning I mean: purchase food that is kosher for Pesach little by little, stock it in your pantry so you’ll be happy and proud to find it when the times come!

Products that keep and will prove to be useful:
– Frozen vegetables
– Frozen fish
– Canned fruit
– Tuna
– (Real) coffee
– Tea, but not herbal tea

If you eat kitniyot, add:
– Rice
– Lentils
– Beans

Feel free to make suggestions; I am a fledgeling at this.

Look at one of the lists below and keep an eye for the products you like when shopping.

Here are some links to Pesach lists, articles and guidelines:

Orthodox Union Pesach Page. They also have iPhone and Android apps

London Beth Din Kashrut Division (not updated yet)

Consistoire de Paris

Remember that the Masorti movement allows eating kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach. Here is an English summary of the Hebrew responsum.

May your Pesach preparations feel more like a walk than a run!

The Jewish Museum – London


The Jewish Museum in London is the combination of two Jewish museums. One is the Jewish Museum which was founded in 1932 by Professor Cecil Roth, Alfred Rubens and Wilfred Samuel. Originally located in Woburn House in Bloomsbury, it moved to a building in Camden Town in 1994.

The other is the London Museum of Jewish Life which was founded in 1983 as the Museum of the Jewish East End with the aim of rescuing and preserving the disappearing heritage of London’s East End – the heartland of Jewish settlement in Britain. .

In 1995 the two Museums merged but between 1995 and 2007 the combined Jewish Museum still ran on two sites. Finally the museum bought a former piano factory behind the Camden Town site and raised the required funds to combine and remodel the buildings. The new Museum opened to the public on 17 March 2010.

The fist floor of the museum features a gallery entitled ‘Judaism: A Living Faith’, which is devoted to Jewish life through one of the world’s finest collections of Judaica, featuring objects used in all areas of Jewish religious life, in both the public and private spheres.

The second floor gives an insight into British Jewish history from 1066 to the present day. Jews first settled in England in 1066 after the Norman conquest and there were Jewish communities in many towns in the medieval period. However, in 1290 the Jews were expelled from Britain by Edward 1. They were only readmitted to Britain by Oliver Cromwell in 1656. This new community steadily developed until the late 19th century when it increased rapidly with the arrival of some 150,000 Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Many of the newcomers settled in London’s East End, which became home to a vibrant cultural and religious life. Numerous objects in the museum reflect this period.

The Museum’s Holocaust Gallery is made up of items and filmed survivor testimony from Leon Greenman, OBE, an English-born Auschwitz survivor who devoted his life to speaking about his experiences and campaigning against racism until his death in 2008.

The third floor of the building is for temporary exhibitions.

The Jewish Museum in London is a pleasant small-sized museum where you can spend between one and two hours, depending on whether you choose to visit the whole museum or focus on only one floor. It has a kosher café and a shop.

Minimalist Weekly Review with Statue


As some of you know, I am away on holiday with little time for blogging and online reading. Thus I only have a few links to offer this week.

On my blog

Carrot and Banana Cake

Jewish Sculptor in Anglican Church

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Hamentaschen Roundup by Mimi

Here in HP becomes Sketching Out

Lorri reviews Bread Givers

Tetzaveh – the cut of your cloth, Ziva writes about this week’s parashah

Shabbat Shalom!

Jewish Sculptor in Anglican Church


‘Victims of Injustice and violence’

Sculpture by Chaim Stephenson to remember all victims of injustice and violence in South Africa during the years of apartheid.

Chaim Stephenson was born in Liverpool to Russian immigrant parents. Profoundly affected by the Holocaust, he moved to Israel and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Yas’ur in Northern Israel where he met British author Lynn Reid Banks. The family returned to England in 1971.

In 1991 he was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture to commemorate the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. It can be seen inside Saint Martin in-the-Fields in London.

Chaim Stephenson’s website

Carrot and Banana Cake


A simplified version of Green Kitchen Stories’ Healthier Carrot Cake, perfect in the morning or with a cup of coffee or tea.

3 eggs
2 bananas
5 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom
3-4 carrots (medium size, grated)
½ cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Use a hand blender or a blender to mix bananas and oil into a thick cream in another bowl.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, add sugar and stir it together with the eggs and the banana-cream. Add grated carrots, walnuts and raisins and stir it until it all comes together. Pour it into a cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

Weekly Review with Rainbow Bike


On My Blog

Quick and Useful Pickled Celery

Three Months Later

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Leora interviews Adam Gustavson, Illustrator of Hannah’s Way and Rebecca Linda Glaser – the author of Hannah’s Way

Lorri reviews Journey to Heaven

Amichai Lau-Lavie writes about Smuggling Prayer Shawls Into the Western Wall

Terumah – what lies beneath – Ziva writes about this week’s parashah

Web articles

On The Times of Israel, Hadassah Levy writes about Women at the Wall

and Rabbi Tzvi Graetz reflects on Insults and injury at Western Wall

Why I Now Support Women of the Wall and Religious Freedom In Israel
, a Huffington Post article by Rabbi Jason Miller

A Jerusalem Love Story – What happens when an Israeli and a Palestinian, separated by checkpoints, meet and fall for each other, a podcast on Tablet

Shabbat Shalom!

Three Months Later

Wordle: ilana-davita

It’s already been three months since I resumed blogging after a four-month hiatus. In fact, in hindsight, the pause was a good idea which helped me focus on what I enjoy about writing this blog.

It is also five years since I started blogging altogether – in January 2007. I had of course no idea then that I’d still be writing and loving it five years down the road.

I now seem to have found a rhythm: two posts a week and an extra if I feel inspired. How do you organise your blogging time? Has it evolved since you started?

Just for fun, I have created a Wordle of the most read posts in the past 90 days. Click and enjoy!

Quick and Useful Pickled Celery


I found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen and made it on Friday. Some of it was used in an egg salad. A quick recipe for left over celery stalks and handy to have in the fridge to turn an egg, potato or tuna salad into a tastier dish.

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 stalks celery, trimmed and tinily diced

Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a jar and shake it until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add diced celery to jar, cover it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour and up to one week.

Weekly Review with Hammershøi Painting


On My Blog

Oven-Baked Salmon Pancakes

Reading, Writing but no Arithmetic

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Phyllis relates her latest trip: My Journey to Cuba

Lorri reviews Torah Conversations with Nechama Leibowitz

Leora shares a recipe: Zucchini Dill Soup

Mishpatim – in the name of The Law… – Ziva writes about this week’s parashah

Web articles

The Tablet reviews: Surrender or Die – A gripping new history of Flavius Josephus

Haaretz wonders: Why hasn’t the Orthodox egalitarian ‘synagogue revolution’ taken hold in America?

Girls and science: why the gender gap exists and what to do about it – a Guardian article

Jamaica Kincaid Is Still Jewish– another Tablet article

The Pleasure Principle on Tikkun Daily

Shabbat Shalom!

Reading, Writing but no Arithmetic


I wrote a couple of weeks ago about studying (excerpts of) The Hobbit, and writing about Bilbo Baggins in my literature class. Since then we have examined some love sonnets. But as the main objective of this course is to instill the love of literature in English, I thought it would be nice if my pupils could read large chunks of writing without having assessment in mind – at least for a while.

So when I saw a message on a forum for English teachers from a colleague in Morocco who was looking for people to read and appraise her pupils’ short stories, I jumped on the occasion and suggested my own students could be part of the jury – her original idea was for teachers to rate the stories.

My colleague was quite enthusiastic about it and sent her pupils’ works via email. I printed the short stories and gave them to my pupils to read. Their task was to read them and pick out their favourite piece. It was a pleasure to see them read and discuss their choices for two hours.

My colleague’s students had been set a common topic through a question ‘What does a Moroccan think when he drinks mint tea?’ They were to write a maximum of three pages. Twelve students volunteered and submitted their works; their stories include a variety of themes such as child sexual abuse, drugs, sexual identity, childhood, memories, culture clash…

When my own pupils marvelled at the other students’ abilities to write in English, I thought that maybe I could challenge them and suggest they write their own short stories. My school has writing competitions in French but not in English. Next year, with my colleague, we have plans for a contest that will include several schools but I’d like my pupils to have confidence in their writing abilities first.

Have you ever taken part in a writing competition? Do you think that a set topic reins in writing creativity?