Rethinking Hanukkah traditions, or why I’m not buying Mensch on a Bench’

Every year at this season, the Jewish community reignites the debate about the extent to which Jews can authentically participate in the holiday season without compromising the true meaning of Chanukah. We look at new traditions and products and ask ourselves: when is it okay to borrow and adapt, and when does a practice cross that highly subjective line of just feeling too much like Christmas? Continue Reading

My DIY sufganiyot crawl

Running a Jewish preschool is fun. It often inspires me to take on fun projects. For example, one of my staff was looking at resources for Hanukkah and said “Wait, what do donuts have to do with Hanukkah?” Continue Reading

A tale of three Reubens

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The Reuben. By nearly all accounts, the crown jewel of the sandwich universe. Legend has it that Archimedes, having slipped into that fateful bathtub, took the first bite of a corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on Marble Rye1 and proclaimed, “Eureka!” which roughly translates to, “What a sandwich!” Later that evening, he dipped the second half of his invention into a bowl of Thousand Island dressing, which spilled over the edge, thus discovering the displacement of volume. History has muddled the details, but the Reuben has been central to our culinary consciousness ever since. Continue Reading

#BlackLivesMatter is a Jewish issue

On November 24th, a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri announced that they would not indict the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Less than a week later, a grand jury in New York decided not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man named Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, in front of witnesses and video cameras. Protests and actions have ensued.TC Jewfolk asked me if I’d like to write something about how we should feel and react as Jews. Continue Reading

Burch Steak and Pizza Bar: “The Usual” for the first time

When I took this job as Arts and Culture Columnist, I was excited about all the new places, events, and restaurants I’d be exploring for the first time. An up and coming band playing at 7th Street Entry. A dingy but surprisingly tasty Cuban restaurant in Seward. A world-premiere play at the Guthrie. Blaine, Minnesota. Continue Reading

Confessions of an unaffiliated Jew

In the 14 years that I’ve lived in Minnesota, our family has been invited to exactly five Jewish holiday celebrations, and three of them were within the last month.

I think this “statistic” speaks to one big reason why our family is still unaffiliated. Continue Reading

Making fitness a priority

I can recall the feelings I used to have from being overweight: Discomfort about going to the doctor and having another person see my weight. Aversion to going swimming because of being barely dressed in front of many people. The pit in my stomach going over the Wall at Herzl and thinking “What if I don’t make it over?” or “What if I take forever?” In high school, I’d wear my stepfather’s jeans because they hid my body. Continue Reading