Tag Archives: jewish

Rosh Hashannah Apple Printable

Remember the days of pop up cards and vintage toys?  Yeah, neither do I.

Thankfully, a woman by the name of Marilyn Scott-Waters has released many of her designs of elegant vintage paper toys in PDF format.  And the best part is that you can download many of them for free!  There are toys for every major holiday, toys for kids, and an online book store where you can purchase many of Marilyn’s how-to books.  Here’s a little apple I made for Rosh Hashanah using one of her patterns.  You could easily convert this into a little gift box and fill it with candy or good wishes for the coming year.

The pattern…

and here’s mine!

You can find this and many other templates here.  Check out her Halloween and Christmas collections.  Beautiful!  And often all you need to create these beautiful decorations are scissors and tape.  The only downside is that many of her patterns don’t include instructions…so kids might have trouble knowing what to cut and what to fold.  However most adults who have had craft time in school should be able to figure any of the patterns out.

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Night Book Review

In my years in public and religious school, I have read my fair share of Holocaust literature…but nothing has ever hit me quite like Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night.

In this slim and terrifying book, Wiesel recounts the horrors he and his loved ones had to endure in the “genocidal campaign” that ultimately robbed him of his family.  On top of the physical torture, Wiesel—a religious boy from birth—finds himself questioning his own beliefs.  Why would G/d do this to us?  What is he trying to tell us?  What did we do to deserve this treatment?  All these thoughts and more continuously swim around the head of this young boy as he tries so hard to accept the Holocaust as a challenge, a test, if nothing more than to convince himself that G/d really does exist.

What Night lacks in girth it makes up for in raw power.  This book will stay with you for a long time.  The anger you’ll feel, the hurt, will resonate.  If I had my way, Night would replace The Diary of Anne Frank as the traditional Holocaust required reading of the public school system.  This is the truest most honest account I have ever read…and unfortunately is probably a common enough story where any survivor could insert their name and the outcome would be the same.

Perhaps the most challenging part of Wiesel’s journey, and the journey of all the survivors for that matter, is how to move on.  How to reconnect with G/d, how to learn to love and accept people, and perhaps most importantly, how to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

NEXT WEEK:  Okay, I admit it.  I HATED Moby Dick.  I don’t care that it’s on everyone’s top ten list of classic literature.  I hated it.  But the story that spawned the classic tale of the white whale…now, that’s a crazy read…

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Paperclips Movie Review

Carry one with you…to remember them all…

When I first saw Paperclips, I was blown away.  This touching and poignant documentary chronicles a small Tennessee school’s journey to collect 6 million paperclips, one for each person who perished in the Holocaust.  Children of a Whitwell middle school write to friends, family, celebrities, foundations, etc. explaining their project and asking them to send in a paperclip.  What happens as a result is something so moving, so miraculous, that I have chills just writing about it.

I encourage you with all my heart to add this movie to your Netflix queue…or search around and see if you can watch it online.  I am almost willing to guarantee that you will love it, or at least be inspired by it.

At a time when our world seems to be falling apart, Paperclips appears as a beacon of light, a hope and maybe an assurance that the world CAN change…one small step at a time.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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The Metamorphism of Freedom

As most of you know, I have a thing for butterflies.  They surround me constantly, decorating my walls both at home and at work.  I have jewelry, hair pieces, and clothing adorned with butterflies and will most likely have one tattooed on me at some point in my life.

Butterflies don’t live here…in the ghetto.

The reason behind this little insect obsession is two fold.  First of all, I love the creation of the butterfly…how it morphs from a tiny worm-like ground dweller into one of nature’s most beautiful wind sailors.  They endure struggle, embrace change, and emerge completely transformed.  I know many of us have made similar journeys in our lives, learning to accept change and discovering we are all the better for it.  There was a time in my life when I made a similar transformation.  I was about as low as I could go and literally “cocooned myself” for months…and when I finally broke free, I was someone completely different…and I’m all the better for it.

Secondly, the butterfly is free…free to do as it pleases and free to go where it wants to go.  It’s not bound by rules or restrictions and, in its freedom, helps spread joy and happiness to wherever it goes.  Since the end of World War II, may Jewish people have come to acknowledge the butterfly as a representation of hope and liberation…not only because it’s so obviously free, but because of a certain poem written by a young man named Pavel Freidmann…a simple, yet powerful poem that quickly became the mantra of many people who suffered from loss of life, family, friends, and freedom.

You can find this poem, plus many other drawings and stories, in the heart-wrenching book, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a beautiful anthology of children’s drawings and writings from the Terezin Concentration Camp.

“The Butterfly”

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.

Pavel Freidmann, January 7, 1921-September 29, 1944.  Killed in Aushchwitz.

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Figs with Cheese and Honey

Yesterday was Yom HaShoah, a day set aside in the Jewish calendar to remember those who perished in the Holocaust.  So here at the Hob-bee Hive, I’ve decided to set aside this week to honor those 6 million people who lost their lives not more than 60 years ago.  Today I have a recipe for you that completely encompasses the joy and sadness in life.  These fig treats can be eaten as an appetizer or a dessert.

Figs with Cheese and Honey

FIGS WITH CHEESE AND HONEY

1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
8 dried figs
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 Tbs. honey

Toast the pistachios in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool, then chop coarsely.

Cut each fig in half crosswise and place the fig pieces on a serving dish, cut side up.

Make a small indentation into the cut side of each fig half with a small spoon or your finger. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the ricotta on each piece of fig and sprinkle with pistachios.

Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with salt (if desired),  and serve.

PISTACHIOS for salt, to represent the tears we shed then and now

FIGS for life, to represent procreation

CHEESE for pleasure, to represent indulgence

HONEY for sweetness, to represent all that life has to offer

 

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips.

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The Five Books of Miriam Book Review

For thousands of years, the Torah—The Five Books of Moses—has been at the center of Jewish life.  It contains our history, our culture, and has been scrutinously studied by learned men since its creation.  Hard to believe, but it’s only recently that women have been involved in the study and discussion of Torah.  In her stunning book, The Five Books of Miriam, Ellen Frankel finally gives the women of the Torah their due…as they discuss the Five Books of Moses from the women’s perspective in a round-table setting.  Hear Miriam’s thoughts on Moses, slavery, death, sex and much more.  Rachel, Leah, Sarah, Esther, and Eve make appearances as well, as do many other nameless women who helped build Judaism into what it is today.

The Five Books of Miriam is broken down by book (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  In each section, the women of the Bible discuss lessons, quotes, meanings, men, and much more.  While this book can be read front to back, it would be much more beneficial to use as a guide while reading the Bible or to help stimulate conversation in a book club.

As Passover approaches, it’s so important to remember the sacrifices these women had to make…the lessons they helped teach and the stories they helped create.  Miriam herself may be the unsung “Passover Hero”, and what better way to honor her than to tell her story in her own words?

NEXT WEEK:  “Sisters…sisters…there were never such devoted sisters…”, that is until man-eating lobsters, sea monsters, and vicious flesh-craving sea life reek havoc on a quaint English island and utterly destroy all hope of happiness.  Oh, what is a girl to do?

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Because God Loves Stories Book Review

A Book for those who love stories

There are two things that Jewish people love above all else:  talking and eating.  My aunt, who lives in Israel, always says, “it wouldn’t be Jewish if we weren’t all around a table talking, laughing, and eating.”

Because God Loves Stories:  An Anthology of Jewish Storytelling is the result of 36 Jewish storytellers sitting around a table and telling stories, each of whom spin tales of old to express his or her own visions of Jewish culture.  Stories from the Bible are carefully woven through family accounts of Jewish summer camp, Holocaust stories, and stories about the core of the religion itself.

I often found myself talking back to these storytellers, saying out loud how I agree or disagree with their point of view…how their story reminded me of something my great-grandfather used to say…and how I can relate to the pain and confusion that goes along with not knowing where you belong.  This is a brilliant look into Judaism and the blood that keeps it thriving.  It’s also a great guide for those who are, for whatever reason, separated from their roots, lost in religion, or need some reminder of what anchors them to their ancestors.

For those who are not Jewish or are not familiar with the stories of the Jewish people, do not pass this book up.  Chances are there’s at least one story in this anthology that will touch you, inspire you, or motivate you.  They are each told with such love and care that it would be impossible not to be somewhat spiritually renewed and regenerated after reading them.

One of my favorite stories in Because God Loves Stories was brought up by storyteller Nina Jaffe.  “The Most Precious Thing” is a story with the backbone of a tale from the Talmud spun with themes almost all of us can relate to:  love, marriage, and divorce.

In this tale, a couple experiences great sadness after living many years without having children.  At that time, the law stated that the couple had grounds to divorce if the woman was unable to have a child…and this thought was brought up by the couple many times over the years.  When they finally agreed that a divorce would be the best thing, they sought the advice and help of one Rabbie Simeon Bar Yochai.  They told him about their inability to conceive and how they thought a divorce would be the best thing…that way at least the husband can find a woman with whom he could reproduce.  The rabbi, who was a very wise man, looked at the couple and could tell that a divorce was really not what they needed.  What they needed was each other.  He told them to go back home and cook a splendid Sabbath dinner and celebrate the many years they have shared.  They agreed and left for their home.

On the way home, the husband turned to the wife and told her how much he loved her and how he was so appreciative of her being faithful to him for so many years.  He told her that before she was to leave the following day, she could take the one thing in the house that was most precious to her.  She agreed.

That night the couple feasted to their hearts content.  The husband ate and drank and eventually fell asleep, exhausted and full.  When he awoke, he was in a place he did not recognize.  He saw his wife and asked her where he was.

“Don’t you remember your promise to me?” she replied.  “You told me before we parted that I could take with me the most precious thing I could find…I looked over all we owned, but I could find nothing as precious as you.”

When he heard those words, the husband smiled and took her in his arms.  He brought her back to their home where they continued to do as they have always done…living life happy and content with one another.

Like all Jewish stories, this one has many versions and endings.  In one ending, the couple return to their home and shortly after are blessed with a child.  In another version, the couple return and live the rest of their years together, always knowing that the only thing they need is each other.

“The Most Precious Thing”, like so many other stories in this collection, could reach anyone of any religion.  Because God Loves Stories is solely a collection of the stories we all know…with a few more “oye veh’s” and sprinkled with Yiddish wit.

NEXT WEEK: “IF YOU CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES, WE DISAPPEAR.  YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HER.  WE WILL BE WATCHING.  WE WANT TWO MILLION DOLLARS.  GET THE MONEY READY.  GO HOME AND WAIT.  THERE WILL BE NO SECOND CHANCE.” Eeep!

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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