Ronit Treatman was born in Israel. She grew up in Israel, Ethiopia and Venezuela. Ronit graduated from the International School of Caracas, fluent in five languages. She served in the Israel Defense forces, where she worked in the Liaison Unit to Foreign Forces. She studied at Hebrew University and Temple University, earning a degree in International Business. She currently lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
Ronit is the editor of the Kosher Table section of the Philadelphia Jewish Voice. The Kosher Table invites you to explore culinary trends and ingredients, and the way they are intertwined with Jewish history, geography, and traditions. We can meet innovative people who are influencing what we eat and how we consume it. Together, we can travel around the world and experience its diverse Jewish communities, and the native flavors found in their regional culinary specialties. We can discover our local farms, artisanal purveyors, and restaurants. We can investigate cookbooks, and Internet resources by and for people who are passionate about food.
Community members who are fervent about food and love to write are invited to submit articles, comments, questions, and feedback to food @ pjvoice.com
Urban gardening is one of the hottest trends in Philadelphia. Even brown fields are being reclaimed with the use of elevated hydroponic planters. In addition to growing their own fruits and vegetables, many people are savoring the unique flavors that it is only possible to get from heirloom seeds. In his book, Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste: Heirloom Seed Savers in Appalachia, Bill Best, who was a professor at Berea College, provides a guide for obtaining, preserving, and sharing heritage and heirloom seeds. He introduces us to the people who have dedicated a lifetime to safeguarding our historic seeds.
As I was driving along Montgomery Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, a new establishment caught my eye. It is a fun, brightly colored frozen yogurt shop. The name is a little unusual: Yosl's. Who gives a name like that?
Yosl's is a kosher operation. Working in the frozen confection business runs in the family. When the family lived in South Philadelphia a couple of generations ago, they ran an ice cream parlor on Catharine Street. Yos'l was the grandfather who owned it. According to their website "All of our yogurt carries the OU-D Kosher Certified Seal." Rabbi Shmidman of Lower Merion Synagogue and Rabbi Avraham Steinberg of Young Israel of the Main Line are in charge of the kosher supervision. According to Mark Rubenstein, the proprietor, "They supervise not just the frozen yogurt, but also all of the toppings."
How are Passover and Shavuot linked? Passover is when we remember the Exodus, and Shavuot is when we remember the giving of the Torah. We build up our anticipation for receiving the Torah by counting down the days from Passover to Shavuot. This period is called the counting of the Omer. What is an Omer?
Tomer Hen, One of Israel's youngest millionaires, started his first business at the age of thirteen. "I wanted to be financially independent," he told me. "I started buying and selling Israeli products on ebay."
As the daughter of a classically trained pianist, I was extremely skeptical when my children told me they wanted to learn to play musical instruments at the Philadelphia School of Rock. I could just hear my grandmother snorting, "Feh, what kind of teaching is that?"
Much to my surprise, the system is outstanding. At the School of Rock, the students immediately begin to learn to play whatever they want. The instructors break down the songs, and the kids learn how to play them. No time is spent on tedious tasks like practicing scales.
Have you ever wanted to arrest Haman and put him in jail? There is a Purim specialty from the Iberian Peninsula whose preparation acts out imprisoning Haman. This Purim treat is called a folar. According to the Rhodes Jewish Museum, folares arrived with Jewish refugees who settled in Greece and Turkey, following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. The descendants of these families have preserved some of their historic foods to the present day.
The traditional recipe calls for a yeast dough, which is constructed in the shape of a cage around a huevo haminado (slowly roasted egg). The egg represents Haman, and the cage of dough symbolizes prison.
We at The Philadelphia Jewish Voice continuously strive for excellence. In order to improve your experience reading our publication, reach more readers and have a greater impact, we are in the process of upgrading our website. We need to raise $1,250 in order to reach our goal to make this possible. Please support us in this endeavor. No amount is too small, and every dollar raised will help us reach this very achievable goal. I hope that you will enjoy all our upcoming improvements.
Philadelphia Jewish Voice's board members celebrate being recognized with Second Place for Online Presence in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's 2011 Newspaper of the Year Competition.
All of us at The Philadelphia Jewish Voice wish you a happy and prosperous new year. It has been our pleasure to share our original content and creativity with you over the course of this past year. We are unpaid volunteers, who do this work because we love it.
Standing to the right: Cecily Carel, Ira Schwartz, and Elliot Norry
The Greater Philadelphia community is witnessing the unification of two of its Jewish middle schools: the Perelman Jewish Day School's Robert M. Saligman Middle School with the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy's (JBHA) middle school.
This morning, Cecily Carel and Elliot Norry, the presidents of the Barrack and Perelman Boards of Directors, notified the community of the unification:
Pleased to share the news that Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy and Perelman Jewish Day School Boards of Directors voted, during their respective meetings, to unify their two middle schools.
In September 2013, The Schwartz Campus in Bryn Mawr will welcome students and parents to the new Robert M. Saligman Middle School of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.
Working in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, both Boards agreed that a unified middle school would not only maximize community resources, but also provide exciting and expanded opportunities for students — educationally, socially and financially."
Statistics show that most of us have some family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning where they fit in terms of gender. Loving and including our loved ones for all of who they are is what healthy families and communities do, IMHO. So it is good to learn that The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released today its first-ever index of inclusion within a faith-based community. "The Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI) provides benchmarks for gauging, and resources for improving, LGBT inclusivity policies and practices of North American Jewish communal organizations. The entire report is available at online."
Rebecca Salame, a member of our community, is in urgent need of our help. She is a single mother with late stage Lymphoma. If she doesn't get a bone marrow transplant in 3-6 months, then there will be nothing left for her to do.
Rebecca's transplant team and main local oncologist are at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Order your free cheeck swabbing kit. This will not hurt!
Your results will be recorded in Be The Match's database. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has a dedicated person on staff who tracks these results. If a match is found, they will immediately be contacted.
There is a tradition of eating dairy meals to celebrate Hanukkah. How did this custom come about? During Hanukkah, we honor Judith, a brave heroine whose name means, "Praised" or "Jewess" in Hebrew. During the Assyrian siege of Judah, 500 years before the time of the Maccabbees, she used beauty, wit, cheese, and wine to fight for her right to be a free Jewish woman in Jerusalem. Judith inspired the Maccabees to fight the Seleucids until they achieved victory. We honor her by preparing seductive dairy delicacies for our Hanukkah feasts.
Judith was a beautiful, young widow who lived in the fictional village of Bethulia (thought to symbolize Jerusalem). The Assyrian general Holofernes besieged her town. He succeeded in cutting off the water supply to Bethulia's inhabitants. Judith went to visit Holofernes in the Assyrian camp, bearing gifts of wine and cheese. Holofernes overindulged to the point of inebriation. Judith took advantage of his weakness, and decapitated him with his own sword. In a shrewd bit of psychological warfare, she carried his head around the Assyrian camp. His soldiers, terrified and bereft of their leader, fled.
Light the second Hanukkah candle on December 9, 2012 with Mika Karni and her band at Rodeph Shalom. This special performance called Kol Dodi (a name reminiscent of Karni's use of biblical poetry from Song of Songs) brings together a unique musical ensemble of Israeli, Moroccan, Yemenite and Ethiopian musicians. Together they create a musical landscape reflecting Israel, a place where cultures from around the globe combine as one.
Co-Sponsored by: PhillyIsrael, Rodeph Shalom, Consulate of Israel in Philadelphia, The Israeli House, Temple Students for Israel. Collaborative, Renaissance, Moishe House Philadelphia and Reform Jewish Community (RJC).
I love Philadelphia! It is such an exciting and dynamic place to live and raise a family. Many young couples assume that as soon as their children reach school age, they should resign themselves to their fate and move to the suburbs. This assumption, however, is no longer valid.
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (JBHA) is making it possible for families that reach this juncture to make a different choice. With its outstanding academics, international student body, commitment to making private school affordable for middle income families, and convenient accessibility by Philadelphia bus and public transportation, JBHA provides the best of both worlds: Center City living and a stellar college preparatory private school education infused with timeless Jewish values and learning.
"How do you say cranberry in Hebrew?" my children asked me. I was stumped. I had never heard of cranberries before I moved to the United States. "Maybe "cranberry" with a Hebrew accent?" I suggested. I looked it up to be certain. Modern Israeli Hebrew is a revived language, in which new names are constantly being adopted for things that did not exist in Ancient Israel. The Hebrew name selected for "cranberry" by the Academy of the Hebrew Language is "chamtzitz." To me, "chamtzitz" refers to any sour wild plant. In order to learn more about this Native American fruit, we decided to experience the cranberry harvest in New Jersey.
When you might think of Jewish cooking in America, you might conjure the iconic Ashkenazic staples of gefilte fish and noodle kugel, but the earliest Jewish cooking in the Americas was Sephardic, said Emily August, Public Programs Manager, in her role as moderator for a program, "Just a Pinch: A Brief and Unofficial History of Jewish Cooking in America," held on Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Jews immigrating from Brazil brought their taste for almond pudding and fish fried in oil, which became a favorite food of our third president Thomas Jefferson, citing Ronit Treatman's article in The Philadelphia Jewish Voice.
Henry Stern was one of the fortunate ones. In 1937, his family embarked on the last boat of Jewish refugees to leave Germany legally. They sailed for New York. The family settled in Opelika, Alabama. As news of the Holocaust trickled out, Henry never stopped hoping that some of the relatives left behind had somehow survived. In 2004, with the aid of the internet, he succeeded. Here is an amazing clip of Mr. Stern's reunion with his cousin Fred Hertz.
The first homemade chocolate gift Jody Peskin ever made was an Old World chocolate Easter egg for each of her non-Jewish friends in college. It was a lovely gesture, as they had been participating in her Shabbat dinners all year. "I used real chicken eggs," she told me. "I poked a hole in each one, emptied it, then boiled the shells to kill all the bacteria. Then I filled the egg with melted chocolate." This self-declared "chief chocolate officer's" passion for all things chocolate has led her to open The Sweet Trading Company.
Philadelphia resident Ruth Kessler is featured in the new cookbook Miracles & Meals, a compilation of 115 stories and over 250 recipes collected from Holocaust Survivors around the world. Miracles & Meals may be purchased from her website.
To me, Simchat Torah tastes like candied almonds. This holiday, which means "rejoicing in the Torah," is one of the most joyous celebrations in the Jewish tradition.
This is the evening when we read the last page of the Torah, and then start all over again at the beginning. It is the only time of the year when the Torah is read at night in the synagogue, during evening services. My earliest memory of attending synagogue is of sitting on my father's shoulders during the Simchat Torah service. We danced hakafot, or circuits, with the Torah around the synagogue seven times. The synagogue was filled by the voices of all the celebrants chanting traditional tunes. The Torahs were splendid in their velvet covers and silver crowns. Why seven hakafot? Seven is a very symbolic number in Judaism. Very appropriately, it is the Divine number of completion.
Have you ever baked a honey cake that was too dry, gooey, or left a bitter aftertaste? I have produced these and many other flops. As a result, I embarked on a quest to discover a foolproof recipe. I encountered it in Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. Her rich fragrant cake is the perfect treat to serve your guests or bake for your hosts when celebrating Rosh Hashanah.
In anticipation of the new restaurant, please join us for an exciting Food Series featuring the engaging, creative and funny wisdom of Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik and the culinary talent and skill of the chefs of Citron and Rose, Michael Solomonov and Yehuda Sichel.
First part of the series for Rosh Hashanah follows the jump.
When is your bashert selected for you? According to the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Sotah 2a), forty days before a Jewish child is born, G-d chooses that child's future spouse. This person is called a bashert. A bashert is one's soul mate. In the Jewish tradition, if you have not yet been united with your bashert, you have a very auspicious day to look for that person. That day is Tu Be'Av.
The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for the Victims of Terror will provide financial assistance to Israelis wounded in the attack in Bulgaria and to the families of those killed. The assistance, made possible by a contribution from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), is meant to help those affected by the attack address supplemental needs not covered by Israeli government bodies. Any family that experienced the loss or injury of a loved one in the attack may request assistance from the fund.
Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky said that the assistance provided by The Jewish Federations of North America demonstrates the solidarity of Jews around the world with the terrible pain of those Israelis wounded in the attack and with the deep mourning of the families of those killed.
The Jewish Agency's Fund for the Victims of Terror, established in 2002, provides financial assistance to victims of terror in Israel. Since its establishment, the fund-which is sustained by contributions from Jewish federations, philanthropic foundations, and donors around the world-has enabled The Jewish Agency to provide thousands of terror victims and their families with assistance at a scope of more than NIS 100 million.
Response from World Jewish Congress, Isareli Consulate, B'nai Brith, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Jan Schakowsky, Sherrod Brown, Jerrold Nadler, Ted Deutsch, Eliot Engel, Alcee Hastings, Charles Rangel and Joe Crowley follow the jump.
What should you offer your "been there, done that" friends this summer? Try some natural date vinegar. This vinegar is unfamiliar even to people from the Middle East. I saw this product for the first time on a shelf at the Makkah Market in West Philadelphia. I purchased a bottle without knowing what it tastes like or what I would prepare with it.
In the age of free online content, which books are worth buying? This year, I recommend Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Rabbi Gil Marks. Gil Marks has combined his passions of Rabbinics, Jewish history, and food into one masterpiece. This James Beard Award winning book is an essential element of any foodie's library.
Traditionally, Shavuot is celebrated with sweet cheesecakes and blintzes, redolent of cinnamon, raisins, and sugar. It is what we eat as we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai. The basic unsweetened cheesecake is a neutral palette. It invites creativity! Many cultures have a tradition of preparing savory cheesecakes. For this year's celebration, surprise your guests with something a little out of the ordinary. Prepare a piquant cheesecake for a special holiday treat.
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