Friday, August 25, 2017

Hug a Tree?

The purpose of this blog is an ecological Shabbat table. Please print and share, or forward or...

leafy treeDid you know....

Methane is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2?

In fact, CO2 isn't altogether bad. CO2 feeds our trees and plants. They love CO2, and the more CO2 they get, the more oxygen they make.

But methane is the bad stuff. And a lot of it comes from cows.

Now, it has been discovered that if you add a tiny bit of a certain type of seaweed to cow fodder, the cow will produce 95 percent less methane.

That's interesting.

It has also been recently discovered that Israelis have the world's worst iodine-deficiency. This is because they drink artificallly-produced, iodine-depleted drinking water (desalinated) instead of relying on the rainfall....

That's also interesting.

The Torah says we should protect our trees, and by extension, anything that has value.

Now that we know about food webs and ecosystems, what doesn't have value?

Shabbat Shalom

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Friday, August 11, 2017

What's Your Milk and Honey?

The purpose of this blog is a nourishing & pleasing Shabbat table. Please print and share, or forward or...

Mmm FetaDespite my previous post about the quest for falafel, Israel is not called "the land of falafel."

It's well-known that the Torah calls it, "the land of milk and honey."

What is that supposed to mean, really? Abstract bounty?

As you know, I'm always looking for the deeper meaning, so last week I went on a quest to find the holy source of one of my favorite milk-products:

Pastures of Eden Feta.

To the uninitiated, this Trader Joe's staple is one of the best fetas ever.

And I'm not the only one who says so.

And it happens to be kosher.

From Israel.

(And you can even buy it online if your local TJ's is sold out, which they often are.)

All that you will glean from the packaging is that it's made from sheep's milk on a farm .... somewhere in the Land of Israel.

But where?

It was really hard to find information about it. The online info is out of date. After several unanswered emails and phone calls, I was about to give up, when I hit the jackpot. I reached someone named Avi who was indeed the exporter of Pastures of Eden.

Now, he couldn't set up a tour for us on such short notice, but he did reveal to me the region where it is made.

Guess what? It was right where we were staying in Tzippori.

(BTW, this was our guest house - another story for another time), but here's a picture of how we felt when we arrived after a hot day of driving:

Happy campers

See the pool? It's a work of art. Fed by a natural spring, decorated with beds of fragrant mint.)

Mitch, the owner, has a few acres of olive trees which he makes into oil, vines from which he makes his own wine, and so many pomegranate trees he doesn't know what to do with them.

I Mitch if he knows any sheep dairy farmers nearby.

Sure, two doors away.

Picture this - an American family moved to Israel 30 years ago and started their own sheep and goat dairy farm. Selling their wares at farmer's markets. Pretty simple.

No, it wasn't the TJ source. But we tried their feta and it was just as good. (Better, actually - because it was fresh.)

In a word: amazing.

So that's the milk. What about the honey?

We criss-crossed the northern part of the country, throughout the Galil (Galilee) and Golan.

Everyone talks about how small the country is, "about the size of New Jersey."

But when you drive around you get this feeling, "Wow, it feels so spacious."

You see forests and mountains, many small and large towns, countless fertile farms; but even more barren hills awaiting creative Americans to come and build their own towns or sheep farms....

And then there are the endless orchards.

And date palms nearly everywhere you look, such as this one (those are unripe dates he's holding):

Unripe dates
To me, that's the meaning of honey.

It's the sweetness that you don't need to live, but makes life so, well, sweet.

Question for your table:

What's your milk and honey?

Shabbat Shalom

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Feel awful? Felafel!

The purpose of this blog is to provide some comfort at the Shabbat table. Please print and share.
 ComfortFirst question for your table this week:

What do people mean by a "comfort food" and do you have one?

Take a look at the kid in this photo.

That's our 13-year-old enjoying his first Jerusalem felafel.

(If you want to know the secret for finding the best felafel in an Israeli town, send me an email.)

The second question for your table:

Why do so many Jews traveling to Israel make a bee-line for the felafel stand?

Is it just the palate, or is there something Jewishly comforting about felafel?

If you can answer that, maybe you can answer the third question of the week:

The experience of food becomes a mere memory, so how great a comfort can it be?

More comfort?

Some people therefore seek comfort in familiar books of wisdom, because wisdom is forever.

But, wouldn't that get tiresome, to revert to the same books again and again?

Shabbat Shalom from Yerushalayim

PS -

PPS - I mentioned last week that I was going to try the popular Travelrest on the plane. Thumbs-up - it performed as advertised.

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