Passover Seders move to nights that work for busy lives:
Sundown Monday signals the start of Passover, the most observed of Jewish holidays, a night when Jews follow the biblical mandate to gather, eat and retell their story of liberation. Unless, that is, they already did it over the weekend or plan to some other night this week.
Mostly to accommodate busy work and travel schedules, more American Jews are holding their Seders — the elaborate ritual meal at the heart of the eight-day holiday — on different nights, not only on the traditional first two nights.

I’m generally a live-and-let-live kind of guy when it comes to religious observance. You do what works for you; I do what works for me; it’s better to be observant in the way you can be than to do nothing; and so on.
But this, I have to admit, seems like a bridge too far for me.
It would be more convenient to schedule the holidays for times when I’m not busy, or when I’m already visiting my family, or when my wife has a few days off from work. I mean, if we could celebrate Passover at the same time as Christmas, then we wouldn’t have to take a couple of days off from work. Or if we could celebrate Passover at the same time as Rosh Hashana, we’d be able to knock off all at the same time those few days of religious observance that most American Jews agree are sancrosanct. Then a whole lot of people wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle that Judaism seems to represent for them for more than a couple of days a year.
Part of me thinks it’s better that these people celebrate Passover on the wrong day than not at all. But part of me is pretty sure religious observance isn’t principally about your convenience.

Passover Seders move to nights that work for busy lives:

Sundown Monday signals the start of Passover, the most observed of Jewish holidays, a night when Jews follow the biblical mandate to gather, eat and retell their story of liberation. Unless, that is, they already did it over the weekend or plan to some other night this week.

Mostly to accommodate busy work and travel schedules, more American Jews are holding their Seders — the elaborate ritual meal at the heart of the eight-day holiday — on different nights, not only on the traditional first two nights.

I’m generally a live-and-let-live kind of guy when it comes to religious observance. You do what works for you; I do what works for me; it’s better to be observant in the way you can be than to do nothing; and so on.

But this, I have to admit, seems like a bridge too far for me.

It would be more convenient to schedule the holidays for times when I’m not busy, or when I’m already visiting my family, or when my wife has a few days off from work. I mean, if we could celebrate Passover at the same time as Christmas, then we wouldn’t have to take a couple of days off from work. Or if we could celebrate Passover at the same time as Rosh Hashana, we’d be able to knock off all at the same time those few days of religious observance that most American Jews agree are sancrosanct. Then a whole lot of people wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle that Judaism seems to represent for them for more than a couple of days a year.

Part of me thinks it’s better that these people celebrate Passover on the wrong day than not at all. But part of me is pretty sure religious observance isn’t principally about your convenience.

(Source: Washington Post)

# holidays # Judaism # Passover

What is your preferred non-hametz pasta substitute?
jakke

I can’t say there’s really anything during Passover that I prefer. The truth is that after two days of Passover, I’m ready to be done with Passover.

But, to answer your question, I’ll go with matzah farfel.

Relatedly, who has Kosher for Passover recipes for me so that my family and I won’t be totally miserable for eight days?

# Judaism # food # Passover # holidays

In honor of Presidents Day, here are some American presidents you probably don’t know or care much about!

# holidays # comedy

Happy “Why Is There No White History Month?” Day!
Is Christmas the appropriate holiday to ask Sarah Palin to stop playing the faux-persecuted Christian card? Or is that Easter?
That’s me, on Facebook, in response to her MLK Day post asking President Obama to promise to stop “playing the race card.”

# Palin # Obama # religion # Facebook # comedy # politics # internet # MLK # holidays # Christmas

(via Patrick Jones)
reblogged from Ari Kohen's Blog

The Top 5 Posts of 2013

As I did yesterday, I’m once again linking to the top blog posts of the year. These are the posts that drew the most unique eyeballs; the list doesn’t include the About page, where several thousand people each year go to find out whose writing they’re reading, the Ask page, where people write in with questions or to say kind and unkind things to me, or the front page, which is always the top draw since it’s the way that people access the site directly (rather than via some referring site).

Perhaps you missed some of these posts. Or maybe you just want to have another look since it’s been a little while. Feel free, of course, to share them with friends and loved ones because each click tells me that you’d like for me to keep writing these sorts of things.

Here, then, are the Top 5 most viewed posts of 2013:

#5. That time Ari Fleischer explained that he only donates to charity for the tax break and any changes to the tax code would mean he’ll donate less (1/1/13)

#4. “Whither Aristotle?,” a reflection on the decision of my colleagues to eliminate political theory as a subfield of undergraduate study in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska (10/3/13)

#3. That time when Marc Anthony sang “God Bless America” at the MLB All-Star Game and racists went crazy on Twitter because they assumed, wrongly, that Anthony wasn’t American (7/17/13)

#2. “Twitter Assassins,” in which a whole bunch of people went online to reflect on President Obama’s inauguration by calling for someone to assassinate him (1/21/13)

#1. That time when people vented their anger on Twitter and demanded a White History Month since February is Black History Month (2/1/13)

It’s been a fun and fascinating year of writing for me, full of arguments and thoughtful exchanges of ideas. I plan to have a brief reflection tomorrow that looks back at some of the things I learned from blogging this year and looks forward to 2014.

Thanks for reading, for engaging with my ideas, for sharing my blog posts with your friends, and for asking for my thoughts on issues or events as they’ve come up.

Happy New Year!

# Twitter # racism # internet # Obama # politics # MLB # baseball # sports # raison d'être # philosophy # Nebraska # teaching # education # political science # charity # music # holidays


Kosher cops: Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is seeking to establish a “kashrut police” in effort to broaden the authority’s power over businesses that present their merchandise as kosher but have no rabbinate-issued kashrut certificate. Inspectors of the “kashrut police” would wear identification badges and even uniforms.

Who will procure for me an official identification badge and uniform so that I can present myself as the “kashrut police” for both Purim and Halloween 2014?

Kosher cops: Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is seeking to establish a “kashrut police” in effort to broaden the authority’s power over businesses that present their merchandise as kosher but have no rabbinate-issued kashrut certificate. Inspectors of the “kashrut police” would wear identification badges and even uniforms.

Who will procure for me an official identification badge and uniform so that I can present myself as the “kashrut police” for both Purim and Halloween 2014?

# Judaism # Israel # comedy # food # Halloween # Purim # holidays # religion

reblogged from

This was my second most popular post of 2013 with Tumblr users, who “Liked” or “Reblogged” it nearly 23,000 times:

It’s February 1, so you know Twitter is lighting up with white people — mostly teenagers, which makes me so incredibly depressed — who are just baffled or angry about the fact that there’s no white history month when there’s a black history month.

There are thousands of these; I just grabbed a few for posterity.

The post hit 10,000 Tumblr notes in the first 24 hours and also drew several thousand non-Tumblr readers to my blog, thanks to Facebook sharing, and posts linking to my blog on Feministing.com and on the Cracked.com forum.

# racism # Twitter # internet # politics # holidays # Tumblr

reblogged from Ari Kohen's Blog
This was the third most popular post I published in 2013 amongst Tumblr users; it was “Liked” or “Reblogged” more than 5,000 times:

A handy flowchart to help you decide whether to wear blackface on Halloween
HT: Patrick Jones.

By comparison, my most popular post of 2012 with Tumblr users was this post about the “RoboRomney” website that demonstrates how Mitt Romney agrees with you no matter what position you hold on a wide variety of policy matters; it garnered just under 4,000 notes.
Tune in tomorrow for my second most popular post of 2013.
reblogged from Ari Kohen's Blog

Oh, a comedian!

But seriously, my Christmas afternoon and evening involved helping out at the synagogue for the annual Men’s Club Kosher Chinese Buffet. This year, we had more than 125 people in attendance and more entrees than a Friday night dinner at my grandmother’s house.

We set up, we cooked, we ate, we served, we ate, we cleaned, and we ate a little more. My sense is that no one went home even remotely hungry and we still had plenty of food left over to take home and to give to others.

Major thanks is really due to the core crew — especially David, Ben, and Mike who came in early and stayed late — so that a slacker like me could swoop in for a few hours during naptime and after bedtime.

If your synagogue isn’t serving up a ridiculous amount of kosher Chinese food every Christmas, well, you just might want to think about moving to Omaha …

# Christmas # Judaism # holidays # food # Omaha # Nebraska

For How Long?

For how many more days will pretty much everyone I speak to inquire as to whether or not I had a Merry Christmas? Through the weekend? Into next week? Into the new year?

Unrelatedly, how was your Christmas? Merry?

# holidays # Judaism # Christmas # comedy

What will you be eating for Christmas dinner?
Anonymous

I’ll be having Chinese food, as is the custom of my people.

The Men’s Club at our synagogue sponsors a very well-attended annual Chinese dinner buffet on December 25. Between the food and the company, it’s really not to be missed.

# food # holidays # Judaism # questions

Did you ever find the right candles to use at Hanukkah?
venomtelevision

We did!

In fact, I found the candles the morning I wrote the post complaining about being unable to locate candles and I stocked up since we’ve got three hanukkiyot that we light nowadays:

# holidays # Hanukkah # questions

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