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A Ray of Hope

Recipes

The Lesson of the Fig:  Stuffed Fig Salad

{image_2} Of all the foods talked about in the Bible, figs are one of the most prevalent. Mentioned over 50 times, they have been valued throughout history and have served a variety of purposes. They are first mentioned in Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve confronted their nakedness. They deliberately disobeyed God’s only specific instruction, and unfortunately, the world was forever changed. Mankind became increasingly obsessed with the idea that “clothes make the man.” Adam and Eve’s eyes were drawn to the huge, sturdy fig leaves, and sewing a few together, designer clothing was born!

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Let’s Celebrate – Purim!  Hamantaschen Recipe

{image_2} Purim is the most wildly joyous of all the Jewish holidays. While it is not included in the list of feasts found in Leviticus 23, it is Bible-based, commemorating the story of Esther. My husband Tom and I have been celebrating the Levitical feasts for over 25 years, but even before we “discovered” these Feasts of the Lord, we were introduced to the feast of Purim.

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Snacking in Israel:  Mandel Bread

By Charleeda Sprinkle, Assistant Editor

So what might you enjoy snacking on while walking, biking, hiking, or touring around Israel? Besides Israel’s alluring ice cream, sugar-dusted Turkish delights, sticky baklava (sweet Greek pastry), and large array of tempting baked goods, I can name a few that are very Israeli, each one with a fascinating history.

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Yom Kippur Traditions:  Kreplach Recipe

{image_2} Each of the biblical feasts has a symbolic food associated with it – even Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the most severe fast of the year. A pre-fast feast helps worshippers make it through the 25-hour fast, which is observed much like a Shabbat (Sabbath) meal, except it is eaten before sundown. Table linens and clothing are white to symbolize the hope of sins forgiven. The best dishes are used, two candles are lit, and blessings over the wine and bread are recited. Sometimes the bread is decorated with birds to remind them that just as birds fly, so their prayers will rise quickly and be answered.

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Golda’s Kitchen Cabinet:  Shakshuka Recipe

By Charleeda Sprinkle
Assistant Editor

{image_3} “When the word ‘greatness’ comes to mind, Golda Meir comes immediately to the forefront. Her commitment to her Land and to her people was the paragon of human dedication. Her complete involvement, tempered with love, fired by fierce devotion, caused the world to know that she was a true mover of mountains.” What a great description of Israel’s fourth prime minister, who was only the third woman in the world to hold such an office. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, called her the “only man in the government”!

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Warm Casserole of Dried Fruits

Tu'Bshvat: Happy New Year for Trees

{image_1}Tu’Bshvat is Israel’s Arbor Day, every year on the fifteenth of the Jewish month of Shvat, which falls this year on January 22. Though it is not a biblical holiday, it does have its roots in biblical law, as fruit had to be tithed according to its age, so a New Year for trees was created from which the age of all trees could be calculated.

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Remembering Miracles: Meringue Cups with Strawberries

By Charleeda Sprinkle, Assistant Editor

{image_1}“In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”  David Ben Gurion

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In The Land Of Shepherds:  Roasted Leg of Lamb

{image_1}Although Israel is a very modern country, one of the things that reminds me I’m living in the land of the Bible is the shepherd and his sheep. Since shepherds here are usually Arab, and Arabs often dress in a long, flowing robe and a kaffiyeh on their head, they easily resemble the pictures in Bibles of shepherds of long ago.

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Spice It Up with Za’atar

{image_1} Because of Israel’s year-long celebration of their 60th and this month’s Jerusalem Day (June 2), I wanted to pick a recipe that was particularly descriptive of Israeli cuisine. But, is there really an Israeli cuisine? Because Jewish people have been making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) since the state was born, it’s hard to say what is Israeli. Immigrants have come from more than 50 nations, which makes for a very unique Israeli “soup.” Others say that there is no original Israeli cuisine because everything Israelis eat can be found in other Middle Eastern countries. So, za’atar (or zatar or zahatar) may not be a distinctive Israeli spice, but you can’t be in Israel for long without bumping into it. And once you do, you don’t want to go home without it.

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Deep-fried Deliciousness: Bimuelos

By Charleeda Sprinkle, Assistant Editor

{image_1}Jewish people around the world celebrate Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) by eating oil-soaked foods. Why? The holiday is best known for the miracle of oil that took place after the Temple, polluted by the Greeks in 165 BC, was cleansed. A single day’s oil for the golden menorah (seven-branched candelabra) lasted eight days! The oil, some rabbis say, is like studying Torah (Gen.–Deut.). Just as oil enhances our food, so the Torah enhances our lives. Also, oil illuminates, as does the Torah. And when oil and sugar are combined (as in our recipe), they make the comparison all the more significant. “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103).

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