Tag Archives: religion

Video Fridays: Hanukkah Edition

Well, I’m barely keeping my head above the water right now, what with my interfaith family and I simultaneously partaking of both Hanukkah and Christmastime.

So, for today’s Video Fridays installment, I only really have time to post a video and run.

Without further ado, here it is, the best.Hanukkah.video.ever!

WARNING: The following contains profanity. Please DO NOT watch if you are easily offended.

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Weekend, everyone!

Hanukkah: The Festival of Oily Food

hanukkah-miracleSo, that right there, via NPR.org’s Sandwich Monday series, is Dan Pashman‘s contribution: the Hanukkah Miracle.

It seems appropriate to share this, as tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights, although I do so with the following disclaimer:

WARNING: This post, if the above photo hasn’t already done so, may induce the following side effects: learning, laughter, salivation, craving, hunger, or, depending on one’s personal dietary inclinations, disgust, nausea, projectile vomiting.

As Dan explains:

Hanukkah celebrates a miracle at the ancient Temple on a night when the Jews thought they had only enough oil to light the candles for that one evening. To their delight, the oil lasted eight miraculous nights, and that’s why foods cooked in oil are a common part of the Hanukkah observance…

American Jews eat fried potato pancakes (latkes), but in Israel, Jews celebrate with a different oily, fried food — doughnuts. I’ve brought these two customs together to create a new sandwich: the Hanukkah Miracle.

Here’s how you make it: Slice a glazed yeast doughnut in half and fry it in butter. Flip it inside out, spread sour cream on the bottom and applesauce on the top, and insert a potato pancake. (You want the sour cream closer to your tongue to accentuate its flavor.)

Now, I grew up in a latke household, and what Mr. Pashman doesn’t explain is that latkes are usually served with applesauce and sour cream. And, while I LOVE this, to some, bizarre combination of ingredients, the thought of stuffing those three elements between a glazed doughnut that has been fried in butter…

…yeah, here comes the nausea.

I do recommend you check out Dan’s piece at NPR.org, although with one more warning: it contains a graphic photo depicting his 4-year old daughter consuming the Hanukkah Miracle.

What Part Of Equality Don’t You Understand?

LoveSeriously, I don’t get it.

The Supreme Court of the United States started to hear arguments today concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages until the proposition was deemed unconstitutional by both the Federal District Court in San Francisco and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Consequently, the social interwebs are abuzz with activity on the subject, and many of my Facebook friends and I have temporarily changed our profile photos to the marriage equality symbol you see above, as sign of solidarity with our LGBTQ friends.

Still, one of my “friends” posted on Facebook that he disagrees, accompanied by this graphic:


And you know, I find that absolutely stunning.

I mean, what kind of people come right out and say that they are in favor of discriminating against a certain other group of people and believe that said group of people do not deserve the same rights as everyone else?

Exactly! And so, I wonder how my “friend” feels about being in that company.

Whenever I think about this issue, I always think of that document that means so much to so many Americans across the entire political spectrum, irregardless of party affiliation, the Declaration of Independence, which famously states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, I’ve researched this, and I’ve been totally unsuccessful locating that other draft of the Declaration, where that quote continues, “…except for gays and lesbians.”

God, I Quit.

Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Holy MassSo, the big news this morning is that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned, the headlines are filled with the story, and #pope is trending on Twitter.

No offense intended to Catholics, but all I could think of when I heard the news was the many jokes that will most certainly arise…and sure enough they already have.

As a friend on Facebook posted this morning, “I didn’t realize that you could resign from being Pope.”

And, I didn’t know that either.

Can you imagine that letter of resignation?

Dear God,

Hi. How are you doing? I hope You and Your Son are well, and that neither of You have been hit by that nasty flu going around.

Say, speaking of health, I know I made a pretty big commitment to You, when, upon election, I responded, “Accepto!” But, the thing is, I’m really, really tired. I mean, I’m totally pooped. I’m a totally pooped Pope!

Seriously, do You have any idea how much that big hat and gold cross weigh? I’m exhausted from schlepping those things all over Your green Earth.

That said, I hate to leave You in the lurch. I know there’s a lot going on, with all these gay people getting married and smoking legal marijuana.

So, even though I am badly in need of a very, very long nap, I’ll agree to stay on as Pope until the end of the month. This should be ample time for the College of Cardinals to elect a suitable replacement. (Might I suggest someone significantly younger, preferably an athlete of some kind?)

It’s been a blast serving You, God, and I look forward to hanging out with You in heaven in the not-too-distant future. (I’ll bring some Peroni beer and a pizza from your favorite place in Naples, the one with the red and white checkered table cloths.)

Say hi to Jesus for me!


Joe Ratzinger

Upcycling: Recycled Bottle Buddhist Temple

Now THIS is upcycling!


Yes, that’s a Buddhist temple in Thailand, constructed using 1.5 million recycled glass bottles.

I know, amazing, isn’t it?!

Via Inhabitat:

The Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple has found a way to bottle-up Nirvana, literally. The temple, which sits in Thailand’s Sisaket province, roughly 370 miles northeast of Bangkok is made of more than a million recycled glass bottles. True to its nickname, “Wat Lan Kuad” or “Temple of Million Bottles” features glass bottles throughout the premises of the temple, including the crematorium, surrounding shelters, and yes – even the toilets. There’s an estimated 1.5 million recycled bottles built into the temple, and as you might have guessed, they are committed to recycling more. After all, the more bottles they get, the more buildings they are able to construct.

The monks started building this structure in 1984, so that’s a lot of years of accumulated karma!

It’s beautiful, practical, and it helps the planet.

Very cool.

Here are some more photos (quality’s not great, but they still tell the story):







Best of Fish & Bicycles: Confessions of a Jewish Scotsman

Originally Published: December 1, 2009

I was raised Jewish, my wife’s whole family is pure Scottish, and we like to jest that we are honorary members of each others’ heritage. My wife lights the candles on Chanukah, and I accompany her and our son to the Scottish Highland Games every year.

But once upon a time, about 13 years ago, we met an amateur Jewish scholar who insisted that Scots (all Celts actually) constitute one of the lost tribes of Israel, and therefore all Scots ARE Jews!

Is it just coincidence that both Scottish and Jewish people are stereotyped as being frugal cheap?

I think not!

Having been raised a Jew, I’m as sensitive as anyone to derogatory stereotyping, yet my wife is the first person to admit that she’s a quintessential cheap Scottish lass. That said, when was the last time you heard someone say, “He tried to Scots me down”? I had a stranger in a Sky Train station in New Westminster, British Columbia just a month ago say to me, “He Jewed me down,” while talking about having sold some extra U2 concert tickets, and I’ve been hearing that phrase my whole life.

While a very interesting article from BBC News doesn’t mention the Jewish-Scottish connection, I did find it a fascinating read from my Jewish-Scottish perspective.

And then, there was this comment from a reader that I thought said it all.

Americans will never learn to be Scottish, until they start to enjoy misery.
–Emily, Edinburgh, Scotland

First, I think that’s pretty funny. Second, if that doesn’t sum up the Scottish and Jewish experiences I don’t know what will. No, it’s not that authentic Scots and Jews must enjoy misery. Rather, they must be able to joke that they enjoy misery.

Best of Fish & Bicycles: My kingdom for a deli!

Originally Published: April 15, 2010

If you are Jewish and not a vegetarian and you gaze at this photo and don’t start salivating uncontrollably, then you probably don’t have a pulse either.

As I wrote during Passover, I’m not much of a Jew in religious terms. But damn! I read an article today in the New York Times that stirred something Jewish deep inside of me.

My stomach.

Can the Jewish Deli Be Reformed?

New delis, with small menus, passionate owners and excellent pickles and pastrami, are rising up and rewriting the menu of the traditional Jewish deli, saying that it must change, or die. For some of them, the main drawback is the food itself, not its ideological underpinnings.

So, places like the three-month-old Mile End in Brooklyn; Caplansky’s in Toronto; Kenny & Zuke’s in Portland, Ore.; and Neal’s Deli in Carrboro, N.C., have responded to the low standard of most deli food — huge sandwiches of indifferent meat, watery chicken soup and menus thick with shtick — by moving toward delicious handmade food with good ingredients served with respect for past and present.

Excuse me, but what exactly is indifferent meat?

I don’t know about this revolution in Jewish delis, because I do know that one of the positives of having been raised Jewish is having been introduced to the joys of a corned beef, pastrami, cole slaw, and Russian dressing on rye bread sandwich, with a crisp kosher pickle on the side. There is NOTHING indifferent about that!

Bellingham does not have a Jewish deli, and I’ve been living here long enough (17 years), so thoroughly distracted by the magnificent natural beauty, dynamic community, a family, and a career that I’d managed to completely forget the waves of pleasure that would course through my body at the first bite into that sandwich and the pickle chaser. But one read through that Times article and a look at the accompanying photos brought it all back, and I feel the loss from every day of every week of every month and of every year that I’ve been without this food of my people.

Since Shakespeare’s been on my mind lately, let me put it this way: If Richard III was Jewish and had been deprived of corned beef and pastrami and pickles for 17 years, while he might have been concerned that justice was closing in on him in the battle of Bosworth Field, he absolutely would have given his kingdom for a deli rather than a horse.