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Archive for the ‘Sephardic’ Category

IMG_2400What is the thread weaving together the Rue Tigrane Pacha in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, Shah Street in the cosmopolitan city of Teheran, and the Puerta de la Mar in the Old Town of Rhodes, once a part of Turkey and now a part of Greece? And what do ‘cahk’, ‘toot’ and ‘ashuplados’ have in common?

These are the tastes and the neighborhoods we once called home. “Cahk” is an Egyptian egg and sesame biscuit, “toot” a Persian marzipan delicacy shaped like white mulberries, and “ashuplados” are meringue clouds from the Island of Rhodes. These recipes and recollections, along with other multi-cultural delicacies, make up the new Sephardic Heritage Cookbook, produced by the Or Chadash Sisterhood of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles. The Sisterhood originally produced a cookbook in 1971, which has sold several thousand copies throughout the world over the past 40 some years.

Since that time, Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel has grown, evolved and become home to a growing number of Jews from throughout the Ottoman lands and the Middle East, as well as new generations of young families drawn to the warmth and vibrancy of the community. Each group has brought with them a cultural and culinary tradition that together create a beautiful ‘salad bowl’ of diversity that makes Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel such a rich and enriching place to call home.

The ‘Cookbook Group’ has been meeting for the past five years, sharing recipes and traditions from Turkey, Morocco, Rhodes, Iran, Israel, Curacao, Egypt and South America. Our diversity makes us unique – bringing new flavors and traditions to the table; always marveling at the similarities we share.

The new cookbook, replete with or stories and photographs of delicious delicacies, is a volume that all collectors of ‘Sephardica’ will want for their library……and ‘foodies’ and cooks of all backgrounds will want in their kitchen. Get a copy for yourself – and get a few for gifts!

Enjoy cooking ….and may your hands always be blessed!

~Bendichas Manos, Marcia

You can purchase them online at SephardicTemple.org. Books are $32 each + shipping (buy 3 or more and receive a 10% discount on books.) {Can be shipped anywhere in the US for an additional $5/copy}

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With Pesah just around the corner, it’s time to share some favorite recipes.

I am including my mom’s Keftes di Prassa, leek patties, and Megina, Passover meat quajado.

What Seder would be complete without Haroset. Here is our family’s favorite, my cousin Sarita’s Haroset.

We have some delicious dessert recipes in our community. Check out our recipes for some of my mom’s best: ashuplados, mustachudos (a nut confection) , masa di vino (wine cookies), and marochinos (almond macaroons).

While you’re cooking, listen to Yehoram Gaon singing Un Cavritico. For the seder, we’ve included some of the Ladino lyrics for songs from our family favorites and one we’ve re-introduced, Mos Abastava,  the Ladino version of ‘Dayanu.’

As with all things Passover…..enjoy the opportunity to be with family and friends. Document your family recipes and traditions, cook together, enjoy the time. With each dish we serve and each traditional song we sing, we recall lovingly those family members who are no longer with us, whose recipes and memories are present at our table, and whose names we mention at various time throughout the evening (and throughout our many family gatherings).

As we retell the Passover story, so too, we retell our family stories. I love the fact that our grown sons “know” and talk about family members, several who passed away years before the boys were born…..but whose life lessons and stories are still very much a part of our family gatherings. Memories live on!

We would love to share some of your family stories with “Bendichas Manos” readers…..please feel free to send them on to us or share them with us on Facebook at Bendichas Manos!  Most important, share them at your seders. This keeps our histories and our stories alive!

Cook up all their favorites.  Enjoy the holiday.  May your hands always be blessed!

~’Bendichas Manos’

 

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The holidays are almost here and the cooking has begun! Time for family, reflection and looking towards the year ahead.

One of the rich and unique traditions of our Sephardic families is a Rosh Hashana Seder. It is a short service we conduct around our tables with the Rosh Hashana evening meal, with some families doing it on both nights. Including the traditional blessings done at the holiday meal table (Kiddush, Blessing of the Children, Washing of the Hands, HaMotzi), blessings are also said over symbolic foods, expressing our hopes and wishes for the year ahead. Most of the foods used are those whose names in Hebrew sound similar to one of the wishes expressed, so there is some fun associated with this!

Although primarily a Sephardic tradition, many others have begun adding the Seder to their Rosh Hashana celebrations. My father remembers the “ratzones” from his childhood in Seattle…we began sharing the tradition with our children and friends within the past decade. Rabbi Yitz Greenberg suggests that each family add some blessings of our own, adding to our family traditions, adding puns we create around foods we include, which we have done from time to time. One of our Rebbetzins, Penina Schochet, suggested that we select a new fruit each year, having our young children be part of the process, and say a “shehecheyanu” over the addition of the new fruit, as a way to further grace our Rosh Hashanah table and include our children in selecting and trying something new.

Some families refer to this “service” as the “Yehi Ratzones”, referring to the words used “May it be Your will …” as referencing the symbolism that is to be recited. Often one hears the words “simanim”, referring to the ‘symbolic’ foods used. I will note some of the foods we eat and the translation of the blessings we say, primarily based on the materials prepared and provided by Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel (STTI) in Westwood, California, as well as materials prepared by the Maimon Family in Seattle, Washington.

My good friend, Linda Sendowski, has some wonderful recipes for Rosh Hashana foods, specifically these symbolic foods on her blog The Boreka Diary which I share with you. Also, the Rosh Hashana table of the delightful Stella Hanan Cohen was recently featured in the South African Jewish Review (Pages 14-16.) Check these out…and consider including some of these ideas and blessings at your Rosh Hashanah table this year.

 

For our Seder, we prepare a plate on the table that holds some of each symbolic food, and a prepared page for all our guests, including the blessings we will recite for the evening so all can participate. We include the Hebrew and English, and some years, the Ladino. Adapt as is comfortable for your household. We start with the Kiddush, the Shehecheyanu, Birkat Yeladim (Blessing of the Children), Washing the Hands, and the Hamotzi.

Following that, we recite a few blessings with intended good for the New Year, over some symbolic foods. The foods we use are usually plentiful during this season. Their Hebrew names, shades or colors remind us of our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. It is noted that “foods provide us an occasion to wish away our fears and verbalize our deepest hopes, as well as a chance to pun on their names in a number of local tongues”. (Source: Noam Zion in his paper Seder Rosh Hashanah)

1. Apples dipped in sugar or honey; apple cooked in sugar or honey; or candied apples:

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, to renew upon us a good and sweet year, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.

Baruch Ata Adonai Elohenu Melech Haolam Bore Peri Haetz.

2. Leeks (karti):

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our enemies be cut off, as well as those who desire to do us harm.

(this is based on the wordplay between the Hebrew word for leek, “karti”, which is similar to the word “korat”, meaning “to cut off”)

3. Beets or Spinach (“silka” is usually identified as beets; Keter Shem Tov says it refers to spinach):

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our enemies disappear, as well as those who desire to do us harm.

4. Dates:

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our enemies be consumed as well as those who desire to harm us.

(this is based on the wordplay between the Hebrew for dates, “tamar”, which is similar to a word meaning to “end” or “consume”)

5. Pumpkin or gourd (zucchini or squash; “kalavasa” is often used):

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that you should tear up any evil decrees against us and let our merits be read before you.

(this is based in the wordplay between the Aramaic word for pumpkin or gourd, “kara”, and the Hebrew word meaning to “tear”)

6. Fish (pishkado):

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our merits may multiply as the fish in the sea. Others have commented that as fish is a symbol of abundance and fertility, we ask God to Bless us with both.

7. “Ruviah”, often identified as Fenugreek, although sometimes referred to as black eyed peas or string beans. It is told that in Bagdad, it was referred to as “luviah”. Since it was similar to the Hebrew word “lev”, meaning heart, the word “ut-labevenu” (meaning “and purify us”) was added. (Linda Sendowski has a great recipe for Black Eyed Peas!)

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our merits increase and that you purify us.

8. Pomegranates (Use the seeds in your cooking or in a in a salad)

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that our merits increase as the seeds of the pomegranate.

9. Head of Fish (something from the head….in our family, my Aunt Belina Hasson used to make tongue (I cannot get myself to even buy a tongue, let alone figure out how to cook it….so, since this is based on puns, we use a “head” of lettuce):

Yehi Ratzon May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our Fathers, that we may be in the forefront as the head, and not the background, as the tail.

The festival meal then follows.

In keeping with Yitz Greenberg’s suggestions, one could add:
Peaches: May it be a “peachy” year
Dates: May our single friends have many “dates” this year
Mushrooms: May our abundance “mushroom” in the years ahead….

Have fun with this and make it meaningful to your family!

Finally, I am attaching a link to a YouTube series of “The Selichot of Ezra Bessaroth”, in Seattle, Washington. It is a ten-part series of the Selichot service in the tradition of the Jews of Rhodes, led by Hazzan Isaac Azose, with many in the Congregation participating. The melodies are familiar to those of us who grew up in Rhodesli Sephardic Synagogues. There is something comforting and reaffirming in melodies, memories and flavors of our youth. I hope you will take a few minutes to listen and enjoy.

Please share with us any of your own family traditions….we would love to post them. Sharing keeps traditions alive and evolving for each new generation!

From our home to yours, Anyada buena i dulse ke tengas….a good and sweet New Year to all; Tizku Leshanim Rabot…May we all merit many years;!

~Marcia Israel Weingarten
Bendichas Manos

 

*adapted from a previous post

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So few people realize that the vile evils of the Nazi death machine reached into the Mediterranean region, decimating and destroying the centuries old communities of the Sephardic World in Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and parts of Italy.   JLTV (Jewish Life Television) is spotlighting some of these stories during Yom HaShoah this year.  I hope you will watch and share them with your friends.

JLTV is available in the US on DirecTV nationwide, on Time-Warner in the greater LA area, and other cable carriers ( click here to find carrier in your region).   JLTV is available in 127 countries around the world via http://www.JLTV.tv.   Click on the ‘Watch Live’ box in upper right of screen to watch programs LIVE.  (Watch from anywhere on your computer, tablet or smart phone).

“The Longest Journey: The Last Days of the Jews of Rhodes”

The Longest Journey

U.S. Premiere on JLTV, May 4, 2016   9 pm ET/PT 

On July 23, 1944, the Nazis deported almost the entire Jewish population of the island of Rhodes. The journey took 24 days under harrowing conditions, an atrocious transition from the Mediterranean sun to the gray hell of Auschwitz.

Of the nearly 1,800 Jewish men, women and children taken to Auschwitz from Rhodes, fewer than 150 individuals survived. In The Longest Journey, talented filmmaker and director Ruggero Gabbai weaves together the testimonies of three of the few Jews who survived, Stella Levi, Sami Modiano and Albert Israel.   It is a movie at once chilling and heartbreaking, told about an ancient community in one the most beautiful settings in the world. It is a film you want to see; it is a story that needs to be told and retold; it is a film to share with your children and grandchildren.

This broadcast is sponsored by Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, Los Angeles and the Sephardic Hebrew Center/SBS Fund

Visit: http://sephardictemple.org

The film will have it’s U.S. television premiere JLTV on Yom HaShoah, May 4, 2016 at 9 pm, ET/PT and again on May 5, 2016 at 4 pm ET/1 PM PT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the many ties that bind us is the familiar songs, melodies and words we use during the Passover Seder. As Sephardic Jews from the Island of Rhodes, many of our prayers and songs are chanted in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish of our ancestors. Based on an old Castilian Spanish, Ladino has moved with our people as we left Spain for the Ottoman lands. Ladino has acquired words and phrases from the host countries of our journey, including Turkish, Greek, Hebrew and Italian, and was, in fact, the language of a majority of the residents of Jerusalem in the 19th century. Today Ladino is still used in communities in the United States, Israel, South Africa, South America, Bosnia and other countries to which Sephardim have migrated. In most communities, it is a language of memory — words and phrases we remember our parents and grandparents using; in few places is it a language of common communication or commerce, although there are some who do, in fact, use it frequently. Thanks to modern day scholars, professors and communal leaders, Ladino is on the rise as a language of study, and being explored, conserved and spoken again in some circles. For most of us, it continues as a language of memory, nostalgia and connection.

At Pesah, we use Ladino as a way to connect to our family. It makes our gatherings special. The young people learn songs and phrases; guests quickly catch on to melodies and learn to follow the words. It is a remarkable opportunity for connection from one generation to another.

My father, Jack Israel (z’l), used to love beginning to tell the tale in Ladino. “Este es el pan de la afi-ision ke comieron muestros padres en tierra de Ayifto. Todo el ke tiene ambre, venga y coma. Todo el ke tiene de menester, venga y paskue. Este anyo aki, a el anyo el vinien en tierra de Yisael. Este anyo aki, siervos, a el anyo el vinien en tierra de Yisrael hijos forros.” This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt….. Each time he read it, he grew teary, as the words reminded him so keenly of his father, the words and melody exactly as his dad had chanted it in their home when my father was a boy in the 1920’s.

After dinner and dessert, family, children and guests included, are anxious to return to the Seder table to conclude the service and sing the songs. From our family’s ‘Hit Parade’, we include the words and some clips for ‘Ken Su Piense’ ( Who Knows One? ) and ‘Un Kavritiko’ (An Only Kid)

“WHO KNOWS ONE?” (kien su piense)

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense,

Kualo es e1 uno?
UNO es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar a1 Dio kriense,
Kualo son los dos?
DOS Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense,
Kualo son los tres?
TRES muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador,
baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense,
Kualo son los kuatro?
KUATRO madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense,
Kualo son los cinko?
CINKO livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense a1avar al Dio kriense,
Kualo son los sesh?
SESH dias de la sernana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar a1 Dio kriense,
Kualo son los siete?
SIETE dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador,. baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense a1avar al Dio kriense,
Kualo son los ocho?
OCHO dias de la milah, siete dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es e1 Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los nueve?
NUEVE mezes de 1a prenyada, ocho dias de la millah, siete dias kon e1 Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de 1a Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar at Dio kriense, Kualo son los diez?
DIEZ mandamientos de la Ley, nueve mezes de la prenyada, ocho dias de la millah, siete dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los onze?
ONZE ermanos sin Yosef, diez mandamientos de la Ley, nueve mezes de la prenyada, ocho dias de la millah, siete dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los doje?
DOJE hermanos kon Yosef. onze hermanos sin Yosef, diez mandamientos de la Ley, nueve mezes de la prenyada, ocho dias de la millah, siete dias kon e1 Shabbat, sesh, dias de la semana, cinko 1ivros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense, alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los treje?
TREJE son los Ikarim, doje hermanos kon Yosef, onze hermanos sin Josef, diez mandamientos de la Ley, nueve mezez de la prenyada, ocho dias de la millah, siete dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

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AN ONLY KID (Un kavretiko)

Un kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el gato, y komio al kavretiko, ke lo merko mi padre, por dos levanim, por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el perro, y modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el palo, y aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el fuego, y kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko, ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino la agua, y amato el fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim. por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino et buey, y bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el shochet, y degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino el Malach Hamavet, y degoyo al shochet, ke degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke ahrarvo al perro, ke modrio al gato ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

Y vino et Santo Bendicho, y degoyo al Malach Hamayet, ke mato al shochet, ke degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke ahravo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim. por dos levanim. Chad gadya, chad gadya!

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Also, a clip from one of our favorites, Yehoram Gaon: Ken Su Piense and Un Kavritiko

Words, melody, language —memory, nostalgia, connection. May this holiday bring us closer to our traditions, our families, and to each other. May the lessons of freedom remind us of our blessings and may our hands always be outstretched to all those in need. May we remember….”este es el pan de afri-ision….”

Make memories – make a difference.

~Bendichas Manos

Note:   Interesting discussion from The University of Washington, Sephardic Studies Program on The history of Had Gadya in the Ladino tradition.    Devin Naar, the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies at UW and Ty Alhadeff, Sephardic Studies Coordinator, are doing fascinating work and are generous with their research and findings. Follow their work – I do!

 

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My mom is baking and preparing for Rosh Hashana…..Boyos, burekas, biscochos, pan di casa, reshas….all our family favorites.
Posting some tried and true recipes in hope that you might give them a try. Please share your menus and favorite family memories with us.
Together – we’ll keep our traditions alive!

Boyos di Spinaka

https://bendichasbendichosmanos.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/finally-boyos/

Burekas, biscochos and reshas

https://bendichasbendichosmanos.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/burekas-de-beringena-burekas-with-eggplant-filling-2/

Pan di Casa

https://bendichasbendichosmanos.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/panizikos-di-kaza-home-baked-bread-rolls/

Wishing all an ‘anyada buena i dulce”. Tizku L’eshanim Rabot – may we all merit many years.

~Bendichas Manos

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“Bulicunio” – “Susam” – a wonderful confection that combines the rich nutty flavor of sesame seeds with a honey syrup creating a taste and texture treat for the palate. My Mother has made boulicunio for both our sons’ brit milot – and it has been a favorite of my husband’s. Usually around Passover, it becomes available in stores in pre made, individually wrapped pieces and I buy them for him.

Inspired by a post from Stella Hanan Cohen ( “Stella’s Sephardic Table”), I asked my mom to make some. Starting with a recipe from Aunt Rosha Benveniste Solam (z’l) we tweaked it somewhat, adapted for Passover, and set out to make Boulicunio.

Boulicunio ( Susam Candy)

3 C Sesame Seeds
1 C Sugar
1 C Honey
1/4 C Hot Water
1 tsp Lemon
3/4 C Toasted Almonds
2 Tblsp Matzh Flour

Susam

Toast sesame seeds in frying pan over medium flame until golden brown.
Add flour toward end.
toasting susam

Toast the almonds and add them to the sesame mixture.

Toasted Almonds

In a separate pot, mix sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Stir to keep from burning. It will foam and begin to bubble. Add honey and keep stirring. Syrup is ready when….well, when a small amount dropped into a cup of cold water forms a ball.
Syrup
Add syrup to the sesame mixture.
IMG_2407
Pour mixture onto a lightly greased work table or cutting board.

When cool, roll small batches into 1 inch ropes.
IMG_2410
Cut at a diagonal.
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IMG_2415

Can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

A taste and texture treat! Give them a try and let us know what you think.

Enjoy this time of preparing for the holiday and sharing special foods with family and friends. Pass along family traditions – create new ones. Always cook with love!

~Bendichas Manos!

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