Looking for yet another reason to eat delicious food and give (and receive!) gifts in the upcoming month? Chrismukkah is the ultimate interfaith holiday.
The holiday originated on the television show The O.C. in the early 00’s in a mixed Jewish-Christian household, when Seth Cohen declared that he had “created the greatest super-holiday known to mankind”. It is now a part of pop culture-and isn’t just for interfaith households-but can be celebrated by everyone. Before it worked its way into the mainstream, many Jews were already celebrating Christmas as a “festival of the world around us”. Many contemporary Jews were celebrating Christmas in a secular sense, while celebrating Hanukkah as their religious holiday. Now more than ever, in the year 2016, when the first day of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve at sundown, Chrismukkah can bring friends and family together for food and celebration.
THE FH QUICK CHRISMAKKUH GUIDE
Start the evening out in true Shabbat style with challah bread! A perfect hostess gift is this Shabbat set from Faithhaus, including a beautiful challah cover:
A universally loved appetizer is potato latkes. Here is a great contemporary recipe. Serve with sour cream and applesauce:Wine is a must! This one isn't kosher, but it is made by a Jew. Does that help?Forget lampshades on your head, wearing a yamaclaus at a party is much cooler:
Make your own with this super cute DIY project:
Directions here: http://www.yamaclaus.com/yamaclaus-print/
8 DAYS OF PRESENTS
The Magic of Chrismukkah is in the 8 days of presents, with one special day filled with many presents!
Light the first candle with this contemporary menorah $150
The perfect all natural beeswax candles for the menorah (or a birthday cake!) $23 for 45
A gnome/tomte/nisse lurking on your mantle adds a Scandinavian touch without screaming CHRISTMAS, $20-28
A wreath on the door? Get a year-round rustic look with this faux deer-antler wreath $100For your fashion-forward set the ‘shalom’ necklace in 14k gold:We love it layered with the Bronze Virgin Mary necklace for an interfaith fashion vibe!:
For the home with an organic and modern look this Kiddush cup (doubles as a contemporary chalice!) fits the bill :
The hamsa is the universal symbol of protection and good luck. This gold leaf hamsa is the perfect interfaith décor for your space.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Faithhaus!
If you've grown up west of the Mississippi, there's a good chance you have no idea what Rosh Hashanah is. It's the Jewish New Year, or "day of judgement", and this year it starts on Sunday, September 2. It is followed 10 days later by the "day of atonement", which is Yom Kippur (and a whole different blog post). Taken together, these are the High Holidays, which are kicked off with Rosh Hashanah.
Like at many holidays, Rosh Hashanah is an occasion for gathering and eating. If you are honored with a dinner invitation for Rosh Hashanah, you will not want to show up empty handed. What to do, you ask? Here are ideas for a few dishes to bring and a few gifts to give so you can choose one and impress your host - time permitting. If all else fails, bring wine!
Invited to Shabbat? In big cities like Los Angeles and New York you might find a group of modern Jewish adults and their non-Jewish friends gathering for dinner in their favorite restaurant. This dinner is Shabbat and the chef has prepared a special menu for them including a slow cooked meal, loaves of challah bread and candlelight. These are the modern renditions of the Friday night Shabbat dinner which includes new friends, old traditions and delicious food.
Around the world people are doing the same thing at home. Gathering their closest friends and family or inviting guests who are new to the experience or perhaps aren't Jewish but want to participate in this dining ritual. For those who haven't attended here are the basics:
Shabbat begins at sunset.
Two candles are lit: representing the two commandments REMEMBER and OBSERVE.
There is a festive and leisurely dinner-by candlelight. Then the man of the house says a prayer over the wine sanctifying shabbat. There will be a prayer recited for eating challah bread and then the family eats dinner. Foods are usually slow cooked or stewed since cooking is prohibited during shabbat.
After dinner the grace is recited to the sounds of upbeat music.
There is a great blog called theKitchn which is a lifestyle blog and has a fantastic Shabbat Dinner Menu which could be served at any time of year. The recipes are ones we love like Moroccan chicken and grilled zucchini. Remember we love all things Moroccan at Faithhaus!
Now a few suggestions on where to buy your hosting-or gifting- essentials...
Our modern take on the goblet (otherwise known as wine vessel). This simple recycled beauty by Hawkins NYC is modern and timeless. $8 each.
The Candles. Obsessed with this candlestick no matter what the occasion. This is a very stylish set by CeMMent and yes, made from cement and stainless steel. So cool. $112.
Love them with our beautiful beeswax shabbat candle pair with cotton wicks for a pure burn. $14
The Challah Bread. We suggest buying from your local bakery. But you need something to put your challah on and under. We love these options from Jboutiq. Handwoven by a women's group in Latvia, these linen challah bread covers can do double duty and get softer with age. $35. Each bread/serving board is a unique slice of Oregon burl maple- no two alike. $85 and up.
The Crock Pot. The best $35 spent ever. Trust us, if you don't already have a crock pot these are a life changer.Target
Should you want to bring a gift for the gorgeous host, Beautycounter makes perfect bronzing compacts that are Shabbat-friendly and perfect to giver her that summer glow! $39
This Shabbat Set from yours truly, Faithhaus makes for an easy host gift, Hanukkah gift, or housewarming gift. Five essentials in one gorgeous set: wine tumbler, challah cover, candlesticks, candle holder, and Shabbat prayer. All handcrafted for $68.
We just received a last minute SOS on how to host a Passover Seder. Here we pull together a few styles of celebrating and our favorite seder plates for your table.
First let's talk about Passover. The holiday is about traditions, food, song and community. It is an important holiday that celebrations the liberation of God from Egyptian slavery and the freedom under Moses leadership. It lasts for 7-8 days depending on if you are more modern Jewish or live in Israel, or traditional and Orthodox. It commences with a seder-or a dinner-where they retell the story of the liberation, drink wine, eat matzah and select symbolic foods served on a Seder plate. The Haggadah is a book that is like a set of rules for your seder. It is for passing on the story of Jewish freedom and here is a Haggadah breakdown on seder according to wikipedia:
- Kadeish קדש – recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the first cup of wine
- Urchatz ורחץ – the washing of the hands
- Karpas כרפס – dipping of the karpas in salt water
- Yachatz יחץ – breaking the middle matzo; the larger piece becomes the afikoman
- Maggid מגיד – retelling the Passover story, including the recital of "the four questions" and drinking of the second cup of wine
- Rachtzah רחצה – second washing of the hands
- Motzi מוציא, Matzo מצה – blessing before eating matzo
- Maror מרור – eating of the maror
- Koreich כורך – eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror
- Shulchan oreich שלחן עורך – lit. "set table"—the serving of the holiday meal
- Tzafun צפון – eating of the afikoman
- Bareich ברך – blessing after the meal and drinking of the third cup of wine
- Hallel הלל – recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the fourth cup of wine
- Nirtzah נירצה – say "Next Year in Jerusalem!"
HOSTING FOR THE MILLENIAL
According to the HuffingtonPost and Rabbi Kelilah Miller, the Jewish student adviser at Swarthmore College, young people need to stop thinking they need an immense knowledge of Judaism in order to host a seder. That takes the pressure off! Many local synagogues and local Jewish organizations offer seders for young adults but if you want to host your own try the DIY approach.
- invite friends of all faiths to celebrate with you
- make your own Haggadah (getting creative here)
- create your own seder plate
- decide on a theme to have your guests engage in conversation
- BYOI- Bring Your Own Instrument! for the sing along...
HOSTING FOR THE INTERFAITH FAMILY
Not only is Jared David Berezin in an interfaith marriage, he's vegan too. He and his family created a way to host a seder combining the two and it's rich and full of food, friends and tradition. Jared's favorite holiday growing up was Passover with the familiar memories of family, food and singing. He met the love of his life who was raised Christian and was not a fan of organized religion but who was willing to create their own traditions hosting the seder dinner. Initially they tried to have a seder that appealed to various needs of people. Over time they realized this didn't encourage inclusiveness and instead created an imperfect and ever-changing seder that allows the guests to shape the discussion. A few tips from them...
- use a sparse Haggadah that doesn't require constant reading but allows participant to fill in the banks with discussion
- make your own matzah! a great ritual Jared started with his wife
- dig into the rich traditions with a sense of humor
- play familiar seder songs and secular ones with the themes of slavery, oppression and freedom
- remember you can host a seder any night of Passover-such as the end of the week when it's easier on guests schedules
HOSTING FOR TRADITIONAL JEWISH FAMILIES
We really love Eve Levy and all of her wisdom she imparts on her blog Adashofeve. Eve is so open and willing to share her experiences, recipes and blessings that her rabbi husband and six children partake in-and this woman does it all! Although she said her greatest passion is inspiring Jewish people she is an inspiration to us as well with her dedication to faith and family. The Passover Seder is a traditional experience in her community and on her blog she has videos explaining many of the different components. There is even a recipe for Passover Birthday Cake. A traditional seder would include
- friends and family from your Jewish community
- a very clean home- see Eve's video
- reading from a traditional Haggadah
- cooking with kosher food
- expect to eat for an hour or two and stay up late-remember seder can't start until sundown!
OUR MODERN SEDER PLATE PICKS
Last week I text my neighbor and ask her what her family is doing for Rosh Hashana.
She says “Well we are bad Jews so, nothing.”
I said “Ok. I will text around for a good Jew and see if I can get some inside scoop for my blog.” She sends a smiley face.
By Sunday I get a message from her, “Do you want to come for dinner for the High Holiday on Monday night?”
“WE WOULD LOVE TO!”
I am so excited to get an invitation to experience other cultures and faith-based holidays.
I text her “Btw, I have an incredibly picky eater so should I bring pizza for him?” Half-joking.
I get “yes, LOL.”
I know by now that apples, honey and SWEETNESS are of utmost importance to this holiday. Since time and money factor into most gift decisions I make, I pick up some Honeycrisp apples - thinking I can hit two things, honey and apples! I also bring a challah bread cover from Jboutiq hoping they don't already have one (they didn’t and she loved it). Oh yah, I also had two half-full bottles of wine- one rose + one sauvignon blanc. Friends don't judge, they drink!
We arrive and I see this amazing display of homemade food- I'm talking HOMEMADE CHALLAH bread- that is so beautiful. I am truly impressed and it's a feast. She tells me that after I had texted her last week she got to thinking and decided they would do something for the holiday. Then once she started cooking she really got into it-seriously, she had never made challah before. I think it's like that no matter what the holiday. You are kind of dread the whole shebang until you get started an all of a sudden the fever hits. That feeling is what makes holidays so special. That and wine.
My picky eater tries everything. He goes back for thirds on the challah. Brisket is perfect. Her husband’s last minute trip to the store for some Montepulciano well worth it (goes v well with brisket). The crowd humors my buzzed over-sharing. The apple gallette is the absolute perfect combination of sweetly cooked apples on a crispy crust with a hint of glazed sugar. Most special was the opening to the dinner, the prayer over the challah bread that her 8 year old daughter sang. I had never seen or heard this so it really was a special experience for us. I'm hoping whatever God/s are up there I can get their blessing too (blessed by association?).
At one point I say “This is so wonderful- so how could you have said you were bad Jews?”
Well, she tells me they hadn't gone to congregation over the holiday, they didn't do all the prayers and the food wasn't kosher. I let her know about my theory which is that holidays are what you make them-and what your kids remember. If they are stressful and negative no one looks forward to them year after year. So this was perfect. Do it as it works for you, your friends and your family. To me they were fabulous Jews. Great food, no judgement on open wine or picky eaters, inclusion of people with a different faith and the spirit of their holiday. I experienced someone's religious celebration and I believe we became better people for that. As we walked home I thanked him for being a good 11 year old at a dinner party and he said he was really glad he got to have that experience. Thank you neighbors!