La La Land

la-la

The musical is back and it is a fantasy salute to real life. Here’s to the people who dream & fail; dream & grow up to do something else; and most of all to the fools who make dreams come true (almost). This is entertainment that fits into the secret places in your heart where you laugh and cry when no one is looking. Watch it for the music & dancing if that’s your thing. Watch it for the acting (Gosling & Stone do it well). Watch it for the changing lanes motif. Watch it as a love letter to Los Angeles and the movies. It doesn’t matter why you watch it, just go and if you catch me crying during “The Fools Who Dream”, don’t tell anyone.

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Eighth Night

8th-night

Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

doughnuts

Doughnut Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2½ tbsp. butter (or oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Pour the warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar into a small bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Add the yeast mixture and knead until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Cover the bowl with a damp towel (or saran wrap) and place it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Roll the dough out to approximately ½-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter, or the mouth of a glass, to cut circles from the dough. Transfer the dough circles to a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet and set them aside to rise for 20 minutes.
  4. Fill a deep frying pan or wide-bottomed pot with 3 inches of canola oil. Heat the oil to 350°F / 180°C. Gently drop the doughnuts into the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Repeat until all doughnuts have been fried.
  5. Poke a hole in the side of each doughnut and insert filling (recipe below). Dust with confectioners sugar.

Yields: 20 doughnuts

Strawberry Filling Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup water
  • 5 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups strawberries

Directions:

  1. Heat the water and slowly add the cornstarch. Once the cornstarch has completely dissolved, add the sugar and strawberries.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Let mixture cool, then place it in a piping bag, or a zip-top bag. Cut off the corner and squeeze filling into the doughnut.
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Happy Hogmanay

bottle coalTomorrow will be New Year’s Eve.  There are certain experiences that should not be missed. These aren’t the climbing Everest type, just human places to be a certain times. A couple of them involve the New Year. If at all possible, find a group of real Scots, at least one of whom should be a dark haired man as you will need him after 12:01 a.m. for the first few minutes of 2017.   I can think of a few that I wouldn’t slam the door if they came calling in the wee hours, particularly if they were carrying really good scotch, but feel free to conjure up your own.

Scots are modern people.  They wear all modern clothes and while a few sport a daily work kilt, the full regalia is saved for special occasions.  They rarely play bagpipes daily and know how to use ATMs.  On New Year’s Eve they dig back into their past of the last 500 years and invest something special into the event. In modern day Scotland the street parties in Edinburgh or Glasgow are a sight to behold. In the small towns, the bonfires burn to bring back the sun.

In all of the places wherever they gather around the world, at midnight you cross your hands across your body and form a circle, and you sing only one song (all of it).   Each person in the circle represents all who can’t be there except in memory and the circle circles the world with each ticking of the clock and time zone.  Even though it is Burn’s version that is sung, he said that he was only recording a folk song that stretched way back in time. It is a song that looks backward to childhood and forward to old age. It is a wistful melody for things lost and things gained. A loose translation is provided after each

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

Translation:  Should past acquaintances and times now gone be forgotten and never thought of again?

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Translation:  You will have a drink and I will have one.  Together we will toast those times remembered.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

Translation:  In the past we ran around the hills and picked the daisies but since then we have traveled far apart

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

Translation:  In the past we went boating from dawn until evening but wide oceans separate us now.

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Translation:  So here’s my hand my trusted friend and give me your hand.  We will take a drink together to salute those still remembered times.

Once the New Year turns, the dark man bearing gifts of survival is welcomed at the door. It is considered fortunate if your first visitor on the 1st January is a tall dark stranger, armed with a lump of coal and a bottle of whisky. To this can be added the options of salt, shortbread and/or a black bun. That he should be dark is said to hark back to when a blond arrival might be a Viking, not always with the best of intentions towards home and family.

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Seventh Night

seventh-night

The flicker of these lights echo the flame of our souls.

Searching. Hoping. Longing to find their place in the world as children of the Most High.
A G-d who promises us redemption through miracle and prayer, seeking and knowing.
He is our guidance who dispels the darkness and opens caverns of hope and salvation to our minds, eyes and hearts.

On this Festival of Lights, this miracle of days, we rekindle the Hanukkah flame in search not only of what has already come, but for the steps we have yet to journey.
And we do so as did our ancestors: in truth.

Praise be to our G-d the Heavenly One who spins the world into adventure, and us into its illuminated song.

Amen.

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Sixth Night

sixthnight

 

dreidel-game

What You Need To Play

  • 1 Dreidel (or, accelerate the pace of the game by supplying each player with his/her own dreidel)
  • 2 or more players (the more the merrier!)
  • The “Ante”—nuts, pennies, nickels, chocolate coins, nuts, or just about anything else…
  • Flat Surface (such as floor or wide table) for dreidel spinning

How To Play

  1. All players sit around the playing area.
  2. The “ante” is equally divided amongst all players.
  3. Everyone takes a turn at spinning the dreidel; the one with the highest spin has first turn. (Nun is highest, then gimmel, hey, and shin.) If there is a tie for highest, those who tied spin again.
  4. Everyone puts one unit of the ante (penny, nut, etc.) into the pot.
  5. The one who has first turn is followed in clockwise direction by all the others.
  6. Player A spins the dreidel

Nun – Nothing Happens – Next Person Spins

Gimmel –  Spinner gets the whole pot and everyone puts a new bet into the pot

Hey – You take Half the pot.  In case amount uneven, take the lesser amount

Shin – Spinner must add another coin to the pot

Game ends when everyone gets tired of it sometime before next Chanukah

 

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