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I still think one of the Mystery Dates should have been in church or synagogue but that really wasn’t PC in a Milton Bradley game, circa 1965. Enjoy, apples and honey, sweetness – L’shana tovah to all (and happy anniversary to my husband, who was my mystery date on Kol Nidre in Park Synagogue 22 years ago).

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:11 am September 14th, 2012 in Holidays, Jewish, Judaism | 1 Comment 

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I’ve been writing this series of blog posts since the beginning, in 2005, and am pleased to say that I’ve progressed (aka gotten OLDER) to the point where my husband is making the meal, we have guests bringing the salad, I only have to make the apple pie and order my kids around to do everything else – and pick up the phone to get help for our afternoon brunch celebration.  I am lucky – very lucky.  And I’m grateful to that husband and those kids who make my luck possible and more plentiful everyday.

I can’t even think about how this past year, 5771, has been – full of an incredibly wide variety of activities, highs and lows. But really? I think I am getting that affliction my parents used to say was only for older folks (aka my Nana in particular, my father’s mother): you only remember the good – because I just don’t remember that much bad. Maybe there really wasn’t that much bad – certainly compared to the challenges of many I know, there wasn’t.  But could it be that I simply don’t remember the bad so much anymore?

I’m choosing to enter 5772 with the belief that there actually is less bad. For all the distrust in government (just read that the public’s trust in Washington, DC is down to 15%), just this morning a fellow elected called me with enormous glee at the reality that we are in fact having an impact – that those of us who chose to extricate politics from governing can be heard and agreed with and set a tone, and we’re not alone.  There is a place for politics – I love politics.  But I don’t like politics when they mess negatively with governing or the public’s trust.  And that’s a big part of what we’re getting year-round, every year, because there is no such thing as an off-year.

And so I’m going to keep working so that there is less bad all around. My kids are in demanding stages – rewarding stages, but demanding stages.  My work in my writing, at Council and now at The Civic Commons continues to be incredibly rewarding. I feel I’ve earned these opportunities but I never forget that that’s what they are and I must treat them that way to keep earning them.

And so I see 5772 as an opportunity – it’s a new year, I’ll be turning 50, I’ll be married 20 years, my oldest will graduate from high school (baruch ha Shem as we say).

Seriously – I can’t be heard to complain.  Or, as Connie Schultz’ sign says, No Whining.

Totally no whining.

L’shanah Tovah and thank you to everyone who has supported me – you don’t even know.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 1:24 pm September 28th, 2011 in Holidays, Jewish, Jill Miller Zimon, Judaism | 4 Comments 

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You can read President Obama’s greeting to those of us who start the Passover holiday this evening here. No word yet on the guest list for this third annual event, but the menu is said to include brisket, noodle kugel and macaroons. This historical review of how the Obama’s seder began says the group that attends “…is limited to those that attended the first year.”

I do question the noodle kugel, not because you can’t find Kosher for Passover noodles (or make your own) but usually? They taste…not so good.  Maybe I should send Michele and Barack my mom’s apple farfel kugel and potato kugel recipes.

Here’s evidence of the Maxwell House haggadah being in the House. We’ll have to wait word for what they use this year.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:56 am April 18th, 2011 in Barack Obama, Holidays, Judaism, Religion | 1 Comment 

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For those who’ve been reading my blog for the last seven years, you may recall my What Do Jews Do series (since then there’s been Purim 2009, Tisha B’av 2009, Passover 2010).  I haven’t added to it much lately, but then my prolific blogging has become far less prolific overall.

But today, I started to post a Facebook update that was just too long and decided to return to the blog to share the sentiments.

So – Passover cooking. It’s in a league of its own.  But Passover baking is yet another category unto itself.  And then, there’s the ultimate challenge: Passover baking for someone whose birthday is during Passover. Ah yes.

Here’s what happened the last time these events – a birthday in my house and Passover – coincided, in 2005: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:35 am April 16th, 2011 in Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Politics, Recipes, Religion | Comments Off 

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Happy Purim

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:00 am March 20th, 2011 in Holidays, Jewish, Religion | Comments Off 

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Merry Christmas

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Went to pick up my kids from an activity two nights ago and this came on the radio.  I had tears in my eyes remembering when it first came out.  Needless to say, my kids didn’t get why I thought it was funny.  Have a happy, everyone.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:08 am December 25th, 2010 in Holidays | Comments Off 

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Excerpt from Cleveland Family Mommy Matters:

Being Jewish, I love that my kids learn and understand that Chanukah and all the Jewish holidays are special unto themselves and best when not combined with other religions’ holidays. I never wanted to celebrate Christmas in my home growing up, and I have no desire to do so now.

Still, every year when Christmas comes around, I get smiley and wistful because of a cultural link made before I probably was able to read. This link, through a childhood friend and her family, has let me be exposed to Christmas and other holidays in memories I continue to cherish and, most important to me, in a way that has never been a threat to my own religion’s convictions.

Chappy Chanuka, Merry Christmas, Celebrate Kwanzaa and Happy New Year.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:58 pm December 7th, 2010 in Holidays, Religion, Writing | 1 Comment 

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You can read it here – it’s an oldie but a goodie and true.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:08 am December 4th, 2010 in Holidays, Jewish, Religion | Comments Off 

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Haveil Havalim #275: The “I’m so busy that putting together this blog carnival is actually what substitutes for taking a break” Edition.

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by the formidable Jack.

No enthusiastic experiments this week like last week’s edition, but I’ll see what I can do to keep it flowing:

Culture

Batya presents If I Were To Wear A Wig… posted at me-ander. Side-note: my daughter is into anime/manga and desperately wanted to wear her character’s wig. Did not work out so well, but maybe if I wore one, she’d have been conditioned? FYI, here’s a fascinating post on Jews in Anime and Manga.

Kissmeimshomer presents Get With the Program, an entry I read to be about parallel lives, and choices, posted at Kissmeimshomer.

Izgad offers a book review in An Anthropologist Does ArtScroll: A Review of Orthodox by Design posted at Izgad.

Izgad also addresses dress codes, values and what price people are willing to pay in Of Matisse, Skirt Lengths and Teaching Skills posted at Izgad.

Mordechai Torczyner speculates in Why does Cleveland hate LeBron James? posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband. But I can tell you, having just driven past the famous “Witness” wall last night on my way to a friend’s 40th birthday party in downtown Cleveland that, as a parent, LeBron’s decision just sends a bad message – if it doesn’t have to be about money, then it can be about winning.  And that seems to make it not be about life.

Humor

Mrs. S. presents A tale of two graduations (possibly alternatively titled, “Expectations Explained”?) posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress.

Israel

Shira sounds a theme I’ve read in other posts regarding Segregation in Israeli Schools Today posted at Table Poetry.  It’s posts like this one and Mottel’s that make me ache for us to have ever-larger audiences though, so the nuances of such situations can be known and acknowledged.

Joel Katz’s weekly podcasts can be listened to here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 1) and here, Religion and State in Israel – July 5, 2010 (Section 2) (both posted at Religion and State in Israel).

Ben-Yehudah’s Loyalty To The State? piece reminds me of the “First they came for…” reading many of us have heard or read for decades.  His entry is posted at Esser Agaroth.

Harry gives kudos to good writing in A bissle culture posted at ISRAELITY.

Then, Harry describes how a rocker expresses his love for Israel in A porcupine tree grows in Tel Aviv, also posted at ISRAELITY.

Finally, Harry looks at just how frequently all-things-Israel get mentioned in How Kagan’s hearing turned into an Israeli focus, you know where it’s posted.

Ilana-David publishes an intriguing Weekly Interview: Baila, accompanied by nice photos, at Ilana-Davita.

The World Cup and a meal led David Levy to write this rather deep entry about Rethinking Germany, posted at Jewish Boston.

Batya highlights PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Larry King “Fencing” Around The Chess Board complete with video and a link to the show’s transcript, posted at Shiloh Musings.

Susan Barnes presents a cute, flip take on her, ahem, hatred of  Tel Aviv posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah.

Then, Susan reflects on how easy it is to realize, here in the U.S. how one is No Longer in Israel, also posted at To Kiss A Mezuzah.

In Religion Taken Too Far, posted at The Israel Situation, Eric writes about his impressions of the multi-faceted situation in Immanuel.

Then, Eric offers his opinion on Israel Offers Peace Talks, PA Says No and wonders what we think, again at The Israel Situation.

Judaism

Batya argues, “It’s not enough to feel the spirit” in Torah Judaism, Is It Enough to Be Spiritual Without Keeping The Laws? posted at Shiloh Musings. A very provocative topic indeed.

(I love the name of this blog): Homeshuling presents What’s Jewish about competitive eating? – Homeshuling posted at Home-shuling.

Mottel’s lengthy but absolutely worth the full-read, A Fire Burns in Crown Heights: An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza, has implications, imo, for all kinds of situations, religious and non.  It’s posted at Letters of Thought.

Kissmeimshomer examines religion and happiness in Killing Babies and Understanding Brad Pitt’s Depression at Kissmeimshomer.

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver discusses levels of commitment to our faith in The corrosive impact of half-hearted worship, posted at A Chassidishe farbrengen.

Ben-Yehudah gives some technical advice with illustrative illustrations in Do You Pay Attention To The Google Ads On Your Site? posted at Esser Agaroth.

David Levy’s Book Review: Empowered Judaism might add to your summer reading list, posted at Jewish Boston.

I don’t know whether or not I’d recommend this to someone consider being a rabbi but Mordechai Torczyner’s entry, Why Rabbis Stop Believing, posted at The Rebbetzin’s Husband, sure raises a lot of good conversation points.

Minnesota Mamaleh’s Minnesota Mamaleh: Tradition!, posted at TC Jewfolk, is an excellent counter-balance to Batya’s belief (linked to above) that spirit alone doesn’t do it.

Kashrut

The title of Joshua Waxman’s entry faked me out so it’s a good thing he included what category Anisakis worms and peshat in Kukyanei, according to Rashi and Rabbenu Tam belonged to (posted at parshablog).

Personal

Shira confesses a bit in Material Girl posted at Table Poetry.

Rachel Moore describes the classic chaos we often go through just to get to the rest we need in Chugga Chugga aahhhh, posted at Ima 2 Seven.

Don’t read this entry unless you want to be baking today – the photo alone in Miriyummy’s Dulce Dog Days of Summer, at Miriyummy is going to seduce you.

Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters shows us how we can find a lesson pretty much anywhere in Old and Wise, posted at lubavitch.com Chabad-Lubavitch news site.

To the question raised in Hadassah Sabo Milner’s WWYD – hair covering, posted at In the Pink? I always always do what you did.

The title of Chaviva’s entry, Once Upon a Time, I Was Agnostic. posted at Just call me Chaviva, reminds me of when I was a freshman at Georgetown and we had to pick a second mandatory theology class (the one all frosh have to take is called The Problem of God), and I first encountered the word, “gnosticism.”

Politics

Batya presents skepticism in Obama’s All Teeth …, posted at Shiloh Musings.

Lady-Light writes about what she sees as A Disturbing Assessment of President Obama, posted at Tikkun Olam.

Independent Patriot’s perspectives on the same event can be read in the Oval Office Nonsensical Dance, posted at Liberty’s Spirit.

Torah

I can’t even pretend I know what he’s talking about given my insufficient education in this area, but I bet a lot of you will enjoy Joshua Waxman’s Demonic messages between Sura and Pumbedita, posted at parshablog.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Thank you all for your submissions – they make me sad for all the time I have not had or made to read and keep up on often gripping and always real thoughts on these subjects.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:20 am July 11th, 2010 in anti-semitism, Barack Obama, Civil Rights, conservatives, Culture, democracy, Education, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, George Bush, Government, Holidays, intolerance, Israel, Jewish, Judaism, leadership, Military, palestinians, peace, Politics, Recipes, Religion, Sexism, Social Issues, Sports, war, Women, Writing, Youth | 13 Comments 

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This photo of President Obama’s 2010 seder shows that the Maxwell House Haggadah is a two-peat choice for telling the Passover story - way to go Maxwell House. You can read more about the seder here (the menu is similar to what I served except we didn’t do brisket, chicken or asparagus – and we had kosher for Passover rocky road browniese and matzah caramel crunch with our coffee, and a lot of wine from Israel).

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:19 am March 30th, 2010 in Barack Obama, Holidays, Jewish, Religion | Comments Off 

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Who called just as our seder was starting:

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:57 am March 30th, 2010 in Campaigning, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Politics, Religion | 1 Comment 

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We make the same foods over and over because repeating a good menu is a lot easier than coming up with a new one each year. Just change the people around.

Aw – just kidding. Here are my three favorite kosher for Passover recipes but pretty much everything we make I would recommend:

Rocky Road Brownies

Popovers

Caramel Matzah Crunch

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:27 pm March 28th, 2010 in Holidays, Judaism, Recipes, Religion | Comments Off 

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Because there simply is not enough challenge in Pepper Pike, or my freelance writing work, or raising my three kids, and I am addicted to multi-tasking (unlike some of our Congressional members who insist on doing only one thing at one time), I’ve decided, on this Purim 2010, to pull petitions and run as a member of the newly formed Coffee Party for:

Cuyahoga County Executive: Vote Zimon – She’s No Retread

B’nai Jeshurun Synaogogue President: Vote Zimon – Enough With This Predetermined Stuff

American Jewish Committee: Vote Zimon – She Tells Scott What To Do Anyway

Ohio Bar: Vote Zimon – She’s Married To A Practicing Lawyer And That’s Good Enough For Us

National Association of Social Workers: Vote Zimon – Talk About Talk Therapy!

Last year, my slogan was, Don’t Get Mad, Get Elected.  But now, on Purim, I want to make it clear that my newest mantra is: Don’t Get Elected, Get Overextended!

And if my enthusiasm for simultaneously running for multiple top spots sounds a little circumspect, at a minimum, do check out the Coffee Party.  It actually sounds kinda cool:

MISSION: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Follow the Coffee Party at its Facebook fan page and on Twitter. Read about it in these news items.

And for those who didn’t know, one Purim tradition is parody. Although note that I did not say I’d also run as an Independent for Ohio Treasurer or my state rep’s seat.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:03 am February 28th, 2010 in Holidays, Humor, Jewish, Judaism, Religion | 10 Comments 

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I always got a kick out of how Israeli pop radio didn’t call The Police “The Police” – Americanizing the name, but rather Ha’Mishtarah – or, “The Police” in Hebrew.   Likewise, I got a kick out of the in-Hebrew Hannukah greeting posted (in pdf though) by the White House last week:

הבית הלבן משרד הדובר

לפרסום מידי 11 דצמבר 2009
הצהרת הנשיא אובאמה לרגל חג החנוכה
מישל ואנוכי שולחים את מיטב איחולינו לכל מי שחוגג בימים אלה את חג החנוכה ברחבי העולם. סיפור חנוכה של המכבים ושל הנסים שהם חוו מזכירים לנו שאמונה והתמדה הן כוחות עצומים המסוגלים לקיים אותנו בתקופות קשות ולעזור לנו לגבור על מכשולים כנגד כל הסיכויים.
חנוכה הוא העת לא רק לחגוג את אמונת העם היהודי ואת מנהגיו, אלא להעלות על נס את השאיפות המשותפות של בני כל הדתות. בשעה שבני משפחה, חברים ושכנים נאספים יחדיו כדי להדליק את הנרות, מי יתן והלקחים של חנוכה ישמשו השראה לכולנו להודות על החסד שנפל בחלקינו, למצוא מקור אור בתקופות אופל ולפעול יחדיו למען עתיד יותר מלא אורה ותקווה.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:56 pm December 14th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Religion, Whitehouse09 | Comments Off 

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In the what do Jews do series for Chanuka this year, they can watch and listen to U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah and Mormon) and his most excellent Chanuka song (video below).

Let me tell you, after sitting through 90 minutes of a middle school band and orchestra concert during which each group played the same exact Chanuka medley (which is often the one played every year), I want to start a letter-writing campaign to have Hatch come and orchestrate his piece for adaptation to high school music curriculums. (More on how Hatch came to write the song here, from the New York Times, and from Tablet Magazine, which released the video, and written by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, here.)

Chag Sameach everyone.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:55 pm December 11th, 2009 in Culture, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Music, Politics, Religion, senate, Writing | 9 Comments 

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Mata at BlogHer wrote a nice post at BlogHer about Tisha B’av, which begins this evening, and includes a fast and ends tomorrow at sundown.  I couldn’t figure out how to get photos into my comments at her post, so I decided to just post them here with a brief narrative.

The occasion commemorates the destruction of the Temple, twice, and other catastrophic events in the Jewish calendar that have occurred at the same time.  Last year, my family and I were in Jerusalem during the holiday and my husband, son and I went, at midnight, to the Western Wall, with many of our fellow travelers, to observe. Here’s what we saw:

This view is from above and west of the Western Wall.  The large wall-looking thing on the right is actually a ramp that goes up to the Temple Mount, which is where Jews theoretically aren’t supposed to go because we don’t the exact spot that is the holiest spot (where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac) and where two well-known mosques reside.  You can see the dome of one of them in the far left corner in the upper part of this photo.  The view straight on are all the people both at the praying sections closest to the wall and then people milling about in the foreground. The women’s side is just below the ramp and the men’s side is on the left.  It’s hard to discern in this photo, but there is a long dividing wall about 1/3 away from the right side of the photo.  That division is extended for this holiday.

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This view is a closer look at the ramp leading to the Temple Mount and the other mosque that is on the mount area.  You can see the women’s section on the left side of the ramp, below.  It’s a long story, but the original ramp collapsed a few years ago and was much further to the right.  The reconstructed ramp really cuts into the women’s observance area.

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This view is from the ground level of the esplanade in front of the wall.  It is absolutely packed, and we were there until about 1 or 1:30am.  As we were leaving, thousands more were coming in and in fact our rabbi and others saw people they knew, and people they hadn’t seen in years, as they came in for the holiday.  All told, they see that somewhere around 250,000 are there at any one time during this evening, peaking around 3 or 4am.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:49 am July 29th, 2009 in Holidays, Israel, Jewish, Judaism, Religion | Comments Off 

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The White House blog posted this photo* of last night’s seder:

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The president and his guests are using the Maxwell House Coffee Haggadah (which is the one we used at our cantor’s home on the first night). I recognized the outside decorations immediately, double-checked them here and then zoomed in on the official photo.

Here’s a close-up of the haggadah in President Obama’s hands and the one being held by the guest to Obama’s right:

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You can see “Maxwell House” in white print on top of a blue box background.  This haggadah is extremely traditional and continues to be used my millions of Jews in the United States.  The Jewish Press says,

Maxwell House coffee has been recognized as a friend of the Jewish community since 1923, the year the well-known brand became certified as Kosher for Passover – the first coffee to seek this important designation. Then, about a decade later, working with Joseph Jacobs Advertising and an Orthodox rabbi to ensure accuracy, Maxwell House printed their first haggadah.

More than 70 years later, Maxwell House is still partnering with Joseph Jacobs to deliver the longest running sales promotion in advertising history. To this day, over 50 million haggadahs have been printed, making it the most widely used haggadah in the world.

I’m guessing the publisher is going to have a nice boost in production next year, nu? You can read another interesting historical review of the Maxwell House Haggadah here. Mark Oppenheimer, at Slate.com (and with whom I’m familiar because of his run at my hometown’s alt weekly, The New Haven Advocate) does a nice review of the myriad styles of haggadot now available here, and concludes that the Maxwell House one is his favorite: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:03 pm April 10th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Politics, Religion, Whitehouse09 | 12 Comments 

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The Los Angeles Times has the scoop:

The White House, which kept the dinner on the schedule because it had been announced, would not say who had sought invitations.

Most of those invited had also attended a Seder dinner last year on the campaign trail in Harrisburg, Pa. When campaign workers couldn’t get home to celebrate the holiday with their families, they organized a celebration in the Sheraton Hotel’s basement.

Two of the highest-profile Jewish members of the administration did not plan on attending this year’s Seder: Axelrod and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisors, and family friend Eric Whitaker were among those invited. Gibbs said about 17 to 20 were expected to attend.

The menu:

The Seder served a kosher-style spread including matzo, bitter herbs, a roasted egg and greens in the White House’s old family dining room.

I just hope they used the white stuff.  You all who’ve been to a seder – you know what I’m talking about.  It isn’t a real seder unless there’s the cough-inducing, sinus-clearing white stuff.

Update: From Lynn Sweet, more on the guest list, along with a photo.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:25 pm April 10th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Politics, Religion, Whitehouse09 | Comments Off 

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For the gazillioneth time but never you mind – it’s an oldie but a goodie. Love, drama, death, birth – everything.

Thank you to Cleveland About.com and Sandy Mitchell for again publishing my version of what Jews do when they celebrate or observe a holiday. Hope you enjoy it too:

Northeast Ohio Celebrates Passover 2009

By Jill Miller Zimon at 4:05 pm April 8th, 2009 in Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Religion, Writing | 2 Comments 

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Last night, I read about President Obama’s letter wishing those individuals who celebrate Passover a good holiday. Now comes word that there will be a seder in the White House:

US President Barack Obama will celebrate Passover Thursday night with staff and friends in what is believed to be the first White House Seder attended by an American president.

The event was slipped onto the president’s public schedule Tuesday night with little fanfare, following a letter signed by Obama earlier in the day wishing Americans who mark the day a “peaceful and relaxing holiday.”

Though Passover starts on Wednesday evening, Obama will be hosting the second Seder, on Thursday night, apparently so that those in attendance can celebrate with their families on the first night.

The guest list was not immediately available, though it is likely to include top Obama advisors David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, both of whom are Jewish, as well as some of the key Jewish donors to Obama’s presidential campaign.

Rabinowitz said that though he hadn’t been invited, “I’m only sorry that I won’t be there to see the president and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel say at the same time, ‘Once we were all slaves. Now we are all free.’”

I wonder if they’re going to do the 60 minute version, the two-minute version or would they like to purchase the rights to use my friend’s script, created by her three children, all under 10 years old?

There’s also my ten plagues version which they could just show on a big screen in the theater and literally do the one minute version:

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Chag sameach (and President, do NOT drink the Manischewitz – get the good stuff, and don’t eat too much matzah – really).

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:03 am April 8th, 2009 in Barack Obama, Culture, Holidays, Jewish, Judaism, Politics, Religion, Whitehouse09 | 3 Comments 

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