Purim Recipes


Purim is coming! (Of course, that means Pesach is also coming, but I’m not going to think about that yet.) Filled with friends, family, and food, Purim is one of my favorite holidays. One thing I love is to see so many people I don’t normally get to see. Dropping off shalach manos and sharing a seuda, it is a time filled with achdus: brotherhood and unity.

Here is an easy menu for the Purim seuda. Serve the dips with challa for a pre-appetizer course. Then serve the soup and egg roll together (you can dip the egg roll into the Thai Coconut Corn Soup!). The brisket can be made ahead and frozen, and the zaatar oil dip keeps for three weeks in the fridge. 


Read More:Purim Recipes

Amona and the Arrangements Law


Before the Oslo “peace” accords, there were no hilltop outposts. When a group of Jews wanted to start a new town in Judea and Samaria, on empty government land, they did so, and the town immediately received governmental recognition.

       After Oslo, in order not to raise the ire of the Western powers, Israel stopped building new towns in Judea and Samaria but continued expanding old ones. Threats from such initiatives as Oslo, Wye, Annapolis, Camp David Two, etc, etc., led to the creation of “outposts,” new towns built from scratch outside the boundaries of the established towns of Judea and Samaria. The thinking was this: If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it.

Read More:Amona and the Arrangements Law

Toward a More Meaningful Purim

mishloach manos

Our Sages teach us that Purim is an even holier day than Yom Kippur, but this feeling of holiness can be hard to access. Especially for women, who are often very busy with the physical preparations and demands of the day, Purim can be a challenging holiday to relate to on a spiritual level. For that reason, many women find themselves feeling disconnected from the lofty ideals of the day.

These ideals, and the mitzvos of the day, are universal, but the way in which we connect to them must be personalized in order for our Purim to be meaningful. To do this, we need to utilize our own unique personality and strengths when relating to and engaging in the avoda (spiritual work) of Purim. This self-awareness of who we are and what works to connect us to Purim will help us (and those around us!) have a better experience overall and reduce the feelings of stress and burnout that come from pushing ourselves too hard, particularly in areas that don’t come as naturally to our personalities.

Read More:Toward a More Meaningful Purim

Behind The Scenes at CPAC with Ambassador John Bolton

john bolton


Over 10,000 activists from across the country poured into the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Prince George’s County on February 22-25, 2017, for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The conference, which is sponsored by the American Conservative Union (ACU), is held at the site annually. CPAC, established in 1973, is the premier gathering of the conservative political movement. This year’s conference had all of the notable names in conservative politics in attendance, such as Senator Ted Cruz, Ambassador John Bolton, Vice-President Pence, and even President Trump. It marked the first time a sitting president addressed the

Read More:Behind The Scenes at CPAC with Ambassador John Bolton

Crepes on Fire!

crepes on fire

Ooh la la! Crepes are delicious and French and can be very fun for the Purim seuda. They are also super-easy, healthy, can be made gluten free, and can filled with just about any filling you would be willing to eat. They can be savory or sweet and used as an appetizer, entree, or dessert. They can also be gussied up “Fancy Nancy” or a pedestrian street food.

Recently, I went to the TA tea and demonstrated how to make crepes suzette – or their much more exciting title, crepes on fire.  Where did crepes suzette come from? Crepes had already existed in France before 1896. The addition of the flambe and alcohol was the crucial new step that distinguished crepes suzette from plain crepes with filling.

Who made the discovery? It’s a mystery! Henri Charpentier (a young teenager at the time) claimed he created the dish by accident – accidentally setting fire to the alcohol in the dish in front of the then-Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) and that the king requested the dish to be named for his friend. Auguste Escoffier (of melba toast and culinary school fame) also claimed to have invented the dessert. Whoever created it (and I wish I knew definitively), the end result of orange butter, sugar, and crepes is truly delicious. The fire caramelizes the sugar and blends the flavors so amazingly that it elevates them to the next level.

Read More:Crepes on Fire!

Journal of a Kidney Donor


As told to Yael Mermelstei

Reprinted from Binah Magazine

November 12, 2013

I can’t get the story out of my head. There was a woman dying of kidney disease – a mother of a large family. She was getting weaker and weaker. Then finally, a matching kidney donor was found.

 The woman was back to her high-energy self within months, almost as if nothing had ever happened. Her children had their mother back because someone was altruistic enough to give her one of their kidneys.

As soon as I read the article, I felt strongly that this was something that I wanted to do too, but when I brought it up with my husband Shalom, he was pretty reluctant about the idea. The kids are still little and he was nervous that someone in the family might need my kidney one day. Why should I give it to a complete stranger?

Read More:Journal of a Kidney Donor

The Process of Making Wigs


Getting married in the Orthodox Jewish community is often synonymous with buying a wig. Married women have a mitzva to cover their hair and that is usually done by wearing a wig.

Walking in to Orna’s Wig Salon on Reisterstown Road, one is immediately faced with an entire wall covered with wigs. Dark wigs, blond wigs, and all shades in between. Curly wigs, long wigs, wavy wigs, and short wigs. How are all these wigs made? Are they made by hand, by machine, here in Baltimore or overseas?

Orna has her own line of wigs called “Orna Wigs,” and she is also an expert in wig repair. I asked her to explain how the hair on a wig goes from the head of a woman in Brazil to the head of a woman here in Baltimore.

Read More:The Process of Making Wigs

Going Out on a Limb for Our Kohen Roots


It all started about two years ago, after my family and I moved to the Greenspring section of town. We started davening at Agudah of Greenspring, and Rav Mordechai Shuchatowitz and his rebbetzin kindly invited us to their home for Shabbos lunch. Knowing that I am a kohen, the rav mentioned during the course of the seuda that it is not advisable for kohanim to drive down Old Court Road near the Druid Ridge Cemetery. When the rav explained there are Jews buried there and the overhang of the trees inside the cemetery fence creates a canopy – an extension of the cemetery – over the street, we were shocked. From the many Christian symbols on the tombstones that are visible when driving by, I had been sure it was a non-Jewish cemetery. Little did I know that it is a nondenominational cemetery, with a Jewish funeral taking place there about once every two weeks!

Read More:Going Out on a Limb for Our Kohen Roots

Chuck Norris meets Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

Read More:Chuck Norris meets Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

Ask the Shadchan


To the Shadchan:

I’m a regular Baltimore girl. I live at home with my parents and work as a professional. I’m considered pretty and accomplished, and have everything going for me. At 25, I’ve been dating for five years and am finding at least one aspect of it very stressful.

I keep hearing from shadchanim, my mother, and people in general that I should be going to shul and to other events and gatherings so that people will “see you and remember that you need a shidduch.” I’m constantly told that I have to look my best at all times – including makeup and perfect hair – whenever I leave the house.

Read More:Ask the Shadchan