Jewish Mommy Meme

I’m discovering a whole world of Jewish mommy bloggers, and I’m fantasizing about having one giant shabbat dinner together…..or maybe even a shabbaton? But for now a virtual shabbat will have to do. So here’s my shabbat meme, otherwise known as a shmeme. (Someone has to make these up, right?)
1. Challah – home baked or bought?
We used to bake our own, but the mom of my daughter’s best friend starting a baking business, makes delicious challah, and delivers right to school. So, home baked, but not by us….
2. Favorite shabbat meal:
Friday night is almost always chicken. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years, until the middle of my second pregnancy, and now I almost feel obliged to catch up on all the delicious chicken I missed. What I make depends on the selection at Trader Joe’s, since we don’t have a kosher butcher. 
3. Any creative shabbat rituals?
No, not really. I’m hoping to get inspired by some of the other responses.
4. Shul? With or without the kids? (yes, I know some of you are rabbis)
Rarely. Sometimes with the kids, when there is a child-friendly program, or once in a while when I read Torah or have to say kaddish or go to a bar-mitzvah.
5. Traditionally shomer shabbat? If not, what’s your definition/style?
Used to be, before I got married. Now it’s a work in progress. I find it hard to define shomer shabbat in any way other than Orthodox, but that’s not going to work for my family. Or probably for me anymore. I’d like to be both creative and consistent, but living in a community with very few shomer shabbat families, and with a non-Jewish spouse, it’s really a challenge. One I hope to rise to, however.
6. Favorite shabbat story/book
Friday Nights of Nana. Love this one! I do have a Shabbat book of my own coming out in Fall, 2011, but it’s not as good as Nana…
7. no seventh question – time to rest.
I’m tagging Ima on the Bima, Frume Sarah, Bible Belt Balabusta, Yo YentaAshi and Rami, and Dreamy Reads. (Is tagging enough? How do these meme things work, anyhow?) I hope they’ll keep it growing…..
Feel free to participate, even if I didn’t tag you. You can post your answers in the comments section below, or leave a link to your blog.

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Bible Belt Balabusta

posted May 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I am tickled to be included in this virtual Shabbat.
1. Challah – home baked or bought?
“Challah is taken” here in Nashville, but the bakeries churn out loaves lacking that certain Jewish something. We actually have one certified kosher challah source, but I never remember to get over to the Ortho shul in time to nab one. So we bake. If I run out of frozen extras, I bake cornbread in an iron skillet (and pretend it qualifies for a motzi).….
2. Favorite shabbat meal:
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes (not whipped), overcooked spinach, fresh Bradley tomato slices, iced tea.
3. Any creative shabbat rituals?
We sing the kiddush super loud and bang on the table during the latter part. Having dinner together is the real ritual, as it doesn’t happen every day. We wear our special kippot and use the kid-generated challah covers (on a rotating schedule).
4. Shul? With or without the kids? (yes, I know some of you are rabbis)
Never on Fridays unless there is a special kid service. On Saturdays we go if one of us is reading Torah or if we are feeling particularly guilty about the Toddler missing shul. He loves synagogue and would go all day every day. I am allergic to sermons.
5. Traditionally shomer shabbat? If not, what’s your definition/style?
Our style is always changing, but our ideal is a proper Shabbes dinner, sticking with the family and keeping the computer OFF for 24 hrs.
6. Favorite shabbat story/book
Friday nights get Shalom Aleichem (the song, not the pseudonym) and Jewish books….even holiday books half a year off schedule. I would LOVE to have a toddler-friendly Shabbat book. A real story. Like Mrs. Moskowitz (by Amy Schwartz), but for shorter attention spans. As it is, we make do with things like DK’s My First Shabbat Book, the old See Smell and Touch Shabbat (so old it no longer smells), and the aforementioned holiday books.
Bible Belt Balabusta

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Leigh Ann

posted May 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Ooooh, Homeshuler, thanks! (And a virtual-Shabbat Shalom to you.)
(Typing this one-handed with a wriggly Rami on my lap, please forgive errors….)
1. Challah is bought here. I have tried and failed miserably a number of times to bake it – I think I took out the week’s frustrations on it a little too vigorously because it was always crumbly. We actually just discovered that our local Wal-mart makes a delicious “egg twist bread” for half the price of the mediocre local Whole Foods’.
2. Favorite Shabbat meal is spaghetti and meatballs with challah garlic bread. Hands down.
3. We do things in a pretty standard fashion around here, ritual-wise. On 30 Friday nights a year we are with the college students on Friday nights, so the kids are running around Hillel in their jammies with assorted students. Two services, Reform and Conservative, candlelighting, Shalom Aleichem, and kiddush all together in the atrium, with me emceeing. 75-ish students on average, it’s really powerful.
Both Friday night and Saturday lunch we do a ritual at motzi that I made up – whoever can touch the challah does, whoever can’t touches someone who can. It’s really cool – one big Jew-web fills the room.
4. Shul? Ugh, no. We’re usually at Hillel till 10:00 on Fridays, and the boys are C-O-O-K-E-D. We spend Saturdays dealing with the aftermath. Once I tried going to have a personal prayerful experience, and I just ended up being cranky that I had to get ready at 9 on Saturday and then leave my boys for four hours (no way they could come, I was leyning, and David was not on board.)
Maybe when they’re out of the house. I’m not even making any statements of intent till then. :)
5. Nope. My camera makes me happy, and the TV makes DH happy, and Shabbos is pretty much the only time we get to spend with those things (when the boys are napping!) so we take advantage of it.
Also, we live 25 minutes away from Hillel, and Hillel is our home for Shabbat. Driving is not to be avoided.
6. In the “I-am-the-biggest-failure-of-a-rabbi-and-Jewish-mother” category, we don’t have any. Not a one! We’ll have to get yours.
7. Whew. Good thing you saw fit to build a rest into this whole thing. I think I get extra points for effort since Rami was trying to bang out a post as well. 😉
THANKS HOMESHULER!!!! You rock my Shabbos world, lady.

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posted May 24, 2009 at 11:14 pm

No. 1-4 are always in flux, but here are two thoughts:
5. Favorite Shabbat ritual:
When Sarah was almost two, we were with some friends and impromptu started dancing to “Shabbat Shalom” with her in my arms. Now it happens every week, with big gallumphing moves and spinning. (the sprinning seems to be key these days, but the dance evolves as she changes) Sarah likes to do it with whomever is visiting too — it definitely gets us all in the Shabbat spirit.
6. Favorite Shabbat book: Much, Much Better
It celebrates the joys of having guests and how things are better when they’re messy if it means a child is around. Sarah has really become more enthusiastic about Shabbat guests because of the book – have to avoid some of the anachronistic stuff in the book, but it is fun to have a book about Jews in Baghdad.

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posted May 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm

love it. i’m totally going to post my answers over on my blog…probably on tuesday….

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Shabbat Meme | A Mother in Israel

posted May 31, 2009 at 3:36 pm


posted June 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

Answers from a non-blogger (in central Israel):
Challah – home baked whole wheat for those who like it and bakery brought white for those who need it for their “oneg shabbat”. Sweet white from the Viznitz bakery for chagim.
Shabbat meal – glad to see I am not the only one whose family requires a standard, chicken centered Shabbat meal on Friday night! When we were first married we used to do different food all the time. Now we are setlled on: chopped liver and cucumbers right after the challah, while the chicken soup gets served. Soup comes with lukshen (noodles), soup nuts only on chagim. Roast chicken with onions underneath and seasoned bread crumbs on top (“aroma di toscana”s green spice blends work very well), potatoes or rice, cooked green beans in season, maybe roasted sweet potatoes or carrots, salty snacks and cake for dessert. Orange juice on the table is also a Shabbat treat. Lunch is more of same minus sopo and liver, might also have a tabboule or other cold salads – tehina and vegetables, beets or eggplant salads.
Creative Shabbat rituals – in winter when the Friday meal ends early, we all cleanup together and play a singing game. It’s called “alef”. One person calls out a-lef and then silently continues the alef-bet until someone else calls out “stop!”. Whoever said “a-lef” says what letter s/he got up to and whoever thinks of a song first gets to be alef next. Of course first we all sing the song together, and the Shabbat rules or only songs in Hebrew and only with nice words. Also pillow fights are sometimes allowed before bed on Shabbat.
Shul – nope
Shomer Shabbat – definitely
Favorite storybook – anything I can read to myself uninterrupted or anything the kids will let me read to them

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Modern Jewish Mom

posted June 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Great Idea! I know you didn’t tag my, but YoYenta did :)
1. Challah – homemade! Family would rebel otherwise. Current fave topping — egg wash with dried minced onions, dried minced garlic, sesame and poppy seeds and kosher salt “Everything Challah”
2. Favorite Shabbat meal – Traditional — roast chicken, roast potatoes, sauteed veggies in olive oil, lots and lots of wine, warm challah and something truly yummy for dessert.
3. Fave ritual — tie between blessing the kids and amazing dinner conversation.
4. Shul? Hard to squeeze in on Friday (unless going to the Rabbi’s for dinner.) Saturday morning.
5. Not shomer, but try not to work. Or talk about work. Or think about work. Kinda feel guilty when I’m at the mall (does that count?)
6. Waiting for yours to come out!
7. zzzzzzz

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Jewish Mommy Meme « Bible Belt Balabusta

posted June 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm


posted June 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm

1. Challah – home baked or bought?
Home baked, but the dough is done in a bread machine first. I’ve got the recipe posted here:
2. Favorite shabbat meal:
Each week is pot-luck with a bunch of friends and the food theme varies each week as well. Taco Shabbat was pretty entertaining. We have only appetizers and desserts when we start a new book of Torah (beginnings and endings). We keep joking that for the last portion of the Torah we should have ONLY dessert (my wife nixes the idea as FAR too unhealthy). Otherwise it’s hard to pick a favorite.
3. Any creative shabbat rituals?
As mentioned, we invite a bunch of friends, make the evening pot-luck and set a food theme that matches something in the weekly Torah portion.
Also, Shabbat (and Havdallah) are the only two nights we serve dessert. So our kids (now ages 18.14, 9 and 6) REALLY look forward to it.
4. Shul? With or without the kids? (yes, I know some of you are rabbis)
Yes, with kids. One of us goes down to “junior congregation” with the younger ones, the other stays upstairs for a few moments peace. Our shul does a full Musaf so we sometimes switch after the d’var Torah so that the other spouse can have quiet time.
5. Traditionally shomer shabbat? If not, what’s your definition/style?
Not at all. Not shomer, not kosher. Not against it, just not there yet. Like many, we’re trying to figure out how to make it work.
6. Favorite shabbat story/book
“Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath”. Out of print but you can still get old copies on Amazon
7. no seventh question – time to rest.

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posted January 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

1. Home baked based on the Ohel Rachel challah class. Otherwise, we just tried bagel challah made from the bagel shop and it was a big hit. I’ve heard in Los Angeles they have challah made from soft pretzel dough.
2. My fave shabbat meal is one that all four of my kids find something they will eat and doesn’t dry up or burn on/in the blech/plata/oven/heating drawer. I like to cook with color so if it is bright, colorful, and fresh then great!
3. I have a Shabbat box with special toys only to be played with on Shabbat. My two and a half year old asked for me to turn on the light in the playroom and quickly remembered that it was still Shabbat because the Shabbat toys were out. It creates something special that is tangible.
4. I have twin one year old girls. Davening or listening to davening is not an option with two on my lap. My two year old and five year old sit with my husband or go to groups. This past week I took the twins to the mommy and me class to alleviate cabin fever and socialize. It was nice for a change but too cold and too much work bundling and unbundling. I”m a big spring/summer goer. I love dressing up my three little girls.
5. I grew up in small Jewish community and went to public school. I understand the difficulties of observing shabbat without the support of a large Jewish community. Being shomer shabbat is now an intrinsic part of my spiritual and physical well being.
6. I’m not sure if I have a favorite specifically Shabbat themed book, but I love “Bagels from Benny,” by Aubrey Davis. It is a nice way to bring up discussions about G-d and midah keneged midah, measure for measure. <— check it out

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