Did You Know…

There is a Jewish Valentines day, and it ain’t February 14th

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The Jewish Valentines Day is Tu B’Av, and is a holiday for men and women to enjoy together.

Tu B’Av (the 15th of the month of Av) occurs in early summer, and the restrictions on women are lifted. They are encouraged to dress in white and dance in the fields and vineyards (historically, if not practiced today)

Tu B’Av occurs less than a week after Tisha B’Av (the 9th of the month of Av), and is considered to be a day to regain our composure and think good thoughts again.

The Superbowl is going Kosher

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This year, for the first time ever, a deal has been struck to provide Jews at the Superbowl with Kosher food!

Kosher Sports Inc., a foods provider to a number of ballparks and stadiums, mostly on the East Coast, will be vending their Kosher foods at Miami’s Dolphins Stadium for both the Superbowl and Pro Bowl in 2010.

Some of the available foods include hot dogs, sausages and salami sandwiches!

Read more about it here.

David Beckham is kind of Jewish

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Perhaps you’ve heard of him. From what we can tell, he’s a pretty good soccer players. Well, a few years ago, Beckham, the European-turn-American soccer player with a large cross tattoo on his chest, found out that his mother comes from a Jewish family.

Beckham wasn’t raised a Jew, and doesn’t practice any religion these days, but upon finding out that he was “half Jewish” (his words, not ours), he got a tattoo on his arm that reads, “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me,” a quote that some of you might recognize from the Song of Songs (Ani L’Dodi, V’Dodi Li).

Christoph Waltz’s Son is a Rabbi

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Christoph Waltz, the Golden Globe winner who played a Jew hunter in the movie “Inglorious Basterds” isn’t a Jew, but according to an interview with Quentin Tarantino, the movie’s director, Waltz’s son is a rabbi in Israel.

Worldwide Jewish Population Growth is roughly 0%

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The global population grows by roughly 1.4% each year, yet in a recent study, the global Jewish population grew by just 0.3%. That means the Jewish population is shrinking, compared to the rest of the world’s population.

Of the 13.3 million Jews in the world, almost 40% live in Israel, and a whopping 46%(6.5 million) live in the United States! In all, 90% of the Jewish population resides in just five countries — The U.S., Israel, France, Canada, Britain and Russia.

Prior to World War II, the Jewish population was over 17 million people. It dropped to nearly 11 million following the Holocaust, and although it rebounded to 12 million within 13 years, it took another 40 years to gain another million people.

What does the future hold for the Jews? One study suggested that by 2080 the Jewish population in Israel would double to roughly 10 million Jews, while the American Jewish population would decline by almost one-third.

Food for thought as you choose between Jdate and match.com to find your beshert :)

To read more about these statistics, please visit our source. All statistics are based on a 2001 study. Statistics vary.

Ballparks are becoming kosher… kinda

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Ok, maybe that title was a bit of an exaggeration, but more and more these days you are able to find kosher and ‘Jew-friendly’ foods in stadiums.

From vegetarian, pre-packaged and salad options at almost every stadium in the country, to food stands that are certified Kosher at eight different sports venues along the eastern seaboard, including the USTA National Tennis Center, the Jews have spoken, and are being heard!

How do they continue to thrive? It turns out that Kosher food generally tastes better than non-Kosher food. Plus, since ballpark food is already so expensive, the premium price for Kosher food isn’t all that high in comparison.

As an added bonus, at all eight of the stadiums with Kosher food stands, a time is designated for people to gather and hold minyan! While most services attract a meager attendance, at Shea Stadium in New York they see a regular crowd of 100 daveners or more!

Kosher champagne doesn’t have to come from manischewitz

Monday, December 28th, 2009

There’s a common misconception that all kosher wines are sweet and make you feel a little queezy when consumed in any large volume. Well, it’s time for a New Year’s toast, and there are plenty of options out there to fill your glass this year, most costing more than $4.95 at the grocery store.

Do you know what the difference is between kosher and non-kosher wine (side-Did You Know…)? An observant Jew must handle the product from the time the grapes are picked, until it’s bottled. That’s it. That’s the only difference! Kosher wine, at it’s very core, does not need to be boiled.

Knowing that, we found several big names producing runs of kosher wines and champagnes, including Laurent-Perrier, a fine French winery, who’s brut and Rose Champagnes sell in the $100+ range, a stark contrast from the Rashi and Bartenura bottles for $15.

So, this New Year’s Eve, raise a glass and toast some expensive Kosher champagne, and then send a bottle our way… We’ve never tasted $100 champagne.

Jews Play Poker on Christmas Eve

Monday, December 21st, 2009

You’ve heard the one about Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas, but have you heard the one about playing cards?

It’s true! And even more-so than the Chinese food “tradition”. For years, rabbis have been in agreement that gambling on Christmas eve isn’t such a bad thing.

The custom dates back centuries, when, in Central and Eastern Europe Jews were afraid to leave their homes to study Torah at the synagogue on Christmas eve, fearing that they would be attacked in the streets. Instead, they would stay home and play cards or chess with their families.

Today, the tradition of playing poker on Christmas Eve has evolved, since most of us aren’t fearful of being attacked. Instead, rabbis explain that it’s better that Jews be engaged in games, even gambling, if it means they aren’t involved in celebrating Christmas.

So, this Christmas eve, may Lady Luck be on your side, rather than Father Christmas.

The First Hanukah Gifts were Tzedakah!

Monday, December 14th, 2009

These days, it’s become tradition to give friends and relatives gifts on Hanukah. But did you know that originally, Hanukah gifts, or “gelt,” were small amounts of money, given to children, who were then instructed to give it to tzedakah as a way of sharing the blessings of Hanukah.

Over time, that custom shifted, and the children kept the gelt for themselves, thus missing the point of the exercise. The purpose has become even more skewed, as gelt for tzedakah has been replaced by toys and other gifts.

So, maybe this year, we can kick it old-school and give a little bit to charity on one night, as we open our Nintendo Wii or new sweater the next.

The original latkes were cheese — not potato!

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Any historian worth his weight in potatoeswould tell you that the potato was a new-world food, introduced to Europe well after the story of Hanukah took place 2200 years ago.  Thus, it was pretty difficult for anyone to make potato latkes back in the old-world.

It is therefore believed that the first fried pancakes at Hanukah time were made of cheese and egg, rather than the delicious potato concoctions we enjoy today.

Wanna try a cheese latke?  You’ll find a few cheesy recipes here, as well as all sorts of other strange latke blends, you probably never knew existed!