With the flurry that surrounds a b'nai mitzvah celebration, we often lose sight that this day -- this passage from childhood to adulthood -- will be one of the most meaningful memories of his or her life.
Since today's weddings are rife with new traditions, why not serve your guests a rehearsal dinner menu infused with Champagne?
Although today's bar mitzvah parties are often as elaborate as yesterday's weddings, there's a new trend on the horizon -- a, noisy, jubilant oneg Shabbat and lunch directly after the ceremony, and a quiet, intimate dinner at home for a few close friends and family at night.
Yom Kippur's break the fast is the most anticipated meal of the year. Of course, it's because we're starving; we've been fantasizing about that first bite for the last 25 hours.
Monty Hall spent 27 years making outrageous deals with anxious contestants on his TV game show, "Let's Make a Deal." But the sweetest deal he ever made with his mishpachah was for a plate of pickled herring if they'd join him for Passover seder.
This year, 5763, Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the weekly observance that Sen. Joseph Lieberman calls "a sanctuary to put the outside world on hold and concentrate on what's really important -- your faith and your family." And although Lieberman, who was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000, will experience the same joy he feels every Friday night as he takes off his watch and prepares to get into the Sabbath mood, during Rosh Hashana all activities are heightened -- the prayers are longer, the conversation more intense, the urgency to evaluate the past year and make resolutions for a sweet New Year more palpable.
Of all our family traditions, the Passover seder is the one we look forward to the most. We all fight over who will host it, but no matter, everyone pitches in with the cooking, making sure the seder plate is appropriately filled, the multicourse table properly set. My father and brother, Dennis, share responsibilities for hiding the afikomen and rewarding the lucky child who finds it. Although my father leads the service, with Dennis by his side, all generations participate, down to my 6-year-old granddaughter, Tiara.
Because my ancestors were from Eastern Europe, specifically Latvia, Lithuania and Vilna, I am Ashkenazi. Just as I thought all Jews spoke Yiddish, a language I delight in because it's so colorful, I grew up thinking Jewish cooking was my mother's brisket and carrot tzimmes, my Granny Fanny's chopped liver and my Aunt Dorothy's blintzes with sour cream. That's not to mention the dishes my brothers and I used to giggle about because their names were so amusing -- knaidlach, kreplach and knishes.
At sundown on Monday we usher in the happiest day of our calendar, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. For the next 10 days we'll be called upon to reexamine our lives -- to wake up and not only smell the roses, but plant them for other people to enjoy.
This month, just a few weeks after the High Holy Days, Theodore Bikel will begin a national tour of the bittersweet musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," reprising his role as Tevye the milkman. "Everyone is a fiddler on the roof," he'll explain in his 1,600th performance of the part, "trying to scratch out a simple tune without breaking his neck. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!"