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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Chesed builds the world

This was the theme for last night's dinner. Chesed=kindness.



My in-laws, in a hurry to leave, left their apartment before we did, and of course we had to run around shutting off lights (this is not characteristic of them, btw. They must have been a hurry. Us? We'd leave them on. We're bad.) And we figured, fine. If they go ahead, we'd catch up at the dinner if nothing else.

And we caught up long before then, even without rushing. I suppose it's only to be expected. He's almost 85 and she's just 70, but her broken arm a few years ago cost her a lot - because of it, her walk changed and she developed sciatica. We reached them long before the bus stop. He's in excellent shape, but that's all relative (actually, he's in excellent shape absolutely. :))

The dinner itself was held at Jonathan's high school, which is one of very few entirely co-ed Orthodox Jewish day schools. By entirely co-ed, I mean that all classes in all subjects are co-ed. Most co-ed schools have separate classes for boys and girls (some with different religious curricula, too) at least from high school if not junior high school; most Orthodox Jewish schools are single sex. Personally, I have nothing against single sex schools in principle, and I do think that all other things being the same, some students probably benefit from that, but the different emphases short-change both groups in different ways, especially as one moves rightwards. But Ramaz (and Flatbush and Maimonides up in Boston) produces students who go to Ivy League schools after a year in Israel, and who largely stay religious.

Anyway, there was a cocktail hour first - I wandered around talking to people, drinking a rather nice cabernet sauvignon (this turned out to be a mistake) and nibbling on passed hot hors d'oeuvres - including a lovely grilled tuna on daikon radish. Also a pig in a blanket. :) I spoke to the people I knew, basically. Then we split up for four classes - this is honoring a yeshiva (for women) so it's the most logical thing. I went to one taught by a young rabbi about shiva etiquette.

This, btw, is weird. See, a few weeks ago, I taught a class on Parashat Shemini, which is the one where Aaron's sons die for bringing in strange fire. And we learned mourning customs from that parasha. Last week, I taught on Parashat Emor, which also talks about mourning customs. Last night, the only class that appealed to me was that one. Plus I paid a shiva call last Sunday.

This is just - too much for me to ignore but I don't want to know what it could mean.

However, the wine got to me - I have no tolerance - and I had to fight to keep awake in a fairly interesting class taught by a capable young rabbi.

After the class, there was an afternoon prayer service (done very quickly) and then we went to dinner. Dinner, btw, was delicious. First course was glazed salmon over slices of butternut squash, topped with mache greens, and with a couple of segments of grapefruit. I had about half the plate. Second was chicken breast (with the wing joint), saffron rice, a bundle of string beans and tiny, colorful, SWEET roasted peppers. I ate half the chicken, some of the rice and all the veggies. Jonathan finished the chicken for me. Dessert was this chocolate pyramid - chocolate cake wrapped around chocolate creme, with a thick chocolate shell. I had a tiny bite of each. Very rich, very yummy. There was also a half a poached pear and a fair amount of various berries (raspberries, black berries, blueberries) so I got to really enjoy dessert.

They also passed around plates of chocolate dipped strawberries plus various cookies. The strawberries were huge - so huge I was not sure about flavor, but my mother-in-law enjoyed them after removing the chocolate.

Jonathan heroically saved me from eating the white-chocolate dipped lace cookies. :)

The speeches were mercifully short, Rabbi Lookstein (the school principal) led the bentching and the counting of the omer and we caught a cab for home. And Jonathan got to talk with a lot of old friends and teachers - and so did I. Lovely evening.

Comments

There's fleishig white chocolate? (and chocolate creme?) Huh.

(Anonymous)

Pareve. Many things come pareve these days.

That was me. Oops.