Jazz enthusiast, food lover, and KPLU midday host Dick Stein. (Photo courtesy KPLU)
“I’m completely non-practicing and in fact a (polite) atheist with a very dim view of religion in general,” jazz radio host Dick Stein averred in an email when I contacted him for an interview. I assured him I couldn’t care less. What I wanted to talk about was that cultic Jewish practice — an obsession with food.
Stein, as he is called, has been rockin’ the jazz on KPLU-FM out of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma since 1992. Every Wednesday he co-hosts and produces a short eating and cooking segment, “Food for Thought,” with Seattle Times food writer, Nancy Leson (profiled Jan. 29, 2010). For Thanksgivukkah this past November, Stein and Leson invited traffic reporter Sprintz Arbogast (profiled April 26, 2013) and Shabbos Goy Nick Morrison, to talk about foodie approaches to this unusual confluence of Jewish and American holidays. The result, Stein says, was one of
the show’s most popular segments, which you can hear at www.kplu.org/post/happy-thanksgivikah.
Growing up “a big jazz fan” in New Rochelle, N.Y., Stein missed out on early rock ’n’ roll “because I was such a jazz snob.” He would take the train to New York City to go to Birdland, “where they had an underage section,” sporting his tab-collar shirts and Slim Jim ties.
The Air Force brought him to Alaska, where he had a radio show. In 1976 he moved to Washington State. He worked as a freelance copywriter and voice talent on and off, and started a chimney sweep business before landing occasional work at KPLU which led, eventually, to a full-time gig.
“I’ve always been interested in food,” he says, and when he left home for college, and wherever else he lived, “I set myself a goal of learning to make the things I couldn’t get…that I had grown up loving,” meaning those New York delicacies like bagels and Chinese food, pizza, rye bread, even celery soda. There’s one exception. Stein has never made pastrami.
“My impossible dream,” he calls it.
When not on the radio or in the kitchen, you might find Stein at the casino. He’s been a serious poker player for many years, he says, and turns a profit every year. But you won’t find him hiking, skiing, boating or climbing. “Everything sedentary” are his hobbies, he says. “I don’t own one thing that contains Gore-Tex.”
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A few months ago I was flipping through my Money Mailer coupons, when a familiar face stopped me. “Hey, I know that guy,” I said.
That guy is David Calderon, Seattle native and owner of Kenmore Auto in Kenmore.
David grew up in Seattle’s Seward Park neighborhood where his family went to Ezra Bessaroth. His dad was always fixing things, and that inspired him. “Whatever he fixed, I was always there, just watching,” David recalls, adding that his brother had cars and enjoyed working on them, too.
“I just took an interest in cars…especially the older cars.” He currently has a 1957 Chevrolet two-door hard top “in really nice shape.”
David started doing car repair in 1981 at a used car lot, eventually branching out into his own business in Skyway. When cars became computerized, he got computer-shy, sold the business, and took a few sales jobs. One involved using an automated shipping system and he began to learn his way around computers.
“I really enjoyed it and understood it,” he says. Eventually, he realized, “I knew computers, I knew cars, it could be a good mix.” He started Kenmore Automotive in 2001 and slowly built the business, including hiring a manager who is still with him today.
He just began his 14th year in business, which he discovered is recession-proof.
“Instead of buying,” he says, customers “were fixing their cars,” a trend that has carried into the recovery. If David has a complaint, it’s that auto technicians are hard to find. The loss of auto shop in high schools and vocational training in general is “a big challenge for this industry.”
Before he went into the business, he and his wife Jeannette agreed he would not be “married to the shop.” He’s always operated Monday to Friday, taking a couple of vacations a year with Jeannette and their college-age kids, Aaron and Rebecca.
With many long-time clients, David is rightfully pleased with his good reputation.
“A lot of my business comes from word of mouth,” he says. “You can see the reviews online.” (Do that at www.kenmoreauto.com.) Customers tell him how much they appreciate an honest mechanic.
“I’m just a straight shooter,” he says.
Rabbi Joachim Prinz, fourth from left, joined a group of civil rights leaders to meet with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office. (Photo: Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress)
The year 2014/5774 marks a 50th anniversary milestone in the struggle for civil rights in the United States. On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act enacted by the 88th Congress. It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of that moment. The past 50 years of progress in the rights of women, the movement for the freedom of Soviet Jews, as well as the struggle for liberation for the LGBTQ community all are predicated on the success and strategy of Dr. King and his supporters.
The act was the culmination of years of marches, sit-ins and protests. In this brief article, I would like to honor the contribution to the struggle by four heroic American rabbis, two of national prominence and two local Seattle-area heroes.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Joachim Prinz were two “brands plucked from the fire” of the Holocaust, both of whom rose to national prominence primarily due to their association with Dr. King.
Heschel marched with King in Selma and his oft-quoted reflection, “I felt that my feet were praying,” is one of the signal mottos of the movement. Dr. Heschel, who was also a Biblical scholar and poet, was the first to express the solidarity of Jews with their African-American brothers and sisters. His remarks at a conference of “religion and racism” on January 14, 1963 are as relevant today as when he spoke these words over 50 years ago:
At the first conference on religion and race, the main participants were Pharaoh and Moses. Moses’ words were: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me.” While Pharaoh retorted: “Who is the Lord, that I should heed this voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”
The outcome of that summit meeting has not come to an end. Pharaoh is not ready to capitulate. The exodus began, but is far from having been completed. In fact, it was easier for the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea than for a Negro to cross certain university campuses….
Religion and race. How can the two be uttered together? To act in the spirit of religion is to unite what lies apart, to remember that humanity as a whole is God’s beloved child. To act in the spirit of race is to sunder, to slash, to dismember the flesh of living humanity. Is this the way to honor a father: to torture his child? How can we hear the word “race” and feel no self reproach?...
Few of us seem to realize how insidious, how radical, how universal an evil racism is. Few of us realize that racism is man’s gravest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking.
A few months later, at the historic march on Washington, another refugee rabbi, Joachim Prinz, was given the unenviable task of speaking directly before Dr. King. Clearly they had not compared texts because Prinz’s words were so close to the words that followed. To me, the words of this man who served a congregation in Berlin under Nazi rule are just as eloquent and even more poignant. Though forgotten largely by history, they deserve to be read over and over again:
As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea.
As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a two-fold experience — one of the spirit and one of our history.
In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity….
When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence….
A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder.
America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent. Not merely black America, but all of America. It must speak up and act, from the President down to the humblest of us, and not for the sake of the Negro, not for the sake of the black community but for the sake of the image, the idea and the aspiration of America itself.
One month before the signing of the Civil Rights Act, Dr. King was joined by 16 rabbis from the Central Conference (Reform) on a historic march in St. Augustine, Fla. in support of voting rights, still relevant to this day. The rabbis were all arrested and spent a night in jail for trespassing and civil disobedience. One of the 16 was a young rabbi from Temple Beth Am in Seattle, Rabbi Norman Hirsh. The placard he carried can still be found in the library of his congregation 50 years later. The rabbis composed a letter from the jail, signed by all of them, titled “Why We Went.” Rabbi Hirsh, thank God, is still with us today. Here is an excerpt from that historic letter he composed with his colleagues:
We came because we could not stand silently by our brother’s blood. We had done that too many times before. We have been vocal in our exhortation of others but the idleness of our hands too often revealed an inner silence; silence at a time when silence has become the unpardonable sin of our time. We came in the hope that the God of us all would accept our small involvement as partial atonement for the many things we wish we had done before and often.
We came as Jews who remember the millions of faceless people who stood quietly, watching the smoke rise from Hitler’s crematoria. We came because we know that, second only to silence, the greatest danger to man is loss of faith in man’s capacity to act….
We believe, though we could not count on it in advance, that our presence and actions here have been of practical effect. They have reminded the embattled Negoes here that they are not isolated and alone. The conscience of the wicked has been troubled, while that of the righteous has gained new strength. We are more certain than before that this cause is invincible, but we also have a sharpened awareness of the great effort and sacrifice which will be required. We pray that what we have done may lead us on to further actions and persuade others who still stand hesitantly to take the stand they know is just.
Finally, another heroic rabbi from Seattle: Rabbi Raphael H. Levine, of blessed memory, the senior rabbi of Temple De Hirsch prior to its merger with Sinai. It is little remembered that Dr. King visited Seattle only one time is his life: In November of 1961.
Those of you not born then may not realize how vilified King was at that point and how controversial his visit to Seattle was. That our county is now officially named for him (and not the original King, an obscure, slave-owning vice president) would be astonishing to virtually everyone at that time.
The great Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney (still with us, thank God) was a friend and classmate of King and had invited him to speak at his church, Mt. Zion Baptist. But McKinney also wanted a larger and more public venue for his friend. He had received permission for the speech from a large (white) downtown Protestant church, which I will leave unnamed. At the last minute, no doubt due to pressure from lay leaders, the church rescinded the invitation. Dr. McKinney approached his friend and neighbor Rabbi Levine, who without hesitation (and, I suspect, without board approval) gave his unstinting approval.
On November 11, 1961, Dr. King addressed a standing-room-only crowd at Temple De Hirsch and the world and Seattle began to change. President Obama would be the first to declare: “Without people like Rabbi Levine and Rabbi Hirsh, I would not be president of the United States.”
Let us be grateful for rabbis like these four. Those of us who have come after can only hope to be half the leaders they were — if that much. Fifty years later, there is still much to be done.
We should be comforted and challenged by the words of Pirke Avot: “You are not obligated to complete to task, but you are certainly not exempt from doing your share.”
It’s only a tiny percentage point of difference, but new diabetes research from Tel Aviv University shows that a seemingly insignificant difference in blood sugar readings could buy you a lot of valuable time — and maybe even save your life.
In January 2014, researchers at TAU shared their study results showing that a commonly used and reliable diabetes-screening blood test, the HbA1c test, used to identify patients at high risk for Type 2 diabetes, can also identify many more non-diabetic patients who may have a predisposition for its precursor — a condition called prediabetes.
The research published in the European Journal of General Practice in 2013 should give more people hope that they can avoid the chronic and often life-threatening disease if they are armed with earlier information.
In the study, M.D. thesis candidate Nataly Lerner’s team from the Department of Family Medicine in the Sackler Faculty of Medicine reviewed the medical records of 10,201 patients in Israel all of who were over the age of 20 and non-diabetic at the time. The study cohort included nearly equal numbers of male and female subjects, however more than 75 percent of all the subjects were overweight, which Lerner said mimicked the general population and was not the determining factor in the study for the development of the disease. Each had been given the HbAc1 test between 2002 and 2005.
What the researchers found was that within five to eight years of their HbA1c test, 22.5 percent of those patients who eventually developed Type 2 diabetes had lower blood-glucose-level readings — 5.5 percent — below the standard threshold of 5.7 percent typically used for the test.
“Age and low socio-economic status, after controlling for baseline HbA1c, and overweight, were not found to associate with the progression to diabetes,” wrote Lerner about his study participants. “This is despite the increased prevalence of diabetes that has been observed with age, exceeding 20 percent of the population in Israel for the ages 65–74.”
After further analyzing the data, researchers also found that each increase of 0.5 percent indicated that a patient was two times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
“The risk to develop Type 2 diabetes was exponential, almost doubling with each increase of 0.5 percent of HbA1c,” wrote Lerner.
The good news is that the progression from the “prediabetic” stage to the onset of Type 2 diabetes is not inevitable, say researchers.
If this blood marker is picked up early enough with this test, people can make lifestyle changes such as taking up exercise, losing weight, and eating a healthy diet — all part of a strategy that can bring your blood sugar back to normal levels.
“As expected,” wrote Lerner about the overall population, “weight was shown to be an important, independent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, supporting early screening among overweight individuals.”
The American Diabetes Association currently puts the HbA1c range indicating a prediabetes risk between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent.
“The ADA 2013 recommendations include the use of HbA1c testing,” wrote Lerner, in addition to conducting additional tests.
Also known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, Type 2 diabetes affects the way your body metabolizes sugar — either by resisting insulin, a hormone that regulates the way sugar enters your cells, or not making enough insulin to maintain normal sugar levels in the body. Left untreated, the disease can be life threatening.
People diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance, IGT, or impaired fasting glucose, IFG, depending upon which test was used, have higher than normal blood-glucose levels that were not previously thought to be high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
One advantage of the HbA1c test over the IGT and the IFG is that it doesn’t require the patient to eat or drink a particular food. Another benefit to the patient and the doctor is that an A1c test can show a patient’s average blood sugar levels over a longer period of time, indicating levels for as long as the past two or three months.
Previously, a normal HbA1c reading showing little or no risk of diabetes was considered to be between 4 and 5.6 percent. However, this new research would make a 5.4 percent reading a prediabetes diagnosis.
“We suggest HbA1c testing of patients at risk of developing diabetes, for example, according to BMI and history of cardiovascular disease, to promote stratification of a target population,” concluded Lerner.
Longtime JTNews correspondent and freelance journalist Janis Siegel has covered international health research for SELF magazine and campaigns for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Celery and fennel salad. Photo by Michael Natkin.
This refreshing celery and fennel salad is a riff on one that I had at Bastille in Ballard. Their celery salad had tiny pumpernickel croutons and baby artichokes. The one I’ve got for you today has fennel instead of the artichokes, and shaved frozen blue cheese for a garnish.
If you want to add one more component, a few quick-pickled grapes are great. You could also replace or supplement the pumpernickel with toasted (or lightly candied) walnuts or pecans.
Celery and fennel salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 slice pumpernickel, crust removed, cut into 1/4” dice
Vegetable oil for frying pumpernickel
4 stalks celery, strings removed, sliced about 1/8” thick
1/3 bulb fennel, sliced about 1/8” thick (parallel to the base)
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon juice, as needed
Flaky sea salt (preferably Maldon), as needed
Celery leaves, as needed
Fennel fronds, as needed
Small block of blue cheese, any type, frozen hard
Heat 1” of oil in a very small pot to about 260º. Slowly fry the pumpernickel cubes until darkened and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve.
Combine the sliced celery, sliced fennel, olive oil, and a couple of pinches of Maldon salt in a bowl.
Toss with lemon juice to taste and add more salt as needed.
To serve, divide the salad onto 4 chilled plates. Distribute the croutons, and garnish with the celery and fennel leaves. Immediately before serving, remove the blue cheese from the freezer and shave a few paper-thin slices over each salad, using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler.
Yield: 4 modest servings.
Local food writer and chef Michael Natkin’s cookbook “Herbivoracious, A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes,” was a finalist in 2013 for a James Beard award. The recipes are based on his food blog, herbivoracious.com.
Robin Wehl Martin rolls out a batch of football-shaped cookies just prior to the Seahawks’ trip to the Super Bowl. (Photo: Joel Magalnick)
Robin Wehl Martin couldn’t talk to me on Friday morning last week. “Fridays are my crazy days because I make challah that day (18!!! of them),” she wrote me in an email. She does this at Hello Robin, her bakery on the east side of Seattle’s Capitol Hill, and those loaves fly out of the store.
“We’re a cookie bakery, but I have to make challah,” she says.
The Mercer Island native grew up baking cookies with her grandmother and has won a number of local baking competitions. (Read more at the store’s web site,
“Hello Robin is supposed to feel like you’re in my kitchen,” where customers sit at the counter and watch the bakers work, she says. “It’s a lot nicer than my kitchen at home.”
The store features Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream by the pint, with the ice cream store serving by the scoop from May to August. In fact, Molly Moon Neitzel herself, and her husband Zack, suggested Robin open the bakery.
Robin’s counter offer was that she’d do it if it included an ice cream counter. So a yummy marriage was born.
“It’s great, it’s really great,” Robin says of her business. She lives in the neighborhood, so work is like visiting friends, and seeing “happy people all day long.” The small cookies are priced “so you can [try] more than one flavor,” ranging from the traditional to the more exotic, including the popular and spicy habañero-orange.
Robin’s three young children, 4, 6 and 8, “really like the idea of their mom owning a cookie shop,” she says, and they think they are involved in running the place, trying to go behind the counter and generally causing “a ruckus.”
Growing up on Mercer Island, Robin attended Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation and Camp Solomon Schechter. Her kids are at, or have attended, Seattle Hebrew Academy and her family belongs to Temple De Hirsch Sinai. When she’s not baking, she likes to cook healthy foods, including “lots of vegetables.”
Hello Robin has started holding Monday night cooking classes, some taught by neighbor and cookbook author Leora Bloom (profiled in MOT on Aug. 16, 2013). The first three sold out quickly. Check their Facebook page for information about future classes.
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The all-local cast of Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” sings a number in the second act informing King Arthur that he can’t produce a Broadway show without a Jew. It got me wondering, aside from the theater’s esteemed producing partners, Maureen and Kenny Alhadeff, could there be a Jew in the cast?
The folks at the 5th rustled up Sarah Rose Davis, a member of the ensemble (which provided fabulous singing and dancing). Sarah grew up in Bellevue and started singing “when I was pretty young,” she says, in two different girl choirs. Each year, those choirs would put on their own mini-musicals, which sparked her dramatic interest. Sarah had most of her youth training at the Village Theater Kids Stage drama school in Issaquah, and after graduating from Newport High School she studied musical theater at the Boston Conservatory.
“Spamalot is my 12th show at the 5th Avenue,” she says. Later this year she returns to her roots — dramatic and cultural — playing Fanny Brice in the Village Theater’s production of “Funny Girl,” which will “definitely…be the biggest role I’ve ever played.”
While a theater career doesn’t leave her a lot of free time, Sarah says that she uses hers to take dance classes, play tennis, and do crafts, making greeting cards or decorating jewelry boxes.
This Spamalot production features the choreography, sets and many of the costumes from the original Broadway show. Those in the opening night audience were treated to an appearance by the show’s author and lyricist and original member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Eric Idle.
• • •
Short takes: Ellie Hess of Mercer Island and Noah Sarkowsky of Seattle were recently inducted into the American Hebrew Academy Honor Society. The international society recognizes exceptional 8th- and 9th-grade students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, the arts, leadership and community service. Students compete for acceptance into the Honor Society and for merit-based scholarships to attend the American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish college prep boarding school in Greensboro, NC.
Two temples have announced new rabbis: Temple Beth Am announced that Rabbi Ruth Zlotnick will become its senior rabbi effective July 1. On the same day, Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg, longtime associate rabbi at Temple B’nai Torah, will ascend the bima at Congregation Kol Ami in Woodinville. Kol Ami’s current rabbi, Mark Glickman, has accepted an adjunct position in Seattle University’s school of theology and ministry.
Will we remember Russell Wilson 50 years from now (Photo: Joel Magalnick)
It’s easy for me today, in my mid-50s, to find myself sometimes mentally caught in the past. For example, as a youth I possessed a six-inch thick helmet-shaped Jew-fro, which has left me with a permanent sense of myself as a person with a full head of hair, so lush you could lose your hand in it. As a result, I can never get over a mild shock every time I look in the bathroom mirror and see a bald man staring back at me.
I’m also rooted to my childhood sports affiliations. America is a mobile society, and a lot of people have moved away from the hometowns where their sports loyalties initially formed. As a result, it’s not uncommon for many of us to feel a sense of exile in regard to the sports teams of our youth. This is especially easy in Seattle, a relatively young city that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. My wife is even more removed from her sports roots, as her hometown team was Amsterdam’s Ajax football club in the European league. On Super Bowl Sunday she was as excited about the prospect of watching the Puppy Bowl, with its “barking lot” and “tail” gate parties as she was about that other big game on TV.
There is a certain enchantment to the memory of nostalgic childhood athletic heroes. I recently mentioned to Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation, in regard to the relative degree of ease or difficulty in delivering a d’var Torah, that one would prefer a lively portion filled with drama, such as Noah’s Ark or the splitting of the Red Sea, instead of a long, tedious list of “so and so begat so and so who begat so and so.”
Rabbi Rosenbaum, however, replied that those seemingly “tedious” lists contain names with a certain magic to them, like hearing a 1950s Yankees lineup being announced over the PA system: Batting third and playing right field, Mickey Mantle; batting fourth and playing center field, Joe DiMaggio; batting fifth and catching, Yogi Berra.
Everyone here in Seattle, or so it seems, is still on an emotional high from the recent Seahawks Super Bowl victory. Heading into the game the Seahawks were regarded as brash and arrogant. But what seemed overdone swagger increasingly resembled well-deserved confidence as the evening progressed and the scoreboard rang up points like a pinball machine. Seattle is a generally low-key town with a quiet, easy-going vibe, so it was impressive to see the incredible outpouring of emotion resulting from the Seahawks’ victory. The team has created a community for its fans, much in the same way our family has found a home in the local Jewish community, with both groups sharing an emotional bond in common.
I am happy for my local Seattle friends and neighbors. But I remain a New York Giants fan. Spectator sports are not a big deal in the Harris mishpacha, which is perhaps my fault, given how I’ve stressed the Giants over the years . Like most young people, my kids spend a lot of time focused on screens, but television is usually at the bottom of the list, behind video games, Facebook, and YouTube. On occasion, I’ll challenge them to name a single player from either the Mariners or the Seahawks. Ichiro? Sorry, he doesn’t play here anymore.
Will the names Wilson, Sherman, and Harvin ever acquire the mystique of those long-ago Yankee teams? Perhaps. But one thing is for sure: You couldn’t lose the tip of your pinkie in the seven hairs left on my head, let alone an entire hand. And I should know: There’s a bald guy who keeps on reminding me every time I glance at a mirror.
Ed Harris, the author of “Fifty Shades of Schwarz” and several other books, was born in the Bronx and lives in Bellevue with his family. His long-suffering wife bears silent testimony to the saying that behind every successful man is a surprised woman.
It was a spring evening in the mid-’60s; a group of young students from NYU came for a private audience with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.
The group was mostly young boys and girls from secular homes who wanted an opportunity to converse with the Rebbe, and ask about what was on their minds. They were granted a 20-minute meeting with the Rebbe and they came prepared with questions. The Rebbe answered their questions incisively and shared with them the Torah perspective on many issues relevant to their lives.
The 20 minutes passed quickly. The Rebbe’s secretary knocked on the door to let them know their time was up. Suddenly, a boy in the group who was “blessed” with a bit of chutzpah turned to the Rebbe and said, “Rebbe, may I ask one final question before we leave? This will be the final question of the evening.”
The Rebbe granted him permission and the boy asked: “Rebbe, are we good Jews or are we bad Jews?” The room was still and silent.
The Rebbe smiled and replied: “To be Jewish is to climb a ladder. Each and every one of us is climbing that ladder. The ladder has 613 rungs with many more sub-rungs. If you are on rung 613 but you are going toward the 612th rung, you are going in the wrong direction. However, if you are on the first rung and heading up, you are going in the right direction.
“Let me ask you, you American students, at this hour of the night, in New York City, choosing to take your time to visit a rabbi to discuss Jewish values and ethics,” the Rebbe concluded, “are you good Jews or bad Jews”?
It’s all about direction. We are all truly the same; we all have our own challenges and difficulties in our Jewish experience. Some have a hard time with observing Shabbat, others struggle with providing their children with an authentic Jewish education, and some find it hard to give of their hard-earned money to charity. Everyone battles something.
The important thing is not to put yourself in a box. I often speak to people who claim to be “bad Jews.” They feel inadequate if they don’t look a certain way or do a certain thing. So they put themselves in a box with a big label that says “High-Holiday Jew, open for High Holidays only.” Or, “non-synagogue goer, not for use in a shul.”
Once in the box, we are less inclined to change and we fall into a quasi-comfort zone, which we are not entirely comfortable in, but too complacent to get out of.
It is critical to understand that connecting to God is an infinite pursuit. To claim to have reached the apex of that journey is to go in the wrong direction.
Rather than feel guilty about what point we might be in our journey, let’s look up, and continue to climb.
We can’t quantify the value of the mitzvot we do. Let’s not look at others and say, “There’s no way I can be like him.” Rather, let’s ask ourselves, “How have I improved today?”
To illustrate this idea, Chassidim would recount a story of the czar’s army, which was renowned for its high level of discipline. One night a group of soldiers escaped from the army base to the nearest town to get a drink at the local bar. One drink led to another and suddenly they realized it was almost dawn. They got up and started to run back to the base. So inebriated were the soldiers that they collapsed and fell asleep at the side of the road.
A short while later, an army officer rode by, noticed the scene, and wrote down the names of the sleeping soldiers, then continued toward the base. Several hours later, the soldiers sobered up and hurried to the army base, fearing what awaited them for missing the morning line-up. Upon arrival they were sent to the officer’s tent, prepared for the worst. To their amazement, the officer greeted them all with a big smile and said: “I truly understand you, living on this base for so long without a drink must be really difficult; you are forgiven for what you did, just don’t do it again.”
Suddenly he turned to one of the soldiers, his face filled with rage and anger, and said: “You, however, will receive a severe punishment.”
This poor soldier, feeling like a scapegoat, demanded an explanation for this unfair verdict. The officer explained: “The reason for your severe punishment is because when I found you on the side of the road sleeping, I observed that all the soldiers, even in their stupor, fell facing the army base, their final destination. You, on the other hand, were the only one who fell facing the direction of the bar. And for this you deserve to be punished.”
This story is a good analogy: In life we will sometimes fall asleep, our daily struggles and challenges have a way of immobilizing, preventing us from reaching our fullest. But we can at least make a conscientious decision to fall asleep facing the right direction so when we muster the strength to get up, we may continue heading toward that destination.
Let us hold hands as we climb the ladder of Judaism together, helping and lifting one another as we stumble on our way up. Let’s strap on our climbing shoes — things are looking up.
I thought the Beatles Grammy Salute marking the 50-year anniversary of the British invasion was over the top. That so many friends watched and thought it was the be all and end all was beyond my understanding. When I was young, I remember a rabbi and teacher telling us the Beatles broke down all barriers of decency in the world. At the time, of course, I disagreed. Now I wonder why we allow pop culture to so invade our psyches, not to mention our children’s. I think their music is somewhat subversive. What do you think about the Beatles and their music?
The Beatles and I go way back. In fact, John Lennon made a guest appearance at my and my twin’s 6th birthday party. (Yes, I have a twin — more about that some other time.) There we were, in our basement on Beechwood Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, cake and ice cream at the ready — and out comes John Lennon! Okay, so it was my older sister dressed in black and white, holding the balalaika my father had brought back from a recent trip to Russia, lip synching while our record player played “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the background. To us, impressionable, trusting and starry-eyed Hillel Academy kindergarteners, it was John Lennon. And let me tell you something — that was the best birthday party ever. It was June 1964, just months after the start of the British Invasion on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 of that year — it was dreamy.
Back then, as now, there’s something magnetic about the Beatles and so much that is still so universal about their music. Some songs offer an intense truth. Some have playful humor and lightheartedness. I admit it, barely a lyric or melody of theirs is unfamiliar to me. Their music became all-American, the soundtrack of our lives as it permeated our very existence. That said, only a fool on the hill would say their songs are 100 percent kosher. There’s the hand holding, twist and shouting that would have rabbis frowning, not to mention of drug culture innuendos that swirled around them that make a few religious fans squirm. However, on this 50th anniversary of the British Invasion, let’s consider some of the loftier Beatles’ tracks through a Jewish lens.
Shall we kick it off with a song released in 1964, titled “Can’t Buy Me Love?”
Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
This sounds awfully similar to the jolting words from the Song of Songs, our own canon’s nod to romance. King Solomon interrupts his flowing sensual intimate love poem with a strikingly sobering cautionary message in Chapter 8;
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, he would utterly be contemned.
Message clear: You cannot buy love and anyone who thinks he can is a fool. An enduring lesson — the earlier learned the better. This notion might even extend past the romantic; all the wealth in the world cannot purchase friendship, self-esteem, or the delight of self-actualization and fulfillment. The most precious things in life are not for sale — a solid stance we can all get behind.
Up next? A 1967 song written by Lennon and McCartney for Ringo Starr. An endearing song whose cover by Joe Cocker brings many of us back to that nostalgic 1980s television show “The Wonder Years,” where it introduced the program each week: “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends.
Mm, going to try with a little help from my friends.
A rock song given over to extolling the values of friendship. What could be bad about that? It croons out core ideas intrinsic to lasting companionship and rapport, values similarly emphasized in our tradition’s Pirke Avot. At the query of his teacher Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, “What is the best trait for a person to pursue in life?” Rabbi Joshua responds, “A good friend.” ’Nuf said. We all get by with a little help from our friends.
This 1968 song was written by George Harrison as a test, or perhaps an exercise, in determining the veracity of the Eastern idea of things “being meant to be” versus what he perceived as an American conviction of coincidence. He opened a book and the first phrase he read was to become the song. What his eyes landed on was the phrase “gently weeps.”
I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps.
Every mistake, we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
These mystical words and the musical arrangement of the song strike a chord of melancholy and a gentle inevitable pattern of our lives. Kind of kohelet-like, wouldn’t you say?
The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it turns about continually in its circuit, and the wind returns again to its circuits.
There is no denying the talent, the sheer genius of the Fab Four. Their songs, though they reflect a specific zeitgeist, capture a magical time in many of our lives, a common spirit, offering even a few profound thoughts not at odds with Judaism. As per Rabbi Meir’s approach to the scholar apostate, Elisha Ben Avuyah, perhaps we need to become adept at eating the fruit and discarding the pit.
Rivy Poupko Kletenik is an internationally renowned educator and Head of School at the Seattle Hebrew Academy. If you have a question that’s been tickling your brain, send Rivy an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After having lived most of my life in California, New York, and New Jersey, I took a job in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri. I had never lived in the Midwest, and St. Louis has a touch of the Southern in its culture, as well. There were so many aspects of my new life there that surprised me. One of them was the way people dressed up: At work, for parties — really, almost any time you had to be out in public.
After 12 years in Missouri, I moved here to Seattle, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. People wear jeans to Shabbat services, fleece in every season, and teenage boys seem to get away with shorts and flip-flops even in the dead of winter.
Does what you wear really matter? Our culture is certainly obsessed with it. All you have to do is look at the fashion models walking down the runways, or the designer fashion lines in every store.
I think that humanity’s fascination with clothing goes back to the beginning of time. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, starts out with a description of the clothes that the priests were supposed to wear. We all know the phrase, “the clothes don’t make the man,” yet in this case, the clothing of the priests were considered incredibly important. In fact, I bet that when the average Moshe or Sarah looked at the priests, they were probably in as much shock as I was when I first arrived in this drizzly land.
Aaron and his sons were each supposed to wear a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a fringed tunic, a headdress, and a sash. Each item was made of gold, blue, purple, and crimson yarns. But it gets even better than that. The breastpiece of decision was supposed to have 12 stones in it. It’s hard to figure out exactly how to translate the names of the stones, but the new JPS translation says: “carnelian, chrysolite, emerald, turquoise, sapphire, amethyst, jacinth, agate, crystal, beryl, lapis lazuli, and jasper, all framed in gold.” Wow! Did normal Israelites walk around in such finery? My guess is no.
When Rashi, the famous 11th-century French commentator, read this passage, he noticed something else unusual. He noticed that some of the stones on this list are rare and valuable, while others are common and inexpensive. Why would this be so? “To remind us to treat the rich and the poor evenly and fairly when we judge a case,” he explains.
When I first read this, I was blown away. Even while the priests were dressed in incredible finery, the 12 stones on the breastpiece were supposed to remind them to treat rich and poor alike. The priests’ clothes were supposed to instruct them, making sure that they did not let their finery go to their head.
I am a Jewish educator, so when I read about the 12 stones, I immediately think about children. After all, if you have a class of 12 children, you will have 12 absolutely unique individuals. But what this week’s Torah portion tells us is that every one of them needs to be respected as an individual. Every one of our children needs to be seen as his or her own little miracle. Every one of them needs to be treated fairly, so that whether rich or poor, shy or outgoing, beautiful or awkward, each of them will be respected, loved, cherished, and helped along the path to becoming menschen.
May our community take to heart this lesson. May it instruct us not only to treat rich and poor alike, but to tear down barriers to opportunities that might only be available only to some children and not to others. May it remind us to treat each individual child in our community as if he or she were made in God’s image. May we treat all of our children fairly, giving them what they individually need to be successful. May we also fill our community with teachers who truly understand this deep in their hearts and their souls. This is the gift of this week’s Torah portion. May we live it and cherish it, and may it make our children shine like the jewels they truly are.
Rabbi Janine Schloss is the director of education at Temple Beth Am in Seattle.
Josh Friedes, who took over at J Street as its director of regional operations and strategy. (Photo courtesy J Street)
Joshua Friedes says he’ll be able to use a lot of what he learned championing marriage equality in this state in his new job as director of regional operations and strategy at J Street. The pro-Israel organization supports a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians (www.jstreet.org).
The former executive director of Equal Rights Washington, Josh has spent most of the last 15 years campaigning for the rights of same-sex couples to marry first in Massachusetts and then in Washington.
“It wasn’t too long ago that people said, ‘I’ll never see marriage equality in my life,’” he points out, which makes him “more optimistic about a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
“The truth of the matter is that things change,” he says. “You have to live not in the past, but in the present and the future.”
Marriage equality moved quickly into law these past few years, Josh says, because it had “far greater support than people realized.” He thinks the same applies to American Jews’ thoughts about the two-state solution. “We see from polling that people are with us,” he says. J Street’s role is to listen to the poll numbers and “urge the administration to play a leadership role…and not pull back.”
The organization is growing, he says, especially on college campuses. “People are listening to our message.”
Josh grew up in East Brunswick, N. J., and took his first trip to Israel with United Synagogue Youth. He was very active in Hillel at the University of Rochester and took a semester at the University of Tel Aviv. After the Peace Corps in the Philippines, he returned to law school in Colorado to study environmental law.
“It bored me silly,” he says.
Turning to civil rights, after law school he worked for Common Cause in Massachusetts on campaign finance and political ethics reform, becoming a volunteer in the early “organized freedom-to-marry movement.”
An eight-week consulting gig for Equal Rights Washington brought him here in 2006, and he never left. Since then, among other things, he managed the Approve 71 campaign and helped set up Washington United for Marriage. Josh also sat on the board of Reform congregation Kol HaNeshamah in West Seattle.
This past year he began thinking about what he called his other passion, Israel, deciding the world had changed enough for an openly gay man to become involved in Israeli-Palestinian issues.
“In both America and Israel LGBT people can participate fully in civil life,” Josh says.
There is a more open discussion about the two-state solution in Israel, while “here in America…we have not had this vibrant conversation.” Those who question Israeli government policy risk being “portrayed by some as not being supportive of Israel,” he says. J Street’s message, he adds, is that “one can have a deep love of Israel and question the policies of the Israeli government.”
And despite the fact that Josh’s new job is in New York, he will bring a West Coast sensibility and awareness to his role. J Street’s Pacific Northwest office is in San Francisco, where the organization will host its 2014 national summit in June, its first on the West Coast. Josh invites members of our state’s “Pro-Israel, pro-peace community to attend and hopes people will get involved with J Street’s Seattle chapter.” There’s more information at the website.
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Nadine Strauss, who just celebrated 25 years with Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative congregation.
By the time you read this, Nadine Strauss, executive director of Mercer Island’s Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative congregation, will have already been honored by her congregation for 25 years on the job.
“It’s been a privilege,” she reflected recently, and “an unusual privilege to be able to work at a job that one loves for so long and to continue appreciating it.”
The congregation was much smaller when Nadine started. “There were still a lot of typewriters in the building,” she says.
Rapid changes — cultural and technological — meant adjusting along the way, but staying “tethered to the values and traditions” of Conservative Judaism.
A native of Houston, and graduate of University of Texas, Nadine had been in town only a few years when she applied for the job. Although her background was in education, through some coincidences she “made my way into synagogue life,” she says, and the congregation took a chance with someone different from the norm at a time when most synagogue directors were men from a business or non-profit background.
“Adrenaline,” Nadine quips, when asked what keeps her going, “and a lot of Diet Coke.”
But seriously, she gets energized “because no one day is the same as the other.” She is quick to point out that she doesn’t do it alone. “I have a terrific group of people in my work,” she says. “Nobody works these jobs alone; it takes a whole community to succeed.”
• • •
On a list of presidential appointments from the White House last month you’ll find Suzan LeVine of Seattle, a cofounder of the Kavana Cooperative and former president of Hillel at the University of Washington, as a nominee to become “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Swiss Confederation, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Liechtenstein.”
It’s called “microencapsulation” and by the year 2025, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Hunger, and other international food programs plan to combat world hunger and malnutrition by fortifying some of the most widely used condiments and seasonings with micronutrients and vitamins.
The WHO’s lofty global nutrition goals include combating the rising rate of obesity, which is a form of malnutrition, not only in the more than 43 million children it says are affected by it, but in all age groups.
Child starvation, low birth weight, and missed opportunities to breastfeed babies in the first six months of life also contribute to the subsequent explosion of diabetes and cardiovascular disease globally, it warns.
Its plan in 2014, in partnership with New York’s Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and the Micronutrient Initiative, is to convene a conference in August that will develop industrial, regulatory, and technical programs as the means of achieving these outcomes.
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology associate professor Eyal Shimoni, a leader in nanotechnology research, was one of the first researchers in the world to look for ways to pack everyday foods with mega-portions of nutritional value.
In his Laboratory of Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals, and Food Nanoscience in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Shimoni is working on micro- and nanofood-grade delivery systems funded by the European Union, and a collaboration with Italian researchers to find a way to deliver nutrients to the lower gastrointestinal tract, where they are better absorbed, instead of dissolving in the upper gut.
Funded by the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Shimoni is also experimenting with microcapsules that are time-released in the body.
“Our philosophy is that the efficient manufacturing and use of functional foods and nutraceuticals requires a comprehensive approach that extends beyond an analysis of the beneficial biological activity,” said Shimoni. “This approach incorporates all stages of the development and manufacturing.”
Seasonings and condiments like soy sauce, bouillon cubes, and fish sauce could be enhanced with micronutrients, says the WHO.
Vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of avoidable blindness in children, is of primary concern to the WHO, as well as the negative health effects of zinc, iron and iodine deficiencies.
Encapsulation could preserve vitamin A, and the potency of vitamin C, which is stable when in powder form but greatly reduced when dissolved in water.
Scientists are mainly testing polysaccharides, a carbohydrate made up of many sugar molecules bonded together, as the outer material that might provide the best barrier seal between the food and the body so that the nutritional content of the food would remain intact.
“Unlike delivery systems for pharmaceuticals, this task is particularly challenging in foods since one is limited to food-grade materials only. Thus, we developed a food-grade coating to tailor both the retention time and release rate in the digestive tract.”
Microencapsulation can also make many otherwise distasteful or unappetizing nutrients more tolerable for consumers around the world to ingest, according to Shimoni.
Controlling the manufacturing process and the look of the final product could also make the capsules more attractive to different populations that might not be used to eating a pure vitamin substance in its manufactured form.
“In order for such efforts to materialize into real products, some challenges still need to be met,” said Shimoni. “Such vehicles are sought to protect bioactive ingredients added to food while controlling and targeting their release as they pass through the human gastrointestinal tract.”
Shimoni is part of a fast growing nanotechnology industry in Israel led by the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative, overseen by Israel’s chief scientist in the ministry of economy. Its primary objective, according to its website, is to create “an engine for global leadership.”
The INNI also works to connect international researchers with Israeli scientists for potential partnerships, to secure research money, and to create a national policy for the development and commercialization of nanotechnology.
So far, its national database lists 119 companies and 620 researchers. The site also provides a way for entrepreneurs and scientists alike to connect potential projects with investors and developers.
Shimoni, who earned his undergraduate, post-graduate, and doctoral degrees at the Technion, has been teaching there since 2006. He is excited about the chance to be on the cutting edge of a new industry.
“The study of material properties at the nanoscale,” said Shimoni, “is one of the most exciting frontiers in science.”
Longtime JTNews correspondent and freelance journalist Janis Siegel has covered international health research for SELF magazine and campaigns for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Cavatelli with slow-roasted broccoli. (Photo: Michael Natkin)
Hopefully we are at a point now where it is no longer considered a faux pas to actually cook a vegetable. I know there was a time when all vegetables were indiscriminately boiled to death. Then came the rebellion, and all vegetables had to be served just lightly waved over steam. Your jaw got a good workout in those years.
The truth is many vegetables can yield different pleasures depending on the time, temperature, and technique by which they are cooked. Broccoli that is steamed or boiled for a long time is horrible gray, sulfurous stuff. But slowly, slowly pan-roast broccoli in a good amount of olive oil, and it becomes meltingly tender and luscious. It makes a perfect condiment for the al dente chew of properly cooked cavatelli.
This dish would more typically be seasoned with a modest amount of chili flakes, and that was exactly where I was headed until I spotted the jar of harissa (a Moroccan spice paste available at upscale grocers or Middle Eastern markets) in my fridge. The thought of that more complex flavor was impossible to resist, and I’m glad I didn’t try. Big handfuls of parsley and mint at the very last second add a nice fresh finish.
Cavatelli with Slow Roasted Broccoli and Harissa
Vegetarian; vegan if you don’t serve the parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, florets cut bite sized; stems peeled and cut bite sized
2 tsp. harissa paste
1 pound cavatelli pasta
1 packed handful parsley leaves
1 packed handful fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in your largest skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the broccoli, harissa, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, turning occasionally, until the broccoli is completely tender and meltingly delicious — I’ve been known to let this go for 45 minutes or more. Add a little more olive oil during the process if it seems advisable.
Put aside four bowls to warm.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Transfer to the skillet with the broccoli, reserving a cup of the pasta water. Raise the heat to medium-high. Toss the pasta with the broccoli. If it seems a little dry, drizzle in some of the pasta water to develop a bit of moistness and shine. Taste and adjust seasoning; it will probably need more salt.
Stir in the parsley and mint. Divide the pasta among the preheated bowls, hit with a few flakes of Maldon salt and some freshly ground pepper, and serve immediately, passing the Parmesan cheese at the table if using.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
What if I never moved from New Jersey to Seattle with my wife and then-infant daughter over 20 years ago? How might life have been different if we remained in the New York area? This thought occurred over winter break on a trip to Boca Raton with my youngest son for a visit with my parents. Boca, after all, is effectively a sixth borough of New York, simply one with warmer weather and a higher concentration of Jews. Like the other five, it retains a special character that reflects the New York Jewish mentality. How does this way of life differ from the Emerald City? Let me count the ways.
Seattle is relatively uncrowded and stunningly beautiful. We are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and majestic wilderness — an outdoor paradise. The New Jersey of my youth featured summers with oppressive humidity and swarms of mosquitos, followed by winters of freezing, miserable sleet and ice. Nature existed to be defeated, not embraced. This is even more so in Florida, where for six months of the year elderly Jews race, if that verb is appropriate for people with slow and deliberate gaits, from air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned restaurants, and then after dinner repeat the sequence in reverse.
New York is Jewish in the same manner as Israel. You don’t need to join a synagogue to feel part of a broader community when most of your neighbors are fellow Jews. At the start of my career in Manhattan as an investment banker, Jews comprised the majority of any conference room I happened to find myself in, even more so if the meeting included lawyers. In Seattle, I typically had one or two Jewish colleagues across an entire office. Recently, at Bed, Bath and Beyond, while attempting to find a knife set for my son-in-law, the store clerk helping me asked if I was shopping for a birthday present. I replied that the knives were indeed intended as a present, but for Hanukkah, and asked if she had ever heard of it.
“No,” she said.
That kind of incident doesn’t happen in New York.
Did I mention pushy yet? Jews in both Seattle and Boca go out for Chinese food on Christmas. Here, we wait to be seated in an orderly fashion until our table is ready. In Boca, at the kosher Chinese restaurant, the assembled mass of people on line resembled a rugby scrum.
As I forced my way to the front like a salmon frantically fighting upstream, a harried woman holding the small yellow legal pad that contained the official waiting list ignored my plea to put our name down. Instead, she scurried about the dining room scouting for empty tables, while a ravenous horde of impatient diners demanded to know where their entrées were. As I stood by the cash register surrounded by a pulsating throb of hungry Jews, a matronly woman elbowed her way ahead of me, chased after the hostess and said, “We’re next; we’ve been waiting.”
Out of practice from more than two decades of sedate, well-mannered life in Seattle, I stood mutely by as she shoved her way past me. If only I had been there a month instead of a week, my long-dormant New York chutzpah would have emerged and allowed me to fight to defend my turf. At the top of my game, nobody would have cut a restaurant line on me, but life in Seattle had softened me in ways New York would never have allowed.
This pushiness could also be observed in parking lots. Darwin didn’t have to go to the Galapagos Islands and study the various types of native finches to draw conclusions about natural selection. He could have just as easily set up shop at any Boca strip mall, notebook in hand, and watched survival of the fittest reflected in the fierce competition to pounce on the closest parking space, another favored Florida pastime.
And so a week flew by, one which included, for my poor, suffering carnivorous youngest son surrounded by a family of vegetarians, meals out every night in kosher restaurants, where he feasted on corned beef and pastrami, steak, orange beef, sweet-and-sour chicken, and, for the one meal we ate at home, prepared chicken schnitzel from the kosher supermarket. No, you cannot find a restaurant in Seattle that serves kosher New York-style corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, and perhaps the stunning beauty of Mt. Rainier is cold comfort when one considers the sacrifice required.
Which leaves only one remaining question: When can we go back to Boca for another visit?
Ed Harris, the author of “Fifty Shades of Schwarz” and several other books, was born in the Bronx and lives in Bellevue with his family. His long-suffering wife bears silent testimony to the saying that behind every successful man is a surprised woman.