The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

My (Second) 15 Minutes of Culinary Fame

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on March 8, 2014

The  first time around, I was pregnant with Eva and wrote in to the Riverside Press-Enterprise’s “Cook and Tell” column asking for a homemade spicy carrot recipe to make for Scott.  He loves spicy food and I guess I was nesting.  (This is around the same time period that I began my gingerbread recipe collection.)

My friend Francie saw it and teased me  because it seemed like such a classic pregnancy craving (though actually I never craved anything spicy when I was pregnant with either of the girls.)

A reader who had worked at Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in Lake Elsinore wrote in with a recipe that I still use to this day.

My second brush with newspaper food fame is this — ta da!  (Click on it to enlarge.)

Scan0013Fresh off the excitement of being given a great spicy carrot recipe, I paid it forward by sharing some Purim and Passover recipes.  The newspaper sent a photographer to our apartment.  She was a charming young French woman and we spent most of the afternoon drinking tea and eating cookies.  The finished product wasn’t beautiful (though it tasted fine) and she had trouble finding one pretty enough to photograph for the front page teaser.  It ended up not looking bad:


The column is dated March 5, 2003, so Eva would have been about 10 mos old at the time.  I don’t remember having her there during teatime with the French photographer, but she must have been there so I am assuming she slept through the whole thing.  Now she’s old enough to make hamantaschen with her Hebrew school class and next year she’ll be making them with the older kids’ youth group as part of their major fundraiser.  My baby is growing up!  This year we rolled into Sunday school 15 minutes late on baking day and apparently there had a been a big panic because she was assigned to bring the oil, so they were at a standstill until we got there.  She also volunteered to bring Nutella and made a sugar-bomb hamantaschen filled with layers of apricot and Nutella and topped with chocolate chips.

I showed Jane the article and she was pretty casual about it.  Her first question was, “Where was I?” and I told her she wasn’t born yet.


Then I blew her mind even more by pointing out the little jars in the bottom left corner of the picture.  Prune baby food!  She seems skeptical but I think I actually will have to make hamantaschen this year to prove to her that it is an oddly delicious cookie filling.

Aha!  Maybe that’s why baby Eva was so content and quiet that afternoon.


MOGS With My Tween

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on August 13, 2013

The theme of Eva’s summer camp this year was “MOGs” or “moments of growth.”  She had many MOGS during the summer.  Apparently among the kids it became the thing to say, when something amazing or interesting or challenging happened:  “MOG!”  It was like this summer’s YOLO at Jewish summer camp.

I noticed that Eva did grow a lot this summer.  I love the intellectual and spiritual curiosity I see in her.  When we were on a family vacation to Boston we arrived at the Museum of Science to find that unbeknownst to us, the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was temporarily there.  I had wanted to go a couple of years earlier when it was in San Diego but missed it.

At first she was unenthusiastic.  We’re at this huge, fun, kid-oriented museum with tons of hands-on exhibits, and  I want her to spend part of her day walking through something reminiscent of all those tedious hours in Hebrew school?

But I didn’t give up.  I bought the extra-admission tickets for the exhibit for Eva and me.  Scott and Jane started their day in the regular part of the museum without us while we grabbed a quick snack then headed up to the exhibit.

Here’s where the MOGs kicked in.

From the moment we walked toward the exhibit and she saw Hebrew writing (that she could read!) on the walls, she was excited.  In the ante-room, our guide gave a quick two-minute speech about the significance of the time period of the scrolls to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and she was enthralled.  She even asked the guide questions.

Then, going through the exhibit, we TALKED.  We talked about how amazing it is that tefillin were found in the caves where the scrolls were found.  Millenia ago our people were doing the exact same thing that her slightly-older peers at Camp Ramah learned to do this summer.

We discussed whether the letter gimel is called gimel because it looks like a camel (and the Hebrew word for “camel” is very similar to the word gimel, just with a different vowel.)

We discussed how amazing it is that “holy” and “wholly” are from the same derivation.  Does making things “holy” bring about “wholeness”?  And the word for holy in Hebrew is kadosh, which in Hebrew has more of a meaning of separation or setting-aside, and what are the similarities and differences between the two.  Does that mean that a native English speaking Jew internalizes holiness differently than the ancient scribes who wrote these scrolls?

She fell in love with the mezuzah case in the previous post.  It was in the gift shop as we walked out.  My suitcase (which had all of our trip souvenirs including the mezuzah case) took a detour to cowboy country (Cody, Wyoming!?) on the way home and for a moment there we thought the pretty Jerusalem mezuzah case was gone.  But my suitcase arrived, mezuzah case intact!

Jerusalem Mezuzah Case

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on August 10, 2013


Eva got this new mezuzah case at the Boston Museum of Science in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.  Now that’s a souvenir she’ll actually use for a long time.

Get on the Bat Mitzvah-mobile

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on July 27, 2013

Hop on!  It has begun.  Eva came back from a month at Jewish summer camp excited about attending some of her friends’ bat mitzvahs this year.  And sure enough, the first of this round of invitations arrived two days ago.  (Plus a verbal save the date for 14 months from now.  We love our Franklin Planners around here!)

Scott is driving Eva to West Hollywood for this one.  I’m sure it will be the first of many afternoons or evenings spent killing time in unfamiliar neighborhoods, sitting in a Starbucks or browsing in a bookstore, while the kids party on.  Or “get their party on” as Jane would say.

Speaking of Eva, and being Jewish, there were FIVE girls in her age group at camp named Eva!  Five!  She rarely ever meets other Evas.  Lots of Avas, yes, and people try to pronounce “Eva” as “Ava” all the time, but other little 11 or 12 year olds named Eva?  Not so much.  The two that she knows here in town are both Jewish so I’m guessing we’re all mining the family tree for names, Jewish-style.

Jewish Summer Camp

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on July 8, 2013

Long time, no write.  Sorry!

Eva is at camp.  Shabbat is a big deal for them and the third shabbat of the four-week session is “white shabbat” when all the kids dress in white (to greet the sabbath bride.)

white shabbat 3eva white shabbat

We went up to Ojai for Yom Kehillah (Visiting Day) and Eva looked like this:

eva camp yom kehillah

Which of course made us feel a little weepy because she’s growing up so fast.  I think that day when I stand next to her and realize she’s taller than I am is going to come sooner rather than later.

We’ll have her HOME in a little over a week–yay!!!