Wednesday, September 29, 2010

please don't go

just when you thought sukkot week was coming to its close, the celebration continues! tonight marks the start of shmnini atzeret (literally meaning eighth day of assembly). G-d added this day to the holidays because he wants us to be close to him just a little longer.  this is a day for us to focus on celebrating and enjoying our personal relationship with our creator.  shmini atzeret is followed by simchat torah when we celebrate endings and beginnings.  on this day, we finish reading the final words of the torah (divided into portions and read every week in synagogue) and also begin reading the torah from the start. this day of intense happiness and celebration is filled with dancing, singing and parties to honor our torah. in jewish communities, streets are often closed so we can dance in the street and celebrate with verve. so hold onto the holidays as long as you can and before the sun sets on friday evening, escort the holiday season out with a bang and welcome in shabbat with your holiday high!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

shake shake shake

this sukkot (which starts tonight at sunset!) don't forget to shake your lulav! we call it the lulav, but we actually shake four different plants together. the lulav (palm), hadas (myrtle branch), arava (willow branch), and the etrog (citron). we lift these all together and shake in all directions symbolizing G-d's mastery of all creation. everything in judaism has significance and symbolism, so why these specific species?  the lulav has taste but no smell, representing jews with torah, but without good deeds.  the hadas has a good smell but no taste, representing jews who have good deeds but don't study torah.  the arava lacks smell and taste, representing jews without good deeds and without torah.  and the etrog has a good smell and good taste, representing jews with both good deeds and torah. by putting all of these species (which represent all categories of jews) together we are sending a few messages: we believe all jews should come together, we should love each other, we are all working together to grow and build and strive to be like the etrog. the etrog represents the ideal jew, the heart of judaism (no coincidence it's shaped like a heart).  so this sukkot, think about the four species and bring your friends and family together to celebrate this beautiful holiday.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

sukkot spirits

sukkot is coming! this year, be sure to squeeze everything out of this fruitful holiday.  i'm talking about the etrog (citron) of course. this ancient middle eastern fruit actually flaunts lots of flavor.  haven't had your first taste? bartenura is one of the only brands offering an etrog liqueur. its flavor is extremely sweet and tart (face squinch!) so sip slowly.  don't forget to think about why this fruit is so fortunate: it has both good taste and good smell, symbolizing jews that have both torah and good deeds (what we strive for). so don't forget to bless your etrog, and if you're lucky, drink it too! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

the mad hatter(ess)

whether you're a hair raising fashionista or a married jewess fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment) of covering your head and hair, you'll be excited to flirt with the fall fifties inspired looks including fabulous hats.   they've made an appearance over the last few years but now have finally fallen to the head.  we all wear many hats, so whether your style is urban chic or uptown glamour, there is a look for you.  for a downtown feel, urban outfitters has a variety of faux fur fedoras and crocheted berets and often replenishes their stock with new styles. looking for a clutch cloche?'s felt cloche hat is adorned with a large bow and a low price tag. if you're a fearless fashion lover ready to strut your runway you must have a haute hat available at  their couture look combines vintage styles with a contemporary flair.  each piece is handmade and adorned with ribbons, jewels and other trimmings hand selected from paris.  every hat has a one-of-a-kind look, but if you really want to be the belle of the ball, custom hats are available by appointment.  take your hat off to that!  

Friday, September 17, 2010

angels in the infield

tonight at sunset marks our entry into yom kippur. on every other day of the year we embrace the material world to elevate it to the spiritual.  on this day of self reflection and repentance, we release ourselves from the physical and, just like G-d's angels, we try to embrace the spiritual exclusively.  by refraining from food, beverage, marital relations, wearing leather shoes, and anointing ourselves with oils and lotions, we are preparing our bodies to allow ourselves to get closer to our own souls and closer to G-d through prayer.  without the physical distractions, our spiritual side has a chance to be heard louder than usual, giving us a greater ability to repent with even more sincerity. it is customary to pray in synagogue tonight as well as all day tomorrow until after nightfall when the sound of the shofar indicates the transition from yom kippur to the new day. go to for the exact times of when yom kippur begins and ends in your city.  if you don't belong to a synagogue, it's not too late to find a place to pray! there are many services being held around the world that don't require annual memberships.  go to for services in over 50 cities in the united states. some locations do require a reservation (and some request a fee) so be sure to make your reservations as early in the day as possible.  have an easy and meaning fast and you should all be inscribed in the book of life for the new year!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

in loving memory

today marks the first yahrzeit (anniversary on the hebrew calendar of the passing of a jew) of bracha elisheva bat avraham, also known as kirsten. on the day of her 29th birthday (according to the gregorian calendar), this young wife and mother of a new baby boy, was taken from this world to the next.  bracha elisheva was a light force in this world, a well of positive energy, and lived each moment of her life with full appreciation of G-d's kindness and blessings.  Her warmth and love touched thousands of people internationally as she journeyed internally and externally through the enriched and beautiful life she created.  bracha elisheva was a magnet of happiness and refined character. she was saturated with so many qualities it was impossible for them not to overflow and spread among anyone she encountered.  whether you knew her personally or are now learning about her for the first time, it is likely that you were touched by her in some way, directly or indirectly.  bracha elisheva brought a light to this world that still glows and will continue always. it is a custom on this day to not only remember bracha elisheva, but to elevate her soul by doing acts of kindness in her merit. do an extra mitzvah today, learn torah, or say a prayer in her merit.  as we take our final steps into yom kippur, think about who you are, who you want to become, and take the steps to elevate yourself and your potential.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

signed, sealed, delivered

if you've already got the ring and wedding plans are in swing, don't forget one of the most important things.  the ketubah is one of a jewess's most precious possessions received at her wedding.  it is the marital contract that outlines the husband's responsibilities towards his wife. a jewess's rights are so significant that the marriage is not considered complete until the ketubah has been signed by two kosher witnesses (there are specific guidelines as to who is considered a valid witness) and is given from the groom to the bride.  because of the significance and sanctity of this document, it is often elevated in handwritten calligraphy and surrounded by beautiful artwork.  make your ketubah unforgettable with the artwork of zeesi available online at her magnificent work has touches of floral femininity combined with expressions of israel, where she resides.  the artist is even available for commissions of original works of art for your ketubah. choose a piece that will beautify not only your wedding, but also your home and your marriage. thank you zeesi!  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

new year's resolution: get married

you've dated everyone on jdate, gone to the matzoh ball annually, and may have even dated all your mom's friend's cousin's neighbors.  somehow, you may still be single!  don't worry, you are not alone and comedic actress/jewish dating advocate, michelle slonim, is doing something about it.  founder of the "date my jewish friend party," michelle has started the jewciest trend in jewish dating and it is spreading.  so here's how it goes: each guest must bring a friend of the opposite sex and "pimp each other out," says michelle. no more coming alone to singles events or huddling in the corner with your girlfriends.  now everyone has a wingman to introduce each other around more naturally.  the party has become so popular, the "date my jewish friend play" is in the works.  the next event, the sukkot sizzle, is scheduled for september 28th in new york.  for more information about upcoming events, or to start a party of your own, check out  your new year's prayers may have been answered!

Monday, September 13, 2010

frills attached

fashion week is here. even though the spring lines are being strut, let's focus on fall and prepare our wardrobes before the chill spills.  adding an everyday long skirt to your lineup will add that kate hudson boho-chic flare (not to mention, your modest attire will give you major mitzvah points before yom kippur!).  zara's fall fashion, now viewable online on their relaunched website, has a pile of longer skirts to play. i recommend touching the toes with their frilled long skirt (available in black and grey).  the ruffles from thigh to floor will give you a long and slimming look and will go with just about everything.  pair it with your favorite chunky knit, metallic touched cardigan or faux fur vest for a more contemporary silhouette. rachel zoe would be proud!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

fast. pray. love.

two days of rosh hashana plus one day of shabbat equals eight meals, lots of honey and one stuffed tummy!  it is no coincidence today is the fast of gedalia.  from dawn to dusk, we refrain from food and beverage to commemorate this day of tragedy in jewish history. on this day, a righteous jew named gedalia was murdered (along with many others). in charge of the jewish territory in israel after the destruction of the first temple, some jews didn't agree with gedalia's willingness to cooperate with nebuchadnezzar (who conquered israel around 2500 years ago).  this lead to his murder which was followed by the fleeing of the remaining jews from israel. as we take our first steps out of rosh hashana, take some time today to appreciate who we are, the love we should have for all jews and our connection to the land of israel.   

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

apple picking

did you forget to send out rosh hashana cards?  no problem! the sweet juices at marshall haber creative group are always being squeezed. with their adorable customized electronic rosh hashana greetings, you can send "apple-grams" in many delicious ways (and it's free!).  just go to and follow the simple instructions. you will be sending apple-grams in no time and your recipients will never know it was a an after bite.  shana tova!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

oh, honey honey

by now your rosh hashana should be getting really sticky, but don't just eat your honey, drink it too! honey liqueur is the newest rosh hashana buzz  (pun intended). i recommend koval's kosher and organic chrysanthemum honey liqueur (  drink it straight, on the rocks or martini style (no need to chill), but be prepared for its sweet sting (it's 20% alcohol). garnish your glass with some honeycomb or sliced apple, dip the rim in honey, and your guests will be sure to "bee" very happy! the blessing on non-wine alcoholic beverages is: baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech ha’olam shehakol nihiyah bed'varo. blessed are You, L-ord our G-d, King of the universe, by whose word all things came to be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

to life, to life

we've seen the gefilte fish, the matzoh ball soup, maybe some brisket, but there is one course, traditional at many shabbat tables, you may not be used to (yet). i'm talking about the l'chaim course of course.  there is a custom to have a separation between eating fish and meat, so alcohol is sometimes used to cleanse the palette of the fish. we don't eat fish and meat together because of a source in the talmud explaining its spiritual dangers. the talmud is a combination of the mishnah (parts of judaism's oral law that was passed down from G-d to moses and to the jews at mount sinai) and the gemara (books of discussions on the mishnah as well as other writings).  in many homes this "l'chaim" is more than a sip.  so take out your bar tools and start stirring and shaking. don't have bar tools?  z gallerie boasts its exclusive glamourous black and white striped cabana bar set (available at with all the posh tools necessary to create your house special in style. l'chaim!    

Thursday, September 2, 2010

honey smackers

we all want luscious soft lips and have tried almost every product to get there.  look no further.  burt's bees lip shimmer softens and heals chapped lips and also gives you that pouty voluminous look.  don't be afraid of the shimmer! it's actually very subtle and gives your lips more depth.  they come in a variety of colors ranging from rhubarb to papaya.  if lip color isn't your thing, stick with the champagne - it's almost colorless and highlights your natural look  (my personal fave).  no more hiding under those glosses that mask the problem (and sometimes make it worse) - this time heal your lips and wear them at the same time.  burt's bees shimmer is natural, not tested on animals, and is packaged in recycled plastic (yay).  the shimmer is also made with beeswax so keep those bees busy! (available at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

wedding wednesday: worth every penny

looking for a photographer for your next event or personal photo shoot.  steve worth photography, a husband and wife duo, will capture every moment of your special day from head to toe (literally).  whether it's a wedding or stroll in park, this team doesn't miss a click.  their photo journalistic style will tell the tale of your event inconspicuously.  you will barely even know they are there (no more bossy photographers!).   if you are looking for an album filled with more than just poses, go to where your inner beauty is exposed.  this time, two is way better than one, talk about double exposure!