Blog: March 2019

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Pittsburgh Jews and Muslims

When a white supremacist attacked our community in October, the local Muslim community was there for us immediately. They raised money, and they also offered their services for everything from security to errands. Our communities have worked well together for years (my rabbi has been instrumental in that).

When I heard about the attack on mosques in New Zealand I of course donated to help. Tree of Life has raised about $58,000 so far, and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh also has a fund. (I don't see a total there for the latter, though I heard on Shabbat that it was around half a million.) And then I heard that our local Islamic center, the very people who offered to help guard our synagogues if needed, don't have the level of security they need either, so I also made a donation to them toward bolstering their security. (I got that idea, and news of the need, from my rabbi.)

I heard after the fact that on the Sunday after the attack, members of the Jewish community showed up there for their Sunday school, for solidarity and to add some extra protection layers around their kids. (I didn't get the memo.) This past Friday, their community joined ours for Shabbat dinner and services. Their director has spoken at our synagogue.

There's hate out there directed at both of our groups, and there is hate out there between Muslims and Jews in some places, but I'm glad that here in Pittsburgh our communities are friends who help each other, and I'm glad that, just as Muslims around the world helped Jews in Pittsburgh, Jews in Pittsburgh are helping Muslims in New Zealand.

May the day come when none of this is necessary, when we can spend our resources on building and strengthening instead of rebuilding and fortifying.

Winter CSA, week 9 (final)

Final share:

  • 2 heads lettuce
  • 1 bunch tatsoi
  • 9 medium carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 pound buckwheat flour
  • cheddar cheese
  • rhubarb preserves
  • lemongrass soap (one of these things is not like the others)

This was the only share of the season to not include apples. (I still have apples; that's fine. I just assumed it was one of their things -- there'd always be apples -- based on the previous eight boxes.)

This was my first CSA experience, so I don't have anything to compare it to other than what people I read have written about theirs. I liked it; I appreciate getting stuff that's in season and local, and that somebody else has figured out what that is and gathered it for me. I mean, when I go to the store the produce section has stuff from all over and I'm not especially dialed into the agricultural cycle, so I'm likely as not to be buying stuff that was shipped in from across the country (or farther). The CSA also introduced me to things I'd never bought or cooked with before.

Of course, the flip side of all that is that you'll like some things more than others, or be able to use larger quantities of some things than others. I could do with a little less celeriac next time. Overall I ended up with quite a bit of grain (flours, corn meal, spelt berries, etc); it'll take a while to go through that. It's good, but we just don't use a lot of it -- if each of those two-pound bags had been one-pound bags, with more of something else to compensate, that would have been fine.

This particular CSA adds processed foods (like jams and relishes) more than I expected, and I put in my feedback that I'd like to see more raw ingredients instead except for when it's stuff I can't make at home myself. I don't have an apple press so I appreciate the cider, but I can make my own salsa.

We've signed up for the weekly spring share, which starts in three weeks.

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Captain Marvel (short, no spoilers)

I'm never going to look at my cat the same way again. Just saying...

Purim Torah!

Purim Torah season started on Mi Yodeya tonight-ish. Here are a few questions currently on the front page (some new, some from past years):

There are more, and I'm sure there will be many more over the next two weeks. Look for "PTIJ" ("Purim Torah: in jest") at the beginning of question titles.

There's also this answer, which I can only kind-of sort-of read but I see my name in there (made the mishna, apparently!). Um, I hope it's good? :-)

And a couple from past years that I enjoyed: one about losing an hour of Purim because of DST, and one about accepting the messiah.

Winter CSA, week 8

  • 11 carrots (varied sizes)
  • 3 green meat radishes
  • 7 Empire apples
  • 5 "white" potatoes (I expected the skins to be lighter; haven't looked inside yet)
  • lettuce
  • Rosie Asian greens
  • 2lb spelt berries (what the heck are... ok, got help from Google)
  • dozen eggs
  • quarter pound of "cowboy coffee" cheese (there's an espresso rub)
  • jar zucchini relish (who knew?)

I might need to pickle some of the radishes. My pickled daikon radish back at the beginning of the season worked out pretty well, but I like them more than Dani does. Do radishes roast well, I wonder?

There's one delivery left in the winter CSA. We signed up for the spring share, which is weekly for eight weeks (after a gap of three weeks, if I recall correctly). We'll make decisions about summer later; for that we have options for both size and frequency.

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