Sweet and beautiful

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Sweet and beautiful

This year’s mishloach manot at the Hebrew Tabernacle featured an impressive display of organization and sweets. These are boxes stacked 5 high, 10 wide, and 4 deep, in addition to 59 bags, and a half-dozen trays (not shown). “It was pretty amazing,” said Liz Ritter of the experience.

This year’s mishloach manot at the Hebrew Tabernacle featured an impressive display of organization and sweets. These are boxes stacked 5 high, 10 wide, and 4 deep, in addition to 59 bags, and a half-dozen trays (not shown). “It was pretty amazing,” said Liz Ritter of the experience.

Purim, which began this past Wednesday night, commemorates the triumph over an enemy who sought to vanquish the Jews. Really, though, it is an allegory about the triumph of righteousness over hubris.

Children and adults enjoy age-appropriate revelry; it is not a coincidence that Purim, which shares many similarities to Mardi Gras/Carnival, happen at around the same time of year.

On Purim, Jews are commanded to do four things: hear a public reading of the book of Esther; enjoy a festive meal; send portions of food to friends; and give charity to the poor.

Anticipating the upcoming holiday of Passover (during which flour and leavened goods are not eaten) the portions of food contain baked goods as a way of using up flour and other ingredients that may be around the kitchen.

It is also customary to include other treats that do not require preparation, and to deliver the package through an intermediary, preferably a child.

Many synagogues help congregants satisfy two of these commandments at once by using the sending of mishloach manot (literally, “the sending of portions”) as a fundraiser.

This year the Hebrew Tabernacle will raise over $2,000, senHebrew Tabernacleding almost 300 packages containing almost 30 pounds of dried fruit, more than 35 pounds of nuts, 20 pounds of chocolates and hard candies, and 50 pounds of Hammentaschen – a triangular pastry representative of the hat of Haman, the villain in the Purim story.

All pretty standard fare for mishloach manot.

What makes our packages special is the inclusion of home-baked goodies – almost 1500 pieces this year – donated by congregants who spend all year perfecting their recipes.

Apple cake, brownie bites, chocolate mint cookies, fig bars, toffee shortbreads, praline crinkles, peanut brittle, trail mix bark, black-n-white cupcakes, “fudgy-wudgies”, biscotti, meringues, butter twists, even gluten-free ginger snaps have graced our mishloach manot. (Our packages also contain a colorful assortment of flyers describing upcoming events and programs.)

We spread the love to friends, neighbors, congregants, elderly shut-ins, nursing home residents, local businesses, elected officials, City agencies, and yes, even the Manhattan Times. How sweet it is!

 

Chag Purim sameach! / Happy Purim!

Elizabeth Lorris Ritter

These sweet triangular pastries are called Hammentaschen, and are intended to be representative of the hat of Haman, the villain in the Purim story.

These sweet triangular pastries are called Hammentaschen, and are intended to be representative of the hat of Haman, the villain in the Purim story.

Some mishloach manot recipes from the congregants at Hebrew Tabernacle can be found here.

 

CC’s “PMS” Cookies

Ritz crackers

Peanut Butter

Marshmallow “Fluff”

Good-quality chocolate, such as Valrhona or Callebaut (dark or milk)

 

Make a “sandwich” using a thin layer of peanut butter and fluff between two Ritz crackers. Dip in chocolate to coat fully. Let harden in the freezer briefly on a parchment- or foil-lined cookie sheet.

Elise’s Grandmother’s Butter Cookies

1/4 lb. butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 egg yolk

 

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter with sugar. Add flour, yolk, vanilla, mix well. Roll like a snake, cut in 2 inch lengths. Dip in egg white, then sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Marga Marx’s Meringues

2 egg whites

Scant 2/3 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 tsp. vanilla or fruity liquor such as Cointreau

 

Beat egg whites, gradually adding sugar. Beat well until stiff and glossy; beat very, very well and long. Fold in remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoon on foil lined cookie sheet. Space well, as they do spread. Heat oven to 350 for 15 minutes. Place cookie tins in the oven and TURN OFF OVEN IMMEDIATELY. Do not open oven until next morning. Store in tin can. Enjoy!