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August 24, 2014 / conservadox

Shabbos dinner- My first full shabbos in Mid-Sized City

I finally got my furniture, and am (mostly) unpacked.  And I rented a car Friday afternoon to visit the suburbs (since in Mid-Sized City the only supermarket with a really large kosher selection is 2 miles from the nearest bus stop, and the suburban buses there only run 9-5) to check out the kosher selection.  

Because last week’s Torah portion focused on the centralization of sacrifices in a main sanctuary, I thought this would be a good time for a meat meal (something that will be pretty rare over the next year, since (a) I have to drive out to the suburbs or join Costco if I want kosher beef)* and (b) chicken is easier to get but not worth the trouble in my opinion).   So I got plenty of meat!

There was a lot of prepackaged food which I couldn’t resist trying: tuna sushi with spicy mayo, spaghetti with meatballs, buffalo wings, Israeli salad (the latter was disappointingly bland, not what I’m used to – but then “bland” is kind of a midwestern stereotype).  

The Torah portion includes the meat/milk prohibition (14:21) so I had a kosher version of meat and milk, boiling beef kreplach in almond milk.  Actually, I made a stew of it by adding small tomatoes, which turned out quite well- the almond milk somehow boils the acidity out of the tomatoes.  

The portion says that if things go well, you shall consume tithes of grain, wine and oil (14:23) so I added a little more olive oil to the Israel salad, which made it a bit better.  I also added olive oil to my matzoh (because the portion refers to Pesach I had matzoh instead of challah rolls). 

For dessert: plums and chocolate coins (unimaginative but that’s the downside of a meat meal).

My Saturday was a little unusual.  My problem: the nearest synagogues (other than the Chabad which is only open one shabbos a month or so) are Reform.  But the Reform liturgy is so scaled-back I can’t really say the prayers that I have taken on there.  So I thought I would daven first at home and go to one of the two Reform synagogues.  I went to the closer one; it turns out that they don’t generally have Saturday services, just a study session.  So I went to the study session, which was mildly interesting- we talked about tithes (a portion of Re’eh I’d never really focused on before).  The main yearly tithe, if you take the Torah literally, requires Jews to go to the main shrine (in Shiloh, and later in Jerusalem) and use up 10 percent of their food.  Since no family could possibly do this on their own, it is basically disguised charity.  (Of course not everyone could travel… but that’s another discussion).   After all this, I went to the local art museum, which is gigantic and free; after five hours there I am still not finished with it. 


*In my new city, unlike NYC, kosher lamb or bison is simply not an option. 



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