Repost – with Gratitude

Papa Can You Hear Me?

We would run into their home always overflowing with the smells of Shabbos on the stove, cookies in the oven and ripped toilet paper in a box, next to the toilet bowl. Symbolic of a Jewish Home on the week-ends. Zada sat on his over-stuffed chair surrounded by prayer books. We would fall into his smile , his warmth. He particularly cuddled my sister Roberta. She was the youngest and so curly haired adorable. We watched him read, we observed him in prayer. Our backs were covered as G-d had to be listening, he did it so well.

Rabbi Irving Gottlieb presided over a congregation in a shul in the Canarsie section in Brooklyn. In the 50’s, early 60’s it was a predominantly Jewish and Italian “good” neighborhood. He also owned a rabbinical artifacts shop on Rivington Street, The Lower Eastside. We would visit him on Sundays and once again was greeted with a big smile. He couldn’t wait to hand us a hard candy from a dish he had on the counter.  What fun we had. In our early days growing up we were traditionally observant. My mother kept a kosher home. Her father was a kosher butcher. We were frum,  Devout and pious Jewish people. On Passover mom koshered the kitchen from head to toe. She changed the dishes and utensils.She lined the refrigerator and cabinet shelves with oak tag. The food strictly kosher for Passover. Matzoh Brei our favorite, was our biggest request. All we knew is that the dishes were not as pretty as  our every other day dishes. Green glass was just not my taste.

My memories are of  very long Seders where we were so hungry that eggs dipped in salt water tasted so good. I cherish those days.

And then it all changed. Our taste of orthodoxy, our world as we knew it was over. We moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey and our affiliation to strong observation paled. My father was the only son of an orthodox Rabbi. He had 5 sisters.

We moved from our solid roots and he radically decided to join a reformed temple. Our lives would change forever in how we observed Judaism. Somehow we followed his lead, as we respected our father. We all stayed strong to tradition. Holidays and their loveliness have resonated throughout our lives.We came together for dinners, we worshipped and practiced our faith in a different format.

What is the “chosen” people in G-d’s eyes? We sang and we prayed to him in our own hearts, albeit in a different format but not in a different way.

As fate unfolded I am blessed to have 8 grandchildren. They are orthodox and very observant. I have moved much closer to my very observant roots now. We live life sequentially. Fate brings us to situations at different times in our lives. There are no coincidences. I strongly believe in G-d and a divine order. I feel my faith so intensely thru the blessings of grandchildren who run into my house threaded with familiar smells and traditions. They fall into our smiles, our warmth – as I did on Rabbi Gottlieb’s lap in 1958. Zada I smile big as I hand them candy sitting prominently on my counter. I wish this on everyone.

Grande Dame of Foolish -no more!

“Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

And what’s on the other side

Rainbows are visions

They’re only illusions

Rainbows have nothing to hide

So we’ve been told

And some choose to believe it

I know they’re wrong wait and see

Someday we’ll find it

The rainbow connection

The lovers, the dreamers and me”

Lyrics by Jim Henson- favored artist Kermit the Frog.
Rainbows and Frogs- “look, look, look to the rainbow, follow the fellow who follows his dream.”

The fascination of the colors, shape and promise offer a trilogy of endless wonderment. Dorothy searched for happiness “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She learned that after her laborious travels, the click of the red shoes bringing her “Home” to Auntie Em’s smile was her Oz.

So you gamble at the track to win, place or show. Aren’t placing and showing, winning? Just get out of the gate, play your own game and recognize opportunities often disguised as hardships. In holy grail fashion become the laureate of second chances even if your horse places or shows.

Don’t judge a situation you’ve never been in. My friend’s Love their dogs. Like in OMG- DOG! The unrequited love in the wag of their tale and lick on their face puts a smile on theirs second to none.

Friend’s adopted a baby at birth. They threw the word adopted away as it had no “H” for Heart in it. When you have grandchildren that had nothing to do with biology and everything to do with “Everything,”- make them yours in heart, body and soul. Their memories will become your legacy. Believe me they know who loves them, chicken nuggets and all.

As next chapters come with rapid speed listen carefully for the song of the male frog- a grunt, a croak. It often serves as the conduit to where you want to settle in. Don’t re-gift your life to people who treat you as after thoughts. Allow all that therapy pay off.

To quote the Wizard make hay from the scarecrows stuffing. Join the parade as it’s marching by. And– when the music stops find that one seat that’s left, it has your name on it.

Holeptses by Bubby Chicken with Love

האָלעפּצעס

Let’s do it Stuffed Cabbage

Ingredients and more than a pinch of sugar

1 large head of Savoy or green cabbage- including outer leaves

2 lbs chopped sirloin- 2lbs. Ground chuck chopped

3 eggs lightly beaten

3/4 Cup unseasoned bread crumbs

2 cups of raisins

Box of Uncle Benny’s (for those in the know) rice- aka- Uncle Ben’s Rice- none of that minute rice.

Kosher salt to taste- and a pinch for good luck

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar- slightly below the insulin line- Brown sugar

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

1 large yellow onion chopped- chop, chop, chop

3 tablespoons Wesson’s oil- what’s with this olive oil?

1 stick breakstones unsalted, sweet butter- you know the one in the red box.

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 Cup red wine vinegar

Boil large pot of water to dunk the head of cabbage for a few minutes

Peel off leaves with tongs as soon as they are flexible- dry on side on paper towel

Heat the oil and butter in saucepan, add onions and cook for 8 minutes- not 10 minutes – (8)- look to see onions are done-(translucent) my word not Bubbys.

Add the tomatoes, paste and sauce sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and bring to boil.

Then cook on low flame, uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir a little and then stir again.

Now the filling- mix in Large bowl all the meat, oh wait cook the rice and add that to cooked meat- eggs, onion, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and add 1 cup of the sauce you are cooking in the other pot to the meat mixture. Stir lightly with fork.

Ok now heat the oven to 350 degrees

In another pot add sauce to cover bottom of pot. Take the cabbage leaves and put in each one about a 1/2 cup of meat filling. Roll cabbage leaves up make sure they are tightly tucked and put in pot. Then add sauce, then add another layer of stuffed leaves and then add sauce. Add over and over till all cabbage leaves are used up. Cover the pot with the lid and make sure it is tightly covered nothing should boil over. Cook for an hour mamala and when you hear your husband coming in take off the lid. He should smell the stuffed cabbage before he says hello -and kisses you on the cheek.

Get some good rye bread( no seeds- they cause diverticulitis)- and put on table so he can dunk the sauce. Enjoy! Give him a tums before he falls asleep on the chair and you wake him up to go to the bed.

*Ok, mamala watch me and watch me good. You Will make this for your husband one day.