February Events at AARC

Join us in the month of February to bring levity and inspiration to your winter days! We have a Purim workshop, a Purim-tastic Shabbat, a Mishloach Manot exchange, and a new program about food and land justice to enrich and enliven you!

Hamantaschen workshop, Sunday February 21st 2:30pm.

Laurie White and Etta Heisler will be leading a delicious workshop on how to make the perfect Purim confection via Zoom. We will provide the recipe on this blog in the days to come. Zoom link will be sent out on our mailer the week before the event; if you do not subscribe and would like to come, please email us. Dough will need to be prepared ahead of time, please see Etta’s website for the recipe.

Laurie White’s Recipe:

Rich Pastry Hamantaschen recipe
2 C. all-purpose flour1/2 C. sugar2 t. baking powder1 C. butter (or margarine)2 eggsGrated rind of 1 orange1/2 C. finely ground walnuts2 T. brandy
1) Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.2) Add the eggs3) Add the remaining ingredients and work with your hands until the mixture forms a ball,  Add more flour if the dough seems to sticky to handle.  Wrap and refrigerate over night.4) Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness on a well-floured board or pastry cloth.  Cut 3’ or 4’ diameter circles, using a cookie cutter or drinking glass.5) Using filling of your choice*, mix filling well.  Drop a teaspoon into the center of each circle, and fold dough to form triangular pockets (You can put a bit of water around the edge to help with sealing. Pinch edges together firmly).
Bake in pre-heated 350 F. oven for 20-30 minutes, until pastries are golden brown.  
Makes 2 1/2 – 3 dozen.

* I like prune jam (2. c.) with the grated rind of a lemon, 1 t. orange juice, 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts, 1 t. cinnamon (1/4 t. nutmeg):  apricot jam (and add cinnamon and nuts) or poppyseed filling (I usually add yellow raisins, cinnamon and lemon to the commercially prepared version)

Mohn (rhymes with fun) is both the German and Yiddish word for poppy seeds.  Tasch (rhymes with gosh) is the word for purse or pocket.Mohntaschen were a pocket-like pastry filled with poppy seeds and popular with German Jews and non-Jews in the late Middle Ages.   A dish eaten by Jews has always been more satisfying if there exists some connection between it and the history of the Jewish people, so it became “Hamantaschen” and designated as a treat at Purim.As an extra justification for adopting mohntaschen for the traditional Purim pastry, it has been suggested that poppy seeds were a symbol of manna, the food G-d gave to the Jews wandering in Egypt, and also one of the few foods Esther would have eaten in the Court of Ahasuerus since she would have been observing the Jewish dietary laws.

Sunday February 21st, 12-2 pm, join us for the first conversation in a 6-month series on Shmita

AARC and The Jewish Alliance for Food, Land and Justice are partnering with Ekar Farm and other national organizations to explore the connections between the biblical agricultural tradition of Shmita (“release”) — the Sabbatical year — and contemporary issues of economic, environmental, immigration, and food justice. In today’s program — the first in a six-part monthly series — we’ll learn from Nati Passow of Dayenu about Shmita. In the second hour, we’ll gather as a community (via Zoom) to unpack our reactions and consider their local significance. Register for the class here (note the suggested donation of $18), and learn more about the partnership and upcoming programs here. For questions, contact Carole Caplan-Sosin at caplan.carole@gmail.com

Family-Friendly Purim Celebration, Friday February 26

Fourth Friday services this month will be filled with Purim fun! We will witness the creative brilliance and dramatic flair of Beit Sefer families; hear the megillah, and be delighted by the Great Debate Part II: Hamantaschen VS Matzoh Ball Soup. The costume theme this year is creative headwear — come with your wildest hats and your most creative home-made noisemakers!

We will be doing abbreviated megillah readings in English and need some volunteers! If you are interested, we will provide you with your assigned chapter ahead of time. Please sign up here. If you’re interested in being one of the Great Debaters, email Rabbi Ora.

In addition to our Purim celebration, we are also organizing a Mishloach Manot Exchange for members. To participate, sign up here. You will be randomly matched with 2 other households to give 1 and receive 1 mishloach manot package (in a COVID-safe fashion) in advance of Purim. Need some Mishloach Manot inspiration? Check out these fun ideas!

We hope you are able to join us for this month of enlivening events! If you have any questions, please email us!