Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The day God created the world. 5775 years ago.

Today, 24 September, is National Heritage Day and National Braai Day in South Africa. A day of remembering our heritage. And feasting on meat in a way that reminded us of the Old Testament sacrificial practices.

Today,  24 September, at sundown, 1 Tishrei on the Biblical calendar, is also the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the anniversary of the day God created the world. 5775 years ago.

The festival of Rosh Hashanah is observed for two days beginning on 1 Tishrei, the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in G‑d’s world.

Rosh Hashanah thus emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world.

But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe.

Rosh Hashanah observances include:

a) Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the new year’s blessings.
b) Blessing one another with the words “Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,” “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
c) Tashlich, a special prayer said in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Biblical Calendar
The rules for the Biblical Calendar and discovered that they are simple and logical:
1. Start and end days at sunset (Genesis 1:5).
2. Start weeks at day one and end on day seven, the Sabbath. (Leviticus 23:15-16). Sabbath end at sunset on Saturday.
3. Start months with the sighting of the new moon (Deuteronomy 16:1).
4. Start years in the month barley will be harvestable by the middle of that month (Leviticus 23:4-14).
These suggestions invite you to observe God’s creation – sighting a sunset or a new moon and looking at a barley crop. Psalm 33:8 says, "Let all the earth fear Yahweh: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." Is there a better way than to get outside and look at some of these awesome, timekeeping sights of creation?

Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC,
the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple. It contains the following text:
Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC, the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple. It contains the following text:
"Two months of harvest
Two months of planting
Two months are late planting
One month of pulling flax
One month of barley harvest
One month of harvest and feasting
Two months of pruning vines
One month of summer fruit"
This calendar lays out the fundamental importance of the agricultural cycle in King Solomon’s day this can be seen in the temple festivals of Shavuot  ("Feast of weeks") or First Fruits in early summer (the "month of summer" fruit in line 8), and the Feast of Ingathering (the harvest) in the fall which culminates to the Feast of Tabernacles. The mention of feasting reflects the pilgrimages festivals which involved feasting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Tonight while my mom, Lenie, and daughter, Emmy, baked cupcakes, I wondered where the concept originated.

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in "Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats" in 1828 in Eliza Leslie's Receipts cookbook.

In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has remained, and the name of "cupcake" is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I admire . . . Corrie ten Boom

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom (born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 15 April 1892 and died on her 91st birthday, 1983) was a Dutch Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and was imprisoned for it. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.

The ten Boom family were devoted Christians who dedicated their lives in service to their fellow man. Their home in Barteljorisstraat (in Haarlem when Holland) was always an “open house” for anyone in need. During the Second World War, the ten Boom home became a refuge, a hiding place, for fugitives and those hunted by the Nazis.


The Ten Boom home on the corner of Barteljorisstraat and Schoutensteeg, Haarlem.

Ten Boom family members were eventually betrayed by informants and were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died, except Corrie ten Boom, who went on to tell the story of the family’s work with the Resistance movement. Her autobiographical book, The Hiding Place, was published in 1971 and made into a full-length feature film of the same name in 1975. 

The Corrie ten Boom Museum tells the extraordinary story of the Ten Boom family which saved 800 Jews in the "Hiding Place" from Nazi death camps in WWII.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tea with a queen.

While reading "Good morning, Mr Mandela", I also visited Buckingham Palace with Zelda and Madiba; to have tea with the queen!

With the possible exception of the Duke of Edinburgh,
Nelson Mandela must have been the only man on Earth
 who called the Queen “Elizabeth”. He was certainly the first and last human being to greet her with a cheery, “Oh Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight!”
Mandela in old age could get away with just about anything. As he travelled the world in his ninth and 10th decades, doing good works, dispensing homilies and sprinkling stardust over all he met.


Monday, September 1, 2014

From Bloem to Bordeaux

Tonight I went to the first ultra-local event since I'm back in Bloem:
the annual PnP wine-tasting!

And there I met John X Merriman 2007

Winemaker: R. Christian
Variety: Bordeaux Blend

A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the region around Bordeaux, France
. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world.
The vine was introduced to the Bordeaux region by the Romans, probably in the mid-1st century. Red Bordeaux is generally made from a blend of grapes. Permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and rarely Carménère. The vast majority of Bordeaux wine is red. The 60 Bordeaux appellations and the wine styles they represent are usually categorized into six main families, four red based on the subregions and two white based on sweetness:
  •  Red Bordeaux and Red Bordeaux Supérieur.
  •  Red Côtes de Bordeaux.
  •  Red Libourne.
  •  Red Graves and Médoc.
  •  White Dry.
  •  White Sweet.

  • Vintage demijohns