The Conspiracy

Second night Seders; the poet and candy; quinoa for Pesach; and more. [Required Reading]

Is quinoa for Pesach the ultimate combination? | Photo by Flickr user Autumn Sweater CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Years later, patrilineal debate rages on [Forward]

The debate over “Who is a Jew?” has perhaps never been more heated in the years following the Reconstructionist, and later Reform, decision to accept as Jews those with only one Jewish parent: the father. While many perhaps expected this trend to catch on in the wider world, it doesn’t seem to be, and there are even critics within liberal Jewish circles. The Jewish Daily Forward reports:

“Depending on whom you ask, the Reform movement’s acceptance of patrilineal Jews — predated by 15 years by the Reconstructionist movement — was either a boon to American Judaism or a harbinger of its demise. Officials in the Reform movement, now the largest denomination in America, say that their decision opened the door for mixed marrieds who were intent on raising their children as Jews. But critics from the Orthodox and Conservative movements, and even from within Reform Judaism itself, say that patrilineal acceptance has diluted the Jewish community beyond recognition, giving rise to a generation of half-Jews with tenuous religious ties.

Furthermore, they contend that patrilineal acceptance drove a wedge through the heart of the Jewish community, creating competing definitions of what it means to be a Jew. Whereas at one time, Orthodox parents might have allowed their child to marry a Reform Jew, the patrilineal decision caused traditional Jews, wary of Reform bloodlines, to question that acceptance.”

The second night Seder: a special opportunity? [JTA]

Like the rest of Judaism, deciding the night of your Seder is wrapped up in tradition and past experiences. In this piece from JTA, Suzanne Kurtz explores the positive reasons why having a Seder on the second night might be enriching as a spiritual practice.

“In the modern world there is hardly any doubt over what day of the week that Passover falls or when to begin celebrating holidays. But Mark Leuchter, professor of Jewish studies at Temple University, says today there are more symbolic reasons for maintaining the tradition of preparing a seder on the second night of Passover.

‘The second seder gives us an opportunity to affirm our identity as Jews in the diaspora,’ Leuchter says. ‘It’s an affirmation of our ability to thrive outside Israel.’”

Herschel Silverman, the candy store poet [Tablet]

Explore the work of a remarkable poet, associate of Allen Ginsberg, and owner of a candy store. In this article from Tablet, Jake Marmer takes a dive into Silverman’s mind, life and times.

“There is a common perception of poets as madmen, social rejects, and wild prophetic characters spewing incomprehensible truths. This, of course, was particularly true of the Beats; Hersch, however, did not quite fit the paradigm: Whatever madness he may be referring to in this poem is really at most a tipsy garrulous over-excitement, largely humorous and self-parodying. Neither is it directed toward an opiate-inspired muse or a femme fatale—but rather to his wife. Particularly insightful here is the parenthetical clarification about the slip cover: The careful domesticated specificity of the image is simply endearing.”

Quinoa: no longer just the vegan’s best friend? [Jerusalem Post]

Looking for a replacement to the rice in your meals during Passover? Look no further than quinoa, writes Phyllis Glazer in this article for the Jerusalem Post.

“Richer in protein and the amino acid lysine than any other grain, quinoa is also very high in iron, and it is an important source of calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Available in beige, black or reddish brown (the darkest shade is the richest in minerals), or sometimes a mix, quinoa is not really a grain, but a seed, recognized by American rabbinic authorities as kosher for Passover since 1999 – suggesting only that those who do not eat legumes (‘kitniot’) on Passover make sure to use previously unopened boxes of quinoa, which have not been processed on machines that also process corn or rice.

So whether or not you’ve ever tried quinoa – and even if you’re also quinoa’d out – why not give this little seedgrain another chance. Quick-cooking quinoa is a superb base for salads, a binder for vegetable or chicken patties, a filling for stuffed vegetables, and a bed for savory toppings of all kinds.”

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