Post 173: We have experienced a sysmatic shift when Rabbis are ignored and businesses flout the law and open on Shabat in Jerusalem and CARMELIZED ONIONS WITH CHESTNUTS AND PRUNES for vegetarian tempeh

I am very sad to report that Jerusalem is not the the holy place we thought it to be. It is being parceled out piece by piece.

Justice, Justice is not a whim of the corrupt

Without it disaster will erupt.

It is an absolute that proper government cannot refute.

Righteousness, righteousness, is the heavenly pursuit. By Evelyn Hayes

I will translate the Hebrew with the help of Nechama Wells:  Violence threatens Jerusalem’s Shabat.”244 businesses are open on Shabat in Jerusalem, the Holy City. May G-d have mercy upon us. An additional 16 movie theaters opened in Jerusalem, this Shabat. G-d have mercy!

All of Israel in it’s masses, those who tremble  before the fate of the  Holy City.

Should we be silent? Our protest will be heard on the Sabbath Day Torah Portion Re’eh, Rosh Chodesh Elul 5775….Sabbath desecrations are increasing at a fearful and threatening pace.

In the end Jerusalem will become a condemned city, a city that has been lead astray.”

We read Oliver Sack’s thoughts on Shabat: And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly … on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.

Ultra orthodox Jewish boys stand in front of so-called Pashkvilim; black-and-white news posters which replace newspapers on the main street like the one below posted three blocks from my home at the entrance to an ultra-orthodox area with many Synagogues.

20150816_130237_1

© Dana Gallagher

We who cherish the Shabat are sad to see these posters put up by Charedim. Why are they the only ones who speak out? May we as one people bring peace and light again to our city.

This past Friday I attended the weekly service held outside a restaurant that is open on Shabat. The restaurant is on Rechove Shatz. I saw a family watching the service. I walked over to them and introduced myself. They were a family from Dallas Texas staying for two weeks in an apartment on Rechove Narkis. They had been drawn to the beautiful singing and took a walk, stopping to see Jews, like themselves, gathering to observe the Shabat, something they would never expect to see in Dallas or in any other large city where Orthodox Jews hold services. Soon, one of the members of the minyan inquired in Hebrew about the origins of the family sitting on the edges of the crowd. It wasn’t long before that family and two others, one from close to Eilat and one from Tel Aviv, (incidentally, six doctors and scientists in the group total) and a bunch of children were invited to hear Kiddush at Odad Levinsohn’s home in the courtyard and to stay for diner.

Odad told the Carlebach story of Yossele the miser. According to the general outline of the legend, the richest Jew in Kraków in the 17th century was Yossele the Miser. He was known by this title because in the community he was reviled for his stinginess and refusal to contribute to tzedakah (charity) despite his great wealth. When the Miser died, the townspeople who long despised him refused to bury his body for several days. Out of scorn, they eventually buried him in the back of the cemetery, an area normally reserved for paupers and other societal outcasts. Within a week of the Miser’s death, strange occurrences began to unfold in the town. All the poor began beseeching the local rabbi for money because the weekly allowances they had regularly been receiving from an anonymous benefactor had ceased arriving. Eventually, the rabbi realized that Yossele was the source of these charitable donations and in fact, the notorious miser was a great Tzadik (righteous man).

Immediately, the rabbi commanded the entire town to converge on Yossele’s grave and beg for forgiveness. And on the tombstone which read “Yossele the Miser,” the rabbi added the word HaTzadik—the Righteous One.  According to the story, the rabbi involved was the famed sage Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, who requested to be buried next to the Holy Miser. This is understood as the reason why the grave of the venerated Rabbi Yom-Tov is found at the back of the Remuh Cemetery next to Yossele today. This is not the end of the story.. to be continued.

I chose the following recipe as a metaphor of Jerusalem. Take a lowly onion. Under the right set of circumstances, it will become a flavorful delight. Same holds true for Israel. May we forget out differences and respect our essence.

Caramelized Onions with Chestnuts and Prunes

CARMELIZED ONIONS, CHESTNUTS AND PRUNES

INGREDIENTS

  1. 3 pounds cipolline onions, stem and root ends trimmed
  2. 1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter/OLIVE OIL
  5. 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 1/4 cup Cognac
  8. 1 cup pitted prunes (6 ounces)
  9. 40 cooked and peeled unsweetened chestnuts (from a vacuum-packed 16-ounce jar)or fresh from the market
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the onions and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain in a colander under cold running water. Slip off the papery skins and pat the onions dry.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, combine the vegetable stock with the water,oil, vinegar and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the onions, cover and cook over moderately low heat until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are covered with a deep-golden caramel, about 30 minutes longer; add a few tablespoons of water as the liquid evaporates.
  3. Add the Cognac, prunes and chestnuts to the onions and cook just until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and scrape up any caramel stuck to the bottom and sides. Pour the sauce over the onions, garnish with the parsley and serve.
MAKE AHEAD

The caramelized onions, prunes and chestnuts can be refrigerated overnight in a baking dish. Rewarm in a 325° oven, adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Garnish with parsley just before serving.

NOTES

Dont waste time peeling cipollini individually, the way you would large onions. First, blanch them in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Trim off the roots and the skins should slip off easily. You can also simply soak the onions in warm water for about half an hour to get the same loosening effect.

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