Post 270: Major NYC Hospital Reshuffles Kosher Program- another reason to have your surgeries performed in Israel – Rabbi Jonathan Taub “The side You’ve Never Heard Before” – 15 Minute Lasagna

I am somewhat late about writing about  almost a week’s past  fast day. That was on December 21st, last Monday-Tuesday was the 10th of Tevas when I heard

Rabbi Jonathan Taub, speak on the topic, “The side You’ve Never Heard Before” at Emek Learning Center 64 Enek Rafaaim Dec 21 at 8:00 P. Men and Women were in attendance.

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The lecture was fascinating: As a former math teacher it was fun to follow. The fast is set at 98 days from Rosh Ha Shannah. But wait. We will have some variation. Both Cheshvan and Kislev have 30 days each. Then you also have months of 29.5 day.

Simply put, the Sanhendrin added an extra day to Marcheshvan (making it 30 days long) or at other times removing one day from Kislev (making it 29 days long). Accordingly, a common Hebrew calendar year can have a length of 353, 354 or 355 days, while a leap Hebrew calendar year can have a length of 383, 384 or 385 days

We followed Rabbi Taub from a sheet of Gemaraa –Rosh Ha Shanah.

The first reference to the Tenth of Tevet as a fast appears in Zechariah (8:19) where it is called the “fast of the tenth month.” One opinion in the Talmud (b. Rosh Hashana 18b) states that the “fast of the tenth month” refers to the fifth of Tevet, when, according to Ezekiel (33:21), news of the destruction of the Temple 588 BCE reached those already in exile in Babylon. News in those days took months to arrive.

However, the tenth is the date observed today, according to the other opinion presented in the Talmud. Other references to the fast and the affliction can be found in Ezekiel 24:1–24:2 (the siege) and Jeremiah (52:4–52:6). 

According to tradition, as described by the liturgy for the day’s selichos, the fast also commemorates other calamities that occurred throughout Jewish history on the tenth of Tevet and the two days preceding it:

  • To make matters worse for the Jews of Judea, two centuries latter, on the eighth of Tevet one year during the 3rd century BCE, a time of Hellenistic rule of Judea during the Second Temple period, Ptolemy, King of Egypt, ordered the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, a work which later became known as the Septuagint.
  • Seventy two sages were placed in solitary confinement and ordered to translate the Torah into Greek. The expected outcome would be a multitude of different translations that would then be compared and critiqued by the Greeks as there were some sentences in the bible that could be understood as offensive to pagans if taken wrongly and would obviously need to be changed. This would demonstrate the muddled meanings of the Torah and the divergent opinions of Jewish interpreters. However, all seventy-two sages independently made identical translations into Greek. The Greeks saw this as a most impressive feat. However, various rabbinical sources see this event as a tragedy, a debasement of the divine nature of the Torah, and a subversion of its spiritual qualities. They reasoned that upon translation from the original Hebrew, the Torah’s legal codes & deeper layers of meaning would be lost. Many Jewish laws are formulated in terms of specific Hebrew words employed in the Torah; without the original Hebrew code, authenticity of the legal system would be damaged. The mystical ideas contained in the Torah are also drawn from the original Hebrew. As such, these would not be accessed by individuals studying the Torah in Greek (or any other language) alone.
  • On the ninth of Tevet, “something happened, but we do not know what it was…” (Shulchan Aruch). The selichot liturgy for the day states that Ezra the Scribe, the great leader who brought some Jews back to the Holy Land from the Babylonian exile and who ushered in the era of the Second Temple, died on this day, and this is verified by the Kol Bo. But according to the earlier sources (the Geonim as recorded by Bahag and cited in Tur Orach Chaim 580), the specific tragedy of 9 Tevet is unknown. Some manuscripts of Bahag (obviously not those available to the Tur) add that Ezra and Nechemiah died on this day—but only after first stating that the Rabbis have given no reason for why the day is tragic. Other suggestions are given as to why the ninth of Tevet is notable as well.

Major NYC Hospital Reshuffles Kosher Program

New York – The news that the Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan would cease to offer kosher meals out of its kosher kitchen caught many by surprise. The hospital was incorporated in 1890 by a group of 40 Orthodox  Jews, each of whom paid 25 cents to set up a hospital serving New York’s Jewish immigrants, particularly newcomers.

Some observers wondered if the requirement for a kosher kitchen was not part of the original charter.

The decision by officials of the Mount Sinai Medical Center which acquired Beth Israel in 2013, means that patients and visitors would henceforth receive kosher meals trucked to the facility from the kosher kitchen at the uptown Mt. Sinai facility.

The meals would be heated in kosher designated microwave ovens in much the same way airlines heat kosher meals. The Orthodox Union (OU) which supervised the Beth Israel kitchen will continue their supervision of the Mt. Sinai kitchen. Sources told Kosher Today that Mt. Sinai’s management decided to make the change due to changing demographics at the hospital.

The new kosher order at Beth Israel will also be in effect at Beth Israel’s Brooklyn facility. Sources reached by Kosher Today agreed that the move was a cost-saving measure by the Mt. Sinai management.
With the change at Beth Israel, the Orthodox Union supervises two major medical centers in New York, Mt. Sinai and the Albert Einstein Hospital.

Another major hospital that is exclusively kosher is the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Maimonides recently merged with the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. North Shore-LIJ, already one of the nation’s largest health systems, has been expanding its footprint both to the east and west of its traditional central Long Island roots. One Jewish community leader said: “I hope that the new management realizes the importance of a kosher program in a hospital serving the largest Jewish community outside of Israel.”
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15 Minute Lasagna Soup

November 10 2015

Skinny Dip Noodles 15 Minute Lasagna SoupServes 4

1 bag kodu noodles sliced in half
1/2 lb ground chicken
1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
2 cups Hunts no sugar added pasta sauce/or your own
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup tofu, marinated in miso for several hours
1/2 cup soaked cashews, then chopped and marinated in miso for several hours
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or roasted garlic. You may also add sauted mushrooms


Heat small amount of oil and saute nuts and tofu, and incorporate into ground meat/chicken. In a large skillet stir the meat until starting to cook. Continue cooking with bell pepper and onion/mushrooms/garlic until meat is cooked; drain fat. Add pasta sauce, chicken stock and lasagna noodles. Cook 10 minutes, then stir in browned tofu. Simmer 5 minutes and serve topped with parsley.

If You Love Pasta But Not Its Carbs, Let Us Introduce You To Shirataki ‘Miracle’ Noodles

There’s a reason shirataki noodles are branded as “Miracle Noodles.” These translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles, which are made from the konjac yam, are low in calories and carbohydrates and can be substituted in a variety of recipes that call for pasta.

If you’re in search of carb-free noodles that perfectly mimic the taste and texture of regular spaghetti — a true miracle — keep looking. Like pasta, shirataki noodles are mostly neutral in flavor and can absorb the tastes you cook with. But, shirataki has a slimier consistency and you won’t be able to choose the hardness of your pasta — al dente or otherwise — because the noodles are already “cooked.”

And, very unlike generic, boxed spaghetti, shirataki noodles come pre-packaged in liquid, portioned out in a plastic bag that gets refrigerated. The noodles are watery and emanate a faint, fishy odor (though they’re 100 percent vegan), which comes from the plant they are made from. Shirataki noodle manufacturers recommend rinsing, draining and drying the noodles before using them in dishes — this’ll help reduce the smell. Nevertheless, the pasta alternative is a smart choice for those looking for something gluten-free, low-carb or lighter in calories.

Shirataki noodles are available in many shapes — spaghetti, fettucini, macaroni — and can be purchased plain. Products like Miracle Noodle and NoOodle Noodles sell this type, which tends to be extra-slippery, nutritionally void (they are mostly made up of water) and close to calorie-free. Other brands, like House Foods and Nasoya’s Pasta Zero blend the yam flour with tofu or chickpeas, which adds just a few calories and grams of carbohydrates and fiber.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a low-carb diet was more effective for losing weight and reducing cardiovascular risks than the low-fat diet, and shirataki noodles certainly earn a win from this nutritional angle.
pasta faceoff

A 4-ounce serving of House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti contains 10 calories, .5 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of protein. A 2-ounce serving (the weight is different because shiritaki noodles are already cooked) of Barilla Angel Hair pasta contains 200 calories, 1 gram of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein.

When it comes to price, however, classic spaghetti takes the cake. You can snag a box of Barilla at Target for $1.29, which comes out to about 16 cents per serving.

A bag of House Foods’ costs about $3.00 on Amazon, which comes out to $1.50 per serving.

When cooking with shirataki, remember texture: It’s more like the glass or cellophane noodles you find in Asian stir fries, soups and dumplings. So, if you’re trying to recreate a meal without compromising familiarity, use shirataki for these sorts of recipes.

Try this vegetable-filled Sukiyaki recipe by Merci Mama:
merci mama

Sukiyaki shirataki noodles

Serves 1 – 2

what you need:

  • 1 small or 1/2 large carrot, julienned (Sliced into matchsticks)
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • handful of podded edamame beans
  • 1 packet of shirataki noodles
  • 250 ml dashi II/super dashi (2 tsp dashi granules dissolved in 1 L of water – dashi granules can be bought at the japanese supermarket). I will substitute for bonito flakes Shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed which are traditional Japanese substitutes for bonito flakes. These ingredients are commonly used to flavor vegetarian versions of broths and sauces that would normally contain dried bonito flakes.Now I know that this is Kosher  and available in Israel.
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 40 ml mirin
  • 3/4 tbsp sake – omit
  • 1 tbsp sugar – omit
  • sesame seeds to garnish

What to do:

Start by making the sauce by combining the dashi II, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Take it off the heat and set aside.

Heat a small splash of oil into a wok and when hot and starting to smoke add the carrot and stir-fry for a minute, then add the zucchini and stir-fry for another minute.

Remove the veg and then add the sauce and bring to the boil and then add the noodles.  Cook the noodles in the sauce until the noodles have absorbed the sauce and the sauce is almost evaporated.  Add the veg back into the noodles with the edamame and stir through.

Serve and then garnish with some sesame seeds.

Even still, if you’re willing to adjust your noodle expectations, shirataki can certainly work in more traditional Italian dishes. Try this Spaghetti-Esque recipe by Burpees In The Kitchen:


What you’ll need:
(Serves 3-4, can easily be doubled or tripled)

For the meat sauce (you can use your own recipe or you can use mine below):

  • 1 can of pasta sauce, any brand or make your own tomato sauce to make sure it’s completely gluten-free
  • Some lean, grass-fed ground beef (Use as much as you want, depending on how much beef you like. I used a little less than one lb.)
  •  olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • Some ground black pepper to taste

For the noodles:

  • 1 1/2 packets of thin, angel hair shirataki noodles (or use 2 packets, you can always add another half can of pasta sauce if you need to).
Kitchen utensils:
  • 2 large, nonstick pans
  • 1 colander
  • Spatula / wooden spoon

To prepare the noodles:

  1. Drain the noodles in a colander and place over running water for a few minutes to rinse. Cut the noodles into thirds, and then place in a pot filled with water.
  2. Heat up the noodles and water, and bring up to a boil. Boil the noodles for about 5 minutes, then drain again. This is to get rid of the smell that most shirataki noodles come with.
  3. Now you want to dry the noodles completely, so the noodles can soak up the sauce. (I like an almost crunchy taste to the noodles, so I personally dry-fry them for awhile to get rid of that chewy texture and make it thinner. Some people absolutely hate the texture of these noodles, so dry-frying them until they’re almost crispy helps a little.). Throw the noodles in a large nonstick pan (don’t add any olive oil / butter, you want the pan completely dry), and turn the heat up to med-high. Mix the noodles constantly with a spatula / wooden spoon. You’ll hear the noodles squeak as they dry. This will probably take you around 5-10 minutes. Make sure all the moisture is out, and then turn off the heat and leave them in the skillet as you prepare your meat sauce.

Meat sauce:

  1. Heat up some butter or olive oil in another large nonstick pan. Add the ground beef, and break it up into little pieces with your spatula / spoon, and then fry on the pan over med heat until well browned and even crispy. Depending on how much beef you use, this might take 10-15 minutes. That’s the key to getting the flavor in this meat sauce, cook it until the little bits are a deep dark brown and crispy.
  2. After the meat is nice and browned, add in the onions and garlic. Stir and cook for a few more minutes, until the onions and garlic carmelize nicely.
  3. Add in the pasta sauce, and adjust heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  4. Add in the oregano, black pepper, and basil. Stir well, and simmer for another couple minutes.

Combining the meat sauce and noodles:

  1. Pour the dried noodles into the pan with the meat sauce, and heat on med heat for a few minutes. If you’re using two packets and you feel like you need more sauce, then by all means throw in some more tomato / pasta sauce!
  2. Turn off the heat, transfer the noodles in the meat sauce into a large heat-proof container. Let it cool down completely, and then refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. You could skip this step and just eat it as soon as you’re done cooking, but I’ve found that the flavors incorporate better into the noodles when I refrigerate it first.
  3. When you’re ready to eat, reheat in the microwave, stovetop, or oven.  Since I don’t have a microwave, I always bake it in the oven at 375F for about 1

You might attempt your own rendition of this Marinara And Zucchini Spaghetti recipe by Feed Your Skull.

61 Calorie Dinner | Zucchini, Miracle Noodles, and Sauce


  • 2 bags of Miracle Noodle Angel Hair Pasta, drained and rinsed for about 15 seconds
  • 1 small zucchini, ends removed
  • 1 jar Classico Ripened Olives & Mushrooms (or other natural sauce – one without High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • black olives (optional)


  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan.
  2. While water is heating up use a spiralizer, knife, or potato peeler to chop or make long noodles out of the zucchini.
  3. Once water is boiling, drop in the miracle noodles and zucchini and blanch for 1-5 minutes. While they are blanching, heat pasta sauce up in a small sauce pan.
  4. When noodles are done, drain them using a colander and combine with pasta sauce.

Or this Cheesy, Shiritaki Noodle Bake by Escape From Obesity.
noodle bake

1) open the package and dump the contents into a colander/strainer over the sink.
2) Rinse with warm water. Drain. Stir. Rinse some more. Drain. Rinse and rinse. Repeat.
3) Toss the drained noodles into a pot of boiling water. Stir. Let them boil for 3 minutes.
4) Dump them back into the colander to drain.
5) rinse again with warm water, and drain very thoroughly.
There! Done! While it might sound tedious, it’s not. It takes about five minutes and you now have “pasta” that is basically flavorless and odorless and has only 20 calories per serving! It’s worth it.
Now for the recipe. I had this for dinner tonight, and wow, it was amazing! I adapted this recipe from one I found on a message board. I had to change it up a little to get it to fit into my plan. This is so yummy and fits into a low carb eating plan, or if you are trying to save calories in pasta or trying to avoid pasta altogether, this is a great solution!
Shirataki Noodle Bake
Prepare one 8-ounce bag of Tofu Shirataki noodles as described above. Cut them up just a bit using kitchen scissors. I used spaghetti shaped noodles.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan mix:
1/4 c canned diced tomatoes with only a little bit of their juice
1/3 c tomato sauce (I actually used Ragu jarred pizza sauce with no added sugar)
1/4 c chopped mushrooms (I used baby Portabellas)
1 clove of garlic, minced, or garlic powder to taste
1 T of onion, minced, or onion powder to taste
some freshly ground black pepper and just a shake of sea salt
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
a little pinch of red pepper flakes, for heat
Let this simmer for about 5 minutes and then throw in the Shirataki noodles. Stir. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until it isn’t watery, but more saucy. Dump it into a baking pan (I used a glass bread pan). Top it with grated part skim mozzarella cheese. I used one cup of grated cheese because that met my protein requirements, but you could use less if you want.
Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes so the cheese is melted.

There’s a lot you can do with a package of shirataki in your fridge. Flavor them with the seasoning packet that comes with a serving of ramen (noodles and toss the dried noodles by the wayside). Or, add them to a can of your favorite soup for a bit more volume. Just use your noodle (heh), and you’ll be sure to find something that tastes miraculous.



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