This is a cross-posting of an article sent out to our congregation via email. A wonderful interview with congregant, Adele Josovitz about Break Fast at the end of Yom Kippur. Future editions of this series will also be cross-posted here on the blog for all to enjoy.
Today we’re introducing a new, periodic column to share with the Congregation B’nai Israel community. It will discuss something we all enjoy….food! It will feature interviews with different B’nai Israel members conducted by a congregant who prefers to be called Aunt Blanche. If enough people want it to continue, the column will appear periodically around Jewish holidays. Please send us an email and tell us what you think and what you’re interested in reading about. Our first column features an interview with longtime temple member Adele Josovitz of Fairfield.
Aunt Blanche: Your break fast meals at the end of Yom Kippur are legendary. I hear you have more than 40 people to your house. What’s your first memory of breaking the Yom Kippur fast?
Adele: Well, I don’t have any early memories of breaking fast but my younger sister is quite adamant that our mom fasted. Our dad didn’t fast because he had to work 24/7 since we lived on a chicken farm in New Jersey. Chickens don’t know the difference between one day and the next.
For me, however, the most important thing about holidays was being with our family. It was eating together and being together: aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I do remember walking with my family to a=2 0very small Orthodox shul – The First Hebrew Farmers Association of Perrineville. This was where all of the Jewish chicken farmers in the area went to pray
Aunt Blanche: So Adele, you mean you have never fasted at Yom Kippur? I’m shocked.
Adele: I actually don’t remember whether or not I fasted before I went to college, though my sister insists that we did fast. However, I absolutely remember fasting while I was in college. I definitely didn’t fast when I was pregnant. That was a bonus of being pregnant!
Aunt Blanche: Does fasting serve a purpose?
Adele: It makes me remember and think about our Jewish heritage. It also reminds me of the pai n and suffering of our ancestors. Do I have to fast to think about these things? No. But I do it because it’s Yom Kippur and that’s what Jews do.
Aunt Blanche: What do you really think about when you fast?
Adele: I think about many things, including the meal I’m preparing for our family and friends who will be descending upon our house!
Aunt Blanche: Most people have a few people over to their home, maybe six or 10 people. You have 40 or 50 and you do it every year. That’s crazy.
Adele: I just invited 10 more people yesterday. Shhh, don’t tell my husband, he doesn’t know yet. However, he won’t be surprised, becau se this is what always happens. We invite the stragglers – the people who have no place to go. Our children invite people and our friends invite people, so I never know who will be coming. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see who will be arriving at our doorstep. It’s very important that everyone has somewhere to go during the holidays.
Aunt Blanche: So Adele.. What are you serving this year at your break fast?
Adele: Well, there are two halves. There’s the dairy half and the meat half. People can pick what they want to eat. Since I’m not kosher, I have the flexibility to do the meal my way.
Aunt Blanche: Tell me more.
Adele: We’ll put out my Aunt Sylvia=E 2s Chicken Fricassee, Matzo Ball Soup, Vegetable Soup, Bagels, lox, white fish, cream cheese, two kinds of noodle pudding (one without dairy for the “lactose people” as we call them! ) herring, gefilte fish, kasha varnishkes. Kapelstash (fried cabbage and noodle.) Then there’s tongue, pastrami, corned beef, turkey, salads, pickles and olives, roasted vegetables, tomatoes with basil and mozzarella. We have lots of desserts…pies, cookies, cupcakes, fruit salad and my other Aunt Sylvia’s Mandel bread. I had two Aunt Sylvias. Now, that’s a name that doesn’t come up too often in baby announcements!
Of course, people do bring food, even though I tell them not to. I do understand that it’s hard to come to a house empty-handed. So there is always an amazing assortment of food other than what I’ve made.
Aunt Blanche: But that’s insane. That’s like a bar mitzvah, a wedding and a bat mitzvah combined.
Adele: I know, I know. I’m trying to recreate my childhood memories of holidays I shared with my extended family eating together at a very long table in our playroom. So, I am creating memories for my children, just like our parents did for us. Actually, it doesn’t really matter what is served, it’s always people coming together and celebrating.
Aunt Blanche: So what should people serve?
Adele: You don’t have to serve a big meal. You could serve scrambled eggs, bagels, lox and cream cheese. The important thing is to share food with people.
Aunt Blanche: Where do you shop?
Adele: Well, we don’t have any more Jewish delis around here. I go to Stop and Shop and Trader Joe’s. I have a friend who stops at Rhein’s Deli in Vernon and brings me the kosher cold cuts. My son is a baker at Billy’s Bakery and we get all our baked goods there.
Aunt Blanche: How important is food to being Jewish?
Adele: Gosh. You can never have too much food! You always have to send people home with food, don’t you? Food is very important but it is the sharing that is more important. Come into somebody’s house and everyone moves to the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home.
Below is the Recipe for Adele’s Aunt Sylvia’s Mandel Bread
Aunt Sylvia Robbins Mandelbrot – also known as Mandel bread
Oven Temperature: 350 °
3 large eggs
3 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup oil
2 tsp. &n bsp;baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cup chopped almonds/walnuts
½ cup sugar
1 TBS. Cinnamon
Add sugar – mix thoroughly
Add oil – mix thoroughly
Mix flour and baking powder together
Fold in flour/baking powder
Divide the dough into 3 balls
Refrigerate for 1 hour
Lightly oil baking sheet
Take each ball and shape into a flat, rectangular loaf –
approximately 1 inch high and 2 inches wide
Bake 350 ° - 20 minutes
Take each “loaf” out of the oven and cut into slices – this will determine the thickness of the mandel bread.
Put each slice on its side on the cookie sheet
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
Bake 400 ° - 8 – 10 minutes
Cool on a cooling rack and ENJOY!