Zucchini Latkes with Mint & Meyer Lemon Labneh
By Lauren Braun Costello
Makes 4-6 servings.
Latkes are fried potato pancakes traditionally made to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. But the frying is the symbolic part of the recipe, not the potato. This latke is made with grated zucchini and mint, which makes for a lighter pancake so good that even the kids won’t know they are eating their greens! Paired with a labneh (strained yogurt) spiked with Meyer lemon juice and zest, the flavor is vibrant and bright. You can serve this pretty pancake any time of year for an elegant appetizer or side dish.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; box grater or food processor with a shredder disc; measuring spoons; dry measuring cups; mixing bowls; spoons; reamer or fork; microplane or zester; large sauté pan; offset heatproof spatula
1 cup labneh
juice and zest of two Meyer Lemons
6 zucchini, skin-on
½ bunch mint leaves (stems discarded)
3 tablespoons matzo meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste
vegetable oil for frying
1. First make the labneh. Combine the Meyer Lemon zest and juice with the labneh. Season with salt, if desired. Set aside.
2. To make the latkes, grate the zucchini either in a box grater or in a food processor. Place the grated zucchini on a clean dish towel. Gather the dish towel to enclose the zucchini and squeeze the liquid from the zucchini.
3. Combine the strained zucchini, mint, salt, pepper, matzo meal and eggs in a large bowl. Beat well with a fork to combine.
4. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil (or any high flashpoint oil) in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering—but NOT smoking—add ¼-cup dollops of latke batter to the oil and flatten with the back of a heatproof spatula. Cook the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Be sure to manage the heat source so that the oil does not smoke (likely medium to medium-low).
5. Drain the latkes on a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with the Meyer lemon labneh, or keep warm until service in a 250F oven.
By Lauren Kohr
My Favorite Latkes are actually egg-free! I started making latkes with no eggs for a client and they have become my absolute favorite. They get super super crispy because they are not wet and the crunchy edges are my favorite.
3 russet potatoes, grated
1/2 vidalia sweet onion, grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Light oil, such as canola or vegetable for frying
1) Grate the potatoes on a box grater or with food processor. Food processor is the way to go!
2) Grate onions the same way and add to potatoes.
3) Squeeze the water out of the mixture with a clean dish towel to ensure the potatoes and onions are super dry.
4) Combine with flour, salt, pepper and baking powder.
5) Heat oil in skillet- about 4-5 Tablespoons to ensure the bottom of the skillet is completely covered.
6) Once oil is shimmering drop small handfuls of mixture pressed together into the pan. It should bubble and start to fry immediately.
7) Once the edges begin to look golden brown flip and fry on the other side. About 3 minutes per side depending on how crowded the pan is and how large the latkes are.
8) Drain immediately on a paper towel and sprinkle with finishing salt. My favorite is maldon sea salt.
I love to make a "latke topping bar" and let my guests pick their toppings.
My favorite latke topping combinations are:
Plain greek yogurt, pomegranate seeds, wild honey and salt
Creme fraiche, smoked salmon, dill and caviar
Scratch-made caramelized onion dip (or store bought) and scallions
Pulled bbq chicken with pickled onions
But my ultimate favorite is a pile of hot latkes with a runny fried egg broken on top and finished with black pepper and sea salt. It sure is messy but it is my favorite.
Spinach Feta Latkes & Dilly Yogurt Topping
By Liz Rueven
Serving: 25-35 latkes
A food processor makes quick work of grating potatoes and chopping onions
but if you don’t have one, don’t fret. Use a box grater like your grandma did.
In the same vein, a cast iron pan is a great choice for frying because it heats
up more evenly than other materials. If you don’t have one, don’t fret about
This is the first time I made latkes without peeling the potatoes. It saves a lot
of work and doesn’t affect the flavor or texture. In fact, it probably improves
the texture if you like your latkes ragged around the edges.
Prepare a cookie sheet with paper towels to place/drain your cooked latkes
Start by making the yogurt topping as it needs an hour to rest in the
refrigerator before serving.
7 oz. container of whole milk Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
⅓ cup finely chopped cucumber
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. lemon juice
½ tsp. Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for frying
6 medium Russet potatoes
2 medium white onions
4 fat scallions, washed, patted dry, green part only
3 large eggs
6 oz. feta cheese, drained
1 cup fresh spinach
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
6-7 Tb. unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. Salt
Ground pepper to taste
Make the topping:
Before making the latkes, mix the yogurt topping. It benefits from hanging
out in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Place all ingredients for sauce in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Adjust
seasoning after it rests in the refrigerator.
Make the latkes:
Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush and pat dry with paper towels. Set
Peel onions and chop in processor. If using a knife, chop well. Set aside.
Chop scallions and set aside.
If you need to wash the spinach, spin it very dry. Chop spinach and set aside.
Have all of your ingredients at the ready before you start shredding your
Set up a large bowl and place a colander inside.
Shred the potatoes in the processor and place them in the colander. With a
clean dishtowel over the top of the mound of shredded potatoes, press down
and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Save the potato starch that gathers in the bowl. It is the talc like substance
that sinks to the bottom of the bowl. Dispose of other liquid.
Add all other latke ingredients to the same bowl, including the potato starch.
Mix well with your hands.
Be sure the ingredients are well distributed and evenly mixed.
Heat ⅛ inch oil in pan. Test to be sure it is really hot by tossing a shred of
potato into the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into the pan, gently pressing down with the back
of a spatula to flatten.
Allow latkes to brown and flip to cook second side. Place cooked latkes on
paper towel lined cookie sheets so they can drain of excess oil.
Serve piping hot with a dollop of the dilly yogurt topping.
It’s important to have all of your ingredients measured and ready before you
begin to shred the potatoes. No need to soak them in ice water if you shred
them and immediately cover them with the rest of ingredients to provide
Latkes are best eaten hot and fresh out of the pan. Still, they can be reheated
successfully by placing them on a foil lined pan in a 400 degree F oven for 7-
8 minutes. They should be sizzling hot.
My Favorite Potato Latkes
By Netta Levy
After years of eating and making latkes, here is the go-to Latke recipe, which was inspired by an old Gourmet Magazine recipe:
Happy eating! Hope hope have a wonderful Chanukah filled with lots of fried foods and loved ones.
My upbringing has taught me the importance of gifting, of marking a momentous occasion with the appropriate monetary amount or the perfect item.
But...what's the right amount? is money ok? can I give a gift instead? what's that I hear about multiples of 18? AHHH my head if spinning!
Slow down....that's what we're here for, and we've tried to lay it all down for you in a simple way so you can just show up and enjoy the party. With the perfect gift in hand, of course.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy or girl will love receiving money. Trust us. They just won't like the part where their parents take most of it away to put into a savings account for future use.
If you're giving cash or check, the most common rule in Jewish gifting is to gift in multiples of $18. In numerology, 18 is Chai (no, not the delicious tea latte), Hebrew for life. Giving money in multiples of $18 is symbolic of giving “chai” or life. So if you were going to give $50, give $54. If you were going to gift $100, make it $108 instead.
And that's where the rules end, and the rest is highly dependent on how close you are to the boy or girl celebrating and how many people are invited; please use the below as rough guidelines, and give what you're comfortable giving:
Giving gifts of Israel bonds is a special way to celebrate meaningful occasions.
Israel Bonds support Israel and can be redeemed in five years.
Mazel Tov Bonds, a special all-occasion gift available for an initial minimum investment of $100 can be purchased online.
E-Mitzvah bonds can be purchased for a minimum of $36.
Visit the Israel Bonds website to learn more.
There are some people who, especially for close friends, will prefer to provide a personal gift, as opposed to cash or even an Israel bond (my son may now have voting shares in the future of the State of Israel based on his current portfolio). The advantage of a personal gift is that its perceived value is oftentimes higher than the actual value, with consideration given to the thought and the time taken, providing the gift-giver additional wiggle room in terms of spend.
Judaica. A beautiful yad (torah pointer) is a unique gift they will use for life. We also love giving this Tallit Bag, which is non-leather and can be used year round. A Mezuzah is also very special, and can be engraved with a custom saying or name. This acrylic one comes in a multitude of colors! We also love the idea of giving a girl her first Star of David Necklace, and we are in love with this one. We recently gave this menorah as a Bat Mitzvah gift, it’s stunning and timeless.
Hebrew Jewelry. A necklace with their Hebrew name engraved or a Hebrew initial is something they’ll wear for years. We also love this Hebrew necklace that says Ahava (Love in Hebrew). It is delicate and dainty enough to layer with other necklaces. If you’re seeking a bracelet that’s modern and meaningful, these Everything Is Possible and Woman of Valor bracelets are the perfect pieces.
Amulets. An amulet is an object, often a charm or piece of jewelry, that is believed to possess certain magical powers of protection. The Hamsa and Evil Eye are two powerful amulets that represent protection and strength. This cz Hamsa necklace and this slightly more delicate one (has tiny diamonds) are a great gift for the girl who has it all. We also love the detail on this evil eye necklace.
Gift Within a Gift. We love providing something special that contains another surprise gift inside. For a Bat Mitzvah girl, this most often will take on the form of a jewelry box that contains a piece of jewelry inside. For a boy, cuff links in a box, or a Shabbat set.
A Gift AND a Check are also more than appropriate, so don’t think you need to find the perfect gift at the perfect price point.
We are excited to package these items for you through JEW-ishly to make the process easy and assist you in gifting in a meaningful and memorable way. Either select one of the pre-packaged gifts we have available, or contact us to create your own. And remember, we can source and customize (almost) anything with advance notice. Because gift giving shouldn’t be stressful, think of us as your Jew-ish gift concierge.
Read our updated guide:
Illustration: Michael Arnold
Woman. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. American. Israeli. Zionist. Jew.
I get to define myself. I get to prioritize my labels. Daily. Hourly, if I so choose.
The world defines me as Jewish and woman. Those are the two labels I wear with my outer appearance. “You look like so-and-so” or “you must be from New York” or “I work for a Jewish woman who saves her pennies” (I got that one, completely unprompted, at the Target checkout last night while my 13-year-old raised her eyebrows at me in surprise and horror) follow me everywhere I go. And I’m OK with it. I choose to wear my Judaism as a badge of honor, with my curly hair and my larger nose, and whatever other attributes people choose to assign to a Jewish “look.”
But, in the United States, on the doorstep of 2020, I still get to define myself and how I choose to act based on the labels I assign to myself. And the label I currently assign to myself is worried. Worried that old white men with a pen once again want to take away my rights and put me in a box. Regardless of the intent, that is the consequence. Some of my right to define myself will be removed by an executive order from the 45th president, whereby Judaism will no longer be a religion, but rather a nationality.
Not all Jews define themselves as Zionist. Not all Jews even define themselves as Jews. They simply define themselves as citizens of the country where they reside. With Trump’s executive order, all American Jews will be classified as “other” and associated with a country to which they may have no spiritual or physical connection. That’s a problem. But the bigger problem, to me, is that we’re allowing someone else to define “us” and what it means to be Jewish. Each individual should have the inalienable right to define himself or herself.
Of equal concern is that this comes from Trump, who as recently as this past weekend, invoked multiple anti-Semitic tropes while addressing the Israeli American Council advocacy group in Florida. Trump has proven himself incapable of separating individuals from stereotypes, and while I may believe that he is not truly anti-Semitic, I believe he fuels the flames of anti-Semitism by perpetuating horrible labels and categories for us.
I find myself praying more these days, as hate from both sides of the aisle finds its target with Jews, and the world turns a blind eye to escalating acts of violence against Jews. I saw multiple stories about the Jersey City shooting yesterday before I realized that it was a hate crime and Jewish target, because of how the story was reported. Unfortunately, with history as my guide, I have no illusions on how this latest act by Trump will play out, and, so, I pray for the U.S., I pray for Israel, and I pray for all of us.
Over the last couple years, I’ve watched the number on the scale rise to levels I had previously only seen during pregnancy. At best, I’ve dabbled at working out. This week, when the scale hit a whole new number, I vowed to make a change. I’ve paid attention to what I’ve put in my body, and how much I’m ingesting. I’ve taken the dog, much to his chagrin, on longer walks, and I’ve made a more concerted effort to go to the gym.
While the weight was the wake up call, it’s not the ultimate motivation. I’ve been complaining for a while about my lethargy and the rut I’ve found myself in. I’ve noticed my clothes fitting differently. Usually the last person to pay attention to superficial, skin-level cues, I nonetheless have been unhappy with my shape and feeling less confident as a result.
Life is not about perfection. Life is about finding the point of discomfort and pushing forward, because that is the point of growth, of learning, and of betterment. Judaism, as well, is about the path. We are constantly striving to avoid inertia, physically and mentally. Never do we accept things simply as they’re written, but rather question, analyze, and explore texts for deeper meaning. I’m likely never going to be the most in shape girl with the buff body. I know myself well enough to know that it’s simply not me. But I need to be active and healthy, for myself and for my family. A little less squishy ;) And that’s where Judaism figures in. We have been provided this functioning body, we owe it to ourselves to treat it the best we can. It’s not about the vanity, or striving for what society currently deems “perfection”. We are tasked with living our best life, setting a good example for others, and teaching by doing, and that is my current path and goal.
I’ll check in once in a while to provide progress reports, and, honestly, have you keep me accountable and on track. Here is to a healthier me. If you have tips, comment below!!
Take it from another mom: when we say we don't want or need anything, we don't really mean it. So, we are here to help, and have rounded up some of the best gifts we've seen for the new mom and the veteran mom.
And, if you're still not satisfied, here are some other simple ideas to make any mom feel special:
Lastly, I'm a big fan of getting myself a gift. No judgments please! Because I don't want to be upset that no one has picked up the perfect thing, I'll find that perfect thing for myself, let my husband know, and we're both happy (well at least I am).
I would venture a guess that my ingress into Tikkun Olam is different than most, as it emerged from a place of hate.
Five years ago, when I was ten year old, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, known as Operation Protective Edge, launched. I was old enough to follow the narrative, and I found myself frustrated and disillusioned by the account of the conflict told by the media and by public opinion. Israelis were being vilified for protecting their citizens’ lives while Palestinians were working to maximize their own civilian casualties to sway world opinion.
I remember crying from frustration. I could so plainly see the situation and felt powerless against it. For the first time in my life, I really thought I understood hate. Hate for an entire people that I have never personally encountered. Add to the current situation that my maternal grandfather is Iraqi, was ousted from his home in 1952, stripped of all possessions, and absorbed by Israel as a refugee. My paternal grandmother was also forced to leave her home in Morocco due to persecution.
My mother was not sympathetic. While she understood how I arrived at my current state of mind, she made it clear that I was too young for declarations of hate. Ultimately, my Israeli mother said, Israel wants to protect her children, and for that she needs peace with neighboring countries. Instilling hatred in children will make that goal less likely. She turned on Matisyahu’s One Day and left me alone with my thoughts.
And so, in 2015, I wrote my first song for peace (shameless plug time: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ari-abramovitz/1066960399; and shoutout to puberty, because you can really follow the journey of my changing voice over the three songs), and, when it came to choosing a bar mitzvah project, looked to combine my love for sports with the new task from my mother of finding a better way to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
My bar mitzvah project, with the support of my community, launched Crossovers for Coexistence, where my Jewish friends partnered with Al Aqsa Academy, a local Muslim school, for a game of basketball on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center prior to a Sixers’ game. More importantly, the teams were mixed, allowing for bonding and collaboration, and we had the opportunity to sit together to eat dinner prior to the Sixers’ game. The kids I met that day included Palestinian refugees and Muslims born and raised in the Philadelphia area.
Since that day, my Jewish school and my synagogue have maintained ties with Al Aqsa Academy’s clergy and students, and I learned the valuable lesson that each of us can impact change in our community.
This year, as part of my Tikkun Olam journey, I joined a team of like-minded teens through the Jewish Federation, known as the Teen Giving Project. The program teaches us about fundraising, introduces us to potential causes, and ultimately tasks us with raising money for the cause of our choosing, the environment. As we are nearing the end of our first year in the program, we are in the process of raising money.
I thank you for reading this, invite you to learn more about my journey, and, if you would like to help, donate through my page here: www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/ari-abramovitz/teengivingprojectfirst19-2
Thank you in advance for learning about my project
We grew up eating this charoset and let me tell you it's so good.
The great news is that it's also super easy to make. Last year I shared my initial recipe for my our dad's charoset which only included walnuts and silan (date syrup). This year I've further improved it by also adding pecans.
Eat it at the Seder on matzoh, as a dip with lettuce (that's what we do), or use it as a spread or topping for yogurt during Passover. It's so sweet you'll just want to eat it with a spoon - trust me!
Makes: About 1 cup (double this if you're having a large Seder)
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1/2 cup silan (date syrup) - I used Soom
1. Mix the pecans and walnut, spray a medium pan with coconut oil, and toast the nuts on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Let them cool slightly before proceeding to the next step.
2. Put toasted nuts in a thick ziploc and using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or even a regular hammer, gently smash them into small-medium sized pieces; stop before the nut mixtures becomes a powder
3. Place chopped nuts in a bowl and add the silan. Stir. At this point, you will have a thick spread.
if too thick, add a bit more silan. If too thin, more chopped nuts will do the trick. Experiment and see what consistency is best.
4. This can be made a couple of days ahead and stored in a covered container at room temperature.
Enjoy your Seder with your friends and loved ones, and please share with us your holiday traditions with the hashtag #howdoyoujew.
Don’t expect to see me in a bodysuit and golden cuffs. And apologies for that image. Yet, Wonder Woman, a symbol of women empowerment, is always fused for me with the story of Purim. Strong women feature prominently in Vashti, for refusing to be objectified by Achashverosh any longer, and in Esther (whose name contains the root for “hidden”), for finding her voice, no longer hiding her religion from her husband, and standing up for her Jewish community.
Looking beyond the female characters of the story, there is a larger theme of self-identification. We learn Haman hated Mordechai, for refusing to bow to him, leading us to infer that many Jews did. I found many articles that spoke of the assimilation of Jews in Persia during this period. But an interesting thing happened following Haman’s decree. Rather than causing Jews to further hide their identity in order to save themselves, the decree served as a catalyst to drive Jews back to self-identify as Jews and a part of the Jewish community.
HaShem’s name never appears in the Megillah. And, so, the Jews choosing Him in this story, by finding their way back to their faith, with no overt miracles, becomes even more powerful. That He is hidden throughout the story also provides us an explanation for why Purim is a holiday of masks. But while Purim is celebrated hidden behind masks and costumes, its customs (not costumes) uncover our full community through the mitzvah of gifts for the poor. We must ensure that all the people who comprise our village, even those who are sometimes hidden from us, through their choice or ours, are able to feast on Purim.
Purim and Yom Kippur, while, on the surface, as different as two holidays can be, each provides us opportunities for enlightenment and self-discovery in its own way. Even their names, Purim and Yom K’Purim (a day like Purim), create a connection between them. Yom Kippur is seen as the ultimate day of self-reflection and introspection, while Purim is seen as the ultimate day of community and partying. To get through life, we need a balance of both. We need to learn who we are as individuals and work on our personal connection with HaShem. But, even (especially!) when He is hidden from us, we must continue that work, and remember that our survival requires more than a collection of Jewish individuals. It requires a true community, connected through struggle and through celebration, through shared traditions, tragedies, and simchas.
And so, this Purim, whether you are Esther, Vashti, or Wonder Woman, we wish you abundant joy and jubilation from the knowledge that you are part of our village and that we are so thankful that you are.
Netta, Meirav, and Michal
And on the seventh day, HaShem completed His work that He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had made. And HaShem blessed the seventh day and He hallowed it, for thereon he rested from all His work that HaShem created to do.
Growing up, Friday night held sacred traditions. The family gathered for Kabbalat Shabbat, ate delicious food off a beautifully-prepared table dressed in white, and, if we were really lucky, sat for hours singing nigunim at the top of our lungs. Unless one of us was invited to spend Shabbat with another family, we were not excused, which was fine by me. I relished the Shabbat ritual, the combination of Sephardic and Ashkenazi food at the table, the Iraqi melody of Kabbalat Shabbat coupled with the decidedly Ashkenazi nigunim.
That was our Shabbat. Saturdays were not as traditionally celebrated. While living in Israel, as Shabbat was the only day off from school and work, we ran around from one family member to another, by car, spending precious time with cousins and grandparents. On nice Saturdays in Israel, we would either spend the day on a beach with cousins or traveling to a field for a family picnic.
Now, with full-time jobs that keep us busy late on Fridays, I’m even more amazed at what my parents were able to pull off on a weekly basis. I have longed to recreate the magic of the Friday night ritual for my own children, but most weeks have failed to do so. Friday night is still spent as a family, and no one is excused unless spending Shabbat with another family, but family night is just as likely to be spent at the movies or dining out as it is in front of a nicely-dressed Shabbat table for Kabbalat Shabbat.
Does it matter? As long as my kids understand that Friday night is a sacred time spent with family as a unit, does it matter what we’re doing? I’d argue that yes, it does. That as we look from one generation to the next, the best way to maintain rituals is to root them in some of the traditional elements associated with its origin. A warm challah, the blessing over the wine, dare I say a nigun. Something to separate the everyday from the holy. To usher in the Shabbat bride in her white dress. To exhale the stress and inhale the joy of the moment. And it is that. Just a moment. Because Saturdays are for sports, and music, and homework projects, and errands, and, if we’re lucky, a family bar/bat mitzvah so we can attend shul together. But Friday night? That’s the time I plan to reclaim.
My husband and I have embarked upon a kitchen renovation. And as he excitedly discussed the ability to entertain post-mayhem, he paused and looked at me and said “Shabbat. We can finally have Shabbat.” And I never loved him more. Because even though he’ll likely never sing nigunim with me, and the kids will roll their eyes as tears gather in mine as I sing off-key, knowing that, as always, we are aligned on the “big stuff” makes it all worthwhile.
How do you mark Shabbat with your family? Just as importantly, which Jew-ish traditions are non-negotiable for you and your family?
When my son had his bar mitzvah two years ago, I patted myself on the back. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, I thought to myself. What’s the fuss? We had a large mitzvah project, threw a small celebration, and were surrounded by loving friends and family. This boy couldn’t have cared less if we had a theme, decorations, or, as it turned out, his classmates. It was a glorious evening and the perfect ending to a long preparatory process by my son.
Enter: twelve-year-old girl. You think you got this, mom? You think it’s easy? Challenge, accepted.
I’m not saying my daughter, apple of my eye, was difficult. But I’m also not NOT saying it. In her honor, I’ve coined a new word. You’ll find it below.
A is for acrylic invitations. Those things I swore I’d never waste money on. Because, you know, they still end up in the garbage at the end of the process, whether you spent $1 or $16 on each. Well, guess who has two thumbs and ate her words?
B is for Batzilla. And no, that’s not a Purim costume hybrid of a bat and Godzilla. It is the 12-year-old equivalent of a bridezilla. I’m starting a fund now to bribe my angel to elope when the time comes.
C is for candle lighting, which batzilla PROMISED she didn’t want. Until two weeks before the bat mitzvah.
D is for dress. And the girl who changed her mind about the one she was going to wear, three weeks before the event. New dress purchased and tailored with time to spare. I do NOT recommend trying to replicate.
E is for elopement. Destination bat mitzvah, ideally without the batzilla…Calgon, TAKE ME AWAY.
F is for friends. Or acquaintances. Or friends of friends that batzilla made eye contact with once. All of whom absolutely MUST be present at the bat mitzvah or I might as well cancel it. I should have taken her up on that option.
G is for grand entrance. Ella insisted she didn’t want one. I fully expect her to change her mind five minutes before the party begins, and insist that Drake carry her in on his shoulders.
H is for HELP. For mom. In the form of wine. See M below.
I is for Israel. Where we should have gone instead of this.
J is for Judaism. Just because. This is the reason for the season.
K is for kids. Anywhere from 75-80. Which is approximately 70 more than my son invited to his bar mitzvah. K is also for kippot, which have been at my house for the better part of a year.
L is for laughter. And love. Because if you can’t laugh about it and remember that you’re doing this for the love of your child, you may strangle someone. A 12-year-old someone. L is also for logo, my only win for the bat mitzvah, in that we didn’t have one.
M is for Manischewitz. Momma’s favorite form of help. And wine. Highbrow. I know. M can also be for montage, which sounds like a great project to try on your own, until you start hating every song recorded and feel badly about every picture and video you’re excluding from the 10-minute depiction of your child’s life to-date.
N is for never again. Did I mention the elopement fund I’ve started?
O is for Ouch. What my husband says every time he sees a cost associated with the bat mitzvah. In batzilla’s defense, this reaction hasn’t changed from the one he had for our son’s Simcha.
P is for place cards. Who remembers how fun seating arrangements were for weddings? Yeah, that’s absolutely oozing with sarcasm.
Q is for queen. Because princess simply doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. There is no one above her. We are all her subjects.
R is for remembering the fun and the love. The rest will pass. Cherish the love in that room, engulfing your child and your family. Bask in it.
S is for Simcha. That’s one of the guests we invited. I kid, I kid. S is also for swag. So. Much. Swag.
T is for Torah. What a joy to hear my daughter chant this ancient text, in her grandfather’s Iraqi trope, after being tutored by her brother for months.
U is for U R CRAZY. If I were a 12-year-old texting. But I’m not. So U is for updo. Because I’m Israeli and sweat a lot, and a wet neck is not a cute look paired with haute couture.
V is for Venus. Women may be from Venus, but this process has proven that 12-year-old daughters must start out on a different planet than the one where their moms reside. Uranus? Maybe that’s my U.
W is for wet. Tears will be shed throughout the process, and not all from joy. And not all from the child. Also, that whole Israeli family thing I mentioned before may attribute to some sweaty wetness.
X is for Xanax, because Calgon won’t do.
Y is for YOLO. You only live once. So spend the money to give her what she wants and make it a night she’ll never forget. And then remind her of that when she asks why she has to pay for college.
Z is for Zazzle, for personalized napkins, cups, bags, shirts…Ze End.