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Repair the World

18 September 2023

This past Saturday marked the beginning of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. It’s technically the 7th month of the Jewish/lunar calendar, but Jews like to have a spiritual re-do every 6 months (and I certainly do)!

A big goal of this week is asking forgiveness of others and judging ourselves. But we can’t be too harsh. Somehow, we must strive for self-improvement while still accepting ourselves, flaws and all. According to Kristin Neff, a world-renowned research psychologist, “people who practice self-compassion are more conscientious and more likely to take responsibility for their mistakes” (I heard that on the Hidden Brain podcast). Makes sense. Dwelling on the things we did wrong would leave little room for corrective action. I’m trying to get better at this.

This time of year reminds me of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam or "repairing the world".  When I think about climate change and the damage we have done to our environment and all-creatures-great-and-small, I feel obligated to do something about it. This was a primary motivation for changing my own eating habits. Understanding the tremendous impact our food choice has on the planet has given me something I can do to repair. I knew I had to get the word out and help others find healthy and easy ways to make these choices.

The Menu

Our traditional meal is usually brisket. Wanting to reduce the environmental “foodprint” of my meal (while acknowledging the reluctance of my extended family to partake in my vegan options), I chose to use an heirloom chicken instead (it came out delicious - email me for the recipe). The primary way I increase the sustainability (and healthfulness) of any meal is to just include more vegetables. I made “cream” of mushroom and vegan kreplach soups, an assortment of roasted vegetables, baby potatoes and a kale harvest salad.

The best part of our family meal was the company – I am blessed with a wonderful family and grateful that we could all be together (I did miss my eldest son, who lives in England). Leftovers were pretty great too – cook once, eat twice, and nothing going to waste! 😊

What foods and customs do you have at your family celebrations? Who's your favorite dinner guest(s)?

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