So this is my 900th blog post here at The Urban Daddy.
A lot has happened in the time it has taken me to write 900 posts here. 3 children, 8 years of marriage, a lot of education and thankfully, my writing has improved too. I’ve noticed that people actually read stuff I have written and I’ve started a professional tax / management / social media blog which has just over 100 posts on it, so I won’t bore all of you with that kind of yucky stuff here.
This post was actually ready last Monday, but I decided to wait until Thursday so I could capitalize on the Thursday Thirteen theme, but along the way I got my ass thoroughly kicked by a flu which has been slowly rolling through our household. My son Stewie started with it - received an anti-biotic – and still 5 weeks later coughs like a chain-smoker. Then my wife and daughter got hit around the same time, Boo had horribly goopy and runny eyes and had trouble sleeping at night. My wife, the woman who laughs off strep throat, had it and tried to rest where possible but both of them still cough and sniffle 4 weeks later.
As for me… It killed me. I’m on day 8, 5 of those days without a voice which has never happened to me before, and for three of those days my head is stuffed and I cannot hear out of my left ear. It throws off my balance. But the coughing is the worst and at times I felt like I was going to herniate another disc in my back. I think my abs might be in better shape after this, to be honest, but I’ve been pretty useless for over a week – fever, chills, sweats, exhausted… I’m so done with being sick.
So instead of letting another day fly by, I am tossing up this post, which is a list of the 13 most memorable posts to me, on this blog. I hope you will take some time and check back to some of the earlier ones to see how much has changed along the way.
So please sit back, turn the calendar back to 2004, and be prepared to read the 13 most memorable posts to this Urban Daddy of his first 900 posts.
1) This is my first post on this blog. Have to start somewhere, right.
2) Linus was born and we missed a major world tragedy in the process. Had to write about it.
3) The re-birth of my blog and my first angry rant at the TTC and other stupidities. I got great feedback on this post and it gave me confidence to be myself online, to blog smartly and continue to point out how much I detest stupidity.
4) My first Thursday Thirteen from way back in 2006. (Loved the templates back then).
5) Owie!!! Our kitten arrived and back then it seemed like a great introduction to the family. Now my kids look at that kitten, then look over at the adult-sized cat on the couch and wonder how that happened. “Did Owie eat that little kitten?”
6) I reposted this speech from the United Nations, an organization I believe is corrupt, useless and anti-Israel and by doing this I pretty much came out as being Jewish – something I had not really done before just because I didn’t feel like fielding comments from bigots and racists. Since that powerful post, and I hope that you do read this post, I have posted more and more as a means to educate people and to continue to stand up for what is right, just and fair.
7) Child #2 Arrives! Hello Stewie.
8) First post about me… I guess in always hiding behind a name, it was easy to never post about myself, but this post changed everything. Since this post, I even got a name; Warren.
9) I posted about the day I completed my graduate school for my MBA which I started 3 days after Linus was born. Work… School… Children. Exhaustion. It was a great ride, a ton of work and an opportunity to finally leave the government for the private sector. I owe my wife and family a ton of gratitude for putting up with me studying while at the cottage, late nights at the kitchen table and for being downright cranky and surely during the process. I also got a ton of A’s and a couple A+’s which I had never achieved before so that was sweet too.
10) This was my first “overheard on a Monday” post where I realized after a couple years that if I arrived at the office before 7:30am, that I could listen to my two neighbours talk about their weekends. I used to tune them out and get right to work until one day I realized they were talking nonsense, something about double-reverse osmosis, so I called them on it – brought in my wife the chemistry teacher to back me up, and from there I had gems for my blog like no one else. These are must read posts, as well.
11) The First Urban Daddy Official Canadian Coffee Shop Rankings. I’m on year 4 currently and have received feedback and Twitter love from all the main chains, Country Style, Starbucks Canada, Java Joes, Tim Hortons and Timothy’s.
12) Boo is born! Insert huge sigh of relief that this one is a girl, and please book the vasectomy appointment…
13) My absolutely most popular post ever. On the Ontario election. My views on this post were 10000% more than any other post, and some of my comments were tweeted along the live election feed of CP24. I felt engaged. Now, however, that total mocks me, as I get closer and closer to it, but it will be a long time before I can reach it again.
Thank you for being along for the first 900, and I look forward to many more posts and some great comments and contributions from all of you.
My many posts on the Canadian Live-in Caregiver Program.
My series of posts on IVF, highlighted below for their critical importance in this day and age;
If you are observing Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy fast, and if you are seeing this after the day has finished, then may you be inscribed in the book of life for another year.
Note: This is a scheduled post done before the day… I’m probably still in synagogue starting to get hungry while asking for forgiveness.
So what does this all mean???
Let’s start with the traditional greeting for Yom Kippur;
“gamar hatimah tovah” — “A good completion to your inscription (in the book of life).”
“gamar tov,” – “A good completion.”
“shanah tovah” – “A good year.”
“tzom kal” – ” Have an easy fast.”
Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year, and not a happy one, so saying Happy Yom Kippur is not applicable.
A little more about Yom Kippur: This holiday is observed by the most amount of Jewish people, even those who do not observe the other customs or holidays and during this day, we refrain from work, we fast and attend synagogue services for the day.
The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and on this holiday we atone for the sins of the past year. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which arrives just before this holiday, G-d inscribes all of our names in the book of life and on Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. Yom Kippur is, essentially, the last appeal, or last chance to change G-d’s judgment, and to demonstrate repentance and make amends with those you have knowingly or unknowingly hurt or offended during the year.
Yom Kippur is a complete 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur - called Kol Nidre - and ending after the sun goes down on the day of Yom Kippur. There are some lesser known restrictions on this day aside from work and eating / drinking, such as wearing cosmetics or deodorants, wearing leather shoes - canvas sneakers are very common - and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.
As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of 13 and women who are in childbirth or are breastfeeding are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so.
Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. Services begin early in the morning and continue until about 3pm. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5pm for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until sundown. After sundown families and friends get together to break the fast and enjoy a meal together.
Stewie: “Did you know G-d is everywhere?”
Stewie: “He’s killing you right now.”
Stewie: “It’s his job. He’s killing everyone right now.”
… Pausing for chewing of food…
Stewie: “Linus. Put your fist in the air.”
Linus puts his fist in the air.
Stewie: “Oh, great! You just punched G-d. Now he’s killing your more!!!”
So Tuesday was back to school for Linus and Stewie. Linus entered the ever-pivotal grade 3 and Stewie into grade 1. The boys are back at the same school but this year, the school is in a new, bigger, badder, stronger location.
As Stewie put it, “Our whole old school could fit into the gym of the new one!!!” Yes it could, son.
This new school location also brings a lot of traffic and a plea for parents to walk kids to school instead of driving them which meant my wife – who is back teaching at their school - was leading one of the walking buses at morning drop-off. She had on her trendy fluorescent orange safety vest and was more than prepared to walk the students from the street drop-off through the park and to the school.
On the way through the park on the first day, Stewie saw a woman walking a bunch of dogs – 7 to be exact – and he let everyone know how cool he thought that was when he blurted out at the top of lungs; “Hey!!! Wow. Look. She has a LOT of dogs! 7 of them!!!”
LOL. He kills me. This is the same boy who a couple of years ago wanted a piece of fruit – then fell asleep in the car – and when he awoke the first thing he said was; “Heeyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Can I have my fruit now?!?” He is animated and never forgets. It’s like he’s on standby, absorbing everything and anything until he notices something interesting then he blurts it out. Of course he’s also the boy who on a 4 hour car ride will talk the entire 4 hours…
So after 2 days of school the boys seem to be having fun. Linus has a locker for the first time ever and Stewie… Well… Stewie is not having that great of a time so far because for the second year in a row he doesn’t feel that there has been enough work given to him or teaching done by the teachers. LOL. He’s totally going to say something. He needs work. He expects work. Last year he commented to his teacher that he was bored because all they were doing is colouring and at 4-years-old he felt it was beneath him to colour while in school. He’s there to learn! He can colour at home. Yipes.
Another problem the boys are going to face this year is that Stewie has 2 teachers who taught Linus and already one of them has called Stewie by the wrong name. Another one called him LinuStewie as she realized she was calling him by the wrong name and corrected it. Stewie, you see, already has the plan for rectifying this problem as he told us tonight that he plans on calling that teacher by the name of his other tacher in order to teach her to get it right. LOL. You confuse my name and I’ll confuse yours.
I totally know what it’s like to called the wrong name or to be judged by my teachers based on an older sibling. I had to walk in the footsteps of my older sister who was about as opposite from me as one could be. She was quiet and very smart. She got incredible grades and was the perfect student. Me… Not so much. I would regularly get tossed out of class for talking or laughing, I used to copy homework from my friends before class and for a major French assignment I copied 12 pages out of a French novel. I had no idea what the pages read and my teacher totally knew that and she hammered me on the assignment and destroyed me on my presentation.
I suspect what prevented her from tossing my ass out of school was that my sister was sitting with an average of somewhere near 99% in French so she cut me some slack.
I had MANY teachers say to me; “You’re her brother!?! Really???”.
Yup. More social, and less focussed. That’s me.
So I’m not surprised to hear already that after 2 days Stewie is getting compared to Linus and boy are his teachers in for quite a shock. Linus is full of energy, he bounces from person to person with a smile on his face and he completes his work when he’s interested in doing so. Like his daddy he gets distracted when he’s unchallenged or bored and then he gets attention for being silly and disturbing others… Poor kid.
Then there is Stewie… Very focussed, very serious and incredibly driven. Stewie goes to school to work – day 1 or day 100 – and you had better not talk to him or be silly because that’s a quick way to get on his bad list. Stewie has a strong respect for justice and if you’re doing something wrong, Stewie will tell you. Him and his brother are night and day. If Linus’ teachers are expecting Stewie to be a distraction they are going to be surprised and they expect silliness or incomplete work they will learn quickly it’s not the way Stewie operates.
Boo started school Thursday morning and was preparing us by reassuring us every morning that “Am I going to school today? I won’t cry!”. She will, I’m pretty sure but the school said they can handle it.
On her way to school she blurted out this gem; “Am I having dance class today?”
Me: “No, sweetheart. Not today We’re going to school now.”
Boo: “Am I going with mummy after school to get my unicorn?”
Me: “Yes, dear”.
So how did back to school sound in your household?!?
We love Astro Yogourt in The Urban Daddy household. It’s natural, contains no gelatin and is kosher and for quite a few years now, Stewie would have a bowl of plain 1% or 2% Organic Astro Yogourt with either some sugar-free apple sauce in it, or plain with some sunflower seeds and fresh or frozen fruit. “Yogourt and seeds” was then and still is now a potential breakfast, lunch and / or dinner. For many days in that time frame, it was all three.
We went through so much yogourt it was hilarious. We would buy 4-5 of the large containers a week to keep him fed.
So it only made sense when the amazing folks at Fleishman-Hillard (www.fleishman.ca) reached out to see if myself and a guest wanted to join them for a morning at Nella Cucina (www.nellacucina.ca) in mid-town Toronto for an event called #CookingWithAstro.
Not being the best cook in the entire world but more than capable to read and follow a recipe or directions (ahem: baking class in high-school) I went to the Astro Yogourt website (www.astro.ca) to choose three recipes to prepare in our two-hour alloted time slot. I wisely enlisted the services of my wife, to assist me in planning a feast, since she thankfully does all the mealplanning and cooking in our household.
The three dishes we chose from the Astro website were;
Nearly No Fat Fudge Brownies – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/nearly_no_fat_fudge_brownies
Shrimp Corn Chowder – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/shrimp_corn_chowder
Tandoori Roasted Salmon with Biryani Vegetables and Coconut Curry Sauce – http://www.astro.ca/recipes/tandoori_roasted_salmon_with_biryani_vegetables_and_coconut_curry_sauce
Being kosher at home and my wife a vegetarian and well on her way to becoming a holistic nutritionist, she altered the recipes to make them more family-friendly for us. For the brownies, we removed the water and added orange juice. For the shrimp corn chowder, we removed the bacon, shrimp and clam juice and we used low sodium vegetable broth and tofu and a lot of colourful peppers instead, and for the tandoori salmon, the only thing we did was replace some of the heavy cream with yogourt.
So on the day of the event, we headed over to Nella Cucina - a high-end kitchen supply store with absolutely everything you could ever want or dream of having in a kitchen in stock and went upstairs to their professional teaching kitchen on the top floor. There, we were greated by folks from Fleishman Hillard, Nella Cucina and of course, Astro Yogourt.
We chose our cooking station in the middle of the room, received a quick tour of the facilities from Nella Cucini’s Elyse Glaser and Professional Chef Mary Catherine Anderson @mc_cooks (http://marycatherineanderson.com/) . We then wasted no time in getting into the recipes, starting with the brownies first.
We sifted, mixed, stirred, cooked, roasted, chopped and zested away on our three recipes far longer than the 2 hours we were scheduled for. We actually finished these fabulous dishes in just under 3 hours which meant a couple of trips downstairs to the parking meter, and a whole new appreciation for the fantastic meals that my wife cooks for the family at night. After the three hours I was exhausted! My wife was still motoring through the dishes, offering up her tofu corn chowder for sampling to everyone still around.
I was chatting with @SympaticoLife and Cynthia from http://www.delectablychic.com/ @DelectablyChic among others to see what fantastic creations they were making. She put up a great post about the event and took some great pictures; http://www.delectablychic.com/2012/07/cooking-with-astro-yogourt/. I wanted to take pictures but clearly underestimated the length of time needed to cook the dishes and once I realized I needed pictures of the finished products everyone else was turning over the classroom for the next group and we really needed to leave – not that I felt that way at all, but I know when it’s time to go.
Once all was done, we packed everything up in the Tupperware and cooler that Astro Yogourt so kindly provided us with and headed home with a delicious dinner in hand and smiles on our faces.
Of course we told everyone we knew of this wonderful opportunity to cook with a product we use almost daily, and for the opportunity to have a professional chef available to assist and answer our questions. We thank Astro for reaching out in the community to promote their products and for giving us the time to attend this event together and cook. My wife’s recipes were incredible and we ate so well for the next 2 days. Even 7-year-old Linus loved the Tandoori Salmon. The biryani vegetables were out of this world and now I have a new resource to go to when I’m helping with meal planning. If all the recipes tasted this good, then you should consider bookmarking it too.
I encouraged my wife to head over to the Astro Facebook page and enter her altered (or original) recipes to their “Astro Make it Original” contest site; https://www.facebook.com/#!/astroyogourt. She had to “like” that page, submit the three altered recipes we prepared, submit a picture of the dish with the Astro Original logo and share it with friends or strangers through whatever social media platforms we use. By doing that she, and you, has a chance to win a Culinary Getaway to NYC for 2 courtesy of Astro Yogourt! There are weekly prizes available too.
A huge thank you to the great folks at Fleishman-Hillard who assisted in getting this event rolling and including The Urban Daddy; specifically Megan Johnston, Megan Stoudt, Nare Tutundjian and Jacob Porpossian and to Angela Kanaris the Brand Manager, Astro Original.
My Grandmother (or Bubi as we call her) turned 89 on the 6th of July and we had her over for dinner along with my mother and my sister on her birthday. It had been a while… Too long, actually, but I came to realize that I think 89 is the new 69 because she looks fantastic.
When setting up the table for dinner, my boys, Linus and Stewie each wanted to sit beside their “More Bubi” (my mother is their Bubi, so Linus when he was almost 2, started calling my Bubi ”more Bubi”, because there were more than one. Oddly enough, that stayed with her until Berry began to talk and she would always correct me and refer to my Bubi as “White Bubi” because of her beautiful white hair. On Friday night she called her “More Bubi). Thankfully, Berry wanted to sit beside my sister because she simply adores my sister.
So no sooner than the meal started when my kids began the unplanned interrogation of my Bubi;
“How old are you?”
“When I’m 85-year-old, how old will you be?”
“Who is your mother?”
“Where is she?”
“How old is she now?”
“How did 3 people live on one onion a day for food?”
“What was Russia (Ukraine) like?”
“Why don’t you come visit more?”
… and so it went.
I actually learned a lot about my Bubi and my mother from this attack, to be honest, things I did not know, such as; they left the Ukraine after the war (WWII) when my mother was 7 months old, and they came to Canada via Halifax when my mother was 3-years-old (that I knew). What I did not know was for that period in between they were in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
Not sure how that gets missed in ALL the discussions we’ve had over our lifetime…
I also did not know that my Bubi peels her potatoes because back in Russia they were so poor that they would eat peels that others discarded and my Bubi said if she ever had enough money to buy whole potatoes she would never eat a peel again.
My kids heard this story and were shocked.
I think more conversations like this might help put in perspective how lucky they are and treat them to respect the food the get to eat and the toys and technologies they have to play with.
I left it in my mother’s hands to set up another dinner… Soon… So we can continue on with the questions and my kids can get to know my Bubi as well as I do (thought I did).
I have been maintaining this blog since just before the birth of our oldest son, Linus, which would be 2004, and at that time – as you can attest to – with your first-born you make note of everything from lack of sleep to rolling over, to loosing teeth. Once the second child arrived, there were some comparisons made to the first child, but there were also situations where we had to think about whether Linus had done what Stewie was now doing. Then came Berry, and it was forget about it. By 3, you know they are not going to die if they cry for 5 minutes, and that rash… It’ll go away. Oh, she threw up? Let’s watch her and kiss of sleep tonight.
But there has been some things recently which makes me think back to Linus and Stewie to see if each child did this, or if it’s just for us the third time around.
13. Germs and dirt: Either we have a germ-a-phobe on our hands or I forgot what it’s like have a 2-year-old, or possibly it’s just a girl thing, but Berry went through a phase where for about 2 weeks she refused to bathe because the tub was dirty, or sit on a toilet seat if the toilet was dirty. Funny, yet frustrating it how I would describe it.
12. Language: “Linus is an idiot! He’s an ASS”. I do not for the life of me recall Linus using language like this towards anyone. Classmates, us, his brother or his sister, however little spark plug Stewie blurts it out daily now.
11. Nutrition: “How much sugar is in milk? How much fibre is there? Iron?” This was Berry to me the other morning as she was eating cereal and reading the box and the jug of milk. She was quizzing me… I don’t recall my boys at 2 1/2 doing this.
10. Food issues: Linus will stand beside a plate of cookies, without touching them, and point to them and politely ask if he can have one. Stewie… Dives in and stops when we catch him. I think with Berry we just keep her away so Stewie won’t influence her.
9. Picky eaters. Linus ate everything as a baby. Urban Mummy made all his food from scratch and he loved spinach, eggs, fruits, veggies, and yogurt. As he got older he got pickier to the point now that he’d be happy with plain noodles and bread. Stewie, the human garbage can was always picky to some extent but when he likes something he inhales it, ie. 5 mini-pizzas for dinner, 5 green apples a day, 2 english cucumbers for a snack, but in the last week he’s off everything. “I don’t like that anymore”. Berry… Very picky and all over the place. She starts eating what we have for dinner then when she sees the boys eating something else she wants that too, then after the meal is over she’s had 9 different things. I honestly have no idea what her favourite foods are…
8. Bathing. Linus is a fish. Stewie HATED the water and when him and I did swimming lessons, he spent the first lesson clinging to me keeping every inch of his body out of the water. It terrified him. Berry, hated the water too, having never done swimming lessons, and freaking out in the bath when I tried to wash her hair. Now she likes it but I recall both boys hating to have their hair washed… I believe. It’s the bath blur.
7. Motoring (or motor-mouth): All 3 of my kids walked late – 15 months – nd talked early, in some cases stringing together 2-3 words before the age of 1, but I have the feeling that Berry’s vocabulary is the best! She strings together smart sentences and they surprise me most of the time. The other day I took the many decorative pillows off our bed and placed them on the floor. In walked Berry and said this; “Oh, why are all the pillows on the floor? Did you put them there, Daddy? They don’t belong on the floor, they’ll get dirty… Silly. I’ll help you move them”. Whew.
6. Sleep… Oh sleep. Linus has always been a very sound sleeper – he slept through Stewie’s birth (a planned home birth) at the age of 22 months. Stewie slept for 2-3 hours at a time for 10 months which makes him a not so good sleeper. Berry gets into bed and sings, talks and plays for what seems to be hours. I don’t remember if the boys played like this because we were too exhausted at that time to pay attention and who knew there would be three of them to compare too…
5. Sports: My boys never liked sports. I’m pretty sure getting them to try hockey or baseball was difficult but with Berry it’s different She flips out not when I ask her to play but when she cannot participate. She loves sports. Granted, when there is sports on the TV, she says; “Daddy, is this basketball? Hockey? Wrestling?” LOL. She cannot tell them apart but she’s going to be a star. Competitive and focussed. Yay.
4. Technology: Linus’ first word was iPod. Stewie iPhone and Berry, well it should have been iPad. But Berry can open up and set up that iPad and get her games working and move through them with ease. I can’t recall if my boys were as proficient at that age. Sure now, I’ll give my iPad to Linus to fix, but Berry gets it too..
3. Wrestling: I love wrestling. It makes me laugh and no one is allowed to watch it, but if it’s 0n sometimes they catch a glimpse. Until recently Linus and Stewie had zero interest in wrestling. Now it’s somehow become part of their lives as it did mine growing up. Linus asks if Mark Henry can life our treadmill, Stewie compared a distance of 7-feet to the height of the Great Khali and Berry runs around my house making the hand gestures and sounds that Kane does before he sets the ring post on fire. She also loves Brodus Clay’s theme song, and we’ll catch her singing “Gonna call my momma… ya ya ya ya!”
2. Religion: Linus goes to a private Jewish day school. Stewie went to public school last year and is at the same school as his brother. Linus thinks the world started by G-d when Adam and Eve were placed on the earth. Stewie said, no its the big bang and evolution and dinosaurs were on the planet first. Berry, on the other hand is going to a very religious Jewish nursery school and is the more religious of the 3 of them and that makes me laugh since we’re not that observant. At least they’ll have each other to speak Hebrew to, since I have no idea what they’re saying.
1. Respect. It might just be the mob mentality, but when the three get going we fear for our lives. LOL. But seriously, Linus was respectful growing up, testing the limits every now and them but understanding his place. Stewie on the other hand has no qualms about telling us how much he dislikes his brother or me for “wanting to kill him (read sending him to his room where he won’t get to come out ever or eat or drink water). He’s a little dramatic. Berry has been observing her brothers and we’re kind of hoping she stays happy and loving and follows neither of her brothers. I doubt that will remain the same.
Tell me about your kids… If you have more than one does the memory fade away or what have you done to preserve it?
I update the about me section of this blog and thought it might be time to post it in order to answer questions I frequently get sent to me via email and twitter. Who I am and what I do…
I am the urban daddy because my wife of 11 years who got me into blogging in 2004 was calling herself the urban mummy. It only made sense.
I am a father of two boys, Linus (because he carries around a security blanket and a white stuffed cat which is my avatar) who is 7 and Stewie (because we feel he’s trying to kill us) who is 5. Our baby girl, Berry (who makes us laugh) is 2-years-old. We live in mid-town urban Toronto where we live our lives as a laid back, no fuss family. We eat healthy (my wife was a vegetarian for 12 years when I met and converted her – but she has recently returned to the land of veggies). She is studying to be a holistic nutritionist.
Both her and I have our Master’s degrees, her in education, me a MBA which we completed with newborns preventing us from sleeping. Crazy, eh?
I love politics, especially Canadian, and have fundraised for Councillor Karen Stintz and was approached by the Conservative Party to run municipally or provincially in my riding. I would have, except I love my job as a taxation executive.
I’m also a sports junkie, love playing ball hockey (21 years in organized league play), and watching it on TV. I also love wrestling and Star Wars so my nerd side gets equal jock play too.
I have always been on the slightly more than I should weigh side, gained that with Linus’ birth and have yet to shed it. Yes, it’s my pregnancy weight! I have been described as being freakishly strong and can run 5K in my sleep, now.
I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have made some year-end award lists, been mentioned by CBS news, asked to be on a local Canadian TV show as their daddy blogger expert and been ripped for my views by some really great people and some real jerks. My views. My opinions.
You’ll find a lot of posts about my kids, about politics, coffee, Toronto, sports, pop culture, current events and things I endorse for free, and things I think people should steer clear of.
Everything here comes out of my head and this blog is meant to allow me to empty my head of thoughts and opinions and if you choose to read and like it or if you find something offensive let me know. Just nothing personal, racist or rude. I can delete them… And block you.
I also blog for money, but I won’t ask, it’s a bonus and not the reason I blog. If you want an expert opinion, or a family opinion on a wide range of things, drop me an email at email@example.com. I have a large pool of contacts and connections who can assist too. I’m on twitter @urbandaddyblog and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Urban-Daddy/109554365740659?ref=ts . Find me, drop me a note, like me, vote for me… All that jazz!
Those who do not call me “Daddy” or “Urban Daddy” call me Warren, but as Linus liked to tell his teacher when we have to meet with her / him, “His name is Warren but they call him the urban daddy”.
Read on… You might actually like something here…
I just spent the better part of 2 weeks talking about Matzo, Passover and the dietary restrictions during the holiday and the rest of the time and I realized that a lot of the information I was giving may not be factually correct.
I figured the best way to be sure would be to read up on the main questions that were asked of me and in doing so realized I could whip the answers into a Thursday Thirteen and have it on file for eternity on this thing we call the Internet.
This post is for Jew and non-Jew alike…
So sit tight, hide the chomitz, break out that 3rd and 4th set of dishes and let’s get ready to be educated.
13. Matza, Matzo, Matzah… Which is it? - It’s whatever you want it to be, actually. There is not proper translation to English from Hebrew and the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, spells it as matzo, matzah, matso, motsa, motso, maẓẓo, matza, matzho, matzoh, mazzah, motza, and mozza. The plural is any one of; matsot, matsoth, matzot, matzoth, matzoths, mazzot, and mazzoth. Or, as I tended to refer to it during the 8 days of Passover, “it’s like a giant cracker”.
12. Is it mandatory to eat Matzo during the 8-days of Passover? Matzo represents unleavened bread and is traditionally eaten by Jewish people during the holiday of Passover because bread and other food which is made with leavened grain is forbidden according to Jewish law during the holiday – more on that later. Matzo is NOT required, during the 8 days however it is eaten as an obligation during the two seders on the 1st and 2nd night of the holiday.
Growing up, during the first seder, my uncle would eat the matzo required and announce this was the 2nd last piece he would eat all year, and on the 2nd seder he would proclaim that piece to be the last piece he would eat all year.
My wife keeps that tradition alive in our household.
11. Where do the references to eat this unleavened bread come from anyways? Matzo is mentioned in the Torah several times in relation to the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt where they were slaves:
The commandment to keep Passover is recorded in the Book of Leviticus:
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month between the two evenings is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. (Leviticus 23:5)
And they shall eat the meat on that night, roasted over the fire, and matzos, with bitter herbs, shall they eat it.—Exodus 12:8
In the first month, in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, you shall eat matzos, until the evening of the twenty-first day of the month.—Exodus 12:18
You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat matzos, the bread of affliction; for in haste did you come forth out of the land of Egypt; that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.—Deuteronomy 16:3
Six days you shall eat matzos and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God; you shall do no work therein.—Deuteronomy 16:8
8. Is Matzo fattening? Matzo contains around 111 calories per 1-ounce/28g serving according to the USDA Nutrient Database),
7. Do you have to eat Matzo dry as you just said getting it wet makes it chomitz? Matzo does not have to be eaten dry, and it has several roles during the holiday. As a substitute for flour or pasta it is found in matzo balls, cakes, cookies, fried, as noodles, in matzo bagels, cereals… The list grows by the year.
6. Matzos and Christianity:
According to Western Christian belief, matzo was the bread used by Jesus during in the Last Supper as there he was celebrating Passover. Communion wafers used by Roman Catholics and some Protestants sects are flat for that reason.
5. In a little more depth now, what is Passover – It is a Jewish holiday commemorating the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish (lunar) calendar, which is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.
The story of the Exodus from the Bible tells that G-d helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plague upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born sons. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of G-d knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. It is said that the Israelites left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also referred to as ”The Festival of the Unleavened Bread”.
4. So what is this “Chometz”? Chometz is somthing made from one of five types of grains mentioned above, which has been combined with water and left to stand raw for longer than eighteen minutes. During Passover, eating, keeping and even owning chomitz is forbidden.
Note: Baking soda and baking powder are NOT considered chomitz as they act as leavening agents by chemical reaction, not by biological fermentation.
The Torah commandments regarding chometz are:
Some Jews use Passover as a spring cleaning and spend weeks before the holiday removing every crumb of chometz from their home. As in our home, generally any item or implement that has handled chometz is put away and not used during the holiday.
3. You do what to your dishes? As a result of the rules to not consume chomitz, families own a 3rd and 4th complete set of serving dishes, glassware and silverware for use only during Passover. The 1st and 2nd sets of dishes represent dishes for dairy and dishes for meat but that is a whole different Thursday 13.
There are some leeway in the rules, for example; Some chomitz utensils can be immersed in boiling water to purge them of any traces of chomitz that may have accumulated during the year while some families wash their year-round glassware and then use it for Passover under the presumption that glass does not absorb enough traces of food to present a problem.
2. Tell me – briefly about the seder (also known in Christianity as the Last Supper).:
It is traditional for Jewish families to gather on the first two nights of Passover for a special dinner called a seder - derived from the Hebrew word for “order”, referring to the very specific order of the ritual. The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special book called a Haggadah The Haggadah divides the night’s procedure into 15 parts:
The seder is replete with questions, answers, and unusual practices to arouse the interest and curiosity of the children at the table. The children are also rewarded with nuts and candies when they ask questions and participate in the discussion of the Exodus and its aftermath. Likewise, they are encouraged to search for the “afikoman” which is the piece of matzo which is the last thing eaten at the seder. Audience participation and interaction is the rule, so some seders last long into the night with animated discussions and much singing while others like our get finished quickly so we can eat and take the kids home to bed.
1. So aside from matzo, what do you guys typically eat during the 8 days of Passover?
Because the house is free of chometz for eight days, the Jewish household typically eats different foods during the week of Passover. Mostly meals centre around meat and eggs. But there are other more traditional foods we eat and these include:
Hope you learned something new. If you have any further questions, post a comment and I can address it, or if you have a handy fact, or tip, I’d love to hear it.