Tag Archives: Jewish

Tumeric Latkes with Cinnamon Applesauce

by on November 22, 2015

latke tumeric applesauce pjcc


Turmeric and cumin are wonderful Indian spices that aid digestion, rev up the metabolism and help break down body fat. Couple that with the addition of cinnamon to the applesauce which helps regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol, and you have an delicious potato latke brimming with super nutrition.

Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Serves: 15 latkes


  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, grated small. Squeeze out extra liquid (see instructions below)
  • 3 medium carrots, grated small
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup matzo meal, potato starch or all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or up to 1 teaspoon to taste)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup Canola or grapeseed oil (for frying)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place grated potatoes (peels and all) in a colander with a bowl or plate underneath. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt on potatoes and mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes (the potatoes will release some liquid).
  3. Using a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, wring out excess moisture from the grated potatoes (make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible)
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except the oil) to potatoes and mix to combine.
  5. Use a ¼ measuring cup to measure out latkes batter and use your hands to form into patties.
  6. Heat about 1/4 cup of oil in a non-stick skillet and drop about five latkes at a time. Cook at medium heat, 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  7. Place cooked latkes on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process two more times, using 1/4 cup of oil each time.
  8. Place latkes on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy




  • 2 pounds apples, peeled, quartered and cored (I prefer tart apples like Granny Smith)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic brown sugar or honey


  1. Cut apple quarters into small pieces. Put into a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add cloves, water and sugar.
  2. Place pan over medium-high heat. When the apples start to steam, cover tightly and turn the heat down to low. Cook at a low simmer, stirring and turning the apples from time to time, until they are very soft.
  3. Mash lightly.
  4. Remove from the heat, let cool and transfer the applesauce to a container. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.


Jeannie Solomon is an accomplished and well-respected certified nutrition and wellness coach at the PJCC who focuses on holistic nutrition and whole-body wellness, providing the guidance needed to pursue a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

Video: Ambassador Dennis Ross

by on November 18, 2015

Ambassador Dennis Ross visited the Bay Area to promote his book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. As part of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center’s Jewish Life programming, Ross spoke at the Peninsula Sinai Congregation to a crowd of 400 to share his experience working with U.S. presidents spanning three decades. In the video Ross covers topics that include U.S.-Israel history and relationships, Middle East politics, and even the Paris bombings of November 2015.


Visit our website for more PJCC Programming




Ask The Rabbi: Are There Universal Beliefs in Judaism?

by on November 12, 2015

QUESTION: Are There Universal Beliefs in Judaism?

Submitted by Frank Jonas.

Rabbi Lavey Derby answers your questions about life, religion, Judaism, and more.

Do you have a question for the Rabbi? Send it to website@pjcc.org

Dennis Ross: Doomed To Succeed

by on October 27, 2015

Amb Dennis Ross

If you can think of a more difficult problem to solve than the Middle East conflict I’d be open to hear it. The greatest minds in the world have tried to create an atmosphere of peace throughout the Middle East and have failed. San Francisco native Dennis Ross has had a front row seat to 3 decades worth of negotiations between the U.S. and Israel with every president from Reagan to Obama. His newest book outlines the relationship that the U.S. has had with Israel since the Truman administration.

This excerpt from his new book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama, outlines each president’s unique relationship with Israel.

“Today, the relationship between the United States and Israel is extolled by American presidents. We take it for granted that presidents will stress their commitment to Israel and to the ties that bind us. But it was not always this way. Harry Truman faced enormous resistance within his administration to his decision to recognize the Jewish state. Similarly, selling or providing arms to Israel was taboo until President Kennedy decided to do so—again, a controversial decision within his national security apparatus. Later, during the first week of the 1973 war, Richard Nixon initially resisted Israeli near-desperate pleas to resupply weaponry, following the major losses of aircraft and tanks the Israelis had suffered. Although Nixon eventually provided a massive resupply of arms to Israel, his decision had more to do with cold war concerns that Soviet weapons could not be seen to defeat American weapons than with any special relationship that existed between our two countries. From the perspective of history, the relationship has clearly evolved. And to understand where the relationship is today and where it is going, particularly during a period of transition in the Middle East, it is important to understand why the relationship changed. To do so, I will examine the policy and approach of every administration since Israel’s birth.”

Dennis Ross comes to Foster City on the first stop of his Bay Area book tour to share his personal account of decades worth of Washington Middle East policy talks, negotiations, and expectations.

Lecture presented by the Peninsula Jewish Community Center
November 17, 2015 |  7:00 pm
Seating is limited. Registration Required >>
Location: Peninsula Sinai Congregation
 Foster City, CA

Dennis Ross is the Counselor and Davidson Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy and a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown. He was
the director of policy planning in the State Department for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton’s Middle East Peace envoy, and a special assistant to the president under Barack Obama.

Ask The Rabbi: What Is The Hardest Part Of Being A Rabbi?

by on October 13, 2015

QUESTION: What Is The Hardest Part Of Being A Rabbi?

Rabbi Lavey Derby answers your questions about life, religion, Judaism, and more.

Do you have a question for the Rabbi? Send it to website@pjcc.org

eScapegoat: Offload Your Sins Online

by on September 22, 2015

yom kippur

Ever Wanted to Take Your Sins & Throw Them Off A Cliff? 

With Yom Kippur comes a time of atonement. It involves asking forgiveness from people you’ve wronged and repenting for the sins that you may have committed during the year.

In preparation for Yom Kippur you can use G-dcast’s eScapegoat app as a way to cast off your sins. Come on over to PJCCs dedicated eScapegoat page, let the program guide you on a brief walk through the desert, then offload your sins to a virtual goat. Everyone’s anonymous “I’m sorry’s” will show up on page.

Learn more about Yom Kippur at www.pjcc.org and through our blog post Let It Go: The Benefit of Forgiveness.

VIDEO: Rabbis’ Roundtable | What Is The Meaning Of Repentance?

by on September 16, 2015

Listen to four Peninsula Rabbis talk about the meaning of repentance. That was the topic of our annual Rabbis’ Roundtable on September 2, 2015. Participating Peninsula rabbis included Rabbi Nat Ezray of Congregation Beth Jacob, Rabbi Corey Helfand of Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Rabbi Dennis Eisner of Peninsula Temple Beth El, Rabbi Daniel Feder of Peninsula Temple Sholom, and, moderating, was Rabbi Lavey Derby of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center.

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake

by on September 10, 2015

honey almond cake recipe

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake is the perfect dessert for Rosh Hashanah or any time of the year!


  • 1-1/2 cups almond meal – I get mine at Trader Joes
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  • Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  • Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the almond meal and mix.
  • Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with an hand mixer or whisk until white and bubbly but not stiff enough to hold peaks, about. 1 to 2 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Let cool completely.
  • Drizzle the top of the cake with honey and sprinkle with sliced almonds.



Let It Go! The Benefit of Forgiveness

by on September 8, 2015

shofar rosh hashanah yom kippur

Central to the understanding of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is the simple yet fundamental belief that people can change. We need not be stuck in habitual conditioned behaviors. We need not repeat the same behaviors that are hurtful to ourselves or to others over and over again. We are capable of change and growth. The great mystic and sage Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev taught that it is incumbent upon each individual to believe that with the next breath we can become new beings. The possibility of personal renewal is the great mystery of being human.

The blowing of the shofar – the ram’s horn – is the climax of the High Holiday ritual. The sound of the shofar is meant to cut through our web of routine, rationalization and conditioning, to wake us up to our true nature, which is goodness, love and compassion, and to urge us to leave behind behaviors and actions that cause suffering to ourselves or to others.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer us the personal and communal spiritual task of teshuvah – repentance. Repentance is the self-aware practice of assessing our deeds and our spiritual condition. To participate in the practice of repentance requires a willingness to engage in a courageous moral inventory, to ask for and give forgiveness and to make amends where possible. Repentance is achieved when we recognize and regret our hurtful behavior; we discontinue the behavior and determine not to repeat that behavior in the future. Repentance also requires asking forgiveness from those we have hurt. While we ask others for forgiveness, it is also important that we find a way to forgive ourselves. We are, after all, merely human.

While asking for forgiveness can be hard, offering forgiveness to others can be much more difficult. Sometimes we feel so hurt by others that the possibility of our forgiveness seems impossible. We simply can’t let go of the hurt and the anger. We hold on to our hurt as if it were a prize, a badge of honor. We have no desire to be in relationship with the person who has hurt us. Or, we feel that to forgive that person would be to condone what they did to us.

What we fail to understand is that as we hold on to our hurts and wounds for dear life, all we accomplish is to prolong the hurt. It has been said that holding on to our anger at the person who hurt us, is akin to holding on to a burning coal: the only person who gets burned is us.

Forgiveness does not require us to trust the person who hurt us or to re-establish a close relationship with her, nor does it mean we condone what was done to us. It simply means that we put down our anger and let go of it. As my teacher and friend Sylvia Boorstein likes to say, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better yesterday.” We cannot change what happened, but we can change our attitude about what happened. We don’t need to bear the painful burden of it forever.

Receiving forgiveness from others is a relief; asking forgiveness of others is an act of grace. Either way, forgiveness is a miraculous experience. Without the possibility of forgiveness we would live with constant despair. The promise of the High Holidays is that we can live instead with profound hope.

May this New Year bring us all health, happiness and abundant hope.



S’mores 2.0

by on May 4, 2015

S'moresS’mores are traditionally a part of the Jewish holiday Lag B’Omer. When you have a holiday that includes having a bonfire, you know s’mores have to be a part of it!  But, personally, I could eat these all year long.  Chocolate. Marshmallows. Graham crackers. Why not?

If you are looking for a more modern twist on an old favorite, here are some upgrades to your go-to campfire dessert , the s’more!



Baked S’more Cups
By Mindi Cherry


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Book Review – Jerusalem: A Cookbook

by on April 30, 2015

jerusalem cookbook

Food in Israel is unique and full of exciting flavors that have come together into a melting pot of centuries of influence from surrounding lands. Bringing the complexity of Jerusalem life to the dinner table, Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook is as much a social studies lesson as it is a culinary delight.

Though both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year, they come from opposite sides of the city. Tamimi is from the Muslim East Jerusalem and Ottolenghi from Jewish West Jerusalem. Both independently moved to London years ago and that’s where they met, working in the Continue reading

The Butterfly Project: Remembering Children of the Holocaust

by on April 19, 2015

butterfly project

Inspired by the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944, the Butterfly Project was initiated by two teachers in the San Diego Jewish Academy in 2006 to remember the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust.

The butterflies in our PJCC atrium were created by hands of all ages. Our youngest artists learned that every butterfly is unique, fragile and beautiful for its individuality. Continue reading

Judaica Finds Life By Remembering The Past

by on April 14, 2015


This spring the PJCC Art Gallery is proud to present an exhibition highlighting the multifaceted projects of Mi Polin, (Hebrew for “From Poland”). Mi Polin, founded by the couple Helena Czernek and Aleksander Prugar, is the first post-war brand that designs and produces Judaica in Poland. Mi Polin’s mission is two-fold: to create a new contemporary look of Jewish ritual objects, and to prove that Jewish life in Poland is vibrant. They embrace the future by giving great reverence to the past.

The PJCC reached out via email with a few questions for Helena and Aleksander, who are based in Poland.

Can you give an overview of the work you create as Mi Polin?

We are a design studio specializing in contemporary Jewish design. We have three fields of Continue reading

A Day in the Life of Matzah: Recipes for Passover

by on March 31, 2015

Having cleansed your pantry of all hametz, you are left with few options to fill your carb quota during Pesach (Passover). The challenge is to find new and exciting ways to use matzo in your meals. So, here are some ideas to add variety to your Passover meals.


matzo-granola-150Matzo Granola
If it is from Martha Stewart, it must be good! A delicious way to start the day.
(via Martha Stewart)

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Breakthroughs In Molecular Imaging

by on March 5, 2015

The de la Zerda Group at the Stanford University School of Medicine is making strides in being able to idenify and characterize tumors in clinical settings. Adam de la Zerda
visited the PJCC to describe the revolutionary molecular imaging technique his team pioneered.

Adam was chosen as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science in 2012 and 2014.

Video: How We Think About Israel

by on February 13, 2015

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, spoke at the PJCC recently. He gave us some wonderful insight into the thinking of both Israeli and American Jews. He provided us with a new way for the Jewish Community to think and talk about Israel. Get ready to be inspired!

Out Of The Desert Innovation Blooms

by on January 21, 2015


A desert state in a modern era, Israel has sparked the way as a world leader in resource allocation with pioneering innovations in solar energy and irrigation development. In fact, contemporary Israel is a major player on the world stage of technology, medicine, and engineering, boasting more scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita (140 per 10,000) than any other country in the world.

For a country so young, and so fraught with turmoil, an astonishing amount of life-enhancing Continue reading

Israel: Complex, Compelling, Clarified

by on January 13, 2015


Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman tackles complex challenges facing the country

Whatever our personal views about Israel, it is likely we all agree that Israel is among the most complex and complicated nations in the world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears intractable, with both sides refusing even to acknowledge a common narrative of the genesis of the conflict. This has raised significant moral questions (often by Israeli writers and thinkers) about the appropriateness of Israel’s military response.

There are also conflicts within Israeli society. The relationship between Ashkenazi (Jews of Central and Eastern European descent) and Shephardi (Jews of Spanish and Middle Eastern Continue reading

A Healthy Spin on Latkes: The “No-tato” Pancake

by on November 21, 2014

quinoa latkes

Traditional potato latkes are delicious but more and more people are looking for healthier ways to make these wonderful fried patties.  We’ve come up with a recipe that is heavier on protein and veggies and light on the carbs.  And, as a bonus, they taste great! Enjoy!

Quinoa & Veggie Latkes Recipe


3 cup cooked quinoa (use 1 part quinoa to 1 part water)
1/2 cup grated onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 cup each finely grated zucchini and carrot
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste Continue reading

The Baseball Dilemma

by on October 11, 2014

Hank Greenberg

With the month of October comes the annual race for the pennant. It often coincides with the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.  Through the history of baseball Jewish players who find themselves lucky enough to make it to the playoffs have had to make difficult choices between their religious values and their team.  If Yom Kippur happens to fall on the day of a playoff game, it can, and has, ruffled some feathers in the baseball community. Continue reading

Sukkot: Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude, & Justice

by on October 2, 2014


Traditions of Wonder, Gratitude and Justice:
Reflections on Sukkot from the PJCC Garden Manager

‘Among the many things that religious tradition holds in store for us is a legacy of wonder.’ –    Rabbi Abraham Yehoshua Heschel

The fall is a season of abundance in the PJCC garden. Thanks to the hard work and heart of many volunteers, our garden is bursting with greens, tomatoes, squash, peppers, figs and strawberries – to name a few. Beginning my new position as Garden Manager during this rich time of year has given me a lot of joy, especially as it coincides with Sukkot. The holiday offers Continue reading

Rosh Hashanah: May We Be Blessed With A Happy, Healthy, & Peaceful New Year

by on September 11, 2014


Unlike all the other Jewish Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, is not linked to the remembrance of national liberation or to the commemoration of a national tragedy. In fact, Rosh Hashanah does not focus on the experience of the Jewish people in history at all. Rather it serves as a lens to examine central universalist themes of Jewish belief and values, such as mortality, change, and meaning, Unlike other holidays, Rosh Hashanah is associated with a mythological moment in time – the creation of the cosmos. The Machzor — prayerbook – for Rosh Hashanah returns to this image again and again with the words Hayom harat OlamToday is the birthday of the world. This is not a story about Jews but a story about humanity. In its most salient formulation, the creation of one world, presupposes one God, and one humanity, which implies that all people are brothers and sisters. This theme of the unification Continue reading

Don’t Let Go Of Hope

by on July 24, 2014


As the violence in Israel and Gaza continues to escalate and claims more victims, the pain I feel is palpable.

My heart aches for the IDF soldiers killed in action, and for the Israeli civilians who suffer an endless torrent of rockets fired at their homes and their children. My heart aches as well for the innocent civilians of Gaza who are killed or wounded, caught as they are in a deepening web of warfare. My guess is that many of you feel this same way. My guess is, too, that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians share the common wish that their children grow up to thrive in the sunshine, without fear of rocket and mortar fire. At the very least, I need to believe that.

And yet, I and so many others are falling into a malaise of hopelessness. In the words of Israeli Continue reading

Passover Fun Facts

by on April 12, 2014


Are you hungry for facts and stories about Passover? Here is some interesting information you might enjoy and ponder.

The Burning Bush
We learn in the Passover story that Moses experiences a holy moment with God when he notices a burning bush in the desert. Many historians and scientists indicate that in ancient times, desert brush would catch on fire, spontaneously, quite regularly. This miracle of the burning bush was most likely not that fact that it was burning, but that it was burning without being consumed. This strikes me as a good lesson about the power of observation – sometimes things that seem quite ordinary, are in fact, anything but, and offer us extraordinary opportunities for holiness, and in Moses’ case, finding our destiny.

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Adding An Extra Pinch Of Health To The Passover Seder

by on April 3, 2014


Like the 10 commandments, the passover seder menu can seem like it’s written in stone. Passed down through generations and laden with family tradition, it feels almost sacrilegious to deviate from what our grandparents served their guests. But it’s that very menu, with all the starch, fats and sugar coated desserts (most often eaten for two nights in a row) which can make you feel as if you actually at the stone tablets of the commandments for dinner.

Don’t let the tradition of the seder weigh on you. This year start your own traditions with a lighter and healthier version of two seder classics–Matzo Ball Soup and Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake.

Serves 10

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Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

by on


This amazing dark chocolate cake has ground almonds in the batter and toasted almonds sprinkled on top, making rich in plant-based Omegas.


3 Tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder – 65% or higher
½ cup raw almonds
2 Tablespoons sugar
¾ cup date or maple crystal sugar (or regular sugar)
3 oz. dark chocolate, – 65:% or higher – coarsely chopped
½ cup Greek Yogurt
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
5 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon toasted slivered almonds (optional)

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Amazing Things Happen When We Work Together

by on March 21, 2014

October 2013 was intense around here.  Well, at least for me; and certainly for our Artist-in-Residence, Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen.

The Center was filled with excitement, anticipation and inspiration for me and the hundreds of you who participated in one of our 28 mural painting sessions.

Our community, under Jay’s guidance,  took 1,560 square feet and 8 planter tops of blankness and transformed them into a work of art. A work of art that communicates social justice themes such as Environmental Stewardship, Human Rights & Dignity, Economic Justice, and Food Justice.

Do you remember eating lunch outside by the J café and seeing the steady progression over 15 packed days?  Or perhaps coming back after an absence to notice the work fully realized?  I remember October, but this documentary by Chip Curry brought back vivid details by capturing the communal spirit and offering candid testimonials.  I’m delighted to share it with you.

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Powerful Force in Washington DC Comes to PJCC

by on January 16, 2014

Rabbi David Saperstein

Interview with Rabbi David Saperstein - Part 1

The North Peninsula Jewish Community is honored to welcome Rabbi David Saperstein, a passionate spokesperson for social justice, as our 2014 Scholar in Residence. Rabbi Saperstein is Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration. In 2009 Newseek Magazine named Rabbi Saperstein as the most influential rabbi in the country and the Washington Post described him as “the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill.”

Rabbi Saperstein was kind enough to give us this interview so that our community might get to know him better. Continue reading