We’re almost there, folks. The end of the month-long holiday period is in sight; for some, it’s a welcome arrival. Time to get back to work, return to a regular routine and celebrate the onset of the real fall season. For others, particularly kids who’ve had an extended school vacation or those who don’t have to count holidays as vacation days, there’s a little sigh at the thought of regular wake-up times, the office and homework.
But it’s not over quite yet. There’s the last hurrah of the weekend and Simchat Torah, that festival celebrating anything and everything Torah-related. So we’ve chosen a few items and ideas for making the most of the end of High Holiday Season 5773.
1) There’s always more food to be had, and all the cookies and cakes baked for the first half or two-thirds of the season are probably gone. We were just introduced to Israeli pastry chef Carine Goren’s baking book for kids, “Baking Is Children’s Play,” which is in Hebrew, but does have a DVD included that is easier to follow for non-Hebrew speakers. (Her website includes some recipes in English, and one of her cookbooks is available in English.) In the spirit of this festival, which is all about the Torah and the sweetness of the letters inside, I’m going to try my hand at Aleph-Bet Cookies (makes 40-50 cookies, about double one full alphabet):
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 oil
- 4 cups flour
- 1 bag of baking powder
- A little flour for dusting hands and surface
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, flour and baking powder until combined into malleable dough.
- Flour counter or surface with extra flour and roll out dough until it’s about half a centimeter thick. Add a little water if it’s too dry, or some flour if it’s too wet. It can also help to place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Using letter cookie cutters, make letter shapes out of dough and place on cookie sheet, leaving space between each cookie. Sprinkle sugar on the cookies.
- Bake cookies for about 15 minutes until golden.
2) Take in some Belgian art, with a selection of the 16th to 18th centuries and more contemporary works at two locations of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The works of four generations of the Brueghel family, who lived and worked in Flanders, are currently being shown at the main galleries of the museum, and display a certain Sukkot air, with their cheery outdoor gatherings and autumnal air. Then walk over to view the decidedly more intense and thought-provoking videos and photographs of David Claerbout, which are being exhibited at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion (6 Tarsat Boulevard), just around the corner from the Habima Theater.
3) No question about it, early October, despite the sometimes still-warm weather, poses a fashion crisis period. It feels like fall, even if the sun is still hot, and who wants to wear summer clothing any longer? That said, it’s a great time to pick up end-of-season bargains that can be worn for a few more weeks and then happily packed away for real wear next summer. I’ve been thinking about this dress by Shalosh, a crisp sheath with a sharp bow at the neck that’s easy to slip on and always feels put together. The Shalosh designers, Etti Ben-Hur and Miriam Givon, always look for minimal but elegant lines and this piece — which is also available for the winter in black with long sleeves — achieves the aim. Available at Meatzvim BaIr, 7 Bezalel, Jerusalem; and Boutique Didi, 55 Rechov Tagur, Ramat Aviv.
4) The studio of Bezalel-trained graphic designer Dov Abramson has created charming egalitarian Simchat Torah flags for the season, with a whimsical, somewhat retro feel, displaying boys and girls dancing with the Torah. Made of heavy paper that actually may not rip within the first moments of use, the flags cost NIS 12 each and are available at Nisha, 31 Bethlehem Road, Jerusalem, and 43 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem.
5) Plan a post-chag outing, to get 5773 off to the right start. One fun option could be the Voca People, those zany singers who combine a cappella and beat box vocals and somewhat resemble white Coneheads with red lips. They’ll be at Zappa Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, October 9; and at Zappa Jerusalem on Thursday night, October 11. In case you didn’t know, they’re Israeli, claim to come from the Planet Voca, and sometimes engage the audience in their performances.