Monday, October 27, 2008

An Eclectic Menu for Synaplex

Enjoy dishes from the countries of our ancestors. Temple Beth El Synaplex celebrates the Immigrant Experience on Shabbat Lech L'cha.

In this week's Torah portion, God instructs Abraham to leave his homeland for the unknown land of Canaan. It seems that Jews have been wandering ever since. Our "immigrant" menu consists of foods both Ashkenazic (Eastern European) and Sephardic (Western Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa):

We offer dishes for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The delectable menu includes:

  • Moroccan Tomato and Green Pepper Salad
  • Bandoora Fresh Tomato/Basil Salad
  • Apple Glazed BBQ Chicken
  • Moroccan Brisket
  • Sweet Carrot Tzimmes
  • Rice Pilaf with Lentils
  • Potato Kugel
  • Challah

Special discount for college students: dinner is half price, only $6.00! Click here for reservation form. See you at Synaplex!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to celebrate Shabbat -- your way

Synaplex Shabbat is almost here. If you don't know what it is, think about your local multiplex movie theatre. You know that you can choose from a wide variety of movies, and pick the one that fits your mood and/or your interests. That's the idea behind Synaplex Shabbat. Come as you are and find the activities that interest you. It's that easy! On November 7th, we are happy to offer you the following programs:
  • 4:30 p.m. - Cookie baking with Jeri for small children
  • 4:30 p.m. - Wine & cheese reception for everyone
  • 5:30 p.m. - Shabbat songs for small children and their parents
  • 6:40 p.m. - *Delicious catered dinner for everyone, featuring foods from the Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions
  • 7:30 p.m. - Your choice of services: Teen Service, Chanting and Meditation Service or Tradional Sanctuary Service, also available: Movie for children: "An American Tail"
  • 8:45 p.m. - Dessert/Oneg Shabbat for everyone
  • 9:15 p.m. - Listen or dance to live music by the band Jewbilee -or- enjoy a screening of "The Frisco Kid"
All activities are free and open to all, except for dinner, which must be reserved and paid for in advance. To access an online reservation form, click here. If you plan to attend the wine & cheese reception, or bring your child to cookie baking, an RSVP would be appreciated, but is not required.

We also offer FREE child care with RSVP from 7:30 to 10:30 for children ages 6 and under.
For more information, please call 253-564-7101, or visit our website at

Monday, October 13, 2008

Be Happy, It's Sukkot!

On Sukkot, the Torah tells us to "be happy". And why shouldn't we be? It is the time of year when the harvest is gathered in, when we literally can "reap the fruits of our labor". While most of us are not farmers, we are fortunate to live in a leading agricultural state, and Washington apples and other produce are renown throughout the country. Still, if you have spent any time in a sukkah, you know that it is not the most confidence-inspiring structure! The rain gets in, the wind threatens to sweep the entire sukkah away, and around here, it's cold.

Perhaps the Torah is telling us that we can be happy despite being "insecure". That's not a bad lesson to take to heart these days.

So be happy, and enjoy this bountiful recipe from the URJ website. You can find more recipes and information about Sukkot here. Chag Sameah.

Vegetarian Couscous

This Moroccan-inspired dish is a perfect way to reap the bounty of wonderful vegetables available during the Sukkot season. It also makes a beautiful, edible centerpiece for your dinner table in the sukkah.

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock, divided use
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 small (1 pound) eggplant, sliced into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 yellow crookneck squash, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, or 1 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (any type), caps cut into quarters (portabellas cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup fine couscous
  • 1 or more Tablespoons of finely minced parsley for garnish
  1. Heat a large frying pan or 4-quart saucepan for 30 seconds, add the olive oil, and heat for 15 seconds. Sauté the garlic and onion until lightly golden. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
  2. Add the carrots, tomato sauce, raisins, salt, cumin, and 1 cup of the stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the carrots are crisp tender--thoroughly cooked but firm and not mushy.
  3. Add the zucchini and the eggplant and cook for 10 minutes. Spoon in the crookneck squash or asparagus pieces, mushrooms, and chickpeas and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock along with the butter or margarine. Add the couscous. Cover, remove from the heat, and allow the pan to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. To serve, spoon the couscous into the center of a large rimmed dish, and surround with the cooked vegetables. Pour the sauce evenly over all, and sprinkle with a little parsley for garnish. Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Film Festival: "The Band's Visit" this weekend

Join us this Saturday night, October 11th at 7:30 p.m. for this award winning film.

Director Eran Kolirin perfectly navigates this film's slice-of-life tone, blending comedy, drama and poignancy. A group of Egyptian musicina sarrives in Israel to perform at an Arab cultural center. Stranded at the airport, the musicians take teh wrong bus and end up in a remote Israeli town in the middle of the desert. Townspeople and band members must learn to co-exist for one very unusual night. The Band's Visit is funny, lonely, inspiring, sad and beautiful all at once. Winner of over 35 awards, including Israel's "Oscar" for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Music. Discussion and refreshments to follow the film. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Regrets Only...

As we prepare for Yom Kippur, we reach the depths of the self-examination which is the focus of our spiritual activity of the high holy days. This year, UW Hillel has provided an interesting way for us to express our regrets. It is the Postregret Project, based on the popular Postsecret Project. Anyone in the community can participate and post (anonymously) something they regret. I encourage you to try this exercise and see what it does for you. There are many ways to do teshuvah, and you might find this method brings you closer to where you would like to be this holiday season. Feel free to comment on your experience here on our blog.

Wishing you a g'mar hatimah tovah and an easy fast.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Synaplex is coming!

Save the date: Friday, November 7th, for a Shabbat experience you don't want to miss. Watch this blog for details, but we can tell you now that highlights include:
  • Choose your service: teen, traditional or meditation/chanting
  • Dance to live music by Jewbilee
  • Kids' cookie baking
  • Delicious catered dinner
  • Movie choices for kids and adults
  • Festive oneg/dessert
  • Free child care
  • and more....
It's easy: Come as you are and be prepared for fun, friendship and something new!