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Angela Himsel
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Blog Entries by Angela Himsel

Pitching Baby Jesus to the Paploids: If OK! Was Around in the First Century

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 2:56 PM

If OK! Was Around in the First Century.

The baby twins on the cover of Shalom! -- the top selling papyrus celebrity mag in all of Israel - drew Miriam in. Having just given birth herself, she couldn't help but compare every precious bundle to her own....

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Prepared for Passover -- Not!

(1) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 3:34 PM

When the Israelites were running from the Pharaoh back in Egypt, they were running! Unprepared, no time to carefully choose what to put in their carry-on bag, they grabbed their bread before it had risen, and off they dashed. Three thousand years later, it's perplexingly counterintuitive to me...

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Ghost Stories: Israel's Past Comes to Life

(23) Comments | Posted December 9, 2010 | 4:43 PM

"I'm having a love affair," our cousin Motti confides, "with ghosts." It's a pitch-black night but artificial light glows on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City just beyond us.

Motti's current , favored ghost is Theodore Herzl who is considered the founder of modern Zionism and thus,...

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Food, Glorious Food: Fried Squirrel Meets Kosher Chicken

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2010 | 5:22 PM

She'd taken the deer roast out of the freezer to defrost it, and was soaking the beans for supper when she thought maybe she would go to Walmart. Then, she decided, no, it's such a nice day, I'll just go outside for a walk instead. Within a minute my mother...

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Blessed Are Those Who Enter: Sukkot, Hospitality and Home

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2010 | 1:14 PM

After midnight, and Daniel is putting the final touches on his paper about the role that hospitality plays in Homer's Odyssey when we hear a little squeak. It is, undoubtedly, a mouse. Or mice. For they have returned. A few years ago, there was a rat infestation on...

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Excuse Me, Are You...?

(1) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 2:12 PM

As I'm exiting the subway station at Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, I pass a bearded Hassidic man and overhear him saying to a secular-looking young man, "Do you need help putting on teffilin?" Around the Jewish holidays in New York City, you see this often. Usually, I assume, it's a...

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Rabbinic Rulings and the Rectal Route: Yom Kippur's Curious Path to God

(2) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 5:11 PM

On the evening of Yom Kippur, in preparation for the 25 hour fast, Jews the world over will offer charity, request forgiveness from friends and family whom they may have wronged, and immerse themselves in the mikveh (the ritual bath) to be purified. At some point,...

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Come Home

(9) Comments | Posted September 2, 2010 | 2:49 PM

As we approach the ginormous Buddha sitting atop the mountain on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, I turn to my son Daniel and say: "So this elderly woman desperately wanted to see this famous Buddhist monk somewhere in the Himalayas. She was told it would be a long...

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Nosh, Davin, Kvell, or Eat, Pray, Love, the Upper West Side Way

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2010 | 1:15 PM

Leeba Rivka Gilberstein is 27 years old, five pounds overweight, (okay, maybe ten), spiritually numb, and single. Every nosh of the home-baked challah bread that her girlfriends have recently learned to make in the challah-baking craze that's swept the Upper West Side of Manhattan has shown up on her hips....

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Of'feh-nsive

(3) Comments | Posted July 28, 2010 | 1:35 PM

Rabbi S and Rabbi M have agreed to meet me at the kosher pizza place on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem to talk about the recent controversial conversion bill in Israel, but only if I promise that I won't use their full names in my book, The Complete Idiot's Guide...

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Come In, Take Your Shoes Off: A New Look at Tisha B'Av

(8) Comments | Posted July 16, 2010 | 12:22 PM

Though I've been gone for a long, long time, each year you remember my presence, mourn my absence, and commemorate my destruction by fasting and abstaining from joyful activities. But at times, I wonder who it is you're collectively remembering and mourning. Is it me, or your version of me?...

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Rachael and Adam's Uber-Rad Wedding

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2010 | 1:48 PM

Not for my youngest sister Rachael the typical, Midwestern wedding at a church, followed by a fried chicken and mashed potatoes supper, a lot of beer drinking, and dancing to a too-loud band at a local rented hall. No, Rachael had an outdoor shebang in 92 degree weather with 12...

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Desperately Seeking a Title

(3) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 3:11 PM

Writing a 300 page manuscript is the easy part; finding an arresting title, not so.

My writer friend, Gabrielle, and I have been going back and forth over titles for books we are both working on. My working title is Frog Legs in Heaven,...

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Faith Floats: Collecting Noah's Ark

(179) Comments | Posted May 28, 2010 | 6:16 PM

I found Noah's Ark in Indiana, and I wasn't even looking for it. It was Bakelite jewelry that my daughter, Anna, and I were perusing in an antique store in Huntingburg, the small town next to my hometown. But lo and behold, I looked up and there, perched...

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Shavuot: Like Honey and Milk Under Your Tongue

(1) Comments | Posted May 14, 2010 | 12:22 PM

With the Jewish holiday of Shavuot coming up next week, I've been thinking less about the covenant at Mt. Sinai which the holiday commemorates, and more about Leah's blintzes. Every year my friend Eva's 80-something year old mother, Leah Fogelman, provides me with a Tupperware container filled with...

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What's Right About Lice?

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2010 | 6:32 PM

My friend, Lori, is fond of saying, "What's right about this that I'm not getting?" whenever a difficult or uncomfortable or painful situation erupts. So, for example, over her son's bar mitzvah weekend, Lori was accidentally locked in her bedroom with her sister, whom she'd been fighting with, and what...

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Passover Seder: Stay For A While

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 10:56 AM

Last year, when newly elected President Barack Obama hosted the first presidential Passover Seder meal for family, friends and staff at the White House, the entire Jewish world, all thirteen or so million of them, collectively plotzed.

This year Obama is doing it again, even though he isn't Jewish, and...

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Time Out of Time

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2010 | 7:29 PM

My watchband has changed from a lovely pink to an at-best beige/brown, the results of oxidation and, um, time. So Sunday afternoon finds me heading down Columbus Avenue, coincidentally and appropriately the first day of Daylight-Saving Time, on my way to purchase a new watchband. It's spring, and I should...

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Untranslatable

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2010 | 2:30 PM


"I'm driving the car, an hour outside of New York," I was telling my sister Mary over the phone, "and it's a red light, so I stop. But when it turns green, I have to floor it to get the car to move! The engine light is...

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Avatar Meets Garden of Eden

(7) Comments | Posted February 19, 2010 | 3:33 PM

It was a snow day, no school, and thus the perfect afternoon to huddle in a movie theater with my fifteen-year-old son Daniel and watch Avatar in 3-D. Because the only time I go to movies is with my kids, my expectations are not high.

I walk in assuming...

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