Even though we belong to the Reform Movement and the camp our son attends is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, we keep a stricter level of kosher, one which calls for meat being ritually slaughtered according to Jewish law.
Recent headlines reveal gross recklessness among public servants. I'm not going to suggest that observing kashrut or any ritual laws serves as a panacea against moral turpitude. However, they help create a framework. They provide us with discipline.
Pizza Ebraica, or Jewish dessert pizza, can be expensive if you buy all the ingredients just to make it. But as Paula suggests, it can be a super-thrifty way to use up the bits and scraps of dried fruit and nuts in your kitchen.
As the seder begins, we say metaphorically, "This year, we are slaves. Next year, may we be free people." Let us hope that by next Passover, our feasts of liberation will be made without slave labor and that more people will be free.
While the reasons for fasting are varied -- whether it's to purify, connect with a higher spiritual power, atone, or to practice self-control and abstinence -- these spiritual rituals also create a sense of community with fellow observers.