Keeping the “evil eye” away

Superstitions relating to keeping the “evil eye” away…

To change the name of a sick person in order to fool the angel of death
If a baby is named after a person who died young, also give a name after someone who lived long
Not to complement- say the opposite- so as not to attract the evil eye
Saying  kein an ahore
My mother did a warding gesture- thumb between index & middle finger
Red bendles- especially around a newborn- this was way before the new interest in Kaballah
When fisrt entering a new home, bring salt, sugar & bread

Thanks to Elaine Belkind for these superstitions.

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Shoes

When someone dies they used to take their shoes out into the woods and throw them in all directions. I remember my mother telling me the shoes of a dead person should not be worn again. Today, we would not want to liter the woods with shoes, but some still will destroy or throw them away rather than giving them to someone to wear.

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Hamsa

Hamsa (Khamssa) is a hand-shaped amulet, with the palm facing out, the fingers spread open, in essence blocking the evil eye. It is commonly used by Jews and Muslims to ward off evil spirits.. Today, the hamsa is perceived as a “good luck” charm. Somehow, a trinket to bring on good luck is more positive in spirit than one protecting from evil spirits. The hamsa can be seen on necklaces, bracelets, hanging from a car rearview mirror etc. In the Babylonian tradition, any reference to hamsa, or the number five, is protection against the evil eye, and it comes into play in lifecycle events such as “The Eve of the 6th” and the “Henna Feast.”

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Salt

Some people dip their Challah in salt on Shabbat. But on Rosh Hashana sugar is substituted for the salt.

from Lisa Pollack – thanks:

The explanation I have always heard is that the challah, as a type of bread, represents the necessities of life, and the salt, a spice, represents the luxuries.

In this same way, it is also traditional that one of the first things to bring into a new home is some bread and salt.  My parents helped me move into my first home, and I remember that as soon as my mom got through the door, she whipped out a Ziploc with an English muffin and a tiny bag of salt and put it in my cupboard.  When my husband moved in three years later and we were cleaning out the closets, he nearly threw it out and was somewhat puzzled when I pounced on him whilst he was trying to throw out what was a CLEARLY stale piece of bread…

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The Old Woman and the Devil

Here is one tradition that I remember from my childhood: Once a week, usually on Friday afternoons, when I was about 7 or 8, my grandmother wanted me to learn to sew simple things, e.g. buttons etc, which I disliked a lot, particularly threading the needle, so I used to cut very long threads which got entangled and caused me a lot of frustration. . My grandmother then told me an old Slovak story which made me realize that being lazy usually backfires. Here is the story which I published some time ago in a Slovak newsletter. It is not Jewish, but it was popular in Slovakia ( and told to kids) when my grandmother was growing up in a very small Jewish community. Nadia

The Old Woman and the Devil

The old woman – Baba – was sewing at her window when the devil flew by and said:
” Babka , let us bet who will finish sewing a shirt first, you or me?”
“And what is the bet?” asked Baba
“If I finish the shirt first, you will give me your soul; if you are done first, I will give you a hundred golden coins,” said the devil.
“Fine,” said Baba, “let us start!” and she handed the devil linen for the shirt, a ball of thread and a needle.
The devil sat at the open window and put through the eye of the needle such a long thread that each stitch threw him up in the air and far out of the room. The thread got all entangled around the stable. The devil had to disentangle it, and jump back into the room to perform each stitch. And so he ran continuously with the thread around the stable and back to the small bench where he was sitting.
Baba did not even give him a glance. She used only short threads and kept sewing and sewing so fast that her hand and fingers seem to fly through the linen. When the shirt was sewn, she showed it to the devil and said: “Show how much sewing you have done. I have finished t he shirt!”
The devil had been so busy jumping in and out with the thread that he had not even finished half the shirt. When he saw that Baba had won the bet he threw the hundred coins on the table and was so mad and ashamed that he disintegrated into tar.

Translation by Nadia Grosser Nagarajan
Originals in Slovak taken from Baba a Cert : Andrej Melichercik; SLOVENSKY FOLKLOR. Bratislava 1959, p, 220

Nadia Grosser Nagarajan is the author of Jewish Tales from Eastern Europe, in which she retells many such stories. Below is the Amazon.com link for anyone interested in reading more of her stories.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/076576086X/qid=1002838294/sr=1-10/ref =sr_1_2_10/107-1638811-9135767

Please share some of your childhood (or adulthood) stories with the TR family.

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Delicious Matzah Carrot Cake

1 cup grated raw carrots, packed tightly
6 eggs, separated
1 cup matzo meal
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tspn salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Beat the egg yolks until creamy
Slowly add sugar until smooth and creamy
Stir in the carrots
add the rest of the ingredients – stir together
set aside

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peak
Fold them in gently to the other mixture

Turn into a tube pan, lightly greased (I used PAM for Passover!)
Bake 1 hour at 325

RECIPE BY Ronit Golan made and submitted by Jill Endres

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Double Apple Noodle Kugel

16 ounces egg noodles 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) margarine or butter, melted

1 cup applesauce, no sugar added 4 large eggs 2 large egg whites

3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 &Mac189; teaspoons cinammon cup raisins

4 medium green apples, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13 inch casserole with non-stick spray. Cook noodles several minutes less than package directions. Drain and return to saucepan. Add margerine (or butter) and applesauce, and toss to coat. In medium pan, whisk eggs and egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until blended. Stir in noodles, raisins, and apples. Mix well. Pour everything into casserole; spread evenly. Spray a sheet of foil with nonstick spray and place on top of noodles. (At this point, it may be refrigerated overnight.) Bake, covered, 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Increase temperature to 375 degrees. Remove foil, spray top of kugel with nonstick spray, and bake for 20 minutes more or until lightly golden. Let sit 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. serves 12.

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Fruit Preserve Kugel

8 oz. pkg. medium or wide noodles, cooked 4 eggs, well beaten

1 cup creamed cottage cheese or 1 cup sour cream** Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon 1/4 lb. melted butter

1/2 cup sugar cinnamon to taste 10 oz. jar strawberry, apricot, or cherry preserves

preheat oven to 350. grease a 2 quart casserole or baking dish Combine cooked, drained noodles with eggs, cottage cheese, lemon juice and rind, melted butter and sugar. Place 1/2 of this mixture in a buttered 2 quart casserole, cover with preserves and top with remaining noodle mixture. Sprinkle with white or brown sugar and cinnamon on top and Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. this tastes great either hot or cold. You can also add a bit of sour cream on top when serving. Yield: 8 – 10 servings

NOTE** I used 1/2 cup pineapple cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup low fat sour cream. then when i put the apricot preserves on top of the first layer of noodles, i added a few more spoonfulls of cottage cheese. i then added the top layer of noodles, and sprinkled it with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.

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Kugel (Jewish Noodle Pudding)

4 oz wide noodles (1/2 of 8 oz box) 1 pkg cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 cup butter

2 cup sour cream 1 cup sugar (slightly heaping) 2 tsp vanilla 8 eggs

2 tart apples, pared & grated 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup apricot preserves, melted

Optional: 4 red candied cherries, halved

Cook noodles; drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Lightly butter 2 quart glass baking dish. (Use long glass baking dish.)In large bowl combine cheese, butter, sour cream and sugar; mix well.Add beaten eggs, grated apple and vanilla. Blend. Stir in raisins and noodles. Pour into baking dish. Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush with apricot preserves. Add cherries.

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Rich Noodle Kugel

1lb cottage cheese (low-fat is fine) 3 cups sour cream (even a little less will do) 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup melted margarine (unsalted) 4 to 6 eggs, depending on how rich you like it (go for broke)

1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 lb broad noodles, cooked 1/2 cup raisins

cinnamon and sugar (for topping)

In a large mixing bowl, combine cheese, sour cream, milk and half of the melted margarine. Beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla and add to cheese mixture. Then add the cooked noodles and raisins; turn into large buttered pan or two smaller ones. Top with remaining melted margarine. Mix together some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top. Crushed cornflakes may also be used as topping with the cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until lightly browned. May be frozen and reheated.

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