End Your Week on a High Note with Friday Chai Notes!

Tune in weekly for fast facts, culture, cuisine, and connections between the Great State of Oklahoma and the State of Israel. Oklahoma in your heart -- Israel in your soul!

October 23, 2020:

National First Responders Day

In 2017, Congress designated October 28th as National First Responders Day to recognize the heroic men and women who give their lives to help keep our communities safe. The resolution honors the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and all those who are first on the scene in stressful situations. 

 

Israel has long been regarded as a leader in the first response. ZAKA is Israel’s primary rescue and recovery volunteer organization, with thousands of volunteers on call 24/7 to respond to any terror attack, accident, or disaster. 

ZAKA today offers professional and highly-skilled volunteer services in the areas of emergency response, search and rescue, accident prevention, and assistance in international disasters. Zaka International Rescue Unit with hundreds of volunteers in Israel and around the world, who are ready, equipped, and able to respond in the fastest time to a mass casualty incident or terror attack, wherever it occurs.


Join Hillel at The University of Oklahoma and OKIE in thanking First Responders for their sacrifice and determination with these ideas on how to observe National First Responders Day.

October 16, 2020:

Ester Rada in Homemade Jam, a program by the iCenter

yogurt and tahini date cake (1).png

Join Hedai Offaim and Ester Rada as they explore the ideas of authenticity and roots while sharing in something they both love: Israeli cuisine. Together they cook a Yogurt and Tahini Date Cake and sing "Ata Peleh" ("אַתָּה פֶּלֶא", "You Are A Wonder").

As we mentioned last week, Sukkot began on October 2nd and runs until Friday, October 9th at sundown. Learn the basics of the Jewish holiday called Sukkot, including festival huts, lulavs, etrogs, foods, prayers, and the spiritual meaning of all the unique rituals.

 

This LEGO® stop motion animation is a great intro to the holiday for Jews and non-Jews alike - plus it’s FUN to watch!

Did you know that October is breast cancer awareness month?

Observed in countries across the world every October, this month helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. Israeli experts are on the cutting-edge of technology in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

NOTE: Sukkot begins today, October 2nd until October 10th and is the harvest festival that pre-COVID, friends would invite friends and family to dine in their sukkah under the stars. For Christians this holiday is called Feast of the Tabernacle, often including pilgrimage to Israel.

During the holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Jews around the world gather in synagogues to worship. In Israel, crowds of Jews congregate at the Western Wall -- sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall -- for somber prayer and often to insert a note with a wish for the New Year. Pilgrimage to the wall is NOT limited to Jews - prayers of all faiths become the collective call for hope and better days ahead.

 

This year, large crowds at the Wall are prohibited because of COVID-19, so the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) has taken action and will be the messenger for YOUR prayers. There’s no better time than now for each of us to pray for the end of this global pandemic.

Take a moment to watch this short video and then link to a form where you can submit your personal note which will be inserted in the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The evening of Friday, September 18th marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish New Year celebrated by Jews in the US, Israel, and around the globe.  It is the beginning of the High Holidays (or High Holy Days), a ten-day period that ends with Yom Kippur — the day of atonement — the holiest day of the Jewish year. Typical to Jewish holidays, Jews join family and friends for a festive meal often of brisket, tzimmes, round challah, and of course honey cake. The tradition of dipping apple slices in honey and sharing a pomegranate are ancient rituals believed to have healing properties and offer blessings for a sweet new year ahead. 

Anyone can be part of this festive holiday —

‘Tis the season to buy crisp Oklahoma-grown apples, which would be more than delicious in your own honey cake! Oklahoma apples can be found at Mikelson’s Orchard, High Fence Farm, or Livesay Orchards!

In the spirit of unity, Hillel at the University and the OKlahoma Israel Exchange (OKIE) remember the victims and survivors of the September 11th terror attacks and honor the simplest acts of kindness that followed. 

The American TV icon Mr. Rogers, in his message to children after that unfathomable day, declared,

"No matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we all are called to be 'tikkun olam,' repairers of creation." The Hebrew words "tikkun olam" refer to actions taken to improve society, including caring for others, which was useful advice for a devastated nation. 

 

May we all be guided by “tikkun olam.”

Did you know that Israel is known as the start-up nation?

 

Tel Aviv has more startups per person than anywhere else in the world except Silicon Valley. Israeli startups raised a whopping $612 million in the month of August alone!

I bet you had no idea that some of the things we use daily are Israeli inventions!

  • The USB flash drive

  • Drip irrigation

  • Waze navigation system

  • The cherry tomato (Modifying a regular tomato into one that ripened slowly and stayed fresh in transportation, the Israelis created a tastier and sweeter fruit that is a favorite of many.

  • The face recognition software used on Apple iPhone X 

  • Firewall software

  • Rewalk Exoskeleton

  • NaNose technology

  • WaterGen

Oklahoma State University Chef Aaron Ware shares this connection to Israel, his love of Israeli food, and even his favorite recipe!

Chef Aaron has been able to visit Israel twice on culinary exchanges and has been responsible for all of the wine + fare dinners that the OKlahoma Israel Exchange (OKIE) hosts.

 

Nothing says summer quite like watermelon - red, refreshing, cold, and tasty. In 2007, Oklahoma designated the watermelon as the official state vegetable! Oklahoma and Israel have a love of watermelon in common -- their similar long warm growing seasons are perfect for thriving crops. Though Oklahomans often eat their melons with no frills added, Israelis like to spice things up by pairing it with salted cheese and fresh herbs. Israel’s balmy Mediterranean summer accounts for Israelis eating a whopping 26 lbs of this sweet treat while Americans consume about 16 lbs of watermelon per year.

 

For culinary inspiration, why not try some of the recipes listed below

(click on image for downloadable version): 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And FYI, did we mention that Israel is exploring using watermelon waste as fuel?  

Try this syrup on grilled fruit (peaches or nectarines), over sorbet, gelato, or sponge cake. 

Not in the mood for mixing a cocktail? Use this syrup in Prosecco for a refreshing twist! Or add to iced tea, hot tea, or club soda and ditch the buzz altogether.   

Wednesday, August 19th begins the month of Elul, a time of repentance prior to the High Holidays focusing on introspection, healing, and repairing relationships. The shofar (a ram's-horn trumpet used in ancient times by Jews for religious ceremonies) is sounded daily during Elul, awakening us from complacency. Hearing the shofar’s blast is a reminder for us to look inward, reaching deep into our souls. The month of Elul is a perfect time to practice daily gratitude, mindfulness, and being present.

 

Read more about the benefits of practicing gratitude, the chocolate mediation, or try the miracle of the peppermint to help with anxiety/fatigue while boosting your concentration.

 

Experience the sounding of the shofar -- awaken your soul!

Hillel at The University of Oklahoma has been operating on the OU campus since 1943, while OKIE has been operating since 1992… that’s over a CENTURY of serving Oklahoma!

 

Hillel enriches the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students, and those who support them, so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.

OKIE promotes goodwill and understanding, fosters people-to-people exchange, creates lucrative partnerships, and initiates mutually beneficial collaboration between the State of Oklahoma and the State of Israel.

BOTH Hillel and OKIE:

  • Are nonprofits that cast a wide net beyond the Jewish community to the greater Oklahoma community, uniting people from all walks of life

  • Facilitate trips to Israel with a focus on growing ambassadors for BOTH Israel and Oklahoma​​

  • Adhere to the guiding tenets of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) and mitzvot (doing good deeds) lifting up the local community in which we live, as well as creating goodwill projects that impact beyond local borders.

Hillel at The University of Oklahoma is proud to partner with the OKlahoma Israel Exchange (OKIE) to bring you Friday Chai Notes. Be sure to follow OKIE on Facebook or visit their website to learn more.