School in the Era of Corona Virus

My heart goes out to all parents who have school aged children left adrift during this pandemic. My kids are grown, with children of their own, so I am not directly affect by this. However, untrained parents now trying to be the teacher is not going to work out well for a vast majority of kids. I can't imagine the stress of wading through the vast amount of  information and misinformation revolving around school openings, remote learning, child care, etc. I certainly would not want to be faced with deciding to send my kids off to school and risk infection or utilizing remote learning which is not very practical or beneficial for young children. Particularly affected are kids with special needs who are missing out on vital therapies at this time.
Keeping schools closed is not just a poor educational choice for the kids, but it is also a poor second best for their emotional well being as well. I remember the book " All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. School is not only about learning the ABC's, its about learning how to interact with others, play fair, be helpful, wait your turn, respect authority, etc. No amount of video learning will teach a child these life lessons. For those parents who try to limit screen time for their kids, encouraging more screen time, even for school, sends a mixed message. 
At the moment, children can still go outside to play, run around, perhaps interact with friends while wearing a mask and social distancing of course.  But what happens when the weather changes and it is no longer feasible to spend lots of time outdoors? Being cooped up in the house all day is not good for their emotional health.
But I get it. We have to keep our kids safe and well, not only for their sakes but for the sake of others in their households and their communities. How can we satisfy both sides of the debate?
I don't know but I sure am glad I don't have to make that choice.
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Rosh Hashana 2020; a Covid 19 story

Just thinking about Rosh Hashana 2020 gives me a headache. I can not imagine what the holiday will look or feel like. It is hard to believe that 6 months have gone by with little change in the pandemic. While most states have opened up a little or a lot, our behaviors for the most part have not changed. I still wear a mask and social distance outside. I shop online or do curbside pickup. I haven't seen my grandchildren in New Jersey since December of last year. And I do not know when I will get to see, hold, kiss them.
I never thought it would last this long. I had tickets to visit back in June, which of course I cancelled. They were supposed to visit me this August, which of course they cancelled. Now we are talking about maybe Succot. Who knows.
But this Rosh Hashana will not only be about another lonesome Yontif without the family. While the complete details have not been finalized, our shul is talking about a much shorter davening, more minyaning scattered in various rooms throughout the shul, perhaps blowing shofer behind the shul in the alley, for those who are more at risk and can not enter the shul building. Will I feel safe enough to go to shul myself? I don't know.
What I do know is that Covid 19 gives new meaning to the essence of the holiday. In the past, we have gone to pray, asking for a sweet new year, with a mindset that everything will be ok. Our prayers are heartfelt and sincere, but for most of us, we just can not think the unthinkable. Covid 19 reminds us that the unthinkable happens, and can happen at any time in any place and to anyone. It reminds us that however much we think we are in control, we are fooling ourselves. Our lives, the lives of our loved ones and our livelihoods are all in the hands of Hashem.
The shortened davening, the small groups of worshippers and our lonely dinner tables will bring the strongest reminder to value what is important in our lives and thank G-D for every blessing he gives us.
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Missing the Family

I can not imagine anyone thought that Coronavirus would have such a huge impact on us for this long. I know I certainly expected to be able to travel, shop and visit family by this time. Yes, I know, many places have loosened their restrictions on what and where we could go,  and many of us have taken advantage of that to shop, eat out, and go back to their normal activities. 
But for a majority of us, the landscape has dramatically changed. Trips I had planned have been cancelled, invitations to family events and celebrations are now limited to very few and I don't see myself feeling comfortable with changing that in the near future.
I applaud those who are living their lives without fear; venturing out to live their normal lives. I also acknowledge that everyone has their own level of comfort; gingerly taking baby steps to achieve their own normal. I think we all must have patience and empathy for others as we navigate the pandemic.
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Shelter in Place, the new normal

Our lives have changed dramatically in the last several months. For most of us, we are in lock down, sheltering in  place to stay safe and healthy. For those of us who are essential workers, my husband and son, the worry about their safety takes precedence over all other thoughts. But honestly, we worry about our loved ones whether they are stuck at home or on the front lines.
While the newspapers are filled with sad and depressing news, there are rays of hope and kindness that shine through. All our essential workers, from medical professionals to clerks,  need to be thanked every day for their courage and determination. And for those who are most at risk, we pray that they stay safe and well while our scientists work for breakthrough treatments a vaccines.
While it appears that there is no end in sight, we know that we will come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient than before. mental health professionals tell us we must be kind to ourselves and do those things that make us happy to help us get through this ordeal. therefore, I am going to eat cookies and potato chips!
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Do we really need so much toliet paper?

We are all getting used to the new normal of life with coronavirus. Whether that means not leaving the house, teleworking, stocking the pantry, everyone is making decisions on how to proceed with living under the new restrictions.

Here at Kosherbyte.com we are working hard to provide kosher food items to those who are quarantined. Our shelf stable meals can be heated in the microwave in just 2 minutes. Salamis, beef jerky, pastries, olives, etc. are all available with just a click of your mouse. You can avoid any kind of contact with the outside world.

As Jews, we are all connected to our Shuls and synagogues. It is so hard on us not to be able to go there to pray, socialize and hear words of wisdom from our Rabbis. Despite how hard this is on all of us, we have an obligation to our family, friends and elderly to obey the guidelines of the CDC to speed up the end to our isolation.

Check out the guidelines from the OU, Orthodox Union. https://www.ou.org/covid19/

Keep healthy everyone!

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Happy Purim in the Days of Coronavirus

This year, as we celebrate Purim under the threat of the Corona virus, Our wish is for everyone to stay healthy. Our custom is to celebrate both in Shul and with friends at the Purim Seudah and we should. While anyone who feels sick is encouraged to stay home, the vast majority of Rabbis and Religious organizations have recommended common sense safety measures along the lines of the CDC.

I have heard that Purell is sold out over most of the country, but why is that also true for toilet paper?

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Why do we dress up on Purim?

When my kids were young, our family spent hours discussing what costumes we should all wear for Purim. First thought about who or what we wanted to be, then the hunt began for the perfect, funny outfit that seemed realistic but was still cute and of course, easy to put together. Today, my children come up with a family theme and everyone co-ordinates their costume to match. One year everyone wore Dodgers outfits; another year everyone was a super hero.

But why do we dress up for this holiday and not others? I found this article on Chabad.org. https://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1456808/jewish/Why-Do-We-Dress-Up-on-Purim.htm or you might like this article from unitedwithisrael.org. https://unitedwithisrael.org/why-do-we-wear-purim-costumes/

Both articles cite the theme of Purim where everything is hidden. Esther hides her Jewish ancestry, Haman loves the idea of dressing up in the king's clothing, etc. another possibility is that in order to treat everyone equal, rich and poor alike, the costumes hide a persons status in society.

Whatever the reasoning, it is always fun to see the costumes that people create!
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Tu Be'shvat and Valentines Day, a match made in Heaven

With the holiday of Tu Be'shvat just over and Valentine's Day around the corner, I became curious if there was a connection between the two. Tu Be'shvat celebrates the tress and Valentines Day celebrates love. Is there a connection?
Yes! In fact there is. Tu Be'shvat has the tradition of being a holy time for making a shidduch, a matchmaking connection. Here in Chicago, the Chicago Chesed Fund organizes a full day of learning Talmud in the hopes of promoting new marriages. While Valentine's Day celebrates romantic relationships that are already in place, Tu Be'shvat promotes new romantic relationships. Who Knew?
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Tu Be'shvat

Browsing through the grocery store this afternoon, I noticed a table with fruit trays specifically for Tu Be'shvat. Traditionally, the fruits mentioned are wheat, barley,grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Growing up, I always associated Tu Be'shvat with Bokser,dried carob. I was curious today why this item was considered a Tu Be'shvat fruit and finally looked it up on google, where else?!

According to Mosaic Magazine, dried carob has been associated with the land of Israel for centuries, despite not being mentioned in the Torah as one of the 7 fruits. Mosaic magazine suggests that since dried carob has the ability to withstand the arduous trek from Israel to Europe,it became a symbol of the land that people could relate to.

The article goes on to discuss thoughts and theories of the Talmud. I have included the link for you to read and enjoy.


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Football Season

With just a couple of weeks to go until the Super Bowl, fans are starting to root for their teams. While I am not a fan, I am a "football widow". My husband will be glued to the TV when the big day comes.
For those who want to get a head start on preparations for their tailgate party, check out our football snacks and treats. 
 and 

Looking forward to an exciting Half Time and commercials!
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Yeshiva Week

Many Jewish Orthodox schools have changed their winter vacation schedules from the mainstream X-mas to New Year time to a week in mid to late January.This updated vacation time allows families to avoid the non-Jewish holiday crush and remind their children of their Jewish heritage. It also makes vacation travel slightly easier; avoiding the huge masses of holiday travel at the end of the year. I am ambivalent about this new change. While I agree that we should not be celebrating non-Jewish holidays, unfortunately,  for working Jewish parents, it is harder to schedule child care while they are still working during the holidays. Those extra paid days off at the end of the year seem to be lost too. The parents are off while the kids are in school! T

I would love to hear what parents think about this new school calendar issue. By the way, my kids are all grown so its not an issue for me!
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Making Aliyah

For so many of us, the dream of living in Israel can be achieved. Aliyah from America is growing every year. With the current unrest in Europe, the numbers of people leaving their native countries and making new lives in Israel is exploding. And who does not have relatives living in Israel? Play a game of Jewish geography and you will find a connection to share.  Our Kosher gift baskets to be delivered in Israel offers you the opportunity to stay connected with friends and family that live on the other side of the world. It is the next best thing to being there! Order your kosher Israeli gift baskets here and have them delivered there! No need to ship overseas!! NOTE: All prices in this section INCLUDE delivery anywhere in Israel.  For prompt delivery, we require an ISRAELI Telephone # for all residential orders. Without a Phone #, you may have to pay additional delivery charges!!
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Welcome 2020

In the papers today everyone is commenting on 2020, having hindsight into what has already occurred. I prefer to look towards the future and what this new year will have in store for us.

As an Orthodox jew, I hope that the new year will bring safety, security and an end to the hate and antisemitism that has grown rampant recently. It is terrifying to read and watch the news with multiple stories of Jews being assaulted. beaten and murdered all over the world. It especially difficult to see these events occurring here in the United States, the country our parents and grandparents believed in so strongly and the place that has given us refuge.

Let us hope that this new year will bring a resounding refusal to allow this kind of racism and hatred to infect our great country.
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Happy Chanukah!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Chanukah or Hanukkah, whichever way you spell it!

I am sitting at home, wearing my lightest of long sleeve sweaters wondering what happened to the white Christmas everyone sings about. It is 57 degrees outside! The sun is out and the sky is blue! Am I in Florida? Nope; I am here in Chicago, worrying that the months of January and February will be payback time with below freezing temps and lots of snow. I guess we must all enjoy what we have and worry about what comes later....later!

I remember the year Chanukah fell on the same day as Thanksgiving. Today I was curious about how often Chanukah and Christmas collide. Notwithstanding the 8 days of Chanukah which would mean it happens very often, it is rarer for the first night of Chanukah to fall on Christmas Eve or day. According to vox.com, That only happens every 15 years or so!
You can read the article at https://www.vox.com/2016/12/20/14010130/hanukkah-christmas-same-day Just an interesting piece of trivia!

Whatever day Chanukah actually falls on, it is a joyous celebration of our Jewish heritage!
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Welcome to our New Improved Online Store Blog

Welcome to our online store! We have been working hard to update and redesign our website and hope that you will be pleased with the changes. Our website has been carefully designed to provide you with an amazingly flexible online shopping experience; one we hope will improve your search and purchasing experience. We encourage you to browse our entire product catalog, and let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the items you see. Please feel free to email or call us to suggest new items you are interested in



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Winter in Chicago, Purim Gift

Boy is it cold outside! This has been a particularly cold winter in comparison to previous years. That may be the reason I paired our new Wicked Awesome Wickedly Caramelized K-cups with a cute coffee mug. From Florida to the West Coast, I have heard stories of ice cold weather and snow in places, like Las Vegas, that never see it! What a great idea for Purim Mishloach Manot! Send this Purim gift to your family and friends and they will feel warm and comfy! Check it out

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Saying goodbye to the holidays!

Sorry for the delay in posting! It  has been absolutely crazy for the last few weeks. Besides preparing for the holidays for my family, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and do not forget tasting, I have been baby proofing the house for the visit of my grandson. We are so excited to have him come for Sukkot! However, he is at that age where everything looks interesting, especially the glass vases on the bottom of the china cabinet! He is a smart kid; he will find things I didn’t even think about to do that are dangerous.

Surprising to me is the fact that our Sukkah is still standing. Every year we dutifully build it with the expectation that it will stand all 8 days. And every year we are disappointed when the weather batters it to the ground. This year we were able to eat every meal in the Sukkah except for the first night when we were hit with torrential downpours. I am going to keep my fingers crossed for next year!

Now the holidays are winding down and we can finally get a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of this holiday season. When I looked around my table and saw the people who mean the most to me, I realized that all the stress and annoyances of the year fade away when you can enjoy time with those you love.

May all your prayers come true!

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Hanukkah Celebrations

With just 2 weeks until Chanukah, I think about how different the holiday feels when it is not celebrated at the same time as Christmas. When Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanzaa all fall together at the same time, Happy Holidays seems to be the generic greeting to all. We do not want to antagonize or make someone else feel ignored. That’s fine with me. I think recognizing every holiday for its culture is a great thing. It is a lesson in diversity that we should be teaching our children.

However, when the holidays are separated by many days, as it is this year, each holiday stands out on its own merit. When I am shopping for Chanukah gifts or foods, I am more likely to hear Happy Chanukah than Happy Holidays and I love that. I love that Chanukah is getting the recognition it deserves as a purely Jewish holiday. I enjoy answering question about the meaning of Chanukah and I feel that people are not so frenzied about their own holiday shopping that they can recognize the holidays of other groups.

I also must admit to enjoying the purely relaxing feel of the Christmas and New Year holidays where I am done with my own preparations and can relax on those national holiday  vacation days. While everyone else is scurrying around getting their last minute gifts and cooking their turkeys, I am thrilled not to have to be out in the stores trying to find a parking space.

That said, I still have to cook my own Hanukkah meals. Therefore I have included a link to some great Chanukah recipes. try some out!


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Thanksgiving and Veterans Day

We have alot to be thankful for at this time of year. We are thankful for the men and women who put their lives in danger every day for our safety and the security of our country. Without their bravery, America would not be the great country and beacon to the world that she is.

We are thankful for our wonderful and caring family and friends who we are lucky to have in our lives. Whether sitting and shmoozing around the dinner table or skyping across the miles, our loved ones give meaning to our lives.

My wish is that we carry in our hearts these feelings throughout the year and remember how much we have to be grateful for.


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Rosh Hashana 2017

As Rosh Hashana draws near, we all try to get a little closer to G-D. We look for ways to see G-D in our lives. Often, its hard to see. However, this year, I think we can all say that the wonders of Hashem are all around us.

First, and most spectacular, was the total eclipse. While I was not privileged to see the actual eclipse myself, the pictures on the news and in the papers are certainly awe inspiring. From friends and family who were lucky enough to be close by, the stories they tell not just of the majesty of the event, but also of the connections they made with people they met along their travels as they looked for a location to see it up close and personal. Total strangers conversing about life and the miracles of the world, without regard to religion, race, ethnicity or social standing. Everyone friendly and open and showing us the true depth of the American people, despite what chasms are reported in the papers.

We then move from the glory and beautiful eclipse to the horrendous devastation from both Hurricane Harvey and Irma. While we do  not know how bad the effects of Irma will be, the horror and crippling loss from Harvey give us an idea of the destruction that may follow in the wake of Irma. We only pray it will not be as bad as they are reporting.

But here too we see the hand of G-d. People from all over the country and in fact from all over the world are giving of themselves, their time and their money to help total strangers in need. The generosity of money and spirit prove to us all that people are good, no matter what their circumstances. this display of care and compassion for us is what defines us as Americans.

As we look forward to Rosh Hashana we should take these thoughts to heart and hope they make us better people in the end.


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Introducing Ahava Products from the Dead sea

We are very excited to announce that we are now carrying selection Ahava beauty products, imported from Israel!!We are offering Dead Sea Essentials by Ahava, Lavender hand cream, tea tree oil hand cream and Tea tree oil foot cream! These wonderful moisturizers are know for reliving cracked dry skin and hydrating skin for a soft and supple feel. Dermatologist tested and safe for sensitive skin these new lotions are just what you are looking for.Known for its healing properties, the Dead Sea provides minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, boron, that you skin thirsts for.

We also carry other Dead sea collection skin products such as Anti-Wrinkle creams and serums that do wonders for your skin. Log on and check out our new selection. Your skin will thank you.


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Summer time travel meals

We have been getting so many calls asking about our kosher shelf stable microwave meals. My Own Meals are available in 10 favors, Chicken and Noodles, Chicken and Black Beans, My Kind of Chicken, Chicken Mediterranean, Beef Stew, Old World Stew, Pasta with Garden Vegetables, Cheese Tortellini, Florentine Lasagna, and Vegetarian Stew. Several of these meals are gluten Free, and several others are Halal.

The meals are flying off the shelves, an indication that it is summer and vacations are in the works. Going out of the country and worried about finding kosher food? My Own Meals solves that problem. Going camping? My Own Meals are easy to pack and easy to heat. I know my son ate the meals often while in college. He liked not having to worry about getting to the caf before it closed or enjoying a late night snack while studying. I like it too; when the temperature is in the 90’s and I don’t feel like cooking, I can pop one in the microwave and let my husband decide what he wants for dinner.

We ship these meals all over the world. Just last week, a customer called and asked us to ship to Norway! they have a very long shelf life so there is no need to worry that they will go bad. Typically the expiration date is 18 months!

They are always in stock so log on and order yours today!


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Summertime and the season is Grilling!

First, I would like to apologize to our loyal fans for neglecting to post for such a long time. Things have been very hectic around here and I have pushed off doing lots of things, especially cleaning the house!

However, its time to get back to work even if its summertime. Tonight we are making a BBQ and offering our super green pickle relish to go with our hot dogs and hamburgers. I love the crunch and flavor and I know our guests are going to rave about the taste. Our sport peppers are also a hit, its one of the things my husband looks forward to. Making a BBQ is, to me, the easiest meal of the year. My husband does the grilling and all I have to do is make the salad. Add some fresh corn and and potatoes and you have dinner that everyone is excited about.

Making a BBQ keeps the heat out of the kitchen, another plus when its supposed to be in the 90’s.


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Cubs Win!!

I am taking time out from the usual grind in the office to send kudos to the best baseball team, the Chicago Cubs! The World Series was truly a nail biter for all of us lifelong fans! while it was difficult at times to watch, and I felt physically sick at times, the Cubs played like the true professionals they are and made us all proud!

Forr those of us who have been waiting decades, our patience has been rewarded!

Cubs win the World Series 2016

 Is it sacrilegious to say Next Year at the World Series?


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Pesach and Easter – Not together again!

This is Passover and Easter do not fall within days of each other. It is not that unusual, like Chanukah on Thanksgiving, (once in how many centuries?), but it still a bit disconcerting for me.

For years, our family got together for Pesach and looked forward to family time. One of the most enjoyable things we did was to leave the kids with the husbands and go shopping, just the girls and my mother. How we agonized about missing a day when all the stores were closed for Easter!

This year with Easter almost a month earlier than Pesach, it is not an issue. Besides the fact that Sunday is still Yontif, it is also not Easter. I am taking over my mother’s role; taking my daughter and daughter in law shopping on Chol Hamoed. I look forward to bonding with them both at Nordstroms!

The reason that Easter and Passover do not fall within days of each other has to do with the lunar calendar which is short by 11 days to the calendar with are all familiar with. that means that each year the Jewish holidays fall out at slightly different times. In order to make sure that we do not celebrate Succot in the spring and Pesach in the fall, we add a leap year month every 4 years. This year is that fourth year. Thanks goodness for google search; you check out the dates for all the Jewish holidays years in advance.

That being said, there are no differences in the amount of work, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc! I am sure that you are looking forward to relaxing as soon as the Dedarim are over just as much as I am!

Have a wonderful and peaceful Pesach from all of us at Kosherbyte.com!


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