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The story behind Purim’s hamantaschen

The most important aspect of most Purim pastries is their shape. Most Ashkenazic Jews only know of hamantaschen, the triangular pastries filled with prunes or other fruit fillings. This word is taken from the German words mohn (meaning poppy seeds) and taschen (referring to pockets). Some say the pockets refer to Haman who stuffed his pockets with bribe money.

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What's happening: Feb. 17 calendar

Calendar listings from the Feb. 17 issue

Jewish destination weddings mix intrigue, tradition

The groom was 60-years-old and the wedding was seven years ago, yet the magic and romance of the moment continues to inspire not only the couple themselves, but the 800 witnesses to that momentous occasion – many of them complete strangers.

  • icon Posted: February 22

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Coming Up

Author Maggie Anton to visit Beth El

Maggie Anton, author of the series “Rashi’s Daughters” and “50 Shades of Talmud,” will host a discussion and book signing 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at Beth El Congregation, 1118 W. Glendale Ave., Phoenix. The event is hosted by Beth El Women’s League. Cost is $10, which includes refreshments.

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Teen tour addresses poverty

Prior to kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday, 45 teens spent the day with the Jewish Community Foundation’s B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program. The Tikkun Olam Tour gives teens the opportunity to not only learn about organizations meeting vital needs in the community, but spend time engaged in service to support their work.

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Valley rabbis speak out against Friedman

As rabbis and community leaders in Arizona, we are grateful for Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake’s unflagging support of Israel. In that spirit and with Israel’s best interests in mind, we respectfully ask Sens. McCain and Flake to vote against the nomination of David Friedman as United States ambassador to Israel. For the following reasons, we see Friedman as incapable as serving as an effective bridge between the two nations.

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Luna Azul neighborhood fosters independence

Four years ago, Mark Roth and his wife, Lauren, began the discussion many parents of special-needs children have: How would their daughter Emma, now 17, navigate life as an adult and what would happen to her when they were gone?

  • icon Posted: February 22

Wise Aging program debuts

We have all been told that with age comes wisdom, but as Oscar Wilde also noted, “sometimes age comes alone.”

  • icon Updated: February 07

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Arts & Culture

Fine Art Expo is a family affair

Many of Lee Goldstein’s paintings have gone to the dogs. Goldstein, an acrylic artist who is showing her works at the prestigious Arizona Fine Art Expo in north Scottsdale, uses various dog breeds as models. Her exhibit, titled “Canine Expressionism,” includes a painting of Namaste, a yellow Labrador Retriever creating a “self-portrait.”

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Levi Catering expands

Rabbis and community leaders gathered at the newly opened Levi Catering on Feb. 7 to hang mezuzot, cut the ribbon and, of course, eat.

  • icon Posted: February 22