House calls bring Jewish tradition of Sukkot to the isolated

NEW YORK (AP) — Sukkot, the weeklong Jewish fall holiday commemorating God’s miraculous protection of the Jewish people in the desert, looks different this year.

Many vulnerable individuals remain isolated at home due to the coronavirus during a celebration meant to highlight unity in the sukkah, the temporary shelter where Sukkot is observed for seven days and nights.

To bring the joy and tradition to them, Rabbi Eli Blokh, director of the Chabad of Rego Park Jewish and Russian Community Center in New York’s Queens borough, mounted a sukkah of three walls with a roof of bamboo poles in a bright red pickup truck.

Then he, his two young sons, and two rabbinical students drove it through the community, making house calls to those who could not attend small in-person gatherings or construct a sukkah of their own.

One of them was Holocaust survivor Leon Sherman, who Blokh said “has an incredibly strong sense of faith and really cherishes the opportunity of being a part of the Jewish observance and tradition.”

“He’s been homebound until now,” the rabbi added, “and I thought of him first.”

As Sherman stood on the sidewalk outside his home wearing a mask and leather gloves, Blokh’s mobile sukkah pulled up playing niggunim, festive Hassidic tunes, from two loudspeakers affixed to the truck’s roof.

Sherman was physically unable to climb the small ladder into the sukkah, so the rabbi stood with him next to the truck as he took the lulav, a collection of palm, myrtle, and willow branches, and the etrog, a citrus fruit, reciting the blessings on the lulav together.

“He was really excited that we came and remembered him and that he counts,” Blokh said.

Blokh’s goal was to reach as many people as possible through the holiday ending Friday at sundown. After visiting Sherman, they hit two more homes that day.

“More than ever there’s a sense of isolation and also apprehension about the future, and I think it’s important, within the boundaries of social distancing and health precautions, to make sure that we continue reaching out to people,” Blokh said. “There’s something very visceral about being able to hold a lulav and etrog. … The physical bond between us still exists, it hasn’t gone into Zoom. We need each other.”


Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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Why Colorful, Chaotic Home Decor Might Actually Bring You Peace

I have a memory from when I was young—five or six—and I asked my mom what her favorite color was. “Green,” she said. “Because I like trees and being outside.” It hadn’t occurred to my baby brain that there had to be any specific reason for something to be your favorite. I suppose it’s not so different when you’re an adult—you learn that there is almost always a why, even if you can’t quite make sense of it in the moment. Why do we gravitate to some bright rooms more than others? Why does that bright pillow make you feel some kind of way?

The “color-in-context theory,” conceived by psychologists Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier in 2012, muses that “the physical and psychological context in which color is perceived is thought to influence its meaning and, accordingly, responses to it.” How we understand color, they argue, is not so much about aesthetics but about the associations we hold—certain colors mean certain things to us, relying on our previous experiences and interpretations to inform how we feel about them in the future. I would argue that this is how design operates as a whole. Good design is all about context.

Bright colors and kooky silhouettes have always sparked design joy for me—and as far as Instagram is concerned, I’m not alone. Brands like Aelfie, Abigail Bell Vintage, Dusen Dusen Home, and Coming Soon are just a few purveyors of the uniquely chaotic feel-good design I’m talking about. Almost the opposite of the “Tyranny of Terrazzo” or millennial minimalism—this wave of furniture that’s somehow graphically retro and bizarrely futuristic, pattern-clashing that would make your grandmother gasp, color combos that force you to wince before you eventually think they’re edgy. It’s as if the inspiring, soul-soothing parts of the internet were a tangible room you could hang out in.

Despite how chaotic it may be to have a rug that clashes with the coffee table that clashes with the art on the walls, decor that is full of life somehow brings me peace. As Color of the Year becomes Colors of the Year, and color-blocked rooms begin popping up in stylish spaces around the world, it is a helpful reminder to choose what moves you. “My color philosophy is extremely personal,” Justina Blakeney told Clever editor Nora Taylor in a recent episode of AD Visits. “For me, it really is about your own connection to that color and your own color associations.” Color helps to create a reality that thrills you and helps remind you who you are at your core, even on the days when it’s hard to remember.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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Warm fall dishes bring son to the kitchen, table

Friends warned me. People who, before me, had sons. They told me that my son would suddenly and abruptly not want to spend time with me. He would, they said, leave my camp. They said he would first leave me and then leave my husband. At the time it was hard to believe. He was so joyful, so fun, so very excited about the world and all of its gifts.

And then, of course, he did. He found his own interests, his own people, his independence. That was many years ago and I did my best to let him go. It’s good, it’s fine, it’s the way parenting is supposed to be. They grow and push you away and hopefully, if everything is right, they come back.

I’m working on Elliot coming back. He’s 16 now and a pretty laid-back guy. He does what we ask of him. Mow the lawn? Empty the dishwasher? Walk the dog? Yep, yup and did it already. Sometimes, we have to ask twice but it’s not a fight. My husband and I do ask him to hang out with us and to this he almost always says no. He’s got homework. The guys are waiting for him. He’s tired. You know, anything is better than spending time with his parents.

Recently, we’ve been asking him to go for short hikes with us or watch a movie. Heck, I even asked him to sit beside me and learn to knit. That I said knowing there was no way my 16-year-old son would knit. But in asking and showing Elliot my project, I had a few more moments with him.

I’ve also been calling him downstairs when I’m cooking dinner. I’ll place an onion and the chef’s knife on the counter and when he arrives, I point and say, “Chop.” He does it easily, without complaint. I fall in beside him and knowing that teenagers are a bit like scared animals (approach too fast and they run away), I move in slowly. I ask about school, friends, guitar. I keep it to things he likes. I don’t grill him for information; sometimes we just chop quietly.

It’s crazy but I do forget that food is the best thing to bring us together. It’s our common denominator. Elliot doesn’t want to spend an afternoon hiking with Paul and I or even watch a movie. He definitely doesn’t want to knit. But he will chop or stir or whisk, even for a few minutes. If you’ve ever waited for a child who has left your camp, you’ll understand how sweet it is to just stand with him.

What follows are a few things that have come out of my kitchen in recent weeks. Things Elliot has helped me make, and also things his only part in was the eating. I know he would rather have sausage and chicken, pasta and plain salad to vegetables. But while I’m willing to do a lot to bring him back over to

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Can small pieces of land can bring neighborhoods together? Milwaukee urban garden, community education center proposed

a house on the side of a road: An urban garden and community education center is being proposed for a vacant lot near West Walnut and North 25th streets.

© City of Milwaukee
An urban garden and community education center is being proposed for a vacant lot near West Walnut and North 25th streets.

An urban garden and community education center is being proposed for a central city site northwest of downtown Milwaukee.

It would be developed on a 9,000-square-foot vacant lot, south of West Walnut Street between North 24th Lane and North 25th Street, by Venus Consulting LLC, according to a new Common Council resolution.

That resolution calls for selling the city-owned lot for $1 to Venus Consulting, which a Department of City Development report describes as a community advocacy, activism and education organization.

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The property would “be developed with garden amenities focusing on herbs, edible flowers, butterfly garden and serenity/meditation spaces,” the report said.

Most of the space would be used to grow medicinal plants, which can be used to make teas, and edible plants, said Jacqueline Ward, who operates Venus Consulting.

People would be taught how to grow those plants in their yards, homes or community gardens, Ward said.

The teaching would include a focus on the health benefits of eating plants, and the importance of creating space for bees and butterflies, which pollinate other crops, she said.

It’s not a traditional garden, said Ward, former executive director of the Marketplace Business Improvement District, which operates near the garden site.

“This is a totally new concept, focused on outdoor learning experiences (especially in wake of pandemic),” Ward wrote in an email.

Venus Consulting, a for-profit firm, would manage the operation, and do some programming. Superior Care Training Center Corp., a separate nonprofit group Ward operates, would provide teaching services.

“Another component will be working with small emerging nonprofit organizations and neighborhood associations helping them figure out how to utilize and create areas of conception of lots to bring people together (as gardens, meet up spaces-considering social distancing and safety) and how these small pieces of land can be a space for community and economic development,” she wrote.

Other nearby urban community gardens include Alice’s Garden, at North 21st Street and West Garfield Avenue.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Can small pieces of land can bring neighborhoods together? Milwaukee urban garden, community education center proposed

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New SeaPak Shrimp Sea Pals Bring Fun and Flavor to the Kitchen Table

The SeaPak Shrimp Sea Pals are designed to encourage kids to eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. SeaPak says the new product offers a quick and hassle-free option for families who like to have a little fun with their food.

“At SeaPak, our goal is to make seafood an easy fit for everyday busy life,” says Kristen Beadon, the company’s director of marketing. “We’re always looking for new ways to serve up great-tasting seafood, whether it’s by introducing new flavors, new kinds of seafood or, in this case, new shapes.”

With these sea animal-shaped shrimp sea pals, every meal can now be like an underwater adventure, Beadon adds. “We wanted to create a kid-friendly seafood option for the frozen food aisle, while assuring moms and dads that they could feel good about serving nutritious and delicious shrimp to their children.”

When it comes to satisfying snacks that will support a child’s growth and development, Rachael Hartley, registered dietitian and nutritionist, recommends always including a source of protein in the mix.

The new Shrimp Sea Pals fit that bill, containing an impressive 14 grams of protein per serving. Wrapped in a crunchy, whole-grain breading, the shrimp sea pals also are a good source of dietary fiber and nutrients and do not contain any artificial preservatives or colors.

“As a dietitian, I love that they are made with whole grains,” Hartley says. “With their playful shapes and great taste, SeaPak’s Shrimp Sea Pals make it easy and fun to serve seafood to your family members, even those who may not always be open to new foods.” 

SeaPak Shrimp Sea Pals can be found in the freezer aisle at major retailers and in grocery chains locations nationwide.

To learn more, visit and the brand’s Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages.

About SeaPak

SeaPak has been using coastal-inspired recipes to make great-tasting shrimp and seafood for more than 70 years. The company is committed to helping busy families reduce stress and increase wellness by offering mindful, authentic, quality seafood products. The trusted name for delicious seafood products since 1948, SeaPak today produces America’s No. 1-selling retail frozen shrimp brand within the specialty seafood category. SeaPak is highly regarded within the seafood industry for its adherence to the utmost in quality standards and its commitment to resource management and sustainability. Learn more about the brand and its commitment to sustainability here.

SOURCE SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co.

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Can’t Travel to Paris? Bistro Chairs Bring Cafe Culture to Your Kitchen

OF ALL the morning rituals that take place in Paris, my favorite is the transformation of those whimsical, colorfully woven chairs from towering stacks to orderly rows outside the city’s brasseries, cafés and bistros. Sinewy but delicate, masculine but feminine, rational but romantic, they have always felt to me like little ambassadors, exhilarating indicators that I am truly in the city.

When bistro seating recently began showing up in American shelter magazines and friends’ houses as indoor furniture, I became fixated on owning some. They would ballast my sunny, modern Los Angeles breakfast nook. “They’re a great way to add interest to a space without introducing anything too precious,” said Dina Holland, an interior designer in Needham, Mass.

I’ve been all but unable to stop thinking about Paris since Covid made it inaccessible. So when I stumbled upon a pair of bistro stools for $94 in the clearance section of a local Target, I ignored their lack of provenance and lunged at them the way some women throw themselves to catch a bride’s bouquet. Hoping the seats would inspire the kind of languid, all-day conversations they seem to in Paris, I soon realized I had purchased the equivalent of off-brand soda. Their hollow, aluminum frames look hastily painted to resemble rattan, and the uninspired checkerboard pattern ends abruptly on two sides, leaving conspicuous bald spots.

I found comfort in the website of Maison Drucker. Although bistro chairs are available in myriad iterations from major online retailers to small boutiques, Drucker, located just outside Paris, has been making chairs for the city’s most famous restaurants since 1885. Among their clients are rival eateries Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. The former commissioned a pine green and ivory chair in a clean basket weave, the latter, an intricate pattern of triangles in pine and burgundy. Both signature chairs have been used for more than 40 years. Constructed primarily of bent rattan, their seats and backs woven either of a synthetic called Raucord or of Rilsan, a natural fiber derived from castor oil, these are the perches of Sartre, de Beauvoir and Hemingway.

Drucker, however, does not recreate exact replicas of any chairs specific to a restaurant or hotel client. As Diego Dubois, the company’s vice president, diplomatically explained, “We have dozens of people, each trying to order the Flore or Le Roch hotel chairs, and each time we unfortunately have to decline.”

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Now It’s Not Safe at Home Either. Wildfires Bring Ashen Air Into the House.

SAN FRANCISCO — The new thing we do here when we get up in the morning, even before the tooth brushing and the coffee making, is to look at the sky. Then we look at the internet to see if our eyes deceive.

“Purple again,” I said to my wife this morning. Not the sky. That was the color of soot, like a child had taken dirty fingers and rubbed them all over the horizon. Purple is the color on the air quality chart. It means that we’ve hit “very unhealthy,” our air filled with microscopic particles that, speaking of children, are dangerous for them to breathe into their soft pink lungs. And not so great for those of us who have a few miles on our lungs already.

During the coronavirus pandemic, our last refuge had been to stay inside the house, but when things go this purple this persistently, the trouble seeps inside. Thanks to rampant wildfires, our at-home air filter has started telling us that things have turned unhealthy in our home — the bad air is managing to sneak in, even through closed windows and doors.

So we’ve taken to passing our one air purifier from room to room so our two children can do SOTG (school on the go) without getting SOOT (soot in the bloodstream). We clean each room, then rotate the device, and I trail to maintain the obnoxious optimism that is my hallmark and fatherly duty. But you can tell things are bad when you start reaching for comparisons, like: Well, we could be in Flanders in 1918. (Maybe that rose tint to my glasses is actually ash.)

In actuality, I don’t have to reach back to Belgium during World War I to know things could be worse. We could be in the Portland suburbs or lots of other places in the Pacific Northwest, circa right now. There, the ash in the sky comes with rampant blazes that are creating actual refugees, meaning people who are running from death with whatever they can carry.

So yes, we are privileged: roof over the head, freezer full of meat and crisper stocked with vegetables. My wife and I remain employed and no one we are close to has died from that terrible virus.

That said, I have had a migraine three days running from the poor air (or self-pity, or both). My wife is a neurologist who specializes in treating migraines, and she says that it’s supposed to help when you sit in darkness. But I can tell you that on Wednesday morning — when we woke up and looked at the sky and it was the orange-black of Halloween — the all-day darkness did little to calm the headache.

I’m a science reporter, and it’s hard not to see what’s happening now as a science story, with Covid-19 taking advantage of population density and other modern factors to hop and skip across the globe and from cough to nose and lung to lung,

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Did NBA’s Danuel House Bring Female Coronavirus Tester To His Room?

The Houston Rockets are searching for answers both on and off the court, one loss away from elimination and unaware if an important bench player will be available for Game 5 of their second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Danuel House has been ruled out of each of the last two games. The NBA is investigating whether House allowed a female coronavirus testing official into his hotel room, which would be a violation of protocols, Yahoo Sports first reported. 

House has reportedly denied the allegations, and the Rockets have felt blindsided by the league’s decision to keep him off the court, according to The Washington Post. 

“The NBA is treating [House] as guilty until proven innocent for safety reasons,” a person with knowledge of the situation told the Post. “They’re prioritizing their perception of safety over everything else. The NBPA feels its hands are tied. Any time [the union] talks about due process or presumption of guilt, [the NBA] immediately says, ‘Safety, safety, safety.’ There has to be some limit or balance.”

No player or coach has tested positive for the coronavirus since games restarted in the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida on July 30. While a handful of players were forced to quarantine after violating protocols earlier this summer, a person close to House told the Post that the NBA is making an example out of the Rockets’ player.

“If it was a star player, there’s no way [the NBA] would handle it this way,” the person close to House with direct knowledge of the investigation said.

House went scoreless in Houston’s Game 1 victory over Los Angeles. He was effective in Game 2, posting 13 points and five rebounds in a 117-109 defeat.

The Lakers defeated the Rockets by 10 points in both Game 3 and Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. The two teams square off Saturday night with Houston needing a victory in order to keep its season alive. 

Arguably the Rockets’ most effective reserve this postseason, House is sixth on the team in both points (11.4) and minutes (31.0) per game. The small forward is third on Houston with 5.8 rebounds per contest. House has made 35.8% of his 53 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

“I think [House] is blossoming into one of the better players in the league,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday. “He’s playing with a lot of energy, athletically, making great decisions on defense and offense. … There’s no reason why he’s not one of the better players in the league.”



The Rockets haven’t publicly blamed the investigation into House for their poor play, though Houston hasn’t been shy about trying to excuse recent playoff exits. 

After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the

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Interior Design Ideas to Bring Luxury and Opulence Into Your House

Many home owners confuse luxury and opulence with filling in high-end accessories and expensive décor items in the house. This is clearly a wrong assumption to make as it needs a touch of creativity and ingenuity to transform the interiors into elegant and stylish spaces. With right ideas and a bit of imagination, even an ordinary home can be made a pinnacle of luxury and visual splendor. So, no need to compromise with the inviting and comfortable look-and-feel of the spaces and you can also consult an expert lend a unique and exquisite look all along.

Here are some of interior design ideas to bring grandeur and opulence into the spaces –

Mirror on the wall

Bring a touch of royalty to the décor with an ornately framed mirror on the wall. This great idea will help on two levels – first, it can make the room looks spacious and second, it can lend visual lavishness of matchless variety. Plus, it won’t cost beyond the manageable level for home owners for sure.

Lace the décor with elegant light fixture

Lighting does create the difference to the aesthetics and hues of the interior. So, you have to get installed elegant light fixture wherever you could to compliment the interior fabulously. No matter whether you opt for modern finishes or antique solutions – there has to be sufficient lighting to make the ambience dazzling in a true sense.

Place a plush rug in the room

Nothing can give the interior a dash of splendor as much as a plush rug does. Just choose unique patterns and colors and lay in on the ground to see the difference! If you could match the rug colors with the décor theme, that would be even amazing in terms of look and feel.

Accentuate the walls with art

Make the décor look luxurious by opting to accentuate the walls with art. To accent walls, you will have plenty of options including paintings, murals, colors, leather panels, trimmings, etc. These wall arts won’t cost a fortune and deliver an amazing look and feel in a true sense.

Use wooden wonders in an elaborate manner

The use of wood is a great way to lend the décor a dash of elegance and sophistication. It makes the interior classical in a true sense and paint, a touch of royalty like no other material. Right from flooring to wall panel to furniture, you can choose whatever suits you and make the interior look luxurious like never before.

Use unusual materials

How about using unusual materials for the décor? A little bit of inventiveness here and there won’t harm the visual aspect and it’s rather recommended. So, use marbles in the kitchen and it possible in living area. Fit in more products crafted of stones or agate. You can also use inlays or get customized furniture matching with the theme of the décor. This is how home spaces are made trend and stylish in a true sense.

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Bring Your Walls Alive With Modern Wall Decor

When you want to bring out the designer inside you then the best place to show your talent is the wall of your house. Bring out the artist inside you and show your style on the walls. Use them as your canvas and bring them alive by enchanting them with your style spell. Every year you get the walls of your house painted so that they appear more cheerful and bright. But after a few months your eyes get accustomed to those colors and they began to appear dull and lifeless. But with the modern wall decor products you can now design them in your style and you can change their decor whenever you want to.

The modern wall art and decor encloses a variety of products like wall hangings, murals, shelves, letters, decorative stickers and many more. With so many options in your hand you can decorate your walls in the most extravagant way. You can follow the trend of the modern art and decor design which uses a combination of all these products. You can create your own unique designs and can use these products in numerous ways to build beautiful patterns. You can select these products from a wide range of collections available in the home decor stores.

The modern wall art consists of some amazing ideas and by using these ideas you can bring your walls back to life. The wall murals are one such example which strongly reflect the concept of decorating your walls with specific art. These murals come in attractive pictures and truly amazing designs. You can use them to decorate your kids room. You can also design your kids room with specific themes by using these murals. Another good option for the walls are the decorative stickers. These stickers are made up of durable vinyl and can be applied easily to smooth surfaces. The good thing with these stickers is that you can pull them out whenever you want to. These stickers do not damage your walls.

If you want to add a touch of splendor to your walls then you must go for the wall shelves. These shelves present you with amazing and innovative ideas to customize the walls. These shelves can be combined with other art pieces to create a customized wall space. You can pair up the shelves with photo frames with your family photos. You can also put up your treasured souvenirs and books on these shelves. The modern wall decor spice up the interiors of your house and add versatility to your decorations. You can check out some cool collections of the wall art products from the online home decor stores.

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