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But the men who had ascended with him said, “We cannot ascend to that people for it is stronger than us!” — Bemidbar 13:31 The miraglim (spies) came back with the report that Eretz Yisrael was occupied by giants that couldn’t be vanquished. The expression that they used, though, was “stronger than him.” Rashi explains that the “him” they were referring to was HASHEM. The spies were saying that the giants were so powerful that even HASHEM couldn’t win against them. This Rashi is very difficult to understand. HASHEM created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. The people of that generation saw this more clearly than any other. They had all lived through the ten plagues. A few months earlier, they had witnessed HASHEM split the sea into twelve parts. How is it possible that they could believe something so foolish — that these mere mortals, large as they might be, were actually stronger than HASHEM? This might be easier to answer with a different perspective.

The vastness of space In Selichos we say, “Amongst all of the gentile nations, there is no king as powerful as You, HASHEM.” But comparing HASHEM to mere mortal seems insulting. How can Chazal use such

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a poor comparison, one that so belittles (if it could be) the honor of HASHEM? The answer to this lies in the difference between knowing something and feeling it. As an example, let’s look at the phenomenon called distance. If you are sitting in a large room, the distance from you to the wall isn’t great, perhaps one hundred or two hundred feet. The distance between New York City and Tel Aviv, however, is of a different magnitude. Even flying at five hundred miles an hour, it takes twelve hours to arrive — because six thousand miles is a great expanse. Yet in terms of measuring distance, continents aren’t considered remote. The distance between the earth and the moon is approximately 250,000 miles. And the distance between the earth and sun is approximately ninety-two million miles, a gap so large that it is difficult to relate to. To get a sense of how far that is, let’s look at an interesting fact. The sun is the main source of light, heat, and energy on earth. Scientists estimate that the core temperature of the sun is sixteen million degrees. If you were to take a single grain of sand, heat it to that level, and bring it back to earth, it would cause everything within a sixtymile radius to erupt into flame. Even a speck of matter that hot contains so much energy that it would consume everything around it. Yet the sun is so far off in space that the rays of light emanating from it spread out, and only a fraction of them enter into our atmosphere and are converted into energy. And so, the temperature on earth can sustain life. What would happen if the distance were less? Say forty-five million miles? The heat on the planet would rise radically,

and life would cease to exist. However, because we are so distant from the sun, the energy dissipates. Only two billionth of one percent of it reaches us, so it gets to be a nice balmy seventy-five degrees in the spring.

A yardstick for measuring space When it comes to the known universe, though, distances like these aren’t even noticeable. In fact, objects in space are so far apart that measuring them with miles is like measuring the distance between New York City and Los Angeles in inches. A different frame of reference is needed, and so the speed of light is used. Light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second. If you mark the time that it takes for light to travel from an object in the sky to earth, you can calculate its distance. Convert the time span into seconds and multiply that by 186,000 miles, and you’ll know how many miles away the object is from earth. Using this system, the distance from the earth to the moon is a mere one and a quarter light seconds. From the earth to the sun is just eight minutes. And now we can put the universe into perspective. The star closest to the sun is Alpha Centauri. Light traveling from it takes fifteen hundred days to arrive here. It is so far away that light hurtling at 186,000 miles a second takes more than four years to bridge the expanse. But Alpha Centauri and our sun are not the only stars in the universe. The night sky sports a vast array of stars, stretching out as far as the eye can see.

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Astronomers estimate that in the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are over a hundred billion stars. Each one is as powerful as our own sun. And most of them are as distant from their neighbors as the sun is from Alpha Centauri. The entire Milky Way unfolds across a span of empty space that baffles the mind. But of course, the Milky Way is not the only galaxy in the cosmos. There are others. Many others. And here is where things start to get interesting. To help us understand the size of the cosmos, scientists use a parable. If you were to compare the Milky Way galaxy to the rest of the known universe, it would be similar to comparing a coffee cup to the United States of America! There are over a hundred billion galaxies, each containing over a hundred billion stars, spreading across thirteen billion light years of space that is ever expanding. The Chovos HaLevavos asks: why did HASHEM need to create so vast and complex a universe? He answers that part of the reason is that we should have a glimpse into the greatness of our Creator. If this is the Creation, what does that tell me about the Creator? So if we know this, how is it possible that we aren’t filled with a powerful sense of awe and reverence for our Creator? Why don’t we tremble when we stand in front of HASHEM? But therein lies the problem. When we deal with things so beyond ourselves, we tend to lose perspective, and they stop having an impact on us. We know it — but we don’t feel it. This seems to be the answer to the expression in Selichos. Of course, it’s a huge understatement to compare HASHEM to a mortal king. But a powerful king evokes real fear in people’s hearts. The fact that HASHEM fills the cosmos is too removed; the fact that He is stronger than even the mightiest tyrant is far more tangible. And this seems to be the answer to how the spies could think the giants were more powerful that HASHEM. Yes, HASHEM is strong and He can split the sea, but that is far removed from daily life. These were giants taller than trees. Even though on an intellectual level, the spies recognized that HASHEM was far more powerful, on an emotional level, it didn’t register, so they feared the giants even more than HASHEM.

Even HASHEM can’t get me out of this This concept has great relevance to us when we find ourselves in situations that seem insurmountable. Much of the problem is that we view things from our small world, and so we find ourselves thinking things like, “I owe so much money that even HASHEM can’t bail me out of this.” While intellectually, we recognize the foolishness of these thoughts, on an emotional level, they still overwhelm us. As big as our problems are, to HASHEM they are tiny. By focusing on the fact that HASHEM created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain, we can feel on an emotional level that He is all-powerful and can easily redeem us from even our worst fears.

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Win Big with This Year’s Shmuz Sweepstakes An exciting opportunity was born in Monsey this past Sunday, when Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier of TheShmuz.com officially opened the 2017 Shmuz Sweepstakes. A major tzedakah initiative, the annual draw allows supporters of The Shmuz to enter a prize draw of $50,000. Rabbi Shafier explains, “This yearly Sweepstake is our essential fundraiser. It’s a chance for Shmuz listeners to help continue our important work, and we very much rely on the sales of the tickets to support our organization. It’s also a fun way to give. Not only is there the chance to win big, but tickets also come with a generous selection of free gifts, and Shmuz fans can stock up on their favorite shiurim and Shmuz books alongside giving tzedakah”. Fans of Rabbi Shafier’s down to earth Torah are already placing their orders online through the hassle-free booking system (www.theshmuz. com/win50k) and the newest free gift, The Shmuz Tile Key Finder, has been met with an enthusiastic response. It’s a handy little gadget that keeps track of all your important stuff, so that you can call it from your phone and be reunited with your housekeys, wallet and more. Supporters are also able to enjoy newlyreleased material from Rabbi Shafier as a gift. The Pursuit of Happiness Series, The Marriage Seminar Live and a new Dating Seminar are being launched exclusively to raffle supporters, alongside a variety of ticket options and payment plans. Readers are invited to learn more at TheShmuz.com and have until the end of the month to contribute their maser money into the draw.

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URGENT LETTER Recently, in the past few years, the public has been awakened and informed about the harmful and far reaching effects of Lyme Disease. Tens, or better still, hundreds of people in our communities have since been diagnosed with this dreadful illness. Some were lucky enough to be healed completely, others are recovering slowly, while others are still suffering due to the enormous sum of money that it takes to be treated by the experienced, professional Lyme Specialists. Anyone that sees the suffering a chronic Lyme patient goes through, asks oneself the same question, “Is there something that can be done to prevent Lyme Disease?” And the answer is “Yes!” There is a way to ‫ בעזרת השם‬prevent Lyme Disease!! Through spraying, putting bait boxes and so on, we can successfully get rid of most of the harmful ticks, thus reducing the risk of contracting Lyme

hundreds and thousands of dollars, the chronic Lyme patient spends in hope of a full recovery? And what is money, be it even thousands, when put against the pain and suffering of the patients and their families? The Torah commands us .‫מאד לנפשותיכם‬ ‫ ונשמרתם‬Surely, to protect ourselves from Lyme and it’s co-infections, falls into this category. And to all of those that send their children, or go up to the mountains themselves, the responsibility is yours! Demand the management of your camp/colony to do all that’s in human hands to protect from the ticks. And so, if you are the owner of a private summer home, DON’T HESITATE, call now and get rid of the unwanted ticks. You will save a lot more than you will spend.

disease by 95%. This system is currently being widely used throughout the United States at private homes, schools, campuses, camps, and hotels. Why shouldn’t we and our dear children be safely protected, with Hashem’s help, against this terrible disease and it’s consequences? Now, as summer is approaching, and many of us are preparing to go up to the mountains for the summer, we come out here with a strong plea, to all owners and managers of countries, camps and hotels. The key to ‫ הצלת נפשות ממש‬is in your hand. True, it costs a lot of money, but just like you wouldn’t keep back from putting up a fence around a lake or protecting from other dangerous things, paying for a lifeguard to safeguard the pool, and so on, why should money be the barrier when it comes to protecting against such a devastating disease as Lyme could be? If for a private person a tick-control program would cost a few hundred dollars, the cost for a camp/colony would probably be a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of the property. But what is all this, compared to the

May the Almighty help that it should be !!!‫והסירוסי מחלה מקרביך כי אני ה‘ רופאיך‬ Have a happy and HEALTHY summer!! P.S. The time to spray is NOW, in June. So please, DON’T DELAY, CALL TODAY!!!

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A Heartfelt tale of Reminiscence By Soochy Brummel

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he soldier woke up with a start. Disoriented by the lack of light, He felt for his flashlight and switched it on, squinting in the sudden light. Everyone else was still sleeping. For a brief moment his mind was blank. He wondered why he was awake, and then he remembered. He lay down on top of his blanket, hands under his head. Wide-awake, he stared unblinking at the ceiling until the dawn light shone seeped into the room and the wake up call could be heard. Still, he stayed unmoving, lost in thought, until his neighbor nudged him with his boot. “You’ll be late.” He got up and quickly pulled on his uniform. Outside, They trudged up the hill to the dining room with the others. Today, the usual conversation was lacking. They all walked together in silence, the knowledge of what was to come already hanging over their heads like a heavy fog, weighing their heads down and slowing their feet. He sat at the table, absently spooning his food into his mouth, although every spoonful may as well have been made of lead. He didn’t taste any of it. Their commander signaled for quiet, and the slight buzz in the room faded immediately. “You all know what you have to do today. We must evacuate the entire area of Gush Katif. Be prepared to

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use force if necessary. The area we have been assigned to evacuate is Kefar Yam.” Silence reigned over the group once more as they prepared themselves for the task they had been dreading for months. In just a few hours, they would be forcing their own people out of the only homes they had known, callously destroying communities so painstakingly built over years. The soldier’s mind was drifting off again, as they made their way to their destination. He shook his head, mentally berating himself. Now was not the time to feel any weakness. His training should have him prepared for something like this. He heard the cries before he saw the ones making them. He paused for a moment, then pushed himself onward. And there he was. No amount of preparation could have him ready for this. Entire families stood together in huddles, crying and praying. There were children standing in groups, singing shema. People screaming, crying, begging their own people not to do this to them. It was enough to bring to tears to the most hardened soldier. He stood there, not wanting to move, not wanting to cross that line between by standing soldier, and heartless home wrecker. His commander motioned to him, shouting through the chaos.

“There are families that won’t leave their homes. Some of you need to start breaking the doors down and getting them out.” He began to walk down towards the houses. His commander touched his arm as he went past. No words were exchanged, they saw it in each others eyes. He gave a slight nod and continued until he reached a small house, and walked up the bumpy cobblestone path. He stared at the weathered wooden door, adorned only with a small mezuza, as if hoping it would open on its own. Unable to bring himself to break the door, he raised his hand and knocked lightly, almost timidly. He heard a noise: someone looking through the peephole. After a moment, to his surprise, the doorknob turned, and the door swung open. He raised his eyes which were ashamedly fixed on the ground, preparing himself. And froze. His eyes flew back to the ground, in shock. Nothing could have prepared him for this. The face he saw before him was a familiar one, one he hadn’t seen in a long time. One he hadn’t expected to see here, of all places. It was a face he had left behind for a different kind of life, a life bereft of religion. Tears filled his eyes as he slowly looked up at her again. Her eyes were filling, the tears silently flowing. And his heart broke beyond repair as he spoke. “Shalom, Ima.”

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Change your attitude, change your life.

5 Steps to a Happier Life by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

A

friend confided that she wakes up each morning with a tight feeling in her chest. “The news is so frightening, life and family pressures pull me, and sometimes I just can’t take it anymore.” It is easy to fall into negativity but we can help ourselves become happier and more positive. While there are certain situations we cannot change, our attitude and spirit can most definitely influence our moods. When we focus on transforming our outlook we breathe new energy into our daily lives. If you want to be a happier person, begin by identifying where you can change.

1. Happiness is Our Choice It is time to stop pointing fingers.

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Blaming others, being the martyr in a relationship, or thinking that it’s always someone else’s fault is a waste of our time and energy. We can accuse our boss, spouse, mother in law, or ‘karma’ for our unhappiness. Or we can decide that we choose our feelings, and no one can force us to choose misery. Once we accept that happiness is a choice, we begin to own our life. The moment we realize that this is true we start taking responsibility for our actions and moods. Life is too short to walk around in a chronic state of unhappiness.

2. Stop Expecting We create our own obstacles by expecting behaviors and actions from others and then being let down. Once we stop anticipating we can move on

and grow wiser. Too often we feel slighted or overlooked while in reality we caused our own bad feelings with unrealistic hopes. A mother of teens shared that she is constantly being disappointed by her own mother. Birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations go by without being acknowledged. Every conversation is a self-centered dialogue. Here is this woman, already a mom of grown kids herself, finding herself lost in child-like emotions because her mother cannot meet her expectations. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if things were different? Of course it would be. But her mother is not changing and that’s a fact. After years of hinting, discussing, and analyzing the bottom line is that the only way to stop feeling frustrated is to stop expecting alternative behavior. If this mom can take her experience and

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use it to acknowledge her own children with love and attention, then at least the experience will have been purposeful.

3. Invest in Friendships Ethics of the Fathers teaches us to “Acquire for yourself a friend.” Our sages recognize how vital companionship is to our quality of life. Hundreds of Facebook friends don’t count. One good friend, who is loyal, kind, wishes you well, and shows good character is all you need. But time creates distance. We become obsessed with our careers, engrossed in parental duties, busy with balancing budgets and responsibilities while good friends are left on the wayside. Sometimes we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we have invested enough hours and energy into our relationships. Spouses count as friends too. If all we do is talk about the kids, problems, and credit card bills we have failed to cultivate the most cherished ingredient of marriage. Love cannot grow without nourishing the friendship between husband and wife. Our burdens become lighter and our joys become sweeter when we share them with friends. Don’t wake up one day to realize that you have lost touch and taken the best people in your life for granted.

4. Put the Past Behind You Stop living life while looking in the rear view mirror. We bring ourselves down when we can’t let go of past hurts and mistakes. Allow yourself to say goodbye to the chaos that has hounded you. This takes inner courage and strength. But if you continue to hold on to the pain you will never see yourself as a potent force in your life. You are grieving, hurting, and aching but you are not living. Victor Frankl explained that we are either the sons of our past or fathers of our future. “When we are no longer able to change a situation –we are challenged to change ourselves.” I often meet people who tell me that it is impossible for them to be a good father or mother because their parent was such a failure. Instead of working on parenting skills they opt to walk away from their families and spend years talking about what dysfunctional parents they had. A new generation is being raised and there is another vacuum in the place where love and guidance should lead. What an awful way to live. You can break the cycle and fix the mess if you can make peace with your past. Ask yourself this question: How can I make my today better than my yesterday?

Give yourself real goals to help you move on. Embrace the people in your life instead of creating barriers. If you see that you are struggling with holding onto a grudge or that you can’t move forward, realize that you are allowing your past to destroy your future. It is up to you to discover the desire within to live life better. Studying Torah’s wisdom, surrounding yourself with positive people, and concentrating on choosing emotions like tolerance and patience instead of anger and resentment are all keys to finding serenity.

5. Rid Yourself of Envy Jealousy creates bitterness. It brings out the ugly side in a person. Envy consumes –it does not allow you to enjoy your blessings. Instead you are too busy counting everyone else’s good fortune. Resentment grows as you view others Instagram photos, track vacations on Facebook, and attend weddings and Bar Mitzvahs with a begrudging eye. “What about me?” you wonder. You don’t realize how unpleasant your comments have become. You slowly suck the joy out of every happy occasion. By focusing on what you believe you are missing, you lose touch with the good that you have been given. Discontent eats away any satisfaction you may have had. Many wonder about the power of ‘ayin hara’-the evil eye. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler teaches that an evil eye only has power on someone who possesses an evil eye himself. If one has a good eye and wishes others well, he has nothing to fear. Let’s use this teaching as a catalyst to rid ourselves of envy. We will discover that contentment is within reach. How much happier we will feel! Why continue wasting emotions and energy on negative thinking? Despite the challenges it is possible to change our attitudes and transform our lives. Happiness is within reach. You can put these five points into practice and work on making it happen. This article can also be read at: http://www.aish. com/sp/pg/5-Steps-to-a-Happier-Life.html

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M

y father was a quiet man. Soft spoken, and gentle, he never raised his voice to any of us. Growing up in our household, we knew who the real disciplinarian was: my mother ruled with a sterner hand. Although we knew we were deeply loved, she would let it be known in no uncertain terms when we were in trouble. And if we deserved it (which we usually did), we knew a potch was soon to follow. Daddy on the other hand, had the soft touch. Not for us, the threat: “Just wait until your father gets home.” On the contrary, if we wanted

something, my brother and I knew just whom to approach get it. “Daddy, can I have a dime…a quarter…a dollar? “This refrain was repeated throughout my childhood. Daddy never could never say no to either of us. In retrospect, there is no doubt that we were spoiled rotten. As my father worked very long hours, my mother usually was the one to admonish us. But all it took was one look from my father and the words, “I’m disappointed in you,” and I would burst into tears, devastated. Whenever my brother and I

squabbled, my father would become extremely upset. He could never understand the strange concept of siblings fighting. “We were five children in our house in Hungary, and we never fought,” Daddy used to tell us. He was truly bewildered. And indeed, knowing my father‘s gentle nature and the character of his mild-mannered older brother, Bubi Bachi, I understood perfectly. My father owned a kosher restaurant in Washington Heights and treated his customers and business acquaintances the same way he treated everyone: with the

Daddy and the Pushkas SARAH TYBERG

32

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deepest respect and dignity. Not all his clientele were paying customers, though. An old homeless man who had undergone the horrors of the Holocaust and had lost his faculties would frequent the restaurant for a free meal on a regular basis. When he sat down at a table, other diners would move away hastily, as the stench was unbearable. This poor soul was welcomed into the restaurant repeatedly, and instead of beckoning to a waiter, each time he came in Daddy would take the time to serve him a full meal personally. After all, why should a hard working waiter bear the burden of serving this man when there was no tip involved? And although my father probably lost a great deal of business from paying customers who would frequently leave the restaurant, repulsed by the odor, the old man was never turned away. My father had infinite patience. I remember one Friday afternoon in particular. As usual, Daddy was behind the counter assisting a line of customers. The line was moving swiftly until one specific customer. “How can I help you?” “I’d like a nice large slice of potato kugel.” “How big, about this size?” asked my father, gesturing with his knife to a slice of about three inches. “No, a little bit smaller,” the customer replied. “Okay, this big?” “No, a little big smaller. “This big?” “No, a bit smaller than that.” By this time the other people on line were fidgeting impatiently. “Nu, get a piece already,” a lady muttered, rolling her eyes. Finally, a tiny little sliver of potato kugel was cut. My father never lost his equanimity, though. He dealt with the

customer as if he was placing a $500.00 order. Standing on his feet for hours at a time took a terrible toll on Daddy’s legs, and he developed horrific varicose veins and thrombosis. But he never complained, and continued to work on his feet until the day the restaurant closed down. Only once did I ever see my mild mannered, unassuming father get upset. One day, a young tough with long dreadlocks entered the restaurant and avariciously eyed the chain of hefty pushkas lined up on the counter. He stared at my father. My father stared at him. With one swift yank, the hoodlum pulled out the chain of pushkas. My father was a gentle soul, but this was intolerable. People placed their hard earned coins into these pushkas. No punk was going to steal money that rightfully belonged to various yeshivos! As the hoodlum turned to dash out of the store, Daddy grabbed on to the trailing chain with all his might. The thug was much younger, but my father was tenacious. The outcome, of course, was inevitable. Daddy was dragged down the street for a few moments, tightly gripping the chain. Eventually the chain snapped, and the hoodlum raced away. Bleeding and badly bruised, Daddy limped back to the store without the pushkas. Due to his poor blood circulation and terrible veins, it took weeks until his battered legs healed properly. All that happened many years ago. My parents eventually retired and moved to Yerushalayim, where for nearly twenty years, my mother enthusiastically filled up her numerous pushkas, while Daddy merited carrying their valuable contents to their rightful locations. Daddy died shortly before his 90th birthday due to complications of his poor leg circulation. He was the gentlest, kindest man I ever knew. But I’ll never forget the day he fought like a lion in defense of his precious pushkas. L’iluy Nishmas Avraham Ben Zvi

WITH ONE SWIFT YANK, THE HOODLUM PULLED OUT THE CHAIN OF PUSHKAS. MY FATHER WAS A GENTLE SOUL, BUT THIS WAS INTOLERABLE.

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Chicken Easy by Emuna Braverman

Embarrassingly easy chicken or turkey recipes.

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Chicken with Duck Sauce Even though I make many “gourmet” recipes, this simple one is the biggest hit with guests helping themselves to seconds and calling during the week for the recipe! 2 chickens, cut into 1/8ths Garlic powder Pepper Paprika 1 jar (40 oz.) duck sauce (Cantonese or Szechwan depending on your taste) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chickens generously with garlic powder and paprika. Be a little more sparing with the pepper. Bake for ½ hour. Remove from oven and cover with entire jar of duck sauce. Bake for 2 more hours, basting half-way through. Serves 8 -10

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Turkey Strips with Mushroom and Wine 2 pounds turkey schnitzel, cut into 1-inch strips Bread crumbs to cover ½ lbs. mushrooms, sliced ¾ cup white wine Canola oil for sautéing Heat oil in large frying pan. Dredge schnitzel with bread crumbs and when oil is hot, begin to fry. Fry until both sides are brown, about 2 minutes per side. You will need to proceed in batches, adding more oil as necessary. As each batch finishes remove to baking pan. When all the turkey is done, lightly sauté the mushrooms in the remaining oil and pour over the turkey. Cover with white wine. Can be served immediately or can be covered and reheated for about ½ hour before serving. Serves 12.

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Roast Chicken with Vegetables 2 whole chickens Vegetables of your choice: small potatoes Kalamata olives Fennel Carrots Cherry tomatoes Mushrooms Green beans Whole cloves garlic 2 tablespoons paprika 1 teaspoon pepper 4 sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chickens in large roasting pan and surround with any combination of above vegetables. Sprinkle paprika, pepper and rosemary on chicken. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, then cover and bake as long as possible, 2-3 hours until the meat just falls apart. Baste halfway through baking. Serves 8 - 10.

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Curried Chicken 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine ½ cup flour 2 teaspoons curry powder 3 cups chicken stock 2 egg yolks 1 cup non-dairy creamer ½ lb. mushrooms, sliced 1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained 1 cup frozen petite pois 2 lbs. cooked chicken breasts, cut into strips Melt margarine over low heat. Stir in flour and curry powder. Cook stirring constantly until smooth. Slowly whisk in stock until blended. Remove from heat. In small bowl, beat egg yolks and non-dairy creamer until blended. Pour into stock mixture, stirring vigorously so as not to cook the eggs. Add vegetables and chicken. Reheat over low heat. Serve over rice. Serves 8-10.

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Flatbush Buzz #101 June 11 2017  

Bringing You The Buzz on Jewish Savings & Events

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