I took this picture in Bombay's Crawford Market, where vendors sell an amazing array of fruits and vegetables. I love the pomegranate, shown here in its mysterious splendor, sensual and replete with seeds. The rabbis say the pomegranate has 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 mitzvot in the Torah! I've counted and it's pretty close!
It's no wonder that the pomegranate is a central symbol for Rosh Hashanah. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews (including Jews from India and Baghdad) use the pomegranate as part of a mini-seder on Rosh Hashanah during which we make blessings on different fruits and vegetables that symbolize our wishes for the new year.
The blessing over the pomegranate is:
Yehi ratzone milfanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, she-nihyeh meleím mitzvot ka-rimon.
May it be your will, our God and God of our fathers, that we should be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is full of seeds.
Here are some tips on how to cut a pomegranate!
Pomegranates are also healthy for you! Check out 10 top reasons to love the pomegranate:
For more on the Rosh Hashanah seder, please see my book, Apples and Pomegranates.
Acting on Indian Connections
Leave it to us to find the Indian connections to Operation Finale, which details the capture of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann. Legendary actor Ben Kingsley, who portrays Eichmann, was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in Yorkshire, England. His father was a doctor of Gujarati descent; his grandfather was a successful spice trader nicknamed "King Cloves," which his grandson adapted to create his screen name, Kingsley. His mother, an actress and model, may have had Russian- or German-Jewish roots. Kingsley changed his name because he was afraid his given name would hamper his career. Audiences the world over traveled with him to India through his seminal role as Gandhi, for which he won the Best Actor award in the 1982 film of the same name. He also played Jewish roles: Simon Weisenthal (Murderers Among Us,1989); Meyer Lansky (Bugsy, 1992); Itzhak Stern (Schindler's List, 1993); Moses (Moses, 1996), and Otto Frank (Anne Frank: The Whole Story, 2001).
Packing Tips for India Travel
ondering how to pack for a trip to India? The New York Times' seasoned traveler Jada Yuan offers fabulous tips for long-term travel; many are also great for a two-week trip to India. From choosing a suitcase to comfortable shoes, check out her suggestions:
By now, as I get ready to go on my eighth tour, you would think it would be easier to pack! And it is...but it's still a process. I start with a lightweight suitcase since the internal baggage limit for checked luggage in India is 33 kg (about 15 lbs) and 15 kg (about 7 lbs) for carry-ons. I love the compression bags that help organize my clothes and save space in my suitcase. A checklist of clothes, medications, toiletries, electronics and other "stuff" helps me to remember what I need. I usually keep small toiletry bags packed year-round so I just have to refill them.
Here I am getting ready...
Rahel Musleah was born in Calcutta, India, the seventh generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad.