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Let’s delve into the beauty and significance of Shavuot! In 2024, Shavuot begins at sundown on Tuesday, June 11 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, June 13. Here’s your guide to celebrating the Jewish holiday filled with unity, Torah wisdom and cherished customs. Join us as we explore the lighting of holiday candles, synagogue visits for the Ten Commandments reading, relishing a delectable dairy meal and immersing ourselves in the joyous tradition of night-long Torah study. Plus, discover the anticipation built during the counting period since Passover. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Unity: Insights from the Lubavitcher Rebbe: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, one of the world’s most influential Jewish leaders, stressed the importance of unity within the Jewish community. He believed that unity not only brings blessings to the world but also serves as a foundation for spiritual growth. When we are truly unified as one people with one heart, then this is a fitting preparation for receiving the one Torah from the one God.

Lighting Holiday Candles: Illuminating the Path: As Shavuot commences, we light holiday candles, symbolizing the spiritual light that emanated from Mount Sinai during the Giving of the Torah. The warm glow serves as a reminder of the divine teachings that guide our lives and bring sanctity to our homes.

Let’s Talk About Shavuot: A Guide to Celebrating the Jewish Holiday!

Synagogue: The Ten Commandments Reading: A central element of Shavuot is the community’s gathering at the synagogue to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. This powerful moment allows us to relive the awe-inspiring experience of our ancestors standing at Mount Sinai, ready to receive the precious gift of the Torah. Through this communal observance, we connect with our heritage and strengthen our bond with the Divine.

Festive Dairy Meal: Nourishing the Body and Soul: Shavuot traditions include indulging in a delightful festive dairy meal. There are various explanations for this custom, including our ancestors’ hesitancy to consume meat immediately after receiving the dietary laws of kosher meat consumption, until they were properly prepared for doing so. Moreover, the Torah is often associated with “milk and honey,” highlighting its nourishing and sweet attributes. As we gather with loved ones, we savor dairy delicacies, celebrating the richness of our heritage.

Night-Long Torah Study: Immersion in Wisdom: Another unique aspect of Shavuot is the tradition of staying up all night engaged in Torah study. This practice reflects our deep commitment to the Torah and our eagerness to explore its profound wisdom. Communities organize inspiring lectures, study sessions and discussions, fostering an atmosphere of intellectual growth and connection throughout the night.

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Counting Anticipation: From Passover to Shavuot: Since the conclusion of Passover, we have been counting the Omer, a period of anticipation spanning seven weeks. This counting represents the journey from physical liberation to spiritual revelation, preparing us for the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah on Shavuot. Each day brings us closer to this joyous celebration, infusing it with a sense of eager expectation.

Embracing the Essence: Shavuot is a cherished Jewish holiday that celebrates unity, the Giving of the Torah, and the joys of communal observance. From kindling the holiday candles to hearing the Ten Commandments at the synagogue, indulging in a festive dairy meal to engaging in night-long Torah study, every aspect of Shavuot serves to deepen our connection to our heritage and strengthen our spiritual bonds.

As we reflect on the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding unity and the anticipation built during the counting period, let us embrace the true essence of Shavuot. Together, we can create a ripple effect of blessings that extends far beyond ourselves.

Wishing you a meaningful and joyous Shavuot celebration filled with unity, Torah study, and divine inspiration. Chag Sameach!

Do you have a question about Shavuot or just want to send holiday wishes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Are you interested in shopping in Venice? Maybe you want to know about the best places to shop, what to buy, when to shop, tips for shopping, and any local customs or etiquette they should be aware of. 

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

Venice is one of the most unique and enchanting cities in the world, and there’s no shortage of places to explore and discover. For those who love to shop, there are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for luxury brands or local artisans.

Luisa Spagnoli is one of my favorite stores for shopping in Venice!

Best Places for Shopping in Venice

One of the most famous shopping streets in Venice is the Mercerie, which is located near S. Marco Square. It is lined with shops selling everything from designer clothing and accessories to handmade crafts and souvenirs. It’s a great place to browse and soak up the atmosphere, even if you’re not planning to buy anything.

Another popular destination for shopping in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. This iconic landmark is not only a beautiful sight to behold, but it’s also home to a bustling market nearby that sells fresh produce, seafood, and other local products. It’s a great place to wander around and explore, and you’re sure to find some unique and interesting things to see.

All along the main thoroughfare called Strada Nuova, you’ll find many stores of all budgets. One that is very close to the Jewish Ghetto is OVS, which sells clothes for most everyone in the family, without breaking the bank.

Does Venice Have Luxury Shopping?

If you’re looking for luxury brands and high-end shopping, the Calle Larga XXII Marzo is the place to be. This street is home to some of the biggest names in fashion, including Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Even if you’re not planning to splurge on designer clothing, it’s still worth a visit to see the beautiful window displays and soak up the glamorous atmosphere.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around in Venice?

There are a few ways to get around in Venice. One way is using one of the modes of Venice public transport. There are public water boats called vaporettos. There is also a traghetto, which looks like a gondola. It is a short trip that just takes you right across the Grand Canal at points where there isn’t a bridge nearby. Unlike a regular gondola ride, it only costs a couple euro and lasts just a brief couple minutes. But be careful! You have to have good balance, because most likely, you’ll stay standing along with all the others on the long thin boat! I have seen some people sitting on a traghetto in pictures, but if you want to feel like a local Venetian, just stay standing.

You can also take a private water taxi, but it is a more expensive trip. Often taxis are used to go to and from the airport, but not usually to go shopping in Venice. The same goes for a gondola. Gondolas are a beautiful experience, but they ar enot the every day mode of transportation for getting around Venice. And of course, there’s always walking. You can get pretty much anywhere you want to go in Venice by foot. So wear some comfortbale shoes and go explore the streets of La Serenissima!

Venice Off the Beaten Path

For those who prefer a more bohemian and artistic vibe, the Dorsoduro neighborhood is a great place to explore. This area is home to many independent boutiques and artisan shops, where you can find unique and handmade items that you won’t find anywhere else. From jewelry and clothing to home decor and accessories, there’s something for everyone in Dorsoduro.

No matter where you choose to go shopping in Venice, be sure to take your time and enjoy the experience. Venice is a city that rewards exploration and discovery, so don’t be afraid to get lost in the winding streets and canals. You never know what treasures you might find!

What else do you want to know about shopping in Venice? Can’t wait to read your questions in the comments below!

Take a journey through the beautiful city of Venice! Walk with me as I show you how to get from the Venezia Santa Lucia train station to the Jewish Ghetto, where you’ll find GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant, the synagogues and the Chabad House.

Do you know you can easily get to Venice’s Jewish Ghetto from the Santa Lucia Train Station. It’s about a five minute walk! If you choose to take a public boat, called a vaporetto the nearest stop is called Guglie. The boat stop is one minute away from GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto. Watch the video below:

Video: How to Get to Venice’s Jewish Ghetto from the Train Station

If you’d like to see more of Venice, drop a 👍🏼 in the comments. 

“How do you make the perfect Italian coffee at home,” you wonder? Well, I’ll tell you!  As you may already know, I am passionate about coffee. When I go to sleep at night, I am already excited to wake up and have my morning coffee. Anyone else?  There are several ways and types of coffee that I enjoy, but there is a wonderful way to make coffee that is a deep part of Italian culture, and that is the Moka.  Not to be confused with mocha, the combination of chocolate and coffee flavors, but moka, with a “K.”

Many of you ask which products I use and recommend. This post contains some of my affiliate links for “making every day the best day” while cooking, entertaining and living life.  If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!

To make this coffee and bring some of this Italian coffee culture into your home, you must begin with a moka pot.  Interestingly, the word “Moka” actually comes from a port city in Yemen, where coffee was exported.

Delicious Coffee to Start the Day

There’s nothing like a cup of hot coffee in the morning.  Just the mere thought of the smell, the taste, can make you jump out of bed.  A pot of good coffee is a way to bring everyone together.  Sitting over hot coffee with a friend is one of my favorite things to do.  And, there are so many ways and types of coffee, but today I’m going to tell you all about preparing and drinking a moka.  

Coffee the Italian Way

Torrefazione Cannaregio – My favorite coffee shop!

Fortunately, not far from where I live, there is one of my most favorite places in all of Venice. It is a coffee house called Torrefazione Cannaregio.  Torrefazione refers to a coffee bean roaster. It was started in 1930, and was located on the main street, Strada Nuova.  It was a unique place. The door opened and you were hit with the most incredible aroma of coffee.  The floor was lined with enormous sacks of coffee beans and you could even get a glimpse of an enormous round coffee roaster in the back.  It was always packed, but the line moved fast. Some would take their coffee “da portare via” (to go) and others would drink at the counter, as there was only bar service.

It’s since changed ownership and now it is located right near the Jewish Ghetto, on the Fondamenta Ormesini.  Combining the look of a quaint coffee house with the beautiful glass containers of coffee lining the walls, you can sit inside and look out at the Venetian canal and watch gondolas go by. Although you may hear many languages from around the world at one of their canal-side tables, if you stand and drink right at the bar, you can often hear Venetian, the unique Italian dialect of the lagoon city. 

Know Your Coffee

The staff is well-versed in every type of coffee they sell and how exactly to make it.  Each coffee bean produces a different taste, and the staff is kind and patient to explain the details.  Some coffee beans are more fruity, while others are more earthy. At Torrefazione Cannaregio, they will even blend coffee for you with your choice of ingredients such as anise, black pepper, cinnamon and more. In Italy, people genuinely savor and enjoy the flavor of the coffee.  A typical Italian breakfast is a coffee and a “cornetto,” a croissant, either plain, dusted with powered sugar or chocolate-filled. 

The Moka Coffee Grind

Perfect Moka Italian Coffee Grind

If you will be buying coffee beans to be ground on the premises, you will be asked whether you would like them ground for espresso or moka.  The grind for a moka machine is a bit more course than that of an espresso machine. Once you have your perfect grind and blend, you are (almost) all set.  

An Italian Coffee Classic

With these easy steps, I will share with you how you can make the perfect moka Italian coffee at home, just like the Italians do. I That’s a coffee with a smooth, rich taste, and not bitter. But first, you must have a moka machine.  My preference is a Bialetti, which is the most well-known brand.  With a Bialetti, you know what are getting.  It is a high-quality coffee maker, named after it’s inventor, Alfonso Bialetti.  The story goes that in the early part of the 20th century, Mr. Bialetti had a workshop where he produced aluminum products.  In the 30’s, he designed what would become the iconic moka pot, which has enhanced the way people drink coffee around the world.

Moka machines comes in a range of sizes.  At home, I have a six cup moka, which is a perfect size for just us or for when we are having some company. If that’s too big for you, you can get a small moka that makes two cups.  I’ve seen a much larger 18 cup moka, as well. And now, on to the actual brewing process.

                                                              

How to Make a Moka Coffee

Making a moka is actually very easy.  Familiarize yourself with the parts of the stove-top machine.  The base get filled with water.  The little filter cup gets the coffee.  On the underside of the top of the moka machine, you will see two parts: a little filter and a rubber ring holding it in place.  It’s all quite basic.  But there are some tricks of the trade that will make your moka coffee taste just perfect.

Step 1

Put some water up to boil, because starting with boiling water is one of the keys to making a delicious moka.  By beginning with water that is already hot, the coffee in the moka machine won’t be exposed to the direct heat of the flame any longer than necessary. This will eliminate that bitter taste that’s commonly associated with coffee that is prepared incorrectly in a moka.  

Step 2

Next, take a look inside the bottom container.  You will see a little valve.  That’s where you fill your boiled water to. Keep in mind that once you fill the base of the machine with the boiling water, it will be hot.  So, work with a dish towel when you need to pick it up. You can also preheat the coffee cups you’ll be using with some of the remaining boiled water.

Step 3

Now it’s time to fill the filter cup with coffee.  Fill it to the top of the cup, without pressing the coffee down. You can give it a gentle swipe to even it out, but it shouldn’t be packed.  Insert the cup into the water-filled base.

Step 4

Next, take your dish towel to hold the base still while you place the top of the moka machine on and carefully twist it closed.  And now, you are just a few minutes from having some of the most delicious coffee you will ever taste.

Step 5

Place the moka machine on the stove and turn the flame on to medium-low heat.  Regardless of the size of your moka pot, be sure that the stove flame does not extend outward and up the sides of the moka pot.  Soon, the coffee magic will begin. You’ll start to hear the coffee boil upward through the internal mechanism into the top container.  It’s doesn’t take long, so keep an eye on it. 

Your kitchen will smell so delicious.  All the coffee lovers in the house will come running.  Carefully pour, serve, sip and enjoy.  I always say that coffee is like a vacation in a cup.  And a moka is like when you get an upgrade. To make it even better, you can pair it with these delicious Bisse Italian Biscotti.

A Virtual Shopping Experience in Venice

When you do come and visit Venice, you can buy a bag of beans to take home for yourself or to give as a gift.  What an amazing souvenir for a coffee lover.  But, why wait! This is one of the places I love to take people on my virtual personal shopping tours. Would you like me to pick some up for you? Let me know! You can set up a virtual personal shopping experience in Venice with me, from the comfort of you own home.  For more info, email me at RebbetzinUnplugged@gmail.com

What’s your favorite flavor or type of coffee? Let me know in the comments. I’m so excited to hear from you!

What a special two day celebration of Rosh Hashanah it was! (The Jewish new year goes according to the lunar calendar). We had hundreds of guests from all over the world. 

Rosh Hashanah: Is it all just apples and honey

Usually, dinner hosts sit at the table with their guests. My husband and I were more like emcees, explaining all the symbolism and special traditions throughout the evening. 

In Hebrew, “rosh” means “head.” Just like the head holds everything that controls the entire body, Rosh Hashanah holds an amazing potential for everything that we do for the whole year.  With that in mind, I asked our holiday dinner guests, “Since we are at a new beginning, what is something that you would like to work on, to better yourself? What “hachlata tova” (good resolution) would you like to make?

How do you inspire others

I invited those who wanted to share aloud to do so. It’s known that if you want to challenge yourself with something new, share that endeavor with someone. Telling someone about it makes it real and holds you more accountable to get it done.

But more than that, I wanted whoever wished, to share to do it out loud, because I knew that even more than we each would be inspired by whatever we would take upon ourselves, it would encourage and inspire others as well.

Why is it important to challenge yourself

Some knew right away what they wanted to share. Others had to give it some thought. And there were those who did not initially want to share at all. But as more people spoke up, it did indeed inspire those more hesitant to speak up as well. We all want to do better and improve ourselves. That’s how we grow intellectually and emotionally.

Some of the many resolutions that were made at the Rosh Hashanah table were:

  • Take my physical therapy for my hip more seriously. 
  • Complain less.
  • Take better care of myself.
  • Learn how to speak another language.

We discussed how everyone can do anything for 5 minutes a day. So that would be our starting place. Start small and make it happen.

Did you make a resolution on Rosh Hashanah? It’s not too late. Tell me in the comments below what you choose. I’m rooting for you!

👉👉👉 Got leftover apples? Here’s the Apple Cinnamon Crumb cake they will love! : It’s after Rosh Hashanah. Now What?

Spring is knocking on the door, so welcome her with these beautiful, easy and budget friendly spring decor ideas for every room in your home.  They will brighten your living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, home office and bathroom.

Getting Started with Your Spring Guide

If you’ve ever wondered, “How can I decorate my living room for spring?” or “How do you decorate for spring on a budget?” you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got the tips, ideas and solutions for you. This is a collection of some of my favorite personal photography from Venice, Italy.  Read on to see how you can adapt it to take advantage of the fresh aspect of spring to add some joy and happiness to your home.  These decoration ideas are blooming with style. You’ll find something for every style from casual to elegant, to freshen up your home and your life.

Do It Yourself Spring Decor Ideas

Here is a simple and easy way to use the technology available to us, even to decorate. You can now choose what you like from the comfort of your home.  There is no shipping and no waiting. Just download the link to the high-quality photo that you like and have it printed locally right on the spot. CVS & Walgreens often offer printing within the hour. You can even print them from the comfort of home with an online service like Shutterfly, as you’ll see one of our guests did down below.

They are high-quality and can be printed on almost anything: canvas, coffee mugs, shopping bags, puzzles, wedding invitations, thank you cards, save the date cards, holiday cards, glass or photo paper. Our recent guest, Debbie ordered two pictures and wrote, “I decided to do something a little artsy and different! It’s printed on metal…kind of urban chic.”

Photos of Venice printed on metal.
My photos printed on metal!

Whether you’ve been to Italy in recent years or long ago, these additions to your spring decor will bring back great memories.  If you’ve only dreamt of coming, then this will be the inspiration to plan a trip at the right time.

How To Decorate Your Space

The Living Room, Bedrooms & Home Office

Start by picking a Venice scene that you like. Typically, spring decor is complemented with bright, joyful colors along with florals and greens denoting new life. In the living room, bedroom or home office, you can add throw pillows and an accent rug based on the colors in your newly framed picture of Venice. Or, you can print the picture directly on one of the throw pillows.  Then surround it with two other pillows with colors or patterns inspired by the picture.


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The Kitchen & Dining Room

Depending on the size of your space, a series of smaller prints can add a fresh perspective and brighten up any room.  Add in some colored glassware reminiscent of Murano, the famous smaller island of Venice.  For nearly 1000 years, families have passed down the mesmerizing skill of combining fire and colored glass to make some of the most unique blown glass pieces seen around the world.  

A stunning framed photo of Venice can be the perfect backdrop to a lace tablecloth inspired by the Venetian island of Burano.  Generations of mothers have created handmade lace tablecloths, napkins and handkerchiefs.

Sara, who hopes to come to Venice someday, adorned her wall with my Venice photography in a lovely grouping of four.

Bathroom or Laundry Room

Everywhere you go in Venice, the magical city has something beautiful to see.  There are palaces lining the Grand Canal and beautiful bridges of marble that have stood for centuries.  But, all throughout Venice, one of the most eye-catching things that brings a smile to all passers-by is the colorful clothing hanging from the clotheslines. Attached between the buildings, and very often hanging over the canals, clotheslines decorate the air with a variety of garments and attire. These sparks of color make the antique city come to life.  They are reminders that within these old walls, there are people with personal stories continuing today. 

Spring Symbolizes Rebirth, New Beginnings & Your Decor Can Too  

After the long cold winter, the sun shines and flowers bloom. Most Venice residents don’t have front lawns or backyards for landscaping.  Instead, beautiful flowers adorn the windows and balconies. There are gardens, but many are hidden behind the larger palaces. When I do come across a park or area with fresh cut grass, I take a moment to breathe in that refreshing and invigorating scent. 

Here’s a spring decor idea that is good for your health too! Spring is the perfect time to bring nature inside.  Choose some indoor plants from your garden or your local gardener. Ask about the best plants to improve the indoor air-quality of your home.  Often, these varieties require very little attention and are amongst the easiest to care for. 

Spring Gift Ideas for Holidays, Birthdays & Special Occasions

As Mother Nature comes alive and shares her gifts of the season, you can also share these gifts to enhance someone else’s space. This is the perfect way to make a unique and custom made gift that is personal, memorable and will leave a lasting impression. It’s fast, easy and convenient!  And you’ll pay a tenth of what one would pay for a framed piece of art in a gallery.  There is something for everyone’s budget.

The end of the school year will be here before we know it.  Do you have several teachers to thank? As the weather gets warmer, more outdoor parties and gatherings will be taking place.  This is the perfect opportunity to choose birthday gifts, a unique thank you gift for a host or appreciation gifts for everyone on your list.

What is the best gift for a newly married couple?

Spring is a popular wedding season. If you know someone planning a wedding in the spring, you can easily give a thoughtful wedding gift that will be cherished for years to come.

Even though there may be many spring weddings this year, many may not be able to travel.  What better way to send a beautiful gift for a new home. Not only is this a great gift idea, it is easy to ship and can even be done completely online from the comfort of your own home. Choose a photo, decide what you would like it printed on and have it shipped directly to the lucky gift recipient.

Spring Gift Ideas for Your Bridal Party

Are you the bride or groom? If you are looking for gift ideas on a budget, this is the solution for you. Those who have helped you organize your wedding have been there for you. What better way to show your best man, maid of honor or bride’s maids your gratitude than with a unique, custom or personalized gift from the City of Love.

These are so-well priced, they can even be wedding favors for your guests. Get creative and print smaller sizes to use as themed table decorations from the most romantic city in the world. 

Spring is Coming!

When spring arrives, you’ll be ready! The sun will be shining and so will your smile as you look around at the beautiful, easy and budget friendly ideas that you’ve turned into a decorating reality.  All that will be left to do is to create wonderful memories in your home and in your life. 

Which of these spring decor ideas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to see what you wrote!

Be sure to check the ChaiStyle Shop often for new photos and more! 📸


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