Madonna falls at Brit Awards

You're a backup dancer. This awards show is a big deal for you. You've been the one chosen to snatch a cape dramatically off Madonna during a musical number.

It's going to be a moment you'll remember for all time.

And now that it's happened, you'll remember it for a much different reason.

Read more at CNN.

Henry Kissinger hospitalized in New York after fall at home

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was admitted to a New York hospital on Tuesday after a fall at his home and was expected to be released later in the day, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center said in a statement.

A hospital spokeswoman declined to give more details.

Kissinger, 89, has remained a leading voice on U.S. foreign policy since serving Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Sandra Maler

Slice of Life: Cider recipes for adults

When my boys were younger we had hot cider for them and the neighborhood kids after a hard day playing in the leaves. Now that my kids are out of the house and all I’m doing  all the raking (yeah, right) I’ve decided to invite other “parents of children too old to do the chores we don’t want to do” over to share stores of epic piles of laundry that engendered shock and awe to all that beheld them. I felt that the appropriate fall beverage to serve would be cider, but cider with a twist and a kick.
All of the following recipes are rated ADULTS ONLY as alcohol as a key component. While they are perfect for keeping the cold at bay after a hard day with the leaf blower they are also wonderful for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.


  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup rum
  • Cinnamon sticks, garnish
Push the cloves into the apple and place it in a saucepan. Add the sliced orange, apple cider, brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the apple. Add the rum and whisk to combine. Ladle into 6 to 8 mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serve hot.
Serves 6 to 8
Recipe modified from one by Emeril Lagasse, 2002


  • 1 oz. orange, lemon or plain vodka
  • 6 oz. apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ground cinnamon
  • powdered sugar
  • 1 apple
  • caramel apple dipping sauce (optional)
  • ice
In a microwave bowl combine the vodka, water and apple cider. Add one dash of ground cinnamon and whisk to combine. Microwave until hot about 30 seconds but do not boil. Dip the rim of a hot beverage glass with powdered sugar then ladle the warm cider into the rimmed glass. Dip a slice of the apple in the caramel dipping sauce and use it, with a dash of cinnamon as a garnish.
Serves 1. This recipe can be doubled
Modified from a recipe by Michael Snyder

CIDER PUNCH (pareve)

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 dash of nutmeg
  • Dried apple slices
In a tea strainer combine all the spices. In a large saucepan, combine apple cider, sugar and salt. Add spices. Bring slowly to a boil. About 20 minutes. Turn down the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Discard spices. Add cinnamon stick and dried apple to each mug. This can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed, but don’t boil.
Serves 8
Modified from


  • 1 ounce vodka (you can use flavored)
  • 1 ounce apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
In a 2 ounce shot glass, combine vodka and apple cider. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon.
Serves 1
My files, source unknown


  • 1 pint vodka
  • 1 pint apple liquor
  • 2 bottles sparkling apple cider
  • red apple slices
Into each glass, pour 1 tablespoon vodka and 1 tablespoon Calvados over ice. Add sparkling cider to fill and a red apple slice. 
Serves 30.
From Health DECEMBER 2008

Slice of life: Perfect fall pumpkin recipes

Once upon a time in a land before Starbucks there existed this stuff we call coffee. Not half fat mocha late skinny with frappo organic raw sugar and a twist of Madagascar kumquat syrup or a Free range micro tannic free Sumatran upside down turbo tea. No we all drank COFFEE and were just glad it had enough caffeine in it to get us through the morning, finals and or keep us on deadline.

So it was with a great deal of amusement and a bit of OMG that I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that there is a nation crisis brewing (sorry couldn’t resist that one) because that aforementioned Starbucks was having black outs (oops, can’t seem to help myself) fulfilling the demand for their seasonal specialty drink, the Pumpkin Latte.

Excuse me, customers frothing at the mouth because they can’t spend over 4 dollars for a cup for pumpkin latte? Yes, I know this is a seasonal beverage of choice for millions but let’s get real here, if you can’t buy them you can make pumpkin lattes at home for a fraction of the cost and they’re just as tasty. Then, here’s a novel thought, TAKE IT WITH YOU TO WORK. Yes, it’s a bit more time consuming than driving 3 miles out of your way and through a drive through but once you make it yourself you’ll be hooked on the homemade variety AND you can save yourself bunches of money.

The WSJ article got me thinking about other pumpkin flavored drinks I’ve had over the years. Some with coffee, some with ice cream and some other very special ones for the adult’s only time made with pumpkin liqueur or rum. So it became a mission of love to dig up all the fun and funky pumpkin drink recipes (latte included) that I could so that everyone can indulge themselves and enjoy while pumpkins are in season.


  • 1/2 cup milk (whole, or 2%) or soy or almond milke
  • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup hot brewed, strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons half & half cream or soy/almond “cream”
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or more to taste
  • sweetened whipped cream (from a can is fine)
  • ground nutmeg

In a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, spice and vanilla. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes- watch closely and remove it from the microwave when the milk is hot and frothy. Pour the pumpkin milk into a tall mug or glass. Add hot coffee. Pour in the cream. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Stir, and taste. Add more sugar, if desired. Top with sweetened whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve immediately!

Modified from


  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (chilled)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk (chilled)
  • 8 ounces vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Sweetened whipped cream, to taste (optional)

Combine pumpkin, milk, yogurt, sugar and spice in a blender; cover. Blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses; top with whipped cream (if desired) and an additional sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Serves four


  • Crushed ice
  • 1 1/2 ounce pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • 1 1/2 oz ginger ale

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the pumpkin purée, vodka, and apple cider. Shake for 10-15 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale.

Recipes modified from a recipe by Kelly Carámbula. She is the founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food magazine.


  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger vanilla vodka
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish cream liqueur (such as Bailey's®)
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger pumpkin flavored liqueur
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker combine the ice, vodka, Irish cream liqueur, and pumpkin liqueur. Cover, and shake for at least 1 minute. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to serve. Makes 1

Submitted by Richard Margonson NY, NY


  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup ice (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • 1 oz half and half
  • 1 oz spiced rum
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
  • 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

In a blender or food processor combine the ice cream, ice, pumpkin, half-and-half, rum, and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Process until smooth Pour into a serving glass; top with whipped topping, sprinkle with pinch of pumpkin pie spice.

Serves 1. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

© Eileen Goltz pumpkin drinks 12

Old favorites take on fresh roles in fall TV season

After a summer filled with Olympics, political conventions and bizarre reality shows (“I Survived a Japanese Game Show” anyone?) TV viewers are aching for something different. The new offerings this fall range from international imports like “The Ex List” and “Life on Mars” to surprise comebacks like “90210” and the mini-turned-maxi series “The Starter Wife.” This new crop of shows featuring Jewish actors or characters joins returning favorites such as “Big Bang Theory,” “Pushing Daisies” and “Heroes.” So peruse our guide, pick up that remote and get ready to record your soon-to-be favorites.

Show: “90210”
Channel: The CW
Airs: Tuesdays, 8 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
The rich, hormonal guys and gals at West Beverly are back, but this time the student body actually reflects the real Beverly Hills High’s large Iranian-American population. While tuning into this re-launched Aaron Spelling guilty pleasure won’t curb your longing for the days of Andrea, Brandon and Steve, the return of Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Brenda (Shannen Doherty) might help. Throw in David and Kelly’s half-sister, the rebellious Silver (Jessica Stroup), and “Arrested Development’s” Jessica Walter as an alcoholic former-actress grandmother, and those thoughts of Dylan’s sideburns should fly right out of your head.

Show: “Sons of Anarchy”
Channel: FX
Airs: Wednesdays, 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”) heads a gun-running motorcycle club in a rural California town, and his nephew, Jax, is having second thoughts about joining “the family” — much to the chagrin of Jax’s mom (Katey Segal). For those who miss “The Sopranos,” including Drea de Matteo, this could become your next addiction after second two of “Mad Men” ends in October.

Show: “Dancing With the Stars”
Channel: ABC
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
The folks behind “Young Frankenstein: the Musical” said Cloris Leachman, 82, was too old to handle eight performances a week. Tune in to the seventh season of “Dancing With the Stars” to see the original Frau Blucher, the oldest dancer on the show thus far, compete against Susan Lucci and Toni Braxton to become the queen of the dance floor.

Show: “The Ex List”
Channel: CBS
Premieres: Friday, Oct. 3, 9 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Just like with “Numb3rs,” CBS once again puts a Jewish show on Friday night (thanks guys). Be sure to record this adorable import from Israel about a city-dwelling single gal named Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser), who learns from a fortune-teller that Mr. Right was a former boyfriend. Thus, the “ex list” comes in to play for Bella and her friends (Rachel Boston, Adam Rothenberg, Alexandra Breckenridge and Amir Talai). It made it big it Eretz Yisrael as “Mythological X,” and considering the “Bachelor” doesn’t start until January, this romantic dramedy makes a great substitute.

Show: “Kath & Kim”
Channel: NBC
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Another import, this time from Australia, features recent newlywed-turned-divorced daughter Selma Blair and mom-who-won’t-grow-up Molly Shannon. Sandwiched between network hits “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office,” the scheduling could prove promising for this bawdy comedy.

Show: “Life on Mars”
Channel: ABC
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the 1970s — especially now that “Swingtown” is off the air — the American version of this BBC show might fill the void. Sam Tyler, a police detective in 2008, lands in 1973 after a car crash. Harvey Keitel plays Sam’s boss who, of course, doesn’t believe this “I’m from the future” shtick. But how will Sam’s love life with 21st-century girlfriend Lisa Bonet play out in the space-time continuum?

Show: “Testees”
Channel: FX
Premieres: Thursday, Oct. 9, 10:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
“South Park” writer and “Kenny vs. Spenny” creator-star Kenny Hotz enters the world of experimentation, where 30-something roommates Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel) work as human guinea pigs at TESTICO, a not-quite-normal product testing facility. Every week the two test a new product — with ridiculous side effects — and then have to live their lives as best they can. It’s a comedy. No, really.

Show: “The Starter Wife”
Channel: USA
Premieres: Friday, Oct. 10, 10 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Emmy-winner Debra Messing returns in the show based on Gigi Levangie Grazer’s best-seller about a divorcée who restarts her life when her husband dumps her for a younger woman. Many Angelenos should be able to relate to this humorous hit mini-series turned maxi-series that pokes fun at all things Hollywood. Of course, it’s another one that’s on Friday nights, but, luckily, DVRs can record two shows at once.

Show: “Surviving Suburbia”
Channel: The CW
Premieres: Sunday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Why You Should Watch:
Bob Saget slips back into the dad role sans Olson twins. Given the lack of hit family sitcoms, the show’s premise about a normal family and their crazy neighbors with the distractingly hot daughter could be fun to watch. Think “Married With Children,” but in reverse.

AUDIO: Iranian American Jews — Death and violence in the community (taboo?)

Local Iranian Jewish community leaders on recent incidents of violence in the community and the traditional taboo on discussing the topic.

From Karmel Melamed’s Iranian American Jews blog.

Majority Rules

Let me state for the record: I am a trendsetter.

This just in, according to no less an authority than The New York Times. Based on their most
recent census analysis, more American women are living without a husband than with one.

Yes, that’s right: 51 percent of women in 2005 said they were living without a spouse, compared to 35 percent in 1950. Living without a spouse doesn’t exactly mean single in the traditional sense of the word, if there is a traditional sense of the word. Some are living with partners (“in sin”), some have been married and are now widowed or divorced, and some, like me, just haven’t married yet because women are marrying later in life.

Incidentally, in 2005, married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time.


Jewish Singles Cruises

It’s comforting to know that at least I’m part of a majority.

So here’s what I’m wondering: If this trend continues, and, say, in a couple of decades the numbers shift so they’re the opposite of those in the 1950s, and only 35 percent of adults are married, what would the world be like? I mean, what would it be like for a nonmarried person?

You’d be at a meal with a group of people and everyone would be mingling with each other and having fun, and all of a sudden one man says, “We’re married.”

A silence would fall on the table, like in the old days, when someone confessed to being … single.

Finally someone would break the silence: “How long have you been married?”

“Ten years,” the “wife” would say.

Again the silence, and you are the one to ask what no one else could say. “But you’re so young! How old are you anyway?”

When it dawns on the crowd that the two are both 35 and have been married since they were 25, shock turns to disbelief, and the ice breaks. Everyone has questions. They’ve all forgotten their fun, single, happy life for a moment and turn to talk to this anomaly.
“Why do you think you’re still married?”

“I mean, are you even trying? Do you just stay home with each other?”
“Do you think maybe you’re too un-picky? I mean, maybe if you were more selective you wouldn’t be married.”

“God, it must be so hard for you to be married at your age,” someone would say, sort of sympathetically, but mostly inordinately relieved for herself that she’s not in that position.

“I think I may know someone else who’s married,” one man would add, trying to be helpful. Then he’d remember: “No, forget it, they split up.”

Soon, of course, the conversation would turn to fertility, as it always does in these situations.

“Aren’t you worried about your biological clock? I mean, you’re not getting any younger, and there still might be time to have children with other people. I guess you could always freeze your eggs — lots of married people are doing that these days, I hear. Why, this one friend of mine paid $100,000 in fertility treatments and got three viable eggs!”

And then everyone would be off, talking animatedly about doctors and sperm banks and adoption and how children these days are much better off than they were when we were growing up because there are so many parental units and families are so fluid and there’s so much less pressure to marry and to stay married and no stigma on divorce so kids can just focus on finding themselves and being good, productive people in good, healthy relationships.

Then some socially clueless person, who didn’t realize the conversation had finally taken its spotlight off the uncomfortable, lone, married couple, would pipe in, “I hear married people die younger than unmarried people.”

At that point you’d be able to hear the forks clatter to the plates, and everyone would be looking down, because even if that much-bandied about statistic were true — who researched those things anyway? It was like that urban legend in the 1980s, about a single woman over 35 being more likely to get killed by a terrorist than find a mate — was it really necessary to point it out?

Immediately everyone would start talking again — about the latest art opening, real estate prices, the upcoming ski trip to the Alps — anything to change the subject, because everyone would suddenly start to feel bad for the married couple, because really, it wasn’t their fault, exactly; it could happen to anyone if they weren’t careful.

And then they’d think back to an earlier, bygone era, back in the beginning of the millennium, say, in 2000, when married people were still the majority, and they’d thank their lucky stars for being born in such enlightened times.

R.E. Hard Crash? Soft Landing? Bursting Balloon? Leaking Balloon?

Mark Cohen thinks those doomsday scenarios about an impending Southland housing crash miss the mark. And the founder and president of Beverly Hills-based Cohen Financial Group has learned a thing or two about real estate over the last 20 years.

With an MBA from USC and a law degree from Loyola Law School, the 47-year-old mortgage broker helped secure nearly $1.1 billion in home loans last year, making him the No. 1 individual mortgage loan originator in the country, according to Mortgage Originator Magazine.

When not spending time with his three children and wife Laurie, Cohen has been involved in the local Jewish community.

A member of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Real Estate and Construction Division, Cohen has also played an active role at Sinai Temple for more than two decades. He and his wife have long supported ATID (which translates as future in Hebrew), a Sinai program that trains future Jewish leaders. They also recently contributed funds toward the writing of a new Torah.

The Jewish Journal spoke to Cohen about the recent reversal in the local housing market.

Jewish Journal: Why has the housing market slowed in Southern California?

Mark Cohen: Southern California is a great place to live, which is why so many people want to live here. However, that also means the supply of apartments, houses and condos is limited. Over time, this supply-and-demand situation in housing has pushed prices up dramatically, pricing many people completely out of the market. Added to this are the interest-rate hikes by the Fed. Rates have increased by about 2 1/2 percent over the past few years, and that has made the cost of borrowing more expensive, closing the door on even more potential homeowners.

JJ: If the Fed raises interest rates to keep inflation in check, will that help or hurt the market?

MC: The jury is still out on whether or not the Fed will continue to raise rates. It all depends on whether or not they can keep inflation under control. If there are more rate increases in the near future, they will likely have a negative effect on the market in the short term. However, if the Fed is successful in keeping inflation in check, they can keep the door open for future rate cuts should there be a slowdown in the economy. Recent economic reports are showing that inflation has moderated for the time being, which means the Fed’s tightening cycle may be over. And that would have a positive impact on the real estate market.

JJ: What areas of the Southland are most at risk of having the bottom drop out? Why?

MC: It’s difficult to single out specific areas in Southern California that have the most risk. However, right now, San Diego seems to have an oversupply of new condominiums on the market due to all the speculation that occurred over the past few years. There’s also usually a deeper correction in areas where there has been excess in new construction. Palm Springs is an example of this. On the other side of the coin, the Westside, South Bay and San Fernando Valley will likely fare better during a slowdown because of the lack of new construction, limited supply of homes and desirability.

All in all, Southern California is a great place to live and historically, over time, real estate here has proven to be a great investment.

JJ: Do you anticipate a hard or soft landing locally?

MC: A soft lading will depend on several factors. First, the direction of interest rates will have a big impact, as will the strength of the local economy. As long as jobs are being created and the economy stays at its current growth levels, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll experience a hard landing.

Obviously, the actions by the Fed in the next few months will affect the local real estate market for the foreseeable future.

JJ: How long do you expect the market to remain soft?

MC: It really depends on the economy. If we have continued job creation and continued economic growth, the market will recover more quickly. Fewer jobs created and slower growth will mean a longer slowdown. The real driving force behind the real estate market isn’t interest rates; it’s the economy. That’s because even though fixed-interest rates have risen recently, they are still at manageable levels.

JJ: How is this housing market of today different from the boom-and-bust cycle of the late 1980s and early 1990s?

MC: This is a very different market from the one we saw in the late 1980s or early 1990s, primarily because the Southern California economy is now much more diverse. During that period, the economy here was based on the aerospace, defense and entertainment industries. Today our economy is much more diverse, with financial services, technology, biotechnology and other industries playing major roles on the region’s vitality. A more diverse economy means the chances of a hard economic landing are reduced, and this, in turn, helps to support the housing market.

JJ: What kind of industries might suffer in a soft housing market, and how could that impact the entire local economy?

MC: The real estate industry has a large effect on the Southern California economy, because there are so many people employed in it either directly or indirectly, including lenders, title companies, escrow agents, real estate sales agents, contractors, and developers, This means that a prolonged slowdown would hurt the folks employed in these industries and the overall local economy as well.

JJ: How much do you expect housing in Southern California to drop in the next year? What price ranges will be hit hardest?

MC: I don’t expect prices will fall more than 5 percent to 10 percent from the market highs of a couple years ago, with the hardest hit homes being those in the mid-level price range between $1 million to $3 million.

JJ: What advice would you give to someone who is considering buying or selling a home in Los Angeles?

MC: I’m a big proponent of home ownership. Don’t we all work hard so we can eventually own our own home? My advice is for people to feel comfortable living in a new home for at least five years so interest rates and real-estate-cycle influences are reduced. I don’t think we’re in a market that allows for short-term housing speculation, since the market is extremely volatile.

Jewish Journal September 1, 2006 43


New Year, New Changes

Last week I was driving to a family celebration at Leisure World in Laguna Hills when I noticed something very odd about the weather: Fall was in the air.

It’s a subtle thing in Southern California, but those of us who have lived here long enough recognize the slight change in temperature, the almost imperceptible newness in the air.

For us it also means summer camps and summer trips give way to the High Holidays — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And this new year brings new developments here at The Journal.

One should be obvious by now: We’ve changed formats, and changed titles. Last month, The Jewish Journal of Orange County became Jewish Family of Orange County. We’ve changed size, shape and paper. But more importantly, the stories reflect the lives so many of us live — working to bring Jewish values and practice into our homes and communities.

A Jewish publication is a place where all the diverse expressions of Jewish life can find common ground on a regular basis, and we look forward to continuing to provide the kind of award-winning, thoughtful coverage we have in the past.

Of course, this is a community publication, which means we need you to be a part of it. Please send us ideas, suggestions, stories, complaints. Please read us and help us grow.

It’s a New Year, but it wouldn’t be as sweet without you.

Shana tova u’metuka from all of us at Jewish Family of Orange County.

For the Kids

November Madness

In Old English, the month of November was called "blood month." It was a month of animal sacrifices that took place to prepare for the long winter. But what is the etymology of the word "November?"

Here’s a hint: The Roman calendar began in March (similar to the Jewish calendar, which begins in Nissan, around Passover). Send in the answer for a prize.

Autumn Arrives

Joshua Goldberg, 12, wrote this poem for his history class at A.J. Heschel Day School:

I peer out of my window to gaze at the autumn sky.

The wind whispers

through the trees.

A scent of roses fills my nose.

Leaves fall on to my windowsill — how I long to feel their smoothness.

It starts to drizzle and I can taste the little droplets on my tongue.

The feeling of autumn surrounds me, now it’s time to embrace it’s presence…