Did you know we are culturally Jewish?

From a religious perspective, we are not really anything, but we identify as culturally Jewish and are Buddhist practitioners. The best part of being culturally Jewish? The holidays, of course! What Jew doesn’t love a good party… food at the foundation, and love and hugs all around. It is really the most wonderful culture to share in.

Today, we wish you a wonderful start to Rosh Hashana from The Brand Fam.

4 GenerationsAs a child I think I only observed the holiday 2 times with my grandmother’s deeper connection with religious practice. As an adult I have celebrated more often, as a way to retrieve some sense of heritage and hope for keeping the connection for my children to my familial culture. It is believed that the Jewish tie is connected between the mother and child, so if the blood line of Judaism comes through the mother, it cannot be broken. My mother’s line is Jewish, so therefore myself, and my children are by definition, Jewish.

We are fortunate, even here in Gautemala, to have found friends to celebrate with. We will be going to our new friends Osnat, Tim and Ela’s tonight to enjoy a potluck and begin the two day celebration.

L’shana tov!


What is Rosh Hashana? (taken from Judaism 101)

In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. It is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. The common greeting at this time is L’shanah tovah (“for a good year”).

Rosh Hashana Food

Two cool traditions: The shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year.




Guatemalan Coffee with Honey and Cinnamon

Here at Ra’co Life, we are big fans of green tea. All kinds, Japanese, Chinese, Korean…never sweetened! And with our busy lives it keeps us going all day. My Zen teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, (who passed away recently at 107! ) drank green tea all day long. But he never drank coffee like many of the monks did. He would say “Coffee make Old!”. Judging by his age, there may be some truth to that! But many say that coffee has some great health benefits and may actually extend your life. It has several essential nutrients, helps boost athletic performance, may lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and may help protect you from alzheimer’s and dementia. And  nothing can compare to the boost of coffee! Thats why so many people drink coffee and not tea. We want the jolt, the quick fix, the rush! Yes, I love it as much as anyone. But I have some health issues that keep me from drinking it excessively so in a way I’m fortunate. One cup a day, max. Occasionally I will have a cup in the afternoon or evening, but usually that is where the green tea comes in. Being in Guatemala, coffee is ubiquitous, essential even. You can’t escape it if you tried. And it is among the finest in the world. The high altitudes in which it is grown, the large number of microclimates, and consistent rainfall patterns all contribute to the special qualities of Guatemalan coffee. So I have my daily cup and love every minute of it.

From a coffee shop in San Juan La Laguna.

Here is an interesting fact about coffee: The best time to drink coffee is not as soon as you wake up in the morning (unless you haven’t slept!). Our body naturally produces a hormone called cortisol which makes us feel energized and awake. This production of cortisol peaks between 8 and 9 a.m., usually when most of us are having our first cup of coffee. But the effects of the caffeine are lower at that time and we end up wanting more than just the one healthy cup.  The best tie to drink coffee is actually around 9:30-11:30 a.m. or later in the afternoon when cortisol production slows down. Here is a link to some more interesting facts about coffee: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/coffee How do I drink my coffee? With cinnamon and honey. Way tastier and healthier than using refined sugar and cream! Cinnamon can help lower your bad cholesterol, can help treat type 2 diabetes and is good for better brain function and memory. And honey combined with cinnamon can help relieve arthritis pain. Check out more of these health benefits of cinnamon: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html. Honey can help prevent cancer and disease, reduce ulcers, and is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. And both honey and cinnamon are delicious! So next time try your coffee with honey and cinnamon and get a tasty health boost with your caffeine.  And try a bag of the Guatemalan coffee produced here in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It’s fantastic!