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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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Veteran's Day Shabbat
Posted: November 13, 2011 By: Leah Jaffee

This past Shabbat, being Veteran's Day, we celebrated at Hillel with an all American themed dinner. Chicken noodle soup, BBQ chicken, glazed meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and, of course, apple pie. Comfort food at its core, I don't think I needed a recipe for anything. Just like mom used to make. I don't actually stick around for the dinner service. Judging by what I found in the refrigerator, nothing was leftover....except one piece of apple pie. Surely, it was saved for me, right? Tasted great!

As I understand it, a few Vets were invited to participate in the Shabbat dinner and share their stories. A very beautiful portable display featured accomplished Jewish troops from various eras, all looking quite dapper in uniform.

Lani and Brent

Sister Leilani (retired 1989, Air Force Master Sergeant)

 and her husband Brent (retired 2008, Army Sergeant First Class)


My sister Leilani joined the Air Force right out of high school in 1969. The Vietnam war, still being fought, did not deter her from signing up. The Air Force sounded like a safe option, especially for a woman. In those days, very few women enlisted. Younger, I didn't fully comprehend what Lani was doing. I did note that there are better things to do at 18 than spend a hot summer in basic training in San Antonio, Texas. Of course, not many things could have made my father more proud. A former Merchant Marine, my father with 5 daughters and one son near the end of the line, always beamed with pride at "his Air Force daughter". Stationed for 8 years of her service in Tacoma, she pulled double duty getting her BA at the University of Puget Sound. I'm struck that 22 years has passed since her retirement. And, more struck that she's retired from her 2nd career!

Brent, retired from the Army after 22 years. After 1 tour of Iraq, we were relieved when he could come home, stay home. While proud of his service to the USA, it didn't stop me from protesting the war in San Fransisco, New York, Washington DC, and, of course, Seattle. I acknowledged his service and with a wink and nod, he thanked me for my work in the streets.

Last year, I finally got a glimpse into the military culture. Or maybe, it sunk in for the first time. Lani told me about all the festivities happening on Veteran's Day that they participated in; free meals at area restaurants, parades, and general celebrations. Wow. For me, Veteran's Day was a day off from work or school, a Macy's one day sale. I see it differently now.

Sadly, Vets are on the street corners and have the highest unemployment rates. Some are physically or mentally wounded. President Obama promises that most troops are coming home from Iraq by the end of December. Whether we are for or against the wars, those who have been sent to fight them deserve our highest regard. They don't get paid a fortune, their lives are not their own, and they and their families sacrifice much. Those of us who have been at home have not been called on to give up anything. I don't have stories to tell my children about rationing sugar or the lack of pantyhose. The burden has not been shared equally.

I tip my hat to all those who wear or who have worn the uniform.

Thank you Lani and Brent for your service! I love you!

(And, thanks for helping me layout the website!)


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