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Along with carving the ham and eating gingerbread cookies to our hearts' content, there's another big food tradition that comes on Christmas day.  For over a century, Jewish families in the U.S. have been paying a visit to their favorite Chinese restaurant for a special annual meal.  Today, the occasion has become such a tradition that Chinese restaurants fill up quickly and see business boom for the day. New York City's Shun Lee, for example, has received around 1,300 reservations for the day in the past.

But while people now excitedly anticipate the popular custom, its roots are bittersweet. Though there are several theories as to how this practice began, some experts agree that it's rooted in finding unity amid adversity.

Being the two largest immigrant groups at the turn of the century that weren't Christian, Chinese and Jewish people both understood "what it's like to be outsiders."

Jennifer 8. Lee, a producer of "The Search for General Tso," explained to The Atlantic that being the two largest immigrant groups at the turn of the century that weren't Christian, Chinese and Jewish people both understood "what it's like to be outsiders."

Published in Cultural Chef

 Wonder Woman is one of the first comic-book movies to make girls feel like they have a superhero.


The long awaited DC movie, inspired by the comic book heroine "Wonder Woman", was released on June 2, 2017. This movie centers around the protagonist Diana Prince (AKA Wonder Woman), the princess of the Amazons, who has been training since childhood to be a strong and fierce protector of her people. Sheltered from the outside world, one day Diana discovers a pilot named Steve Trevor washed up on the shores of her island. He tells her of the ongoing conflict in the outside world and Diana makes the decision to leave her people and fight alongside humans in the war.


Wonder Woman was already one of the most famous female comic book characters in the world, however, with the 2017 movie release she has become something of a feminist icon as well. The film takes inspiration from the 52 new comic books recently revitalized. Wonder Woman's character has been revamped; focusing on strong feminist beliefs, solidarity, and strength. They have made Wonder Woman so much more than the Justice League's token female lead she was once seen as. Wonder Woman is fierce, independent and beautiful. The best part of all? She knows it.

Wonder Woman has been portrayed very differently than most standard lead-female roles, particularly where superhero movies are to be considered. While she does indeed fall in love throughout her journey, it is not the simpering love interest we have come to recognize.

Published in Inspiring Change

Have you ever seen a Lemon tree?  When the tree is in full bloom becomes overgrown with Lemons.  The branches bend and sag under their weight, but never snap.  Sometimes, the lemons fall off the tree before they are ripe enough to pick; fragrant little balls scattered all over the ground as if placed there intentionally as decoration.   

Every year for the last three years or so, I have harvested my parents’ lemon tree.  I’ve picked hundreds of lemons, suffered countless cuts by the tiny thorns on the branches, and juiced so many lemons I could probably fill a bath tub.  We’re coming to the end of the lemon season here in the southwest, and as I was searching for the last few lemons still clinging to the tree, it got me thinking about my own life and how much life can be like the lemon tree and the fruit it bears.  

Take the tree.   It’s pretty.  Before lemons ever start to emerge, it is full of bright green leaves.  The leaves have tiny green buds that slowly grow into little green balls and finally, the bright yellow lemon emerges.  The fragrance of the tree is crisp, fresh and sweet.  Not just the lemons, but even the leaves of the tree are soaked with the sweet smell.  Sometimes, before I start picking the fruit, I press my nose directly to a leaf and take in the fragrance with one slow, giant breath.  

I’ve gotten so lost in the fresh scent and the pretty bright lemons that thorns have caught me by surprise.  Every branch of the tree is covered with thorns so tiny that they can’t even be seen as if protecting the lemon.  Although they are tiny, they prick you with the might of a giant needle.  Is life unlike that?  So full of beauty but not without its thorns.  

Now, take the lemon.  To me, the lemon is an uplifting fruit to look at, with its smooth round shape and fun yellow color. The lemon makes me think of all things bright and clean.  Don’t be fooled by its cheery appearance and sweet smell, though!  We all know the sourness hiding inside.  But, here’s the best part:  the lemon can be made sweet.  


Having picked lemons for the last three years, I’ve turned the sourest lemon into the sweetest candy.  I’ve made marmalades, butter, jams, and pies.  I’ve even used the juice of the lemon to make homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners.  There may not be another fruit as versatile as the lemon!  For all its sourness, it can be changed into almost anything.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn how to do that with our own lives?  

Life, like the lemon tree, must be tended to or it can get out of control.  Just as branches sag and buckle under the weight of too many lemons, so our lives will get bogged down if we don’t tend to the things which need tending.  No matter how beautiful or perfect a life looks there will always be thorns, but despite its thorns, our life should always be bearing fruit.  Sure, some fruit will fall off the tree and other fruit will harden and stick before it can be picked… but the majority of the fruit will ripen to its peak.  Here’s the thing though:  you have to do something with the lemon once it’s picked or it will not mature beyond its natural bitter state.  So many possibilities the lemon has, but it’s up to us to use it.

I strive to bear fruit like the lemon.   How do you look at life?  Do you see just a lemon, bitter and sour?  Or do you see a lemon for all its possibilities?

Published in Celebrate You
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