Terra Sigillata

My deepest gratitude goes out this morning to Bora Zivkovic, Mrs. Coturnix, and family for hosting what was for my daughter and I our first Seder supper. The evening was made even more special with Sheril Kirshenbaum, her BF and his labmate, Lisa (I’m sorry I don’t know your full name but I do remember you got your recipe for the spicy matzah dish from The Southern Jewish Cookbook), Anton Zuiker and his wife, and all our kids – celebrating as Bora said, in “a very secular/humanist/feminist/environmentalist way, focusing on good company, good food and good wine.” Speaking of the latter, I hope to have something to say tomorrow on the fantastic Israeli wines that Mrs. Coturnix and I selected for the evening.

Everyone around these parts knows Bora as the guy through whom the internet must stream directly before going out to the rest of the world. But what first struck me when first meeting Bora over three years ago is that while blogs can build an international community, they also have an equally important role in building our local communities. I doubt that my daily professional and personal life would have brought me together with these remarkable people had it not been for our common interests as blogging scientists and writers.

So many thanks to you, Bora, and to Mrs. Coturnix, for enriching my life and that of our children.

I also want to give a shout-out to PalMD, like Bora another atheist Jew, for his thought-provoking post on the uniting themes of these Spring festivals that we might draw regardless of the role religion does or doesn’t play in our lives.

Pal, I know you say you don’t write about religion but this was yet another exceptionally well-written post. The goyim are grateful.


  1. #1 Catharine Zivkovic
    April 9, 2009

    It is you, Pharmboy, who does enrich our lives. It was such a pleasure to spend Passover with you and Pharm first-grader. I hope to meet Pharmgirl soon. Thank you for coming to our Seder (and your wines were superior!).

  2. #2 PalMD
    April 9, 2009

    I was stuck at work last night and actually found myself craving passover foods (not a common thing to do).

    Tonight, though, I’m taking off early for the real thing.

  3. #3 Laura
    April 9, 2009

    As a gentile Brandeis graduate, I’ve always loved the openness and welcoming nature of the Seder. It’s such a great way to share traditions and friendship over awesome food (every meal should include horseradish, in my opinion!). Sounds like you all had a wonderful time.

  4. #4 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    April 9, 2009

    What can I say…

    Last night was a wonderful evening among the best company! Delicious food, beautiful songs, fun stories… my life is enriched by spending time with all of you! XX

  5. #5 PalMD
    April 10, 2009

    OK, i hate SE Michigan, and you guys have so many nice people down there…(sigh)…if it weren’t for family…

  6. #6 Barn Owl
    April 10, 2009

    I’m keeping an eye out for that Israeli wine post, Abel, as I’ll be at a Seder tomorrow night, and I’m meant to bring some wine. The hosts told me not to worry about whether the wine was kosher for Passover, but it would be nice if it was. In any case, I’m looking forward to the charoset and the matzah ball soup ….

  7. #7 Abel Pharmboy
    April 11, 2009

    Thank you again, Catharine! I’m amazed that you were able to get Bora to work on something other than the computer. He even dressed up nicely too!

    Great to see you, Sheril, as usual!

    Laura, I definitely shared the same feeling. Looking forward to meeting you – maybe for the next science blogging conference?

    PalMD, don’t worry – come July, we’ll want to be in SE Michigan.

    Barn Owl, I finally have my overview up on the four wines we had – all Kosher and something warmly resonant about drinking wines from Israeli sun and soil at the Seder. You should be able to find at least two of them at any reasonable wine shop and maybe even at a big retailer.

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