A special day

Today is my
father’s 80 Birthday. My dad was born in Iraq on the “Shavuot” Holiday; this is
what my grandmother used to say, since it was never documented, so they always
celebrated my dad’s birthday with traditional dairy Iraqi special dishes. “Shavuot”
is a Holiday of the harvest; it is a Holiday that celebrates in Judaism the
day that the Bible was given to Moses. “Shavuot” is also considered as the Holiday
of visiting, and in Arabic “Id al Ziarah.” People would travel from all over to
the Holy city of Jerusalem, and bring with them “Bikurim,” the very new
Harvest to the Cohanim, who served at the Holy Temple.

I love
celebrating this Holiday in Israel, where the kids come to schools wearing
white, holding baskets of the very new fruits, summer fruits, synagogues are open
all night for “Tikun,” something that has to do with renew, with forgiveness,
and learning together. It is indeed a special day which I love so much.

Today is a
sad day for me, you see; I lost my dad to lung cancer three years ago, and
since my dad was our family’s chef, he would cook all these yummy foods for us.
My mom and sister paid my dad a visit in the Cemetery today, and my mom even brought
him some fresh flowers for his birthday, to put on his grave.

I live in
the US now, and I cook for “Shavuot” and invite some friends to try those
interesting foods. My dad’s picture is standing on the kitchen counter for the
last three years, and today I gave him a big kiss and told him how much I love
him. He is very much alive in my mind, every single day. As I call my mom, and I
call her every day, (she lives in Israel), I can still hear his voice telling
me, that my mom cannot wait to talk to me, and he is passing the phone to her.

Birthday dad, I love and miss you so much!

Here is my
dad`s and mom`s special recipe for “Kitchri”, a traditional “Shavuot” dish:


  1. Two cups of long
  2. One cup of red
  3. 2 spoons of tomato
  4. 2 spoons of vegetable
  5. 3 spoons of
  6. 2-3 spoons of
    ground Cumin
  7. 4-5 chopped
    garlic cloves.
  8. salt


  1. Wash the rice a few times, and put in a pot. Add a
    little salt and the oil. Add water up to a little less than an inch, and mix in
    the tomato paste.
  2. Stir a little and boil. When is boiling add the
    lentil, let the water soak, and reduce the heat to low.  
  3. Let it cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. In a pan put the butter and the garlic and fry for 2
    minutes, and then add the Cumin and salt, and let it fry for 2-3 minutes (the
    smell is so great…)
  5. After the rice is done, add the fried cumin to the
    rice, blend it in and let it cook on very low for a few minutes.

You can
add Yogurt when all is done, it is delicious.


Revital Shiri-Horowitz is the author of Daughters of Iraq.


About Revital Shiri-Horowitz

Author DAUGHTERS OF IRAQ, and HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON (English and Hebrew versions) novels @ immigrant experience to Israel. Experienced speaker to Jewish communities, bk audiences. Luvs her 4 sons/hubby/Havana Silk dogs http://revital-sh.com/
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13 Responses to A special day

  1. Donna says:

    Dear Revital,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. Your love for your father, who was a chef, is much like my love for my dad who was also a chef and passed away in January. Keeping love alive is so important with family. Thank you for your beautiful words. I can hardly wait to try your dad’s Shavuot recipe.

    • horov says:

      Thank you dear Donna for your warm words. I believe that if you have love for your family, it is always there, dead or alive. The fact that we can not see or hear our loved ones, does not mean they are really gone from us. As long as we have imagination we have them with us…

  2. Jackie says:

    How precious is this post. The legacy our parents leave behind only happens if we carry the torch. I love that you’re re-creating your daddy’s special day. Happy Birthday to your Poppa!!
    Keep him in your heart and he will always be in your life – and soul.

  3. horov says:

    Oh Jackie thank you so much, i really needed that remainder today!

  4. Claudia says:

    Revital, your words are so poetic. Happy Birthday to your father and enjoy “Shavuot” in rememberence of him. My father passed away 8 years ago and still not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. It’s a warm and lovely feeling to always have him so close to by heart. Keep celebrating his life, you need it and your family needs it too!

  5. Moran Shapira-Yekutieli says:

    Hey Tali,
    That is a vivid memory of passed times.I miss your dad as well,and it is sad that peole like him
    left us to miss them and the little things that made us feel home,tradition and familieness….
    I can only wishh for you that what was left won’t leave…..
    Miss you here at the holy land.
    Next Shavuot we’ll celbrate together.with a proper “kitchri….
    Sending our love and greetings
    all of us

  6. Olga says:

    Dear Revital-

    I so much enjoy reading your blog. It is so personable, full of love and it always touches my heart. I am sorry that you lost your dad, but happy for you that you keep him in your heart every day of your life. He must have been very special person….
    Thank you for sharing your memories.

  7. Pat Gordy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with me, Revital. My father’s birthday was the day before mine and we had a very special connection over the years, sharing food, parties with family and friends. I was blessed to have had him for 89 years 11 months.
    I wish I could share your dad’s “Kitchri” with him, I will think of both our fathers as I prepare a new recipe.

  8. Cara Bertoia says:

    I know how you feel I miss my father everday. I loved to cook for him.
    Thanks Cara Bertoia

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