Hamentaschen or “Ha Mohn-Taschen”

It all depends on how you hold them

On January 22, 2002 Avigail wrote:

We’re bak­ing vul­va cook­ies in hon­or of the anniver­sary of roe v. wade, [note: there is a site called RoeVWade.org that is an anti-abor­tion orga­ni­za­tion.] and i think our recipe is the best. thanks.

I didn’t know why she want­ed the Hamen­taschen recipe, but, I told her that it was appro­pri­ate. I relat­ed to her the fol­low­ing sto­ry:

Rab­bi Louis Feld­man (Cincin­nati ’70 — who has giv­en me per­mis­sion to dis­sem­i­nate (appro­pri­ate word in con­text?) this sto­ry) was the rab­bi at Tem­ple Beth Solomon of the Deaf in Los Ange­les in the ear­ly ‘70s. Lou knew a tiny bit of ASL (just to get by). One evening while telling the sto­ry of Purim he end­ed his talk by explain­ing that we all eat… and here he used the fol­low­ing sign:

with thumb and fore­fin­gers togeth­er the thumbs mak­ing a hor­i­zon­tal line at the top the fore­fin­gers point­ing at the bot­tom of a tri­an­gle.

The con­gre­ga­tion gasped and broke into laugh­ter. Rab­bi Feld­man had made the sign for vagi­na. The sign for Hamen­taschen is the reverse: the thumbs mak­ing a hor­i­zon­tal line at the bot­tom and the fore­fin­gers point­ing up.

We use a mürbe teig dough recipe for our Hamentaschen:


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 cups sug­ar
  • 1.5 cups but­ter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der
  • 4 tea­spoons vanil­la
  • 3 lemons, the rind there­of


  1. Mix by spoon then by hand
  2. Refrig­er­ate for two hours (or overnight).
  3. (Use tuna cans or mugs to cut to shape for Hamen­taschen.)

Remember, only mohn/poppy-seed Hamentaschen are true Hamentaschen.

I will also use this oppor­tu­ni­ty to request that work­shops on Jew­ish Sign be offered at URJ region­al and nation­al Bien­ni­als as well as at gath­er­ings of Rab­bis, Can­tors and Edu­ca­tors. It is, as you can imag­ine, embar­rass­ing to see incor­rect signs used.

Why Poppyseed Hamentaschen Are The Only True Hamentaschen

Mohn (pop­py seed) + Taschen (pock­ets) = Mohn­taschen (pop­py seed pock­et pas­tries)

+ Ha (Hebrew def­i­nite arti­cle) = Hamohn­taschen (Haman’s Pock­ets) or Purim pop­py seed pock­et pas­tries.

©Mark Hurvitz
Last modified Thursday, October 5, 2010