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