top of page

November 1

Saint of the day:

Saint Susanna and the Elders
(Book of Daniel: deuterocanonical book from the Septuagint or Apocrypha)

Saint Susanna and the Wicked Elders' Story

A fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two elders, having previously said goodbye to each other, bump into each other again when they spy on her bathing. The two men realize they both lust for Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, demanding she have sex with them. When she refuses, they have her arrested, claiming that the reason she sent her maids away was to be alone as she was having sex with a young man under a tree.

She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for adultery when the young Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are cross-examined about details of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic tree (ὑπο σχίνον, hypo schinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut (σχίσει, schisei) him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree (ὑπο πρίνον, hypo prinon), and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw (πρίσαι, prisai) him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.







the Catacombs of Priscilla
Via Salaria, 430, 00199 Roma RM, Italy

Susanna and the Wicked Elders fresco



Beetroot kubbeh soup is a Jewish-Iraqi dish that is very popular in Israel during winter time (in Hebrew: marak kubbeh selek). Kubbeh are semolina dumplings filled with delicious meat mixture and cook in beetroot soup. There are several types of kubbeh. This is my favorite; beetroot kubbeh soup (also known as red kubbeh soup). This soup is the perfect comfort food for cold winter days.


The story of Saint Susanna and the Elders is setting is in the city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq, was founded more than 4,000 years ago as a small port town on the Euphrates River.

Red Kubbeh Soup


For the beet soup:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 white onion diced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

  • 4 medium beets peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces

  • 2 stalks of celery diced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 

  • 7 cups broth

  • 1 large lemon

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the matzo balls:

  • 4 large eggs whisked

  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

  • 1/4 cup seltzer water

  • 1 cup matzo meal

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the meat filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 medium shallot minced

  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro or parsley

  • 1 large egg

  • Dill for garnish

  1. First, make your beet broth. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add oil. Add onions and a pinch of salt and saute for 7-8 minutes, or until translucent. Add beets and celery and saute for 3 more minutes.

  2. Then add tomato paste, paprika and cumin and remaining salt and stir to combine. Add broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until beets are just tender.

  3. While your soup is simmering, make the matzo ball batter. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs oil and seltzer. Then add matzo meal and kosher salt, and just mix to combine. Do not over mix. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

  4. Then, make your meat filling. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

  5. When your matzo ball mixture is ready, time to assemble! Take a spoonful of the meat mixture (I used a flat tablespoon or heaping teaspoon) and press matzo ball mixture around the meat to cover completely in a layer. Repeat until you use all the matzo meal, you will have extra meat you can use for meatballs or burgers. Makes 14-16 balls.

  6. Stir in the lemon juice and sugar into the beet broth. Then add the matzo balls in a single layer and cover. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until balls are floating and cooked through. Resist the urge to peek before 30 minutes! Season with salt or lemon to taste, and serve with dill. Can be made up to 5 days ahead of time.


  • You can freeze the kubbeh before boiling.

  • Baharat is a middle eastern spice mix that can be used in place of the cinnamon and cumin.




Beet Kibbeh (Fried)


  • 1 cup boiled

  • bulgur 1 cup boiled bulgur water

  • 2 boiled and chopped beets

  • 2 teaspoon flour

  • 1 teaspoon spices

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon sumac

  • 1 teaspoon kibbeh spices

  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Half a kilo of minced meat

  • 1/4 cup boiled bulgur

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 4 tablespoons crushed nuts

  • 1 teaspoon meat spices

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 

  • Salt - black pepper

  • Butter - oil for frying 



  1. Mix the beets with the bulgur and boil the bulgur water in the kibbeh well, then knead it, then add the sumac, salt, cumin, allspice and the kibbeh spices and mix them together well. Then in a pan on the fire we saute the onions, minced meat and bulgur in butter, then add the spices and nuts, stir and then the parsley.

  2. We form the dough and stuff it with minced meat, leave it a little, then fry in abundant oil and serve.


bottom of page