Welcome to year 9 of 10 yamim clean, which marks the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur with introspective ritual. We are so tired of the OG cleanse. 

For newcomers: the first few years of the cleanse involved a dietary challenge: eat a vegan diet, foods without added sugar, foods from a package with no more than 3 ingredients, and foods without gluten. In later years, we ate within the constraints of the daily $4.10 (at the time) SNAP benefit — for every dollar spent over that amount, we donated twice as much to a food justice organization. Two years ago, we switched it up with a no-single-use plastics challenge. It was one of our favorites. Last year, with the burden of the pandemic, we asked that you take care of yourselves during these 10 days. 

This year, we will honor the Shmita year, a biblical agricultural practice that occurs every seven years. “Shmita,” or release, includes leaving the land to lie fallow the 7th year, and releasing all debts held for neighbors as a year-long communal and land sabbath. One interpretation of Shmita is that its purpose is for communal health (as opposed to Shabbat, which is for the individual) — to replenish the fertility of the land and to minimize widening economic inequalities by removing sources of power from the owning class.  (We gathered much of this information from Jews United for Justice – check out this link for more on Shmita year). 

Instead of focusing on our own diets, the 10-yamim-clean parameters this year honor communal healing. To participate in this year’s cleanse, please prepare 2 meals for people who might be having a harder time than you during the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Maybe a friend who has family in the hospital, a group of people sleeping  in tents near your house, a neighbor struggling with anxiety. If you already do this kind of thing, double your efforts. 

If you’re in Oakland, there are town fridges (  in need of food. There are also community fridges all over NYC ( And in San Diego  (

During the pandemic, those who have lost income due to illness or closing of businesses have sacrificed for the common good. They have lost work in order to protect our communal health from the spread of the virus. Those who were able to keep their income have an obligation to protect those who weren’t by releasing them from debt and poverty. So, along with our cooking challenge, we are encouraging people to donate to rent relief funds, mutual aid organizations, or other groups that work to correct economic inequality. Here are a few we have in mind: Causa Justa,, or

We’ll be continuing to post on the blog and using this listserve as a source of inspiration. If you’d like to stick with the ole cleanse rules  during the 10 days, we support it! If you’d like to be removed from this listserv, please respond directly to Arielle or Shaina. 

So, are you in? Let us know if you’re up for the challenge! Two meals to our neighbors. 

Love, Shaina and Arielle



  • The only rules of the cleanse this year are to serve 2 meals to people between the 10 days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This rule honors the biblical Shmita practice. 
  • Please consider donating to a rent relief fund, or a community org of your choice 

We’ll be continuing to post on our blog and using this listserve as a source of inspiration. If you’d like to be removed from this listserve, please respond directly to Arielle or Shaina.

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A poem

by FMT

I’m frustrated
And it’s only just morning

This stupid creamer
In its single use shiny case
I guess I’m drinking black coffee

And what about burritos
Salsa, does that count as one or two?
This burrito just got crazy expensive

And candy
And to-go containers
And rice
And bread
And tofu
And chicken
And hummus
And bagels
And Mayo
And cheese
And yogurt
And chips

Jesus, do I not get to eat chips anymore?
But what’s the point, without salsa


And everywhere I turn
I’m wrapped in plastic
Suffocating, even

But just in my mind
Not literally suffocating
Or starving
Due to my choices
Unlike some creatures
Who get no choice
And end up choking on my plastic

And the realization
these systems
Are set up to be
On our wallets
our conscious
Our choices

And it’s inevitable
All this use
So what’s the point?
Awareness that leads to frustration
Awareness that leads to helplessness
Awareness that leads to

Stubbornly small
Having the conversation
with a confused business owner
the butcher
your friend

Having the conversation with your family
Who think you’re some insane liberal
Maybe they’re right

None of this is natural
It was all made up as went
It’s not gravity or love

So logically

We made this
These systems
These products
These were not here
They do not HAVE TO be here

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How do I do this?

Some handy FAQs for ten days of food free of single-use plastics

  • Help – no bulk bins near me
  • What about plastic Tupperware that’s already in my house?
    • This is allowed. If you regularly reuse it, carry on. We suggest not acquiring any new ones during this time though.
  • What about the little piece of plastic holding the bunch of bananas together?
    • A 2inplastic piece can be permissible if you feel you need it. For example, a box of pasta with a clear plastic window, or a twisty-tie that’s holding together a bunch of kale or a head of lettuce in your produce aisle
  • What about plastic for non-food use, like holding sweaty exercise clothes?

    [my spice setup – my grocery store has a bulk spices section]

    • This challenge pertains to food-related single-use plastics, but we encourage you to pledge $1 to Sunrise when you use it anyway. Put your sweaty clothes in a cloth bag and then wash them all together.
  • What do I do without plastic bags?
    • There are great cloth tote bags that are reusable and, unlike plastic, you can throw them in the wash between uses. Don’t forget to bring other lightweight bags to the store to fill in the bulk section when you go to the store. Keep bags and jars in your car.
  • Cans aren’t plastic, but they are single use? Are they ok?
    • Cans are okay, aluminum is still recyclable!
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Trapped in a single use plastic container

Freeing myself of single-use plastics is going to be a completely new challenge for me. While I typically forego the plastic bag if I’m buying a head of lettuce or a bunch of kale at the store, basically everything else I buy comes in a plastic bag.

Here are some possible solutions I’ll be trying out during the cleanse to mitigate:









  • This website can help locate good bulk sections and bulk stores across the US:
  • Always keep a jar or other vessel in my purse in case of leftover food emergency
  • Keep mesh bags or old plastic bags from home in the car to use at the bulk bins, also tie them in a knot rather than using a new twisty tie
  • Use beeswax cloths to cover and store leftovers in the fridge

Please share your ideas!  Email us at or leave a comment.

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Use less, use better, change systems

A few months ago, good friend Laura Klivans hosted a “let’s talk climate change” dinner. In the invitation she wrote: “The urgency to do something, or feel like I’m doing all I can, has only increased through the years, and it’s grown tenfold since Baby Sam entered the picture. As Bill says, now we really have skin in the game. But I often feel powerless in the actions we can individually take.”

I also feel a growing powerlessness when I think about the environmental crisis we’re witnessing.  Sometimes the feeling is so overwhelming I want to throw the towel in completely and straight up wipe my face with a paper napkin. So meeting with friends over pizza to brainstorm ways to individually and collectively do something to mitigate the effects of global warming felt productive and also comforting. Here’s a list of things we came up with at dinner:

Use Less (not useless!)

  1. Compostable diapers

  2. Buy less shit/No new stuff/No new baby stuff

  3. Eat less meat + talk to people about it

  4. My 2019 NY resolution is no online shopping, especially no Amazon

  5. Take my next vacation locally

  6. Out with the single use plastic – everything like deodorant to on the go water.

Use Better

  1. Buy an electric car next time I buy a car

  2. Become a biking family

  3. Do some sort of carbon footprint offset for each mile of flights I take (maybe donating?)/Family carbon offsets

  4. Pay attention to which companies are leading in terms of climate action, support them with consumer dollars and social media

Create Better Culture

  1. Keep your eye on the ball

  2. Creating and sustaining larger platforms for kids to have a vote in climate choices that impact them

  3. Keep talking with my community about these issues

  4. Raise awareness

  5. Read more – headlines often scare me too much, then I assume the worst. The content of the article though is more nuanced than the headline.

  6. De-politicize climate change in any way possible, to make it an issue impacting us all

Create Better Policy

  1. Elect leaders with clean climate policy vision

  2. Donate and volunteer to win state and national elections

  3. Educate myself about the state and local challenges/issues re: energy and water. Vote, donate, advocate for climate-smart solutions

  4. Find ways to implement the carbon tax

  5. Get involved with housing fights (climate change isn’t an isolated issue)

  6. Citizen’s climate lobby:


Helpful links:

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Cleanse 5780 – switching it up


Many of you are familiar with the cleanse. It’s our annual ten day challenge, kitchen-centered, where we reflect and reset. It’s back, and it’s turned a corner.

No food restrictions, no long lists of grains and guidelines and go-arounds. This year it’s simple. One rule for ten days:

No food in single-use plastic containers

We’ll be impacting our food choices by moving environmental concerns to the fore.

As always, our cleanse begins at Rosh Hashana and ends at Yom Kippur, a ten-day stretch from Sept 29- Oct 9

Together we will challenge ourselves by only purchasing food that is sold in containers other than single-use plastics. We’ll make judicious use of our local bulk bins, glass containers, and bags from home. Some of you are more familiar with this idea than others. Check out our old faithful blog for tips on how to swap your ziplocks for cloth sacks, squeeze bottles for glass jars.

As always, we encourage you to send us your reflections and ideas for inspiration. With your permission, we’ll post them to the blog. We’ll also post a compilation of resources about climate activism.

For every plastic container – bags, tupperware, bottles – that you use during this time, we ask you to make a donation of $5 (or an amount of your choosing) to the Sunrise Movement. We’re inspired by the young people leading the way towards a better world. Please let us know how much you’ve donated as we have a generous donor who’s agreed to double your donation at the end of the cleanse.

Please let us know if you’d like to join – you’ll get a few emails from us over the ten day challenge, and that’s it.


Arielle and Shaina


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Pickled Eggplants

This simple recipe will amaze you. All you need is eggplants, garlic, salt, and some dried herbs if you have them. The result is a slightly sour, complex, earthy, and tender pickle that complements almost anything on your plate. Achar!

  • 4-8 small eggplants (baby eggplants, fairytale eggplants, or Japanese eggplants will work)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp dried basil, optional
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes, optional
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • A rock or weight, boiled

Put the garlic and optional herbs+chili into a glass jarPickled mini-eggplants

Cut the steps off of the eggplants and halve them, or cut them down so that they fit nestled into the jar, and add them to the garlic in the jar.

In another jar, shake 2 tbsp sea salt with 2.5 cups of water until the salt has dissolved. Pour this brine over the eggplants + garlic until it is fully covered. Weigh this down with your rock so the eggplant does not pop out of the water.

Cover the jar with a tea towel, and secure the towel with a rubber band or lid ring.

Keep in a dark place in your kitchen, and check each day to make sure the eggplants aren’t popping out of the water and they’re weighted down with the rock.

After 3 days, begin tasting the eggplant. When it tastes good and sour to you, it’s done! Remove the rock, add a regular lid, and transfer to your fridge. Eat anytime!


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Arielle in 5778

Hi cleanse world –

I am feeling SO appreciative of you all to take on this yearly challenge with me. It’s cyclical, it’s rejuvenating, and it comes at the perfect time every year. Time to reset, question my habits, and create new rituals. I love that no matter where we are in the world we can make changes in our little lives and share them. It makes me feel powerful!
Are you incorporating new habits or foods into your diet during these 10 days?
Here are some things I’m making this week:
  • Pickled eggplants — This was a very successful experiment!! Recipe on the blog soon.
Inline image 2
  • Hot and sour pickles
Inline image 1
  • This funny pumpkin…
Inline image 1
  • Became this roasted pumpkin that I’m putting on everything.
Inline image 2
My plan is to make some buckwheat granola, and use a fruit puree in place of whatever sweetener would normally be added. I’ll send an update once I’ve tried it out…
If you’re not sure what to cook up, consult our Recipes page. Craving something sweet? Try Shaina’s Raw Fudge Truffles.
Today, we’re challenging you to take 5 minutes and call your representative about something that’s important to you. This website,, has everything you need to do that – a list of timely issues, contact info for YOUR rep (in the US), and a call script. I already called Representative Issa to urge a hurricane relief bill for citizens in Puerto Rico and the USVI.
Let us know what you’re eating, what you’re feeling.
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Eggplant and herbs dip

I’ve been dipping everything in this, and putting a spoonful of it on every savory dish I eat. It’s creamy, herby, delightful.

  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh herbs – I used dill, chives, rosemary, basil
  • 2 tbsp tahini or seeds 4C8BD81B-56EB-42BB-A46B-9A246808DBCE
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Wash the eggplants, prick them a few times with a knife, and place them under a broiler on a baking sheet. Turn them every 10 minutes for 30 minutes. Once they deflate when prodded, remove them from the oven. Discard the charred skin and remove the flesh from inside.

Puree the eggplant meat and the rest of the ingredients in a high-powered blender until creamy. Eat on everything!

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Dear loyal cleansers,

Thank you for your interest in the 6th (!!!!) annual mind/body/spirit reflection during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Our New Year is creeping up on us fast!

Most of you are familiar with The Cleanse — our annual annual whole foods diet intended to provoke reflection on the mind/body/spirit connection during these ten days. Year 5778 is round 6, and it’s the 3rd year we’re asking participants to join in on an additional challenge. This time, we’ll be raising money for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The challenge has many steps so PAY ATTENTION!

1. Pledge a donation amount (write it in an email to be held accountable! Or pledge here:

2. Take an action each day of the cleanse. We will provide a list of actions including: call a representative, participate in a community-building or charity event, talk to people you might not normally talk to. Each time you take an action, subtract $5 from your pledge. A generous, anonymous donor will match the dollars you subtract for actions (up to $50 per person), so everyone wins!  Pledge high and take lots of action!

3. Tell us about it! Blogs are passe, but we’re continuing it anyway and would love to hear about your actions. Shoot us an email and with your permission, we’ll write a post  from you to the people.

4. Eat a whole foods, vegan diet (see rules below)

We (cleansers live all over the world!) have raised nearly $1000 for global food justice via American Jewish World Service and Kitchens for Good. Let’s double our impact for 5778!

We hope that this cleanse will not only spark reflection on our own, personal health, but also on how we can contribute to the well-being and safety of others. We think that this challenge will inspire gratitude and reflection on the resources in our lives.

We will continue to post recipes and send resources that we find related to social justice, anti-racisim work — we encourage you to do the same. Shoot us an email with a reflection, recipe or question, and we’ll throw it up on the blog (and give you credit unless you specify otherwise). Also, send us your beautiful food photos to share! And if you’re a I-grammer tag your posts #10yamimclean

If you’re interested in joining the Cleanse this year, please let us know so we can include you on the list with updates and inspirations. It only lasts ten days: shortest newsletter ever. Even if you’re planning to challenge yourself for one of those days, we want you along for the ride.

Thank you for coming along on this adventure with us.


Arielle and Shaina


For the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we will undertake an intensive reflection of the mind/body/spirit connection. We will only consume:

  • Vegan foods – no products derived from animals (no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)
  • Gluten-free foods – nothing made with wheat
  • Unprocessed foods – nothing packaged with more than three ingredients
  • Unsweetened foods – no added sugar, honey, agave, etc.
  • Alcohol-free beverages

An exception to the above rules above is the inclusion of organic eggs and/or yogurt that is organic, plain, stabilizer- and additive-free. This is a personal choice.

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