Passover: from soup to…

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Passover is just around the corner. This year, of course, the question of “ why is this night different from all other nights?” takes on a new meaning.

One thing I’ve found is that there is more cooking going on. People are creating foods from scratch especially baked goods and soups.

The following recipes are good for Passover and some are great during the rest of the year, too. Continue reading

Shomrei’s Younger Generation Rises to the Coronavirus Challenge

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Last Friday, I had an alarming call from a member of Shomrei. Between bone-rattling coughs, she told me that both she and her partner had Covid 19 and were quarantined in their home. Both over 60, they desperately needed groceries and didn’t know whom to call since all of their friends are in the age group vulnerable to the Coronavirus. (The couple requested that their names be withheld.)

As coordinator of the Mensch Squad, I was braced for such calls to come eventually, but this was our first, and I warily reflected on the demographics of our squad – most of us tilt toward the same vulnerable age group as the couple who needed our help. Indeed, some of our more faithful members are in their 90s. Continue reading

In Memory of Carol Cathey

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I have met many people as a member of Shomrei Emunah, and all of them have taught me so much about their lives, about myself, and about our space in the world.

I first noticed Carol Cathey from a distance.  She came regularly to Shabbat morning services, and I was struck by how outgoing she was, how stylishly and yet comfortably she dressed, and how easily she navigated the synagogue with her walker. Continue reading

Filling Our Hands: Parashat Tzav/Shabbat Ha-gadol/Passover (5780 – 2020)

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Parashat Tzav/Shabbat Ha-gadol/Passover (5780 – 2020)
Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36

Quarantine is a theme found in our Torah portion and in the Passover celebration that we will observe next week. Self-seclusion is mentioned as part of the story of the first Passover and also in the story of the first Tabernacle made for Israel. (See, also, Sparks for 2012 and 2013)

On the night of the first Passover, when the Children of Israel were still officially slaves in Egypt, God instructed the Hebrews to seclude themselves in their homes. They were even told to mark their doorways with the blood of the Passover sacrifice as a symbolic protective seal against the plague raging outside their door. Continue reading

MESH Report Mar 31, 2020

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Many thanks to Shirley and David Grill for contributing 30 takeaway meals for our MESH guests this past Tuesday evening.  The bags were prepared by the Watchung Deli and included: 27 Turkey on Rye, 3 Vegetarian Sandwiches, chips, cookies and a water bottle.  The deli delivered the sandwiches to Karen Altman, who included a note in each bag with the menu and a message from Shomrei to stay safe, healthy and to follow social distancing!  Karen brought the meals to the Salvation Army driveway where the MESH Staff removed them from her trunk and distributed them to the MESH guests who were already lined up.  Many thanks to Karen!  Continue reading

Kitchen Therapy

90898907_10157093345801370_8068704009566814208_oThese are unusual times. We usually active-even frenetic-individuals are stuck inside. Our calendar pages are blank or filled with strike outs for cancelled events.

We need to rediscover and reinvent ways to make the time pass. Stores report that sales of puzzles and games, personal exercise equipment and craft supplies have risen.

The market shelves are bare of flour, sugar and other baking items. As my daughter, the baker says: when stuck inside, the baking genes become dominant.

We have reverted to the activities that our parents and grandparents used to pass the time.

Here are some easy recipes for when that cooking gene strikes. They can all be made from kitchen staples. Don’t be afraid to substitute if one ingredient is not available. BATAYAVON!

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Refugee Assistant Group Update 3/21/20

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We have reached out to the refugee families that we have been assisting during the past three years to find out how they are faring in the coronavirus crisis. Many have had severe setbacks to what had previously been a slow but steady assimilation to their new lives in the United States.  A number of the men who had jobs as drivers have lost those jobs; one who had a steady job for three years delivering for a restaurant was let go because he had a seasonal cough.  Some of the schoolchildren who had depended on the schools for breakfast are now going without that meal.
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Passover Message

DSC_0213-EditAs we continue to wander in an uncharted wilderness of caution and concern, we are called to meet so many responsibilities to ourselves and to others. I am moved by the dedication and caring exhibited by all members of the Shomrei community, professional and lay members, both. I am very grateful to be part of this strong and healthy community!

An additional challenge facing us is to prepare for and to celebrate the holiday of Passover (Pesach), the first of our sacred festivals. This is a time when we usually feel the full weight of our traditions, religious and familial. These traditions add special significance to our lives and special sweetness. We have invested much energy and creativity over the years to find ways to honor those traditions while we also add our creativity and add novel (- a word that has taken on a dark resonance these days!) customs, songs, insights and foods to our seder. After all, this is the Festival of our Freedom!

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