From the Shomrei Kitchen

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On the 15 of Shevat, corresponding to the 10th of February, we will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.

Customarily, certain grains and fruits mentioned in the following quote from the Torah are eaten:

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).”

These items are collectively known as the seven species and each has been given a characteristic.

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Timely Reading

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In 2005, the United Nations passed a resolution urging every member of the U.N. to “honor the memory of Holocaust victims” by encouraging the development of educational programs.

The goal is through education to prevent future acts of genocide.

The date chosen for International Holocaust Remembrance Day was January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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Help for Understanding Anti-Semitism

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The new year should start with hope and promise. This year does not seem to promise the dream of each of us sitting under his or her own figurative fig tree in peace.

To help understand the history behind the anti-Semitic events of the past few weeks, the following books look at the topic from both a historic perspective and more recent events.

Most are non-fiction, but sometimes it is easier to understand when fact is clothed in the disguise of fiction. Continue reading

Rainy Night of Solidarity

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editor’s note: on the evening of Dec 29, 2019, the wider Jewish community including area synagogues and Chabad of Montclair, as well as interfaith allies gathered for the lighting of the communal Hanukkiah as an act of solidarity in light of recent attacks on Jews.

Report and Opinion from a Rainy Night of Solidarity
By Aileen Grossberg

The night was cool and rainy but the hearts were warm and the voices strong. Scores of people from Montclair area synagogues were joined by others of all faiths to stand in solidarity against the recent spate of anti-semitic acts in the tri-state area.

The concern was palpable as small groups talked in hushed voices about the incidents of the last weeks. But there was also determination to not give in to fear and to do something to fight this growing wave of anti-semitism and violence. Continue reading

It’s Hanukkah Tonight

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It’s not too late to plan a special Hanukkah meal with proven recipes from the Shomrei kitchen.

Food for Hanukkah has traditionally been fried in oil to recall the miracle of the small cruse of oil lasting eight days. Today’s more health conscious diets preclude eating a lot of fried food so here’s a “Kosher Southern-Style” oven fried chicken recipe courtesy of Jamie Geller (jamiegeller.com) Continue reading

Read for Hanukkah

han5There are so many good Hanukkah books. So instead of describing them all, I’ll let the books speak for themselves.

Here are a group of book covers meant to entice you into the library where most Hanukkah books are either on display or shelved in the number 244.1, both in the children’s and adult areas.

There are a few outliers. To capture them, merely search for Hanukkah in our online catalog (you can do that from home by using this link Shomrei.org/library )

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Reading! Books still make the best gifts and the never need to be recharged. Continue reading

Grandparenting: Joy and Challenge

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While the official Grandparents’ Day is Past, it’s always appropriate to celebrate grandparents.

I hope everyone has as fond memories as I do of their grandparents. I was fortunate enough to live in the same community of both sets of grandparents. In fact, we lived right next door to my mother’s parents and easy walking distance to my father’s parents. I still treasure the after dinner visits I made to my mother’s mother where we talked about almost everything and the drop-in visits after school to my father’s parents where there was always a cookie or legendary sponge cake.

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MESH Report Dec 3, 2019

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Gabriel scoops tuna salad

 

From Captain Aileen Grossberg:

On a cold, post snowstorm night, 24 guests including a five year old child, were warmed by the hospitality at the Carol Starr MESH Cafe.

After consulting with co-chair and kiddush planner, Aileen Grossberg, chef Lynne Kurzweil with expert help from sous chef Beryl Hiller, cooked a delicious meal of fresh-yes, FRESH, not canned- tuna salad accompanied by grape leaves, grape tomatoes, cucumber and crackers, baked tilapia with Israeli salad repurposed into a Mediterranean tapenade, rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, roll and butter, and finally a healthy dessert of pineapple and berries served with a chocolate chip cookie.

Our guests applauded the meal, enjoyed seconds, and left barely a scrap on the serving platters. When Captain Aileen went around asking people if they enjoyed their meal, faces beamed. Even our youngest guest loved this decidedly adult meal.

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New Tastes for Family Gatherings

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The days are shorter; the nights are longer. The weather has changed and soon there may even be snow. We spend more time inside our snug homes.

Holiday times and family gatherings are on the horizon. It’s time to plan those menus.

There’s a song that goes “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.” That applies to food at family gatherings, too, at least in my family.

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People, Places and Things

cube2Europe never fails to amaze me. There is little fanfare when the border is crossed, but almost as soon as you enter a new country you are aware. It is not only the change of language on the signs. The character of the landscape changes, too. The architecture, the colors, the demeanor of the people- all indicate a new country. And so much is very old but juxtaposed against the very new.

As many of you know, I take at least one trip to Europe every year to visit my daughter Rebecca and her family who live in Lille, a large city in northern France.  Continue reading