It’s Soup Month

soup Sendak

January should be called Soup Month- in fact it is. Along with baths, birds and hugs, soup is celebrated in January although it’s perfect any month of the year. Just ask Maurice Sendak whose slim book Chicken Soup with Rice celebrates that staple in every month of the year.

Soup can be silkily elegant or chunkily hearty. It can whet your appetite for what comes next or make you feel satisfyingly full.

In fact, soup can be whatever you want it to be and can be made with almost anything. In addition, cooking soups from different Jewish communities is a great way to learn about different Jewish cultures. It can also be the inspiration for stories for the young and reminiscences for the older folks. Continue reading

Infamy at Wannsee

Attendees of Conference

Today,  January 21, marks the 69th anniversary off the Wannsee Conference. Wannsee was a small suburban area of Berlin known for its two lakes and forests. Many members  of royalty had built castles in the area and, in more modern times, prominent wealthy Berliners built mansions. A prominent recreational area, several events from the 1936 Olympics were held in its woods and on its golf course.

The area is most well known, however, for what came to be called the Wannsee Conference held on January 20, 1942.  Nazi officials from Interior, Justice, Propaganda, Occupied Eastern Territories and 4-year plan— though not Hitler, Goebbels, or Himmler- met at the Wannsee Villa to formulate the final solution to the Jewish problem and to  definitely establish who was a Jew and who was a mischling  (mixed).

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Online events to entertain, educate, and nourish

webinar5 solomonovwebinar 6webinars 2 Jan 13leder-1

Mondays @ 1 pm
Return to Torah Hosted By: Judaism Unbound
https://www.jewishlive.org/returntotorah

This weekly class is an opportunity to learn from Richard Elliott Friedman, author of the bestselling, most-assigned book on the Bible, Who Wrote the Bible?

Our new knowledge of Torah in this extraordinary generation, thanks to archaeology and new understandings in almost every area of the Bible, can be a comfort in this moment – and for long into the future. Continue reading

Celebrate Hebrew

Hebrew eliezerEliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, was born on January 7, 1858 in what is now Belarus. Like many Jewish boys of his time, he was raised to be a rabbi and scholar of traditional Jewish texts. However, he was exposed to the Enlightenment’s modern languages and thought and eventually moved to Palestine. There he put into practice his goal of reviving Hebrew as a spoken language which, he felt, would replace Yiddish and other immigrant languages and unite the Jewish residents of Palestine. Continue reading

As the year ends…

Dec. 24 Chinese-food-Don’t forget to sign up for A Very Jewish Christmas Eve, ( also called Nittel Nacht) a night  of discussion, a Chinese cooking demo, trivia, and comedy. Unfortunately, you’ll have to bring your own Chinese food. Sponsored by My Jewish Learning the evening runs from 7-11 p.m. on December 24. Click here to sign up

My Jewish Learning has thousands of articles, videos and resources on all aspects of jewish life. No matter your knowledge or your practice, there is something for you on this site. It is non-denominational.   Continue reading

Everything Hanukkah

Dec 10 hanukkah-stampIt’s finally here, Hanukkah- a bright spot on the calendar with the flickering candles, the shiny gelt, and the glistening oil for the latkes.

This year, of course, is different. We won’t be sharing as we usually do, but there are lots of things to see and do if you take advantage of the virtual offerings in food, music, art and literature. You can even party online.

And what better time to revive the oldest entertainment around-storytelling: reading aloud as a family. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Facts, Fiction and Other Stuff

molly's pilgrimAs the classic children’s book Molly’s Pilgrim explains, the Pilgrims got the idea of a harvest holiday of Thanksgiving from the Bible. They modeled their day of thanks after Sukkot.  This heart-warming story of Jewish immigrant Molly takes the classic American child’s experience of Thanksgiving and connects it to the Jewish experience. Also available as an Oscar Winning short film (shot in Montclair)  Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen. Find the film on YouTube.

Looking for some meaningful words with which to start your Thanksgiving? Read Are there Jewish Prayers for Thanksgiving from Jewish Boston.    Continue reading

A Different Thanksgiving

Covid Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year certainly isn’t like last.  At my house, just my husband and I will sit down at the table together because of COVID restrictions and safety. But as we did for the Passover seder, birthdays, and anniversaries this year, we will Zoom with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren and granddog in Nutley and in Lille, France.

So what to do when you suddenly are planning a Thanksgiving for 2 rather than 22? Here are some fairly easy last minute suggestions from previous Shomrei Week recipe columns. Everything can be easily adjusted for changes in your guest list. Continue reading

For Busy Cooks

apricot chickenmujaderrasquash kugel

In the run up to Thanksgiving dinner, busy cooks look for simple meals. Even if your guest list is drastically reduced, Thanksgiving dinner takes extra effort. Included in this recipe column are some simple weeknight meals and some which are suitable for the holiday.

I don’t use a lot of prepared food, but I just rediscovered this super simple chicken recipe from the ‘70s that packs lots of flavor. You may even have the ingredients on hand. This is a very forgiving recipe that begs for your own personal touch. Continue reading