Passover in the Age of Zoom

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars

Being cooped up at home can either be a curse or a blessing. I do miss my routine which gives purpose and markers to my days. However, the extra unscheduled times has allowed me to catch up on reading (I recommend The Convert by Hermans), organize my Rolodex ( I can’t give it up), and think about cleaning the closets. More importantly it has given me the opportunity to participate in some thoughtful webinars and online classes.

Some of these have been organized around the upcoming Passover holiday. In ordinary times, most of us would be planning our seders, making lists, freezing the gallons of chicken soup, and deciding which haggadah to use. These are not ordinary times; even my super organized brother hasn’t thought about Passover yet.  Continue reading

Storytime Lives

happy-family-reading-book-together-vector-illustration-cartoon-mother-father-son-childs-drawing-126432566Books are an important part of our kids’ school-and hopefully home- lives. What do we do when we’ve read all the books in our houses a thousand and one times, don’t want to order another thing from Amazon, and can’t go to the library or bookstore because they are closed?

While I’m investigating how to perhaps present an online library story time to our currently closed preschool, parents and kids of preschoolers and other picture book lovers might want to log on to Storyline Online.  Continue reading

Refugees are Still Here

gettyimages-49389678811

This weekend at Shomrei, we would have marked National Refugee Shabbat, a project of HIAS. Because of  the health emergency, we obviously will not mark this event.

However, there are still thousands of refugees both in our country and world wide though their lives have been eclipsed by the growing pandemic. Continue reading

In Praise of Women

women1Purim is but days away. Central to the story, of course, is the beautiful, young Jewish woman Esther. She uses both her beauty and her wits to outsmart the villainous Haman and save her people.

Jewish history is filled with strong, smart, heroic women, often unsung.

As a tribute to Esther and the March, Women’s History Month, here is a short selection of books -fiction and non-fiction- featuring Jewish women who used their strength of mind and character to overcome problems, fulfill their dreams, or make a mark in the world.

Continue reading

From the Shomrei Kitchen

Seven_Species

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.

Continue reading

Timely Reading

remembrance1

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.

Continue reading

Help for Understanding Anti-Semitism

81uBzeuxNAL51Bp216Tc8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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

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

grand7

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.

Continue reading

New Tastes for Family Gatherings

01well_nathan-articleLarge

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.

Continue reading