Kudos to the Lampert Library

At the 59th annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries held in San Diego this week, the Alan Lampert Memorial Library of Congregation Shomrei Emunah received accreditation from the SSCPL division of the Association. Accreditation means that the library has done a self-study and meets the Association’s standard for an effective library. Continue reading

Guess Who?

March is Women’s History Month. To expand your horizons beyond women named Ruth or Anne, here’s a match-up quiz of accomplished but lesser-known women.

The library is a resource for information about many of them, either through single biographies, collected biographies or reference works such as Jewish Women in America which are updated on the Jewish Women’s Archive website (jwa.org).

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Days of Remembrance

We Jews have so many holidays and days of remembrance. From Nissan 1, the first day of Passover, marking the beginning of the year (Yes, Nissan actually is the first month of the Hebrew calendar) through Purim in the month of Adar, there are scores of holidays – and four new years. Then there is the weekly Shabbat celebration. I’d estimate that at least 100 days are marked in some special way. Continue reading

Reflection on the Civil Rights Trip: Personal Highlights

When I was a kid and drove with my father from our hometown of Lowell, Mass to the orthodontist in Boston, we would go through the streets of Cambridge. I would notice the rather decrepit looking triple deckers, the small apartment buildings, the dirty streets – and the dark faces. I remember questioning my father and asking why people had to live that way. Continue reading

Noah and the Ark

And we begin again. A good book is worth rereading as we do the Torah every year. This past Shabbat, we began the annual cycle of reading about the world’s most dysfunctional family.

Is there any emotion or problem that the first family and its descendants didn’t face in the course of many generations: jealousy, fratricide, cheating, lying, murder, rape, impersonating , broken hearts, lust, infertility, lack of confidence? God may have been the world’s first therapist. Continue reading


Family lore has it that Grandpa Julius, my father’s father, was the only man in the shtetl of Skidel with a gun and that he was spirited out of town in a coffin because ”they” were after him. It’s hard to believe that this man of few words, whom I never heard raise his voice, might have had violence in this past.

Or Did Grandpa Sam, a small, quiet, white haired man with impeccable handwriting really know the Talmud so well that if you stuck a pin through a word, he would know the word on the other side of the page?

What do these family stories have to do with the High Holidays coming up? Continue reading

The Jewish Catalog Turns Fifty

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to The Jewish Catalog,. How old are you now?

This year The Jewish Catalog: a do-it-yourself kit reached the venerable age of fifty — right smack in middle age.  When most of us reach that age, we show signs that we have arrived: some gray at our temples, a few wrinkles, maybe even a desire for a midday nap. But a fifty-year-old is hardly over the hill these days and may look forward to some of his or her best years. Continue reading