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
There 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
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.
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.
Europe 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
I love this time of year and the changes and challenges it brings.
When you’re a child, you don’t notice the passing of time in the same way that you do as an adult. Don’t you remember those endless summers that seemed to stretch on forever? Now, summer seems to go by in a flash and I hardly ever accomplish what I had planned.
For someone most of whose life has been ruled by a school calendar, September is a beginning. By October, we were settled in. Remember those new “school” shoes and clothes , yellow pencils, fresh notebooks?
As we move through the month of Elul, we’re given the opportunity to reflect and prepare for the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is a time of contemplation.
This process can be difficult for many of us. We run from place to place, from errand to errand, our lives seemingly controlled by devices. Taking the time to take stock, to slow down, to look inside ourselves seems nearly impossible.
Fortunately, many fine thinkers have provided avenues to help us with this process. Continue reading
Searching around for a topic for this week’s library column, I rejected books about Elul, the Hebrew month when we start the process of introspection leading up to the High Holidays. Even though the month is almost here, there is still time to consider appropriate books.
I thought about Tu B’Av, the special day-like a Jewish Valentine’s Day- that probably slipped by most of you. But it’s past. Maybe next year.
So I thought about current events and what I could rip from the front page of the newspaper or the lead story on the news.
So. ..what makes a book Jewish? Is it the author, the subject, the sensibilities of the book? Could it be the reader’s perception or something else entirely?
Frequently I ponder this question after I’ve been to the Association of Jewish Libraries conference where, among other topics, the issue of what makes a book Jewish almost always comes up.
Other times, as I choose books for the library, a new book will make me ask that question.
The Talmud tells us that the nations of the world count by the sun, but Israel counts by the moon. In fact, while the Israelites were still in Egypt, God commanded that the moon be sanctified.
The Jewish calendar is lunar, but as with many things, we Jews have improved upon the basic lunar calendar so that –as commanded- the holidays fall in the correct seasons.