For Education and Entertainment

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During these  months with their special challenges for librarians, I’ve learned that there is so much more available that I ever thought although I would never give up hard copies of books.

While there is nothing like face-to-face experience, the online presentations have become almost as good as presenters adapt to unfamiliar technology.

The whole world is available through online presentations. I have discussed the Holocaust with an educator from India, baked hallah with a Jewish woman from Italy, attended a book talk with 30,000 other eager readers and “attended” a lecture with my daughter in France.

None of these things would have been possible in the “real” world. And if you miss something, most presentation are recorded so thatthey are accessible at any time. 

Here are some suggestions for sources of  enlightenment, enrichment,and entertainment or sometimes all three rolled into one convenient package. I’ve also included some reading and viewing suggestions. This list only scratches the surface of available Jewish and/ or secular  resources. 

JewishLive.org consolidates live streamed Jewish programming on the internet. A handy scrolling daily calendar shows what’s available including religious services, lectures and participatory activities. Some of my favorite discoveries are below.

hallahIf you’ve never baked hallah or want to start baking again, log on to tiffanyshlain.com and scroll down to Zoom Challah Bake. Tiffany, an author, film director and speaker, hosts a weekly hallah baking session featuring guests including authors and activists. The recipe is foolproof and the act of baking is both creative and soothing.

MyJewishlearning.com  provides access to cultural, education, religious and social presentations from a wide variety of sources including a series  called return to Torah with Biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman.

American Jewish University (AJU.edu) and its B’Yachad Together division have many lectures and courses, often tuition free. The library also hosts authors and book clubs.

jodirudoren2-1-1568223951In addition tabletmag.com and forward.com both inform and entertain. Today’s Forward is not your grandfather’s or even your father’s. After 21 years with the New York Times including several as Jerusalem bureau chief, new editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren, has taken the venerable newspaper well into the 21st century. The Forward is outspoken and fresh and isn’t afraid to air both sides of a story.

YIVO.org ( YIVO Institute for Jewish Research) has some excellent programs including a multi-session history of Ashkenazi food. Famous chefs, well-known writers  on Jewish food, and academics present an entertaining and instructive series of programs, recipes included.

JWA.org (The Jewish Women’s Archive), hadassah.org , and jewishbookcouncil.org  have interactive programs including author visits and book clubs. Over 1000 people attended a recent book talk featuring popular author Jennifer Weiner.

Want to leave the Jewish world?

Visit newarkmuseumart.org, montclairartmuseum.org, or art museum.princeton.edu for excellent art related experiences for both kids and adults.

Finally, here are some movie recommendations. The Cakemaker is a beautifully sensitive film about love, loss, secrets and beautiful pastries with a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Driveways, the story of a multigenerational friendship between a lonely boy and a neighboring war veteran, received a 100% from Rotten Tomatoes. A Secret Love, the true story of how a former baseball star kept her lesbian relationship a secret for decades, earned a 100% from Rotten Tomatoes. And Spike Lee’s latest Da 5 Bloods is a wrenching, poignant, funny, eye-opening look at bravery, love , friendship and greed as a group of Black Vietnam vets go back to find some hidden gold. It received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Next week, as public libraries begin to open, I’ll make some reading suggestions.

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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