Painful History

anti1The other night I watched a lecture streamed from the Jewish Theological Seminary. The speakers were Dr. Mary C. Boys, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean, and Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology, Union Theological Seminary and Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Provost, and Irving Lehrman Research Associate Professor of American Jewish History, The Jewish Theological Seminary. These two heavy hitters, scholars, teachers and friends, shared the stage in a conversation on “Anti-Semitism in America: How did we get here and how can we move forward?” Continue reading

Something for Every Night

dec 61Two Jews, three opinions…In this case there are two.  Two rabbis, Shammai and Hillel, who lived a little more than 2000 years ago, frequently argued about procedural issues.  When it came to Hanukkah, they could not agree on the correct way to light the Hanukkah menorah.

Should the lights be lit one day at a time, ADDING one each night until on the eighth night the entire lamp is glowing?  Or should all the light be lit on the first night with one being REMOVED each night until on the eighth night only one light is lit?

You all know how we do it- Hillel’s way. Hillel felt that adding a light each night showed increasing holiness. Continue reading

MESH Report 11/27/18

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From Captain Sarah Kravits:

This past Tuesday night, 24 guests came out of the wind and found a warm welcome and a hot meal ready for them at the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei.

Cooks Barbara Lesser and Carolyn Lack put together a delicious dinner of tomato soup and bread, roasted tilapia with butter sauce, house made cole slaw, roasted farm fresh fall root vegetables and squashes, and banana nut bread and pineapple, with some able on-the-spot assistance from Aileen Grossberg. Continue reading

MESH Report 11/20/18

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From Captain Fern Heinig:

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving we had a full Cafe. 23 guests joined us for dinner at our tables while 2 guests had take away.

We were also blessed with an army of volunteers. Key Club student Emily volunteered for the first time while regular Amalia and Lewis, with three friends came in time for service. Captain Fern had four adult friends, Holly, Brian, Tracie, and Mary come with 8 teenagers. MESH staff regulars, Adrienne, Bonny, and Joe rounded out the crew.

Continue reading

New Books on the Shelf

newbooks1Let’s take a break from the dysfunctional first family of Judaism and take a look at books new to the Lampert Library.

You’ll find a truly diverse selection. Remember that both children and adults may borrow books from the Lampert Library. It’s always here for you.

Here they are in alphabetical order by author. J means that the book is for younger readers; YA indicates a book for middle school and up. Some of these make great reads for adults, too. Continue reading

MESH Report 11/13/18

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Report from Captain Alex Kent:

Shomrei’s Carol Starr MESH Cafe served a full house on Tuesday night, and also packaged up 7 additional meals for those left out in the cold.

Aileen Grossberg and Sarah Steindel stepped into the void as there was no cook signed up for Tuesday night. Sarah prepared food the day before, and Aileen had everything prepped and ready to go with detailed instructions for Captain Alex Kent to assemble and cook. Luckily there were 5 High School helpers on hand. Thank you teens! Alex and Jaden from the Montclair High Key Club, and Louis, Max, and Kendall from West Orange High School assembled salads, made fruit salad, buttered bread, served, and did dishes.

Continue reading

By Request – or Not

Chickpea-Saladsoup11_10 recipes

Just in time for Thanksgiving and for a change from the same old menu, here’s a new round of recipes from the Shomrei kitchen.

The following recipe for vegan chickpea salad is one of the most requested in the almost nine years that I’ve been in Shomrei’s kitchen. It’s so simple to make and blends flavors nicely. A well-stocked kitchen should have almost all the ingredients on hand. It’s also slightly magical: close your eyes and you might even think you are eating chicken salad! Continue reading

A Love Song to America

BerlinElections are over. Maybe we will be able to settle down to some bi-partisanship  and enjoy the blessings of democracy.

Ironically 2018 marks the 100th birthday of the writing of an iconic patriotic American song. Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” was written in 1918 while Berlin was a soldier at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York.

Berlin who came to America at aged five with his family was newly naturalized in February 2018. Soon after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Already a successful song writer, he wrote “God Bless America” for an Army show. The song did not appear in that show but as war loomed in Europe in 1938, Berlin revised the song and asked Kate Smith to sing it. Continue reading

We Can Get Along

Pittsburgh1George Washington in his 1790 letter to the Newport Jewish Community wrote” It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support…

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.” Continue reading