Kugels Rule


The weeks of anticipation were almost over. Shavuot was just a couple days away. Shomrei’s preparations for the community Tikkun were in high gear especially in the kitchen where the refrigerator shelves were overflowing with butter and eggs, vegetables and fruit.

The quiches had been baked; the cheesecakes were here, too. The blintzes were being prepped.

But what about the kugel? It’s not Shavuot without kugel. And why kugel and other dairy dishes? Continue reading


Omaha3On Saturday, April 28, I marked my father’s 24th yahrzeit. Ordinarily I’d light a candle, place it on the kitchen island before going to services. Then each time I’d walk through the kitchen I’d see the flickering flame and I would envision and recall my father’s smile, his kindness, his intelligence, and his open-mindedness.

I’d say kaddish surrounded by others saying this same these same ancient and familiar words of praise and acknowledgement.

But I was not in Montclair, New Jersey; I was in Lille, France. There was no kitchen island but a counter crowded with the needs of a busy family.

But still in my daughter’s home we lit that candle just as I would have in my own home and told stories about my father to the great-grandchildren whom he never met. Continue reading



We are in the midst of our longest Jewish counting period, the counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot, from freedom to responsibility.

It seems to be part of human nature to count.

We are always counting. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe April 17, 2018


From Captain Alex Kent:
The MESH Cafe served 24 guests Tuesday night, including 3 children. Chef Lynne Kurzweil stepped up once again to prepare a healthy, tasty dinner for the group, with Aileen Grossberg acting as sous chef. The crowd was served a green salad to start, accompanied by challah bread and spread. That was followed by a nourishing meatloaf, with peas and roasted carrots, and roasted, smashed potatoes, which were seasoned to perfection. Dessert was chocolate cake with fruit salad. Teen helpers included regulars Sarah and Amalia, along with Jack who wielded a mean potato masher. Montclair State interns Siobhan and Rebecca were on hand, along with two other MSU students: Jenna and Christina. MESH staffers Adrienne, Joseph and Maria ran the show in their usual competent manner.

Tonight’s meal was graciously sponsored in memory of Muriel Kurzweil Kanow by Linda and Todd Wieseneck, Felice and Don Levine, Joan and Don Zief, Maria and Jerry W. Czin, Judy and Neal Yudkoff and Risa and Seth Levine

Continue reading

Beyond the Canon



Passover has come and gone. Freedom is ours.

But the world intervenes. Many times in Jewish history freedom was snatched from our collective hands. There were the Babylonians, the Romans, the kings who separated Jews from others. And there were the Nazis who attempted to take not only freedom, but also, existence itself from the Jewish people. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe April 10, 2018


From Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

We welcomed a full house of 24 guests, including a family with several children, to this week’s MESH Cafe at Shomrei. Chef du Jour was yours truly with gracious contributions by Merrill and Andy Silver. First course was Merrill’s Old Fashioned Salad (a NYTIMES recipe) accompanied by warm pita and spread. Main course was potato crusted tilapia with roasted sweet potato and roasted asparagus garnished with red pepper strips. Dessert was Apple Pastry Strip (Silvers) with homemade whipped cream. The meal was warmly appreciated by all. Helpers included  twice monthly regular Susan Rosenblatt assisting with food prep and cleanup and first time MESH volunteer Analesa Berg, (who will be the next Artist in Residence in Shomrei’s gallery.) Also assisting with food prep were Hailey and Lilli. MESH staffers Adrienne, Joe and Maria oversaw a crack team of young people including first time teen volunteer Jack, along with MESH interns Rebecca and Siobhan and three additional MSU students who set up, served and cleared.
Continue reading

Mesh Cafe April 3, 2018


From Captain Shirley Grill:

The awesome team of Chefs Lynne Kurzweil and Aileen Grossberg ensured that we had a spectacular Pesach meal for our 22 guests on Tuesday, April 3.  Aileen planned the meal and Lynne cooked all Monday, so everything was prepared for the small kitchen team of Aileen, Yael Webber (Shomrei’ s own JLC teacher on vacation!) and yours truly–serving as kitchen help and captain.  We were supported by the MESH team led by Adrienne, with servers Siobhan, Rebecca, Joe and Joe (security.)  And our custodian Kevin did kitchen cleanup.  Continue reading

Work in Progress

Lampert libraryFor those who miss the little library in the Shomrei gallery, here’s an update.

The best information that I have says that the materials stored in the pods should be unpacked in about three weeks. We will need lots of help to sort and return the items to their proper rooms in the building.

Then later on, another crew will be needed to restock the library shelves.

Unfortunately, the library shelving will not be ready at the same time. We are still in the process of getting bids. So for the foreseeable future, the library will be in a state of suspended animation. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe Mar 27, 2018

IMG_1429From Captain Aileen Grossberg:

On a clear, cool early spring night, 21 guests gathered at Shomrei’s MESH cafe for a bounteous pre Passover meal. Chef Aileen Grossberg was helped by super spud cutter Yechiel Felder. Teens Davida, Leelah,and Sarah were superb at everything they were asked to do from cutting fruit to buttering bread to washing dishes. Interns Rebecca and Siobhan helped keep the dining space running smoothly. It was all overseen by Adrienne and Joe with our security guard , also named Joe, keeping a careful eye on everyone.

Continue reading

Women Who Made History


Laurel Ulrich, a historian of early America and not Jewish said, “Women who behave rarely make history,”

As we approach the end of March, Women’s History Month, and move towards the onset of Passover, it’s appropriate to highlight some of the unsung women of the Passover story and beyond-those women who helps to free the Jewish people at the time of the Exodus and later brought greater freedom to women and people in general. And who didn’t behave as they were expected to.  Continue reading