Grandparenting: Joy and Challenge

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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.

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MESH Report Dec 3, 2019

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Gabriel scoops tuna salad

 

From Captain Aileen Grossberg:

On a cold, post snowstorm night, 24 guests including a five year old child, were warmed by the hospitality at the Carol Starr MESH Cafe.

After consulting with co-chair and kiddush planner, Aileen Grossberg, chef Lynne Kurzweil with expert help from sous chef Beryl Hiller, cooked a delicious meal of fresh-yes, FRESH, not canned- tuna salad accompanied by grape leaves, grape tomatoes, cucumber and crackers, baked tilapia with Israeli salad repurposed into a Mediterranean tapenade, rice, roasted broccoli and carrots, roll and butter, and finally a healthy dessert of pineapple and berries served with a chocolate chip cookie.

Our guests applauded the meal, enjoyed seconds, and left barely a scrap on the serving platters. When Captain Aileen went around asking people if they enjoyed their meal, faces beamed. Even our youngest guest loved this decidedly adult meal.

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MESH Report Nov 26, 2019

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From Captain Sarah Kravits:

On Tuesday night the MESH guests enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving meal courtesy of chef Aileen Grossberg and chef’s assistant Beryl Hiller. After a whirlwind of preparation in the kitchen — directed by Aileen and captain Sarah Kravits and facilitated by volunteer Cheryl and teen helpers Amalia, Jake, Delia, Lauren, and Leah — guests enjoyed a starter of butternut squash soup with ginger followed by a mixed green salad with homemade balsamic dressing, an entree of turkey meatloaf with cranberry chili sauce glaze accompanied by roasted baby potatoes as well as roasted butternut squash with Brussel sprouts and cranberries, plus rolls with margarine and a side of cranberry sauce. The meal finished on a high note with apple pie and non-dairy ice cream. Guests went home with a snack bag of a clementine and trail mix. Everyone was satisfied! Continue reading

People, Places and Things

cube2Europe 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

‘Tis the Season

Hebrew clockI 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?

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It’s Elul: Time to Think

elulAs 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

Tension

nytimesSearching 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.

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Jewish or Not – You decide

Jewish booksSo. ..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.

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Cool as a …

imagesMaybe you are some of the lucky ones who live in old houses but have air-conditioning. I’m not.

The last thing I want to do none of these beastly hot, humid days we’ve been having is to do REAL cooking.

Cucumbers seem to be the perfect main dish, accompaniment or ingredient for summer meals.

By definition, gazpacho is a cold tomato based Spanish-style soup made with vegetables and spices. But there’s no reason other vegetables can’t be adapted to the same type of soup. This cucumber gazpacho is refreshing and incredibly easy to make as are most recipes from Jamie Oliver. No cooking involved. Continue reading