These are unusual times. We usually active-even frenetic-individuals are stuck inside. Our calendar pages are blank or filled with strike outs for cancelled events.
We need to rediscover and reinvent ways to make the time pass. Stores report that sales of puzzles and games, personal exercise equipment and craft supplies have risen.
The market shelves are bare of flour, sugar and other baking items. As my daughter, the baker says: when stuck inside, the baking genes become dominant.
We have reverted to the activities that our parents and grandparents used to pass the time.
Here are some easy recipes for when that cooking gene strikes. They can all be made from kitchen staples. Don’t be afraid to substitute if one ingredient is not available. BATAYAVON!
Being cooped up at home can either be a curse or a blessing. I do miss my routine which gives purpose and markers to my days. However, the extra unscheduled times has allowed me to catch up on reading (I recommend The Convert by Hermans), organize my Rolodex ( I can’t give it up), and think about cleaning the closets. More importantly it has given me the opportunity to participate in some thoughtful webinars and online classes.
Some of these have been organized around the upcoming Passover holiday. In ordinary times, most of us would be planning our seders, making lists, freezing the gallons of chicken soup, and deciding which haggadah to use. These are not ordinary times; even my super organized brother hasn’t thought about Passover yet. Continue reading
Books are an important part of our kids’ school-and hopefully home- lives. What do we do when we’ve read all the books in our houses a thousand and one times, don’t want to order another thing from Amazon, and can’t go to the library or bookstore because they are closed?
While I’m investigating how to perhaps present an online library story time to our currently closed preschool, parents and kids of preschoolers and other picture book lovers might want to log on to Storyline Online. Continue reading
Yesterday Aileen and I met at Shomrei and, while standing six feet apart, we prepared takeaway meals for our MESH guests. The meal consisted of a hearty homemade tuna salad sandwich on a hard roll with sliced tomato and shredded lettuce. Semi-homemade cole slaw, a pickle and fresh fruit salad. Courtesy of leftover Purim goodies, we included chips, hamantaschen, a water bottle and a nutrition bar. We prepared 30 bags that MESH staffers, Joe and Ref, passed out to the 20 guests who showed up. Joe told us that he and Ref would then travel to the usual hangouts where the homeless go and distribute the remainder of the meals.
This weekend at Shomrei, we would have marked National Refugee Shabbat, a project of HIAS. Because of the health emergency, we obviously will not mark this event.
However, there are still thousands of refugees both in our country and world wide though their lives have been eclipsed by the growing pandemic. Continue reading
From Captain Aileen Grossberg:
It was a balmy evening with a hint of showers as a full contingent of guests dined at the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei.
The night’s meal was preceded, however, by earnest discussion as to how best to be welcoming to our guests and, at the same time, keep Shomrei safe in the growing health crisis. After some input from the MESH administration, we at Shomrei decided to be proactive and as of next week will be serving only takeaway meals to our MESH guests.
Shomrei members attended a session Entitled “The Impact of White Supremacy on Antisemitism” presented by Rabbi Elliot Tepperman at Bnai Keshet on February 26. The session is part of the Interfaith “Break the Hate ” series developed by Union Baptist Church. Several of the people who attended share their recollections and thoughts about the evening:
Purim is but days away. Central to the story, of course, is the beautiful, young Jewish woman Esther. She uses both her beauty and her wits to outsmart the villainous Haman and save her people.
Jewish history is filled with strong, smart, heroic women, often unsung.
As a tribute to Esther and the March, Women’s History Month, here is a short selection of books -fiction and non-fiction- featuring Jewish women who used their strength of mind and character to overcome problems, fulfill their dreams, or make a mark in the world.
From Captain Stuart Green:
Last night, the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei played host to 25 appreciative guests. With Tu Bishvat having been celebrated the day before, our meal reflected the tradition of eating fruits and nuts generally, and the seven species mentioned in the Torah specifically: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
On the 15 of Shevat, corresponding to the 10th of February, we will be celebrating Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.
Customarily, certain grains and fruits mentioned in the following quote from the Torah are eaten:
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).”
These items are collectively known as the seven species and each has been given a characteristic.