Stuck Inside Reading

winter readingIt may be a beautiful winter day today, but it’s still winter and there are many more opportunities for enforced days at home.

Those days are great for catching up on movies, binge-watching TV shows you may have missed, making a big pot of soup, and curling up with a good book. So much more enjoyable than straightening the sock drawer. Continue reading

MESH Report 2/5/2019

IMG_5036Report from Captain Sarita Eisenberg:

We had another full house with 24 guests at the MESH Café as well as providing 5 take-away meals. Chef John Lasiter prepared a sumptuous meal with assistance from Beryl Hiller. The meal started with meat empanadas and coleslaw. Next course was an overflowing plate of barbeque chicken, roasted potatoes provencal, more coleslaw, and corn bread. For desert there was brownies and ice cream. Teen volunteers Amalia, Elana, Orly, and Jonah  assisted with preparing and plating the food while Lou Hammerman manned the sink. Continue reading

MESH Report 1/29/2019

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From Captain Aileen Grossberg:

On a relatively mild winter night, the Carol Starr MESH Cafe served a full house of 24 appreciative guests plus several take away meals. Lynne Kurzweil and Aileen Grossberg served as creative co-chefs, repurposing food left from the weekend’s events.

Our guests were treated to a multi-course meal of salmon salad with miso marinated carrots, felafel with tahini, pickled cucumbers and crackers as an appetizer. This was followed by squash soup garnished with house made crispy chick peas, a mixed green salad and warm pita bread. The entree  was za’atar chicken strips over vegetable infused pasta with a side of farro salad. A colorful fruit bowl of grapes, cantaloupe, and berries accompanied by crumb cake completed the meal.

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MESH Report 1/22/2019

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From Captain Stuart Green:

Shomrei’s MESH cafe opened on Tuesday night, welcoming 24 guests seeking respite from temperatures in the teens. They came early and stayed late, enjoying a hot and nutritious meal prepared by MESH superstars Lynne Kurzweil and Aileen Grossberg, sous-chef and pot washer Susan Rosenblatt, and shopper Sarah Steindel. The menu featured minestrone soup, salad, baked tilapia on a bed of greens, rice and mixed vegetables, rye bread, fruit salad, and apple strudel. Teens Amalia, Jonah, Kendall, Louis, and Max served, cleared, and kibitzed, along with MESH pros Bonny, Adrienne, and Joe.

Quick plea from MESH co-chairs Lynne Kurzweil & Aileen Grossberg:
With the exception of Tuesday, 2/12, there are no Cooks nor Captains signed up going forward.  We need more help if we want to sustain our MESH Cafe. If you’ve never cooked for MESH or been a Captain we will guide you all the way. Please consider signing up and then do it. To sign up, go to shomrei.org/mesh.

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Time to Travel

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Winter is upon us, yet again. Although everyone seems always to be scurrying and hurrying, it’s important to find time to escape our hectic lives.

Unfortunately we can’t always go off to some exotic place. But winter is a fine time to settle into that comfy chair and escape through the magic of reading.

Books will take you anywhere if you let them-even to places that don’t exist. Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat is Coming

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There may be a wind chill below freezing and perhaps some snow in the forecast, but inside our homes and synagogues it’s spring like as we celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees.

In Israel the month of Shevat marks the beginning of the growing season when the trees bud and flower. It’s a perfect time for planting.

So there is a lot of pretending in far colder New Jersey, but isn’t it nice to imagine?

While Tu B’Shevat also had a very serious side to it as one of the financial landmarks of the year, it’s often treated as a holiday just for kids in modern America and has also taken on the identity of an ecological holiday as  Jewish Earth Day.
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MESH Report 1/15/2019

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From Captain Sarah Kravits:

On a sub-freezing night, the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei provided many kinds of warmth — a hot meal, a warm place to eat it, and friendly people providing it. Chef Melissa Elbaum unfortunately was sick and could not cook, so Chef Lynne Kurzweil and sous-chef Aileen Grossberg came in to save the day, ingeniously repurposing food in the refrigerator and freezer. They created a delicious meal of a hearty tomato and roasted eggplant vegetable soup, a green salad with marinated tomatoes, a “flight” of quiches (broccoli and cheddar, mushroom and spinach, and salmon and goat cheese), a tuna chickpea salad on a lettuce leaf boat, toasted bagels with cream cheese and butter, and roasted root vegetables that were the last of the CSA generously provided by Judy Wildman and Zelda Greenstein (in the photos you can see the “before” and “after” of the roasting). Dessert was fruit salad and homemade chocolate/chocolate chip cookies.

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Rhapsody for a Pot

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I’ve rhapsodized about my Breville Smart Oven, expensive but well-worth the price especially since my full-sized oven is broken, but the Breville’s place in my culinary heart may have been taken over by the Instant Pot. This appliance, available under several brands, is essentially an electric pressure cooker with added features so that it’s great for making a meal in one pot.

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MESH Report 1/8/2019

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From Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

We welcomed a full house of 24 guests this past Tuesday evening. We also packed up 6 takeaway meals for guests we could not accommodate inside. Our chef was Ben Lefkowitz, who came back for the second week in row during his college break, this time as executive chef. Ben prepared a great meal including Hearty Vegetable Soup with Challah and spread, Roast Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Rice Pilaf with Mixed Vegetables. Ben baked Brownies for dessert which were served along side Cantaloupe and Blueberries. Sous Chef was Lynne Kurzweil with a last minute assist by Lanny Kurzweil. Servers were Ben, Lynne and Lanny. Cleanup crew was Ben and Lynne. (You get the picture…it was a skeleton crew.) As always, Bonny, Adrienne and security guard, Joe, were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Next week we have a great group of volunteers. However, the schedule for the last two weeks in January is completely blank. Please signup to help. We need you.
Thank you in advance.

www.shomrei.org/mesh

Lynne
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Yiddish is Alive and Well

yiddish3Yiddish rules!  The year 2018 saw some great highlights in the modern history of Yiddish.

Debra Caplan published her excellent study:  Yiddish Empire: the Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy.

Yiddish theater itself made a huge comeback with the staging of Fiddler on the Roof in an almost universally acclaimed totally Yiddish version. With outstanding actors and a very human approach to the iconic figure of Tevye, this Fiddler could become the classic version.  Just as you didn’t need to be Jewish to love Levy’s Rye, theater goers needed no knowledge of Yiddish to appreciate this Fiddler. Supertitles helped, but the acting carried the show with which so many people are already familiar. (See: Tradition or Traditsye, Aug 1, 2018) Continue reading