Barcelona Magic

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s a Jewish proverb that says “No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” You never know what surprises you’ll find when you travel and where your feet will lead you.

My daughters and I spent a few days in Barcelona, Spain at the beginning of April. We planned to see the usual sites: a walk along La Rambla, tour Gaudi’s famed Sagrada Familia… and Park Guehl, the Picasso Museum, a stroll along the Mediterranean.

But it’s the unexpected that sometimes leaves the greatest impression.

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Seder Eats


What a treat!  On Sunday a large group of females aged just months old to life experienced seniors joined to celebrate a pre-Passover seder. Hearing the voices of women raised in song and conversation, watching women think what freedom means to them personally, listening to the youngest women ask the Four Questions, recalling our female ancestors-(sadly many of us no names beyond our mothers’), enjoying a Passover meal with nary an ersatz ingredient in any dish…a lovely evening.

Look no further than the recipes for the food served at Shomrei’s Women’s Seder if you want something new and tasty for your seder dinner. Thanks to Lynne Kurzweil for planning this healthy, delicious, and unique meal. Continue reading

How is a Haggadah like a Pocketbook?

IMG_0003_3aFor most of my adult life, I’ve been searching for the perfect pocketbook. There were the huge satchels I carried in college and the next few years at the beginning of my teaching career.

Then I went through backpacks, large and small, designed to hold all the baby and small child detritus.

As I got older, the bags seemed to get a little small: they no longer had to hold pacifiers, a container of Cheerios, and an extra diaper.  The books were replaced by a Kindle and then a phone.

Did I need all my credit cards? Maybe a slimmed down wallet would do.

The right number of pockets was essential to be able to find things quickly.

I’m still searching as my lifestyle changes.

Just as there seems to be no perfect pocketbook, there is no perfect Haggadah. Continue reading

Best Books 2019

2019awards22019awards3Every year librarians and readers wait with bated breath for the announcements of the year’s award winning books.

The American Library Association (ALA) youth announcements come at 8 o’clock in the morning no matter where the announcement is made. Continue reading

MESH Report 3/12/2019


Report from Captain Alex Kent:

Shomrei did another stellar job of hosting the MESH Cafe this week.  24 guests were served and we prepared 5 take out containers.

Chef Aileen Grossberg prepared a sumptuous meal, re-purposing a number of items.   The first course was a medley of southwestern corn salad, falafel sliders, and roasted veggie pasta.  This was followed by a green salad, and a main course of salmon with a hummus topping, couscous with veggies,and green beans, served with a side of bread.  Dessert was cookies from the Art Mazel pre-school fundraiser (the source of the sliders as well), and fruit.   Continue reading

She Opens her Mouth with Wisdom

purimwomen1Purim is quickly approaching. Kids love the holiday as they can be as loud as they want in the sometimes too rigid atmosphere of the synagogue.

Adults love the holiday, too. They can be as silly as they want and who doesn’t like a good party?

However, underneath this levity is a serious story of courage and creative thinking. Continue reading

Joyful Noise Around Us

music 3The Psalmist said, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” and “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!”

The Talmud tells us “Three things soften a man’s heart: a pleasant melody, a pleasant scene, and a fragrant odor.” and “Song is obligatory in the ritual of the sanctuary.”

Hasidic master Nachman of Bratslav stated that “Nature is saturated with melody; heaven and earth are full of song.” Continue reading

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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