Everything Hanukkah

Dec 10 hanukkah-stampIt’s finally here, Hanukkah- a bright spot on the calendar with the flickering candles, the shiny gelt, and the glistening oil for the latkes.

This year, of course, is different. We won’t be sharing as we usually do, but there are lots of things to see and do if you take advantage of the virtual offerings in food, music, art and literature. You can even party online.

And what better time to revive the oldest entertainment around-storytelling: reading aloud as a family. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Facts, Fiction and Other Stuff

molly's pilgrimAs the classic children’s book Molly’s Pilgrim explains, the Pilgrims got the idea of a harvest holiday of Thanksgiving from the Bible. They modeled their day of thanks after Sukkot.  This heart-warming story of Jewish immigrant Molly takes the classic American child’s experience of Thanksgiving and connects it to the Jewish experience. Also available as an Oscar Winning short film (shot in Montclair)  Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen. Find the film on YouTube.

Looking for some meaningful words with which to start your Thanksgiving? Read Are there Jewish Prayers for Thanksgiving from Jewish Boston.    Continue reading

A Different Thanksgiving

Covid Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year certainly isn’t like last.  At my house, just my husband and I will sit down at the table together because of COVID restrictions and safety. But as we did for the Passover seder, birthdays, and anniversaries this year, we will Zoom with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren and granddog in Nutley and in Lille, France.

So what to do when you suddenly are planning a Thanksgiving for 2 rather than 22? Here are some fairly easy last minute suggestions from previous Shomrei Week recipe columns. Everything can be easily adjusted for changes in your guest list. Continue reading

For Busy Cooks

apricot chickenmujaderrasquash kugel

In the run up to Thanksgiving dinner, busy cooks look for simple meals. Even if your guest list is drastically reduced, Thanksgiving dinner takes extra effort. Included in this recipe column are some simple weeknight meals and some which are suitable for the holiday.

I don’t use a lot of prepared food, but I just rediscovered this super simple chicken recipe from the ‘70s that packs lots of flavor. You may even have the ingredients on hand. This is a very forgiving recipe that begs for your own personal touch. Continue reading

Read, Learn Enjoy

book-check-out-300x128REMINDER: the library is open for borrowing.  There are many new books available as well as great older books for readers of all ages including teens.  Use the online catalog to choose your books; then email the library (email hidden; JavaScript is required)  with your request. The books can be left either in the office or on my porch (open 24/7, address by request). The catalog is very easy to use. There is a link on Shomrei’s home page. Questions or requests: email the librarian at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Continue reading

Other Worlds and Other Times

Lampert libraryIt’s finally over- the election that is. The months of having our ears to the radio and our eyes on the screens for what seems 24/7 have come to a close. Unglue yourself from CNN, FOX, NPR or whatever is your media of choice.

It’s time to pick up a book and escape from politics at least temporarily.

Here’s a group of books new to the Library that will take you to far off places or times or open your mind to new ideas. Continue reading

As the Nights Grow Longer: Good Books with Cookie Chaser

Screenshot 2020-10-22 09.09.41

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we will be inside more than ever. Tear your eyes away from the screen and pick up a real book. Most libraries are open for limited in-person visits or at the very least, offer pick-up service.

The synagogue library will pull books for you and leave them in the office. The library is also open for browsing. Please wear your mask, sanitize your hands and put books in the designated basket. Continue reading

October Things to Do

oct 14 Ruth WisseLooking for some ways to fill your time? Here are a few suggestions.

Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature emerita at Harvard has a series of podcasts and webinars produced by the Tikvah Fund. While you may or may not agree with the organization’s politics, Professor Wisse’s lectures are well worth listening to.  Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late

OSC Sept still watersAt this time of year with the month of Elul behind us and Tishri on its way out,  I often think of my own mortality and relationships that have flourished, struggled or withered away.

My uncle Robert, the last of my father’s generation recently passed away at aged 97. A few months before his death, in January on Shabbat Vayigash he gave a d’var Torah in his synagogue. He linked  the story of Joseph’s revelation of his identity to his brothers and their reconciliation to the longstanding rift between him and one of his daughters. He asked for his daughter’s forgiveness- no discussion, no arguments, no recriminations or explanations. Continue reading