Our Trip to Holland: Seeking a Context

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The Anne Frank House conveys the narrative that Holland protected its Jews. To quote the fact checker for the New York Times: this requires context.

Conversos settled in Amsterdam during the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s important to note that Holland was not uniformly welcoming as they were not allowed to settle in other towns and it took a while before they were comfortable living openly as Jews. They also did not know much about being Jewish. Rabbis from other countries – Italy, Morocco, Germany – came over to teach them about Judaism. Ashkenazi Jews came to Amsterdam later and during the 18th century this was the larger of the two communities. Continue reading

Visiting the Anne Frank House

IIMG_0406t is called the Anne Frank House but it was not actually her home. The buildings housed her father’s company and Anne, together with her family (father Otto, mother Edith, sister Margot) and 4 other people, hid in the top two floors of the back annex above the warehouse for 2 years.

The entire building is empty. No furniture – the Nazis removed everything and Otto Frank did not want other furniture brought in to recreate the space. Only a few personal items have survived – postcards and magazine photos that Ann glued to her bedroom wall, a shopping list, Edith Frank’s siddur. Continue reading

MESH Cafe June 26, 2018

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Report from Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

Tuesday night was our last cafe before we break for summer, resuming in early September.  We welcomed 24 guests and provided 3 takeaway meals.  Uber Chef Aileen Grossberg planned and prepared a special four course meal with the assistance of Sous Chef Beryl Hiller. First course was a refreshing cold Cucumber Soup followed by Green Salad with a small scoop of Tuna Salad, a mini Quiche and a buttered Roll. Main course was Maple Balsamic Roasted Steelhead Trout, Green Beans with Sautéed Mushrooms and Shallots and homemade Corn Pudding. Dessert included Rice Pudding with Blueberries, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Strawberries and Grapes. Whew!  A healthy, colorful,  gourmet meal that was thoroughly enjoyed and much appreciated by our guests. Food prep and cleanup helper was yours truly and of course, our MESH staffers Adrienne, Joe and Joe.  It was a great night of good food, good feelings and fellowship.  Several of our regulars personally expressed their thanks for all we do for them at our cafe, wished us a good summer and looking forward to returning in the fall.
Look for signup reminder emails the end of August and make this the year you commit to volunteering for MESH!  You will not be disappointed!

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MESH Cafe June 12, 2018

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Report from Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

On a beautiful June evening we welcomed 24 guests to our cafe and provided 3 additional takeout meals.  The outstanding team of Sarita Eisenberg and Sarah Steindel prepared a scrumptious summer meal, repurposing some leftover kiddish items graciously donated by the Greengrass family.  Continue reading

Carol Starr Mesh Cafe May 31, 2018

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Report from Captain Stuart Green:

On a sultry Tuesday evening in late May, the Carol Starr MESH cafe hosted 22 guests. Naturally, given temperatures in the nineties, it was just the time for the walk-in refrigerator to go on the fritz. A refrigerator repair man worked on it diligently until he cut his finger and had to go to the emergency room (he apparently will be okay). Another refrigerator repair man showed up and provided a temporary fix. Lisa Zelenetz stuck through it all. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe Jan 23, 2018

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From Captain Lynne Kurzweil

Shomrei MESH Cafe on location welcomed 17 grateful guests to Union Baptist Church on Midland Avenue in Montclair.  Our Ace Team led by Sarita Eisenberg and including Sarah and Charles Steindel prepared the food at Sarita’s home. The piping hot meal was quickly packed up and transported to the church. During the opening remarks guests were told that even though Shomrei always prepares homemade meals, this meal was, in fact, prepared in Sarita’s home. Applause erupted even before the menu was announced!  Continue reading

Mesh Cafe Oct 31, 2017

From Captain Aileen Grossberg

IMG_1244On an evening that was all treats and no tricks,  21 guests sat down to a simple but hearty meal of minestrone soup, perfectly seasoned baked chicken breasts, colorful roasted baby carrots and broccoli, and smashed roasted potatoes followed by a medley of cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries accompanied by Halloween Oreos for dessert. Co-chefs Sarah Steindel and Sarita Eisenberg operated like a well-oiled team, never missing a beat and timing the meal perfectly. Continue reading

Solemn Sacrifice

Children's Burial Site, Sillustani Peru

Children’s Burial Site, Sillustani Peru

I knew that the Inca practiced human sacrifice. What I didn’t know prior to our recent trip to Peru was that their sacrifices were of children. And not just any children, but the most beautiful children from well-born families.

The ceremony was called capacocha, “solemn sacrifice”. Parents offered what they most prized – their children – to the mountain gods to ensure water for the harvest and protection against earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural phenomena. The children were brought to the palace in Cusco (the principal city of the Inca empire) and treated like royalty over the course of a year or two. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe June 27, 2017

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From Captain Sarah Kravits:

Shomrei welcomed 20 guests for the last MESH meal of the season before we break for summer. Chefs Sarita Eisenberg and Sarah Steindel prepared a delicious meal, starting with a mixed green salad with hearts of palm and corn served with bread, a main course of honey balsamic chicken served with herbed pasta and green beans mixed with sautéed mushrooms and onions, and finally a dessert of sorbet with cookies and strawberries. When Captain Sarah Kravits announced the menu, the guests applauded — they consistently appreciate the food we serve at Shomrei! Continue reading