Increasing Access to Reading

In addition to recommending books and calling your attention to informative websites, I like to share information from the greater library world.

The following information is from the latest issue of Bookmark, the publication of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians: If you or someone you know has a problem accessing print for educational or pleasure reading, you are eligible to use the resources of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC). Formerly called the Library for the Blind and Handicapped, the library recognizes that there are many reasons for readers having difficulty with print: a visual disability, an intellectual disability, a processing problem, a physical problem holding a print book, or simply needing larger print. Continue reading

Welcoming our Newest Member

What’s sweeter than a new baby?  Shomrei welcomed  4 day old Esther Hirsch to the congregation with an in-house catered kiddush on Shabbat, November 19.

Babies come when they are ready so the kiddush volunteers didn’t find out about Esther’s birth until late Wednesday afternoon. We did a quick pivot, abandoning the planned kiddush menu, and substituting a custom menu requested by Esther’s parents, Josh Hirsch and Jenny Leon. Continue reading

Reflections on the Act of Voting

When my family moved to Montclair in 1975 , the first things we did were to change our address in the voting records and get library cards. I don’t remember where we first voted. It may have been Watching School, the school our elder daughter would eventually attend.

But the last many years, voting took place at Edgemont Park. The park house had everything; plenty of parking, the pond sparkling in the November (or whatever month the election was) sun, and a calm presence as one approached the desk.

Continue reading

Toda Raba

Thank you to everyone who helped with the Sukkot kiddushes. The special Shabbat kiddush was a huge success with well over 100 people sharing a scrumptious meal together in our lovely sukkah on a perfect fall afternoon.

Kudos to Dale Russakoff who spearheaded the effort and to Suzanna Grobman and Katie Teladano who made it all work along with a superb crew of volunteer sous chefs who chatted and chopped from Thursday ‘til Saturday. Continue reading

For Rosh Hashanah and Beyond

With High Holidays so close, I’m happy to share with you some readings and links to deepen your understanding and appreciation of this solemn, but joyful, time in our Jewish year.

Ilana Kurshan is an American living in Israel. She is the mother of young children. This article featuring Eric Carle’s beloved story The Very Hungry Caterpillar, gives some very sage advice about how to handle the long services during the holidays and makes strong connections between Carle’s secular story and the story of creation. Kurshan is best known for If All the Seas Were Ink, her memoir about studying Talmud. She’s also the author of Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights: the four questions around the world and the translator of Meir Shalev’s A Snake, a Flood, a Hidden Baby: Bible stories for children. Continue reading