MESH Report Sept 26, 2023

It was still gloomy outside but in the Shomrei kitchen the colors couldn’t have been brighter and the MESH volunteers cheerier as they prepared the night’s meal.

New Shomrei members- but experienced food preparers- Carol and Andy Blau joined co-chairs Lynne Kurzweil and Aileen Grossberg is putting together 50 simple but satisfying meals which included an array of colorful raw vegetables, hummus, a generous serving of Aileen’s “Everything Egg Salad, “ semi- homemade coleslaw, a large sandwich roll, a bag of chips, a mini coffee cake and container of applesauce. Continue reading


Family lore has it that Grandpa Julius, my father’s father, was the only man in the shtetl of Skidel with a gun and that he was spirited out of town in a coffin because ”they” were after him. It’s hard to believe that this man of few words, whom I never heard raise his voice, might have had violence in this past.

Or Did Grandpa Sam, a small, quiet, white haired man with impeccable handwriting really know the Talmud so well that if you stuck a pin through a word, he would know the word on the other side of the page?

What do these family stories have to do with the High Holidays coming up? Continue reading

The Jewish Catalog Turns Fifty

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to The Jewish Catalog,. How old are you now?

This year The Jewish Catalog: a do-it-yourself kit reached the venerable age of fifty — right smack in middle age.  When most of us reach that age, we show signs that we have arrived: some gray at our temples, a few wrinkles, maybe even a desire for a midday nap. But a fifty-year-old is hardly over the hill these days and may look forward to some of his or her best years. Continue reading

Cool Down with Soup

When we think of cold soup , we most often call to mind a bright tomatoey gazpacho or a silky smooth vicysoisse. Gazpacho is technically a blend of raw vegetables including tomatoes,cucumber, bell peppers, often bread and spices. A simplified version was most likely brought to the Iberian Peninsula of Spain by the Romans and then given a local twist. It is simple and quick to make and has endless variations.

Today blended fruit soups, sometimes including tomatoes, are also called gazpacho. Continue reading

New CAJE is coming

New CAJE is coming to Montclair State for the 2nd time. There are no animals but there is a plethora of stimulating educational sessions from Sunday, July 15 through Wednesday, July 19.

What is New CAJE? The website calls New CAJE ”the premier professional development conference for Jewish educators. Each year 400+ educators gather for four days of learning, entertainment, prayer, and networking opportunities.” Check out the sessions on the website: Continue reading

Musical Legacy

Some say that along with jazz the most important contribution the United States has made to the musical world is in musical theater.

With the recent  death of Sheldon Harnick at age 99, the creators (many of whom were Jews) of classic American musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and South Pacific are gone. But they leave a legacy of hundreds of works that have entertained generations. Almost daily one of these classic shows is being performed somewhere in the world by a school or a theater group.

Continue reading

It’s PRIDE Month

Although each of us should be proud of who we are every month of the year, June is officially PRIDE month, celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ population.

Jewish literature has always dealt with the issues of the day: Heather Has two Mommies (1989) by Jewish writer Leslea Newman was a breakthrough book for young children. In an updated edition, it is still a go to book for the intended audience. Continue reading