It Takes a Minyan

Nick Levitin

In life, there are certain things that cannot be done alone. In Judaism, there are certain prayers that cannot be said alone. Kaddish is one of them – it takes a minyan. At Shomrei there are currently three regularly scheduled opportunities to say Kaddish: the services we have Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning.

To ensure that we always have ten people for the Sunday Morning Minyan, Linda Ariel will begin collecting names of those who would like to be called upon, or scheduled, to attend the Sunday morning minyan. Continue reading

Purchasing Burial Plots

katzman_carolMy name is Carol Katzman. I am a long-time member of Shomrei Emunah, and my volunteer efforts focus around maintaining our cemeteries. Every year when we read Parsahat Chayei Sarah, which talks about Abraham purchasing a burial cave for Sarah, I like to include a reminder in Shomrei Week about purchasing burial plots through Shomrei Emunah. This year in particular, I want to emphasize that after 5 years of research, the Shomrei Emunah Cemetery Association is able to help members in need of interfaith burials. This is one more way our community can be inclusive of interfaith families. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

More information is available on the Shomrei website: https://www.shomrei.org/cemetery.asp

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

Starting the Journey: Reflections on Torah Study for Parashot Noah and Lech L’cha

Rabbi Julie began Torah Study last Thursday (Oct 27) with a question – To what extent are we pursuing our own journey or continuing our parents’ journey?

Parshat Lech L’cha begins with God telling Abraham (Abram as he was then called) to start on a journey “to the land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1)”. Abram then gathers together his people and possessions and sets out for Canaan. This is, of course, a huge deal; but is it actually a break with the past?

Continue reading

Enjoying the Harvest: Cooking for Sukkot

I did not grow up celebrating Sukkot. Lou built our first sukkah when our son was 2 years old. Each year Lou drags the sukkah pieces up from the basement and our now 36-year-old son comes over to help him put it together. We cut the schach from grasses that we grow in our yard and Lou spreads it on top of the sukkah. And then I hang the decorations – stained glass and metal ornaments that we’ve collected over the years. Continue reading

Only For the Holidays

One of my quirks is that there are certain recipes that I make only on designated holidays. I think this makes them special; but my family find this very annoying as they have to wait all year for some of their favorite foods.

For Rosh Hashana, I have recipes made with honey. This Rosh Hashanah chicken is even more special because I make it only on Erev Rosh Hashanah. As a funny consequence of this practice – friends who ask for this recipe check whether it’s okay with me if they make it at other times. Of course it is!

Rosh Hashanah Chicken (aka Chicken with Honey, Basil & Almonds)

INGREDIENTS
2 chickens, cut up
2 tablespoons olive oil
White pepper
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup almonds, finely ground
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup chicken broth, heated
¾ cup yellow raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.
1. Follow the general instructions for browning chicken. Season chicken with pepper and remove to a covered casserole.
2. Add onion & garlic to pan; sauté until onion just starting to brown. Add almonds, honey, & basil. Cook over low heat, stirring to mix (about1 minute).
3. Sprinkle corn starch over almond mixture and stir to mix in. Gradually add broth, stirring and cooking over high heat until thickened (about1 minute). Stir in raisins & lemon juice. Pour over chicken. Bake, covered, 1 hour.
SERVE with couscous.

 

Rosh Hashanah Chicken #2 (aka Honey & Spiced Glazed Chicken)

INGREDIENTS
¼ cup honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 chicken legs, cut up
Pepper

PREHEAT` oven to 425 degrees.
1. In a small bowl, stir together honey, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, mustard, & cayenne.
2. Put chicken in a rimmed baking dish. Make a slash in each thigh and drumstick. Season with pepper and then brush most of the glaze all over the chicken. Let chicken rest for 30 minutes to soak in the marinade. Bake 15 minutes. Brush the remaining glaze over the chicken and bake 15 minutes more.
3. OPTIONAL: Remove chicken from the oven and preheat the broiler. Brush the juices from the baking sheet on the chicken and broil 5 minutes until the skin is crisp.

 

This is my preferred salad mix for Rosh Hashanah through Sukkot ― made with apples and a dressing made with honey. I use a firm tart apple, such as Gala or Fuji, and I prefer Persian cucumbers. I do actually make the dressing throughout the year, but I use brown sugar instead of honey.

Rosh Hashanah Salad (aka Mixed Salad with Apples & Craisins)

INGREDIENTS
Red leaf lettuce, cut or ripped into bite-sized pieces
Cucumber, cut lengthwise in half or quarters (depending on size) and sliced crosswise
Apple, cut lengthwise in 8 wedges, cored and sliced crosswise
Dried cranberries (or Craisins)
Sliced or slivered almonds
Sweet and Sour Dressing

Put all of the salad ingredients into a bowl. Add dressing and toss well.

Rosh Hashanah Salad Dressing (aka Sweet and Sour Dressing)

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (½ teaspoon)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to blend.

 

The traditional Rosh Hashanah desert is honey cake. Seems like one of my guests always offers to make it so I never have and don’t have a recipe. Aileen Grossberg shared this recipe from chef Michael Solomonov.

Mother’s Honey Cake with Apple Confit

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
2 1/2 Cups flour
2 Teaspoons baking soda
3 eggs, beaten
1 Cup sugar
2/3 Cups honey
1 1/4 Cup brewed coffee
6 Tablespoons canola oil
Salt
Pinch cinnamon

For the Apple Confit:
3 apples, peeled and sliced thinly crosswise
1 Cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon honey
3 cloves

For the Cake:

PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees.

LINE 2 loaf pans with oiled parchment paper.

  1. Combine the flour and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, honey, coffee, canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and cinnamon. Mix on low until blended. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing just until combined.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

For the Apple Confit:

PREHEAT the oven to 275 degrees.

  1. Toss the apple slices with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, and cloves. Arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof skillet. Add water just to cover the apples. Press a sheet of parchment onto the surface of the water.
  2. Put the skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, cover tightly in foil, and transfer to the oven. Bake until the apples are just tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Cool to room temperature, transfer to a lidded container, and chill until cold. Serve apples on top of a slice of honey cake.

A Stronger and Holier Community

Rabbi David Greenstein’s tenure as spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah started not with a bang but a silence. A sanctifying silence. On his first Shabbat on our bimah, in August 2009, he introduced us to the practice of maintaining absolute silence until all congregants finished reciting the Amidah to themselves. No kibbitzing with your seat-mate about afternoon plans. No rabbi moving on to the next reading once most of us were seated. At every Shabbat and holiday service for the next 13 years, if anyone was still praying, the rest of us held the silence. In time, the silence itself felt like prayer. It was an early lesson from our new rabbi in achieving communal holiness, not through words or deeds but through respect. A community of all for one, as well as one for all.

Rabbi Greenstein announced upon his arrival that his greatest value was building Jewish community. And in a recent conversation, that is how he looked back on his years as our rabbi: “I tried as hard as I could to share my love for living a Jewish life, for studying Torah, for connecting people, to be there for people. That’s what I tried to do.”

Continue reading

Enveloped In Love – Our Kiddush Experience

On Feb 26, 2022, my family hosted the kiddush for Brian’s 10th  birthday party – first time double digits is an exciting chapter! The moment we entered synagogue, congregants wished Brian a happy birthday. Rabbinic Intern, Lily Lucy, welcomed us into the Hinei Ma Tov JLC event, by wishing Brian a good birthday and pointing out to the other students that the birthday table covers, balloons and food items were all set up so that the congregation could celebrate Brian entering his double-digit birthday. It made Brian feel so special. Continue reading