Attending in person Shabbat Services at Shomrei

Gail StocksWe’ve all been home so much during this past year, who would expect to enjoy being “even more at home?” But that’s what it felt like walking into Shomrei and up the stairs and into the service on Shabbat.

Of course I picked up the wrong prayer book but didn’t even notice the pages being called were the wrong pages, because I could not pay attention to the prayer book at all. It was the Rabbi – live on the bima – the congregants – live surrounding me – the singing – reverberating through the room – the Torah on the bima (I was late…) being chanted live so beautifully – it was all I could attend to; the prayer book would have to wait. Continue reading

Goodbye “Sharing Shabbat”

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Shomrei’s calendar bears a scar. On Friday March 13, 2020 and Saturday March 14, all the Shabbat services were listed as “CANCELED.”  The Shabbat of Ki Tisa was our lockdown date. The following Saturday the “Sharing Shabbat” services began. Broadcast live on YouTube, Rabbi Greenstein, would go to the shul, all alone and lead an adapted one hour service in front of a web camera. How strange it must have been for him, to lead prayers out loud with no response or feedback.  In fact, without even the sure knowledge the automatically triggered technology was working or anyone was listening. Continue reading

Plain and Not So Plain Chicken

CookingThe silver lining to the pandemic has been that our son and daughter-in-law (Moish & Charissa) ― who used to get together with friends every Friday ―are, instead, coming over every week for Shabbat dinner. This past week, Charissa commented that she never cooks chicken herself, partly because she doesn’t like the thought of handling raw chicken but also because she doesn’t know how to cook chicken.

Did I say that the menu every week is always chicken? Lou grew up having chicken for dinner every Friday night for Shabbat. When we were married, I decided to continue that tradition. However, whereas Lou’s mom made chicken the same way every week, I wanted to vary what I served – hence I have a very large number of different chicken recipes. So here is an excerpt of the chicken chapter of the family cookbook I am compiling. I’ll start simple with some roasted chicken recipes … Continue reading

Vive la Difference!

karpasWhy was this year’s Passover different from last year’s?

This year we knew what we were doing as we Zoomed across three continents and several states. We knew where to put the IPad so that everyone could see and be seen. We knew to mute and unmute. We knew how we would sound singing together. And we knew that if we didn’t mute ourselves, everyone could hear our comments.

This year we had in person guests at our small seder, for we were less fearful, though still cautious.

This year we experimented with haroset and grew our own karpas and hazerat.  Continue reading

Kitchen Scrap Gardening for Passover

Aileen's karpas & maror

Aileen’s karpas & maror

It really works!

At the Passover Splash program on March 7, Aileen Grossberg showed the attendees how the root ends of a bunch of celery or head of romaine can be grown in water for use as karpas and maror at the Passover seder.   Once the vegetables have started to put out roots, they can be planted in potting soil and will continue to grow leaves.

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Putting Seder (Order) in Our Yoga Practice

Editor’s note: Elisa gave this drash (commentary) at the yoga practice for Passover Splash on Sunday March 7, 2021

ElisaauthorsphotoUsually I don’t begin a Jewish yoga practice discussing yoga, but instead, start with a drash or commentary on the parsha or theme of the morning.

Today, I’m discussing yoga.

Decades ago when I first began practicing, I started with Ashtanga Yoga, a very precise form of yoga that is composed of six series, each of which has a set order of prescribed poses. The first series (I never made it much beyond the first, and not sure I ever really “nailed it”–more on that phrase in a moment–even at that) has about 40 poses.      Continue reading

Starting with Starters

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Back in September at the start of the (Jewish) new year, I started a new project – compiling my recipes into a book for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The project posed several challenges – many of my “recipes” were just scribbled suggestions of ingredients while some were not written down at all. Still others were actual recipes that I had found over the years – except that I didn’t follow any of them as written and had not noted down my modifications.

So …. I have embarked on a year-long (or possibly longer) journey which involves making each recipe and writing down the ingredients and directions for all the items I cook. In addition, at the request of my daughter-in-law, I am taking pictures so that she knows what the finished recipe looks like. Continue reading

Crossing the “Virtual” Finish Line in Support of the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund

ellisDear Friends and Family,

We are happy to report that the weather cooperated and we were able to complete our walk in support of the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund.  Nearly twenty people and one dog participated and we canvassed the East Coast from Connecticut down to South Carolina.  Thus far in 2020, we have raised more than $10,000 for the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund through Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and we hope to increase that between now and the end of the year.

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Prayer Vigil in Glenfield Park

vigilA major message that has been communicated in response to the murder of George Floyd is that we each must find a way to take action. The Social Action Committee, chaired by Audrey Levitin and Sarita Eisenberg, published in the June 4th ShomreiWeek a range of opportunities for us to contemplate.

Last Sunday (June 7) I opted to attend a Prayer Vigil, which took place at 2:00 p.m. at the Football Field in Glenfield Park, located on Maple Avenue in Montclair. This gathering was organized by Reverend Michael Spivey of the Citadel of Hope Worship Center in Bloomfield. It was described as an open invitation for all to participate in prayers for our families, community, and our nation. In that it was stated that demonstrators would be adhering to social distancing guidelines, I felt that this was a safe way in which to express solidarity and to advocate for change in our community.

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