In Tribute to MLK Jr. Day

We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life in just a few days.  His relationship with the Jewish community was marked by his friendship with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. When King asked the Rabbi if he had found time to pray, Heschel famously answered  that he “felt his legs were praying”  as he stood with King and walked with King in the marches of the mid 1960s.

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Hanukkah Happenings

Chanukah around the world is an eight night series of videos presented by the JDC. While these videos are clearly meant to tug on your heartstrings and encourage contributions to the JDC, the segments are also entertaining and inspirational. They introduce some embattled, isolated or emerging Jewish communities around the world. Although the segments air daily at 7 p.m., by typing “a great miracle happened here” Chanukah JDC 2022 into your search engine, you will be able to see all the segments on YouTube. Continue reading

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

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.

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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

For Elul and Beyond

We are now in the month of Elul. What’s special about this last month of the Jewish spiritual year? According to Judaism Unbound ” It is a time of introspection. Time to stop and take a look back at the past year to see how we did.  Where did we grow and how do we want to continue to build on that growth? Elul is a time of asking for forgiveness from others in ways we caused harm and offering forgiveness to people who have harmed us.”

Elul is the prelude to the main attraction and helps us get settled and in the mood as does the opening act or musical prelude to a show. Continue reading

Remembering A.B. Yehoshua

A.B. Yehoshua, Israeli literary giant and ardent humanist, dies aged 85. This headline from The Times of Israel sums up the life of one of Israel’s foremost authors.

A.B. (Abraham Gabriel, called Boli)) Yehoshua was born in Jerusalem in 1936. His father, an author and translator, was a fourth generation Jerusalemite while his mother was a Moroccan immigrant. This “mixed” marriage was not successful leading Yehoshua to vow that his marriage would be for love.

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The Family Roe

I want to bring to your attention a most timely book. The Family Roe by Joshua Prager is not a “Jewish” book. However, the topic of abortion is of interest to many Jews and is, in fact, a Jewish topic.

Indeed, at the Shavuot tikkun, one of the study sessions was on the Jewish texts that dealt with abortion.

The Family Roe is a big book. There are more than 400 pages of closely written text and over 200 pages of notes. However, though highly detailed, the book reads easily because of the narrative nature of the story. Continue reading