For Shavuot and Beyond

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There’s lots going on in both the cyber and real worlds. As the world continues to open up a bit, live entertainment has slowly begun again or will soon.

The weather encourages outdoor gatherings.

But for when we are confined indoors, here are some programs and activities available via the Internet.

The Center for Jewish History (https://programs.cjh.org/ ) has a variety of programs, many free. Literature, history, culture, cooking and many more sessions are available. Continue reading

From Washington to Biden

jewish flagAs you know, May is Jewish American Heritage Month.  Since  1980 when President Jimmy Carter at Congress’s behest declared a special week in honor of America’s Jewish residents, the president has issued a proclamation and special events and exhibitions have been held.

In 2006, President George W. Bush declared an official Jewish American Heritage Month. Each year the president issues a proclamation highlighting Jewish accomplishments and contributions to the US.  Continue reading

American Notables

April 28 1Jewish American History Month has been celebrated every  May since 2006. Throughout May the library column will concentrate on American Jewish biography and history, bringing to your attention fascinating- though not always admirable- American Jews who have made their mark.

Jews have influenced every aspect of American society. They have been heroes in war and peace. They have made scientific discoveries that saved lives and helped to destroy lives. They have entertained and educated.

Some names you may know; others will be unfamiliar to you.  Yale University has developed a series of short, well-written and well-researched biographies that cover the entire range of  Jewish achievement.  Continue reading

England and the Jews

Apr 14 GrossThe relationship between England and its Jews is complicated as is in most countries where Jews have a history. Although there were probably Jews in England during Roman times, there is no evidence of an organized Jewish community. Today, England has one of the largest Jewish populations in the world and is second only to France in Europe.

Apr 14 food potThe first written record of a Jewish presence is dated 1070. Recent archaeological discoveries show proof of a kosher diet in an area known to have been inhabited by Jews.

Continue reading

Random Jottings

Internationa Ch Bk Day 2121Every year the International Board on Books for Young People sponsors a day to celebrate children’s books. Called International Children’s Book Day,  the celebration falls on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2.  The intent is to both  inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

This year’s poster and message come from the United States. The colorful poster was designed by Roger Mello, an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author , and awinner of the Hans Christian Andersen award. Continue reading

Passover Resources

March 18Table-mimouna_2Oh, today we’ll merry, merry be! Ooops…wrong holiday. But certainly we should be merry, or at least rejoice, as we celebrate freedom. What is more precious?

The following resources will help you to have an enlightening, delicious, and fulfilling holiday. Continue reading

Strong Women

March 11 women nadellMarch is a very busy month with Passover coming up shortly. However,  Women’s history month and the celebration of brave, strong, accomplished women can’t be glossed over.

Think back to the women of the Bible who led, who were warriors, who spoke up for their rights and who were often unsung.

Strong women have also been a part of Jewish fiction, often appearing as matriarchs who buoyed up their menfolk. And it’s a truism that fiction may not be “real”  but it can certainly be “true.”

Enjoy the following books for both children and adults. And, remember, if you’ve never heard of her, often a book for younger readers is an excellent way to learn about an unfamiliar person. Continue reading

Sources to Educate, Elevate and Entertain

Feb.13 ClimateWhile Tu B’Shevat is behind us, we should always be aware of our natural surroundings, their blessings and their challenges. Dayenu: a Jewish call to climate action is a “movement of American Jews confronting the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. We care deeply about equity and justice in our world and about the future we create for our children and future generations. We believe that together, drawing from our Jewish tradition, experience, and faith, we have the power to create real and lasting change.” Continue reading

It’s Soup Month

soup Sendak

January should be called Soup Month- in fact it is. Along with baths, birds and hugs, soup is celebrated in January although it’s perfect any month of the year. Just ask Maurice Sendak whose slim book Chicken Soup with Rice celebrates that staple in every month of the year.

Soup can be silkily elegant or chunkily hearty. It can whet your appetite for what comes next or make you feel satisfyingly full.

In fact, soup can be whatever you want it to be and can be made with almost anything. In addition, cooking soups from different Jewish communities is a great way to learn about different Jewish cultures. It can also be the inspiration for stories for the young and reminiscences for the older folks. Continue reading