Books Bloom for Jewish American Heritage Month

April flowers bring May flowers like the beautiful irises at Presby Garden and flowering trees that grace Montclair streets and front yards. Short Story Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as a plethora of other daily, weekly and monthly celebrations of special interests from the ridiculous to the sublime all occur in May.

You might not know it, but it’s also Jewish American Heritage Month. Every year since 2006, May has been recognized in Congress, by the president and by public institutions as a time to celebrate and educate about Jewish American history and achievement. Continue reading

Thoughts on Food

As our tables groan under the weight of the Passover feast; as we loosen our belts around our bellies bursting with matzah balls, gefilte fish and brisket; as we issue the invitation that all who are hungry are welcome at our table, let us truly remember the hungry.

Mazon: a Jewish response to hunger has created a virtual Hunger Museum replete with exhibits, a cafe and soon to open restaurant:

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Outstanding Jewish Women

If you’ve ever pushed a stroller up a curb cut or used a ramp to avoid stairs or needed an extra wide door to navigate with a wheelchair, you probably have Judith Heumann to thank. Judith Heumann , who passed away just a few weeks ago, was one of the people instrumental in getting Section 504  of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 signed into law. This act gave accommodations to people with disabilities and changed thousands of lives for the better- not only those with disabilities.

It is Women’s History Month, a good time to recall Judith Heumann’s accomplishments along with other outstanding Jewish women who made the world a better place or proved that women were brave and strong and bold like the Maccabees. Continue reading

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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