Seasonal This and That

Sept 14 apology

It always amazes me how we transition so smoothly between the joyous solemnity of Rosh Hashanah to the contemplation of Yom Kippur and then back to rejoicing in the bounty of the earth and the gift of the Torah.

On Yom Kippur, we recite a long list of behavorial errors-often by rote. “How to Forgive” by Amy Klein (Hadassah Magazine online)  looks at some recent books about forgiveness. Klein says  “… at this time dedicated to introspection, soul searching and forgiveness, there are mixed emotions: grief for the people who passed; sadness and empathy for those who got sick, lost jobs and suffered in quarantine. But what should we feel for people who refused to observe quarantine mandates or wear masks, who won’t vaccinate (for nonmedical reasons) or who spread disinformation about Covid-19? Or for those who perpetuated divisions in our society? What to do about all the emotions—even rage—at the stubborn ones who we think are responsible for our suffering? ” In her article entitled “How to Forgive”, she cites two books that helped her deal with her conflicted emotions. 

Rabbi Jillian Cameron and Cantor Juval Porat have created what they call a positive Viddui (confessional) as an antidote to the traditional recitation of our faults. Written in an acrostic form, the list begins  “We’ve acted authentically” and ends with “We’ve zoomed and zoomed in.” The piece concludes with these words of hope “For all these, Source of Life, inspire us, encourage us, Sustain our hope.”

Sept 14 GinsburgJust a few days ago we marked the first yahrzeit and the unveiling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s headstone. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband, under one headstone. On Friday, September 17 , her life was celebrated with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Tovah Feldshuh (who portrays Ginsburg in  Sisters in Law, a play by Jonathan Shapiro) as the actress read  I Dissent by Debbie Levy. Sept 14 I dissentThis picture book biography of the late justice received the Sydney Taylor Award for Younger Readers in 2017. The reading was followed by the orchestra’s playing Bach’s Air on the G String in RBG’s honor. Click here to listen to the event.

I urge you to look at the Community Speakers program website. This organization, spearheaded by Arie Katz, has been around for 21 years. It is a coalition of synagogues around the country, although mostly from Sept 14 CSPCalifornia. The programs and lectures presented are always of high quality and touch almost every aspect of Jewish life from Torah to prayer to culture, literature and travel and everything in between. Almost every program is recorded so it can be viewed later. There is no hard sell although donations are most welcome. And just about everything is free.  In the last year and a half, since COVID prevented in-person meetings, CSP has presented just over 300 unique programs. I suspect that the organization will continue with this format as access to speakers and audience is so much simpler with no travel fees.  In the last few days there have been lectures on The Black-Jewish Alliance; Secrets of the Torah Revealed, book by book; an interview with Rachel Kadish, the author of the historical novel, The Weight of Ink; and several sessions dedicated to the High Holidays.

It’s not too early to register for the JTS series “Six Days Shall You Labor”: Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition which starts on October 4 and runs through December 13 at 2:00 – 3:30.  A complete description of the sessions and the lecturers is available on the registration page. While there is no charge for the series, a donation is suggested.

Course description from the website: :”Many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else over the course of our lives—but are we defined by what we do? In this text-based series, JTS scholars will explore ideas about the meaning of work and rest in Jewish tradition, Jewish social movements around work, as well as the roles that gender, geography, and shifting economic and social circumstances have played in Jews’ professional paths and our understandings of the meaning and value of work.”

nosherThe Nosher ( has run a series of holiday cooking demonstrations which have been recorded. I can vouch for several of the recipes especially the Instant Pot Brisket which saved me hours in the kitchen with no loss of flavor. The following recipe, according to cook Sylvia Fallas, is both traditional and versatile. The fritters (pancakes), called edje can be an accompaniment for a main dish, a light meal on their own, or lunch for kids and are served at all the fall holidays. Preparation is  pretty simple and adapts to several cooking methods.

Syrian Leek Pancakes (Edje) Recipe by Sylvia Fallas (yield 8-16 pancakes)

Sept 14 leek frittersMs Fallas says that  “Growing up in a Syrian family, Rosh Hashanah meals were always my favorite. The meal always started with a small “Seder” of traditional foods and a blessing for each dish, which were all lovingly prepared by my grandmother. And over the years, she taught me to prepare each dish as well. The leek edje were always a special favorite. In fact, I love this recipe so much I make extra to have for lunch even after Rosh Hashanah is over.

1 bunch leeks (approx. 3)
1 large Idaho potato
⅓-½ cup matzah meal ( in a pinch, use panko)
salt & pepper, to taste
3-4 eggs
canola oil, for frying


  1. Wash and clean the leeks: trim off the dark green sections and the root. Slice each stalk in half lengthwise and run under cold water, fanning the stalk so water runs through each layer.
  2. Chop the leeks into small pieces, roughly the size of a thumbnail. Soak in a bowl of cold water. Lift the leeks out of the water and set on clean towels. Pat leeks dry. (If you have a salad spinner, use it to dry the leeks.)
  3. Make the batter: Whisk 3 of the eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Peel the potato and grate it into the bowl.
  5. Add the leeks, matzah meal, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork to combine. Batter should be thick and relatively scoop-able. Add additional egg or matzah meal depending on texture. Set batter aside.
  6. Fry the pancakes: Heat a thin layer of oil in the skillet. To test salt level, fry a teaspoon of batter. Taste and season again if needed.
  7. Fry 2 tablespoons-sized scoops of batter, flipping when one side is brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

NOTE: 1. The leeks can be prepped one day ahead.

  1. The prepared pancakes can be frozen on a sheet tray. Transfer to ziplock bags when frozen solid.
  2. The pancakes can be baked in mini muffin cups instead of fried. Spray muffin tin well with cooking spray and bake in a 375 degree F oven until set. Cool and remove.
  3. The pancake mix can also be baked in a pie pan like a quiche.
  4. To air fry: use a latkes recipe as a guide.
  5. Trader Joe’s has packages of clean, trimmed leeks.

For inspiration and sustenance, both spiritual and corporeal, check the library or email me for suggestions (email hidden; JavaScript is required) I am always happy to help you.

Sept 14 greeting


Lampert libraryREMINDER: The library is open for borrowing.  There are many new books available as well as great older books for readers of all ages including teens.  Use the online catalog to choose your books; then email the library (email hidden; JavaScript is required)  with your request. The books can be left either in the office or on my porch (open 24/7, address by request). The catalog is very easy to use. There is a link on Shomrei’s home page. Questions or requests: email the librarian at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Latest posts by Aileen Grossberg (see all)

What do you think?