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.  Continue reading

Apple, apples everywhere


You know by now that I love to cook. Finding recipes, organizing and writing my shopping list, assembling the ingredients on the counter and following the directions appeal to my inner nature that really, really wants a predictable outcome in these unpredictable times that we are living in.

On the other hand, I’ve spent far too much time in the kitchen these past 18 months. So when planning my holiday meals, I looked for delicious outcomes with minimum effort.

I could not resist sharing with you one last set of holiday recipes. They all use apples, but you could easily substitute pears. Did you know that Shomrei has a pear tree loaded (at least as I am writing this) with almost ripe pears?  Continue reading

A Squirrel in the Pear Tree: That was then; This is now

Editor’s note: This article was first published in 2013 in the print Kol Emunah. See the update below. 

squirrel eatingHave you noticed the little tree right opposite the pre-school playground?  I finally did late in July [2013] when I saw some brown blobs hanging from its slender, leafy branches. When I examined the tree more closely, I realized that it was a pear tree with small, brownish pears-hard as rocks- hanging from almost every branch.

There were more than twenty of the little brown fruits. From that moment I dreamed pears: pear relish, poached pears, pear pie, sautéed pears, a true Sukkot treat from Shomrei’s very own pear tree.  Continue reading

Fast or Slow- It’s Perfect Brisket!

Aug 26what-is-beef-brisket-p2-1805836-CS-7e04c05d721640ef9ee00a6d880d496e

Despite the sultry days, it’s not too early to start planning holiday meals.

In my house we rarely eat red meat except on holidays when I experiment with various brisket recipes.  Here are two: one VERY slow and one VERY fast. Both are classic versions of brisket except for the cooking method. Continue reading

Teshuvah – Return

Aug26 teshvahWe are almost at the end of the month of Elul when, according to traditional, we examine our behavior and begin the process of making amends , of returning to our best selves.

In that context, please check your home library shelves for the many books missing from our library. Some of you have received overdue notices- often several.  Continue reading

Library Resources

Aug 19 ElulWe are in the middle of Elul, month that leads up to holidays when we finish taking stock of ourselves and ask for forgiveness.

The library is well-stocked with books on the topic of the holidays, their rituals and concepts like atonement. Check out the book display for suggested reading. Continue reading

Summer Viewing and Doing (Updated)

There are so many great viewing opportunities right now. With the weather as sultry as it is, and the COVID threat still with us, taking a break for an armchair visit to another country or participating in a book talk is a good idea.

CAVEAT: Always check times for online events. Often the website will be in PDT or even European or Israeli time.

Continue reading

To Grill or Not to Grill

Yes, I know it’s grilling season. But years ago our grill’s time was up. Now I use a grill pan on the stove and my marvelous Breville oven to beat the summer heat.

So here are some non grilling summer recipes many of which you can adapt if you prefer to cook  outdoors.

July 15Pineapple-Cucumber-Gazpacho-Start with a cold soup like pineapple gazpacho (See: Cool Food for a Hot Day, Jun 26, 2016). You’ll need a good knife and some kind of blender to puree the mixture. It goes together quickly especially if you buy a precut pineapple. And it can be as spicy as you wish with the addition of extra jalepeno. Or try a little of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning to spice up the soup. Pomegranate seeds or plump blueberries might make a colorful garnish. Continue reading

Moving Forward (via Zoom): AJL 2021

AJL moving forwardOne thing librarians, especially librarians who work in small environments, look forward to is the annual conference.

Now that I am retired from the public sector, I especially anticipate the annual Association of Jewish Libraries conference. This international multi-day meeting is held in a different city each year and even has gone international – Canada to showcase our northern neighbors and Israel some years ago to celebrate the organization’s 25th birthday. Continue reading

Summer in Books

man reading book

Summer brings to mind travel, vacations, and lazy days swinging in a hammock or lying on a beach.Enjoy these pleasures either in real time or vicariously through books. Books can bring various summer experiences from fun to revelation. Continue reading