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A few more things to do

09/17/2020 10:24:55 AM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

Help us clean up the library’s records and recover scores of overdue books. Elul into Tishrei is a perfect time to clear your book conscience. Drop books off in the library’s dropbox or the office. Please try to put your books in a plastic bag as they must be quarantined for at least 72 hours for safety’s sake.

The Montclair Art Museum is open. The exhibit of animals and natural environments by Federico Uribe is spectacular. Using found objects, such as plastic items, old books, and bullet casings, Ortiz has explored the sea, earth, and sky. This exhibit is well worth a visit. Children will love the animals, while adults will be fascinated by the workmanship and the philosophical underpinnings of the exhibit.  Days are limited but hours are extended. Check the website for specific safety requirements, hours, and other information.

Outside is a timely short film and commentary based on a story by Israeli writer Edgar Keret.

Weekly Wednesday evenings at 8:00, America at the Crossroads is a series of conversations on contemporary events. The series, featuring well-known public figures, is sponsored by California non-profit There is no charge but the organization welcomes tax detectable donations. Past programs are available for viewing.

Marcia Falk’s Days Between looks at liturgy from a feminist point of view, breaking new ground with poems, prayers, and meditations. On September 23rd from 3-4 PM, this well-known poet will lead you into the season in this session presented by the Hadassah Brandeis Institute.

College students both on-campus and studying remotely will find many ways to connect over the High Holidays at the Hillel site. A simple registration is required for prerecorded programming featuring Broadway performers, Hollywood screenwriters, musicians, and more.

Start a new tradition and have a Rosh Hashanah seder. This one is short and sweet and should appeal to many contemporary Jews.

Other appropriate home readings for the holidays can be found on the American Jewish World Service website.

The Akedah Project is presented by a coalition of the following organizations: jewishLIVE/Judaism Unbound, 929 English, the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, and Israel’s BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change.  It explores the story of Isaac’s almost sacrifice through multiple lenses and presentations by a multitude of scholars and commentators.

If you haven’t yet decided what to cook for the holiday, try the following which is perfect for beginning the year with something sweet:

Tsimmes Chicken   (serves 8-10)


  • 2 whole chickens (about 4 pounds), broken down into 8 pieces, wings and backbones reserved for another use
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  2 pounds carrots, preferably young carrots with greens attached, halved lengthwise or quartered if large- save the carrot tops for garnish
  • Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes cut into 2 inch pieces (optional)
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 ounces dried apricots (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces dried prunes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 20 sprigs thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • Parsley leaves with tender stems (optional, for serving)


1. Arrange racks in top and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°F. Season chicken pieces with 2 tsp. salt.

2.  Whisk honey, oil, lemon juice, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and remaining 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces, carrots, onion, garlic, apricots, prunes, other vegetables, and thyme and toss to combine. Divide everything but chicken between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Stir wine and 1/2 cup water in a 2-cup measuring cup, then pour half over each sheet.

3. Cover sheets tightly with foil. Roast 15 minutes, then remove from oven.

4. Remove foil, divide chicken between sheets, and continue to roast, rotating sheets top to bottom halfway through, until carrots are fork-tender, chicken is golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast registers 165°F, 30–35 minutes (if some pieces of chicken are finished before others, transfer them to a serving platter).

5. Transfer chicken mixture to serving platter. Pour pan juices over. Top with carrot greens or parsley before serving.

And for dessert, who can resist Marian Burros classic plum torte? Featured in the New York Times for decades, it’s one of the most requested recipes ever. Serve with ice cream, dairy or non.

BOOKS of interest

Deep Delta Justice by Matthew Van Meter shows how  perseverance and a good legal mind can change the law in the book subtitled “a Black teen, his lawyer and their groundbreaking battle for civil rights in the South.” It brings home the outsized Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and humanized some of the heroes of the civil rights movement.

Fallout by Lesley M.M. Blume is an in-depth and “magesterial account (NYTimes)” of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and the informational coverup that followed which was finally broken by John Hersey in 1946 in a New Yorker piece. The author grew up in  Montclair and attended Montclair Schools. This book is a good tie into Larry Tye’s Demagogue about Senator Joseph McCarthy. Pair this with the award-winning The Bomb by Steve Sheinkin which tells the story of the bomb’s development.

My Life as a Villainess by Laura Lippman, best known for her award-winning mysteries set in Baltimore, contains her musings on being an “old” mother, life as a writer, her two marriages, and raising a child as a Jew. She is opinionated, open, and at times self-centered. Women readers will identify with much of what Lippman has to say. Lippmann is married to David Simon, creator of The Wire. Her latest mystery Lady in the Lake is a page-turner featuring Jewish leading character Madeline Schwartz. 

Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel is a collection of short stories set in both Europe and the U.S. Filled with fantasy and stark reality, poetic language, and terse prose, these stories translated from Yiddish are often small masterpieces that will make the reader laugh, cry, and shake with anger at man’s inhumanity to man.

Remix Judaism: preserving tradition in a diverse world by Roberta Kwall believes that seeking an authentic, mindful, joyous practice of Judaism is the goal of most Jews. Kwall's book seeks to help Jews find meaning in what might seem meaningless and value in practices that may seem to have no intrinsic value. She asks  "How much can it (tradition) change and still be Jewish tradition?" Remixing tradition means perhaps putting a personal twist on a ritual: doing something because it recalls a loved one, for example. This book should appeal to those who are looking for a way to integrate their liberal and cultural Judaism with tradition.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784