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summer viewing and doing

08/05/2021 04:37:55 PM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

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.

It may not be a good idea to travel to England right now, but taking a walking tour with Rachel Kolsky is almost as good as being there. Rachel is a certified librarian and an experienced tour guide whose personality and enthusiasm is evident even on a small screen. Her tours of Jewish London were excellent. On August 10, 17 and 24, Rachel will lead tours of Art, Cinema and Theater from a Jewish perspective. The series is sponsored by the Orange County Community Scholars Program.

Did you ever hear of round-the-world bicycle traveler ( also immigrant wife and mother of three children) Annie Londonderry?  Her tale is a fascinating story of self-promotion, adventure, and perhaps a little deceit.  Listen to her story told by author Peter Zheutlin, a distant relative of the master of spin. The book will be in the library shortly.

Jews have been active participants in the Olympics. My Jewish Learning hosted Joe Siegman talking about The History of Jews in the Olympics. Beginning with first modern Olympics in 1896 Jews have been strong contenders. In that first modern Olympics , Jewish athletes won 8 medals and were especially strong in gymnastics and track and field. Jews have been involved as participants and medalists ever since even in the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.

For families, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and PJ Library  are cooperating on Summer Bedtime  Stories which combines a picture book with a short performance by IPO members.  Link to the first story time reading A Concert In the Sand  which tells of the orchestra’s beginnings. The musical selection is Massenet’s, "Meditation" from Thais in a never-before-seen performance by an Israeli string quartet. You can also find out about additional concert dates and other events at the same website. event/summer-bedtime-series/

If you are interested in women’s issues, you should read Women in Judaism: a multidisciplinary e-journal. It’s free to subscribe. Its website says  “WOMEN IN JUDAISM: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY e-JOURNAL is an academic, refereed journal published exclusively on the Internet, and devoted to scholarly debate on gender-related issues in Judaism. The ultimate aim of the journal is to promote the reconceptualization of the study of Judaism, by acknowledging and incorporating the roles played by women, and by encouraging the development of alternative research paradigms. Cross-methodological and interdisciplinary, the journal does not promote a fixed ideology, and welcomes a variety of approaches.”

For those of you fascinated by Jewish mysticism and the  Zohar, CSP presents Professor Daniel Matt , one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and Zohar, in Gems of the Zohar, a three part series beginning on August 5 @ 3:30. Professor Matt is the National Jewish Book  Award winning translator and annotator of a masterful nine volume edition of the Zohar.

Speaking of CSP- Orange County Community Scholar Program: This online presenter sponsors quality programming and lectures for free. Most are available after the initial presentation at 

It’s always interesting to hear an author talk about his or her own book. On August 1 at 7 p.m., Jonathan Kaufman discussed his book, The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China . It’s a fascinating look at a time gone by, Kaufman is a great speaker.The book is in nour library. Here’s a link to the recording:

Collateral viewing to The Last Kings of Shanghai is My Jewish Learning’s Tour of Shanghai.

It may be high summer, but Rosh Hashanah is only weeks away. JNF is sponsoring a Rosh Hashanah Cooking Experience through Jewish Fusion Cuisine” on Wednesday, August 18 from 4-5:30 EDT. Dishes cooked will be a Rosh Hashanah salad and silvan roasted carrots. Special guest chef is Lior Lev Sercarz, owner of La Boîte, a biscuit and spice shop in New York, and Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Officer, Galilee Culinary Institute.

To conclude this summery column, here’s a perfect summer recipe adapted from the New York Times. I’ve given alternatives to make this a kosher recipe and also optional ingredients.

Gingery Grilled Chicken Thighs With Charred Peaches  Serves 4-6


For the Chicken:

5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably the good, syrupy kind)

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger and any ginger juice from a 2-inch piece ( or use ginger paste found in the condiment aisle or with international foods)

Kosher salt

2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 fresh thyme sprigs, or 4 fresh rosemary sprigs

3 garlic cloves, finely grated or mashed to a paste ( or use garlic paste found in the condiment aisle or with international foods)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, plus more as needed

Olive oil, for brushing

Plain whole-milk yogurt, for serving (optional) or non-dairy yogurt

3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (optional)

Handful of torn fresh basil (optional)


For the Peaches:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, margarine, or vegan butter melted

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon honey

3 to 4 ripe peaches or nectarines, halved and pitted

Flaky sea salt

Prepare the chicken

  1. Marinate chicken: In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, grated ginger and a pinch of salt.
  2. Season chicken all over with salt, and put it in a larger bowl or resealable bag. Add 2 tablespoons of the balsamic mixture. (Give it a stir before measuring in case any of the ginger has fallen to the bottom. Save remaining balsamic for serving.)
  3. Add the thyme, garlic, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Cover bowl or close bag, and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Light the grill or heat the broiler, arranging the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.

Prepare the peaches

  1.  In a bowl, combine butter, thyme and honey.
  2. Brush peaches( and figs) lightly with butter mixture and place in a grilling basket, if you have one, or directly on the grill. Grill over direct heat until just charred, 2 to 4 minutes per side until the skin curls back and the flesh starts to melt.
  3. Transfer to a serving platter or plates, and, if you like, drizzle with a little more of the butter mixture and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Finish chicken

  1. Brush off any clinging pieces of marinade from chicken, pat it dry, and coat lightly with oil. Grill or broil until charred and browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer chicken to a platter or serving plates, along with the peaches. Serve with dollops of yogurt on the side if you like, and a drizzle with some of the reserved gingery balsamic and a little more olive oil. Scatter with scallions and basil, if using, for garnish.
  3. If there’s room on the grill, cook the chicken at the same time as peaches (or wait until peaches are done).



1.I almost always use scallions if they are in a recipe. The green is attractive and scallions give almost any dish a nice crunch.

2. Fresh figs make a tasty addition to the peaches. Just halve the figs and grill them.

3. There is also a combined garlic/ginger paste that will save time grating and mashing.

4. Use a stove top grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

5. Substitute boneless chicken breasts for thighs but watch them carefully as they will cook quickly.

6. Or use bone-in thighs which will take longer to cook, Bake and then run under the broiler for additional browning

7. Another idea would be to substitute salmon for the chicken. Salmon pairs well with peaches as this recipe for Salmon with Peach Salsa shows. Scroll down to the second recipe. 

8. For a vegetarian version use firm or extra firm tofu, Grill it after marinating and serve with the sour cream.

Mon, April 15 2024 7 Nisan 5784