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Seasonal This and That

09/27/2021 12:00:00 AM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

This article was originally planned to appear just before Yom Kippur. Due to the interference of a computer gremlin, it did not.

However, it’s not too late to do teshuvah; the gates have not yet entirely closed. According to Jewish traditional, the entire period of the Tishrei holidays is a time for reflection and reconciliation.

Read on.

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? “ 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.”

To put yourself  in the mood for Yom Kippur, listen to this glorious excerpt of Avinu Malkenu. It may even bring  tears to your eyes.

Just a short time 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 @ 2 p.m. celebrate her life with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Tovah Feldshuh   ( who portrays Ginsburg in  Sisters in Law, a play by Jonathan Shapiro) as the actress reads  I Dissentby Debbie Levy. This picture book biography of the late justice received the Sydney Taylor Award for Younger Readers in 2017. The reading is followed by the orchestra’s playing Bach’s Air on the G String in RBG’s honor. 

Watch at:

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 California. 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.”

The 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

Ms 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.” This recipe came from her grandmother whose freezer is stashed with enough to last until Hanukkah when potato pancakes take over for .

Find the video at

Here’s the link to the recipe

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

2. The prepared pancakes can be frozen on a sheet tray. Transfer to ziplock bags when frozen solid.

3. 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.

4. The pancake mix can also be baked in a pie pan like a quiche.

5. To air fry: use a latkes recipe as a guide.

6. Trader Joe’s has packages of clean, trimmed leeks.


Finally for a season appropriate  very simple dessert try these Apple Pie Cookies.  They use refrigerated or frozen pie crust or even puff pastry or crescent rolls for a base. Kids can have fun cutting out the circle of dough. The cookies  can be made several days ahead of time. The only caveat is to make sure you have the dough at room temperature and, as always, read through the recipe ahead of time so that you are prepared. You can also try other fruits as a filing as long as the filling isn’t too juicy. How about apple-pear, perfect for fall?


For the streusel:

4 tbs. unsalted butter melted

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of kosher salt

For the filling:

2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and diced

2 tbs. brown sugar

2 tbs. unsalted butter, margarine, vegan butter or leave it out

1 lemon juice only

pinch kosher salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 pie crust store-bought, at room temperature


  1. Make the streusel: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl, breaking up any large clumps, and spread onto your baking sheet. Set aside to dry (can be made a day ahead; store covered at room temperature).
  2. Make the filling: Combine filling ingredients a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the apples are slightly softened. Remove from heat, drain the liquid and cool completely. (may be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin or line with parchment paper cups. (Dispossible foil tins work fine.)
  4. Unroll the  pie crust and use a drinking glass or cookie cutter to cut circles that are slightly larger — about 1/4 inch — than the base of the muffin cups ( 2 1/2-inch cutter works well).
  5. Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing gently along the sides and bottoms. Spoon some apple filling into each crust and top with the streusel.
  6. Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until streusel is golden brown. Cool completely in tins set on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to 3 days.
  7. Makes about 12 cookies. Dough scraps can be rerolled if there is additional filling.
  8. If there is extra dough, roll and cut into triangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and nuts. Roll up and bake with the apple pie cookies.


Here’s a kid perfect variation for Apple Pie Pops

For inspiration and sustenance, both spiritual and corporeal, check the library or email me for suggestions.

I am always happy to help you.


Mon, May 29 2023 9 Sivan 5783