Summer Camp & Teen Experiences with the IAUJC

Fantastic opportunity from the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community (IAUJC) to learn about summer camp & teen experiences!

You, your children aged 6-16, and family are invited to discover opportunities for Jewish summer camp and teen programs. Representatives of more than a dozen sleepaway camps will be on hand to answer questions. Current campers will share stories about their experiences and information will be available about camp scholarships. There will be activities, fun, and refreshments for everyone.

Jewish Summer Camp Fair
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Anytime between 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Free and open to the public
CSMA—Community School of Music and Art—3rd floor
330 E. State St.,  Ithaca, NY 14850

Summer Camp IAUJC


Food, food and food

Attended a very nice Parent’s shmooze session last Sunday organized by Rabbi Brody. We were challenged to think about our favorite Jewish traditions and for most people, of course there is some type of food involved! There was lots of food for thought in the interesting conversation that followed, although I sometimes wonder if we use food as ritual rather than as one component of ritual. For instance making and eating a challah bread alone is not a Jewish act. It is the baking challah including taking challah and eating the challah as part of making kiddush or hamoetzi that makes the activity Jewish (as oppose to Jewish-style I guess).

Check out the The Kosher Cooking Carnival – a monthly blog carnival about kosher food, kosher cooking, anything to do with kosher food. My original Etrog jam recipe “Etrog Marmalade with Myrtle Leaf Infusion” is included this month. Interestingly, the Etrog marmalade recipe is the most popular post on this site (by far).

Etrog jam jar

Here is another recipe, a rustic homemade pita bread with an international flair. The flour is locally sourced, the pitas were drizzled with Californian olive oil and a sprinkle of Palestinian za’atar.


  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Let the dough rise for a minimum of 30 min.
  3. Roll into balls and flatten into round shape (not too thin, not too fat).
  4. Let the dough rest and rise another 20 min.
  5. Heat up a frying pan (no oil!). Place 1 pita at a time into pan. Cover (I used a pan lid) and cook for 2-3 min on each side. When turning for the second side, flatten with a spatula for even cooking. The way the pocket just puffs open is pretty magic.

pita breadUPDATE: Hope to see you at the next parent shmooze. Please mark your calendars for Jan 11th 2015!


Reminding ourselves of the future Pesach 5774

A very Happy Pesach to US Navy Junior Officer Jeremy Ball, 27 on board the U.S.S. New Mexico.

The U.S.S. New Mexico. Picture credit The New York Times

The U.S.S. New Mexico.
Picture credit The New York Times

Sir, thank you for defending our freedom especially at this time as we celebrate the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery.

I learned of Jeremy Ball from Thomas Friedman’s article in the NYT “Parallel Parking in the Arctic“.

About Jeremy Ball he writes:

Remind me again what we’re doing in Washington these days to deserve such young people?


Another inspiring example from our next generation of leaders is Justin Hayet, an undergraduate at Binghamton University. Read his eloquent and passionate open letter to Foreign Minister Liberman.

And also the group of Cornell University students who showed such exceptional leadership in combating BDS on the University campus. Read about their effort at Legal Insurrection.

To all these terrific young people who are showing so much inspiring leadership and promise – may your Pesach be extra specially wonderful.




My Methodist Mother-in-law

As many of you know, my mother-in-law recently passed away. She was a wonderful lady with tremendous personal qualities. It is a very hard loss as we pay tribute to her memory and explore what her legacy means for our lives.

Granny photos

A very important part of her life was her faith as a Methodist. To quote from her funeral service conducted by Mrs T. Tilley, lay preacher and family friend: At the heart of who Sheila was is her faith, she was devoted and committed to worshipping her God both at Newhall, Stanton and particularly at Gresley Mission Room. Her faith was sure and steadfast, simple and true.”

Her commitment started as a child going to Sunday School at Newhall Wesleyan Chapel. She met her husband at a Chapel social event, raised a family suffused with the strong values of the Methodist faith and was an exemplary and stalwart member of the community. Only with her passing did I learn more about the scope of her dedication, there were meals on wheels, baking for special occasions and cake stalls at Stanton Chapel and Gresley Mission room, Guild, Luncheon club and Drop In just to cover a few of her activities as a pillar of the community. I never once heard her complain about anybody or anything that happened to her, fully subscribing to the doctrine that an individual’s fate is firmly in their hands, and achieved by their own choosing.

Talking to her friends after the funeral confidently echoed the sentiment that she was undoubtedly “today in heaven standing face to face with her Lord.”

Although her son moved to America, became Jewish, married and raised a Jewish family her faith had more than enough loving kindness to include this new part of her family. She always sent us a Rosh Hashana card and graciously accommodated our dietary requirements with a personal touch, always lovingly dishing up our favorite foods.

When I was young, if somebody in the community was a convert it was considered impolite to discuss this fact. But my hope is that our children who are secure in their Jewish identity will be able to acknowledge, draw strength from and be very proud of the Methodist side of their family. There is a linear relationship from her Methodist faith to her embodiment of personal responsibility, family loyalty, community and civic engagement. The faith provides the foundation.

GMR photoGresley Mission Room in S. Derbyshire. Picture from Google streetview.

Words of Psalm 121 which were used on the occasion of Sheila’s 80th birthday celebrations at Gresley Mission Room:

1. I lift up my eyes to the mountains —

    where does my help come from?

2. My help comes from the LORD,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

3. He will not let your foot slip —

    he who watches over you will not slumber;

4. indeed, he who watches over Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5. The LORD watches over you —

    the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6. the sun will not harm you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

7. The LORD will keep you from all harm —

    he will watch over your life;

8. the LORD will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

Hineh lo yanum veloyushan. Click on picture for link to song.

Purim fun for all ages

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim to everybody!

Shalom Sesame: Purim Story

Shalom Sesame

G-d castPrincess of Persia

princess of persia

Kermit on Purim


מחרוזת שירי פורים

Purim song

Purim Rap

purim rap

Aleph Beta Academy: Purim

Introducing the Open Muslim Students Association

very funny!

Maccabeats Purim song


(click on pictures for links)

I am still in need of a good hamentashen recipe. If you have one, please send it my way. I would especially appreciate a recipe with a yeast rather than a cookie-type dough and a poppy seed filling,