Book reading

Please join us this Sunday morning at 11 AM for a book reading of a recently published autobiography “My Songs of Now and Then: A Memoir” by our very own Sisterhood member, Rachel Siegel.

My songs cover

Rachel was born in 1924 as Rachel Josefowitz in Germany, then moving to Switzerland in the ’30s to escape the Nazi regime. In 1938 she left Europe for New York.  Rachel attended Simmons College in Boston and  has lived in Ithaca since 1949, working as a Psychotherapist for Family and Children’s Services for many years.  At the age of 55, Rachel decided to take up writing and this memoir is been the culmination of her efforts, including her membership in Irene Zahava’s writing group at Tompkins County Library, and her most recent compilation of reminisces while living at Kendal.

rachel journey diagram

The book reading will take place in the upstairs Dining Room in the Annex this Sunday morning, March 3rd at 11 AM. Books will be available for purchase (and author signing) with $5 of the purchase being donated to TBE. Softcovers will be $20 (retail $21.95) and hardcover $30 (retail $31.95). Buy early and buy often!

All TBE members are welcome.

Here is a link to an article written about Rachel and her Memoir published recently in the Ithaca Times.



Purim TBE style

פורים שמח Happy Purim everybody!

Purim is off to a great start in Ithaca.

Kitah Zayin got the ball rolling with a skit.

kitah zayin

The crowd waited impatiently for the Rabbi to emerge in costume:

the crowd

Flanked by his Kitah Zayin acolytes, the Rabbi made a grand entrance gangnam style to much cheering and yelling.

Rabbi entrance

And then the Megillah reading was underway, The traffic light system was deployed to keep the crowd under strict control.

traffic light

And the crowd was so well behaved that it was rewarded with showers of candy after Chapter 6, the point in the story where, as the Rabbi put it, it’s all downhill for Haman. It’s a topsy-turvy world, one moment you’re up and the next moment…..

candy distribution

The rest of the reading went smoothly except for when yours truly lost their place in the text and enthusiastically but embarrassingly let off a grogger in response to a Haman-sounding word. This enjoined a swift correction from the Rabbi “אַמָּה (cubit), not הָמָן!”

Our own Queen Esther got a special shout out from the bimah:

salute queen esther

Macaroni boxes were provided as “recyclable groggers”, these could be purchased as a charitable donation with the food collected afterwards for donation – a wonderful idea.


The costumes were magnificent, there was a myriad of terrific outfits.

I spotted some Eastern potentates:

Eastern potentates

There was JImi Hendrix:

Jimi Hendrix

Rabbi Gangnam himself (this appears to be quite a trend for Rabbis):

Rabbi Gangnam

Of course, everyone wants to cozy up to their queen:

getting cozy with the queen

That is when they are not saving the world (this superhero moves so fast this was the only non-blurry photo I could get):


I spotted the most adorable fairy:

sweet fairy

and a ranching family:

super ranching family

I really loved this one:

bring him on

and even found somebody playing at being a teenager (oh wait, never mind!):

playing the teenager

The evening weather was mild, on the way home, we rolled down the windows of the car and basted Debbie Friedman’s punchy עושה שלום on the stereo*. I felt absurdly happy just to be alive, I told the kids “Haman tried to wipe us out, Hilter ימח שמו tried to wipe us out but guess what? WE’RE STILL HERE!!!”


*The version I have is from the Debbie Friedman album “As You Go On Your Way: Shacharit – The Morning Prayers” and the track can be downloaded here.