Were you at the Indoor Farmer’s Market? When’s the next one?

An indoor winter farmer’s market was something I had to check out. Not only because I’m a new member of Temple Sholom’s Eco Chavurah, but because I really couldn’t think of what in the world could be grown during this “chiberia” winter. Coming from Miami, when winter is the growing season, I knew that Chicago and the surrounding area was going to be quite different. I was pleasantly surprised by all the goodies at the market, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the offerings of the vendors.

Acknowledging Others

On our trip down south, my husband and I stayed in 2 completely different types of establishments. The first was a bed and breakfast. We arrived late so I did not begin to notice some of their environmentally friendly efforts until the next morning. The first thing was the card in the bathroom reminding me just how much energy and water it takes to wash the towels daily and did I want to opt for a more planet friendly approach. Now that is pretty standard today in hotels and inns so that was not what impressed me but it started me looking for other things that they were doing. First, although it was a Victorian home converted to a B&B, they were using compact fluorescents. Kudos to them. Then I noticed there were no Styrofoam cups or plates. China only. Again kudos to them. There was coffee offered all day long but it was kept hot in thermos containers. There was bottled water for the guests to take with them but they recycled all the bottles that were used on premise. Now these were only the things I noticed on first glance so then I began a conversation with the manager about any other things that they were doing. In our conversation, I planted some seeds of my own, asking about rain barrels for use in irrigation and composting. Something may come of it or maybe not. I probably will never know. But the conversation itself was fun and interesting and hopefully fruitful.

A Note From the Biennial – From Kimberly Ross

I’m currently attending my first URJ Biennial. I arrived in San Diego last night in time for most of the opening plenary, which included remarks from some giants in the Reform movement (not to mention a pre-recorded video message from Vice President Biden). Later, many of us heard a concert by singers-songwriters Julie Silver and Michelle Citrin. Then jet lag set in.

Temple Sholom’s Meatless Monday: The Return! Full’a Green Beans!

It has been a long time since I have written a Meatless Monday blog. Like High Holidays long. I had originally meant to share this recipe before Thanksgiving, because it is my family’s (well, really mine) favorite side dish. Sautéed green beans with tomato and basil. Amazing. My aunt makes them just about every year for Thanksgiving and has even written “Carrie’s favorite” on the recipe. We almost always double the recipe, because they are that much of a crowd pleaser, and there’s not usually any leftover.

Someone usually comments at least once that they don’t know why we don’t make these more often. In addition to being amazingly tasty, it’s also a pretty dish to make and a really versatile one too. As I mentioned we have had them many times as a side dish to turkey at Thanksgiving, but we’ve also made them with lamb or prime rib at other special occasion dinners.

E-Cards…a great way to be green

60 something …wife, mother and grandmother of 2 beautiful boys

I have to admit that when e-cards started showing up in my in-box, my first thought was that my friends were cheaping out. And granted e-cards can run the gamut from free (where there is advertising attached) to moderate in price. Hallmark, American Greeting and Jackie Lawson to name a few sell you a year’s subscription for less than $15 and with that you can send as many cards to as many people as you want.

Then there is the convenience factor. If you are pressed for time or are unable to get out, then the last thing you want to be doing is running to the card store and the post office. Again e-cards save the day. There are literally hundreds of styles and messages to choose from. And you can actually take an afternoon and input all of your friends and families important dates and what card you want to send and it will be done automatically.

Rosh Chodesh and the Women of the Wall

A very humble Sisterhood member and friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) wrote the following paragraphs to broaden my understanding and appreciation of Rosh Chodesh, and I would like to share them with everyone:

“Rosh Chodesh celebrates the new moon, the first day of the month of the Hebrew calendar. This Rosh Chodesh Tevet coincides with the seventh day of Chanukah.

On Rosh Chodesh (as with Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot), we add a prayer to our tefillah asking God to remember and bless us. On Chanukah we add a prayer to our tefillah thanking God for the miracles of the season. On Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and on the three pilgrimage festivals we sing hallel – songs and praise to God. We read from the Torah to learn from our traditions and sing the Mi Shebeirach for comfort and healing for those who are ill.

A Smashing Sleepunder!

Over 80 people gathered in search of a Golden Ticket to the Sholom Sleep Under which was filled with fun! Kids of all ages came to Bettie Port Hall on Saturday, November 9th to get cozy and comfy with their friends. In their jammies with their blankets, pillows and favorite stuffed animals in tow, they were ready for fun, food and lots of movie treats!

The children first decorated Channukah cards for Temple Sholom’s Channukah Box program. And after every good deed, you should be rewarded with candy, right? And so they were, but not before Havdalah and dinner.

Why Jacob? – Drop into the study sessions to find out more!

On Sunday, about a dozen congregants met for our “drop-in text study” session, offered through the Temple’s Adult Ed program. We were discussing the week’s Torah portion, where Jacob crosses a river to begin a new chapter in his life, hopefully leaving some of the deceit and darkness behind him. He anxiously meets his brother, Esau, who greets him with a hug and a kiss. And then Jacob promptly lies to Esau. So much for a clean slate.

Later in the portion, Jacob’s sons deceive the men of Shechem, and then massacre them and loot the town, in response to the “rape” of Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah.

And what is Jacob’s response? Outrage? Sadness? Apology? No, he castigates his sons for ruining his reputation. Beyond that, he is silent. It is one of the low points in the tragedy of Jacob, as the arc of his story nears its end. As Gunther Plaut says in his commentary:

First Friday Family Shabbat a Big Hit!

Our inaugural First Friday Family-Friendly Shabbat took place this past Friday, November 1st. It was incredible to see Bettie Port Hall filled with families joining together in the midst of a busy Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath. Rabbi Goldberg played his guitar as the families said blessings together over the candles, challah and wine. A festive meal was had by all and some playtime occurred prior to the start of the Friday night service.

Mishpacha Couples Take a Night Out!

Fifty Temple Sholom members gathered, along with Rabbi Goldberg and Rabbi Conover, for a fun-filled kid-free evening out on the town on Saturday, October 26th. This is what building community is all about! A fabulous time was had by all who attended!

Some attendees were brand new members and some had been at Temple Sholom for a decade, but they all came together to meet and mingle with other members at the Temple similar to themselves. Everything from summer camp to homework to Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning was talked about and a common theme was felt throughout the evening – It’s great to spend a night out with other parents just like me!