Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Another great Torah chanting from Rabbi Zach. This time, instead of the oud, we get a special treat with his new musical toy--the harmonium. We hope this won't be the last time we see it!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. semi sweet chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 350. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs; blend well.
Stir in flour, cocoa and salt; mix well. Add chocolate and pecans. Pour into greased pan.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until set.
Cut into bars.
Yield: 36 bars
Calories 160; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 19g; Fat 10g; Sodium 105 mg
1 and 1/3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
1/4 cup of butter
pinch of salt
three pinches of lemon zest
(The secret: keep everything cold; the butter, the flour, the bowl - everything cold. Work the butter in well, with an excellent tool. Mix in 3 tbsp. of ice water, and make a crust. Refrigerate overnight.)
1 tsp vanilla
7 pinches of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
2 sticks (yes, sorry) butter
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups of flour
(Bake at 325 or so, for an hour, or so ... until golden brown and bubbling. Be with the pie while it's in the over. Serve with vanilla ice cream).
Join us for a unique Passover experience!
Monday, April 4
A fun and casual exchange to benefit Seder Hosts to enhance and
engage our holiday guests led by member Wendy Kantor.
Bring a holiday related question to the group - from decor
to desserts, Haggadahs to traditions - anything goes.
Hosted by member Dusty Berke from 7-9pm. Contact the office for address.
Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served.
RSVP to the office.
If you love the theater, politics, Communism, art, advocacy, film, or great New Yorkers, you won't want to miss this interview between Tony Kushner and New York Public Radio's Andrea Bernstein. Kushner's sensational new play opens next week and this interview is an important vehicle for understanding his art and motivations.
Kushner and Bernstein have had a series of conversations over the years about art and politics. They recently sat down in an Upper West Side café to talk about "Angels in America," Kushner’s new play, "The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures," dubbed “iHo,” writing the screenplay for Stephen Spielberg’s Munich and why the sex in The Kids are Alright between Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo is hotter than the lesbian sex in that move--and what that has to do with his new play.
Click on this link for the entire interview: http://culture.wnyc.org/articles/features/2011/mar/11/wnycs-andrea-bernstein-interviews-playwright-tony-kushner/
From our very own Diane Temkin, an opportunity to support an organization doing amazing work in the field of mental health!
Dear Family & Friends,
This is the 4th year that I and my family, friends, and fellow MHLS (Mental Hygiene Legal Service) lawyers are walking to support our loved ones, friends, and clients who struggle every day with mental illness.
I would like to ask you to come and walk with me or to donate to support my participation in this great event. If you would like to register to walk with me, visit my team's page at http://www.nami.org/namiwalks11/NYC/mhls. Or if you just want to make a donation to sponsor me, visithttp://www.nami.org/walkdonation.cfm?id=152370. Donating online is fast and secure, and I'll get immediate notification via e-mail of your donation.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest education, support and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all whose lives are touched by these illnesses. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers. The NAMI organization is composed of approximately 1100 local affiliates, 50 state offices and a national office.
The goals of the NAMIWalks program are: to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission.
NAMI is a 501(c)3 charity and any donation you make to support my participation in this event is tax deductible. NAMI has been rated by Worth magazine as among the top 100 charities "most likely to save the world" and has been given an "A+" rating by The American Institute of Philanthropy for efficient and effective use of charitable dollars. NAMI has also been given 4 out of 4 stars by The Charity Navigator for short-term spending practices and long-term sustainability.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
To The New Shul Community,
A wonderful six year old girl from Riverdale named Neshama Ryman is undergoing 15 months of treatment for a very serious cancer. You can literally help to save her life by at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Any blood type can do this -- it takes approximately two hours, doesn't hurt (!), and makes all the difference in the world.
We need approximately 75 donors in the next two months, so please don't think, "I'll let someone else do it." You should know they make a difference in both the short-term and long-term. As her father wrote about a day this past week in the hospital: "Yesterday, Neshama needed more blood and platelets, and after the transfusions took effect, her afternoon and evening were filled with energy and spunk!"
Remember, blood type does not matter for platelet donation.
Patient: Neshama Ryman (parents Rob and Lamelle Ryman)
Donations can be scheduled by calling Joe Licata, donations coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering
You must mention that your donation is for Nashema Ryman if that is your intention.
Phone: . Appointments required!
There is a parking garage with FIVE hours of free validated parking (free parking in Manhattan?!)
Location: 1250 First Avenue, between 67th and 68th Street
Sunday, March 13, 2011
New Shul Members: Free
Where: 272 W. 10th St (b/w Greenwich and Washington Sts)
When: This Saturday, March 19 at 7pm
‘wichcraft’s Chocolate Cream’wich
Makes 1 dozen sandwich cookies.
For the Cookie:
•1/3 cup cocoa nibs
•3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
•2/3 cup brown sugar
•2/3 cup granulated sugar
•6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cocoa), melted in a double boiler
•1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
•1 teaspon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Filling:
•4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cocoa), finely chopped
•2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F.
To make the cookies, grind the cocoa nibs in a coffee grinder or food processor until a fine powder. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, ground cocoa nibs, and the sugars on medium speed until well mixed. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the bowl. Mix into a smooth dough and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a large surface covered with a layer of parchment paper. Top with another layer of parchment and gently roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick sheet. To prevent the cookies from sticking as you cut them, carefully remove the top layer of parchment and sprinkle some flour over the sheet of dough. Replace the parchment, flip the dough, and release the parchment on the other side. Cut the dough into 2 ½ inch round cookies and space 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Gather any leftover scraps of dough and roll and cut as described above. Repeat until you have no dough left. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, turning the pan 90 degrees halfway through baking, until you can smell the toasted chocolate. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Once cool, the cookies should be crisp.
To make the filling, place the chocolate, butter, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and pour one-third of the cream over the chopped chocolate to melt the chocolate. Add the rest of the cream and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
Place half of the cookies with the top side (the most attractive) down. Using a piping bag or a spoon, evenly distribute the filling among those cookies, and close into sandwiches with the remaining cookies. Gently press down. Serve immediately or store the cookies in a cool place.
Recipe reprinted from the book ’wichcraft by Tom Colicchio with Sisha Ortuzar. Copyright © 2009.
Naomi paired these cookies with almond sables. The recipe can be found in Chewy Gooey Crispy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich.
From the folks that bought you the Chanukah song...
Friday, March 11, 2011
From Repair the World:
This morning, the island nation of Japan was hit by a series of severe earthquakes — including its largest in over 100 years (8.9 magnitude) — which was subsequently followed by a devastating tsunami that has wreaked untold havoc upon Japan's coastal cities. While the full scale of the destruction is still uknown, over a thousand people have already been pronounced dead, hundreds more are missing, and thousands are now left without homes, schools and jobs. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones.
While, with any disaster, it is far too early to assess what opportunities may exist for both skilled and unskilled volunteers to assist in recovery efforts, one can take immediate action by giving charitably to organizations that are providing assistance to agencies on the ground in Japan.
Our partners at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee are now "conducting an up-to-the-minute assessment of the situation in Japan and the Pacific Rim and [JDC] has activated its network of partners to determine critical, immediate needs of the hardest-hit areas." You can give to JDC's relief efforts online by clicking here.
Likewise, the Jewish Federations of North America have opened an emergency relief fund to which you can donate online as well.
To learn more about the Jewish community's disaster response efforts in Japan and the Pacific Rim, click here for an article from today's JTA News.
We will do our best to keep readers informed about ways they can assist in the coming days and weeks ahead.
One way to get involved right now: If you have tech skills, Crisis Commons is seeking volunteers to monitor the situation in the Pacific Rim, gather data and identify needs stipulated by local agencies and humanitarian aid organizations that can be addressed through collaborative online software development.
Repair the World seeks to inspire Jews of all backgrounds to dedicate time and effort to the causes they're passionate about. What do you repair? weRepair.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This blog post also appears on Joanne's blog, Gotham Gal.
Every year our temple, the New Shul, puts on a food contest. Great for community and raising money. I can tell you that food is always good and available when it comes to the Jews. There was some serious competition.
I entered my chocolate chip caramel salted cookies.
To my right was ruggelah.
To my left was these decadent chocolate brownies with dulce de leche.
The judges took it all very seriously.
In the end, I won for most sophisticated dessert. Glad to have come with a trophy. Lots of buzz around my cookies which made me happy. I wish I had a small video camera to watch peoples reaction when they took a bite, particularly the kids, just funny.
There was also a junior competition. The winner was a teenage kid who made three nut toffee like crunch with just a hint of cayenne pepper. Pretty damn good.
And now for the recipe:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsps. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/2 flour
1 egg yolk
12 ounces chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
16 ounces caramel chips
medium coarse fleur de sel (or any other salt that you like)
In a mixer beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugars and beat until really incorporated. I let this go for a couple of minutes. Add in the vanilla and egg yolk and egg and beat. I like to sift together the dry ingredients before adding them in for the next step. Add the mixture of dry ingredients over three times beating each amount in between. Add in all the chips and beat until incorporated. This should happen quickly.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The oven should be pre-set to 370. After the cookies are on the sheet sprinkle salt over the top of each cookie.
Bake about 7-9 minutes or until browned. When you take the cookies out of the oven, let them cool a bit before taking off the sheet otherwise they completely fall apart.
These cookies are seriously decadent!
For My Mitzvah Project, I have decided to piggyback onto a New Shul effort to raise money for a water treatment plant that residents of an Amazon River village will install, run and maintain on their own. From now until my Bar Mitzvah on April 30th, I will take my unicycle act “on the road” and donate any contributions I receive to this clean water project. In addition, instead of asking for presents, I am asking my guests to help me give the gift of clean water to these children by making a donation to this project.
Almost all children in Amazon River villages consume water directly from rivers, streams and ponds. Since these water sources contain many parasites, children who drink from them are likely to become ill and malnourished. CONAPAC is a Peruvian non-profit organization that promotes conservation of the rainforest by educating its stewards, the people of the Amazon. CONAPAC has designed a simple system to build small water treatment plants in Amazon villages. Overseen by CONAPAC, villagers build the water plants in their communities and attend a 2-day workshop where they learn about the importance of clean water for good health and community prosperity.
At the end of the workshop, each family receives a large container with a spigot to bring and serve clean water in their homes, and each child receives his or her own cup with the message that clean water equals good health.
To learn more about CONAPAC and this project, visit www.conapac.org.
To donate by check, make checks payable to "The New Shul - Water Project" and mail to: The New Shul, 505 8th Avenue, Suite 1212, New York, NY 10018.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
By Renee Ghert-Zand
Winner of this year’s junior category at The New Shul’s Golden Schmaltz Award. It’s not uncommon, while hanging out by the food table at a synagogue Kiddush, to overhear one member boasting to another about the superiority of a particular family recipe — brisket, apple cake, or other. But at some congregations, this culinary kvelling is taken to a whole other level in the form of competitive cook-offs and bake-offs, in which shul-goers cum amateur chefs vie for the top prize (and recipe bragging rights).
In the case of Manhattan’s The New Shul, that prize is the Golden Schmaltz Award. The independent congregation held the fourth round of its annual cook-off this past weekend. This year’s theme, “Sweets to the Sweetest,” focused on desserts, but the cook-off tradition began with the “Battle of the Briskets” in 2007, after one member got tired of hearing another constantly lauding his brisket recipe and was confident that his own was tastier. “Basically, he told him — in a good natured way — to ‘put your money where your mouth is,’” executive director Amy Eichenwald Golding recounted humorously.
The New Shul has traditionally held its competitions (usually judged by a panel of local celebrity chefs and restaurateurs) at a venue and time suited to its themes. The “Battle of the Briskets” took place at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, a restaurant in the West Village, not far from where the congregation meets for services. In 2009, the Golden Schmaltz Award went to the best soup entered in the “Souper Bowl” (held one week prior to its NFL namesake).
Culinarily competitive Jews, however, are not limited to New York. A Web search of the shul cook-off landscape reveals synagogue members trying to best one another all over the country. In Orthodox circles, cholent seems to be the dish of choice. Cooks are adding unexpected ingredients like Pepsi, beer and even fried salmon to the traditional stew in an attempt to gain the attention of the judges.
Chicken soup and kugel cook-offs are popular with all types of synagogues from Cincinnati to Santa Clarita, Calif. The New Shul is not alone in its interest in beef. Har Sinai Temple in Pennington, NJ holds its own “Brisket Bake-Off,” begging the question whether one more accurately cooks a brisket or bakes it.
Around Hanukkah time, latke making competitions abound, with even young, hip communities like San Francisco’s the Mission Minyan entering the fray. The cool Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. takes it far beyond greasy pancakes to a more expansive and imaginative potato cook-off, where offerings like handmade potato-stuffed gnocchi are as — if not more — welcome than traditional holiday fare.
In the south, where people take their down home regional cooking extremely seriously, some shul cook-offs have morphed into major, community-wide events. In Memphis, Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth’s kosher barbeque cook-off attracts huge crowds. Tiferet Israel in Dallas, has been hosting the mother of all kosher chili cook-offs for the past 18 years, drawing teams from as far away as St. Louis, Michigan and Wisconsin. Last year the event attracted 3000 people and involved 1,400 pounds of kosher ground beef. This year there are already 42 teams registered with five weeks to go before the competition scheduled for April 3, according to Scott Janco, the cook-off’s co-chair.
Other chili cook-offs at synagogues and JCC’s in Houston, Rhode Island, Austin and St. Louis, all look to Tiferet Israel for inspiration. Janco especially likes that the event draws “Jews from across the spectrum” together. A new vegetarian chili category added for this spring’s cook-off is opening up the competition even further.
Although a team fielded by Chabad of Plano, Texas has won the cook-off for the past couple of years, the event attracts teams of all sorts. The Dallas Fire Department even has a competitive kosher chili-cooking crew, which has won the people’s choice award two years running.
As cutthroat as the cooking competition may be at these events, they are ultimately about more than just the food. “It’s about community,” reflected Eichenwald Golding at The New Shul. “There is a real connection between food and Judaism, and it is a great way to pass on the tradition to the next generation,” she said as she reviewed the list of teenage “junior cheftestants” participating in this year’s Golden Schmaltz Awards.
When: Sunday, April 10 beginning at 9:30 AM
Where: Project Ezra, 465 Grand Street
Only volunteers with cars are needed. It is easiest when there is at least two volunteers, a driver and one more. You will pick up the boxes of food at Project Ezra and then go deliver them to the seniors. If possible and appropriate, we encourage volunteers to visit with the senior as well. It will take about 90 minutes.
Interested? Please call Dalia Abott at 212-982-4124.
Monday, March 7, 2011
This blog post, written by member Judy Levine, also appears on Cause Effective's blog. Cause Effective provides management consulting services to nonprofits. They teach their clients how to build effective boards, manage successful events, and maximize their fundraising potential. In addition, they house our New Shul offices!
I went to a tasting today – or, rather, I went to an outpouring of love.
It was a dessert cook-off. People prepared their standout recipes, and competed for various prizes. They paid to get in – a sliding scale that started low and rose pretty high, with the only differential being someone’s capacity to write checks – and the rest of the community, the non-chefs, paid to come in as well.
What did we get?
A chance to peak inside the kitchens of our fellow community members; a chance to appreciate good cooking in the company of our peers; and a chance to laugh together as we attempted the absurd task of trying 50 or so desserts in an hour’s time.
And the ability to cheer each other on (especially the kids – there was a special Junior Chefs division with about 10 contestants).
Food = Love. An age-old theme.
But even more than that, this showed me, once again, the power of special events if they’re really well-designed for the community at hand. We all went home with a glow – and the organization raised some dollars, increased awareness, and created an even tighter bond between participants.
Chefs Alex and Judah pose with their Chocolate Chip Cookies
Now I have to come clean – my 12-year-old son and his friend won second prize for their delicious chocolate chip cookies, so the event had a very satisfying end for them. But even before that dénouement, they basked in the appreciation of the 100+ participants, supported each other’s creations, and marveled at the variety of chocolate cakes in the world…while having no idea they were involved in a nonprofit fundraising venture.
They were simply having fun.
We'll be blogging pics, recipes, and more from this past Saturday's 4th Annual Golden Schmaltz Awards honoring Amy Eichenwald Golding all week. Thanks again for coming out and making it an incredible day!
Triple Nut Brittle
3 cups of Sugar
1 1/2 cups of Water
2 cups of Lightly Salted Nuts (any nuts you would like to use)
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
2 Baking Sheets with Edges
Silicone Baking Mat
Small Rubber Spatula
Lightly grease the sides of a Medium Sauce-Pan with Canola Oil. Pour
the sugar and water into the sauce-pan, and cook over High heat
stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon, for three minutes, until
sugar is dissolved completely. Clip a candy thermometer to the side
of the sauce-pan, turn heat down to medium, and wait until the
temperature on the thermometer reads 350 degrees. DO NOT STIR OR
SHAKE THE SUGAR-WATER IN ANY WAY WHILE IT IS HEATING!
While you wait for the sugar-water to heat up, move on to the nuts.
Dump the nuts of your choice into a small bowl with the cinnamon,
cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and cloves and toss them all together.
Take two baking sheets and invert one. Liberally lubricate the
underside of the baking sheet with Canola oil. Place the silicone
baking mat inside the other baking sheet.
When the sugar-water reaches 350 degrees, dump in all of the nuts and
stir briskly with the rubber spatula. Quickly pour the mixture onto
the silicone baking mat folding over the sugar-water back onto the
nuts. It will set very quickly so put the lubricated underside over
the brittle and press down with a towel to distribute the nuts
evenly. Be very careful because the sugar can easily burn your skin.
Let the brittle cool for about twenty minutes, break into pieces and
Saturday, March 5, 2011
There is so much to post, but first and foremost a huge thank you to everyone who made it possible and all those that donated to the day.
Now, the winners (recipes and photos to follow):
Best Tasting: Naomi Cutner's Cookies
Most Delicious: Zach Fredman's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Most Sophisticates: Joanne Wilson's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies
People's Choice: Martine Smidt's Ice Cream
And the Junior Cheftestant Winners are:
Grand Prize - Julian Baldwin's Triple Nut Brittle
2nd Prize - Judah Lang and Alexander Komanoff's Chocolate Chip Cookies
3rd Place - Thea Lang's Chocolate Rice Pudding
Megan Sher - Meringue
Max Shatan - Rugelach
Aja Baldwin - Cookie Double Cookie
Alex Judelson - Boston Cream Cupcake
Ethan Davison - Buddy's Vanilla Cake
Charlie Kanev - Marzipan Fantasy
Yum! What a day. Check back for more on the event soon....
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
This month, our group has explored Israel's political landscape and learned about everything from elections to political parties to politicians, all using the medium of political cartoons.
After a visit from New Shul member and The Forward staffer Karen Loew, we had the opportunity to create our own political cartoons using what we've learned so far. Here's what we came up with---enjoy this seriously symbolic cartoon created by our own Julian Baldwin. (click on the image to make it a little bigger)
Here's how he explains it:
"I was inspired by the classic Led Zeppling song 'What Is and What Should Never Be' and decided to apply that idea to show my point of view about Israel. The first panel shows WHAT IS, the current situation in the country. The next couple panels show conflict and Israel and Palestine breaking down from the inside, illustrated by the cracked flags. The final panels show WHAT SHOULD NEVER BE, the destruction of these countries and of hope and peace. There is also a question mark on the map of Israel and a blank panel, asking the viewer to think about the future and what COULD be."
Thanks Julian! Feel free to comment and give your feedback.