agunot/chained women, commentary, domestic violence, education, feminism, history, Holocaust, israel, Jews, judaism, law, Uncategorized
How can you be a Jewish state when you have no Jewish values? Do we need to quote Tanach and Talmud to remind ourselves of the Jewish values that have been ingrained on our souls since we were tykes? Don’t we do that every week in the synagogue? Is anyone listening? Isn’t Israel supposed to be, you should forgive the expression, the Mecca of Diaspora Jewry?
So why is it that fewer and fewer Jews care about Israel? Maybe it is because they don’t like what they see in a host of Israeli policies, from making nice with some of the vilest governments in the world to treating refugees from genocide like criminals. It is something that is hard to wrap your head around. As hard as trying to understand how rabbis in New York refuse to let victims of child abuse dial 911 without their permission.
Who are the people throwing rocks through black-owned shop windows in Tel Aviv and setting fire to Eritreans in Jerusalem? People who were educated in the Land of Yad Vashem? How many billions did we spend trying to teach people how to live together and prevent genocide? As Jews and as a Jewish community, we yell “hate crime” every time someone looks at us cross-eyed, denies the Holocaust, or paints a swastika on a wall, including at Yad Vashem in early June. In the meantime, we Jews treat each other, our children, and the strangers among us like we are less than worthless.
Did the Six Million die for nothing? They had faith in a free, democratic and ideal state of Israel that would be the salvation of the world. Ani Mamin they sang in the Ghettos and camps. Hatikvah was on their lips together with the Shma as they went to the gas. We sing those songs on Yom Hashoah along with the Partisaner Hymn and Kaddish.
Where is that land of Israel, the land of Jewish values and ideals? Today it’s a place where Israeli government officials tell the big lie about North Africans, and prevent their own people from protesting peacefully. Government officials said that these refugees from genocide are raping Israeli women, giving them AIDS, and are a cancer on Israeli society. And they are deporting them back to their countries of origin with ugly rhetoric and violence reminiscent of Kristallnacht.
The ideal Israel in our souls, the Israel of blue skirts and embroidered blouses, of campfires and idealism, only exists in our imaginations. As a student of history, not bubbeh mayses, the story of the birth of Israel, the story of how the Jewish community behaved before, during and after the war in Mandate Palestine, in Europe, in America, in community after community–except for a handful of people who put themselves on the line in the attempt to rescue Jews–is not a pretty story.
The fictional Ari Ben Canaans of Exodus and the Rabbi Michoel Wiessmandls were rare characters. The Israeli right wing murdered the man who saved my mother and thousands of others during the Holocaust. To this very day, the behavior of the established Jewish communities in the secular and denominational world is shameful–from the treatment of the North Africans, including Ethiopian Jewry and women in Israel and everywhere else where they are forced to sit in the back, not drive, not go to school, etc.(in the organizational Jewish world there is equal work, not equal pay and glass ceilings) to the decades of covering up child abuse and domestic violence everywhere. And if anyone tells you that women in Judaism are free, look them in the eye and say “Agunot.”
The typical American Jew looks on, aghast, as Israel self-immolates in front of Diaspora Jewry, and Diaspora Jewry faces its own house of horrors. So much for being a light unto the nations. So much for the lessons from the Holocaust. So much for Jewish values. How the hell did we become the monsters we teach our children not to be. How can we, just four generations after the Holocaust, remain silent in the face of our leaders’ moral bankruptcy? How can we tolerate it when a Jew calls another Jew a Nazi? How can we tolerate it when our own people behave the way they do?
Maybe Jewish values died with the Six Million. Maybe that’s when Jewish leadership died. Elie Wiesel once said, “Jeanette, don’t wait for leaders. Be your own leader.”
Listen to Wiesel. Speak truth to power. If you don’t like what you see in the Jewish community, don’t wait for someone to lead you. Pick up a phone, post something to facebook, make your voice heard. Protest and demand the end of hypocrisy. Be your own leader.
Jews, judaism, Poland, the arts
click on the image to enlarge it, and use the magnifying glass if you still can’t read the type!
Jews, judaism, politics, social action
On the Friday night immediately after Rosh Hashanna, my son Dan called for Shabbat dinner at Occupy Wall Street. There were about 25-30 of us who made kiddush, ate cholent (translates these days into vegetarian chili), had tuna fish instead of gefilte fish and drank lots of juice while eating home-made challah. When a CBS reporter found us under the sculpture on the northwest corner of Cedar and B’way, he didn’t want to know why we made Shabbat in Zuccotti Park. He didn’t care that there were ethical, principled reasons to have Shabbat at a protest, to sanctify a day by speaking out for justice. This guy wanted us to be hippies having pot luck dinner. Sorry we didn’t fit his stereotype. “I only have 10 seconds, no time for this Shabbat thing,” he said.
I was the senior in the bunch, and David Peel, a real hippie who hung with John and Yoko back in the day (and was singing Tevye’s greatest hits), was one person who asked me why I was there, as did a struggling freelance journalist. They both looked pointedly at my gray hair and my grandmotherly physique.
“I am here because when things were circling the drain, the banks wouldn’t renegotiate our mortgage. The credit card companies hiked their interest rates. My husband got sick and lost his job. And the co-pays on drugs have become obscene. My Nexium went from $30 for 90 pills to $640+ on a co-pay. Full price for that formerly $30 bottle is $1080. That’s why I am in Zuccotti Park. I marched against Vietnam in 65 (and married a Viet Nam vet). I marched in the Women’s Lib Parade in 1970, because my Orthodox Jewish husband refused to grant me a Jewish divorce for seven long and bitter years. I marched on behalf of Soviet Jewry and for the State of Israel. Now I am marching for me.”
In bankruptcy and foreclosure, after paying every bill for 21 years, we lost a state tenant in our investment/retirement home in Arizona and lost the house. Then clients bailed on us because they had no money, others canceled projects because of investments with Madoff and other shaky stuff. Now our home in New Jersey is underwater.
We write books, we edit books, we print books. We are a necessary niche market business. But the trustee for U.S. Bankruptcy court will not allow us to sell the books we print for our clients, let alone our used books, and is demanding $21,500 for the books I need to do my work, for the mementos of a full and not-boring life, for my beloved Brooklyn Bridge collection, and my Judaica. That’s why I go to Zuccotti Park and exercise my first amendment rights.
If anyone missed what the media says about people like me and my son Dan—they are saying we are young (I wish), smelly, nasty, ignorant know-nothings who do not believe in the system, we are criminals, etc. You really have to see the Jon Stewart take on this to see what they say about people like you and me. CLICK HERE.
We are not who the media says we are. We know who we are. We are those who struggle just to keep it together, to rescue something from everything we had ever worked for. And those of us who have parents watch them in the last days of their lives as they suffer along with us. And trust me—it is infinitely more difficult when those elderly parents are Holocaust survivors.
On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Isaiah speaks for God, who essentially says, “Who needs you to fast and say all these prayers of repentance and offer me all of these sacrifices if you don’t take care of your widows, your poor and your orphans?”
That’s why it is precisely on Yom Kippur that I am with my son in Zuccotti Park. It is precisely here that I can, with a clear conscience, ask for forgiveness for selfishness, apathy and pride. I want people to understand that it’s not just about ATM fees and interest rates; it’s about human beings who are just like you and me. It’s about millions of Americans who are teetering on the edge of the abyss, and nobody out there with the means, the power and the vision wants to step forward and give us the help we need to survive as our American dreams turn into nightmares.
I knew it a long time ago, but you cannot, like Isaiah, be a prophet in your own hometown. Check out youtube.com. On May 1, 1979, Ayn Rand, the grand diva of the free market, was a guest on Donohue, who at the time had the only intelligent talk show on TV. My sister-in-law and I were in the audience. I wore a white dress and had long, black curly hair and big glasses. I was eight months pregnant with Dan, my son who called for Yom Kippur services at Occupy Wall Street. Rand and I had a knock down drag out with Donohue as referee, and it dominated the show. For Rand, it was all about keeping whatever you make, charity is a waste and it’s not the government’s job to protect anyone or give them a leg up, and how dare Donohue allow her to be attacked by hippies!
For me it was quite the opposite. When Donohue explained to me that according to Rand, corporations will do the right thing, I said that I didn’t believe that. “The more money you have,” I said to him, “the more power you have.”
Now, if anyone on Fox Not the News cares to show up at Kol Nidrei services at Occupy Wall Street, I would be proud to answer any questions intelligently. But I have learned, again, through bitter experience, that Fox never lets reality get in the way of Fox facts.
Holocaust, HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, interfaith relations, Jews, judaism, Poland, social action
When the World Federation announced that this year’s meeting would be in Poland, many 2Gs (children of survivors), survivors and child survivors were angry. They didn’t want to spend a nickel in the country where their families suffered so brutally, and saw all Poles as collaborators. I, too, had sworn that I would never come to Poland to do what I call “Le Tour Macabre,” but when I heard that the World Federation was having its annual meeting in Warsaw, I realized I was a hypocrite, realized that Warsaw is not Chicago, Boston or DC. I realized I had to come, if only for three days. It is very hard to teach tolerance to kids and not be tolerant yourself. Why should I be a hypocrite?
My mother was furious. My friend’s mother forbade her to come altogether, and she obeyed her mother. But I was determined to go and my cousin in Jerusalem made it possible.
A few days after my trip was booked, I received a call from the North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and after an interview with Mr. Sigmund Rolat in New York, I learned I would be in Poland for 18 days—to learn about the country and to witness the I.B. Singer Festival in Warsaw while learning about the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which sits atop what used to be the street where my mother and grandmother lived, in the Jewish Quarter that became the Warsaw Ghetto.
The welcome we received on Friday night in what I call the cocoon (the hotel that could be anywhere) was heartwarming. Stefanie Seltzer, the Federation president, opened the conference. The Israeli ambassador, Zvi Rav-Ner and American ambassador Lee Feinstein welcomed us, as did the mayor, really the President of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, along with Rabbi Michael Shudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, who was born in Queens, New York.
Stefanie Seltzer opens the Conference
Ambassador Feinstein was honest. He noted that Jews have a very long history in Poland, one that was complicated at times, in part because of Poland’s location in the so-called “bloodlands,” where great power competition too often brought out the worst in humanity. He described how the Jews found a home in a historically diverse and tolerant Poland, and established what was once the world’s largest Jewish community. He talked about how the Jewish people made vital and lasting contributions to Polish society and world civilization, including in the arts, science, and commerce. And of course, he explained how the Holocaust changed all that, and yet there were Poles who risked everything to save Jewish lives, giving Irena Sendler, who saved 2,500 children, as the classic example of a Righteous Person.
U.S. Ambassdor Lee Feinstein
He said that our conference was helping Poland re-discover its heritage and talked about the growing interest among Poles in exploring this history and embracing Jewish culture, mentioning the annual Jewish festivals in Warsaw and Krakow, noting that the embassy is playing an active role in supporting this renewed cooperation between Poles and Jews. (It is no secret that Poland is a strong ally of Israel at the EU.) He mentioned Holocaust education programs and the renovations and restorations of synagogues and cemeteries. And he described how President Obama came to Warsaw, and paid tribute to the Ghetto Fighters. He also noted that the U.S. President visited the new museum that is “rising from the ashes of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw to teach future generations about this rich history.” And, he admitted, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Part of that work took place in our workshops, where we met our 2G brothers and sisters in Poland, many of us for the first time. I was blown away by the courage of the Polish 2Gs, some of them who never knew their parents were Jewish, and some from mixed marriages, who grew up thinking and feeling they were apart from their society, and yet didn’t know why. Yet in their heart of hearts, they felt they were different, and at these meetings, finally felt as if they had found “a home.”
They told us that Jewish life was being reborn in Poland. For the first time in 73 years, they were able to talk about being Jewish. A.D., a psychologist and leader of the Second Generation movement in Warsaw, explained how after the war, their parents’ couldn’t understand what happened, and then were hit with the double-whammy of communism. Many hid their Jewishness as a result, and never spoke of it until communism fell in 1989. For the first time since the war, they thought they could tell their children who they really are.
The meetings were welcoming to those who thought they were lost forever—and that is truly the story of Polish Jewry today. While the community is a tiny fraction of what it had once been, for the first time, these people feel safe when they say they are Jewish. While some are discovering Judaism, others are discovering their Polish-Jewish history. They credit Pope John Paul II with doing more to fight antisemitism in Poland than anyone else, and while there is still antisemitism, as the older generation dies off, and the children become educated, it becomes less virulent, less effective, particularly in a global society. Poles are learning about Jews and Judaism, and are seeing that the Jews were an integral part of their culture and society, perhaps often separated, but part of Poland’s history for almost 1,000 years.
As one Polish 2G said, “We are discovering our Jewish roots, and the Poles are discovering Jewish Polish history. This creates a synergy…but while we are getting really good at seeing and fighting antisemitism because we have to, we are not so good at finding friends and allies. We need to find common ground.”
“Imagine how different the world would have been if we could have taught our children and grandchildren our heritage and legacy. We are like the hidden Jews of New Mexico, and now we have the unprecedented chance to change our future,” said another.
Some are discovering pride in their Judaism, while others just want to blend in. Another 2G talked about how he was born to be like everyone else. Now he deals with survivors every day, but says that was a choice that he made…and yet had no choice in making it, because he owes it to those who were murdered. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to be swallowed by the Holocaust. He feels like Ulysseys, who couldn’t deal with the souls of those who died. “There are too many stories, and some of them scare me, but I cannot come home. I hate going to Auschwitz-Birkenau, but I must go… Only my mother and grandmother survived and I hate to go to them with questions because of the looks on their faces…and still I try to extend my Jewish experience.”
A young woman talked about her father, who was in the underground. Her mother and grandmother survived, but avoiding talking altogether. Her father’s mother simply lied. But it was much easier for her to identify with her father, because he fought back instead of being trapped in the fear, shame and guilt that came from her mom. It took her a long time to be able to listen to the stories, and now she is discovering who she is.
These 2G/3G workshops also discussed the differences between those whose parents did not speak at all, and those who wanted their children to be their supporters, to use them as a tool for hating. It created complicated feelings when coping with their parents and was an important obstacle in the 2G acceptance and exploration of their Judaism.
A, who was born in 1947, was able to come to grips with her Judaism for the first time when she was 55 years old. She was self-motivated because she needed to find out who she was and accept her identity. It was hard for her to find herself in the shadow of the Holocaust, and she began with the story of her grandfather, who used to sing songs in Yiddish—and tell her he was singing old Army songs. He had a tiny Torah scroll that no one was permitted to touch, and she wanted him to read it to her. He said it did not contain stories for children. “If you hear them, when you are an adult, you will run away,” he told her.
Another woman was told as a child to forget Judaism, forget the Holocaust. She felt a pervasive loneliness, and was comforted by our presence. When she found out she was Jewish, she cried, and pleaded not to be told she was a Jew. Those fears and the feeling of being different ran deep, and it was scary. As one American 2G said to her, “It took something good to justify our survival, and if you want the third and fourth generations to be proud, you remind them that they come from a people who have perservered.”
In Poland, Jewish identity fluctuates. Many were raised in an environment loaded with high doses of antisemitism. As one Polish 2G put it, “It still exists, of course, and it depends where you live. Sometimes, when you tell your lifelong friends the truth, they treat you differently…it can be compared to other traumas, like those of mixed races who live in Zimbabwe.”
Yet on a personal level, they are finding each other and creating close, emotional bonds–just like the American and Israeli 2Gs did when they came together decades ago.
On Monday morning, the last day of Conference, those who attended the Yad Vashem ceremony to recognize the Righteous—Polish families who had risked their lives and families to save the lives of our parents, brothers and sisters—were reminded that good can triumph over evil, if people make difficult choices. The Israel ambassador, Zvi Rav-Ner spoke movingly and forcefully about those choices, and noted that there is a universal lesson in what these people did.
Israeli Ambassador Zvi Rav-Ner
“They made the right choices even though it was so painful… Today we honor those human beings that we have to respect and honor forever. ..Yet not everyone saved people and not everyone could, but there were those who made the honorable decision. When we ask why not everyone did that, [why] there were collaborators…when we put must also put this question to ourselves…would you have risked your own lives and the lives of your family to risk to save a neighbor or friend or even a stranger? These people have done it, and we are forever in debt to them and their families… The message for the future is universal—to prevent such situations anywhere, God forbid that we get into such situations… These people give us hope that we can still believe in people.”
Because I believe it is important to name names—victims, survivors, rescuers—to put a human face on the tragedies of the past, to bring understanding that these were just folks who found themselves in dire straits and made choiceless choices, I list them here. Survivors’ children often presented these awards to the children, grandchildren and relative of the rescuers, all of them now resting in peace.
Leo Hoffman presented the award to the son of the late Janina Bereska. Ewa Banaszczyk of Lodz, received the award for her late grandfather, Adolph Brauner. Lilka Rosenbaum-Elbaum presented the award to the granddaughter of the couple who rescued her family, Jadwiga and Adam Chorqzkiewicz. Mira Becker honored two sisters, Maria and Marianna Kazuczyk, and gave the award to their family members. Jozefa and Wilhelm Maj were honored with an award given to their adopted child, a survivor herself, Ida Paluch-Kersz. The daughter of Katarzyna and Stanislaw Swietlikowski, Maria Nadstawek, received the award for them, and a survivor’s daughter, Agnieszka Bater-Shupska, gave the award to the nephew of her parent’s rescuer, Agnieszka Troszka.
Some of the children of survivors recognize the rescuers of their families.
You will probably be able to find all their stories and many more on the Yad Vashem website, along with information on how to honor the righteous who saved your own family members.
And the next morning, a group of us left for Lublin and Krakow…code words for Majdanek and Auschwitz… more to come.
eulogy, food, holidays, judaism, life cycle events and celebrations, local stories/community, orthodoxy
OF KIDDUSH, COLLATIONS AND COMMUNITY
Celebrating Special Events in Shul or at Home on Shabbat &Yom Tov
By Jeanette Friedman
(The rebbetzin mentioned below passed on the day the Jewish Standard arrived in people’s mailboxes. She was an incredible woman. Her name was Rebbetzin Chaya Frankel from Frankel’s Shul in Crown Heights and Flatbush.)
In the old shuls in Brooklyn, run by Hasidic dynasties in Crown Heights, Borough Park and Williamsburg—even in the black-hat shuls—by the time the girls arrived with their mothers in time for the Torah reading, you knew someone was celebrating something or marking a yahrzeit. The upstairs lady’s section (der veiber shile), would be redolent with the rich scent coming from a huge pot of garlicky cholent, a heart-disease inducing stew, thick with beans and barley, beef bones and onions that had been set to simmer on the blech in the kitchen early Friday afternoon. (A blech is a steel sheet set over the gas burners to hold the heat of a low flame and slow the cooking process to a steady simmer.)
If cholent was in the air, a feast was in the offing.
A simple kiddush in days of yore was slapped on a long table. It consisted of some schnapps, dried out sponge or honey cake, some schmaltz herring and sugar-coated egg bowties that were as hard as rocks. If the men were lucky, there would be a bowl of garbonza beans (arbis), straight out of a can, dried with a dishtowel and tossed in a bowl with salt and pepper. There were no spoons or plates, and they would dig in with their fingers, using toothpicks to stab a piece of herring. Everything stank.
But in the rebbitzen’s shul in addition to cholent, crispy, grayish, but delicious potato kugel, made with onions, was stuffed into the ovens, along with delicately browned noodle kugel made with raisins, always sweet and moist, with hints of vanilla and lemon. These kugels would be wrapped in yards and yards of aluminum foil so they would stay hot without burning.
The rebbitzen would come in early with some of her friends and slice long loaves of sweet/salty cold gefilte fish into ¾ inch thick diagonal slices, slip them onto thin paper plates with a sliced carrot placed just so, along with a sprig of parsley. A plastic fork would be put on the plate, too. The plates would then be stacked on each other in the fridge. The horse radish was red, the pickles were half sours, set out in jars.
When the men got to saying the amidah for Musaf, the rebbitzen removed the kugels from the oven and carefully removed the foil. She and the women cut up to ten pans of kugel into 2×2 inch squares in record time and piled them on platters. The steamy, smelly cholent was ladled into deep bowls and passed around with thicker paper plates. Sometimes the rebbetzin would prepare “p’tcha,” also known as “galleh,” aspic made from chicken legs with lots of garlic and schmaltz. Only the really old folks would go near it. If it was Shevuoth, the kugel would be cheese kugel, there would be blintzes, cheese kreplach, cheese cake made with farmer cheese, fruit soup and herring platters—schmaltz, matjes herring in cream sauce and/or wine sauce with onions seasoned with lots of bay leaves. Sometimes, not often, there was lox with a square slab of cream cheese, but no bagels. Challah rolls would have to do.
There were usually three or four men on the kitchen squad who could carry 30 portions of gefilte fish without trays, and who had the food-transfer system to the men’s section down pat. The women set out food for the women upstairs, with slightly more refinement. There were napkins. The moment a voice from downstairs made kiddush loud enough for everyone to hear, the hoards would descend, and every drop of food would disappear in moments. The rebbe would give a dvar Torah, people would say the version of grace after meals that applied, and off they’d go—to a real meal or a Shabbat nap.
Sometimes the hosting family would stay behind with selected family members and friends to continue the celebration on site. Sometimes the festivities continued at home or in a rented hall a short walk away. Rarely did anyone stray from convention. The menus were practically static. Fruit cocktail with maraschino cherries was a luxury. Desert was usually ruggelach with a glass of tea.
Today, influenced by our meticulous moms and the Food Network, the kiddush has dramatically evolved. You can still get the basics for a kiddush and so much more from food purveyors in Northern New Jersey and beyond. There are kiddushim for vegans, for carnivores, weight watchers, and for the rest of us who just love to eat good food. From deli platters to derma stuffed boneless chicken thighs, mini-danish to caviar, a kiddush can be simple and stylish, elegant and elaborate, Middle Eastern or Mexican. You are limited only by your budget and special needs, if any.
FAR FROM TRADITION, AND DELICIOUS
In addition to the basics, there are millions of dishes to choose from if you’re planning a kiddush either at home, in shul or temple. Some unusual menu items you might want to consider: Chilled bowtie pasta with sautéed portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and olive tapenade dressing; an assortment of sushi and shashimi instead of gefilte fish, or as a complement to it. Marinated asparagus salad with fresh berries and lemon mint vinaigrette, served with cold poached salmon. Artichoke and Kalamata olive tarts and mini quiches make great finger foods, as do Moroccan cigars stuffed with ground lamb, Vietnamese spring rolls with Mandarin dipping sauce, and kubeh (which should be served with an international variety of dipping sauces). A fresh salad suggestion is sliced avocados dipped in lemon juice and diced citrus fruits topping baby spinach greens dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. Even the beverages can be different—iced green tea, fresh juices, chilled white wines from Israel—the sky’s the limit.
A typical dairy kiddush could consist of bagels, cream cheese spreads and lox, fresh fruit platters, a pasta salad, a herring assortment, crackers and breads, mini muffins, assorted mini-danish, ruggelach and brownies. Beverages would be coffees, creamers and teas and sodas. To expand this menu, typically, you would add tuna, egg and potato salads, white fish, pickle platters, at least three kinds of kugel (choosing from white potato, sweet potato, regular sweet noodle kugel, salt and pepper noodle kugel, cheese kugel, kugel Yerushalmi, a kugel made with thin noodles, hot and sweet.) You might even add kasha varnishes (bowtie noodles with sautéed onions and kasha) or a variety of mini-knishes.
There are many food purveyors who are ready, willing and able to meet your every kiddush catering need—from take-out menu selections to full service catering.
SIDE BAR: About Kiddush
The fifth “commandment” of the ten reminds us to keep the Sabbath and remember it. It’s the one day of the week when we are ordered to take it easy, spend some time with our families and our community in the synagogues or temples of our choice. We “keep” the Sabbath by refraining from work on that day, and we “remember” it with the rituals we use to sanctify it. We bless the wine, traditionally using a fancy silver cup or chalice, on Friday nights before the Sabbath meal, and again on Saturday morning after services. Today, kiddush cups or bechers, the Yiddish word for them, can be fashioned by artists in ceramics, hand-blown glass or other materials. They make great gifts for engagements, graduations, bar/bats and weddings. But that’s beside the point.
A kiddush, an after- morning service celebration, could also be called a collation, a fancy word for a light meal, even when traditional cholesterol packed food is on the menu. It’s a social gathering with food that begins with a ceremony to sanctify the wine, grape juice or liquor that is used (if you would serve the drinks to a VIP, it qualifies for kiddush). The event usually marks an important lifecycle event, like a baby naming, a bris, an engagement, a birthday, a bar or bat mitzvah, or to mark the anniversary of the passing of a loved one, a yahrzeit. Most shuls have a kiddush on Saturday mornings, offering mini-danish and coffee, even when there’s no lifecycle event to celebrate. Other congregations have a Friday night Oneg Shabbat after services, which operates on the same principle.
446 Cedar Lane, Teaneck
Stuart or Yossi
Stuart Kahan and Yossi Markovic, owners of Ma’adan, have been friends since second grade. Both worked in food service and, in 1981, decided to open a small glatt “gourmet” take out place on Cedar Lane in Teaneck. Today that store has grown to 4,500 square ft. and is packed with anything you might want to offer your guests, especially for a kiddush. They stock staples and the latest trendy items. They do dairy and meat, and carry a fine selection of wine and liquor. Non-traditional items include Buffalo wings, Jumbalaya, lamb stew, bachts (a Bukharan beef dish with rice) for an interesting change of pace for kiddush.
A Ma’adan specialty, particularly for kiddush, is the homemade herring bar, offering various spicy herrings, and old standbys: matjes, wine and schmaltz, served with sautéed onions, veggies and parve cream sauce. Baby-namings, bar/bat, brissim and other buffet kiddush events are a house specialty, and they offer full-service catering, including weddings. They’ll serve on paper plates, plastic ware or china and silver plate—depending on the hosts‘ needs. After 30 years on Cedar Lane, Stuie and Yossi pride themselves on providing customer service for foodies—no preservatives added.
Foster Village Kosher Deli
469 S. Washington Avenue, Bergenfield
In the Foster Village shopping mall
Call for orders and hours.
Yossi and Rina have been serving the Bergen County Jewish community since 1979 as purveyors of quality kosher deli for Conservative and Reform congregations. Traditional and deli style kiddush is what they do best. As Yossi says, “It’s my cup of tea.” They also offer full service catering for business lunches, meetings, and dinners.
Everything is homemade, including the corned beef, the brisket, the pastrami and soups. The deli platters are to die for. Side dishes include kasha varnishkes, egg barley (ferfel in Yiddish)—usually sautéed with diced onions and mushrooms. The soups are exceptional. And a food critic on the net suggests “that you ask Yossi to make an Israeli pot roast for your next Shabbos.”
493 Cedar Lane, Teaneck
Noah’s Ark opened as a sit-down deli/restaurant on Cedar Lane in 1988. Since then, proprietors Noam and Shelly Sokolow have expanded the business to include Shelly’s Vegetarian Café (dairy) across the street, an old-fashioned kosher deli on the Lower East Side, an elegant, top-tier catering service called Rave, based in the Big Apple, and a brisk, mail order business that ships frozen kosher food cross-country. They have a vast menu that includes all sorts of party packages. When planning a meat-based kiddush, bang for the buck would be the Mid-Life Crisis Party. Crisis is averted when the package is a pre-packaged deli kiddush that serves 40-45 folks for under $600. Beverages are not included. Here’s what is: A 20-lb carved up turkey, 48 franks in blankets, 48 mini-potato knishes, 48 mini-egg rolls, 10 lbs. of cold cuts on platters, including corned beef and roast beef, 9 lbs. each of potato salad and cole slaw, a tray of pickles and relishes and 9 lbs. of sliced rye bread. Comes with mustard and Russian dressing. All you need to do is set it up on long tables, and maybe replace the rye bread with challah rolls for 48.
18 Engle Street
Follow them on Twitter: Arielskosher
It’s a newcomer to the neighborhood, but Ariel’s makes a strong kosher culinary statement that is a world away from cheese blintzes, veggie burgers and mushroom steaks, This unique eatery specializes in affordable, upscale cuisine, served in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Craig Solomon, the chef/owner, trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, a place that turns out the caliber chefs you see on The Food Network and Bravo. He takes his cooking seriously and says his dishes speak for him. Craig uses international ingredients, makes his own pasta and ice cream. Everything is under $20, except fresh fish entrees. Off-premise catering for a dairy kiddush, dinner meetings, birthdays and other parties, Sheva Brachot, bar/bats and other special events can be set up with a buffet, an a la carte menu or family-style meals.
Craig’s reputation has attracted clientele from all around the county and rave reviews. In addition to gourmet pizzas and kid-friendly fare, the fish dishes rise above the pale: sesame-crusted salmon, cedar plank-roasted salmon, coriander-crusted tuna and blackened tilapia are only a few of your choices. There’s wild mushroom rissoto poppers, house-made gnocchi with pesto sauce, sweet potato tamales and grilled zucchini french fries. Go and sample.
Petak’s Glatt Kosher Fine Foods & Catering
1903 Fair Lawn Ave.
Fair Lawn, NJ
201-833-8200 or 201-797-5010
Call for Daily Specials
Petak’s has been serving food in the tri-state area for more than 75 years and catered a Chanukah party in the White House during the George W. Bush administration, they’re that good. They do deli like you wouldn’t believe, with overstuffed hot pastrami on rye like the old days. Traditional dishes, kreplach, matzoh ball soup like Bubbe made, gefilte fish, chopped liver, thin-sliced salmon, kugels, knishes and more are all available, as are a slew of international dishes from around the world: French, Italian, Oriental, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisine, are all prepared with close attention to kashrut, quality and culinary integrity. There are smoked fish platter packages including salads, cream cheeses and breads. There are traditional deli platter packages and sandwich and wrap packages, all suitable for the shul kiddush. There are also dairy options available, including cheese platters, fresh fruit platters, cake platters and much much more to choose from.
Reuben’s Glatt Spot Catering
659 Eagle Rock Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
Ph: (973) 736-0060
Fax (973) 736-8026
Over in West Orange, Reuben’s Glatt Spot offers traditional platter packages that are perfect for either a dairy or meat kiddush, along with a Middle Eastern kiddush called the Israeli Homeland Delight—a seven section platter filled with your choice of Middle Eastern salads like babaganoush, chumus, tehina, grilled eggplant, vegetarian liver, Turkish salad, Spanish eggplant, an ample supply of cut pita and a large bowl of Israeli salad. Minimum 10 people @ $9.50 per person.
The^ Famous^ Kosher Nosh
894 Prospect St.
Glen Rock, NJ
Classic Kosher Delicatessen, international cuisine, smoked fish and appetizing, soups and salads and diary section. There’s dining in, drop-off, catering and kiddush specials as well as condolence meals and platters for shiva. They also offer a stimulus package with coupons on their website, and a Shabbat Shalom special for $25.95 available from Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon. They’ve got you covered from Jersey City to Franklin Lakes, from Ridgewood to Kearny.
And for something that’s just a little different, there is
Fish of the C’s
454 Cedar Lane, Teaneck,
201-928-1200 FAX: 201-928-1201
Fish of the C’s is a kosher, dairy, fish restaurant providing quality food at a good price in a pleasant atmosphere. (There’s a big screen TV equipped with PC hookup for presentations. The party room iaccomodates 30 for great for birthday parties, anniversaries, baby naming, sweet sixteens, sheva brachot, engagement parties, graduations, office parties and business meetings. The restaurant seats 25.
A Fish of the C’s kiddush consists of smoked, grilled, blackened or poached fish platters, house cured gravlax platters, wraps, General Tzo’s fish bites, crudités, fruit platters, cake and cookie platters, beverages and fixings. Call for details. Drop off and full service available.
And don’t forget the add-ons:
PickleLicious is the place for pickle platters/gift baskets/gift cards: Robyn sells at many farmers’ markets around the region and has a handle on the hot and trendy, including very spicy, mildly spicy and unusual flavored pickled treats and olives. Pickel platters and displays are a specialty, a perfect accent for your drop-off or catered kiddush.
384 Cedar Lane,
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Family Day Sunday`s (10am-5pm)
Come on down with your family for sampling and every family member gets a FREE pickle-on a- stick).