Jewish Friendship Group

Marsha Foresman

March activities for the Jewish Friendship Group (JFG) continued to provide interesting and fun events for all members.

On March 6 the members of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Services and the Jewish Friendship Group celebrated the joyous holiday of Purim. This holiday commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of an official of the Achaemenid Empire named Haman, as it is recounted in the Book of Esther, which is also referred to as the Megillah. The traditional reading of this tale was adapted and sung by resident troubadour Susan Kravitz (assisted by Melanie Einbund), with cheers for the “good guys” and boos for the bad guys from the rest of the audience. In order to fully celebrate this holiday, members dressed in costume, devoured pastries of Hamantaschen (three-cornered, filled pastries symbolizing the retribution against Bad Man Haman), and drank many goblets of wine and vodka slushies. A costume parade included an authentic human hamantaschen, a Burger representing the Burger King franchise in Shushan, a number of women dressed as Queen Esther and Queen Vashti, and a Babushka from Transylvania who had nothing to do with the story of the night but was amusing to see. This is always a fun party that is enjoyed every year.

Thank you, Alan and Betsy Levenson, for welcoming and hosting the March JFG Book Club. Although small in number, the group found the book engaging. The author of Shadows of Berlin, David Gillham, claimed that this was a novel about a marriage, but most of the participants felt that the book’s strengths lay elsewhere, such as the meanings of art, prejudice, guilt, relationships, and a quest for wholeness.

The members of the Book Club look forward to discussing The Forest of Vanishing Stars, by Kristin Harmel, which takes place in the dense forests between Poland and Russia during World War II. This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman raised in this solitary wilderness. She encounters Jews fleeing the Nazis, and her expertise and emotions are challenged as she tries to help these people and understand the horrors of the world beyond her forest home. Soon, she will confront her own past, which impacts and tests her as well. Members are encouraged to save the date of April 13 at 1 p.m. for the next meeting. Our host will be Linda Merritt, and discussion will be led by Sherry Kaplan. RSVP to Linda to confirm your presence.

On March 22 more than 20 ladies braved the cold and rain to come together at the home of Sandy Basker for the monthly Ladies’ Coffee. Everyone was warmed by the coffee and camaraderie. A big thanks to Sandy for her hospitality. The April Coffee will be co-hosted by Yvette Sabulsky and Melanie Einbund on April 27.

The Passover Seder is a family celebration of the Exodus from Egypt. We celebrated this holiday with our SaddleBrooke families on April 6 at 5 p.m. in the SaddleBrooke One Vermillion Room. A musical seder was led by Susan Kravitz.

The Jewish Friendship Group welcomes anyone interested in identifying with the Jewish Community here in SaddleBrooke. If you are interested in joining our group, please email Sandy Rosen at [email protected] or Eileen Zelmanow at [email protected].