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We Care – Lending a Helping Hand to Lakes Region Non-Profits

Temple B’nai Israel has been the heart of Jewish life in central New Hampshire for over 80 years with a strong legacy to Tzedakah, giving, and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.   The congregation plays a positive role in the community at large and works to integrate social action/social justice into the fabric of TBI community life.  The goal is to give our members the opportunity to not only “be” Jewish, but to “do” Jewish.

In 2013 the TBI commitment to Tikkun Olam was expanded with the creation of the We Care committee which has donated over $100K to several different Lakes Region non-profit organizations through the We Care Concert series.  The TBI We Care team hires the talent, contracts the venue, coordinates the logistics, creates an aggressive marketing program, and oversees the performance for each event, allowing the beneficiary to relax and enjoy the show and the rewards.  The entire net proceeds of each concert are returned to the selected beneficiary for that concert.

We Care welcomes back Five O’Clock Shadow (focs.com), the award-winning Boston based a cappella group with a unique and energetic style.  FOCS last performed for We Care in 2019 to an enthusiastic packed house that resulted in many requests for a return performance in the Lakes Region.  With that in mind, We Care has contracted for Five O’Clock Shadow to perform on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at the newly renovated Colonial Theater (coloniallaconia.com) in Laconia.  The concert will benefit The Bridge House (tbhshelter.org), a homeless shelter and veterans support program in Plymouth, NH. 

Five O’Clock Shadow is comprised of six talented vocalists who are renowned for their harmonies and their ability to mimic musical instruments as they sing.  What began as a simple a cappella group morphed into a vocal powerhouse.  Their abilities take the art form of a cappella music to a new jaw-dropping level while maintaining a high level of musicality and innovation.  Don’t miss this chance to witness a revolutionary form of a cappella on October 23rd in Laconia.  

We Care will continue its dedication to build bonds with their partners in the community and to make meaningful contributions to the Lakes Region, through music, song and performance.

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Thank You for a Record Setting Jewish Food Festival

The 2021 New Hampshire Jewish Food Festival, a celebration of the Jewish foods that come from recipes handed down from generation to generation, will go down as one of the most successful in its 24-year history.  On Tuesday, June 1st, the Jewish Food Festival opened for online orders on the Temple B’nai Israel website.  As the orders started piling up, the emails and texts were bouncing between food festival committee members who were astounded by the immediate and overwhelming number of orders placed on just the first day.  The ordering process continued until June 28th when the website officially closed after 233 orders were placed.  The success of this year’s Jewish Food Festival has been over the top, with thanks to the Lakes Region community and beyond.

This year, TBI introduced our own “Bubbie” (Yiddish for grandmother) to the Lakes Region with stories of the old country and tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the recipes and cooking processes.   (Click Here to read Bubbie’s Kitchen Adventures.)  As much fun as “Bubbie’s Kitchen Adventures” are to read, the real story behind the scenes in the TBI kitchen is an unfolding drama worthy of its own reality TV show.   Teams of congregation members, women and men, enjoy the camaraderie that naturally results when people come together with a purpose, for a cause.  Each recipe is carefully executed with precise proportions and exact processes in the small temple kitchen.  While the blintzes are frying or the strudels are baking, there are stories shared and world problems solved.  Mahjong helps pass the time as the aromas from the hot oven fill the adjacent social hall, waiting for the timer to ring. Take out one batch and put in the next. After the baking, cooking, or frying is done and the foods are cool enough, they must be packed, labeled and carefully stored in the many freezers which are located in closets, the basement, a wall here and a nook over there.  The location of each food, which freezer it’s in, and how many of every item is strategically noted and managed.  When the time comes to pick the orders for curbside, drive through delivery, there is no question where to find the matzah ball soup, the brisket, or the rugelach.

Before any cooking can begin, there is shopping to be done.  Cooking for a crowd takes on a new meaning when the partial grocery list includes 250 pounds of raw brisket, 80 pounds of russet potatoes, at least 20 pounds each of carrots, celery, and onions, 45 bags of egg noodles, 120 eggs, 30 pints of sour cream, 60 cups of whole milk, and 60 pounds of farmer’s cheese.  A daunting task that is undertaken by several volunteers who shop, schlep, and stock the pantries and refrigerators.

Later this month, the final step of the online order process will happen when the customers arrive at the temple, on the appointed day and time, for curbside pick-up.  The ordering process allowed for appointment requests on specific days and times which has resulted in a carefully mapped out schedule designed for maximum efficiency.  Each order will be picked and packed upon the customer’s arrival then whisked out to the car as the driver proceeds from the check-in door at the back of the building to the pick-up door on the side of the building. 

Then the work for next year begins.  The committee will review the orders, the process, and most importantly the feedback from the patrons. Food Festival committee chair, Stu Needleman says, “it’s always a work in progress.  We look for ways to improve, streamline, and make the experience the best it can be for the customer and our members who volunteer to organize, shop, cook, pack and freeze and finally, to hand out the completed orders to the customer.”  

So it goes, year after year, for 24 years now.  Even a pandemic couldn’t stop the Jewish Food Festival which necessitated that it become a “take out” event with curbside pickup.  Next year, 2022, TBI will be celebrating the 25th silver anniversary of the New Hampshire Jewish Food Festival. Look for a special celebration, a nostalgic look back through the years and a few surprises to commemorate this special milestone. 

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Bubbie’s Last Adventure

This is the last week to order!  Did you forget anything?  Don’t wait to read about my rugelach.  Go now…place your order…I’ll wait! ORDER HERE So now that you’re back, I will put on my apron and let’s start the baking.  

RUGELACH

 

Bubbie’s Rugelach is not a Jewish Baked Good –

It’s a baked GREAT!!

The Yiddish word for today is rugelach (ruhg-uh-luhkh) translated literally it means “little twists”.  Do you remember that popular song about twisting? It was sung by a Chubby guy.  There was even a dance we used to do at all the weddings and bar mitzvahs.  Oy, I would end up like a twisted rugelach on the floor.  HA!  So, I’m not a maven (expert) on the dance floor, but I am a maven about how to make my favorite pastry, rugelach.

Making rugelach is a 2-day project.  On the first day I make the dough by combining flour, butter, and cream cheese.  I schlep the sack of flour from the pantry and take the butter out of the icebox and leave it to soften overnight.  The cream cheese might spoil if I leave it out overnight, so I use that microwave contraption my son-in-law got for me.  Don’t tell him I said this, but it’s a mechayeh (such a pleasure).  Once the butter and cream cheese mixture is light and fluffy, I add in the flour and just a little bit of salt.  Now it’s time to take a rest and watch my favorite show on my Sylvania TV.

On the second day, I prepare the cinnamon, sugar, pecan and currants for the filling.  I take the dough ball out of the icebox so it will soften and be easier to roll out.  I have a wooden rolling pin and board that my Bubbie and Zayde brought with them when they came from the old country.  Without these, I don’t think my rugelach would taste as good as they do.  They have been well seasoned from the many years of baking. I roll out the dough and sprinkle the filling on top.  Then I cut it into 8 triangles and roll each section into a crescent shape.  I carefully lay each little gem on my baking sheet and brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.   In no time, they are baked and cooling on the racks, waiting for hungry mouths to gobble them up.

That wraps up my kitchen adventures for this year’s Jewish Food Festival.  Now it’s time to go to the website, http://tbinh.org and place an order!  Don’t forget to tell your friends and family to order too!  Do you want to get a copy of the Temple B’nai Israel cookbook?  Just place an order of $65 or more.  Then you can be a balabustah in the kitchen just like Bubbie. 

Until next year, Zei Gazunt (be well).