A Blog by Esther Weiner

So you thought that because we are coming to the end of January 2011, Chanukah would not resurface until December 8, 2011?  Think again, my friends…oh yes, we still have wonderful Chanukiot in our Museum Shop, we still feature dreidles, amazing dreidles, from hand painted small wood dreidles, that spin amazingly well, to stone and crystal dreidles, with holograph designs inset in the crystal, to sterling silver dreidles in the Yemenite design, with intricate designs and set with semi-precious stones. I believe we still have a box or two of bags of chocolate gelt, still delicious, still yummy to eat. Do plan to visit us, or our on-line shop.

Its part of my job as Museum Shop Manager to make sure that our merchandise is fresh, up to the minute, and draw the visitor in to the magic of the museum shop at the JMM. But I digress, this is about Chanukah Re-Visited…

As a part of the JMM Speakers Bureau, I speak to audiences on a topic that is very special and near and dear to my heart, The Jewish Kitchen: A Link to the Generations.  When I speak, I often give a demonstration of a favorite recipe of mine, one that is fairly easy to transport to a room with no kitchen, no oven, no utensils, nothing. I enjoy speaking to my audiences, and hopefully, they enjoy listening and sharing their Jewish Kitchen with mine.  Again, I digress.

Okay, so how, you may ask, does this relate to Chanukah Re-Visited?

Well, the museum is host to many, many school groups. High school groups, middle school children, children as young as 7 or 8, many have never been to a museum, and many have never been to a synagogue.  It is wonderful to see them and know that they are being shown the exhibits by our talented education department and docents. They visit the new exhibition in the downstairs area of the newly renovated Lloyd Street Synagogue, Synagogue Speaks. I have seen the wonder in the eyes as they walk in with their teachers; I know they are absorbing everything. When they come into the museum shop, we explain what certain items mean, and their interest is amazing.

So, now here it comes–normally in December, when the children come to visit the museum, we have a program where I make latkes for some of the school groups.

I set up a couple of tables, put out two little gas stoves, I bring my food processor, two frying pans, potatoes, flour, eggs, oil, apple sauce and sour cream!  I work quickly since their appetites are quite amazing. The room is full of the scent of oil and fried latkes, smothered in apple sauce or sour cream. This December, Chanukah was so early, we never got to make latkes for the school kids….and they tell me that these children are ready for latkes!

Well, we will have Chanukah, again, next week…we will have a latke demonstration, a talk about Chanukah and a sing-a-long…the kids will have fun, and we get to re-visit Chanukah in January.  Hey, we might even spin dreidles…why not?


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