Synagogue cookbook honors ‘Heritage Recipes’

Synagogue cookbook honors ‘Heritage Recipes’

New volume also includes young-family favorites

Judy Greenberg and Laurie Herman help collate the GRJC cookbooks.

People like to eat, said Jane Spindel of Fair Lawn, a longtime member of the Glen Rock Jewish Center.

“Where there’s a major event, there’s food,” she said. “People like to come and eat and share experiences. It makes for more conversation.”

To help facilitate food consumption – and jazz up some traditional recipes – the synagogue recently published a cookbook, its second in 40 years.

Part of a seven-member “cookbook committee,” Spindel said that the committee members recalled a cookbook, “Fun with Food,” which had been created by synagogue members in 1970. Apparently the book sold out – committee members have been able to locate only one copy.

“It was compiled by about 30 temple members,” said Spindel, pointing out that contributors’ names were listed on one page, rather than being identified with any particular recipe.

Thinking it was time to update the work, the new committee decided to pay homage to the first edition by including its recipes – dubbed “Heritage Recipes” – in the new book as well.

With 70 contributors – “both men and women, and including people from college students to people in their 90s” – the new volume includes more than 225 pages of recipes. Some pages contain more than one recipe.

“We got all ages involved, from parents of nursery school children to my own 97-year-old mother,” Spindel said. “There are recipes from members, cousins, and friends” as well.

Dedicated to longtime member Shirley Margolis (“She’s always involved with food in the temple,” according to Spindel) and to Hebrew school principal Rachel Blumenstyk, the book has some interesting features, Spindel said.

“It includes blessings, in both Hebrew and English, for all different kinds of food as well as suggestions for traditional holiday meals,” she said. It also includes a message from synagogue president Michelle Rosen Silverman, who used the synagogue’s acronym, GRJC, to derive the cookbook’s title, “Great Recipes from Jewish Cooks.”

Spindel said she was intrigued by the recipes submitted by young families.

“They’re easy to do, not involved,” she said, pointing out that an additional page notes the major differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic cooking.

The book, meant to be used as a fundraiser, already has sold more than 70 copies “and we haven’t even advertised yet,” Spindel said, adding that one member brought some copies to her mah jong game and fellow players snapped it up.

“People see it and want to buy it,” she said, pointing out that in addition to providing helpful hints and a measurement guide, it also indicates whether recipes are dairy, pareve, or meat.

“Everything is kosher and it has been vetted for all ingredients,” she said, noting that Rabbi Rachel Schwartz, wife of the synagogue’s religious leader, Rabbi Neil Tow, submitted some recipes of her own.

The new book includes more than just “traditional Jewish cooking,” Spindel said. “It’s modernized, contemporary, and healthful, although it has some artery-cloggers here as well.”

“Many of the recipes in the book have been handed down for generations,” she said, citing, for example, her grandmother’s favorite meatball recipe, included in the publication. “But a lot of the traditional recipes have been updated.”

“Great Recipes from Jewish Cooks” is available from the synagogue office, (201) 652-6624, for $18. There is an additional cost of $6 for shipping and $2 for gift-wrapping, Spindel said, anticipating that people might want to give the book as a Mother’s Day present.

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