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MARILYN COHEN SHAPIRO, a member of Congregation Shalom Aleichem, has since retiring from a career in adult eduction and relocating from Upstate New York to Florida been writing her own family stories as well as the accounts of ordinary people with extraordinary lives, many of whom are fellow members of Congregation Shalom Aleichem - several of her articles are shown below.

Marilyn has been a regular contributor to the bi-weekly publication, The Jewish World (Capital Region, New York), since 2013. She is the author of two previous compilations of her stories, There Goes My Heart (2016) and Tikkun Olam: Stories of Repairing an Unkind World (2018) - both books are available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon. Additional stories can be found on her blog There Goes My Heart, click here!

Keep Calm and Bake Challah

Every Friday afternoon since the Corona virus has turned our world upside down, I have been baking fresh challah. I revel in the process: the measuring, the gradual rising, and especially the eating. But it has become so much more. As Roche Pinson wrote in her book, Rising: Book of Challah, "We make challah from a place of commitment to nourish ourselves and our families in a way that goes beyond mere physical feeding and watering. Click here to read more.

Harry Lowenstein: Profile of a Mensch I Know

In 1940, Harry Lowenstein and twent members of his family were deported to the Riga ghetto in Latvia. The train carrying approximately one thousand Jews left Bilefeld, Germany, on the first night of Chanukah. Someone had brought candles on the crowded compartment and started singing Ma oz Tzur, Rock of Ages. Soon the entire train joined in. That last sweet memory sustained Harry for the next six years. Click here to read more.

Bud Black: A Banjo Player with a Jewish Soul

For the past five years, people who attended services a Congregation Shalom Aleichem  were met with an unusual but wonderful treat. They were greeted by a pair of musicians - Bud Black on the guitar/banjo and Bill Willner on snare drums. They played mostly songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, before packing up their instruments before services began - occasionally they would accompany Rabbi Karen Allen on songs in the Friday night service. Click here to read more.

Lazar Lowinger: A Master in Life and Tennis

"Building Jewish Pride through Sports" is the Maccabi USA's motto, one that Lazar Lowinger has taken to heart. While taking responsibility for his own expenses incurred during the Games, he has raised over $60,000 for other American athletes. Click here to read more.

Liz Ross: A Jewish Neshama Shining Bright in Alaska

When Dr. Liz Ross joins her fellow women congregants at Congregation Shalom Aleichem on the bima for the blessing over candles, she pulls the hood of her kuspuk, her traditional Native Alaskan snow dress, over her head. And on her neck, her gold Star of David catches the light of the flickering flames. A business woman, a college professor, and black belt in karate, Liz Ross also carries with her the love and respect of her double heritage: Judaism and Native Alaskan. Click here to read more.

Purim Princesses

According to an old Borscht Belt joke, all the Jewish holidays basically come down to one theme: "They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat!" Purim follows the similar plot line. Click here to read more.

First World Problems

The last few weeks have been consumed with what my friend Judy refers to First World Problems. First World Problems, according to the Urban Dictionary, are "problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at." So I give my readers permission to roll their eyes at my recent series of First World woes. Click here to read more.

Fish Day Shabbat

Friday was Fish Day. No, we weren't Catholic. Growing up in the Fifties, in a small predominatly Catholic town, fresh fish was often available on Friday. Looking back, I am not sure if it was really that fresh. Yes, Lake Champlain was three miles away, but I don't think local fishermen provided the fillets that lay on top of the ice in the Grand Union. Click here to read more.

Knowing Where I Need To Be

Happy Summer!  Have you kept your New Years resolution? Odds are, you havent. Each year, Strava, the social network for athletes, predicts the exact day when most people are likely to ditch their annual commitment to themselves. Whether it be the goal to lose weight, exercise more, or stop smoking, the majority throw in the towel (or throw out the scale) on the second Friday in January. A full 80% will have given up on it by mid-February. If you have made it to the last days of spring, Mazel tov! Click here to read more!

Holocaust Stories Needed!

"You really need to talk to Harry." My friend Marilyn Glaser gave me this advice before one of our Friday night Shabbat services in our Florida synagogue. I was aware that Harry Lowenstein was a Holocaust survivor. But Marilyn, the shul president, knew I was a writer, and she knew his story needed to be preserved. Click here to read more.

Wed, February 1 2023 10 Shevat 5783