Raye Freedman Library Newsletter - June 2017



Raye Freedman Library and Community Centre Newsletter June 2017 / Sivan 5777


Winter can be a hard time as we struggle with the cold and dark days. Even with Winter solstice upon us (21/22 June) marking the suns return, and the days getting longer, July and August still pose challenges.

But we can turn things around, and see this as a time of renewal. We can use the dark cold days to focus inward, and nourish the brain with a good book, or a good DVD, and time with friends or family over good food.


Let's take a wander through the Library. But first, food!

Claudia Roden needs no introduction. She is a meticulous writer and food historian, and her books are both fascinating accounts of food history, as well as being cookbooks in their own right.

This is a great cookbook. The recipes are easy to follow making them suitable for the average cook, and Roden gives a history of the dishes, making the preparation of the meal interesting, and fun. She has written a number of other cookbooks and each of them are as interesting as this one. We have two copies of this book to lend.

Dinner done, let's move onto a good murder mystery, set in London in the 18th Century, as it follows Benjamin Weaver, a Jew among Christians, trying to solve the murder of his estranged father. If you are a fan of historical fiction then this will be great Shabbat reading.


Or if you prefer, instead of London, how about a journey in 16th Century Libson? Another murder mystery set at the time of the Lisbon massacre of 1506, where Jews are forced to convert, but some still practice in secret. However, a murder takes place and it is within this tension that Berekiah Zarco sets out to find out who murdered his uncle. 




If you'd rather watch a movie, we have a small but perfect DVD collection here!

Esther Khan is a young Jewish migrant living in 1890s London. She is mute to everything, but alive to one thing; acting, where she comes out of her shell. This film was an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival.

Prisoner of Honour examines the dramatic sensation that was the anti-Semetic trial and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus in France. This is an HBO production, and stars Oliver Reed and Peter Firth. 

My Mexican Shivah - what could go wrong?? Nothing that an Catholic ex-lover, an Orthodox ex-convict grandson and a troupe of mariachi musicians can't solve. Throw in two Yiddish speaking spirits and this promises to be a riot. Margaritas optional here!

But those Orthodox goody two shoes we see? Well, they may be the perfect foil for smuggling in Ecstasy (a recreational drug) from Europe to America. Holly Rollers stars Jessie Eisenberg, and was an official Sundance selection in 2010.


If you live outside of Auckland, I'm happy to mail these, or any books/DVDs to you, if you are Library member. Just contact me to arrange. 


It's the perfect time of the year to sup a dram or two of whisky, so what better than to organise a whiskey tasting here at the Library and Community Centre, suggested Stephen? Nothing better I said!

It was a small affair, and limited to Library members. Four whiskys were tasted, a Glenmorangie, Laphroaig, Jameson Irish, and a Bourbon from Kentucky. Mike Hutcheson, a RFL Trustee guided an enthusiastic bunch of men and one woman into discovering the differences between the four. 

Whisky's were tasted and tasted again, and much conversation ensued among the group that lasted a good long time. We will be looking to do another session in Spring, so keep an eye out for that event!


The next event will be a kosher wine evening, next month. There is one kosher winery in NZ from which we source the wine for the Friday / Saturday kiddush. We'll have a discussion about what makes wine kosher, and do a taste comparison. Again this event will be limited to Library Members only. I'll publicise the event on the Facebook page.

Apart from these special events, we have regular community events during the week. If you know a young boy or girl getting ready for their Bar / Bat Mitzvah, we have Bat / Bar Mitzvah lessons here on Sundays, 10 - 12, then afterwards, Hebrew Sunday School aimed a beginner speakers. On Monday night there is Hebrew Language Class for Adults 8pm - 9.30pm (charge applies), while on Tuesday nights we have Chess Club where you can sharpen your game playing skills. And if you fancy salsa, we are currently setting up a term class to learn, on Wednesday's at 7pm! 

We have an excellent facility here, with room for up to 70, with chairs. The kitchen is kosher, and we are happy to accommodate your needs. So if you are looking for a space to hold an event, or a regular series of events, please get in contact with me. Currently there are spots available during the weekday both in the morning and afternoon, and time on Sunday afternoon. 


A small gathering (kleyn tsunoyfkum in Yiddish) of Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender / Queer / Intersex Jews will be held here at the Library in early July. The meeting will be secure, and confidential. If you are interested in attending, or know someone who is, please contact me for further details.


I regularly post to the Raye Freedman Library and Community Centre group on Facebook. Most posts have anywhere between 40 - 70 views, depending on the topic. So imagine my surprise when I received a whooping 130 views on one post in particular! 

It was a link to this article which, using genetics, traces the Yiddish language and Ashkenaz Jews to three villages in north-west Turkey, on the ancient Silk Crossroads.

Why would this article be popular? I suspect it is because it uncovers the fascinating history of Askenaz Jews, and also the fascinating history of Yiddish. I'm looking to find a speaker on the Yiddish language for an event here, so if you know anyone, let me know.

Well, that's about all for now. Keep warm over the next month, and know that the days are getting longer, until December 21st. 


Raye Freedman Library and Community Centre.


We are grateful for the support of the Raye Blumenthal Freedman Trust.

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Posted by Miriam Bell (22/06/2017 23:27)      343 Views