Wednesday, August 12, 2020


ISHS 2020 Election of Directors and Advisers

Making Matzot (Matzah), Sunday March 22 Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents...

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Making Matzot (Matzah), Sunday March 22

Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents

Matzah, The Bread of Faith
Making Model Shmurah Matzot*
Under Supervision of Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz

Sunday, March 22, 2015

12:00 pm** At Central Avenue Synagogue
874 Central Avenue, Highland Park, IL 60035
Street Parking

Program cost: $3.

(Please reserve to assure enough flour and water. Bring an apron.)

When the Children of Israel left Egypt, they were in such a hurry that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise. They therefore ate matzah, unleavened bread. With only this food (but with great faith), they relied on the Almighty to provide sustenance for the entire Jewish nation-men, women and children. Each year, to remember this, Children of Israel eat matzah on the first two nights of Pesach, thereby fulfilling the Torah's commandment, "Matzot shall you eat . . ."

The Humblest of Foods
Matzah symbolizes faith. In contrast to leavened bread, matzah is not enriched with oil, honey, or other substances. It consists only of flour and water, and is not allowed to rise.

Shmurah matzot
Shmurah means "watched," and it is an apt description of this matzah, the ingredients of which (the flour and water) are watched from the moment of harvesting and drawing.

The day chosen for the harvesting of the wheat is a clear, dry day. The moment it is harvested, the wheat is inspected to ensure that there is absolutely no moisture. From then on, careful watch is kept upon the grains as they are transported to the mill. The mill is meticulously inspected by rabbis and supervision professionals to ensure that every piece of equipment is absolutely clean and dry. After the wheat is milled, the flour is again guarded in its transportation to the bakery. Thus, from the moment of harvesting through the actual baking of the matzah, the flour is carefully watched to ensure against any contact with water.

The water, too, is carefully guarded to prevent any contact with wheat or other grain. It is drawn the night before the baking, and kept pure until the moment it is mixed with the flour to bake the shmurah matzah.

Also in the bakery itself, shmurah matzot are under strict supervision to avoid any possibility of leavening during the baking process. This intensive process and careful guarding gives the shmurah matzah an added infusion of faith and sanctity-in fact, as the matzah is being made, all those involved constantly repeat, "L'shem matzot mitzvah"-"We are doing this for the sake of the mitzvah of matzah."

Shmurah matzot are round, kneaded and shaped by hand, and are similar to the matzot that were baked by the Children of Israel as they left Egypt. It is thus fitting to serve shmurah matzah on each of the two Seder nights for the matzot of the Seder plate.

*After making Matzot, we visit a period kitchen
After making matzot, you're invited to visit a period kitchen in the Highland Park Historical Society at 324 Central Avenue, Highland Park. Culinary Historians of Chicago member and long time Highland Park Historical Society member Leah Axelrod will conduct a tour of this project.

**If you take Metra North to Highland Park station, train leaves Ogilvie Transportation Center at 10:35 am arriving Highland Park at 11:24 am. Advise if you are taking the train to allow someone to give you a lift to the synagogue.

* * *
This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please e-mail your reservation to:

Check our website for future dates, programs and podcasts: Read more

Prairie wildflower exhibit opens March 19 The delicate paintings by Illinois art...

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Prairie wildflower exhibit opens March 19
The delicate paintings by Illinois artist George Olson of prairie wildflowers and grasses, which have been admired worldwide at galleries and botanical institutions, will be seen during the next three months at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.
Olson will attend the opening reception for his Museum exhibit, “Homage to the Tallgrass Prairie,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Sixty of his acclaimed works in pencil and watercolor were published in “The Elemental Prairie” (University of Iowa Press, 2005).
“The work is composed like a piece of music or good writing,” Olson said of his showing at the Horticultural Society of New York. Viewers “appreciate the delicate detail of the plants, the textures depending on the time of year, the gesture created by the plant.”
From more familiar examples like milkweed and morning glory, to less known specimens such as spotted horsemint and hoary vervain, he finds that every prime tallgrass plant “expresses something about the prairie.”
A man who practices what he preaches through art, Olson has been involved in prairie restorations in two Illinois counties for more than 30 years. He also produces publications, workshops and slide lectures, and has held more than 80 solo exhibitions.
A graduate of Augustana College who has a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Iowa, Olson taught at the College of Wooster in Ohio from 1963 until his retirement in 2000. During leaves for research, he served as artist-in-residence at the Missouri Botanical Garden and made drawings of specimens in the Dixon Prairie Restoration at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The Swedish American Museum will supplement the George Olson exhibition with two special programs: Friday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Start with Art; Friday, April 24, 4 to 7 p.m., Family Night. The exhibit is scheduled to conclude Sunday, May 31.
Many more events are scheduled
Friday, March 13, 20 and 27, 7:30-10 p.m.: Three weekly basic techniques programs of Scandinavian Dances with Linda and Paul for beginners and advanced participants (Museum members $10 per class or $24 for three classes; non-members $15 or $36).
Saturday, March 14, 11 a.m.: Guided tour of the permanent exhibit, “A Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago”; reservations at (Museum members free; non-member adults $4, seniors and students $3).
Sunday, March 15, 10-11 a.m.: Bullerbyn, a program of stories and songs for young children and adults who speak Swedish; email for information and reservations (Museum members free, non-members $5).
Sunday, March 15, 4 p.m.: The art exhibit, “Streets, Blocks and Neighborhood,” closes.
Wednesday, March 18, 6-9 p.m.: The Museum will participate in the Field Museum’s Passport to Scandinavia promotion for the “Vikings” exhibit.
Friday, March 20, 11 a.m.-12 noon: Hejsan, a program for children with stories and crafts based on animals and nature in Sweden; the topic is “Birds” by Kevin Henkes (reservations suggested at
Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Museum-sponsored family program on the “Vikings” exhibit in the Crown Family PlayLab of the Field Museum.
Wednesday, March 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Vaffeldagen celebration of the Feast of Marie Bebadelsedagen (Annunciation Day) with Swedish waffles ($5 per serving).
Thursday, March 26, 2 p.m.: “Get Smart About Brain Health,” a seminar on steps to take care of one’s memory and mind, led by a physician from Great Lakes Clinical Trials.
Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m.-12 noon: Nordic Family Genealogy Center discussion of the book, “The Orphan Train,” led by advisory board member Sue Nordstrom; reservations requested at (Genealogy Center members free, non-members $10).
Monday, March 30, through Thursday, April 2: Easter-themed activities for chi

Minnie Minosa accepted the ISHS Centennial Awards for the Chicago White Sox in 2...

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Minnie Minosa accepted the ISHS Centennial Awards for the Chicago White Sox in 2003. He was an excellent ambassador for the Sox, Chicago, and for major league baseball. Thank you, Minnie, for playing the game well and inspiring others to achieve excellence on and off the ball field.

Chicago White Sox Great Minnie Minoso Has Died
Minoso died Sunday. He was the first black ballplayer to take the field for the Sox. A seven-time All Star, he is not in the Hall of Fame.

Louisiana cuisine and the Battle of New Orleans! Oooooh-wheeee! The UIS Alumni...

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Louisiana cuisine and the Battle of New Orleans! Oooooh-wheeee!

The UIS Alumni SAGE Society and the Illinois State Historical Society hosted the first "Lunch and Learn" program of the season this afternoon in the UIS Public Affairs Center. The menu included gumbo, dirty rice, Ponchartrain salad, green beans, roast pork, and chocolate bread pudding and a discussion of Cajun versus Creole cooking, led by UIS chef Howard Seidel (bottom photo). Dale Phillips, Superintendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, then spoke of the historical significance of The Battle of New Orleans (the 200th anniversary was January 8, 2015) in American history, and its larger meaning for territorial expansion and statehood for Illinois. It was an engaging and compelling program, which followed a most delicious Louisiana luncheon. The next "Lunch and Learn" program, "Holocaust and Civil Liberties," will be held on Thursday, March 12, and feature Rabbi Barry Marks (Temple Israel) and Dr. Karen Eisenhardt (UIS). For more information call 217-206-7395.

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