POMEGRANATE SALAD

071114_food_saladDressing:
1⁄2 cup pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)

Salad:
10-ounce bag of mixed salad greens
1 orange, peeled and cut into half segments
1⁄2 cup each strawberry slices, raspberries, blueberries
1⁄4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup dark chocolate shavings
Whisk together all ingredients for dressing and refrigerate until serving. You may have to shake/mix before using.  Place rinsed greens in a large bowl, Just before serving, add remaining ingredients, toss, saving chocolate shavings for top. You can add or substitute your own custom ingredients such as bananas, mangos, etc. 4-6 servings.

ILENE’S SOUTHERN TOMATO PIE

1 refrigerated pie crust
1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
Approximatley 1 1⁄4 cups shredded cheddar or Colby mix cheese,
plus another 1⁄4 cup
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup sliced scallions, shallots and/or chives
8 medium-size ripe, firm plum or heirloom tomatoes, sliced (or more)
Soft sun-dried tomatoes, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch quiche or pie plate with the crust, pressing dough slightly just on the bottom, not over lip of plate. Prick bottom liberally with a fork. Bake 11 to 12 minutes until crust looks slightly puffed and dry. Gently press down any puffed areas with a flat pot holder. Meanwhile, or even the night before, in a medium-small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, 1⁄4 to 1 cup of the cheese and the pepper and a few sliced scallions or chives. (Can be covered and refrigerated in advance at this point.) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tomatoes and let them drain on paper towels. Sprinkle slices with a little Crazy Jane salt mixture. Sprinkle bottom of the crust with about 1⁄4 cup of grated cheese. If using the sun-dried tomatoes (which I do), sprinkle some over the bottom layer of the cheese. Top with a layer of the tomato slices. Sprinkle with some scallions or chives. Spoon half (or a third if you are using more layers of tomato slices) of the mayonnaise mixture in dollops on top, carefully spreading to flatten this mixture some. Continue with another layer of the tomatoes in a neat fashion, and place remaining mayonnaise mixture in between the tomato slices, pressing down slightly. Sprinkle with additional scallions and top with some remaining cheese. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes until crust looks lightly golden and juices are bubbling some. Cool at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. So delish! About 8 servings or more.

BAKED STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS

Use as an appetizer or side dish.
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 eggs, divided
1 cup chopped parsley
Salt
12 squash blossoms
1⁄4 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together ricotta, 1 lightly beaten egg, and parsley. Season with salt. Put the remaining 2 eggs in a bowl and whisk. Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Carefully spoon filling into each squash blossom and twist loosely at the end to close. Dip each stuffed squash blossom in egg, then breadcrumbs and transfer to a parchment- or tin foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 12 servings.

FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

071114_food_strawberry-pie1 1⁄2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1⁄2 tablespoons milk
1 9-inch baked pie shell
1 pint whipping cream
Mash half the strawberries. Place in a 1 1⁄2 quart saucepan with cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened and clear. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and milk until it spreads easily. Spread cream cheese mixture carefully on bottom of pie shell. Cover with whole strawberries, then pour in cooled strawberry mixture. Refrigerate to chill. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream, top pie and refrigerate until serving.
8 delicious servings.

Pastor Comes Out Swinging

The Rev. John Wimberly said one of the problems at the G.A. was the disproportionate show of members of the pro-divestment group Jewish Voice for Peace. (Provided)

The Rev. John Wimberly said one of the problems at the G.A. was the disproportionate show of members of the pro-divestment group Jewish Voice for Peace.
(Provided)

The Presbyterians’ recent vote to divest from three American companies doing business in Israel came as no surprise to the Rev. John Wimberly of Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

What did come as a surprise, he said, was that given the one-sidedness of the presentations at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) last month, the vote passed by such a slim margin.

“To me, it was surprising it passed so narrowly,” said Wimberly of the 310-303 vote. “The logical conclusion is that it would go the other way. It was amazing to watch. A very small group of people in the PCUSA has taken over our denomination on these issues.”

The anti-divestment contingent of the church “got literally minutes” to present its points, and “the other side got hours,” said Wimberly, a co-convener of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, a grassroots group that for several years has been the leading opponent within the PCUSA of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

That there is a bias in the PCUSA fueled by those embracing an anti-Israel narrative was played out blatantly last April, said Rev. Al Butzer, who had been appointed to moderate the upcoming G.A. committee on Middle East Issues. He was soon asked to resign, he said, when certain church leaders learned he had traveled to Israel twice on interfaith trips with Jews and had attended a community Seder.

Butzer had also traveled twice to Israel on trips focusing on the Palestinian perspective.

“I was pleasantly surprised he was appointed,” said Wimberly. “I told people there would be a fair hearing. But the BDS guys realized that too.

“He was informed on both sides,” Wimberly continued, “and so, clearly, the pro-divestment people who wanted to manipulate the process realized it would be a fair hearing. They put pressure on the G.A. moderator, and once that happened, we knew we would face an entirely one-sided presentation at the G.A.”

Moderator Neal Pres, who had asked Butzer to resign his position as committee moderator just six days after his appointment, did not respond to a request for comment.

Resolutions to divest from companies doing business in Israel have been on the agenda at the PCUSA’s biennial meetings for years. At the last biennial, in 2012, the resolution was defeated by only two votes.

“One of the problems is that the process has been stacked against us,” Wimberly said, with a constant barrage of speakers presenting only the Palestinian narrative.

Another problem, he said, was the disproportionate show of members of the pro-divestment group Jewish Voice for Peace, who held themselves out as representative of the broader Jewish community, when, in fact, they are widely recognized as a fringe group.

Their constant lobbying was “most unfortunate,” according to Butzer, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, Va., who attended the G.A. as a commissioner, but did not sit on the committee on Middle East Issues.

“The Jewish Voice for Peace was very well represented,” Butzer said. “They were everywhere. They were wearing these black T-shirts that said on the back, ‘Another Jew for divestment.’

“One engaged me,” he continued, “and I asked, ‘What percentage of American Jews agree with your feelings about this?’ She said she didn’t know, but thought about 30 or 40 percent. My response was, ‘I’m guessing less than 5 percent.’”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, was permitted to speak for only two minutes at the G.A., according to Wimberly.

“He said, ‘We’re the largest body of Jews in the United States, and we’re against divestment,’’’ Wimberly said.

But instead of heeding the words of Jacobs, many G.A. commissioners were swayed by the presence of JVP, he noted.

While the PCUSA took pains to add a clause to its divestment resolution attempting to distinguish it from the BDS movement, that distinction is disingenuous, Wimberly charged.

“The divestment vote absolutely equates with the BDS,” he said. “And now the global BDS movement claims it as its largest victory. Which it is.”

But Presbyterians who are not in favor of divestment — and there are many — have already begun to openly criticize the vote.

“In a way, this is backfiring on the pro-divestment crowd in a big way,” Wimberly said. “We’re getting calls from pastors all across the country. This has triggered a grassroots groundswell of anger that will be hard for leadership to ignore. The average pastor and the average Presbyterian do not agree with this resolution in any way, shape or form.”

Butzer, who has a longstanding, collaborative relationship with the Jewish community in Virginia Beach, is already working on damage control.

“Even before the assembly ended, I wrote from Detroit to two Jewish friends, a rabbi and an officer for the Jewish Community Federation in our Virginia Beach area, offering to speak to a gathering of Jews to try to explain the votes and begin to repair the rift caused by the decision,” Butzer wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. “We have a date set for July 15. Hopefully, there are Presbyterians in Pittsburgh (and all across the country) who will be willing to do the same.”

“Unfortunate damage has been done by the Presbyterian Church, and there are a lot of us who want to change that,” Butzer said in a phone interview. “My guess is that if you poll the rank and file Presbyterians, an overwhelming number of the people in the Church would say that the divestment decision was wrong. We can’t overturn the decision of the assembly, but we can raise our voices and say it’s wrong and stupid and short-sighted,” he said.

Despite the divestment resolution passed by the PCUSA, Butzer is optimistic that local Jewish/Presbyterian relations that have been strong will remain so.

“In communities where the relationships between Jews and Presbyterians have been positive, I believe those relationships and those congregations will survive this,” he said. “And maybe those groups will come together in even greater solidarity. I get it, that on the national level there will be letters and rhetoric. But I’m hopeful that the local relationships will endure because they are built on friendship and trust.”

A group of Presbyterian ministers is currently preparing a statement strongly disagreeing with the decision to divest.

“Additionally,” Butzer said, “we will encourage like-minded Presbyterians to begin a community-by-community effort to reach out to our Jewish brothers and sisters to try to repair the damage done by our denomination’s vote so that Presbyterians and Jews can once again work together in a spirit of mutual respect. We also hope to initiate community conversations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Toby Tabachnick is a senior writer at The Jewish Chronicle in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Day Trips From Baltimore

Rabbi Steven M. Fink, spiritual leader of Temple Oheb Shalom, loves summer in Baltimore. Though some might complain about the often-muggy weather, there’s still a lot to be said for Baltimore’s location. Not only is there much to do within minutes from home, Baltimore has the advantage of being an ideal starting point for many amazing day trips

So when Fink is not grilling steaks, walking his dog, Lucy, in Robert E. Lee Park or taking a nap in his hammock on Shabbat afternoons, he enjoys taking a day trip to Quiet Waters in Annapolis. Only about 30 miles from Baltimore, the 340-acre park offers boating, six miles of paved trails for walking, jogging and biking, a brand-new playground and gorgeous views, and there’s even a summer concert series.

A great day trip for Eddie Rogers, board member of FIDF, might include a drive to Frederick, a great destination for Civil War buffs who will enjoy the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Monocacy battlefield. It also has nice restaurants, quaint stores and a vibrant arts scene.

Nearby, also in Frederick County, is Cunningham Park, where Sam Gallant, a producer at WTMD, likes to take in the breathtaking views of Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland. Gallant, a big waterfall fan, also recommends Swallow Falls in Garrett County, and Kilgore Falls in Hartford County.

Had enough sun? Do some gambling at Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County, or get some culture by spending the day at the 19 museums and galleries and National Zoological Park of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, also favorites of Gallant.

Less than two hours away, Gettysburg is a panacea for history enthusiasts like Randy Farmer-O’Connor, managing director of corporate support at Maryland Public Television. Gettysburg is full of museums, Civil War historical sites, vineyards and beautiful outdoor spaces.

Both Farmer-O’Connor and Rogers think a trip to St. Michaels in Talbot County is a great way to spend a summer day too. The scenic waterside town is a great spot for boating, window shopping and a romantic dinner.

Still Spicy At 75

062714_cover_oldbay

(Provided)

This year, Old Bay, Baltimore’s iconic hometown spice, celebrates its 75th anniversary.

According to local lore, Old Bay was founded by Gustav Brunn, a German Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany after Kristallnacht in 1938. Brunn and his family settled in Baltimore, where he started the Baltimore Spice Company a year later. The unique taste of Old Bay quickly became a mainstay in Baltimore cuisine. The company was sold to Hanson Industries in 1986 and again to McCormick & Co. in 1990.

To celebrate the popular spice’s diamond anniversary, McCormick will present summer events such as Old Bay Day at Power Plant Live, an Old Bay advertising campaign and Old Bay commemorative products including a 75th anniversary Old Bay can, Old Bay seasoned fries, Old Bay Beer and an Old Bay interactive mural that fans can help design. The spice company will also open an Old Baytique at the Inner Harbor, where fans can purchase Old Bay paraphernalia. Brunn’s actual spice grinder is on display at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, part of the museum’s Voices of Lombard exhibition. For more information, visit oldbay.com/News/OLDBAY2014.

Residency Question

Real estate manager Jay Jalisi, whose choice of residency has become somewhat of a whispered issue in politically connected circles in Baltimore County, is running for a delegate seat in the newly redrawn District 10.

Though the Democrat is registered to vote at a property along the 11000 block of Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills, he has made contributions to his own campaign under a Lutherville-Timonium address listed in tax records as his and his wife’s primary residence, an address more than four miles into neighboring District 11.

Jalisi owns multiple properties throughout the area and said he does not live at the Lutherville address, though records from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation list Jalisi and his wife, Azra, as the primary residents of the Lutherville property. In an interview, Jalisi said he lives at the Owings Mills address, but property records filed in the summer of 2013 list the address as commercial and not a primary residence.

Though state law requires that delegates live in the district they wish to represent for six months before they can run in the general election, domicile — the legal standard used to determine where a person permanently resides — can be a fuzzy issue when a candidate owns multiple properties.

“It, in large measure, has to do with one’s objective intention to make [any one place] their permanent home,” said Larry Gibson, a professor of law of the University of Maryland who teaches a course on election law.

When an individual files to run for public office, the board of elections uses the candidate’s voter registration address to check if that candidate lives in the district they wish to represent, said Donna Duncan, assistant deputy administrator of election policy at the state board. From there, further inquiries into a candidate’s qualifications usually stem from complaints or tips brought by individuals.

20 questions to help determine if a college is taking appropriate precautions to protect students

Robin Hattersley Gray, editor of Campus Safety Magazine, suggests that students and parents refer to a list of 20 questions the magazine has prepared that may help them to determine if a college is taking the appropriate precautions to protect its students. See the full article for more details at bit.ly/1pgfkqL.

1. Does the college or university have appropriate sexual violence prevention programs?

2. Do the school’s crime/Clery Center for Security on Campus incident numbers make sense when taking into consideration the campus location and student population size?

3. Does the college have an on-campus counseling center that is fully staffed and well-funded?

4. Does the campus have a multidisciplinary threat assessment team that can respond quickly to individuals exhibiting concerning behavior?

5. Is a background check conducted on every staff member, faculty member and administrator?

6. Does the college have a designated Clery compliance officer?

7. Does the college have a designated Title IX coordinator?

8. Is the campus’ police or security department adequately staffed?

9. Is the campus public safety force adequately funded?

10. Does the campus police department incorporate best practices, and is it accredited by a reputable accreditation organization?

11. Do campus police and security personnel receive regular and frequent training [on sexual violence and assaults]?

12. Do non-security personnel and administrators on campus receive regular and frequent training on [sexual violence and assaults]?

13. Does the university allow anonymous reporting by campus public safety officers, staff and faculty or provide some other way to protect whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting security and/or safety concerns?

14. Does the campus avoid using zero-tolerance policies?

15. Does the college’s police chief or top security executive report to an administrator high up on the campus food chain, such as the university president or CEO?

16. Has the institution conducted a threat and vulnerability assessment of the campus to determine what risks are present?

17. Does the university have an emergency plan and a comprehensive emergency management program that is all-hazards based?

18. Does the school have robust emergency communications systems?

19. Does the college incorporate security technology?

20. Does the university incorporate security and safety into building design and campus landscaping?