ILENE’S MEXICAN CORN CHIP SALAD (Dairy)

2 cans crisp sweet corn (1 white 1 yellow), drained (1 small can and 1 large frozen bag of roasted corn)
1 whole yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 purple onion, diced small
1/2 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, very well drained
1 scant cup low-fat or regular mayonnaise
1 cup finely shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, sharp if possible
4 to 5 ounces regular scooped corn chips (or sturdy tortilla chips of your choice); coarsely mash
3/4 of them, leaving a few whole

Mix all the ingredients except the chips. Add the chips just before serving, saving a few whole ones for top garnish. Serves 12 to 15.

EASY CAESAR SALAD (Dairy)

052915_food1 to 2 heads of Romaine lettuce
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic
4 anchovies
juice from one-half fresh lemon
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg salt and pepper to taste
croutons

Place all ingredients except lettuce and croutons in a blender and mix. When ready to serve, toss with
lettuce and croutons. Serves 6.

TURKEL

On May 23, 2015, TRUDY, (nee Kirchhausen), beloved wife of the late Harold Turkel; devoted mother of Steven (Barbara) Turkel and James (Paulette) Turkel; dear sister of Martin (Barbara) Kirchhausen and the late Rina Manor; loving daughter of the late Julius Hugo and Elsa Kirchhausen; cherished grandmother of David (Jocelyn) Turkel, Gina (Nicholas) Steber, Amy (Jason) Jennings, and Jaime Lyn Martin (Paul Burke); adored great-grandmother of Rachel, Meredith, Andrew, Isaac, Samantha, Halle and Jacob; also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Trudy was a part of a group of 1,000 children who were rescued from Nazi Germany in 1938. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Tuesday, May 26, at 11 a.m. Interment at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, Berrymans Lane. Please omit flowers. Contributions in her memory may be sent to the charity of your choice.

TUNA, WHITE BEAN AND ESCAROLE SALAD (Parve)

2 tablespoon red wine
vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
12 ounces canned tuna (preferably packed in oil), drained and coarsely mashed with a fork
12-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium head escarole, washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1⁄2 cup small croutons (optional, but good texture)

Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and parsley in a small bowl.  Combine the tuna, beans, escarole and croutons in a large bowl.  Gently toss the salad with the dressing. Serve immediately to 4. Or you can combine all ingredients except the dressing and croutons until ready to serve.

BEET SALAD: Peel cooked beets and grate them (a food processor will keep the juice contained). Add some chopped pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add bits of goat cheese (for Dairy) and chopped parsley. (Recipe adapted from the The New York Times.)

GRILLED SALMON PESTO WITH ANGEL HAIR PASTA (Dairy/Pareve)

1 1⁄2 pounds fresh salmon, cut into 6 portions
1 28-ounce jar marinara sauce
8-ounce jar pesto
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions
salt and pepper
lemon juice
shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Grill, bake or broil until done, yet moist.  Heat marinara to a simmer and stir in pesto. Pour over cooked pasta. Top with salmon.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. 6 servings.

FRESH BLACKBERRY COBBLER (Dairy/Parve)

3 1⁄2 to 4 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons butter or margarine

Crust:
1⁄3 cup shortening (Crisco)
11⁄2 cups flour
3 to 4 tablespoons cold buttermilk or ice water
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon sugar

Pour the berries into an 8-inch-square or 2-quart baking dish.  Add the 1 cup water.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and flour, stirring to mix.  Sprinkle over the berries and dot with the butter. For crust: Cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, using a pastry blender or food processor.  Add the buttermilk or ice water a tablespoon at a time and mix until dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch.  Either cut the dough to fit the entire top of the berry filling or cut into strips for lattice or squares. (You can also use a heart-shaped cookie cutter.) Brush the crust with the melted butter and sprinkle with
the sugar.  Bake in a preheated400-degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking about 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the juices have started to thicken.  As the cobbler cools, the juice will get thicker. 6 servings.

YE OLDE BLINTZE SOUFFLE (Dairy)

1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
1⁄2 cup fresh (preferably) orange juice
  4 eggs
1⁄2 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or use a
teaspoon concentrated frozen orange juice for more orange flavor)
12 to 18 plain or fruit-filled blintzes
(amounts depend on size of blintzes — I sometimes use 6
of one kind and 6 of another)
cinnamon for garnish

(Photo David Stuck)

(Photo David Stuck)

Grease a 13-inch-by-9-inch casserole. Place first 6 ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed.  Place blintzes side by side in one layer in bottom of prepared casserole. Pour sour cream mixture over all. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until set and golden. Serves 6 to 8.

Despite Tragedy, Rail Travel Is a Safe Bet

Many rail passengers fret about safety, especially following an accident such as last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. But statistically, driving your car to the train station is much more dangerous.

“Notwithstanding Amtrak’s Philadelphia tragedy, which Amtrak has acted to ensure will not be repeated, trains are a very safe way to travel — far safer than the private automobile,” said Ross Capon, former president and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. “Indeed, the most important safety statistic in transportation is the huge difference between the automobile and all forms of public transportation.”

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, out of 35,594 total transportation fatalities in the United States in 2012, 33,782 were road-related, compared with 557 from riding the rails. The National Transportation Safety Board reported 34,678 U.S. transportation fatalities in 2013, with 32,719 highway fatalities and 891 rail deaths.

The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank based in New York City, found that over the past 15 years, only 55 U.S. train passengers were killed versus the approximately 60 automobile drivers and passengers who die in car crashes every day.

A 2013 study from economist Ian Savage similarly found that between 2000 and 2009, a person was 17 times more likely to die in a car than in a train traveling the same distance.

Last year, Amtrak’s Acela Express and Northeast Regional services carried a record 11.6 million passengers along the Northeast Corridor, which stretches 453.3 miles from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Amtrak said in 2010 that it needs $52 billion for repairs and capacity expansion on the Northeast Corridor over the next 20 years to handle a projected 60 percent increase in commuter and intercity trips.

Some rail infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor dates back to the 19th century, including the sharp curve in North Philadelphia where Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed, killing at least eight, including a Jewish midshipman and a Jewish tech executive.

“The track with the curve that caused the Amtrak derailment was laid down in the 1860s, during the Civil War,” history professor Albert Churella told the International Business Times.

Rail safety experts believe positive train control, or PTC, a safety system that slows or stops trains to avoid high-speed derailments, would have prevented the accident.

Proponents of high-speed rail have called for the Northeast Corridor to be upgraded to a dedicated high-speed rail line with top speeds of 220 mph. The Japanese government has even offered to export their maglev (magnetic levitation) technology and financially assist the building of a maglev line that would whisk passengers from Washington to New York City in under an hour at a top speed of more than 300 mph.

Both conventional high-speed rail and maglev have excellent safety records and are known for their reliability. They utilize positive train control technology and feature straight, dedicated tracks.

An Open Letter to Our Baltimore Jewish Community

050815_ftv3For the past five years, it has been my honor to serve as rabbi of Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill. Together, we have worked to advance an agenda of community engagement, deepening bonds between our members and our majority non-Jewish, African-American neighbors. These efforts have led us down an exciting and meaningful path including timely and provocative discussions, musical and cultural exchanges, volunteerism and advocacy. But at the heart of our work is the forging and deepening of relationships. Beth Am strives to be not just IN and FOR but increasingly OF our neighborhood. These efforts are driven by our Jewish values and texts but also by honoring Reservoir Hill’s historically Jewish identity. Here, we engage not just in tikkun olam, repairing the world, but also tikkun shechunah, repairing our neighborhood, softening boundaries and, perhaps in some small way, mending bonds broken or strained decades ago.

This past week, as attention turned from Ferguson, Mo., and New York to Baltimore, our Jewish community was rightly concerned about violence, vandalism and looting and the victims of these crimes. I’m proud that The Associated, long committed to Baltimore City, saw fit to support efforts to provide food, clothing and other necessities to those affected.

Having said that, permit me to share a bit of our experience here in West Baltimore. First, while it’s deeply unfortunate more than 200 businesses were looted and tens of millions of dollars in revenue lost, it’s important to remember that those rioting Monday were dwarfed in number by thousands throughout the past week who joined in civil protests and thousands more who worked Tuesday to clean up the damage. Miriam and I, along with our two children, spent several hours lending a hand. We wandered throughout Sandtown-Winchester that day with a diverse crowd including many from Freddie Gray’s community, and at no time did we feel unsafe. So many voices in print and visual media this week have excoriated Baltimoreans for “destroying their own neighborhoods.” Believe me when I say how many more have, in fact, been working to build their own neighborhoods over years and decades.

So many voices in print and visual media this week have excoriated Baltimoreans for “destroying their own neighborhoods.” Believe me when I say how many more have, in fact, been working to build their own neighborhoods over years and decades.

Furthermore, while I am grateful to the Jewish Times for praising those of us who “stood side-by-side with residents of Sandtown,” it’s also important to recognize that West Baltimore (like most of Baltimore City) is hardly monolithic. Surely, there are areas of concentrated blight whose residents struggle with near universal poverty and food insecurity, but there are also plenty of neighborhoods that are thriving or have experienced significant improvements. To my knowledge, there were no broken windows or any significant damage in Reservoir Hill nor in our sprawling and beautiful backyard (Druid Hill Park). Our neighborhood, despite its proximity to looting and riots, was quiet and calm. Neighbors here from diverse racial backgrounds and of varying financial means supported and cared for one another. And while dozens of recalcitrant Baltimore citizens squaring off with rows of riot police and national guardsmen may have monopolized cable news broadcasts over several nights, the other 620,000 of us were in our homes, frustrated only that we could not go out to enjoy the many wonderful restaurants and entertainment venues, visit with families and friends or simply go about our business as free citizens.

There is much more to say — about the nature of riots, the need for better police training, oversight and accountability, the consequences of mass incarceration or the root causes of racism. And there’s our struggling education system, the scourge of drug addiction or toxicities ranging from gang violence to lead paint. It is on these challenges we must focus in the coming months and years, and those of us in the city need the help and participation of our neighbors to the North. This is your city too.

Where to begin? Problems, like relationships, are only fixed by first seeking to understand them. And our quest for understanding leads inexorably to a fundamental Jewish truth: that we are all created in God’s image; that each person, whatever his/her appearance or background, shares our humanity. We all have the same capacity for love, hate, anger, empathy, knowledge, ignorance, debilitating fear and transcendent hope. In Baltimore City, here at Beth Am and beyond, we don’t have the answers. But we are seeking them.

Won’t you join us?

Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg is the rabbi of Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill.

L.A.’s Iranian-Jewish Community

Drawn to California by the climate, business opportunities and a well-established and organized Jewish community, Los Angeles is now home to anywhere between 45,000 and 60,000 Iranian Jews.

L.A.’s Iranian Jews created booming businesses that still thrive downtown, founded kosher supermarkets and revived older synagogues, according to Tabby Davoodi, 32, executive director of 30 Years After, an organization whose mission is get Iranian Jews to participate in American political, civic and Jewish life.

“Jews love to create, and L.A. was in many ways a hugely blank canvas for Jews fleeing Iran to create new endeavors within the combinational backdrop of the ambition of the American dream and the American freedom to pursue those dreams,” she said via email.

Davoodi was born in Tehran, shortly after the Islamic revolution, and her family didn’t come to the United States until the very late 1980s, when she said her family “could no longer withstand with daily Iraqi missile attacks.”

“The greatest gap between my parents and I is that the Iran they primarily remember was a secular monarchy that welcomed the West, while the Iran I recall was a dark theocracy run by men that forced me to wear the hijab, shout “Death to America!” in my classroom, and endure the Iran-Iraq War that decimated my neighborhood in Iran and resulted in the loss of one million lives over its long, eight-year course,” she said.

When she and her family left, her parents’ passports were marked with the word “Jew” and a stamp that read, “The holder of this passport is not permitted to travel to the Occupied Palestine.” Davoodi has heard this is now printed on Iranian Jews’ passports.

Los Angeles is also home to the Iranian American Jewish Federation, which was founded about 35 years ago to “defend and protect the right and welfare of Jews throughout the world, with a special emphasis on the Iranian-American Jews,” its president, Susan Azizzadeh, said via email.

She left Iran in 1978, while she was enrolled in a master’s program in educational administration. She brought over her two young children, and her parents and extended family were also able to get out and move to Southern California.

“When we left Iran, the Jewish community was thriving and industrious, but there was a lot of uncertainty about the future,” Azizzadeh said.

She hopes the community will continue to carry its traditions forward, but is worried about the younger generation’s assimilation and social issues such as “divorces, addictions and youth promiscuity and [we] are concerned about whether our grandchildren are compelled to experience the same issues,” she wrote.

Davoodi’s organization was founded to help Iranian American Jews make best use of their newfound freedom in the United States.

“The transition from decades of life under authoritarian rule and a new fear of acculturation have hindered the community’s expansion into American civic and Jewish communal life. 30 Years After was created by a group of students and young professionals to help fill this gap,” she said. “It carries tremendous moral and civic responsibility to actively contribute to America at any stage in our lives — whether in the universities, finance, politics, advocacy, philanthropy, and above all, civic engagement.”

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com