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January 13, 2012

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PAGE 20A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 13, 2012 Brooklyn, N.Y.--A recipe doesn't have to be compli- cated to be delicious, nor exclusive to certain kitch- ens. Such is the mantra of Leah Schapira, co-founder of the popular culinary website, www.CookKosher. com, and author of the new book, Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals (Artscroll; November 2011). Inspiring everyone from traditional kosher cooks to everyday working women and morns, Schapira shows how to use simple, fresh ingredients to create time-sensitive, tasty meals for all to enjoy. A busy wife and mother, Schapira extends her recipes to awide audience of people who don't have much time to cook. She includes useful tips, minimal ingredients, and easy-to-follow steps. The book is organized into delicious chapters with sections containing time- saving tips such as menus, freezer-friendly meals and an index of food pairings for weeknight recipes. Her seasonal menus encourage home cooks to take advan- tage of market-fresh, simple ingredients for even easier recipe planning. "Food preparation shouldn't be a point of ten- sion," Schapira says. "This cookbook is all about easy, uncomplicated recipes for every day or for any occa- sion. I like to use ingredients from my pantry, adding new twists and improving on techniques." Schapira's collection of culinary favorites tran- scends all food-lovers' kitchens, non-Jewish and non-kosher alike. While certainly easing the chal- lenges of strict kosher cook- ing, her recipes also provide options for even the pickiest of eaters. "You certainly don't have to keep kosher to benefit from Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking," she says. "But if you do happen to be a kosher cook, you'll find a great deal of help -- even relief- from all of the resources I provide in the book." Recipes are divided into chapters covering Soups, Salads, Dips & Sauces, Sides, Brunch & Lunch, Main Dishes, Traditional, and, of course, Desserts. There is something for ev- eryone in Fresh & Easy Ko- sher Cooking. Some of the tempting recipes include: Carrot and Cilantro Soup, Mediterranean Tomato Sal- ad, Roasted Mushroom and Pepper Salad, Chimichurri Skewered Steak, Citrus Sea Bass, Sweet Potato Fries, Sriracha Thai Noodles, Egg- plant and Tomato Fettuc- cini, Basil Chicken Wraps, Overnight Potato Kugel, Lazy Man's Cholent, Kre- plach, No-Mixer Brownies, Square Donuts, Watermelon Sorbet... All recipes are indicated as meat, dairy, or parve; those with dairy food sen- sitivities will appreciate the abundance of non-dairy parve recipes, particularly the desserts. Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking addresses a need for different, helpful, and great- tasting recipes. In a world of expensive dining and elaborate meals, Schapira keeps it simple by combin- ing fresh ingredients and classic flavors. The result: familiar and satisfying food that everyone can enjoy. "It is my hope that this cookbook will keep cooking from turning into a chore. If we are going to cook, we might as well enjoy it! Have fun with these recipes, get creative, add some spice to your everyday meals and let the cooking begin!" By Danielle Fleischman NEW YORK (JTA)--Rabbi Jordi Gendra feels fortunate that he found a full-time job at Temple Beth Shalom, a central Pennsylvania Re- constructionist synagogue, shortly before the recession hit. But now the 41-year-old spiritual leader is worried that the job he began in 2007 won't last. The budget of his Mechan- icsburg synagogue is shrink- ing, the average congregant age recently surpassed 50, and there have been rum- blings about reducing the rabbi's hours to save money. "They are going to try whatever they can to keep me full time because they understand that once I go part time, that will be a problem for membership," Gendra said. Gendra may be one of the lucky ones. Across the United States, finding pulpit positions is becoming more difficult. Some congrega- tions are eliminating assis- tant rabbi posts. Others are eliminating cantorial posi- tions and asking rabbis--or congregants who know a little Hebrew and can play a guitar--to take on those responsibilities. Increasingly, rabbinical schools are reporting that graduates are working at community organizations or taking part-time gigs to make ends meet while they hold out hopes for a pulpit. "It's not the best time in history for rabbinical em- ployment," acknowledged Rabbi Richard Hirsch, the executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbini- cad Association. Rabbi Steven Fox, chief executive of the Central Con- ference of American Rabbis, the Reform movement's rabbinical association, says more and more newly minted rabbis are going into com- munity work rather than pulpit work. "Rabbis are working as Courtesy Rabbi Howie Stein Rabbi Howie Stein was ordained in 2009 but has been unable to find full-time employment in the rabbinate. chaplains, in hospitals, at Hillels on college campuses, at day schools and in the military," he said. Some of that is by choice, but in some cases it's be- cause a rabbi could not get a pulpit job. Howie Stein, 42, who graduated from the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2009, has not been able to find full-time employment. He came to the rabbinate as a second career, having worked as a software engineer for 10 years before being ordained. He now works two part- time teaching positions, in Queens and on Long Island in New York. Stein has been looking for full-time work for more than six months. "Lots of people are look- ing for pulpit jobs, and that makes it a competi- tive place," Stein told JTA. "Definitely things are tough right now." In 2007, only 13 percent of graduates at the Los Angeles campus of HUC were going into non-congregational positions. The following year, the rate shot up to 45 percent. "The year that stands out is 2008, when the economy had the greatest impact on congregations' hiring," said Rabbi Dvora Weisberg, director of HUC's School of Rabbinic Studies. "Many retirements and moves were delayed, and there were far fewer openings than there had been in previous years." Weisberg says that since 2009 the rate of placement has remained steady--with two-thirds of newly ordained Reform rabbis going into congregational work and one-third accepting com- munity-based employment. Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, ex- ecutive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, says the challenges posed by the recession are significant. Before 2008, numbers pro- vided by the RA indicated that graduates of the movement's rabbinical schools were going into congregational work in greater proportions before the recession than they are now. For instance, at New York's Jewish Theological Seminary and Los Angeles' Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, of the 36 rabbinical students in the class of 2006, 26 took pulpit positions. By contrast, the graduating class of 2009 had 42 students, and only 22 of them took pulpit positions. Rabbi Elliot Schoenberg, the RA's associate executive director and international director of placement, said the rate of placement for this year looks to be about the same as in 2009. "The real tragedy is that there is a lot of unutilized tal- ent and training," Schonfeld said. "There are rabbis who don't have the opportunity to build a Jewish future." The poor economic cli- mate has affected the Ortho- dox community, too. "There is no question that the market is difficult," said Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg, director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld De- partment of Jewish Career Development and Placement at Yeshiva University's Cen- ter for the Jewish Future, which helps YU rabbinical school graduates find jobs. Schwarzberg says that many students are enthusi- astic about finding pulpit po- sitions but have had to work odd jobs while waiting to get a pulpit post. Some have chosen to stay in school and get their master's degrees to wait out the bad economic times, he said. Ruthie Strosberg Simon, director of recruitment and placement at Yeshivat Chovev- ei Torah, a Modern Orthodox rabbinical school in New York, says the decrease of assistant rabbi positions has negatively affected graduates. "In past years, we have turned to a member of our hon- orary alumni board to create an assistant rabbinic position in their synagogue for a graduat- ing rabbi not yet ready to take on his own pulpit," Simon said. "Unfortunately, in these tough times, these particular synagogues have trimmed their budgets and are unable to support more than one rabbi." SPECIAL CELEBRATION ISSUE ANUARY 27, Hundreds of different parties will be held in the Jewish community throughout the coming year. HERITAGE readers will be in need of a variety of products and services, including hotels, hair salons, clothing stores, jewelers, printers, florists, restaurants and many others. You can reach this exclusive buying market by placing your advertising message in the HERITAGE Special Celebration Issue. Don't let those weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other simchas pass you by. Make sure your business is included on our readers' shopping lists. For More Information, Call: 407-834-8787