Category Archives: Memoirs

Honey Cake and Books

I absolutely love apples dipped in honey.

I love honey cake, and so does my family.  My friends also tell me that they like my honey cake, and when someone tries it for the first time, the person usually asks for my recipe.  The photograph above, is of one of my finished honey cakes.

Here it is:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups honey

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (decaf is fine)

1/2 cup almonds (optional)  I normally don’t use the almonds

2-3 ounces slivered almonds for topping (optional) I use them on occasion, but not normally

I have made it with 1/2 cup of raisins, but prefer it without them.

I use a bundt cake or tube/fluted pan to cook it in.  It will fit into three loaf pans, also.

-Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.

-In a different bowl, beat the eggs.  Beat eggs lightly with an electric mixer (hand mixer or other), and gradually add the sugar.

-Beat the oil, honey, and coffee into the eggs and sugar. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Chop the almonds. Stir into batter.

-Grease the pan.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 60 to 75 minutes in bundt or fluted pan, until cake tests done (it springs back when you lightly touch the center of it). Do not over bake. Let cool 15 minutes and remove from pan. I baked it for 55 minutes and it came out perfect. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on the cake.

If you use the loaf pans the baking time is approximately 45-55 minutes.

You can wrap it in foil when the cake is completely cooled down, and if tightly wrapped, will last for one week at room temperature.

With the High Holy Days coming up, soon, I thought this would be a nice addition for Rosh Hashanah, for a sweet New Year.


I have read some wonderful High Holy Days books for children. Each one has great illustrations, and is filled with excellent messages regarding the High Holy Days.

Here they are:

Apples and Honey, by Joan Holub

New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashana Story, by April Halprin Wayland

Sammy Spiders First Rosh Hashanah (The Sammy Spider series covers all of the Jewish holidays)

A book for Sukkot:

The House on the Roof, by David A. Adler

If you recommend others, please let me know.


Shabbat Shalom, to those who celebrate.  For everyone else, have a lovely weekend!

Copyright Lorri M.


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Filed under Jewish History, Judaism, Memoirs, Photography, Recipes, Writings


I am currently reading The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel.  It is based on a true WWII story.  I will write a review when I have finished it.

Open Heart, by Elie Wiesel, is a book I have finished reading for the second time.  I cannot say enough about it, and once again, found it extremely inspiring.

Here is a poem that I have posted in the past, and am posting again, as it speaks to me, in meaningful ways.

Shabbat Day

Skies of other worlds
In the blue-bright air,
Sides of houses
Edge eternity.
Clay-red roofs
Where pigeons – mincing – walk,
Fly the doves – the whir and flutter
Of their soaring wings.
Soundless the yellow butterfly
At its play.
Winds lift white clouds
And sift the sand
From earth-bound stones –
Exalted the light
Of this dazzling Day,
Yet strangely close to home.
-Dobra Levitt

Shabbat Shalom!

Copyright Lorri M.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, poetry, World War II

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

witness lessons from elie wiesels classroom

Witness:  Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, by Ariel Burger, is a beautifully written tribute to Elie Wiesel.

Elie Wiesel was more than the man most individuals recognize as a Holocaust Survivor, more than the man who wrote about his life, defining it with his memories, and his witnessing horrific, appalling situations.

Burger brings the reader directly into the man who was a professor, a classroom teacher, and mentor to many, including Burger.

With private talks with Wiesel, Burger has brought new definition to his legacy.  His intensity and educational pursuits in teaching are not necessarily known to the world outside of the university campus.  He was a great man, a man of immense knowledge, but also a man of compassion for humanity, humanity as a whole, humanity as one, under the sun.

His faith constantly had him questioning, searching for answers, yet he evoked masterful responses to questions other asked of him, in his classroom setting.  He was a man of structure, of cementing the essences of communication, and fostering the idea that memory bestowed to others, even one person, is the greatest form of witnessing we give.  He felt that once you heard of atrocities, events, instances, from another individual, you then became a witness to that event, that moment, those moments, in time.  For Wiesel, memory was of the utmost importance, capturing the memory and retelling it, was a force for witnessing events of the past, and educating others to carry it forward.

Wiesel was a man of many facets, from his sense of humor, his steadfast determination to be a comforter for others, to his thoughts and perceptions on religion.  I loved the portions regarding Hasidism, and the lore, the Hasidic Tales.  I liked his views on activism, art, humanity, as told through Burger’s prose.

The memoir brings Elie Wiesel’s classroom setting to the reader.  Student exchanges, questions, debates, bring out the masterfulness of the man, and his greatness to humankind.  The reader is exposed to his mode of teaching, his patience, his generosity, his desire to educate others in order for memories to be formed.  I cannot say enough about Witness:  Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom.

The reader also learns about Burger, and the influence that Wiesel had on him, instilling religious thought, theory, questions, conversations, outlook, and the importance of memory, within Burger’s mind.  He is a witness to Wiesel’s memories.

Ariel Burger has given the reader much to ponder about the brilliance, compassion, the greatness, and human side of Wiesel.  His life is defined, in many aspects, through the teachings of Elie Wiesel.  His train of thought, mode of perspective, his religious beliefs, questions, and searching, continue on, through Elie Wiesel’s teachings.

I wish I had been a pupil in his classroom, to physically be within close proximity to Elie Wiesel.  I have admired him for almost sixty years.  I have read his articles, his stories, his books.  His books, and his other works, that I have read, have taught me more than I could ever articulate, but to be sitting in his classroom…

Copyright Lorri M.




Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, World War II

Review: The Gift of Rest

Senator Joe Lieberman’s book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath, is a work of loveliness that is embracing in many facets.

Senator Lieberman is a devoted and an observant and practicing Jew, and a man who takes time out of his extremely hectic schedule to celebrate Shabbat, whether in synagogue or home, and celebrate the gift of the Sabbath, handed to us through Moses.

I was in awe of his dedication, and the fact that he walks home on Friday, one of his many observances of Shabbat. It matters not if it is raining, he walks, and walks through heavy rains, snow, winds, whatever the weather condition, he walks.

For Senator Lieberman, the Sabbath is a sensual delight.  It fills all of his senses through food and drink, song, family, love, and traditions he and his family practice with deep dedication.  His connection to G-d is defined through these moments of observance.

I enjoyed the aspects of Shabbat and the Sabbath that he practices, such as turning off his computer, TV, etc., and the fact that water is heated in a large urn ahead of time, so he can prepare instant coffee on Saturday morning, without actually boiling water on the Sabbath.  This and so many other family traditions are a part of Senator Lieberman’s routine, as he and his wife prepare for the Sabbath.  It is a part of who he IS.

Each chapter in The Gift of Rest is a work of teaching and insight, filled with how the celebration is fulfilled through prayer, food, tradition and family.  Each chapter ends with his thoughts on “Simple Beginnings”, beginnings meant to inspire the reader to ponder Shabbat, the Sabbath, and instruct the reader on how to proceed.

The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbathis more than an inspiring book. It is, in itself, a gift to the reader, whether Jewish or otherwise.  Senator Lieberman’s prose of insight depict what many of us feel, but cannot articulate.  He writes beautifully and masterfully, teaching, instructing, guiding and affecting the reader as they move through the pages.  His word-visuals breath life and joy into the Jewish celebration of Shabbat and the Sabbath.  His beautiful writings and instructions, along with quotations and bits of humor beckon the reader to ponder how they can incorporate tradition and observance into their own lives within the hectic world we live in.

Many religions incorporate a day of rest within their practice, or a specific time of rest. Whether you are Jewish or not, I highly recommend The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbathto everyone.  It is a wonderfully inspiring, informative and lovely book.  I can not say enough about it.  The book is one of the most beautifully written personal testaments to Jewish tradition and observance I have read.  It sits on one of my bookshelves, along with my Siddorim/books of prayer, and with my inspirational books.  This was my second reading of this book of pure loveliness.


© Copyright Lorri M. – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my express written consent/permission.



Filed under Book Reviews, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

War and Art

I have read two books that involve the restoring/returning of stolen art, during wartime, to the rightful owner/s. One deals with art stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The other book tells a story of a journey to find whether a work of art was stolen during World War I.

The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Anne-Marie O’Connor, is a true story, and it is the book that the recently released film, The Woman in Gold was based upon.

The book is a vivid depiction, not only regarding Adele Bloch-Bauer, the woman who posed for the artist, but also a compelling story of a work of art, and how one woman’s passion and perseverance led to the finding the provenance of the painting. The trials and tribulations in order to ascertain provenance, in order to prove that the work of art belonged in her family, and that it was stolen, outright, by the Nazis, lasted for a decade.

The Austrian government did not want to release the valuable painting, claiming legal ownership. Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, claimed otherwise, stating she was the legal heir to the painting.

The story is illuminating in many aspects. The reader is given snippets of life in Austria, life of the wealthy and how they lived, where they lived, and what the valued. It also is the story of the intricate and minute details involved in trying to gain proof of ownership or provenance. Word of mouth does not work. Documents do not often work, either.

I saw the film, and it was well-done. If I compare it to the book, I would have to say the book was more detailed, whereas the film encompassed dramatic visuals of the time period. I enjoyed both the book and the film, and give them equal share on my enjoyment scale.

The second book, entitled, The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel, by Jojo Moyes, depicts one family’s struggle to survive during World War I, in a small town in the outskirts of Paris.

Sophie Lefevre’s husband Edouard is a painter. He painted a portrait of Sophie, which is stunning. He eventually must leave in order to fight the Germans. Those Germans eventually occupy the town, and take over the small bar/cafe enterprise that Sophie and her sister operate. The Kommandant and his soldiers are to have dinner prepared for them every night, no questions asked. It is a command that can not be refused.

Fast forward to the present, and Liv Halston, a widow of four years, has the painting hanging in her home. From there the story begins to move quicker.

She is quite insistent that the painting, bought by her husband, for her, is legally hers. She involves herself and others in a battle for ownership. From the living heirs to Liv, herself, the story line unfolds with intensity, and with incredible details of search methods and documentation.

The historical aspect is well-done, and well researched. I was surprised by some of the facts, and did not realize that during World War I, the Germans stole artwork, furniture, silver items from homes, anything and everything they felt useful, was taken. That was revealing for me.

How does the story end? You will have to read the book to find out.


Filed under Book Reviews, Films, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, World War II

Review: The Color of Courage: A Boy at War

The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski, is an incredible book, presented from his diary, depicting life during wartime with astuteness and courage.

Will and courage surround Julian Kulski, when at the age of 12, he is recruited into the Underground Army. From that point, forward, his life will never be the same, and his strength and determination to survive is a testament to his courage.

Beginning with his involvement with the Boy Scouts, emerges an adolescent with the resolve of an adult, a young boy wise beyond his years. He trains in military style, learns the ins and outs of various weapons, and eventually is involved in a secret endeavor. The endeavor involves the Warsaw Ghetto, where he goes with his commander.

World War II and its staunch tactics employed by Hitler forced many to live lives of devoid of family, devoid of hope. But, Julian Kuslki remained hopeful through all of the atrocities he witnessed, and throughout the course of the war.

From his arrest when he was 14 to his being shipped to Auschwitz, and his final days in a POW camp, the story is compelling, forceful, educational and filled with events that are written so vividly, that the reader is amazed that the events actually occurred.

The story within the pages of Kulski’s diary reads like a novel of intrigue, and a spy novel. Let me be clear, it is not a novel, but the actual diary of Kulski, detailing his life from age 12-16 years of age. It is compelling and filled with minute details.

The photographs speak of what once was, lives lived before, during and after the war.

Julian Kulski’s story is finally told, and told with dignity, courage and inspiration. His diary depicts events as they happened, and not sugar-coated in any aspect. The Color of Courage is a book of extreme historical significance, in my opinion.

The diary is a testament to war, to the horrific turbulence, and to the desire to escape the forces surrounding him. I highly recommend The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski to everyone.

I received an Advanced Review Copy (ARC). Its expected release is on November 11, 2014.


Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, World War II