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Holiday

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Each January, Americans honor the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January each year. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, King would grow up to become one of the most influential people of the 21st century.

King’s tireless activism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s improved the lives of millions of people, and his tragic assassination on April 4, 1968, marked one of the darkest days in American history. King’s oratory prowess is well-documented. Individuals across the globe are familiar with his “I Have a Dream” speech, which King delivered during the March on Washington less than a year before his death. Less familiar are some other notable facts about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

• If he were alive today, Martin Luther King, Jr. would still be years away from his 100th birthday. King was assassinated in 1968, when he was not yet 40 years old. Born in Atlanta in 1929, King could very much still be alive today and would have celebrated his 93rd birthday on January 15, 2022.

• King was an extraordinarily gifted student. At an age when many students were preparing to enter their sophomore or junior year of high school, King began his freshman year of college at Morehouse College. King enrolled at Morehouse when he was 15 after the school opened enrollment to junior high students in an effort to overcome a dip in enrollment related to World War II. King passed the entrance exam and enrolled in the fall of 1944.

• King was ordained as a minister prior to graduating from Morehouse. The Baptist ministry was something of a family business for the Kings, as Martin Luther King Jr.’s father, grandfather and great grandfather were all Baptist ministers. However, King did not initially intend to follow that path. He ultimately changed course and entered the ministry at age 18, graduating from Morehouse with a degree in sociology a year later.

• King survived a knife attack years before his assassination. King was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener during a book signing event in Harlem in 1958. His assailant, Izola Curry, was ultimately deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. Though the attack did not kill him, King had to undergo intensive emergency surgery and was hospitalized for several weeks.

• Conspiracy theories surround King’s assassination. King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Authorities, including the United States Department of Justice, concluded Ray, a career criminal, acted alone. However, some, including surviving members of King’s family, believed his assassination was part of a conspiracy. Despite his tragic assassination in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. left his mark on the world. That legacy is even more remarkable when considering the unique twists and turns King’s life took prior to his death.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a remarkable human being. Celebrations of his life can involve revisiting some of his more notable moments.

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By Rabbi Aaron Benson

Rabbi Aaron Benson

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We all know the saying and it does seem to be true. It also captures nicely the spirit of the Jewish New Year season which starts Monday night, Sept 6th, with the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. What do I mean?

In synagogues around the world, we read the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, on a yearly cycle reading a portion every week. As the New Year holidays begin, we find ourselves coming to the end of the annual cycle with the reading of the Book of Deuteronomy.  That book is read over the course of 11 weeks, about a fifth of the year. And for those not familiar with its subject matter, Deuteronomy is primarily a review of the events of the previous four books.  

We spend a fifth of the year, and a fifth of the Torah, doing review. This is intentional because our New Year season is meant to be one of review and reflection.  We consider our shortcomings, failures, and misdeeds of the past year, actively seek to mend hurt and broken relationships, and plan for how to do better in the year ahead.  

That is a lot to do! If you hadn’t started yet, you’d have a lot to accomplish between now and Monday! Judaism is an optimistic faith. We do not believe anyone is condemned to be bad with no hope of changing. Every year at this time, we celebrate the idea that people can change. But our tradition, as reflected in our liturgical calendar, also understands it is a lot of work to change what’s wrong in our lives.  

Using the annual reading cycle as a guide, we probably should be spending a lot more of our time reflecting on what we do so that we can learn from our mistakes and try again — try again carefully and with the wisdom of experience to guide us.

If you will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I wish you a sweet and happy new year. And to everyone, I strongly recommend a life with ample time carved out for reviewing who you are, who you want to be, how to become that person, and never giving up on that process. A lifetime dedicated to such a process will be one well lived.

The author is the rabbi of  North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station.

Recipe courtesy of Family Features

It’s your lucky day because you don’t have to search for the pot of gold under the rainbow for this winning recipe. Throw out the old Irish classics and sweeten things up this year with some mint chocolate chip fun.  If you’re in a crunch for St. Patrick’s Day and need something glowing with green, here is a dessert that is sure to have everyone coming back for seconds (and more).

These Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are as green as four-leaf clovers and have delicious chocolate chips mixed throughout for some extra sweet flavor. Served beside a big glass of milk, they are perfect treats for any St. Patrick’s Day party or virtual gathering.

To start the recipe, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, green food coloring and peppermint extract for that crisp mint flavor. Beat with a hand mixture and combine the ingredients in both bowls together.

Add chocolate chips to the mixed cookie batter. Scoop onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 11-24 minutes until the edges of the cookies are light brown. Cool on a wire rack before devouring.

With so much mixing and scooping to be done, this is a great recipe for kids to get involved in the kitchen, too. One of the  best parts is the eye-catching color. Watch children’s smiling little faces as the batter turns from light brown to dark green for a priceless reaction.

After being perfectly baked, these cookies are bright, fun and will be the hit of any celebration. Soft in the middle, a little crisp on the edges and as green as can be. You can’t ask for much more on St. Patrick’s Day.

Find more recipes, celebration ideas and dessert favorites for every occasion at Culinary.net.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 24-32
Ingredients:

2 1/2    cups flour

1          teaspoon baking soda

1/2       teaspoon salt

1          cup butter, softened

1 1/4    cups sugar

2          eggs

30        drops green food coloring

1          teaspoon peppermint extract

1          package (12 ounces) chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt until blended. Set aside. In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs, food coloring and peppermint extract; beat until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto baking sheet. Bake 11-14 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

See the video here:

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By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Thanksgiving 2020 will surely be remembered by all. Other Thanksgivings blend into each other on the impressionist edges of memory, in a sepia-colored haze. But this one will stand out like a gargoyle, in bas-relief at the center. Never before have we disinvited our children from our homes during this holiday. Never have we set the table for so few. Never have we been urged not to travel to reconnect with our families. Never have we been drilled on the three Ws: wash your hands, watch your social distancing, wear your mask. COVID-19 overhangs our lives.

Nonetheless, for most of us, there is so much to be thankful for, even as we have to push past the anxiety and the upending of our lives the pandemic has caused to remind ourselves of the many ways we can be thankful.

First is for the good health most of us are lucky enough to enjoy: for our own and that of our loved ones. Perhaps, never has good health been viewed as such a blessing as now, as hundreds of thousands fall ill. Even without the coming vaccine, we can work to keep the virus at bay by diligently following the three Ws.

Next is the love we have in our lives that has become so manifestly important to acknowledge and declare. It is that love: for our spouses, our parents, our children, our dearest relatives and friends that is our safety net during these challenging days. We have always been aware of that love but perhaps not so appreciatively as now. The need to connect with them has not been so vital as now. And if we have a warm home and people who live in it with us, and enough to eat each day, how thankful we can be.

We can be thankful for our jobs, if we have them, and if we don’t, for the country we live in that supports us at least partially during our temporary unemployment. And if we are holding on ourselves, we can help others around us through our churches, soup kitchens and donations to our neighbors in need. To help others is a great privilege.

Though I never particularly embraced the computer when it appeared in our daily lives in the 1970s and 1980s, I am thankful for technology. Because of my computer, I can see my children and grandchildren regularly. I even have a place in the house nicknamed the Zoom Room. I can also see my friends, attend meetings, albeit virtually, and learn new subjects if I choose.

I escape from the news and the responsibilities of daily life with movies on Netflix and other streaming services. I still cannot stop marveling at Siri and the ability to find the answers to all sorts of questions by just pushing a button on my cellphone.

I sometimes think of my husband, whose poor sense of direction was legendary in the family, and how he would have loved the GPS. The ability to call someone from this marvelous invention I hold in my hand and tell them I am on my way but will be 15 minutes late or that I need help because I have a flat tire is a commonplace miracle of the 21st century. How lucky we are to be alive in these times, when a vaccine to overcome our version of the black plague can be developed in a matter of months.

Difficult times force us to turn inward and find the resilience to cope. And we can cope, we all can. If we believe in ourselves and have faith that this pandemic will end, which it surely will, we can then build back our lives and our world again. We can give thanks for that inner strength. Governments must help, charities and philanthropies do help, and we can help ourselves and each other. We can take inspiration from the natural world, which goes on in all its seasons of beauty despite periodic upheavals, and thankfully we will too.

Thanksgiving 2021 we will all together sit around the dinner table and profoundly give thanks.

Residents prepare July Fourth at-home firework shows in Port Jefferson Station in 2018. Photo by Kyle Barr

A man in Port Jefferson Station was injured just after 10 p.m. last night when he attempted to light a firework that explored and injured one of his eyes.

Carlos Diaz, 29, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious, but not life threatening injuries.

Additionally, a 29-year old man in Central Islip was severely wounded in the hand from an exploding firework. The man was at home on Tamarack Street when the injury occurred around 9:10 p.m. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.

“Every year, we do these reminders and talk about the dangers of fireworks,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said in his daily media call. He shared his hopes that both people injured by fireworks will recover.

Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron said the county did have a higher incidence of fireworks-related calls, due to the limitations on large crowds at the usual fireworks shows.

While the number rose, he said the increase in Nassau County was “much higher.”

Earlier in the day, at 5:30 p.m., Second Precinct officers responded to a fire at the Rodeway Inn in Huntington Station. Canine officers located Raymond Pond, 50, whom they are holding overnight and charging with Arson in the second degree. Pond, who is a resident of the Inn, also has two outstanding warrants. While people were at the Inn when it caught fire, the police reported no injuries.

Viral Numbers

For the fifth time in the last seven days, Suffolk County reported no deaths from complications related to COVID-19. This lower mortality rate puts the county in a good position to reach Phase 4 of its reopening plan this Wednesday.

“We are moving into the new week in very good shape,” Bellone said. The low mortality rate is a “credit to everyone who has done amazing work in this county,” including by the public who he said has, mostly, abided by rules regarding social distancing and face coverings.

The number of new positive tests was 57, which brings the total number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus to 41,642.

An additional 19,960 people have tested positive for the antibody.

Hospitalizations declined by four to 66. The number of people in the Intensive Care Unit increased by two to 19.

Hospital bed occupancy was at 67 percent, while the percent of ICU beds in use was 60 percent.

In the last day, 10 people were discharged from county hospitals.

Fireworks Cupcakes

By Barbara Beltrami

When it’s not dark enough yet for fireworks or when the fireworks are over and you’re hankering for a nice cup of coffee, it’s time to bring out the dessert. The following recipes are delicious finishes to a long day celebrating our independence They all are patriotically correct red, white and blue and sure to please.

Fireworks Cupcakes

YIELD: Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS: 

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups sugar

3 egg whites, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup vanilla cookie crumbs

For the frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 tablespoons milk

Red, white and blue sprinkles

Star sprinkles 

DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcake batter:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add one egg white at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in cookie crumbs. 

Fill prepared cupcake tins two-thirds full; bake about 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

For the frosting:

In a large bowl combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Add the milk very gradually to form a stiff frosting; beat until smooth. Spread the frosting on cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch.

Fourth of July Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One baked 9” pastry crust

1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 pint strawberry ice cream, softened

2 cups blueberries

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Spread baked pastry crust with raspberry sorbet; top with half the sliced strawberries; and freeze for one hour. Spread strawberry ice cream evenly over the strawberries; top with half the blueberries; freeze two hours. Top with whipped cream; arrange remaining berries in an attractive pattern on top. Let sit in refrigerator half an hour before serving or freeze, covered, for up to 48 hours. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8” x 8” square baking dish. In a large bowl toss together the berries, the half cup sugar and cornstarch.; transfer to baking dish. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat together the one-third cup sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes; add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined; beat in the milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the berries; bake until berries are bubbly and top is golden, about 45 minutes to one hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Over the years, I’ve seen many ways of decorating for Christmas although they are variations on the Rudolph, Santa, Frosty, Nativity themes.

This year, perhaps we could use some modern iconography to celebrate the themes and elements that are parts of our lives. Here are my top 10 suggestions for new Christmas iconography — without any connection to a religion:

10. Déjà Santa: Perhaps, in addition to Santa on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, eager decorators should add another Santa, pulled by a similar-looking group of reindeer behind the leader in an homage to the sequels that have become routine in our lives, from Wall Street to Main Street to “Rodeo Drive, baby” — yes, that’s a reference to the movie “Pretty Woman,” which in case you haven’t heard or seen the ubiquitous ads is now a Broadway musical. By the way, I read recently that “Dear Evan Hansen” will become a movie.

9. Cellphones: Somewhere on lawns throughout America, oversized cellphones could become a part of the decorative landscape. In addition to a mother and father cellphone, little cellphones could congregate around a cellphone Christmas tree, with little wrapped apps under the tree just waiting to integrate into the world of the little cellphones.

8. Ice-cream Cones: Ice-cream stores seem to be springing up everywhere, with the scent of malted cones wafting out of their doors and up and down streets, beckoning to those whose stomachs anticipate the inextricably intertwined link between sugar and celebrations. Let’s also celebrate all the mix-ins and candy toppings which have become the main course, pushing the ice cream deep beneath a pile of multicolored candy toppings or shoving a small melting pile to the side.

7. Gyms: Yes, I know Olivia Newton-John and her generation celebrated “getting physical,” but with the abundance of ice-cream stores, we could use more time at gyms, which are often conveniently located next door to ice-cream shops.

6. The Intrepid Weather Person: We’ve watched as weather reporters race off to find the defining images of storms of the century, which appear to rip through the country almost every year. Let’s install on our lawns a windblown weather person, holding a microphone that threatens to fly out of his or her hand.

5. A Collection of Marchers: Not since the 1970s have this many people come out with a wide range of signs in support of or in opposition to someone or something. How about some marchers with “Go Santa” or maybe just “I believe in something” signs for the modern decorated lawn?

4. The Constitution: More than ever, a document ratified 230 years ago has kept the peace. The Constitution seemed to anticipate modern imbroglios. Perhaps an enormous Constitution, or even a list of amendments, could glow on a lawn.

3. A Grand Stage: Everyone seems well aware of the cellphones pointed at them, recording their celebrations and pratfalls. People crave their five minutes of fame: Why not give them a stage on a front lawn?

2. The Driverless Car: Yes, it’s finally here, a car that drives and parks itself. A modern lawn could celebrate the long-discussed innovation with a car that pulls away from a decorated curb, circles a small block and reparks itself. I would watch the car the way I used to watch model trains.

1. The Hashtag: What was once a tic-tac-toe board or an extra button on a phone has become a calling card for self-expression. Let’s add colored lines and lights to our #moderncelebrations.      

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Thousands of people were swept up in a wave of holiday cheer as the Port Jefferson Village played host to 23rd annual Charles Dickens Festival from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

A score of volunteers, all dressed up in mid-19th century garb including not a small amount of chimney soot, walked around the village shaking hands and singing carols as if straight out of Charles Dickens’ classic novel “A Christmas Carol.” Attendees had the opportunity to view the village’s festival of trees, make cookies and ornaments, participate in a gingerbread house contest, ice skate and watch several live music, theater and dance performances, all while walking through village streets with stores all dressed up in seasonal decorations.