By Sharon Wisch-Ray
To hear from Miriam Creemer is always a joy. If you know the effervescent yiddishe mama, you know what I mean. She’s just plain fun to talk to, and it’s hard not to smile.
I must admit, I was more than a bit concerned when she phoned me last week and said, “Sharon, guess what, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to get a mastectomy.” My jaw dropped. I knew Miriam was a cancer survivor for more than two decades. We did a report in the TJP years ago, on lymphedema, one of the grueling side effects of her lumpectomy many years ago that she and others suffer from. I did not know, however, that she had a recurrence.
In her own ebullient way, Miriam had not called to lament about her recent surgery. She wanted to share with our readers how she had received a sheaf of homemade cards from students at Akiba Academy, where she has been a substitute teacher for many years (she told me she answered an ad in the TJP for that position. Go Miriam).
“Sharon, you would not believe how beautiful each of these cards was,” she reported. “Each one was more special than the next. I can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me throughout my recovery.”
Her remarks were so sincere, I had to see the cards for myself, and you know what? She’s right. These were not an afterthought, but an outpouring of love from her students of all ages. Kudos to everyone at Akiba who had a hand in brightening Miriam’s recovery.
Miriam has been recovering well. As we sat around her kitchen table, surrounded by her astounding menorah collection, Miriam was kind enough to remind me how she landed here in Dallas from Calgary via Paramus, N.J., and became the senior director at the JCC for 20 years before her retirement in 1999. Miriam’s husband, Al, worked for Mobil and was transferred to Dallas.
Their children, Roz and David, enrolled at Pearce High and Westwood Junior High, respectively, and Miriam immediately phoned the JCC. She had been working with seniors in Paramus, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Miriam and Al still lead trips around the world for seniors at the Paramus JCC. The Creemers are long-time members of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson.
Miriam shared with me how lucky she was that they caught her cancer when they did. She reported that an astute mammographer noticed that her film didn’t look quite right and went the extra mile to make sure that she got the image she needed to detect the half-inch tumor under her left breast. Miriam had her surgery on Sept. 27, the day after Yom Kippur.
“The doctor wanted me to have the surgery on Yom Kippur. But I told him, I had a number of things I wanted to pray for this year.”
All of your friends here at the TJP wish you a continued speedy recovery, Miriam. And to all the honorable menschen at Akiba who wrote those beautiful cards, Yasher Koach.
Jewish cooking innovator to appear at Book Fair
Back in the day, the TJP was not fortunate enough to have a recipe developer that contributed amazing weekly recipes. Thus, the task of developing the recipe column fell on my mother, Rene, ahavah shalom’s shoulders.
The TJP had quite an extensive cookbook collection, and mom poured over those and the new ones that arrived to develop just the right mix each week. Two of her favorites in the ’80s were Helen Nash’s “Kosher Cuisine,” followed by “Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen,” both lauded as a new approach to kosher cooking at the time.
Nash has just published a new book, “Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine” (Overlook Press Hardcover, $35). Her new cookbook takes the art of kosher cooking to a new level by adding the dimension of being healthy without sacrificing her old-country roots.
Nash will appear at the J Book Fair at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29. Cost of the event is $18 and includes a tasting menu. She will also sign copies of her book.
Nash was born into an old rabbinical family in Krakow, Poland. In New York City, where she has spent most of her life, she studied with world-famous cooks Michael Field, Marcella Hazan, Lydie Marshall and Millie Chan. An accomplished lecturer and teacher, she has given demonstrations at New York University, Yeshiva University and the De Gustibus cooking school at Macy’s, as well as at numerous synagogues and Jewish community centers.
JFS continues breast cancer support services
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down, I wanted to remind readers that JFS has an ongoing breast cancer support service. Earlier this month, JFS hosted the Bridge Breast Network mobile unit that provides free mammograms for women who are 40-plus years old and uninsured. Twenty-four women received free mammograms and follow-up support.
Incidentally, at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, Congregation Ohr HaTorah will hold a walk to raise breast cancer awareness. The $5 registration fee will benefit JFS’ cancer support services. The walk begins at Ohr HaTorah (6324 Churchill Way in Dallas) with after-walk activities including speakers, a raffle and more.
Register for the walk at www.ohrhatorahdallas.org/Cancer_Walk-a-Thon.html. For information about the Ohr HaTorah walk or any of JFS breast cancer services, contact Beth Broodo, director of breast cancer services at bbroodo@JFSdallas.org or 972-437-9950.
In last week’s column I inadvertently typed that the DATA of Plano event with Rabbi Yosef Medelevich would be held on Oct. 20. In truth it is slated for 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. As a reminder, Medelevich will share his refusenik experience, and the event will be held at DATA Far North’s new location, 7130 Campbell Road, Ste. 204.
We would like to hear from our readers. Send you news and photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 7920 Belt Line Road, Ste. 680, Dallas, TX 75254. If you prefer, pick up the phone and call me at 972-458-7283. I’d sure love to hear from you.