President's Monthly Message

A message from our president, Cindy Wetter

President's Message                        April 2017

What comes to your mind when you think about Passover?  Gathering together around the seder table is probably high on the list.  Picture that table in your mind's eye.  Who do you see?  Family, dear friends, and maybe some new faces, people you may just be getting to know but whom you have invited into your life.

Two wonderful Beth Hatikvah initiatives speak directly to this idea of an expanding circle of community.   

Our congregation offers members a seder-matching program to put together people who would like a place to go and people who have room at their tables.  Contact Jim Schachter, Spiritual Life chair, if you're interested.  

The second initiative is our second annual seder with members of Summit's Fountain Baptist Church.  I can attest to the tremendous warmth and appreciation we experienced last year when we went to the church.  Some of their members were apparently inspired by our seder tradition to begin to craft a narrative of their own time of slavery.  The evening of Wednesday, April 5 we will host a Liberation Seder at Congregation Beth Hatikvah, with guests from Fountain Baptist Church as well as the other two Summit synagogues.  RSVP on our website, -- look for the rainbow rectangle on the right hand side of our home page.

I often find myself thinking about a phrase from a children's picture book, Annie's Shabbat, by Sarah Marwil Lamstein.  In the story we follow young Annie as her family prepares for and celebrates Shabbat.  At the conclusion of their Friday night dinner, Annie notes that "The dining room table is bigger than the one we eat at in the kitchen, and we sit farther apart.  But it seems we're sitting closer on Shabbat."

The feeling of closeness and connection that comes from sharing Friday night prayers and dinner feels to me magnified at the Passover seder.  It's good to be together, recounting once again the powerful story of the exodus from Egypt, and to explore again what it might mean for us today.  Of course, sharing good food, conversation, and laughter is the icing on the cake!

The recipe I've included this month is a cake, albeit one without icing.  I've named it for Colette, the French mother-in-law of one of Steve's sisters.  Where Colette got her recipe I do not know, but I was intrigued to come across a very similar recipe in The New York Times.  The Times recipe for la torta tenerina comes from the Italian city of Ferrara; like Colette's recipe it relies on potato starch, but it bakes for exactly eighteen minutes.  That number can't be a coincidence!  Could it be that the Italian recipe is, like Colette's chocolate cake, a Passover recipe?

Let me know how Colette's chocolate cake comes out for you.   A zissen Pesach -- sweet Passover -- to you and yours!


4 eggs, separated
6½ ozs butter
6½ ozs kosher-for-Passover chocolate
6½ ozs sugar
2 teaspoons potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a cake pan, line it with parchment paper, and butter the top of the parchment.  Whip the egg whites.  Melt together butter & chocolate.  Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites.  Mix together egg yolks, sugar & potato starch, and fold this mixture into the egg white mixture.  Gently place batter into pan, scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Delicious served with warmed strawberry-raspberry preserves.  To be extra fancy, you can scatter some fresh raspberries on the plate.   Or top with gently whipped cream (using kosher-for-Passover vanilla).

Sun, 30 April 2017 4 Iyyar 5777