Christmas dinner for our neighbors

... and a great time was had by all

by Shirley Rabb

On December 25th. Nancy Kukura,a member at Temple Beth Shalom, and her
staff of volunteers came to the Green Street Baptist Church at 7:00am to
prepare Christmas dinner for people in the area that were going to be alone.

Nancy, Paula Emelock and Gary Garber have been overseeing, planning preparations and
serving in this capacity for almost 25 years. At the beginning one of our
Mirror members was an original cooker,server,cleaner-up-er. Irving Smolens
was at the start of this tradition which made this dinner the 26th. In
collaboration with the Green Street Baptist Church, donations from places
like Whole Foods, Hannefords, Coffee tea and me, and Sweet Spot there was a
great selection of food items. Donations came from the Melrose Rotary and
the "Y" which allowed Nancy to purchase some of the food and an array of
gifts for everyone. The Melrose Council on Aging allows the Temple to use their van
to pick up people who need a ride.

There was music and volunteers all around to help serve the meal. Egg nog
was available and carrots, celery and nuts were on the table to nibble on.
Chowder or Ministone soup to start was only the beginning. Next came
turkey, mashed potatoes,green beans and cranberry sauce. Music was
playing and people were smiling. Members of the Temple moved around
serving and talking to the people that came to enjoy this time and the meal.

Coffee or tea was offered for those that wanted to accompany their desserts
with a warm drink. Nancy uncovered the table of gifts and people formed a
line to take their pick of a memory of the day spent with neighbors.

This joint tradition has gone on for 26 years with the hope of many more
such times to come. For the Jewish Temple and the Baptist Church to bring a
hot meal to those that would be alone seems a wonderful way to start a new

Let us all embrace our neighbors, not only with a meal at Christmas time but
with campassion and understanding of all faiths.

January 2, 2015

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