ROCKLAND, Maine — One hundred years ago, recent Jewish immigrants to the Rockland area wanted a home of their own to worship. At the time, they were renting space above a Main Street storefront in Rockland.
Barbara Fishman said a church property became available in 1912 when the then-Seventh-day Adventists of the Rockland area sold it in anticipation of the end of the world.
That property has for the past 100 years been the home to the Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland.
The congregation is marking that anniversary with a series of events which includes the republication of a cookbook first published in 1987.
Congregation member Lisa Breheny was one of the members of the editorial committee that produced the latest cookbook.
“It’s just a beautiful book,” she said, adding that it includes most of the recipes from the 1987 publication but with additional ones from current members of the congregation.
There are 300 recipes from the families of the synagogue in the book “Jewish Midcoast Maine Cooking.”
The introduction to the new cookbook notes the importance of sharing recipes.
“The Jews are a passionate people who look to food to create linkages with the past, to interpret the present, and to celebrate the possibilities of the future,” the introduction states. “The synagogue is the foundation of the Jewish ritual life, but it is around the table that the ethnic and cultural traditions of the Jewish people really come alive.”
Several of the recipes are from the eldest member of the congregation — Constance Miller Grossman who will be turning 98 in December.
Grossman’s recipes include Roquefort cheese spread, bran muffins, cranberry nut bread, carrot pineapple bread, beet and celery mold, rice stuffing, stuffed baked potatoes, baked halibut creole, blueberry cake, brownies and cheesecake pudding.
Grossman was born in Rockland. Her husband A. Alan Grossman served as president of the synagogue from 1953 until his death in 1975. Her son-in-law Barry Faber then served as president from 1975 through 1979.
Breheny noted that many of the recipes are from members who have died since the original book was published 25 years ago.
“Many of the recipes have a vintage sensibility, and perusing the names of contributing cooks can be bittersweet, as some are no longer in our midst. We feel this makes the book even more special,” the introduction states.
The cookbook is being sold for $16 with proceeds to benefit the synagogue.
The launch of the cookbook is the first of several activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary. The formal launch of the cookbook is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the synagogue at 52 Willow St.
The synagogue also will host a picnic at the Snow Bowl from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. Hamburgers and hot dogs are to be served and anyone who wants to attend can but is asked to bring some food to share with others.
Eliot Cutler will speak at the synagogue at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.
In November, documentary filmmaker David Berez will show a documentary he is making about the synagogue. The screening is expected to be held at the Strand Theatre.