From The Editor-In-Chief
One of the many reasons why people are drawn to Princeton is because it is a vibrant multicultural community. It’s not uncommon to hear half a dozen different languages being spoken while walking down Nassau Street, and my daughter and I used to make a game out of trying to identify the various languages we heard.
It might seem like December is all about Christmas and Hanukkah, but there are many other religious and cultural holidays celebrated this time of year. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Diwali, Ramadan, Las Posadas, Omisoka, or Kwanzaa — everyone enjoys seeing the fully lit 70-foot Norwegian spruce in Palmer Square.
The history of using evergreen trees to celebrate holidays dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome where it symbolized eternal life. The tradition of putting lights, sweets, and toys on the branches of evergreen trees placed in homes was brought to America by German immigrants in the 1700s.
Staying on the topic of culture and religion, David Nirenberg, the new director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), has focused much of his scholarly works on ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures interact. His books and articles provide insight into modern-day racism, antisemitism, and Christian-Muslim relations.
Our readers most likely know that Albert Einstein was the IAS’s first professor but might not be aware that he left Europe at a time when intellectuals were concerned about rising fascism.
During Wendy Greenberg’s interview with Nirenberg, he clears up some of the misconceptions about the IAS and explains that they provide a place for promising scholars to have “deep thought on difficult questions regardless of their race, religion, or sex.” He also reminds us that the IAS woods, lectures, and concerts are open to the Princeton community.
With the end of the pandemic in sight, many people are attending events this holiday season. Princeton University Chapel welcomes all faiths and is considered a bridge between town and gown.
Two decades ago, after a $10 million restoration, the Chapel was rededicated in an interfaith ceremony including Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian prayers. Anne Levin interviews University Organist Eric Plutz and Choir Director Nicole Aldrich about the Chapel’s spirit, architecture, acoustics, and upcoming events that are open to the public.
With so many events happening now, it might be difficult to decide which ones to attend. I recommend that you make time for a Princeton University Tigers ice hockey game, but please do so after reading Bill Alden’s article on Hobey Baker and the 100th anniversary of Baker Memorial Rink.
Hockey fans will appreciate this story and those who know little of the sport will enjoy learning about the legendary Hobey Baker for his athletic skills, grace, and sportsmanship.
Thomas Sweet Chocolate is doing their part to spread holiday cheer with their festive window displays created by theatrical lighting designer Cameron Filepas. Donald Sanborn’s article explains how, when growing up, Filepas was an avid collector of models and created little villages. He studied lighting design in college and after graduating worked as the head chocolatier at Thomas Sweet between theater jobs. His magical window displays have become a Palmer Square tradition and we are pleased to applaud Filepas’ windows by featuring one on the cover of this issue of Princeton Magazine.
I have a personal interest in window displays stemming from many years ago when I worked in the field of interior design. The home decor buyer for Bergdorf Goodman purchased my custom designed crushed velvet pillows and throw blankets embroidered with Napoleonic bees. I was stunned and honored to discover that three of Bergdorf’s holiday windows at their Fifth Avenue store were devoted to my gilded bee home accessories.
Additionally, some of our readers might remember an early issue of Princeton Magazine with a Tiffany & Co. holiday window on the cover. I was given a memorable behind the scenes tour of the flagship store and learned how they create their iconic window displays.
While festive windows are a fun holiday tradition, so is baking cookies. Cookbook author Mary Abitanto provides an all-encompassing cookie article including historical origins, equipment, planning schedule, popular European varieties, and recipes.
If you aren’t inclined to bake your own cookies, you can purchase artisan cookies from a number of local shops such as LilLLiPiES Bakery, Chez Alice, The Gingered Peach, Milk & Cookies, WildFlour Bakery, Terra Momo Bread Company, Terhune Orchards Farm Store, Nino’s Pastry Shop, and Factory Girl Bake Shop.
Oversized art books make wonderful gifts, and you can trust Stuart Mitchner’s thoughtful selection in the Book Scene. The knowledgeable staff at Labyrinth Books can also make recommendations and your purchase will help support a local independent merchant.
If it sounds appealing to take a relaxing getaway without traveling too far, then Laurie Pellichero’s article on historic cozy inns will be of interest. Stay warm by the fireplace in a restored manor home or private cottage and enjoy gourmet meals, hot stone massages, and views of grazing sheep or the Delaware River.
This time of year we typically feature a nonprofit in the magazine, and Taylor Smith has written an article on The Raptor Trust Bird Rehabilitation and Education Center. I first learned of The Raptor Trust when my son rescued an injured baby owl while running along the canal in Rocky Hill. It had a broken wing and we brought it to The Raptor Trust where they help to heal injured birds and then release them back into the wild. It is an incredible place to visit for bird lovers, wildlife photographers, and children.
Bob Hillier and I hope you enjoy the stories in this issue of Princeton Magazine and send heartfelt wishes to our staff, advertisers, and readers for a happy and healthy holiday.
Lynn Adams Smith