Dear EarthTalk: I know that some people abstain from meat on Fridays for religious reasons, but what’s the story behind “Meatless Mondays?” — Sasha Burger, Ronkonkoma, NY

Kean Stage Presents The Nutcracker

UNION — See a holiday classic come to life for three performances only at Kean University’s Wilkins Theatre on Dec. 4 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. Your holiday spirits will soar when you experience The New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble’s family classic The Nutcracker.

Cut Your Taxes

For many, mid-November through New Year’s Day is a blur of activity when important tasks get ignored. Who has time to review their benefits and tax paperwork when holiday planning looms overhead?

Elks Lodge Plans Pasta Benefit

NEW BRUNSWICK — New Brunswick Elks Lodge 324 is sponsoring an all-day “All You Can Eat Pasta Benefit” on Nov. 14 to raise funds to help veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces.

Learn How to Choose & Use a Backyard Telescope

UNION COUNTY — Amateur Astronomers, Inc. (AAI), will show you how to choose and correctly use a backyard telescope at two events this month. “Know Your ‘Scope – Know the Sky” is two nights of free lessons and a chance to view the stars through a variety of telescopes.

Book Sale Benefits Library

LINDEN — The Friends of Linden Library will be sponsoring a book sale at the Linden Free Public Library, 31 E. Henry Street. The sale will take place in the Columbia Bank Room on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; and Nov. 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.