All Humanity, for All Time: Parashat Noach

Parashat No`ah 
Genesis 6:9-11:32

The story of Noah is the story of a new beginning – brought about by the crashing ending of the first beginning. Everything that God began – the entire world – is destroyed out of God’s disgust with its corruption. A new beginning starts with Noah emerging from the ark.
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As the Nights Grow Longer: Good Books with Cookie Chaser

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As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we will be inside more than ever. Tear your eyes away from the screen and pick up a real book. Most libraries are open for limited in-person visits or at the very least, offer pick-up service.

The synagogue library will pull books for you and leave them in the office. The library is also open for browsing. Please wear your mask, sanitize your hands and put books in the designated basket. Continue reading

Simhat Torah Chat-Jokes

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During the Simhat Torah Service on Zoom, congregants shared their jokes via chat.  Due to popular request, here is the chat log:

Saul 07:35 PM:
Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?
Adrienne 07:36 PM:
Why?
Allen 07:36 PM:
because they taste funny!

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Crossing the “Virtual” Finish Line in Support of the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund

ellisDear Friends and Family,

We are happy to report that the weather cooperated and we were able to complete our walk in support of the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund.  Nearly twenty people and one dog participated and we canvassed the East Coast from Connecticut down to South Carolina.  Thus far in 2020, we have raised more than $10,000 for the Howard Ellis Glioblastoma Research Fund through Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and we hope to increase that between now and the end of the year.

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October Things to Do

oct 14 Ruth WisseLooking for some ways to fill your time? Here are a few suggestions.

Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature emerita at Harvard has a series of podcasts and webinars produced by the Tikvah Fund. While you may or may not agree with the organization’s politics, Professor Wisse’s lectures are well worth listening to.  Continue reading

Be Fruitful and Increase: Parashat V’zot Ha-b’rakhah/Bereshit

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Parashat V’zot Ha-b’rakhah/Bereshit
Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Genesis 1:1-6:8 

The Torah ends with blessing – v’zot ha-b’rakhah, Moses’ very last words of blessing to the tribes of Israel – and it also begins with blessing – almost.

Actually, the first four days of Creation pass by without any mention of this action or state of being.  Nothing is blessed on those day. It is only on the fifth day of Creation that we first encounter blessing. Then God blesses all the creatures brought into being on that day, the fish in the seas and the birds of the skies. God says, “Be fruitful and multiply!” (Gen. 1:22) And then blessing is found in the sixth day, as well. God blesses the newly created human beings with the same blessing of fruitfulness. Continue reading

STOM Kids, Getting Out the Vote!

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Delia and Jonah

STOM (Shomrei Teens of Montclair) kids writing non-partisan get-out-the-vote letters as part of the Vote Forward Project.

Vote Forward’s mission is to empower grassroots volunteers to help register voters from under-represented demographics and encourage them to vote. We build tools to enable Americans, wherever they may be, to encourage fellow citizens to participate in our democracy.

Our STOM teens engaged in the democratic process…here’s what they wrote to Americans across the country: Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late

OSC Sept still watersAt this time of year with the month of Elul behind us and Tishri on its way out,  I often think of my own mortality and relationships that have flourished, struggled or withered away.

My uncle Robert, the last of my father’s generation recently passed away at aged 97. A few months before his death, in January on Shabbat Vayigash he gave a d’var Torah in his synagogue. He linked  the story of Joseph’s revelation of his identity to his brothers and their reconciliation to the longstanding rift between him and one of his daughters. He asked for his daughter’s forgiveness- no discussion, no arguments, no recriminations or explanations. Continue reading

Moving Forward: Sukkot/Sh’mini Atzeret/Simhat Torah

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Sukkot/Sh’mini Atzeret/Simhat Torah
Leviticus 22:26-23:44
Numbers 29:12-16

The festival of Sukkot is called “the Season of our Rejoicing – z’man simhateinu.” What is the cause – the source – of our rejoicing? What are we supposed to be happy about?

As I have explained on numerous occasions, this description of Sukkot parallels but is also different from the descriptions we have assigned to the other two pilgrimage festivals, Passover and Shavuot.  Sukkot does not commemorate a specific occurrence such as the Exodus (Passover is z’man herutenu – the Time of Our Freedom) or the Giving of the Torah (Shavuot is z’man matan Toratenu – the  Time of the Giving of Our Torah).

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