Purim Celebration at Shomrei

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My favorite Jewish holiday is Sukkot. Or is it Passover? After
celebrating Purim tonight with our Shomrei community, my new favorite
holiday has to be Purim.  The spirit, the crowd, the young people, the
not-so-young people, Lily leading us with such “ruach” and teaching us
new melodies, Lily directing the JLC acting troupe with her original
shpiel, Debra Caplan accompanying these incredibly talented singers and
actors at the piano, the overflowing bags of Mishloach Manot, and of
course, the 9th Annual Purim Simcha Band all contributed to a most
joyous Purim. Continue reading

How to Eat like Queen Esther

Hortus_Deliciarum_1190Queen Esther must have had good taste. It was a pleasure to see how many people enjoyed the Persian style kiddush.

Here are recipes for some of the dishes that were served so that you, too, can dine like a queen…or king.

Chick pea spinach stewQueen Esther’s Stew ( chick peas and spinach) appeared in a previous Shomrei Week. You can find the recipe by clicking on or Googling “Queen Esther’s Chickpea Stew”

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Best Books 2019

2019awards22019awards3Every year librarians and readers wait with bated breath for the announcements of the year’s award winning books.

The American Library Association (ALA) youth announcements come at 8 o’clock in the morning no matter where the announcement is made. Continue reading

MESH Report 3/19/2019

meshReport from Captain Stuart Green:

It was an especially busy night for the Carol Starr MESH cafe. We had 24 guests and 4 takeaways. Chef Jennifer Moses prepared a delicious meal of baked flounder with creamy broccoli sauce, macaroni and cheese, and salad. This was supplemented with chickpea spinach stew and okra with potatoes, repurposed from Shabbat. Sixteen of our guests had seconds. The meal was served and cleaned up by MESH teens Shayna, Josephine, Talia, Siona, Jonah, and Amalia, plus MESH professionals Adrienne and Joe. Continue reading

Baby Food, Meals for New Parents

72E078369135D065C3F12F46DCDCCCF0_7581205Announcing: Baby Food!

For any member who has a new baby in the house, we will deliver one meal a week for the first 6 weeks after the baby arrives.  Because the pre-school is an important part of our community, any pre-school family that has a new baby in the home will receive a meal to welcome their new one.

This is an all-volunteer effort, which means each one of those meals must be cooked (or purchased) and delivered. It’s a wonderful way to share in the joy the new parents are experiencing, and to give them a little help during those tiring first few weeks. If you like to cook, or you like to visit new babies, and would be interested in joining the pool of volunteers who provide this service, please sign up at Shomrei.org/BabyFood .

Dale Russakoff is organizing the effort but Dale would love some help.  So, if you’ve been looking for the right volunteer activity, perhaps this is for you – Dale is waiting to hear from you.

Questions: Dale Russakoff, email hidden; JavaScript is required

signup: Shomrei.org/BabyFood

A Purim Kiddush This Week (Sat, Mar 16)

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Queen Esther’s Stew

Purim is but days away so on March 16, at kiddush we’ll feast like Queen Esther, fulfilling one of the 4 Purim mitzvot.

Legend says that Esther ate nothing but vegetables and beans in King Ahashverus’ palace since she would not eat non-kosher food.

Chick peas were the centerpiece of her meals . They are also the star of Queen Esther’s stew which is served with couscous or basmati rice. Continue reading

Building a “Singing Community” at Shomrei

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Two weeks ago, Shomrei experienced a very special Shabbat – one, that for many of us, felt transformative. Aided by our musical scholar-in-residence, Joey Weinsenberg, we engaged in services – whether it be by humming a nigun (a wordless melody) or chanting a prayer – with a stronger sense of freedom to sing and to express ourselves.  Our collective voices filled the sanctuary as one.
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MESH Report 3/12/2019

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Report from Captain Alex Kent:

Shomrei did another stellar job of hosting the MESH Cafe this week.  24 guests were served and we prepared 5 take out containers.

Chef Aileen Grossberg prepared a sumptuous meal, re-purposing a number of items.   The first course was a medley of southwestern corn salad, falafel sliders, and roasted veggie pasta.  This was followed by a green salad, and a main course of salmon with a hummus topping, couscous with veggies,and green beans, served with a side of bread.  Dessert was cookies from the Art Mazel pre-school fundraiser (the source of the sliders as well), and fruit.   Continue reading

Jamming With Joey

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I think that I can speak for almost everyone who experienced last weekend’s Musical Scholar Shabbaton in saying it was truly exceptional! The quest to bring Joey Weisenberg to Montclair was five years in the making, and he surely did not disappoint. In fact, if it was possible, he may have exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Some people wondered, why do we need help singing? Shomrei always has been a “singing community” and we integrate music and song into almost all of our services. The way I explain it is that there is a difference between being led in song and teaching people to sing (and pray) together. Having talked to others and seen his videos, there was no doubt in my mind that Joey Weisenberg is a true visionary in this area. As Creative Director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, Joey has become a rock star, working to educate and train communities around the world to unlock their musical-spiritual potential and make music a lasting, joy­-filled force in synagogues and in Jewish life.

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