52 Shabbats Later: A Response to the December Dilemma

Editor’s note: This article was inspired by the November 19 @nourish talk that Naz participated in.

Singh family ShabbatIt’s the month of December, and my 4&½ year old asks, “Mommy, is the whole world Jewish?”
Who’s not Jewish?”
Your dad’s not Jewish. And Grandpa’s not Jewish.”
Do they celebrate Christmas?”
Yes, if they want to.”
So can I celebrate Christmas?”
Why not?”

It’s the holiday time, and us Jewish women who are married to non Jews, begin to worry that our faith will be eclipsed by the jingles of Santa’s bells and the twinkling Christmas lights. It’s during Christmas time that our children seem to remember that there are other faiths within their own family constructs, and determine rather quickly that, regardless of what their Jewish mommies want, they have choice and access to other religious value systems and rituals. Continue reading

Mesh Cafe Nov 29, 2016

MESH Nov 29 2016

From Captain Linda Ariel:

Our MESH cafe met on a raw, rainy night, and we had nineteen guests, including one child. I understand that some of our regular guests have jobs for the holidays and were not able to come, but I anticipate that we will be back to our usual number of guests as the winter progresses.

Chefs Sarita Eisenberg and Sarah Steindel prepared a hearty meal of corn salad accompanied by bread and butter, warm chili on rice with broccoli on the side, completed by dessert of clementines and chocolate chip cookies. Continue reading

Within and Without: Parashat Toldot

 Parashat Toldot 2016

Parashat Toldot
Genesis 25:19 – 28:9

Tucked in between episodes in the drama of conflict between Isaac and Rebecca’s two sons, Esau and Jacob, are a couple of stories about the parents, themselves. One story is very similar to stories we have heard about Isaac’s parents, who had to leave the land of Israel in times of famine. Indeed, the Torah begins the story by saying, “And there was a famine in the land, besides the original famine in the time of Abraham.” (Gen. 26:1) Continue reading

Message to the Congregation: Israel Fire Emergency Assistance


Over the past weeks Israel has been ravaged by terrible forest fires that have spread into urban areas, displacing tens of thousands of people from their homes. Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported, but there have been many injuries. The response of the Israeli society, Jewish and Muslim, has been extraordinary, and aid has been offered by Israel’s neighbors and other countries, including the Palestinian Authority, Cyprus, Turkey, Russia, Italy, Spain, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, and Croatia. The damage has been very extensive and the costs for rebuilding are high. If you would like to help Israel rebuild, please consider these avenues. Continue reading

Meet Ilana Knopfelmacher

IlanaIlana was born in Israel and moved to New York City when she was 12 years old.  Her parents owned a chocolate store in Queens.  After graduating college, she moved back to Israel where she married and seven years later she returned to the US.  Ilana studied computer programming and worked for the Bank of New York doing report writing before retiring in 2008.  She has lived in Nutley for the last twenty years.  She is an active member and the Bulletin Editor of Hadassah of Bloomfield, Belleville, Nutley.  Ilana enjoys attending the Israel Cinema Cafe with her good friend and Shomrei member, Gilda Schwartz.

Welcome to Shomrei!

Bookclub: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schultz

Shomrei Book Club

Hired GirlThe Shomrei Book Club will meet on Monday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 pm to discuss “The Hired Girl” by Laura Amy Schultz.

Published as a young adult novel, the book is based on a diary kept by 14-year-old Joan Skragg, who flees her oppressive life on a poor farm in Pennsylvania for a better future. She goes to work as a hired girl for a wealthy Jewish department
store family in Baltimore in 1911. There she learns about music, art, and genteel living as she explores new worlds and new ideas.

Continue reading

A Richer World

As we celebrated the bounty of the earth on Thanksgiving just a few days ago, we also might contemplate those who left this bountiful world in the last few weeks and left it richer.

The Jewish world lost a host of important people recently. As the year begins its final countdown, it seems appropriate to look at the contributions of some of them.

necrologycohenLEONARD COHEN, poet, songster, composer, leaves behind a well curated body of work that shows up in unexpected places.  Though not prolific considering the length of his career, Cohen’s works have been recorded by scores of artists hundreds of times. Hallelujah alone exists in more than200 recordings by different artists. Raised as an Orthodox Jew and always identifying- and observing- as a Jew, Cohen also was an ordained Buddhist monk. However, Jewishness runs through many of Cohen’s best songs along with references to other world religions. Continue reading

Positive Intent


One of the global business principals I learned many years ago was Positive Intent. Positive intent is putting a perspective on someone’s actions or words, that the other person only has the best intentions.

We think we do this, but if we actually thought about it, we might notice, like I have, I do not always think the positive. The hardest times I have remembering Positive Intent is when someone does something in a different way than I would do. Continue reading

At the End of the Day: Parashat Hayyei Sarah/Thanksgiving

 Parashat Hayyei Sarah

Parashat Hayyei Sarah/Thanksgiving
Genesis 23:1 – 25:18

“And Abraham was old, having come into his days; and the Eternal One blessed Abraham with everything.” (Gen. 24:1) Abraham ends his life in blessing. We are reminded that, when God first sent Abraham on his journey, it was defined as a journey of blessing. In two verses God says the word “blessing” five times, bestowing it upon Abraham and “all the families of the world “. (Gen. 12:2-3) Now, as Abraham’s life draws to a close, we are meant to know that the mission upon which he embarked, and which he has done everything to perpetuate into the future, has, with regard to his personal life, reached fulfillment and closure. God has blessed him with “everything.” Continue reading