Plans for the Rabbi’s Sabbatical

q_and_a.pdf (page 1 of 2) 2018-11-29 14-34-02
As you know, Rabbi Greenstein will be away from Shomrei from January 1st through May 31st of this upcoming year. He has been awarded the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University.

For much of this year, a Rabbi Sabbatical Committee, led by Shomrei members Geoff Sadow and Dan Winter, have been working to ensure that our congregation will operate smoothly during our rabbi’s absence. This includes the hiring of guest rabbis to join us for many Shabbatot and to provide rabbinic coverage. This also includes the scheduling of academic and musical scholars-in-residence who will bring to Shomrei some exciting programs.

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Security at Shomrei – A Message from President, Sara Ann Erichson

Sara Ann ErichsonAs Rabbi Greenstein so eloquently stated in his recent email, we are devastated by the tragedy in Pittsburgh. As a follow up, I am writing to share with you information and plans regarding security at our synagogue

We are grateful to the Montclair Police Department (MPD) who arrived at Shomrei last Saturday morning as soon as events unfolded in Pittsburgh.  They returned to our synagogue on Sunday. We are actively engaged with the MPD and are requesting, for an interim period of time, extra patrols while we have people in the building.

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Seeing Shomrei: President Sara Ann Erichson’s Kol Nidre Address

Editor’s Note: Sara Ann gave this talk at Kol Nidre Services 5779/2018.

Good evening.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sara Ann Ericson and I’m two months into my tenure as being the president of this synagogue.

I was on the internet recently – looking for advice on how to write this speech.  I saw this remark from one former synagogue president: “Three things make a successful High Holiday speech:  a good beginning, a good ending, and having the two be as close together as possible.”  Ok, I have kept that advice in mind, but I do have some thoughts, observations and information that I want to share with you this evening.

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Greetings from Sara Ann Erichson – Incoming President of Shomrei

31180185_10214048356716115_2761768781414924288_oHello!  This Shabbat marks my start as Shomrei’s new president.  It is a privilege to serve this amazing community which I have been a member of for nearly twenty years.

Let me tell you a bit about myself.  My husband Howie and I moved to Montclair twenty-eight years ago and recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We have two young adult children – Danny and Jake – who both work and live in New York City.  I recently retired from my job after thirty-one years as an executive with Nielsen – the company most famous for producing TV ratings. Howie is a law professor at Fordham Law School. I love to travel, play tennis, go to the theatre and am obsessed with Boston sports – especially the Red Sox. Continue reading

My Last Column

FernThis is my final President’s Column. At the Annual Membership meeting on June 14 you will be voting in a new president; my term is complete. People always ask me what is hardest part of the job? What is the greatest?

The hardest part of the job of being President is being present. If you are not in the building, available to members, staff, parents, and board members, it is difficult to have meaningful discussions when someone wants to talk about synagogue business. If you do not attend ritual services or events, it is hard to encourage others. If you are not present, you do not meet people. But being present also meant deprioritizing other aspects of my life: friends, family, exercise, and sometimes my business. There are only so many hours in a day and I can not do it all. I do have to say, I am looking forward to getting my life back. Continue reading

Introducing Lisa Zelenetz, Shomrei Office Administrator


I am pleased to announce the hiring of Lisa Zelenetz as the Office Administrator for Shomrei.  She will be responsible for the overall management and day to day operations of the synagogue including supervising office staff, custodians, and volunteers.

Lisa comes to us with many years of experience working for Jewish institutions.  Most recently, she was the administrator for Congregation Shaare Tefilah in Dallas, TX and was previously the executive assistant to the middle school principal at Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford, NJ.

Lisa joins Shomrei on Monday, April 23 and her email is email hidden; JavaScript is required

Lisa currently resides in Edison and is already involved in the Montclair community as a volunteer for the annual film festival.

Please join me in welcoming Lisa to the Shomrei community and I encourage you to stop by the office to meet her.


image (2)Passover is the Jewish holiday, almost every person who relates to being Jewish, celebrates.  How a person or family celebrates, is truly individualized and personal.

My family has two seder nights.  We have almost the same menu since the time my Bubbe hosted Passover.  I actually spent years trying to recreate her recipes since she did not write English (though spoke and read 7 languages) and they died with her.  When my nieces and nephews were young, they wanted to know if this was a Jewish food holiday.  If so, they knew they were getting to eat some foods that were only cooked once a year, or maybe twice, Rosh Hashana we have some repeats. Continue reading

Building Update

As of today, the painting has been completed of the entire first floor. Tomorrow the new flooring is suppose to be delivered. The flooring has been the delay over the last two weeks. The manufacturer is in Georgia and due to the snow storms, the truck had problems coming up the East Coast. Installation is to begin on Tuesday and it will take approximately two business weeks.

After the floor is installed, we need to unpack the pods to move the furniture and supplies back. This will need as many volunteers as we can get. I hope many of you will be able to join. No date yet, but definitely will let everyone know. Continue reading

Operation Anthropoid

Operation Anthropoid Memorial, Prague

Operation Anthropoid Memorial, Prague

My new commute is to Prague. Some people commute to Manhattan; my commute is overseas. My business trips are usually two weeks, although there are times I am living in a city for a month. The great thing for me, living in an international city, is that I have the opportunity to develop friendships with local colleagues and learn about the culture and the history from their perspective. Continue reading