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

Home Sweet Home: Back at Shomrei


I am happy and excited to let you know the abatement has been completed and we received our Certificate of Occupancy. This means we can enter the building and have access to the second floor which includes the Sanctuary, Social Hall, and Gallery. On the first floor, the office will be open once agin for business.

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Dale Russakoff – Shomrei’s Mensch-in-Chief


In 1994, Dale Russakoff moved to Montclair with her husband, Matt Purdy, a reporter at the New York Times, and their two sons, Sam and Adam. She worked as a reporter for the Washington Post in their New York office. Soon after arriving in town, the Purdy/Russakoff family was greeted by Judy Post, Neal Yudkoff, and their daughter, Sunny, neighbors who live immediately behind them in their neighborhood. This connection was meaningful and reinforced the family’s interest in becoming part of the Shomrei community. They joined the synagogue, signing Adam up for the Shomrei nursery school. Dale remembers their first Rosh Hashanah in Montclair when she saw Neal addressing the congregation as its president. Participating in the services  helped the family feel part of Shomrei. Continue reading

A Vibrant Vibe


There is a statement that starts most of our communications – “Shomrei Emunah,  A Vibrant Community serving ……”

Through my years on the board, I have spent many hours listening to board discussions about how to make us “vibrant” again.  Vibrancy, a state of high energy and enthusiasm, can be fostered but cannot be forced.  Vibrancy is something we feel and experience.

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Dale Russakoff and Volunteers of Mensch Squad and IHN to Be Honored

Dear Members and Friends of Congregation Shomrei Emunah:

Each year Shomrei Emunah’s Ad Journal honors congregants who have had a significant impact on our community.  It is my privilege to inform you that this year’s honorees are the people of Shomrei—the volunteers who bring solace, safety and joy to our congregants and to others in the wider community through the Mensch Squad and IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network).  And this peaceful army of mensches is led by our own Dale Russakoff who has kept these vitally important services going at Shomrei. Continue reading