Passover Message

DSC_0213-EditAs we continue to wander in an uncharted wilderness of caution and concern, we are called to meet so many responsibilities to ourselves and to others. I am moved by the dedication and caring exhibited by all members of the Shomrei community, professional and lay members, both. I am very grateful to be part of this strong and healthy community!

An additional challenge facing us is to prepare for and to celebrate the holiday of Passover (Pesach), the first of our sacred festivals. This is a time when we usually feel the full weight of our traditions, religious and familial. These traditions add special significance to our lives and special sweetness. We have invested much energy and creativity over the years to find ways to honor those traditions while we also add our creativity and add novel (- a word that has taken on a dark resonance these days!) customs, songs, insights and foods to our seder. After all, this is the Festival of our Freedom!

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Prayers for Our Time

DSC_0213-EditPrayer is a deep response to crisis, even as it can also be a profound vehicle for expressing gratitude for the blessings we still enjoy, and it can be a strong reminder of the values we hold precious and that make our lives sacred. Many find prayer a way  to ground the self and calm the spirit.

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For Those Who Wish to Say Kaddish

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Saying Kaddish is one of many challenges Jews and Jewish communities are facing in this time of quarantine and social isolation. The practice of saying kaddish for a loved one is very meaningful and comforting for many people. But the practice is traditionally situated within a community – a minyan. In fact, that is the essence of kaddish – that the mourner turns to the community and calls them to join with the mourner in praising God (even in times of loss and sadness). So the lack of a minyan can be a very painful impediment. Therefore, I am sharing this prayer, adapted from one that was written by Rabbi Dov Edelstein z”l, originally for Kehillat Hod veHadar and later included in SIddur VeAni Tefillati of the Masorti Movement. Continue reading

Nutley Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

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Rabbi David Greenstein, members of Shomrei’s Park St. Band and some Shomrei congregants attended the Nutley Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Monday at Vincent United Methodist Church. Photos courtesy Vincent United Methodist Church.

Rabbi Greensteen’s Thanksgiving Speech:

“How good and pleasant it is for all of us to be here together!” (Ps. 133:1)

Shalom – Peace – Welcome!

My name is David Greenstein. I serve as Rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair and, over the years, it has been so good and pleasant for me to join with my holy sisters and brothers, the clergy and with Mayor Scarpelli and the leaders of the Nutley community, and with all of you to celebrate this beautiful holiday, conceived and brought forth in this great nation – ever new and ever challenged to continue to grow and renew itself.

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Shalom for Now

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As I prepare to take my sabbatical I wish to express a few words of thanks and blessing to the Shomrei community.

First, I thank the Shomrei leaders, last year and this year, who worked with me in conceiving and implementing a plan for my sabbatical. I especially wish to single out our Past President, Fern Henig and her committee, and our current President, Sara Ann Erichson, and the Sabbatical Committee, co-chaired by Geoff Sadow and Dan Winter. The Shomrei Board has been thoughtful and supportive throughout this whole process, as they always are in tackling all matters that affect our congregation.

And I also want to thank so many of you who have communicated your hopes and good wishes for this new adventure that I and Zelda (- and Kasha, too!) are undertaking. Continue reading

A Message of Grief and Hope

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Editor’s Note: This message was originally sent out on Sunday, Oct.28, the day after the tragedy in Pittsburgh.

Oh, if only my head were a spring of water and my eye a fountain of tears! I would weep all day and night for the slain of my dear people.

Jeremiah 8:23

Our grief is overwhelming as we process the tragedy that has befallen the worshipers at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This tragedy has swept over the entire Jewish community everywhere and has spread to affect all decent people in our country and beyond.

The news on Shabbat arrived as we were in the midst of celebrating a Bar Mitzvah with one of our cherished families. Our sanctuary was filled. We sang together that out Torah is a “tree of life to all who hold it tight.” The dissonance between our own prayers – identical to those offered at Tree of Life Synagogue – and the murderous violence inflicted there could not be more extreme.

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Reading the Entire Bible – Day by Day

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A few years ago a project was started to gather readers in Israel and around the world to undertake reading a chapter of the Bible each day, from start to finish. There are 929 chapters altogether, so the project is called 929.

It started in the winter of 2014 and the first cycle was completed this summer.  As with our yearly reading of the Torah, the cycle has begun again and is presently in the middle of the Book of Exodus.

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