Big in Sound and Joy – The Simcha Band!

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We may have been small in number but we were big in sound and joy. Just ask the audience who sang, danced and clapped to the rhythm of all the melodies.

Special thanks to Conductor Mark Weinstein, and band members: Elliot Lasiter, Jerilyn Margulies, Mike Tizhgarten, Howie Erichson, Andy Silikovitz, and Merrill Silver. Joining the band for the first time were Collin Brooks and Nathan Pendola.  We look forward to watching Collin (electric guitar) and Nathan (drums) grow up with the band.  We welcome and thank Dan Silver who came from NYC to make music with us.

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Painful History

anti1The other night I watched a lecture streamed from the Jewish Theological Seminary. The speakers were Dr. Mary C. Boys, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean, and Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology, Union Theological Seminary and Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Provost, and Irving Lehrman Research Associate Professor of American Jewish History, The Jewish Theological Seminary. These two heavy hitters, scholars, teachers and friends, shared the stage in a conversation on “Anti-Semitism in America: How did we get here and how can we move forward?” Continue reading

Something for Every Night

dec 61Two Jews, three opinions…In this case there are two.  Two rabbis, Shammai and Hillel, who lived a little more than 2000 years ago, frequently argued about procedural issues.  When it came to Hanukkah, they could not agree on the correct way to light the Hanukkah menorah.

Should the lights be lit one day at a time, ADDING one each night until on the eighth night the entire lamp is glowing?  Or should all the light be lit on the first night with one being REMOVED each night until on the eighth night only one light is lit?

You all know how we do it- Hillel’s way. Hillel felt that adding a light each night showed increasing holiness. Continue reading

New Books on the Shelf

newbooks1Let’s take a break from the dysfunctional first family of Judaism and take a look at books new to the Lampert Library.

You’ll find a truly diverse selection. Remember that both children and adults may borrow books from the Lampert Library. It’s always here for you.

Here they are in alphabetical order by author. J means that the book is for younger readers; YA indicates a book for middle school and up. Some of these make great reads for adults, too. Continue reading

By Request – or Not

Chickpea-Saladsoup11_10 recipes

Just in time for Thanksgiving and for a change from the same old menu, here’s a new round of recipes from the Shomrei kitchen.

The following recipe for vegan chickpea salad is one of the most requested in the almost nine years that I’ve been in Shomrei’s kitchen. It’s so simple to make and blends flavors nicely. A well-stocked kitchen should have almost all the ingredients on hand. It’s also slightly magical: close your eyes and you might even think you are eating chicken salad! Continue reading

Bountiful Brass – A Fitting Tribute (video and photo gallery)

About 250 people gathered at Shomrei for the second annual “Concert for Eric” a tribute to Eric Singer z”l.  This year’s concert entitled “Bountiful Brass – From Bach to Bernstein” featured Montclair Chamber Brass: Don Batchelder, 
Chuck Bumcrot, 
Anthony Mazzocchi, 
Jeff Scott and 
Kyle Turner.
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A Love Song to America

BerlinElections are over. Maybe we will be able to settle down to some bi-partisanship  and enjoy the blessings of democracy.

Ironically 2018 marks the 100th birthday of the writing of an iconic patriotic American song. Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” was written in 1918 while Berlin was a soldier at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York.

Berlin who came to America at aged five with his family was newly naturalized in February 2018. Soon after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Already a successful song writer, he wrote “God Bless America” for an Army show. The song did not appear in that show but as war loomed in Europe in 1938, Berlin revised the song and asked Kate Smith to sing it. Continue reading