Turning Strangers into Friends

IMG_2133The biggest reason my family joined Shomrei back in 2015 is because of the community here. So as the crisis in Syria grew,  my husband and I kept asking each other: Should we do something? Adopt a Syrian orphan? Donate some clothes? It seemed obvious that I should email the rabbi. Was Shomrei “doing” anything? Continue reading

Kugels Rule

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The weeks of anticipation were almost over. Shavuot was just a couple days away. Shomrei’s preparations for the community Tikkun were in high gear especially in the kitchen where the refrigerator shelves were overflowing with butter and eggs, vegetables and fruit.

The quiches had been baked; the cheesecakes were here, too. The blintzes were being prepped.

But what about the kugel? It’s not Shavuot without kugel. And why kugel and other dairy dishes? Continue reading

Reflections

Omaha3On Saturday, April 28, I marked my father’s 24th yahrzeit. Ordinarily I’d light a candle, place it on the kitchen island before going to services. Then each time I’d walk through the kitchen I’d see the flickering flame and I would envision and recall my father’s smile, his kindness, his intelligence, and his open-mindedness.

I’d say kaddish surrounded by others saying this same these same ancient and familiar words of praise and acknowledgement.

But I was not in Montclair, New Jersey; I was in Lille, France. There was no kitchen island but a counter crowded with the needs of a busy family.

But still in my daughter’s home we lit that candle just as I would have in my own home and told stories about my father to the great-grandchildren whom he never met. Continue reading

Time

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We are in the midst of our longest Jewish counting period, the counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot, from freedom to responsibility.

It seems to be part of human nature to count.

We are always counting. Continue reading

For the Love of Life

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Over these many months I have offered a treatment of the blessings that comprise the Amidah, the standing prayer that is central to all our services. Having concluded discussing them, we now reach the coda that closes the Amidah recitation. That coda was originally unscripted. It was the place that was devoted to personal, spontaneous prayer. It is here that the contrast between the collective and the individual,, the public and the private presents itself with force. (I have written about this issue before – see my columns in Kol Emunah for April 2014 and May, 2014)

Continue reading

Mesh Cafe April 24, 2018

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From Captain Shirley Grill:

On a perfect spring evening, the fabulous Shomrei team served a finger lickin’, delicious meal to our MESH Guests.  We had 24 guests, including 3 children, who feasted on a fabulous barbeque chicken dish, prepared by our greatly admired John Lasiter!  When the captain, Shirley Grill, announced the menu and the chef, the guests applauded!  Continue reading

Book Club: If All The Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan

9781250121264Shomrei Book Club

For May, the book is “If All the Seas Were Ink” by Ilana Kurshan, a 2017 finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Women’s Studies. We will meet on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 at the synagogue.

“In this deeply personal and often hilarious story, Kurshan shows us how the Talmud’s thousands of strange and demanding pages become a conversation about how best to live one’s life in an imperfect world. Kurshan awakens us to our imperfect world’s hidden magnificence―and to the power of literature to inspire human resilience. A stunning, gorgeous memoir.” ―Dara Horn, author ofThe World to Come
“With this memoir, Ilana Kurshan enters the exclusive club of daf yomi learners, a club that was, for generations, restricted to men. Hers is a stunningly original voice in the world of Torah and the world of literature. Go run and read this book.” ―Ruth Calderon, author of A Bride for One Night

All are welcome to join us. Contact Josie Zeman at email hidden; JavaScript is required for more information if you are interested.

Buy the Book

Robert Bielsky Speaks About Widespread Jewish Resistance

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Bruce and I attended the Yom HaShoah Commemoration of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest and Kean University Holocaust Research Center on April 11th, featuring Robert Bielsky as Speaker.

Director of the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest, Barbara Wind, said Jews did not go to slaughter quietly during the Holocaust. Between 1941 and 1943, underground resistance movements developed in approximately 100 ghettos in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe (about one-fourth of all ghettos), especially in Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, and the Ukraine. Their main goals were to organize uprisings, break out of the ghettos, and join partisan units in the fight against the Nazis. There was widespread resistance by fighting and killing Nazis, Jews risking their lives to save other Jews, escaping from killing fields, ghettos and slave labor camps, keeping the Jewish religion alive and fighting with the Partisans in the forest. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising lasted more than a month before the Germans overcame the Ghetto. That is longer than France or Belgium held up against the Germans before surrendering. Continue reading