Book Club: We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter

We were strangers OnceShomrei Book Club

We often hear that America is a nation of immigrants. The novel “We Were Strangers Once” by Betsy Carter is the story of a determined Jewish family who cope with an unfamiliar society and loss of previous status as they re-establish their lives in the U.S. after escaping from Hitler’s net. At a time when immigrants are a national issue, it would be good to revisit the difficulties our own people encountered as strangers in a strange land. Continue reading

Shomrei Presents Plaque to Central Presbyterian

(L-R) Rabbi David Greenstein, Mike Byrnes, Fern Heinig and Pastor Dr. David Noble

(L-R) Rabbi David Greenstein, Mike Byrnes, Fern Heinig and Pastor Dr. David Noble

Rabbi David Greenstein & President Fern Heinig of Congregation Shomrei Emunah present a plaque to Mike Byrnes (Building Manager) and Pastor Dr. David Noble of Central Presbyterian Church of Montclair.

The plaque gives lasting expression to our feelings of thanks. It reads:

Congregation Shomrei Emunah Gathered Here – January-April 2018 – With Gratitude; “For My home shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).

Shomrei has been blessed to have such wonderful neighbors. The plaque will join other plaques that grace the walls of Central, given by other groups who have benefited from the gracious generosity of Central Presbyterian Church throughout the years. We look forward to building a continuing relationship between our two communities in the future.

Editor’s Note: For many weeks after the burst pipe and ensuing reconstruction, Central Presbyterian hosted Shomrei’s services and other events without charge.


Starr Family Endows Shomrei’s MESH Cafe

The Family of Carol Starr z”l, has made a generous donation to our MESH Cafe which will help sustain the effort. The program has been renamed the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei in her memory.

The MESH Cafe (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless) is a cooperative effort between the MESH organization and local synagogues and churches.  Volunteers at each institution cook and serve hearty, nutritious meals for the hungry. Continue reading

Rabbi Greenstein Awarded Fellowship at Harvard University


We are very pleased to announce that our Rabbi, David Greenstein, has received the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. This fellowship is awarded to an active congregational rabbi who has demonstrated exceptional intellectual and academic ability and interest, originality, and energy in the pursuit of Jewish scholarship. The fellowship runs from January 1 through May 31, 2019. During this time Rabbi Greenstein will be on sabbatical from Shomrei to concentrate on his studies in Cambridge, MA.
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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.

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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.

An Uplifting Evening – A Photo Gallery


How do you really fix a broken pipe?  You get together with a hundred and thirty of your friends and focus on something that matters! Such was the case last Saturday night as Shomrei honored Dale Russakoff and the volunteers of the Mensch Squad and IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network). (See the lists of all honorees below).  Dale co-chairs Shomrei’s chapter of IHN and she leads the Mensch Squad. Continue reading

Book Club: Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo

three floors upShomrei Book Club

The Shomrei Book Club will meet on Monday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss “Three Floors Up” by Eshkol Nevo, a best -seller in Israel.  Set in an upper-middle-class apartment building in Tel Aviv, the story entwines the diverse lives of several residents.  Please join us, bring a friend or partner, and help us explore the dimensions of this novel.


For more information, contact email hidden; JavaScript is required

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