Phew! The Month of Chesvan

The Holiday whirlwind is behind us, catapulting us into the Jewish year with pomp and circumstance. We are so lucky to have a season of holidays to kick off the year. Just as we begin the Torah, we find ourselves in the month of Cheshvan with no holidays. Cheshvan is sometimes referred to as Mar (bitter) because of the lack of holidays and the pending cooler weather. Instead of being sad that we don’t have holidays we can enjoy the beginning of the reading of the Torah and our schedules being a bit more regular.

In the beginning of the school year we welcomed in the holidays; it was a perfect way to ease back into a formal Jewish Educational environment. Each class spent time exploring the holidays through games and projects. In Hebrew, the students reviewed and were assessed so we could place them in the proper Hebrew level according to ability. Now each class has several consecutive weeks to focus on new subjects and materials.

One of the things that I want to focus on is to increase our feeling of community within the school and among the families with school age children. Events like the opening day Barbecue and the Sukkah building were great ways for us to come together. Looking ahead, we have the Book Fair on Sunday, November 23rd from 10am-5pm at Watchung Booksellers. In December, on the 2nd night of Hanukkah we will be having a community event.

There are many ways to be involved in the synagogue and school community such as school wide mitzvah projects, Youth Groups, the Purim Carnival, Mishloach Manot (Purim Baskets), end of year Museum Night, parent social, MESH (soup kitchen at the synagogue) and IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network). Being involved with the greater community complements our children’s experience at school so the engagement is not limited to classroom time; rather, there is a holistic sphere of influence that everyone can benefit from. My vision is that our children see Shomrei as their Jewish home away from home. To help us make this vision a reality, we need parent volunteers. Please be in touch with me if you have time to help with these events.


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Sara Birnbaum
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Sara Birnbaum

Education Director at Congregation Shomrei Emunah
Sara is the Director of the Shomrei JLC (Jewish Learning Center - Hebrew School). She comes to Shomrei with over 15 years experience in Experiential Jewish Education, teaching in synagogue schools, working for Camp Ramah and in many roles in United Synagogue Youth. She brings a love of Jewish learning and infuses her Ruach in her work. She has a Masters of Social Work from Yeshiva University where she developed a love of modern Jewish Philosophy.She is an alum of the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel, the Conservative movement’s gap year program.
Sara Birnbaum
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