The Little Minyan That Could

“The Little Minyan That Could” is celebrating its tenth anniversary this November.  It started when my father, Mike Leventer, passed away and I wanted to say kaddish in the  comfort of my own home with the support of the Shomrei community.  Never did I imagine that ten years later, we would still be meeting in our living-room, davening Maariv through the seasons and sharing life’s experiences with  each other on the first Wednesday of each month.

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Shomrei Assisting a Sixth Family

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, August 10 Update

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Here are the important announcements for this week:

We are excited to announce that we are now assisting a sixth family in Elizabeth!  Our summer camp fundraising resulted in 8 children attending two-week sessions at the YMCAs in Wayne and Elizabeth. We are collecting school supplies for the families we are assisting. On Sept 30, we will be hosting a luncheon in the Sukkah catered by Syrian refugee families.

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Summer Camp Fundraiser a Huge Success!

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, July 31 Update
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We have a number of important items this week:

  • Our fundraising to help send local refugee children to summer day camp has been a major success!  Including the very generous matching grant provided by one of our member-families, we have raised a total of $2,866 so far.  The funds are being used to send seven children from two families in Paterson to the Wayne Y and to send one child from the families that we are supporting in Elizabeth to the Y camp in Union.  All of the children will be enjoying two weeks of day camp thanks to our group’s fundraising efforts.  (See photos of Kresten, below, waiting for her first day of camp to start yesterday.)  Any funds in excess of those needed for camp will be used for the general welfare of the refugee families.

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Making a Difference

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, July 19 Update

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Three important updates since last week:

Good News #1: One of our member-families has offered to match — DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR — the first $1,500 that is donated to our campaign to help send recently resettled refugee children to summer camp!  So, we now need to raise only $1,500 to meet our goal of $3,000!  The funds will be used to send refugee children to summer camp at the Wayne Y and Elizabeth Y in August for one or two weeks (depending on the total funds that we raise) .

If you can, please contribute.  Any amount would be appreciated.  The camp sessions are just around the corner and we need to make payment to the Y by July 25, so time is of the essence.

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Make a Difference – Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group

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Summer is here, but the pace of our activities hasn’t slowed.

We have an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a number of refugee children this summer! GERA (Global Emergency Response and Assistance), a community NGO helping many refugee families in the Paterson/Passaic area, is trying to send 13 refugee children to summer camp at the Wayne Y for two weeks in August. GERA is negotiating a discount for the children, but the total cost for all the children is still likely to be about $3,400, of which they’ve raised about half. (The cost per child for the two weeks ranges from $302-$672, depending on the child’s age.) We are also exploring the possibility of helping to send some children in our refugee families in Elizabeth to summer camp at their local Y, which will probably cost a total of between $500 and $1,000.
So, we’ve set a total goal of $3,000 to help ensure that these children have a fun place to go this summer, to meet new friends, learn a little English, and build self-esteem and confidence in their new country. Continue reading

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

“Thank You” at Thanksgiving

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Thanksgiving is a day for thanks although we Jews often give our thank yous at the New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

So I am taking this opportunity to put the THANKS back into Thanksgiving and express my thanks to people involved in activities that I have a stake in.

So thank you to all the volunteers who help to get food on the table for those weekly kiddushes. Even when I am not directly involved, I thank them. Without our volunteers we would have no bountiful weekly spreads and the fellowship that comes with sharing a meal.
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Grape Leaves and Gratitude

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Adults L-R (Tamam, Bara’a and neighbor Abdulrasul). Smiles all around just before lunch prepared by Bara’a.

Judith Antelman, a new member of Shomrei, recently attended her first meeting of Shomrei’s Refugee Assistance Group. The group assists refugees who recently resettled in our area. The following is her response after meeting one of the refugee families.

Grape Leaves and Gratitude

These days, I greet every morning with gratitude. I am grateful for my health and well-being. I am grateful for compassionate family and friends. I am grateful for an abundance of organic, locally grown food. I am grateful for gardens, parks, and running paths in and around Montclair. I am grateful for my new community of friends at Shomrei. And on a crisp Autumn Sunday in November, I found gratitude in the humble home of Bara’a, Tamam, and their three children.

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Syria Supper Club at Shomrei — a Big Success!

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Eighty (80!) people attended Shomrei’s Syria Supper Club Sukkot Dinner on October 8. The dinner featured bountiful, delicious vegetarian food prepared in Shomrei’s kitchen by three Syrian cooks who have been recently resettled in the U.S.

Rabbi Greenstein welcomed everyone in the sukkah, and then we moved inside (the weather was threatening) for the meal. It was a win-win event all around; attendees enjoyed a delicious meal and the cooks displayed their cooking talents and earned some income to help support their families. (Almost all of the proceeds of the dinner went to the cooks.) Continue reading

Wednesday Evening Minyan Returns After Summer Break

The Wednesday Evening Minyan has been a Shomrei tradition since 2008. It began after my father, Mike Leventer, passed away and I wanted to say Kaddish in the comfort of my home and community. Shomrei came through for me nine years ago and we have sustained the minyan ever since.

How does the service work? We daven the short evening service in Hebrew and English. If you are observing a Yahrtzeit or saying Kaddish during a year of mourning, we support you. We sing a “Mishabayrach” for family and friends who are ill. We gather together for 20 minutes of tranquility and gratitude in an otherwise hectic week. Continue reading