We will be visiting the refugee families in Elizabeth on Monday and would like to bring them as many needed items as possible at that time. We’ve compiled the requested items on the following list: http://signup.com/go/PGuRfLE. If you can possibly donate any items, please sign up online and drop off the items in the box in Shomrei’s lobby by October 28 if you possibly can.
My mother used to tell me, “You can only be at one place at a time.” When my kids were little, I would give them the same advice. As much as they wanted to, they could not play soccer, go to a birthday party or have a play date at the same moment.
I thought of this on the first day of Rosh Hashanah services. Shomrei offered such an array of options that I had a hard time to choosing one. Lucky for me, I chose the “teen” discussion group led by Andy Silver, with a panel of Syrian refugees and aided by a translator.
“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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
The 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
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.
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.