“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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Purim Simcha Band Plays Its Heart Out

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For the sixth year in a row, the multi-generational Simcha Band played our hearts out at our annual Purim celebration. Setting the lively tone for the Costume Parade and then playing in between chapters of the Megillah, the band added a new dimension to its name “Simcha” Band! When the Megillah readers chanted Haman’s name, the band successfully drowned out his name. Continue reading

Guys and Graggers! – Purim Shpiel, 2016

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Come see “Guys and Graggers” during the Megillah-reading service on Erev Purim, Wednesday, March 23rd.

Based on the hit show “Guys and Dolls”, this shpiel was adapted for Purim by Craig Eichner, produced and edited by Lisa Pendola, and directed by Jennifer Moss. Continue reading

It Takes A Community

Grossberg_Aileen kiddush prep 2015 oct 17

The Bar Mitzvah was poised and prepared. His parents were proud and poignant. The social hall tables were dressed in gold and covered with platters waiting for the hungry congregants to file in after the motzi and Kiddush. All 200 … Continue reading 

Shabbat Band Makes Beautiful Music!

Simcha Band 2015 JunePsalm 98 tells us, “Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with trumpets and horns make a joyful noise…”

At our special Spotlight Shabbat on Friday, June 5, the Simcha band did not have any trumpets, horns or harps. We praised God with our alto-saxophones, drums, basses, tenor sax, piano, violin and cello. With our joyous music , the “Simcha Band” lived up to its name. With our musicians from elementary school to middle school, high school, college and in the working world, we lived up to being “multi-generational. “ With Dan Silver joining us for the first time, we were not only multi-generational but were the first mother-son musicians in the band’s five year history.

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The Windy Gragger: Purim Shpiel

It’s the Jazz Age of Shushan, when a king throws an endless party, a queen refuses a royal summons, an evil vizier hatches a nefarious plot, our hero and heroine struggle to save their people — and everyone wants to make the front page news! “The Windy Gragger” has all this and more (well, not much more). Set to the music of the Broadway show “Chicago,” this is the Purim story like you’ve never heard it before (unless you’ve seen the rehearsals, in which case you’ve sort of heard it before). Come see the one and only performance of “The Windy Gragger” on Purim evening, March 4, 2015.  The Windy Gragger will star (in alphabetical order): Craig Eichner, Yechiel Felder, Talia Fellus, Martin Hochbaum, Ann Lippel, Carney Mimms, Jennifer Moss, Lisa Pendola, Andy Silikovitz.

Here’s a complete Purim Schedule of Events and Services

Flash Memoir: Are You Jewish?

carney picThe music had caught me. I swayed in time and began to sing along with the musicians, three elderly black men singing in harmony and playing rhythm and blues. The three had propped themselves and their battered instruments against a bench beside the tracks at a midtown stop on the Lexington Avenue subway in Manhattan. My adolescent daughter looked at me with faint embarrassment; I could hear the unspoken “Oh, Dad!”

I was pretty sure Rachel had never heard Stand By Me. I was entirely sure she had never heard her Dad burst into song in a public place.

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A Portrait of Jewish Americans – The Pew Report

carney picSteven M. Cohen’s Report on the Pew Survey at B’Nai Keshet on January 19, 2014

The Pew research report A Portrait of Jewish Americans has been eliciting strong reactions from American Jews of all persuasions since its release last October. Those of us who attended Steven M. Cohen’s talk on January 19 at Synagogue B’nai Keshet in Montclair got both a clear summary of the report’s findings and a cogent argument for changes in Jewish social and religious practices that could help reverse the decline in Jewish identity and observance that the report starkly highlights.

Dr. Cohen, currently Professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College, brings a unique perspective to the Pew Report as a both a committed Jew and a practicing sociologist. As a speaker, he comes across as a rare combination of geeky statistician and passionate advocate for change. His dry humor and his knack for drawing surprising observations from the dry data lightened what for many American Jews has become an uncomfortable topic.

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