Plans for the Rabbi’s Sabbatical

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As you know, Rabbi Greenstein will be away from Shomrei from January 1st through May 31st of this upcoming year. He has been awarded the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University.

For much of this year, a Rabbi Sabbatical Committee, led by Shomrei members Geoff Sadow and Dan Winter, have been working to ensure that our congregation will operate smoothly during our rabbi’s absence. This includes the hiring of guest rabbis to join us for many Shabbatot and to provide rabbinic coverage. This also includes the scheduling of academic and musical scholars-in-residence who will bring to Shomrei some exciting programs.

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Gratitude

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We owe a lot of people our thanks!  It’s literally been a flurry of activity at Shomrei since the pipe burst and the flood ensued.  Once the initial crisis is over, the hard work begins — the restoration. So many volunteers and staff have stepped-up to meet this crisis on our behalf, it’s a good time to recognize some of them and express our gratitude! Continue reading

Cooking with the JLC Kids

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All the Wednesday JLC kids and I spent the last two Wednesdays cooking together.  Last week they learned the recipes and this week they cooked themselves (with a little help). They divided into teams and had a competition. The younger ones making dessert  – a whipped cream and pound cake affair. The older kids made homemade Falafel from scratch – from the dried chick peas (the only way to make authentic Falafel!). We pureed, chopped and mixed.  Also on the menu was Tahinah Sauce with imported Israeli Tahinah, Labne (yogurt with herbs and lemon zest), Israeli Salad and Pita/Zaatar crisps. Continue reading

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

Pure Joy! – The Hanukkah Simcha Band!

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Today’s WELL column in The New York Times (12/20/16) talks about how running makes the brain work in surprising ways. Similarly, it says that “Playing a musical instrument, for instance, requires refining a variety of fine motor skills, while also engaging memory, attention, forward planning and many other executive functions of the brain. So it’s not surprising that past brain-scanning studies have found that expert musicians tend to have greater coordination between areas of the brain associated with different kinds of thinking, as well as sensory processing and motor control, than do people who have never picked up a bassoon or other instrument.”

The Times article forgot one important thing. Playing a musical instrument is pure joy (and some practice, too). The multi-generational Hanukkah Simcha Band proved this with its glorious sound at our community Hanukkah party on Sunday, Dec. 18. Whether you were playing, singing, dancing or listening to the gorgeous music, it was exhilarating. Continue reading

What’s happening in JLC! 3rd – 7th grade

A word from Morah Marita, the 3rd-7th grade teacher:

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We are off to a wonderful start in JLC this year! For our older students, last year was a leisurely journey after wisdom. This year is a voracious search. Our students explore Torah, Holidays, Prayer and History. Students have experimented with different projects and settled in as their intellectual curiosity is sparked.

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The Ball is Rolling

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Have you been in Shomrei over the past two weeks? One of our members, and a friend, whispered in my ear, “it’s happening”. I did not need to ask him, “unhh?”, because I knew exactly what he meant.

Change. It is finally visible. Big change, cultural evolution, does not happen immediately. The ideas need to be conceived, then nurtured, and finally “happening”. It has been five years (that I know of) since the theme of “Making Shabbat the central day of the week” was conceived. Even before that, the Education Board , conceived the idea of a Shabbat School. JLC will be Saturdays instead of Sunday. This new concept meant a whole new way to think about Shabbat for both students and parents. Shabbat School had its inaugural day two Shabbats ago. Continue reading

First Day of the New Hebrew School!

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Busy busy in the New JLC!

Yasher Koach on a wonderful welcome back (indoor!) BBQ and first day of JLC!  The students were overwhelmingly positive about the change in the building and program (Wow! was a common response upon seeing the new furniture/rooms!)  The rooms looked great, the teachers were warm and wonderful, and the students had amazing energy.  I am thrilled for the year to come. Assistant Education Directors, Lily Lucey and Aylah Winter were both wonderful in their interactions with students and parents, and I think everyone is responding to having such a capable team in place.

 

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The New JLC – A Test Drive

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On Monday night, the JLC leadership team had the pleasure of taking a test run with (just a taste of) our new school materials. We staged a photo shoot with a handful of our adorable JLC students, and the room was abuzz with excitement. We believe that when provided with meaningful materials and caring facilitators, children can be trusted to explore, invent, create, and learn. That’s why we are invested in providing our community with a child-centered learning environment and a thoughtfully-crafted school space.

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Meet Aylah Winter, New Assistant Education Director

1511_Winter_015Aylah Winter has been named as one of Shomrei’s new Assistant Education Directors. She, Lily Lucey and Education Director, Heather Brown will run both the JLC (Hebrew School) and Shomrei Preschool.

Since moving to Montclair three years ago Aylah has become involved in the Shomrei community. She has served on the education board for the past two years and worked in the preschool as an assistant teacher. Over the last year she also worked to coordinate travel to Israel for individuals, families and groups with a private tour operator. Continue reading