For Nick Levitin, the true meaning of life lies in service—to serve people and God. His passion for people and his commitment to service are the bookends of his journey, and they created the groundwork on which he served. As a kid growing up on Long Island in a secular family with no Jewish education, serving as President of not one but two synagogues was never part of his childhood game plan. He did not join a synagogue until he was 39. But first, he would follow his dreams onto the stage. Continue reading
I am thrilled to announce that Nick Levitin will be this year’s honoree in our Ad Journal and at Shomrei’s annual Honor Night Dinner. Each year we honor a congregant who has had a significant positive impact on our community.
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.
This past Shabbat the worst attack on Jews in American history took place. Many of us were stunned, horrified, angered and grief stricken. What does one do in such a circumstance?
One answer was provided by our rabbi and our community: Congregation Shomrei Emunah co-sponsored a vigil along with congregations Bnai Keshet and Temple Ner Tamid.
Unfortunately, due to the late hour of the email notice that went out to the congregation about the vigil (it could not be sent out earlier because of Shabbat) there were few Shomrei members in attendance. How I wished our congregants could have been there for this special evening – a chance to come together to share our pain and find comfort in one another’s embrace. Having spoken to a number of our congregants, I know many wished they could have attended.
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
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
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.
On a spring Sunday, Andy Silver and I delivered some much-needed clothing and a TV, provided by members of the Shomrei community, to a Syrian refugee family in Elizabeth, NJ. Bara’a and Tammam seemed tired when we arrived. That, of course, is understandable — being a refugee means once again being in a foreign land, not speaking the language and, for the most part, at least for now, being dependent on strangers. In addition, Bara’a and Tammam have two small children and are expecting a third and our visit came in the middle of the daily Ramadan fast! Continue reading
On Tuesday, June 6th several Shomrei members attend a vigil in Montclair in support of refugees to the US. The vigil was held on the anniversary of the date the ship St. Louis full of refugees was turned away from American shores in 1939.