What are you doing for Shabbat?

The weekend in Israel (Friday and Saturday) is approaching and as a visitor, the number one question I always get, What are you doing for Shabbat? Friends ask. People I just met casually, ask. The nine-year-old daughter of a friend of mine texted to ask me, What I was doing for Shabbat?

At one time, my American Jewish perspective interpreted this question to mean, was I Shomer Shabbos? Since I am not, I always answered this question vaguely. Continue reading

Welcoming Shabbat at Brighton Gardens

Each week, I help a small but exceptional minyan welcome Shabbat in what might be the most diverse and innovative “congregation” in the area. The wheelchairs and age-worn bodies throw obstacles easily met with innovative spirit by the group, residents of Brighton Gardens, an assisted living and memory care facility in West Orange. That collective willingness to navigate limitations creates an inclusive, ruach (spirit) filled Kabbalat experience that is a joy to experience for anyone lucky enough to visit (Shomrei’s young Joshua and Benjamin Gold were a big hit this week with their upbeat version of L’kha Dodi)!

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Yes, It Counts – Shabbat Your Way

Dear Beloved Shomrei Community –

We did it!  Last month 56 individuals and families from Shomrei either had or hosted Shabbat dinner.  We’re hoping to have 50+ again for Shabbat Your Way this month, February 23, 2024.   Our goal is to become a community where at least 100 out of our 225 individual and family members have or host Shabbat dinner at least once a month. Continue reading

Update from the Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group

As many of you know, our group has been assisting two brothers who escaped from Afghanistan during the American-led evacuation in the summer of 2021. The brothers were separated from their parents and four siblings, who were left behind in Afghanistan.

We now have fantastic news to report! Those six other family members have finally joined Sediq and Masih in New Jersey.  To top it off, the family (including Sediq and Masih) has now found two apartments in Montclair (with the help of Shirley Grill and HomeCorp).

This past weekend, the family moved into their two new apartments in Montclair with the assistance of Shomrei volunteers.  Continue reading

Toby Stein: In Memoriam

Editor’s Note: Rabbi Greenstein emailed these remarks to Rabbi Julie, who read them at Toby’s funeral on Sunday, February 4. 

This past Shabbat our Torah portion, Yitro, tells, among other things, of the advice that Yitro, Moses’ wise and big-hearted father-in-law, offers to Moses. He tells him to find special people who will be able to support Moses in guiding the community. Yitro says: “You should look out, from among the entire people, people of valor, who revere the Almighty, people of truth, who shun selling out.” (Ex. 18:21) Continue reading

Toby in Her Own Words

Excerpts from Toby’s writings were provided by Nick Levitin. All of the written material will be turned over to Barnard College in line with Toby’s wishes.

I am still at work on a manuscript I began more than six years ago (written 12/9/23)

I am still at work on a manuscript I began more than six years ago. It’s about my religious journey–and what I’ve learned writing it. A friend who was a professor of religion once told me that it’s impossible to write well about God. Maybe I should have listened. But most days I’m glad I didn’t. And not only because when I’m at the computer, working, nothing hurts. Continue reading