Welcoming our Newest Member

What’s sweeter than a new baby?  Shomrei welcomed  4 day old Esther Hirsch to the congregation with an in-house catered kiddush on Shabbat, November 19.

Babies come when they are ready so the kiddush volunteers didn’t find out about Esther’s birth until late Wednesday afternoon. We did a quick pivot, abandoning the planned kiddush menu, and substituting a custom menu requested by Esther’s parents, Josh Hirsch and Jenny Leon. Continue reading

Reflections on the Act of Voting

When my family moved to Montclair in 1975 , the first things we did were to change our address in the voting records and get library cards. I don’t remember where we first voted. It may have been Watching School, the school our elder daughter would eventually attend.

But the last many years, voting took place at Edgemont Park. The park house had everything; plenty of parking, the pond sparkling in the November (or whatever month the election was) sun, and a calm presence as one approached the desk.

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Toda Raba

Thank you to everyone who helped with the Sukkot kiddushes. The special Shabbat kiddush was a huge success with well over 100 people sharing a scrumptious meal together in our lovely sukkah on a perfect fall afternoon.

Kudos to Dale Russakoff who spearheaded the effort and to Suzanna Grobman and Katie Teladano who made it all work along with a superb crew of volunteer sous chefs who chatted and chopped from Thursday ‘til Saturday. Continue reading

For Rosh Hashanah and Beyond

With High Holidays so close, I’m happy to share with you some readings and links to deepen your understanding and appreciation of this solemn, but joyful, time in our Jewish year.

Ilana Kurshan is an American living in Israel. She is the mother of young children. This article featuring Eric Carle’s beloved story The Very Hungry Caterpillar, gives some very sage advice about how to handle the long services during the holidays and makes strong connections between Carle’s secular story and the story of creation. Kurshan is best known for If All the Seas Were Ink, her memoir about studying Talmud. She’s also the author of Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights: the four questions around the world and the translator of Meir Shalev’s A Snake, a Flood, a Hidden Baby: Bible stories for children. Continue reading

For Elul and Beyond

We are now in the month of Elul. What’s special about this last month of the Jewish spiritual year? According to Judaism Unbound ” It is a time of introspection. Time to stop and take a look back at the past year to see how we did.  Where did we grow and how do we want to continue to build on that growth? Elul is a time of asking for forgiveness from others in ways we caused harm and offering forgiveness to people who have harmed us.”

Elul is the prelude to the main attraction and helps us get settled and in the mood as does the opening act or musical prelude to a show. Continue reading