Impressions from the Shomrei Civil Rights Trip

Having been college students in the 1960’s, my husband Alan and I thought we had a very good handle on the struggle for voting rights by our liberal confreres.  We marched, signed petitions and voted for folks who were on the right side of the struggle.  Being a part of Shomrei’s Civil Right Trip gave us a chance to revisit those memories and reevaluate what it all meant. Continue reading

Quiet Heroism in Interfaith Cooperation

Editor’s note: This post was written jointly by Ann Lippel and Sarita Eisenberg.

Rabbi LillianShomrei was fortunate to host Rabbi Rebecca Lillian, Rabbi of the Egalitarian Synagogue of Malmo, Sweden, this past Sunday (Dec 4). Rabbi Lillian was in New Jersey to attend the Third Annual Muslim & Jewish Women Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom.

Rabbi Lillian is an activist dedicated to building bridges between communities. She introduced us to her work in the Malmo Jewish community and her interfaith work, specifically with regard to Jewish-Muslim cooperation. Continue reading

Translation – A Path to Tolerance

Editor’s Note: Ann Lippel responds to Nick Levitin’s article,  To Learn, To Grow, and To Do Justice, and to Rabbi Greenstein’s article, A Community of Courage

ornament of the worldKudos to Rabbi Greenstein, the Ritual Committee, and the Shomrei Board on taking an affirmative stand for distributing an alternate translation of Leviticus passages related to homosexuality.

Rabbi Greenstein’s discussion of the power of the printed word and our ancient tradition of returning to the Torah to see the truths in our world coincidentally corresponded to my completion of a very moving history of the period of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula. The civilization was known as Al Andalus – or Sefarad to Jews. The history is called Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal. Continue reading

Shomrei Celebrates: Burnt Tablecloth and a Big Success!

Shomrei celebrates centerpieces

By all measures the Shomrei Celebrates . . . Aileen Grossberg event was a big success. One hundred and thirty people feted our amazing Aileen, ate John Lasiter’s stupendous dinner, imbibed the best whiskey money could buy, watched a fun-filled video tribute produced by Fran Legman and Nick Levitin, and heard our resident poet laureate Judy Wildman read a tribute to our honoree. Everyone mingled happily in this loving atmosphere. The centerpieces, designed by Nancy Beslin and Carol Cathey, were the height of creativity, reflecting two of Aileen’s major areas of interest – books and cooking. Candles on each table conveyed intimacy and romance.

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Aileen Grossberg – A Woman for all Seasons and Seasonings!

Join us as we thank Aileen Grossberg for her years of volunteer service at Shomrei!  Aileen will be recognized at “Shomrei Celebrates” an evening of community, good food, and spirit at Shomrei Emunah, Saturday, Feb 20, 2016, 7:30pm.


Aileen Thrope Grossberg has added ​talent, taste and tact​ to so many Shomrei activities since joining our synagogue in 1975 that it is impossible to overstate her contribution.

It all started back in Lowell, Ma. where her grandparents settled in the early part of the twentieth century. Aileen’s many role models for volunteerism include both her maternal and paternal grandparents who were among the founders, officers, and members of the Lowell Hebrew Community Center, a Conservative shul in her home town. Aileen’s commitments to a Jewish lifestyle were reinforced by her grandparents’ Shabbat and holiday dinners with lots of members of the extended family . The Lowell Jewish Center was the hub of social interactions in the community: Hebrew school, Friday night services with family and friends, as well as Saturday morning. Continue reading

The First Hebrew President?

Photograph taken by Jewish photographer-friend, Samuel Alschuler, April 1958

Photograph taken by Jewish photographer-friend, Samuel Alschuler, April 1958

Several years ago I read an article in an obscure publication that described Abraham Lincoln’s childhood in isolated locations in Kentucky and Indiana, his family history, and the tendency for his people to marry within. The author postulated that the marry within practice suggested that his people were descended from an historical line that either faced undocumented obstacles with assimilation, or actually preferred marrying people who they knew would carry on the practices of their forbears. Continue reading

Open Road – Transport to/from Synagogue

shuttle-1Congregation Shomrei Emunah is investigating the feasibility of cooperating with the Open Road project which provides free weekend transportation to eligible congregants who want to attend Saturday morning services. The project would be a three-way collaboration between the synagogue, the Essex County Division of Senior Services and Open Road’s Rabbi Evan Jaffe of Flemington N.J.
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