Message from the President – We Need You!

Shomrei Community,

First I want to thank all of you who participated either in person or virtually for our first candidate a week ago. The candidate told me how welcome he felt at Shomrei. Our next candidate will be here this weekend and I ask that you continue on our journey to find our next spiritual leader and help her to see what an amazing community we are as you learn what she brings to Shomrei. I urge you to attend the events of our upcoming Shabbat weekend to get to know our 2nd finalist. We want to hear your voices and that is only possible if you attend in whatever way you are able.

As we did for our 1st finalist, we have planned multiple opportunities for engagement and limited the number of attendees at each of these events. This will allow us to “spread out” to ensure appropriate social distancing. Please sign up at Services and the Town Hall will be livestreamed as well.

In addition, these weekends require the efforts of the entire community to make them a success. We need volunteers who can pitch in to help during the weekend and to ensure that the candidate’s first impression of Shomrei is a great one! If able to help, please sign up with this link.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me, or any of the RSC members should you have any questions, input or concerns. We are on this journey together as we conduct a thoughtful selection process and we need your support and engagement. I know that we will be excited by the outcome.

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on January 18th.

Message from the President – Rabbinical Candidate Visit

Chaverim (Friends),

As I communicated to you last week, I am very excited about the candidates our Rabbi Search Committee has presented to the board. The committee has done a superb job, and now it is our turn as a congregation to do ours. I am writing to urge you to attend the events of the upcoming Shabbat weekend to get to know our first finalist.  We have a superb and diverse pool of finalists, each with unique leadership and interpersonal skills. We would like you to meet them, spend time with them, and help us choose the right spiritual leader for Shomrei’s future. We also want them to see what an amazing community we are.

Announcing Our Return to the Shomrei Sanctuary

I want to tell you about some exciting things that are about to happen at Shomrei.  As we continue to reopen the synagogue and find our new normal, I am thrilled to let you know that beginning on Saturday, November 13 we will be returning to the sanctuary for Shabbat morning services.  For now, the time of services will remain the same – 9:30 am – and will be in person as well as streamed.

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President Miriam Haimes’s Speech on Rosh Hashanah 5782/2021

Click the player above to watch the video.

Editor’s Note: This speech was originally given on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (Sept 2021)

Last year I spoke to you about being a community even though we were gathering only virtually. This year I want to build on that as I stand before you whether we are together in our social hall, the tent or you are viewing virtually. I ask you to focus on our capacity for resilience and redirection not only as a Jewish people but as our Shomrei Community.

Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean that people don’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. … Resilient people or communities tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.  More succinctly, the Merriam Webster dictionary explains resilience as being able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.  Our Shomrei community is the ultimate support system and that happens because of the dedication of so many of you.  Continue reading

Important High Holiday Information

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on August 9th.


When I wrote to you in mid-July about our plans for the High Holidays, I noted that we would continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and reevaluate as necessary in order to ensure that our plans considered the safety of our community.  While we are excited to offer a variety of in person options, based on the recent increase in infections in our area and updated information on the spread of the virus, the Board of Trustees has implemented several policy changes.

We will have both indoor and outdoor options as well as streaming. Indoor services will have a further reduced capacity than originally anticipated.

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Letter from the President – High Holiday Announcement

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on July 16th.

IMG_0397Dear Shomrei Friends,
It is with great joy and gratitude that I write to you, announcing that this year’s High Holy Days will be back in person for those who wish and are able to attend. We understand that our community’s needs vary as we start to emerge from COVID, and some continue to prefer to view services from home. That option will be available to you as all the indoor services will be livestreamed. But for those that are ready to be in person, we are planning a variety of ways to worship together.

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Announcing a Change to the Rabbi Search Committee


Shomrei president Miriam Haimes announced this change in an email to the congregation on Wednesday July 7:

Dear Shomrei Community

Art Schuman recently informed us that due to some unforeseen commitments, he is unable to dedicate the time needed to continue to serve on the Rabbi Search Committee.  We appreciate his contributions so far and know that we can depend on Art for input as the search continues.  As I mentioned in my initial announcement, it is important that the Search Committee “broadly reflects our membership, spanning diverse interests, needs, religious practice, age, family status and gender.” Based on this, we wanted to fill the opening with someone who could represent the same generation as Art, and I am thrilled to announce that Barbara Gollob has agreed to join the search committee.  Please join me in welcoming Barbara, a long time Shomrei member, to the Rabbi Search Committee.  Please read on for her bio. Continue reading

One More Thank You

Lily-Lucey2One more thank you (an addition to the President’s Report in the 2021 Annual Meeting Package)

While there are so many to thank for everything and everyone that make Shomrei the amazing and vibrant community that we are, especially this past year when we had to constantly change the way we “attended” services and community events, inevitably there is an oversight.  I want to take a few minutes to thank Lily Lucy, our rabbinic intern whom I somehow did not mention in my report.

Lily was key in creating our unique High Holiday experience last year and any time Rabbi Greenstein, Geoff Sadow or I tried to figure out how to bring the services to our Shomrei family, Lily was there with more creative ideas.  She never said no when we asked her to do something and the outcome was always inspiring.  As the rabbinic intern, Lily brought us together for Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat, invited our kids to participate in services, conducted themed Havdalah services and led us for Purim and many other holidays.  She provided teaching to us in her By the Light of the Moon Rosh Chodesh discussions and her thoughtful approach and her lively singing makes me smile every time we are together.

Thank you Lily for all you do for Shomrei.

Letter from the President – May at Shomrei!

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on April 26th.

IMG_0397To the Shomrei community,

It’s almost May in Montclair and Shomrei has a lot of plans for Shabbat services sprouting and about to come to life!  A few weeks ago, I wrote to you that we were reviewing the responses from the Shabbat Services Survey and working on various options. I am really excited to tell you about our plans for May.  We will be gathering in person outside each week and will continue to Zoom and stream so that those that are unable or uncomfortable with in person gatherings can still be part of our services.  We are also working on our plans for June when we expect to begin some indoor services.  As we come back into the building, I want to remind you that this past year we installed new air conditioning with upgraded filters and improved air flow. We will also continuously review safety protocols to ensure that we are following required guidelines.

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Letter from the President – Shabbat Survey Results

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on April 14th.

IMG_0397To the Shomrei community,

I wanted to send a note about the recent Shabbat Survey results and our next steps.  First a huge thank you to Sarita Eisenberg for doing the heavy lifting regarding the survey and collaborating with the Ritual Committee to develop the questions and to tally and summarize the results.

We received 93 responses across a wide range of age groups including families with preschool, elementary school and older children as well as adults across all the age ranges listed in the survey.  I am very pleased with the cross section of responses.

Overwhelmingly, respondents were comfortable with outdoor services.  We did have several respondents who would also be interested in indoor services.

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