We are just a few days away from Rabbi Julie leading her first official service at Congregation Shomrei Emunah. I hope you will watch the video of my recent chat with her and that you are as excited as I am.
I could not be more delighted to step into the role of President of Congregation Shomrei Emunah. It is a tremendously exciting time of change at Shomrei: a new Rabbi, a new interim Education Director, the hoped-for full emergence from COVID-19 and return to our familiar ways of gathering and celebrating our community and Judaism.
I have gotten to know many of you over the years, but I still have so many of you to meet, which I look forward to doing soon. Today, I am writing to share my excitement, my gratitude, and to share a bit about myself and my family.
Like all of you, our hearts are broken following the horrendous death of innocent children at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas, which follows two mass shootings last week at a supermarket in Buffalo and a church in Laguna Woods California. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need to act. Taking action is the only thing that will change what is happening. Here are some suggestions for appropriate actions you can consider taking. Continue reading
At Shabbat morning services on June 18, we are excited to announce that Shomrei will open a new ritual chapter. Thanks to the generosity of one of our member families, we will introduce the newest Siddur of the Conservative movement. Siddur Lev Shalem for Shabbat and Festivals joins Mahzor Lev Shalem as our primary source. Like the mahzor, it features a four-column format, new translations in contemporary language, a commentary providing historical context as well as kavanot (passages of intentionality), poetry and prose that expand and enrich our relationship to the text. For those who have used our Mahzor, you will find it very familiar.
To help everyone navigate this wonderful new tool for prayer, Rabbi Greenstein will offer a short learning session immediately following Kiddush that day.
First I want to thank all of you who participated either in person or virtually for our first two candidates. It is very exciting and our candidates have felt welcome as a result of your participation and all the hard work so many of you have done to make the weekends go smoothly. 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 3rd and final candidate. We want to hear your voices and that is only possible if you attend in whatever way you are able.
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 http://shomrei.org/inperson. 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.
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.
Click the player above to watch the video.
Editor’s Note: This address was originally given on Kol Nidre (Sept 2021)
Heneni – A Continuation and What it Means as a Shomrei Member
Last week I spoke to you about being present spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Well, Hineni – Here I am, again. Henei Anachnu – Here we are, again. And as we begin to return to the synagogue and to gather together after being separated for so long, I want to ask you to think about reaching out and giving of yourself. I know that every year the president stands up here and asks you to volunteer and I am no different. Heneni – Here I am – asking you to look inwardly as you do teshuva and ask God for forgiveness and to think about how you can do something differently than you did this past year.
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