Last week, synagogues across America marked the 100-year anniversary of the first official bat mitzvah. The ceremony occurred on March 18, 1922 and was created by Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, to welcome his12-year-old daughter, Ruth, into the family of Jewish adults. While that sounds like a long history, it pales alongside the roughly 1,000-year longevity of the bar mitzvah. Moreover, it took almost 60 years for the bat mitzvah ceremony to attain equal stature with the bar mitzvah at synagogues in the U.S.
To explore this evolution — and what it says about the role of women and girls in Judaism — assistant JLC education director Lily Lucey invited Shomrei women of several generations on Sunday, March 19 to recount for the b’nai mitzvah classes what the bat mitzvah represented when they were 12 or 13. Continue reading →
On Tuesday evening, four active Shomrei members – all of whom are involved in volunteering at Shomrei – took part in disaster training called Stop the Bleed.
While this training on how to save lives by staunching the flow of blood is intended to be part of emergency training in case of an event at the synagogue, what we learned could be applied to a kitchen knife accident, a fall down the stairs or any situation where extensive bleeding occurs. Continue reading →
On Sunday March 6th, twenty Shomrei people went off-Broadway to see a production of Prayer for the French Republic at the Manhattan Theater Company. Our congregant, Lindsey Sag, who is the General Manager of the theater suggested I organize a theater party. I hesitated — it was still Covid after all — were we ready to head into Manhattan? In fact we were! Tickets sold out quickly, COVID is waning, and it was almost a Spring day. Continue reading →
The building was teeming with people this past Shabbat with JLC, the Henei Mah Tov service, Tot Shabbat, and the regular service in the sanctuary. The social hall was party-like with birthday balloons and colorful tableware.
What a pleasure to have so many young kids and their parents sharing the space and a very special kiddush lunch.
That first double digit birthday is a big deal for any kid. We were able to be a part of Brian Singh’s entry into “tweenhood.” Continue reading →
Shomrei Emunah in Montclair today announces that Rabbi Julie Roth will become the next spiritual leader for the synagogue on August 1. Rabbi Roth comes to Shomrei from Princeton Hillel where she has been the Executive Director and Jewish Chaplain for 17 years. She succeeds Rabbi David Greenstein who is retiring after 13 years at Shomrei. The Shomrei community is grateful for the spiritual leadership Rabbi Greenstein has provided.
The sounds of prayer were complemented by the buzz of conversation as Shomrei celebrated the upcoming wedding of Jared Hurwich and Perrin Shapiro at the first indoor kiddush in almost two years.
The kiddush crew was out in full force prepping for this kiddush which was just a bit different from what they used to do. Instead of artfully arranged platters, there were trays of individual containers to grab and take to the tables. Cookies were snuggled into a foil pan with a see through tops so that the contents could be seen and labels abounded to identify the foods on display. Continue reading →
When I was a kid growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts (when winters were really cold and the snowdrifts were over my head), we had a summer cottage on a very small lake about 15 minutes from home. In the winter, we’d bundle up, get our skates and drive out to the lake and go ice skating.
After the cold got to be too much, we’d sit on shore, rosy cheeked, and sip hot cocoa from an old fashioned thermos.
Funny how it’s the little things that make the most indelible memories. Continue reading →