Fern Heinig to be Honored by Shomrei!

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that Fern Heinig will be honored this year at Art Mazel Tov!, an annual event which celebrates Shomrei’s Preschool community combined this year with an honors celebration of Shomrei’s past-president, the wonderful Fern Heinig. Our Ad Journal will be dedicated to Fern, this year’s honoree, for all she brings to our congregation.

Each year we honor a congregant who has had a significant impact on our community and there is no one I can think of that has contributed to our community like Fern.

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Welcome Marjorie P. Steffe, Office Assistant

Shomrei welcomes Marjorie as the new Office Assistant.

Marjorie P. Steffe

Originally from Florida, I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I met Greg, my husband of over 33 years. After job-related moves took us from North Carolina to Kansas City to Baltimore to Atlanta, we finally settled in Montclair in 1998 & joyfully raised our 3 children (ages 27, 25, & 19) in this lovely town! Continue reading

Welcome to the Board of Trustees 2022

Yasher koach to the 2020-21 Board of Trustees. Special thanks to outgoing board members Sara Ann Erichson, Michael Legman, and Adrienne Shulman Lasiter.

Welcome to new officers Michael Sag and Eric Feldman, who were previously serving as trustees, Rachel Kanter, and Mara Weinstein. Welcome to new trustees Debra Caplan and Martin Kurzweil. Continue reading

In Honor of Sidney and Vivien Lechter

Some forty plus years ago, Vivian (of blessed memory) and Sidney joined Congregation Shomrei Emunah. At the time, we had no idea how special and vital they would become to the life of our Synagogue.

Sid was the driving force in bringing the Jewish War Veterans’ Post 47 to our Shul. He was Commander of the Post and ultimately moved up the ranks to the level of State Commander. When Sid told me he was moving, I asked him if there was a Post in Michigan. Yes, he said, two of them, and I am sure either one will be blessed to count him among one of theirs. Vivian always saw to the breakfast after the monthly meetings. They always invited the Sunday morning minyan to join them; lucky for me, because I was often there. Vivian was a great hostess, somehow knowing just the correct amount of food needed, and always how to make that food look and taste delicious. Beyond all that, her friendly personality was infectious, insuring that everyone felt welcome. Continue reading

Eulogy for Yechiel

In 1987, Linda and Yechiel, and 3 little boys under 5 years old, followed the Silver family out to Montclair, a year after we had moved here. We had been acquaintances from our Brooklyn synagogue and had mutual friends, but we, ourselves, were never really friends.

Of course, that quickly changed once the Ariel/Felders arrived.  The “acquaintance” evolved into friendship, the friendship often felt like family. Continue reading

Learning to Read Torah

One of my fondest wishes as a little girl was to do everything the boys do on the Bimah. From the age of four I attended Junior Congregation accompanying my older brother. It was just the two of us. My father was at work, and my mother had gone to shul on Friday night and was enjoying a shabbat of her own making at home. By age five I knew all the prayers by heart. The service was held in a small, simple room in the basement of our synagogue. It was filled with children, and it resonated with laughter and song. There I learned to daven, I was a chazanit, I had aliyot, I held the Torah, I sat on the Bimah. All the “jobs” were accessible to me. One shabbat, after a major snowfall, when it was too dangerous for our mother to drive us, my brother and I trudged through the heavy snow to the synagogue so that we would not miss the service. Continue reading

Bat Mitzvah L’dor Vador (from Generation to Generation)

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

In Praise of Jim Nagel

The  Kiddish Committee is saddened by the loss of our faithful volunteer, Jim -familiarly called Jimmy- Nagel.

One Friday morning several years ago, Jim just showed up and continued to show up almost every week until we had to shut down kiddush  because of COVID.

Jim was a whiz in the kitchen and would do anything asked of him, even run errands. As Karen Altman, one of the kiddush volunteers said : Jimmy was such a lovely person- so genuine and warm.

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Eulogy for Noa Freudberg


El Malei Rachamim

My dear friend Noa Freudberg, Noel bat Joseph, tragically died on September 30, 2021. We met in Torah study class at Shomrei Emunah, and she became the God-given sister I never had.

A licensed social worker, Noa made many contributions to society, to her patients and to the many people whose lives she touched and saved. She was   bright, talented  kind and compassionate.  She  was Educated at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Noa had great analytical skills and social justice values. She worked at University Hospital in Newark as a medical social worker. She was also in private practice for many years. Many psychiatrists would refer patients to Noa because of her skill, kindness and empathy.

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