We owe a lot of people our thanks!  It’s literally been a flurry of activity at Shomrei since the pipe burst and the flood ensued.  Once the initial crisis is over, the hard work begins — the restoration. So many volunteers and staff have stepped-up to meet this crisis on our behalf, it’s a good time to recognize some of them and express our gratitude!

I’ve asked a number of people for the names of those who’ve helped, but at press time (for ShomreiWeek) I wasn’t able to get ahold of everyone involved so this list is 100% guaranteed to be incomplete.

But, here’s how we can make it complete.  When you notice I’ve left someone off, please add a comment to this post.  I’ll check back and add the names to the article!  Or if you’d like to give your own thumbs up, please leave a comment.

President Fern Heinig has been a constant presence during the crisis. She’s put her own freelance consultancy on hold while she’s made a million decisions on our behalf.  I’m sure there are a million more to be made. Yasher Koach Fern! As the Rabbi commented, “We all salute Fern for her total dedication and unmatched leadership in meeting this challenge. She deserves our wholehearted gratitude.”

Cool-headed Yechiel Felder, Shomrei’s Chair of Building and Grounds took charge of getting the water shut off during the flood. He cajoled a very busy restoration company (we’re not the only ones with a busted pipe) to remove the water.  He has also been coordinating contractors, setting up remote access to computers and packing things up in boxes among many other activities.

Executive Director, Marge Wise assisted by Office Assistant Marita Falconer have been facilitating a myriad of logistical issues from changed schedules, relocated offices and contractor issues, to working with the insurance adjuster and filing permits.

A number of books (including some holy books) were damaged. Thanks to Linda Ariel, Bill Batkay, Craig Eichner, Rich Farenci, Nick Levitin, Jerilyn Margulies, Jennifer Moss and Fred Vafaie, undamaged books were boxed up, damaged books were sorted and other materials packed.  The Holy books too damaged to be repaired will have to be buried, Carol Katzman has arranged a burial at King Solomon Cemetery in Nutley.  Carol is the Cemetery Association President.

Heather Brown, Aylah Winter and Lily Lucey along with the teachers have moved the Preschool, twice!  Once to Cedar Grove and then to Bnai Keshet.  They spent their day off loading and packing toys and materials into a truck. And came in long before the children arrived to set it all up.

Speaking of the truck and the driver and a helper, they were courtesy of congregant Bob Silver.

Allison Task spearheaded preschool family communications related to the immediate suspension of the school and its restarting.

Geoff Sadow organized and packed everything required to have our religious services at other venues.

Aileen Grossberg is keeping the boxed-library accounted for and safe.

All these efforts were aided by our janitors, Orane Lawrence, Kevin Pitter and Kevin Zehnder.

And thank you to our neighbors.  Rabbi Greenstein put it best, “We are very grateful to the leadership, staff and community of Bnai Keshet and the Central Presbyterian Church community! And special thanks go to Temple Sholom of Cedar Grove for their help in getting us through the first days of our emergency!  Thanks also to Union Baptist Church for hosting MESH on our behalf. They have all exemplified true friendship and good neighborliness. We are blessed to have their caring support.”

Yasher Koach to everyone!

I’m sure we’ve missed some people.  Please update us in the comments.


And thanks, of course, to Rabbi Greenstein who’s ever-present leadership has guided many during this crisis.  Not to mention his packing and schleping of books.  The Rabbi also helped me put together this list, and leave it to me to forget what’s right in front of my face!  Apologies for the omission!

And Here’s to the JLC teachers as well as Heather, Aylan and Lily for getting us ready to have JLC and Hinei Mah Tov and Tot Shabbat “off campus”



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3 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. And a special thanks to Rabbi Greenstein for reaching out to his colleagues at synagogues and churches to help us find space and for organizing volunteers to help assess the book damage.

  2. Heather, Lily, Aylah, Shirley and the JLC teachers also packed up all the JLC materials needed to operate in another space. They’re on the ready with their boxes and waiting to hear where the JLC will be moving to for next week’s classes and beyond.

  3. I think that we are a community: the past week has proven that.. And a community is a blessed thing to be. I also think that we are blessed to be given help by people outside our immediate Shomrei community. In what has happened and is happening in response to “our” burst pipe, there is a small light of hope for the many other communities in this country and elsewhere in need of help. I pray that out of the pain and hope created by natural disasters and the reactions to them, all the people who live in our nation may find there is more community available to those who truly seek it than is obvious. Finally, I pray that we discover the “dreamers” inside us and nurture them. We need them even more than they need us.

What do you think?