Update from the Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group

We are happy to report that the two Afghan brothers that we “adopted” a few months ago are assimilating very well in Elizabeth. The older (23-year-old) brother has a full-time job at a local retail establishment and the younger (14-year-old) brother has made many friends, is playing every sport imaginable and is looking forward to “moving up” from his 8th grade class to high school next year. We are currently exploring summer camp opportunities for him, as well as enhanced ESL tutoring during the summer.

Since this will be the first summer in Elizabeth for the brothers, we are hoping to find a way to help them keep their apartment reasonably cool. There is currently no air conditioning in their apartment. So, if anyone has a (small) window air conditioner, or a portable, that they would like to donate, please contact Andy SIlver (email hidden; JavaScript is required).  In fact, we are hoping to find two air conditioners, since one of the Syrian refugee families that we have been assisting during the past few years has also requested one.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Regards,
Judith, Mike, and Andy

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Purchases of food and household goods for Refugee Families are financed by our members’ financial contributions. You can make a contribution online at Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, Refugee Assistance, or by a check made out to “Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund” and sent to Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park Street, Montclair, NJ 07042, designating “Refugee Assistance” in the check’s memo line.

Wednesday Night Minyan

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Shana Tova! I hope you are greeting 5782 with a resounding “Hineni!”- here I am, ready to take on the New Year with enthusiasm and commitment.

In that spirit, I am writing about the future of the Wednesday Night Minyan. Because of my pandemic work schedule, (teaching on Zoom Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday from 7:30-9:30 PM) I am no longer available to lead the Wednesday night minyan. (Even if we changed Wednesday to another night of the week, all this Zoom time would not be good for my mental health!)  Continue reading

Refugee Assistance Update Sept 2021

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Dear Shomrei Friends,

Here are some major items for your careful consideration. We realize there is a lot here, but there is a lot of need.

1) The Westfield Fun Club has informed us that many of the refugee families that both they and Shomrei have been assisting were severely affected by Hurricane Ida. The apartment complex where they live in Elizabeth was badly flooded and many have lost most of their belongings and cars. They have now been displaced and are being housed in temporary shelters and hotels by the Red Cross. The Fun Club is working with the IRC to help them begin the long and difficult process of dealing with FEMA and the state. If you would like to help, please consider making a financial donation to Temple Emanu-El, 756 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ 07090, and earmark the funds for the Westfield Fun Club. In addition, one family is without any clothes or shoes. If you have the following, please contact the Fun Club at email hidden; JavaScript is required. All clothes should be washed, folded and neatly packed. Please donate like you are giving a family member the clothes. Continue reading

Refugee Assistance: Helping Afghan Families

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We have been researching the best ways to provide support to Afghan families who are being resettled in our region. As a start, we are teaming up with the grass roots organization One World, One Love, which has done amazing work with many refugee families during the past few years. The organization is now starting to help the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) families who are arriving in our area from Afghanistan — 10 families (approximately 50 people) so far, with many more expected to come. They have asked us to help provide the following items for the new homes that are being set up for the families: Continue reading

Monthly Wednesday Night Minyan on Summer Hiatus

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Our monthly Wednesday evening minyan wrapped up another successful year.  That’s 13 years –  not bad for a minyan that was supposed to last only one month. We will take a summer break and resume in some form after the High Holidays.

It was quite a year: a Presidential election, a pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, an insurrection on our Capitol where we added the Prayer for Our Country to our regular evening service and a war in Israel. More than ever, we needed to be together and to feel a sense of community.   The Zoom minyan gave us that opportunity.

Thanks to all the participants who made the virtual minyan possible. Special thanks to Rabbi Greenstein, Lisa Z., Geoff, Michael Finck, John Lasiter and Andy Silver for their hard work, often behind the scenes.

The Little Minyan That Could

minyan_at_homeOur monthly Wednesday night minyan will resume on October 14, 2020. Thereafter, it will be on the first Wednesday of the month. This year, however, we are making one change. Like everything else during the pandemic, we will be Zooming “Maariv” into your homes.

For those of you who are new to Shomrei, or have never attended this casual, ½ hour evening service, Andy and I welcome and encourage you to join us.  And for those of us who have been physically attending this service in our living room, on the deck, or in our Sukkah for the past 12 years, thank you for keeping this intimate service flourishing. Continue reading