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! Continue reading

Guys and Graggers! – Purim Shpiel, 2016


Come see “Guys and Graggers” during the Megillah-reading service on Erev Purim, Wednesday, March 23rd.

Based on the hit show “Guys and Dolls”, this shpiel was adapted for Purim by Craig Eichner, produced and edited by Lisa Pendola, and directed by Jennifer Moss. Continue reading

August 2015 IHN Wrap-up


Shomrei had a very successful and meaningful experience housing four homeless families — 14 adults and children — in the last week of August. We had a wide range of volunteers– many of our longtime participants as well as some new ones, from elementary schoolers to the over-eighty generation — and everyone had an impact. Craig Eichner taught an 8 year old boy named Vinnie to do magic tricks, and he was so excited that he asked on the last day if he could call Craig just to talk to him. We called Craig to let him know, and he came by to say goodbye in person. For good measure, he taught Vinnie yet another magic trick. Fanya Hoffman continued her tradition of painting all the girls’ nails, and the girls expressed great excitement about going to the first day of school with their new manicures. Charlie Breslin and his family took everyone to the Glen Ridge pool to cool off and have fun on a sweltering Saturday afternoon. And that is only a small representation of the Shomrei volunteers who contributed their time and loving care to our guests.

We had almost 50 volunteers in all, cooking meals, engaging in activities with kids and parents, sleeping over as night guardians and coordinating the activities. The families were with us because of terrible misfortunes in their own lives, but as always, our volunteers created an oasis in which they could eat good meals, meet really nice people, enjoy some good times. Little Vera came up to one of us as she left on Sunday Aug. 30, flashed a radiant smile, and said, “Every day here was a trip.” We hope they have many more good times ahead of them.

If you weren’t able to join us this time, but would like to do so next time, be on the lookout for our next hosting week in late December.

My Week of Shiva


On October 29, 2014, exactly two weeks after celebrating his 89th birthday and exactly one week after entering the hospital with pneumonia, my father died. My mother, my two sisters, and I were present at his bedside when he breathed his last. We had known for several days that his chances of recovery were slim, and we were struggling to come to terms with the fact that he most likely would not leave the hospital alive. Continue reading

The Windy Gragger: Purim Shpiel

It’s the Jazz Age of Shushan, when a king throws an endless party, a queen refuses a royal summons, an evil vizier hatches a nefarious plot, our hero and heroine struggle to save their people — and everyone wants to make the front page news! “The Windy Gragger” has all this and more (well, not much more). Set to the music of the Broadway show “Chicago,” this is the Purim story like you’ve never heard it before (unless you’ve seen the rehearsals, in which case you’ve sort of heard it before). Come see the one and only performance of “The Windy Gragger” on Purim evening, March 4, 2015.  The Windy Gragger will star (in alphabetical order): Craig Eichner, Yechiel Felder, Talia Fellus, Martin Hochbaum, Ann Lippel, Carney Mimms, Jennifer Moss, Lisa Pendola, Andy Silikovitz.

Here’s a complete Purim Schedule of Events and Services

Craig Eichner: “Beach Blanket Esther”

Craig Eichner

Craig Eichner

Jennifer Moss: Tell me something about how you came to write Purim Spiels. Do you have a special love for parodies?

Craig Eichner: Absolutely. I grew up on Mad Magazine, where they were always parodying movies. And one of my biggest musical influences was Allan Sherman. We had all his records at home.

JM: Allan Sherman—I love him! (Craig and I both broke off the interview at this point to sing a rendition of Shake Hands with Your Uncle Max, Sherman’s parody of Dear Old Donegal.)

Continue reading