As so many of you know, Shomrei has hosted homeless families with young children in our synagogue since 1988 as part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network (now Family Promise). Twice a year, for a week at a time, for over 30 years, 50 caring volunteers have cooked food for the families, entertained the children and slept over as nighttime guardians. Because of the pandemic, we have not hosted families since December 2019 and the entire congregational shelter network remains shuttered. For 18 months, Family Promise (FP) has been sheltering families in hotels and shifting more resources into its other missions — stabilizing those on the verge of homeless with rental assistance and case management. FP needs even more financial support to continue to support vulnerable families, particularly as the moratorium on evictions is lifted and many more parents and children face homelessness.
Even though we can’t host families for now, we can be there for them and for Family Promise. Here are two wonderful opportunities to help: Continue reading →
I’m writing to everyone who has helped host homeless families at Shomrei Emunah in recent years. As you probably know, IHN stays actively involved with families who have moved into their own homes. Quite a few of the adults in these families are now essential workers and others have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by.
Our contacts at IHN just let us know that several families badly need help paying for basic purchases, including everything from hand sanitizer to summer clothing for their children. If you can help, please send a check in any amount you choose to Brenda Myrick, IHN’s Director of Social Services, at 46 Park St. Montclair, NJ 07042.
Thanks to all of you for being faithful supporters of IHN. I know it’s a tough time for everyone, but with relatively small individual donations, this is an opportunity to come together and really help struggling families — including some we have hosted at Shomrei.
On Sunday, April 19, there was a touching memorial for Vivien Lichter. Many of the speakers at the service were Shomrei people – Rabbi Greenstein, Toby Stein, Aileen Grossberg, Dale Russakoff and me [Shirley Grill] – and our stories were about Viv and Shomrei…It felt like a story of Shomrei as well as Vivien.
Last Friday, I had an alarming call from a member of Shomrei. Between bone-rattling coughs, she told me that both she and her partner had Covid 19 and were quarantined in their home. Both over 60, they desperately needed groceries and didn’t know whom to call since all of their friends are in the age group vulnerable to the Coronavirus. (The couple requested that their names be withheld.)
As coordinator of the Mensch Squad, I was braced for such calls to come eventually, but this was our first, and I warily reflected on the demographics of our squad – most of us tilt toward the same vulnerable age group as the couple who needed our help. Indeed, some of our more faithful members are in their 90s. Continue reading →
For any member who has a new baby in the house, we will deliver one meal a week for the first 6 weeks after the baby arrives.Because the pre-school is an important part of our community, any pre-school family that has a new baby in the home will receive a meal to welcome their new one.
This is an all-volunteer effort, which means each one of those meals must be cooked (or purchased) and delivered. It’s a wonderful way to share in the joy the new parents are experiencing, and to give them a little help during those tiring first few weeks. If you like to cook, or you like to visit new babies, and would be interested in joining the pool of volunteers who provide this service, please sign up at Shomrei.org/BabyFood .
Dale Russakoff is organizing the effort but Dale would love some help. So, if you’ve been looking for the right volunteer activity, perhaps this is for you – Dale is waiting to hear from you.
Sat, Feb 2, 10:30 am
Free and open to everyone
Good Coffee and Nosh!
It takes courage to leave the known world for new frontiers. The panel members will share their experiences and open up the discussion to the audience so that we can all explore the journey of finding meaning in work and life.
Our panel, led by Dale Russakoff, who left her longtime job as a reporter at the Washington Post in 2008 to become a freelance writer, will consist of:
A public interest lawyer who represented low-income clients in the Bronx, Harlem and London, then chose to become a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters. She has begun to share her passion for social justice with her older daughter, Abigail, now 3, and together they volunteered with IHN for the first time in December. Continue reading →
How do you really fix a broken pipe? You get together with a hundred and thirty of your friends and focus on something that matters! Such was the case last Saturday night as Shomrei honored Dale Russakoff and the volunteers of the Mensch Squad and IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network). (See the lists of all honorees below). Dale co-chairs Shomrei’s chapter of IHN and she leads the Mensch Squad. Continue reading →
In 1994, Dale Russakoff moved to Montclair with her husband, Matt Purdy, a reporter at the New York Times, and their two sons, Sam and Adam. She worked as a reporter for the Washington Post in their New York office. Soon after arriving in town, the Purdy/Russakoff family was greeted by Judy Post, Neal Yudkoff, and their daughter, Sunny, neighbors who live immediately behind them in their neighborhood. This connection was meaningful and reinforced the family’s interest in becoming part of the Shomrei community. They joined the synagogue, signing Adam up for the Shomrei nursery school. Dale remembers their first Rosh Hashanah in Montclair when she saw Neal addressing the congregation as its president. Participating in the services helped the family feel part of Shomrei. Continue reading →
Dear Members and Friends of Congregation Shomrei Emunah:
Each year Shomrei Emunah’s Ad Journal honors congregants who have had a significant impact on our community. It is my privilege to inform you that this year’s honorees are the people of Shomrei—the volunteers who bring solace, safety and joy to our congregants and to others in the wider community through the Mensch Squad and IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network). And this peaceful army of mensches is led by our own Dale Russakoff who has kept these vitally important services going at Shomrei. Continue reading →
Thanksgiving is a day for thanks although we Jews often give our thank yous at the New Year, Rosh Hashanah.
So I am taking this opportunity to put the THANKS back into Thanksgiving and express my thanks to people involved in activities that I have a stake in.
So thank you to all the volunteers who help to get food on the table for those weekly kiddushes. Even when I am not directly involved, I thank them. Without our volunteers we would have no bountiful weekly spreads and the fellowship that comes with sharing a meal. Continue reading →