Remembering Josie Zeman z”l

photo by Nick Levitin

Andy and I were on vacation in Portugal when we received the sad e-mail about Josie’s death; we missed the funeral. We returned home with Covid; we missed the Shiva.

So how can we pay our respects? We can share a few memories. It occurred to me that other congregants might also like to share some thoughts about Josie. After all, she was such an integral part of the Shomrei community. Continue reading

Book Club: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

library bookShomrei Book Club
Next Meeting: Monday, July 1, 7:30pm

Our next selection is “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. It’s a non-fiction account of the huge fire that destroyed the main library in Los Angeles in 1986. Nearly 400,000 books were lost in the 7-hour blaze. How did it start? It’s a mystery.

Because we are “the People of the Book” Merrill thinks it will be an interesting change of pace for us. There are many copies available in the inter-library system. Continue reading

Bountiful Brass – A Fitting Tribute (video and photo gallery)

About 250 people gathered at Shomrei for the second annual “Concert for Eric” a tribute to Eric Singer z”l.  This year’s concert entitled “Bountiful Brass – From Bach to Bernstein” featured Montclair Chamber Brass: Don Batchelder, 
Chuck Bumcrot, 
Anthony Mazzocchi, 
Jeff Scott and 
Kyle Turner.
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Summer Camp Fundraiser a Huge Success!

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, July 31 Update
We have a number of important items this week:

  • Our fundraising to help send local refugee children to summer day camp has been a major success!  Including the very generous matching grant provided by one of our member-families, we have raised a total of $2,866 so far.  The funds are being used to send seven children from two families in Paterson to the Wayne Y and to send one child from the families that we are supporting in Elizabeth to the Y camp in Union.  All of the children will be enjoying two weeks of day camp thanks to our group’s fundraising efforts.  (See photos of Kresten, below, waiting for her first day of camp to start yesterday.)  Any funds in excess of those needed for camp will be used for the general welfare of the refugee families.

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“Thank You” at Thanksgiving

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

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.
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Shomrei Bookclub: June Meeting and Summer Months

stolen beauty

We had a lively discussion of the two voices featured in “Stolen Beauty” last night. Most of us were very interested in the glamorous, entitled world of Adele, subject of the famous painting by Klimt.

Aileen Grossberg introduced us to a controversial novel “All the Rivers” by Dorit Rabinyan, an Israel writer. The book caused a controversy in Israel after publication and was withdrawn from approved reading lists in the high schools. The novel tells of a love affair between a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman in New York City. We think it would be a good choice for our first meeting in the Fall, after the holidays. Date to be announced.

If you read anything fascinating over the summer months, we would be glad to schedule a meeting to talk about it.

Stay cool!

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Bookclub: “Stolen Beauty” by Laurie Lico Albanese

Shomrei Book Club

stolen beautyThe Shomrei Book Club will meet on Monday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. to talk about “Stolen Beauty” by Laurie Lico Albanese , who appeared  at Shomrei for @nourish in April.

This fictional  story of the famous painting by Gustav Klimt “Woman in Gold” is told by two women living in different time periods:  Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject of the work, who lived in VIenna  in the early 1900s; and her niece Maria Altmann, who lived under Nazi rule in Vienna in the late 1930s. Please join us and bring a friend!

We welcome anyone with an interest in books to join us for the meeting.

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Bookclub: The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky

Shomrei Book Club

imagesThe Shomrei Book Club will meet on Monday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 pm at Shomrei to discuss The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky. Set in Israel, the novel takes place over one day but covers life over five decades in three continents. The central character is a physician, a woman whose parents are Holocaust survivors who fled to the farthest place they could find after the war, tranquil Australia.She marries an Israeli but never feels “at home” in her adopted country, where she faces the challenges of family, career, and the threat of terrorism.

We welcome anyone with an interest in books to join us for the meeting.

Continue reading

Aileen Grossberg – A Woman for all Seasons and Seasonings!

Join us as we thank Aileen Grossberg for her years of volunteer service at Shomrei!  Aileen will be recognized at “Shomrei Celebrates” an evening of community, good food, and spirit at Shomrei Emunah, Saturday, Feb 20, 2016, 7:30pm.


Aileen Thrope Grossberg has added ​talent, taste and tact​ to so many Shomrei activities since joining our synagogue in 1975 that it is impossible to overstate her contribution.

It all started back in Lowell, Ma. where her grandparents settled in the early part of the twentieth century. Aileen’s many role models for volunteerism include both her maternal and paternal grandparents who were among the founders, officers, and members of the Lowell Hebrew Community Center, a Conservative shul in her home town. Aileen’s commitments to a Jewish lifestyle were reinforced by her grandparents’ Shabbat and holiday dinners with lots of members of the extended family . The Lowell Jewish Center was the hub of social interactions in the community: Hebrew school, Friday night services with family and friends, as well as Saturday morning. Continue reading

It Takes A Community

The Bar Mitzvah was poised and prepared. His parents were proud and poignant. The social hall tables were dressed in gold and covered with platters waiting for the hungry congregants to file in after the motzi and Kiddush. All 200 … Continue reading