“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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Syria Supper Club at Shomrei — a Big Success!

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Eighty (80!) people attended Shomrei’s Syria Supper Club Sukkot Dinner on October 8. The dinner featured bountiful, delicious vegetarian food prepared in Shomrei’s kitchen by three Syrian cooks who have been recently resettled in the U.S.

Rabbi Greenstein welcomed everyone in the sukkah, and then we moved inside (the weather was threatening) for the meal. It was a win-win event all around; attendees enjoyed a delicious meal and the cooks displayed their cooking talents and earned some income to help support their families. (Almost all of the proceeds of the dinner went to the cooks.) Continue reading

A Concert for Eric: In Loving Memory of Eric Singer z”l

Eric Singer z"l

Eric Singer z”l

Two active community partners, the Montclair Orchestra and Congregation Shomrei Emunah, will present a chamber music concert in loving memory of Eric Singer a long-time and beloved congregant. To insure open access and a low ticket price, the concert is being underwritten by a generous grant from The Eric Singer Charitable Fund.

The performance will take place on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. at Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park Street, The Montclair Orchestra Chamber Music Ensemble will perform Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart; Theme from Schindler’s List by Williams, String Quintet in G 1st Mvt by Dvorak; and Octet in Eb Maj by Mendelssohn. Tickets are $15; children under 18 free.  David Chan is Music Director of the Montclair Orchestra.  Shomrei congregant Dr. Kenneth Bannerman will play in the chamber orchestra.

Tickets: Shomrei.org/Eric or call 800-838-3006 Continue reading

Purim Simcha Band Plays Its Heart Out


For the sixth year in a row, the multi-generational Simcha Band played our hearts out at our annual Purim celebration. Setting the lively tone for the Costume Parade and then playing in between chapters of the Megillah, the band added a new dimension to its name “Simcha” Band! When the Megillah readers chanted Haman’s name, the band successfully drowned out his name. Continue reading

An Evening of Warmth and Spirit



120 people gathered at Shomrei on Saturday March 4th to honor Rich Epstein and Susan Lazev at “Mensches & Martinis” our annual Honor Night celebration. Accompanied by the marvelous Stepansky-Posada Jazz Ensemble, the evening began with an elegant cocktail hour followed by catered feast.

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Pure Joy! – The Hanukkah Simcha Band!


Today’s WELL column in The New York Times (12/20/16) talks about how running makes the brain work in surprising ways. Similarly, it says that “Playing a musical instrument, for instance, requires refining a variety of fine motor skills, while also engaging memory, attention, forward planning and many other executive functions of the brain. So it’s not surprising that past brain-scanning studies have found that expert musicians tend to have greater coordination between areas of the brain associated with different kinds of thinking, as well as sensory processing and motor control, than do people who have never picked up a bassoon or other instrument.”

The Times article forgot one important thing. Playing a musical instrument is pure joy (and some practice, too). The multi-generational Hanukkah Simcha Band proved this with its glorious sound at our community Hanukkah party on Sunday, Dec. 18. Whether you were playing, singing, dancing or listening to the gorgeous music, it was exhilarating. Continue reading

Shomrei Celebrates: Faisons la Fete

From the Lampert Library

Shomrei Celebrates wall

Thank you to everyone who supported Shomrei by attending Saturday’s gala, placed an ad in my honor, or made a contribution. I was truly touched and overwhelmed by the thought and effort of so many people and the gracious tributes from family, friends and congregants. Instead of a column this week, I’ve posted my remarks followed by a list of books (on display in the Gallery) related to the topic of community, mitzvot ,and tzedakah. 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

I Believe in Shomrei


I believe in …

… Rabbi Greenstein, for showing us the connection between traditional Jewish values and prayer, and our everyday lives.

… Heather Brown and Sara Birnbaum who, through their guidance of our children’s education programs, help to instill those values in our next generation.

… Nick Levitin and the rest of the Board’s tireless leadership.

… Marge Wise and the entire Shomrei staff for their skill in facilitating all that happens at Shomrei.

… Shomrei’s core of dedicated volunteers, without whom we could not run our litany of programs.

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A Shimmering Shomrei Hanukkah Party

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What an amazing Shomrei Hanukkah Party!  The moment the smell of frying latkes made its way around the building, I knew this was going to be an exciting night.  The JLC 7th grade students started the night off with a bang, with their homemade Hanukkah games and enthusiasm.  Children of all ages enjoyed pinning the tail on the menorah and trying to knock over large Hanukkah candles in the bean bag toss station.  We made edible menorahs and spun dreidels in paint, too, which made some beautiful designs.

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