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Editor’s Note: This address was originally given on Kol Nidre (Sept 2021)
Heneni – A Continuation and What it Means as a Shomrei Member
Last week I spoke to you about being present spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Well, Hineni – Here I am, again. Henei Anachnu – Here we are, again. And as we begin to return to the synagogue and to gather together after being separated for so long, I want to ask you to think about reaching out and giving of yourself. I know that every year the president stands up here and asks you to volunteer and I am no different. Heneni – Here I am – asking you to look inwardly as you do teshuva and ask God for forgiveness and to think about how you can do something differently than you did this past year.
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Editor’s Note: This speech was originally given on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (Sept 2021)
Last year I spoke to you about being a community even though we were gathering only virtually. This year I want to build on that as I stand before you whether we are together in our social hall, the tent or you are viewing virtually. I ask you to focus on our capacity for resilience and redirection not only as a Jewish people but as our Shomrei Community.
Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean that people don’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. … Resilient people or communities tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. More succinctly, the Merriam Webster dictionary explains resilience as being able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens. Our Shomrei community is the ultimate support system and that happens because of the dedication of so many of you. Continue reading
When I wrote to you in mid-July about our plans for the High Holidays, I noted that we would continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and reevaluate as necessary in order to ensure that our plans considered the safety of our community. While we are excited to offer a variety of in person options, based on the recent increase in infections in our area and updated information on the spread of the virus, the Board of Trustees has implemented several policy changes.
We will have both indoor and outdoor options as well as streaming. Indoor services will have a further reduced capacity than originally anticipated.
Dear Shomrei Friends,
It is with great joy and gratitude that I write to you, announcing that this year’s High Holy Days will be back in person for those who wish and are able to attend. We understand that our community’s needs vary as we start to emerge from COVID, and some continue to prefer to view services from home. That option will be available to you as all the indoor services will be livestreamed. But for those that are ready to be in person, we are planning a variety of ways to worship together.
While there are so many to thank for everything and everyone that make Shomrei the amazing and vibrant community that we are, especially this past year when we had to constantly change the way we “attended” services and community events, inevitably there is an oversight. I want to take a few minutes to thank Lily Lucy, our rabbinic intern whom I somehow did not mention in my report.
Lily was key in creating our unique High Holiday experience last year and any time Rabbi Greenstein, Geoff Sadow or I tried to figure out how to bring the services to our Shomrei family, Lily was there with more creative ideas. She never said no when we asked her to do something and the outcome was always inspiring. As the rabbinic intern, Lily brought us together for Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat, invited our kids to participate in services, conducted themed Havdalah services and led us for Purim and many other holidays. She provided teaching to us in her By the Light of the Moon Rosh Chodesh discussions and her thoughtful approach and her lively singing makes me smile every time we are together.
Thank you Lily for all you do for Shomrei.
Dear Members of Congregation Shomrei Emunah,
This year has been one of extraordinary challenges. As individuals and families, as a global village, a nation and as a congregation, we have borne losses and pain, disruption and deprivation. Here, at Shomrei, we have also discovered reservoirs of strength, commitment, creativity and determination.
For the past 12 years it has been my sacred privilege to serve as your spiritual leader. And in this past, exceptionally demanding, year I have been exceptionally blessed to share in the work of sustaining our community with our office staff, educators and custodians, along with all our amazing volunteers of the Moving Forward Committee and our Board, all led by our dedicated President, Miriam Haimes, who have all risen to the occasion in inspiring ways.
It’s almost May in Montclair and Shomrei has a lot of plans for Shabbat services sprouting and about to come to life! A few weeks ago, I wrote to you that we were reviewing the responses from the Shabbat Services Survey and working on various options. I am really excited to tell you about our plans for May. We will be gathering in person outside each week and will continue to Zoom and stream so that those that are unable or uncomfortable with in person gatherings can still be part of our services. We are also working on our plans for June when we expect to begin some indoor services. As we come back into the building, I want to remind you that this past year we installed new air conditioning with upgraded filters and improved air flow. We will also continuously review safety protocols to ensure that we are following required guidelines.
I wanted to send a note about the recent Shabbat Survey results and our next steps. First a huge thank you to Sarita Eisenberg for doing the heavy lifting regarding the survey and collaborating with the Ritual Committee to develop the questions and to tally and summarize the results.
We received 93 responses across a wide range of age groups including families with preschool, elementary school and older children as well as adults across all the age ranges listed in the survey. I am very pleased with the cross section of responses.
Overwhelmingly, respondents were comfortable with outdoor services. We did have several respondents who would also be interested in indoor services.
It really works!
At the Passover Splash program on March 7, Aileen Grossberg showed the attendees how the root ends of a bunch of celery or head of romaine can be grown in water for use as karpas and maror at the Passover seder. Once the vegetables have started to put out roots, they can be planted in potting soil and will continue to grow leaves.