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.
I am outraged and saddened at the killing of George Floyd. On the news, I heard a young black man say that when he leaves the house in the morning, he never knows whether he will come back alive. I cannot imagine living with that reality for him or for his family.
Amidst this, I am proud of our state. In Newark, the police stood back and let their community protest peacefully. In Camden, police joined with their community to protest racism and police brutality.
Several groups in Montclair are collaborating to host activities for a week of action. Please consider joining in these events: Continue reading
It was the end of March. Except for some walks around the block, I hadn’t gone anywhere or even left the house for several weeks. And then I received an email from the County Freeholders — We Need Your Help! Support Toni’s Kitchen.
The email continued: We urge you to support Toni’s Kitchen as they are being overwhelmed with the growing demands for their services. Toni’s Kitchen provides food and other critical services to those in the greater Montclair/Bloomfield Community. They are now providing groceries and fresh produce to students who receive free or reduced priced meals from the Montclair Public Schools as well as Senior Citizens and medically at risk residents.
I made a donation.
And then I signed up to help. Continue reading
Celebrate Beautiful Nature on Shavuot!
A Message From Rabbi Greenstein:
There is a wonderful custom of decorating synagogues and homes with flowers and leaves and pictures of nature on the holiday of Shavuot, the festival celebrating our receiving the Torah. While we are still not able to celebrate within the walls of our synagogue, we can create a wall of photos and images of nature’s beauty to enhance our joy.
Thank you to photographers in our community, Judith Antelman, Bruce Baff, Nancy Breslin, Aimee Brooks, Sarita Eisenberg, Aileen Grossberg, Rabbi Richard Hammerman, Laura Monka and Merrill Silver who have submitted their images in honor of Shavuot.
What a beautiful way to welcome our holiday! May we always take to heart the world’s great beauty!
In all other years, we would go to a family seder at my sister’s home and have a second seder with some family and some friends at our home. This year would be different.
We were still planning a family seder with my sister and brothers and their families … but we would not be together in the same house. We would still use the family haggadah that Lou and I put together almost 20 years ago and promised to update every year … but this year we would finally get around to changing it – keeping in all the essential rituals, eliminating many of the extra readings while adding in a few new ones that seemed especially peritnent to the current situation, and adding in questions (labeled as “Food for Thought”) to reflect on how the pandemic affected our perspective of the Passover story we read each year.
The Census is mandated every 10 years by the Constitution. It is intended to count every person residing in the United States, regardless of age, status or citizenship.
The federal government will allocate $675 billion dollars each year over the next 10 years. The Census affects how those funds get distributed among states to fund education, healthcare, food and nutrition, transportation, affordable housing, and other services. Census data is also used to redraw legislative districts and determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. On a local level, Census data is used to make decisions about projects and plan for the future.
From Captain Linda Ariel:
It was a hectic night at the Carol Starr MESH cafe this past Tuesday evening. We had 25 guests with two meals given as take out to people for whom we did not have room. Many of the people served have become familiar faces and responded to us at Shomrei with warmth and gratitude.
Shomrei has a long history of social action that involves providing services to those in need. Our new Social Action Committee aims to expand Shomrei’s involvement in social action to include advocacy.
The focus will be on issues that affect our local community and state, starting with immigration. To that end, we made a proposal to the Board of Trustees to join the Montclair Sanctuary Alliance. That proposal was passed on December 9th.
Our next step is to create a Social Action Network. This is an email list that we will use to keep you apprised about efforts at Shomrei and in the larger community and about opportunities to be involved. Much like the Mensch Squad email that posts opportunities for helping fellow Shomrei members, the Social Action Network email list will post opportunities to participate in advocacy efforts – for instance, by contacting elected officials and by showing up at rallies and Freeholders meetings. To join, go to: http://shomrei.org/list to join the list
We also need to form a steering committee to map out our goals and plan for educational programs. Steering committee members would be asked to attend regular meetings and to be personally active in some area of work on a consistent basis.
We look forward to joining with you in this endeavor.
Sarita & Audrey,
Co-chairpersons, Shomrei Social Action Committee
Shomrei Social Action Committee
The Social Action Committee, co-chaired by Sarita Eisenberg and Audrey Levitin, seeks to apply a Jewish understanding of “repairing the world” to issues of our time. As we remember from the wisdom of previous generations of Jews: “It is not our responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but we are not free to desist from it either.” The committee seeks to help the congregation at large engage with our broken world by finding and recognizing issues and recommending specific actions we can take.
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