Friday, September 12, 2014

Notes From the Cantor

From the pages of Kadima, the Newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

Notes From the Cantor


I feel honored and blessed to be the Cantor here at Adas Emuno, following my ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religious last May. While I’ve been leading services alongside Rabbi Schwartz since mid-July, things will become official at the Installation Ceremony on Friday September 5th. I’ve already had the opportunity to meet many of you, and have been truly touched by the warmth–and the help!–I’ve received.

Meanwhile, the High Holidays will be upon us before we know it. It is a unique time in our calendar, and this is emphasized by the music you’ll hear at High Holiday services. A lot of the music is more formal, and many melodies are different from what you’re used to hearing on Shabbat. For a congregation as wonderfully participatory as this one, there will still be familiar music; what’s more, many of the High Holiday melodic themes are repeated throughout Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, and you will be able to re-familiarize yourselves with these as well. But it is also an opportunity to sit back and listen, and to let the words and music surround you as you engage in your private reflections and prayers.

Best wishes and Shana Tova Umetuka, a good and a sweet New Year 5775!

Cantor Sandy Horowitz

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Top Ten Reasons To Be Excited About the Coming Year at Adas Emuno

 

From the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:



A Message From Our President


Dr. Lance Strate








My Top Ten Reasons


To Be Excited About the Coming Year at


Adas Emuno



Rabbi Schwartz is an inspiration to us all, in so many ways, and one of the ways that he has inspired me is his penchant for creating top ten lists. I have to admit that that sort of thing was never my cup of tea, although I have appreciated David Letterman's ability to come up with them night after night. But I do have to acknowledge that there is something about a numbered list that attracts people's attention, and they do provide a structured and organized way to convey a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas. So, I thought I'd try my hand at putting one together this time out.

And I have to tell you that I am very excited about how we have dealt with problems that presented themselves last year, and how we are poised to move forward over the coming year. So, without further ado, here are my top ten reasons why this coming year at Adas Emuno will be one of our best years yet:

1. Our new Cantor. Sandy Horowitz has already brought her musical magic to our Friday night Shabbat services for several weeks now. Our congregation has very high standards when it comes to music, and Cantor Horowitz definitely meets them, and in many ways exceeds our expectations.

2. The Dream Team. Although they have only been leading services together for a short while, Rabbi Schwartz and Cantor Horowitz are working together seamlessly, making services truly a pleasure to attend. And it has been many, many years since our pulpit has been graced by both an ordained rabbi and an ordained cantor.

3. New congregational leadership. I am positively kvelling about the infusion of energy and spirit that the newest members of our Board of Trustees, Judith Fisher, Susan Gray, Jody Pugach, Doris White, and Sandy Zornick, have brought to the board in their first few weeks as trustees.

4. And new officers. It is also so very gratifying to have Vice-President Elka Oliver and Recording Secretary Marilyn Katz providing added energy to our executive committee.

5. A new Religious School Director. Cantor Horowitz, in taking over the dual role of clergy and principal, brings to the job authority and expertise, along with a wonderful sense of warmth and openness, which is exactly what we need. Combining the two positions is part of a growing trend of installing Cantor-Educators, and through that innovation we can look forward to greater coordination between school and shul, something we have wanted to see for a long time now.

6. A new Tot Mitzvah program. We have recognized for some time now the need to strengthen our programming for families with preschoolers, and thanks to Doris White, working together with other volunteers and Cantor Horowitz, we will be launching an innovative new program this fall.

7. The return of Torah Study. What would Saturday mornings be without it? And as led by Rabbi Schwartz, our Torah study sessions are extraordinarily popular. This year we continue our focus on family narratives in the Bible, with special attention to King David.

8. The return of Adas Emuno Has Talent. Our first talent show, held in April of 2013, was an enormous success, and after a one year hiatus, we look forward to its return to our schedule in January of 2015. The event serves as a wonderful showcase for the amazing group of kids we have in our temple (and our adults aren't half bad either).

9. Poetry Garden. This summer we began to meet as a small group to read poetry out loud in the Adas Emuno garden. It has been a modest affair, but one that has generated enough interest to schedule monthly gatherings throughout the coming year, to meet in the garden if weather permits, or in the social hall. And prior to the September Poetry Garden meeting, we will also be treated to a concert in the garden courtesy of the recorder society that rents our social hall.

10. And there's more! More social action initiatives! More adult education programs! More musical events! More than I can fit into a top ten list, so I'll just say that there's more in the works, so stay tuned.

I think 5775 is going to be a breakout year for Adas Emuno, and I hope you agree with me that there's so much to be excited about. And let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Shana Tova, and I look forward to seeing you on the High Holy Days, if not before.




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Gift Of Laughter

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:





From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz
    






The Gift Of Laughter



Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
—Victor Borge


I write this column the same week as the passing of the incomparable comedic actor Robin Williams. While we are so saddened by the circumstances of his death, we can only say “thank you” for the life of the man who made us laugh so much. Back in 1992, Williams was the hysterical voice of the genie in Aladdin. My kids were young then, and they must have watched that movie a hundred times, laughing every time. He was that good. In the words of the Italian writer Rafael Sabatini, “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”

Why is it that we laugh? The English social critic William Hazlitt wrote that, “Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.”

Mark Twain opined that, “The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”

Our human propensity to laugh uniquely empowers us to face life’s adversities. When we laugh we know that not all hope is lost and that joy still exists. When we laugh we know that we are not taking ourselves so seriously. When we laugh we are creating the space for bonding with others.

One of my colleagues, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, wrote that Williams' incredible gift, like that of all the most gifted artists, arose not just from his prodigious talent but from the fact that he was a mensch “and a mensch only becomes a mensch because he/she struggles.” We admire what Williams accomplished all the more knowing what he battled. Would that we be inspired by his example… bringing joy to others even when our challenges are great. As we approach this Jewish New Year, let’s ask ourselves: Did I smile enough during the past year? Did I laugh enough? Did I do enough to bring smiles and the great gift of laughter to others?

When Robin Williams died I dimly recalled a poem I had quoted in a sermon by the poet Danny Siegel. I dug out the sermon (from twenty years ago) and share it with you now, not only in William’s memory, but in wishing you a new year of much laughter:

And the Lord created man
And man begot laughter
And laughter begot joy
And joy begot a multitude of children
Not the least of whom is love.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Recorder Concert Coming Up!

From the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:



Recorder Society to Perform in the Temple Garden 

on Sunday, September 14 at 4 PM





Members of the Bergen County Chapter of the American Recorder Society who meet each month in our temple social hall, will perform in the temple garden on Sunday, September 14 at 4 PM. The group, most of whom play the recorder as an avocation, will present a program of “Recorders through the Ages”, with music spanning over 500 years.

Wine and cheese will be served. This event is open to the community. Suggested donation: $5 per person.

Founded in 1939, the American Recorder Society (ARS) is a membership/service organization dedicated to meeting the needs of amateur and professional recorder players.  Since its founding, the ARS has helped to rekindle an interest in early music while also supporting and encouraging contemporary compositions for the instrument. The Bergen County Chapter of the ARS was founded in 1967.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Social Action September

From the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:


A Report from Annette DeMarco
Social Action Committee Chairperson


I want to begin this column by thanking everyone who donated food during the summer months.  By the time you read this, two deliveries will have been made to the Center for Food Action during July and August.

Our food drive is ongoing with a special one being held during the High Holy Days.  Paper bags will be given out on Erev Rosh Hashanah, along with a list of items most needed.  Please return your donations when you attend Kol Nidre services or at your earliest convenience. 

A number of other social action projects are in the works for this coming year.  Those which are coming up in the next few months are:

Sunday, November 2: Mitzvah Day--Program TBA

 November 9-23: ADULT WINTER OUTERWEAR collection  [including coats, jackets, boots, scarves, hats, gloves/mittens] 


Sunday, December 7: Cooking/serving dinner at the shelter in Hackensack [ages 14 and up to set up/ serve; no age restrictions for home cooking!]          Details to follow.

Cantor Sandy Horowitz and I have been working on projects which will involve our Religious School students; Stay tuned!

L'Shalom,   

Annette
acheryl21 at gmail.com

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Religious School News

From the pages of Kadima, the Newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

Religious School News 

     from

Cantor Sandy Horowitz

Religious School Director


Shalom and welcome to another year of Religious School at Adas Emuno!

As we head into September, there have been some changes going on in preparation for the new school year. First, I’m thrilled to be stepping into the role of Religious School Director. We are welcoming back some teachers from last year as well as some new teachers. There have been some curriculum changes as well, which have been done in conjunction with feedback from last year.

We are also beginning a new and exciting program, “Tot Mitzvah” for preschool age children, headed up by our own Doris White. Tot Mitzvah will meet on six Sundays during the year, the first session will be on September 21st. [See our previous post, Come Join Our New Tot Mitzvah Program!]

Do you know children who might be interested in our Religious School or Tot Mitzvah? Let us know; we’d love to welcome them into our school.

Our first day of Religious School will be Sunday September 7th. We eagerly invite parents to meet with us that day as well–beginning with Tefilah in the Sanctuary at 9:00 and followed by a brief meeting in the social hall. 


 IF YOU HAVE NOT YET REGISTERED YOUR CHILD FOR RELIGIOUS SCHOOL, PLEASE BRING YOUR FORMS ON SEPTEMBER 7th. 

At that meeting we will distribute the Religious School Calendar and discuss other important information, including ways for parents to be involved–we can’t do this without you. I personally hope each of you will be there so that I will have the chance to meet you!

Important Religious School-related dates to note during September and October:

Sunday September 7 

     First Day of School 9 AM
     Parent Meeting 9:45 AM


Saturday September 20
     Bat Mitzvah of Ula Goldstein


Sunday September 21
      Tot Mitzvah 9-10
AM
 
Thursday September 24
      Rosh Hashanah Children’s Service 2 p.m.

Saturday October 4
      Yom Kippur Children’s Service 2 p.m.

Sunday October 12
      Special Sukkot program in the Religious School

Wednesday October 15
      Consecration of new Religious School students 

      at Erev Simchat Torah service 7 PM
      “Pizza in the Hut” (sukkah) at 6
PM 

Sunday October 19
       Tot Mitzvah 9-10 AM

Friday October 24
       First Family Shabbat of the year,featuring 

       the Seventh Grade students 7:30 PM


Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

On this Labor Day holiday, it's worthwhile to reflect upon the role that Jewish-Americans have played in the labor union movement and the struggle for workers' rights that this day officially commemorates. While recognizing that there are many issues involved, and many sides to those issues, there is no question that the Torah places enormous emphasis on social justice, including fair treatment of workers. And that powerful ethical message reverberates throughout the millennia of Jewish history, and is especially central to the Reform movement.

Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in this song, I think we can recognize how Bob Dylan's "Union Sundown" from his 1983 album, Infidels, is rooted in Jewish ethical tradition and the Jewish-American experience:





And here are the lyrics:

Well, my shoes, they come from Singapore
My flashlights from Taiwan
My tablecloths from Malaysia
My belt buckles from the Amazon

You know, this shirt I wear comes from the Philippines
And the car I drive is a Chevrolet
It was put together down in Argentina
By a guy makin' thirty cents a day

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, this silk dress is from Hong Kong
And the pearls are from Japan
Well, the dog collars from India
And the flower pots from Pakistan

All the furniture, it says "Made in Brazil"
Where a woman, she slaved for sure
Bringin' home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve
You know, that's a lot of money to her

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, you know, lots of people complainin' that there is no work
I say, Why you say that for
When nothin' you got is U.S.-made?
They don't make nothin' here no more

You know, capitalism is above the law
It say, "It don't count less it sells."
When it costs too much to build it at home
You just build it cheaper someplace else

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Well, the job that you used to have
They gave it to somebody down in El Salvador
The unions are big business, friend
And they're goin' out like a dinosaur

They used to grow food in Kansas
Now they want to grow it on the moon and eat it raw
I can see the day coming when even your home garden
Is gonna be against the law

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way

Democracy don't rule the world
You'd better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that's better left unsaid

From Broadway to the milky way
That's a lot of territory indeed
And a man's gonna do what he has to do
When he's got a hungry mouth to feed

Well, it's sundown on the union
And what's made in the U.S.A
Sure was a good idea
Till greed got in the way


Again, acknowledging that there are differing opinions on these issues, on this Labor Day we should also stand together in agreement on the basic principle of social justice for all!