Friday, March 13, 2015

Upgrade Your Seder

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

From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz

Upgrade Your Seder

Your Seder is hopefully a warm and welcome family get­together. But is it in need of an upgrade?

The following are some of my personal suggestions. I am always trying to add something new to keep the ceremony both timeless and timely.*

1. Add new music­: How about a medley of American spirituals and freedom songs, like Go Down Moses, If I Had a Hammer, Oh Freedom, We Shall Overcome?

2. Add new readings:­ Old and new, like excerpts from Exodus, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. Add new languages: Try asking the Four Questions in multiple tongues based on the knowledge of your participants.

4. Add new drama­: Ask the thespians among you to act out the Exodus, or try scenes from the story “charades” style.

5. Add new food­: Sephardic haroset, for example, is really delicious, and there are many variations.

6. Add a quiz­: Make those kids work for their afikomen treat by taking a holiday quiz.

7. Add social media­: There’s some funny stuff on the web, so use those phones and tablets to enhance the holiday rather than detract.

8. Add new ritual: Fill Elijah’s cup by having everyone pouring a little from their own and offering their own personal prayer for peace.

9. Add new discussion: How do we imagine that we were slaves and set free, as the Haggadah commands? Where in the world do we need more freedom? What can we do about it as individuals, as a community, and as a nation?

10. Add new guests: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Who might you invite to your Seder this year in need of companionship? Or, to strengthen a friendship?

* I’m preparing a PDF of my own supplement; contact me if you would like it. And this year you can sample some of these ideas first hand as we revive the Congregational Seder (Saturday evening April 4 at 6:00 PM, details forthcoming)...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Religious School News

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

Cantor Sandy Horowitz
Religious School Director


The Talent Show was a great success, and a lot of fun! A special thank­ you to everyone who worked so hard in the planning, including our class parents, as well as to those who participated ­ especially those of our students who shared their talents. We’d love to get even greater student participation next year! Lastly, thank you for your support of this event; the primary fundraiser for our school was also a financial success.

By the time you are reading this, our March 1 congregational­and­-school­-wide Purim program will have come and gone. This year we made every effort to include the religious school in the festivities. As I write this, we are planning to have students take part by singing not only traditional Purim songs, but they will also round out the chorus for a couple of the songs in the actual Purim Shpiel. Once that’s over–it will be time to start planning for Passover!

Our final two Family Shabbat services of the year will take place on March 20 (Grade 2­3) and April 24 (Grades K­-1). Won’t you put those dates on your calendar? Our youngest students would be so excited to see their older classmates and other congregants coming out to support them!

Here are some important Religious-­School-related dates to note for March and April: 

Sunday March 1
Purim Program! (during School hours)

Sunday March 15
Tot Mitzvah

Friday March 20
Shabbat Family Service
featuring the Grade 2-­3 students 
Sunday March 29
Creative Seder Program

Sunday April 5
No School–Spring Break

Sunday April 19
Tot Mitzvah

Friday April 24
Shabbat Family Service
featuring Grades K­-1
and a Celebration of Yom Ha’Atzamaut

(Israeli Independence Day)

Confirmation Class Dates:
Sunday March 8 and 22, April 12 and 26


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Social Action for Aphasia

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


A Report from Annette DeMarco
Social Action Committee Chairperson

Aphasia­disorder of the brain affecting communication skills, though not intellect. Caused by head trauma, tumor or, mostly, strokes.

Did you ever have a word "at the tip of my tongue"? Frustrating, right? Ever listen to someone speak but not "get it", or read a paragraph over and over and still wonder what it was saying? People with aphasia have this, pretty much 24/7. They also retain their same levels of intelligence as before the aphasia, doubly frustrating!!

The Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood runs an exceptional program for these folks. The facility is state-­of­-the-­art impressive, and the program gives confidence, self­-esteem and so much more to the people who attend. Not wanting to turn anyone away due to financial situations, the center holds various types of fundraisers. One of these involves the clients making and selling jewelry and gifts, which, by the way, are lovely.

The Social Action Committee is sponsoring a program for this center on Sunday morning, April 19 at 10 AM in the Social Hall. It will begin with a light breakfast, to be followed by a short, informative session, and then a sale of the items (think Tupperware party!).

Won't you please plan to attend? It will be open to the public, so please spread the word.

Hopefully, you will never need this center's assistance, but right now it can use ours. Please go to their website: if you want more information. Board member Marilyn Katz and I took a tour and we were totally amazed at what we saw and learned. And that led us here. 

Thank you so very much to everyone who donated toiletries/cleaning products for our collection for Oelhaf House [see our previous post, Starting 2015 Off With Some Social Action!] as well as to those who gave their time and donations to the victims of the Edgewater fire.

Adas Emuno does it again!

Food collection continues.



acheryl21 at

Monday, March 9, 2015

Congregational Seder

Back by popular demand, our very own Congregation Adas Emuno Community Seder on the second night of Passover. Come join us in celebration of our festival of freedom. You can click on the image of the flyer below to enlarge it, and feel free to print it out, or simply follow the instructions to make an online reservation!

And please note that, because of the rare occurrence of the first night of Pesach on a Friday, April 3rd will be the one Friday night different from all others when we will not be holding Shabbat services at Adas Emuno.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Warming Trend


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

A Message From Our President

Dr. Lance Strate

A Warming Trend

As I write this, we are enjoying the first day in a long time when daytime temperatures have gotten higher than 40°, and this brief respite has not been enough to melt away the mounds of frozen snow and ice that surround us. This has truly been a terribly challenging, difficult winter, and we know that it isn't over yet.

We all have every right to complain about the bitter cold and severe weather. And yet there also is much to be thankful for. For starters, we can give thanks that we don't live in Boston. And on a more serious note, we can give thanks for the fact that the cold will not last much longer, that springtime is coming, sooner or later, in name and in fact. Warmer days are around the corner! 

And even on the coldest nights, our Friday night Shabbat services and Saturday morning Torah study sessions continue to be better attended than their counterparts at much larger shuls. They are the perfect way to warm the heart and soul during the winter season, and all year round. If you're wondering what’s our secret, all I can tell you is, come join us and find out. 

The wonderful warmth of our congregation was on full display back in January during our successful Talent Show fundraiser for our Religious School, which showcased the marvelous skills and abilities of our children and adults alike. Kudos to all who participated, to our dedicated volunteers who organized the event, and to all who turned out to enjoy our performers and support our school.

One of the first signs of spring is the holiday of Purim. And this year was marked by a particularly joyful celebration: a complete Purim service, songfest, and spiel on Sunday morning, March 1st, bringing together shul and school like never before! And if that's not enough, a Purim party featuring an encore performance of the Purim spiel on Wednesday evening, March 4th, complete with food and drink and fun and games!

The Festival of Passover is the season of our celebration of freedom, and also of the season of spring. And this year we plan to bring back our congregational Seder, to be held on the second night of Passover in our social hall.

And there's so much more to look forward to, but what I want to stress is the warmth of our congregation, our intimate and caring little shul on the hill, and the warming trend that we are experiencing, that owes much to our rabbi, Barry Schwartz and our Cantor and Religious School Director Sandy Horowitz, along with all of our volunteers who contribute their time, energy, and resources on behalf of Congregation Adas Emuno.

In the final analysis, everyone is capable of contributing to our warming trend, to some degree or other. Even if each one of us can only add a degree or two, together we can generate enough warmth to withstand the wildest of winter storms. And with all of the warmth that we have been generating, and will continue to in the future, all that's left to say about Adas Emuno is, when you're hot, you're hot!