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254 Broad Avenue Leonia, NJ 07605 201.592.1712

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  • February 29, 2024 8:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 29, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      Happy Leap Day!

       Have you ever seen the famous statue of Moses by Michelangelo in Rome?
       It is grand, but Moses has horns! Why? The standard explanation is that this is a mistranslation of a verse in this week's Torah portion. But now some biblical scholars are not so sure....
       We'll leap into the controversy at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

         We continue our leap into Halakhah, Jewish Law, at our Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM).

         Speaking of leaping, did you know that every few years the Jewish calendar has not a leap day, but a leap month! It's called Second Adar, and this year it begins March 11. It’s the reason the Holidays were so "early" last year and are so "late" this year. Yes, it’s complicated, but maybe I'll take a stab at explaining it next month :)

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • February 22, 2024 8:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 22, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      The Jewish Publication Society has recently released a revised edition of its acclaimed Bible translation.
      It’s called THE JPS TANAKH: GENDER-SENSITIVE EDITION.
      Why the revision and what does it mean?
      We'll get the inside story at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

       What is the biggest difference between Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism?
       We begin a unit at our Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM) that will get to the heart of that question.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • February 15, 2024 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 15, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      Two hundred years ago, in the summer of 1824, a poignant reunion of surviving Revolutionary War heroes brought tears to their eyes as they paid tribute to the memory of our first president.

      In honor of Presidents' Day I'll explain the special gathering, and how and why we can appreciate it even today, at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

      Torah Study and Religious School are both on break for the holiday weekend.

       I wanted to share a personal simcha- this Shabbat our new granddaughter Ava will be named at Central Synagogue in New York, where my son and family are members, and our grandson Adin attends preschool. Forty years ago I was the student rabbi there, and we held her father's naming in the very same place!

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • February 08, 2024 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 8, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      Join us this week for "Social Action Shabbat".
      We honor the members of our social action committee, and the good work they are doing.
      Several will speak, and social justice music will infuse our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM), with Peter Hayes on guitar joining with our cantor.

       We'll emphasize some of the great social justice teachings of our Torah portion and tradition at our Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM).

       The same applies to our Religious school service and Confirmation Class on Sunday. 

       Did you love reading the classic novel The Chosen by Chaim PotokOur selection for our next book club meeting (on March 11) reminds me of that volume. It's called Leaving Eastern Parkway by Matthew Daub, and is available from the library.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • February 01, 2024 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 1, 2024

      Just who was Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses?
      The Torah portion of this week is named after him.
      He plays a quiet but crucial role in Moses' family and in the Exodus experience.
      It’s worth exploring, which we will do at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

       Just what happened at Sinai?
       That also is the subject of the Torah portion, which includes the giving of the Ten Commandments.
        We'll continue our exploration of revelation at our Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM).

        As a world traveler myself, I love learning about Jewish communities around the world.
        At our Sunday Adult Education, Sally and Michael Seymour will talk about their recent trip to Morocco. (10:00 AM).
         Come learn about the rich Jewish history there, and sample a few middle-eastern treats.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • January 25, 2024 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan. 25, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      Today the trees are celebrating- it’s their new year, Tu Bishvat.

       Did you ever hear about Honi-the-Circlemaker, the Jewish Johnny Appleseed?
       We'll talk about him (and a bit about Johnny himself) at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

        Did you ever attend a Seder Tu Bishvat?
        It's tasty and fun and educational!
        It's happening in lieu of Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM), and the fruits and drinks are on the house.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • January 18, 2024 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan. 18, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      Nobody ever said that being a leader is easy.
      Just how hard it is we see repeatedly in the Exodus story.
       I'll comment on this ever-relevant theme at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM). 

       If I ask you the question: Who wrote the Torah?, how would you answer?
       We will take on this big subject at our Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM)

        On Sunday both our Tot and Confirmation programs meet, and a special school program for Tu Bishvat, the New Year of Trees, is also happening.
         Note that our annual Seder Tu Bishvat for adults will take place next Saturday morning, the 27th (in lieu of Torah study).

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • January 11, 2024 8:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan.11, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      The greatness of Martin Luther King Jr. was his quest not only for racial equality but for economic equality.
       It is the latter that I will consider when I speak about the gap of "Two Americas" that is widening, not narrowing, at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).
       Once again we welcome song leader Adam Kohane.
       We'll also honor Dr. King's legacy at our religious school service on Sunday.

       The second semester of Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM) has begun, as we explore Jewish views of the soul and immortality. 
        Note that Congregation Gesher Shalom will commence their Shabbat morning services in the sanctuary at the same time, open to all.

         Robbie Slater received the high honor of an Eagle Scout commendation last week, and I was privileged to participate in the ceremony. Mazal tov to Robbie and his family!

        Finally, as we keep the hostages ever-present in our thoughts:

    On Friday, January 12 at 9 AM, please join the Hostages and Missing Families Forum for a demonstration marking 100 days since hostages were taken by Hamas on October 7th. It will take place in front of the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th Street and First Avenue). Please join us and our partners as we continue to call to #BringThemHomeNow.

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • January 04, 2024 8:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan. 4, 2024

    Dear Friends,
      The Book of Exodus, which we begin reading in the Torah cycle this week, begins by noting the change of generations after Joseph and his brothers pass away.
      I've been conscious of generational change during this tumultuous time, especially when it comes to support for Israel, or the lack thereof, from young Jews.
       We need to talk about this openly, which I will do at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).
       Once again, we welcome Adam Kohane, as guest song leader, and appreciate his uplifting vocals and guitar. 

       Welcome to the second semester of Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM).
        Is there really something called the soul? What does Judaism believe about life after death? Is human nature basically good or bad? These are some of the questions we'll be considering in our continued exploration of Open Judaism

         On the lighter side of things, a discussion of unique comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks will take place via Zoom at our Adas Emuno Book Club on Monday (7:30 PM). 

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • December 28, 2023 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dec. 28, 2023

    Dear Friends,
      On this last Shabbat of the year I once again present to you...
      "The Rabbi's Top Ten Jewish News Stories".
       This has been a tradition of mine for the past 13 years!

       I'll do so at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).
       For Israel and the Jewish community this was such an intensely eventful year...and there is so much to talk about.

        This is a quiet, post-Hanukkah time of the year.
         Please note that both religious school and Torah study are on break this week.

         Let's hope that 2024 will bring a greater measure of shalom (peace, security, wholeness, reconciliation) into our lives and the world.
          
    Shabbat shalom and Happy New Year,
    Rabbi Schwartz 
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Student Cantor

Joseph Flaxman

Religious School Director

Annette De Marco

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