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254 Broad Avenue Leonia, NJ 07605 201.592.1712

  • November 25, 2020 8:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nov. 25, 2020

    Dear Friends,

      At our Zoom Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM) we will reflect on the thanks we can give in this confounding period in our nation's history.

       The saga of family conflict and reconciliation in Genesis continues at our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM).

         Wishing you a happy, and safe, Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • November 19, 2020 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nov. 19, 2020

    Dear Friends,
      We look forward to our Zoom Shabbat Evening Family Service (7:30 PM), which will be led by students in our 7th Grade. 

       Our students will offer reflections on the tumultuous family life of Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, which is also the subject of our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study  (10:00 AM).

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • November 12, 2020 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nov. 12, 2020

    Dear Friends, 
       Each year we commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) that ushered in the Holocaust. 
       We do so this year with special music and a discussion of an anti-Semitic dilemma in Germany that has resonance with controversies here in the US.
        Of course we will also discuss the results of our election at our Zoom Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

       At our Livestream Shabbat Morning Service (10:00 AM) we celebrate the bat mitzvah of Charlotte Guberman.
       Mazal tov to Charlotte and her family! 
       (Please note that Torah study does not take place).

        Please join us for our bi-monthly Adas Emuno Book Club meeting on Monday eve. (7:30 PM).. The short story by the renowned writer Grace Paley is of special interest to interfaith families and all who wrestle with the "December dilemma".

         And attention seniors- follow this link to all kinds of free events and program from the JCC:

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

    For Livestream Shabbat Service
    Go to and enter Adas Emuno Streaming in the search box, or try this link:
    Click on the picture of the Temple that is indicated as "Live" and wait for service to begin.

    "The Loudest Voice" by Grace Paley
    Click here to read the story

  • November 05, 2020 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nov. 5, 2020

    Dear Friends,
      As I write this message early in the week I do not know the results of the election.
      But of course we will discuss this at our Zoom Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

       At our Livestream Shabbat Morning Service (10:00 AM) we celebrate the bar mitzvah of David Aleksic.
       Mazal tov to David and his family! 
       (Please note that Torah study does not take place).

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

    For Zoom Shabbat (7:30 PM)
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 867 6435 3297

    For Livestream Shabbat Service
    Go to and enter Adas Emuno Streaming in the search box, or try this link:
    Click on the picture of the Temple that is indicated as "Live" and wait for service to begin.
  • October 29, 2020 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oct. 29, 2020

    Dear Friends, 
       Next week marks 25 years since the tragic assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.
       I'll reflect on that sad anniversary and the state of democracy in both Israel and America on the eve our presidential election at our Zoom Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

        *Please note that services will be via Zoom rather than Livestream the next several weeks.
        What lessons does the epic yet intimate story of Abraham hold for us in our personal lives?
        We'll explore at our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM)

         Reminders: Set your clock back Sat. night. Vote!

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • October 22, 2020 8:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oct. 22, 2020

    Dear Friends,
       You may be not be judge, but do you have a judicial philosophy?
       We'll talk about this vital subject, as it relates to the Constitution and the Torah.
       Join us for our Zoom Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM).

        *Please note that services will be via Zoom rather than Livestream the next several weeks due to an unfortunate foot injury. 
        What lessons do the story of Noah and the Tower of Babel hold for us?
        We'll explore at our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM)

         Reminder: Have a High Holiday book to return? Need a Shabbat book? Or a Torah study book? Just let me know.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • October 15, 2020 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oct. 15, 2020

      With the Holidays now behind us we settle into our normal routine in abnormal times: Shabbat evening services, Shabbat morning Torah study and Sunday morning religious school...but all remotely.

        After our Livestream Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM) I'll discuss one of the surprising ecological teachings of the Torah's first portion at our Zoom Oneg Shabbat (8:15 PM)

        At our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM) we'll raise some questions about what the Creation story has to tell us about the differing standards applied to men and women.

        I'd also like to cordially invite you to a Zoom Jewish Publication Society webinar that I am hosting and participating in next week on Wed. eve Oct. 21 (7:30 PM) with two dynamic Reform Rabbi colleagues on Abraham's Astonishing Legacy. Simply email for your invitation which will also supply you with a 40% discount on any JPS book on our website  

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

    For Livestream Shabbat (7:30-8:15 PM)
    Go to and enter Adas Emuno Streaming in the search box, or try this link:

  • October 08, 2020 8:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oct. 8, 2020

    Dear Friends,
       So we come to the final holiday of the new Jewish year, as we celebrate at our Zoom Shabbat/Simchat Torah Family Service (7:30 PM), for all ages!
       Please note the special link in this week’s email to members.
       Yes, we will still read from the end of the Torah and the beginning of the Torah, and yes, we will all be called up (by birthday months) for the blessing of the Torah- all while we see each other. Yes, it may be a touch chaotic, but it will be happy chaos!
         At our Zoom Shabbat Morning Torah Study (10:00 AM) we'll take a final look at Moses through his last words in the last portion of the Torah.

         For those who have been asking about copies of my sermons, see the news items below.
         And a reminder to kindly return your Holiday prayer books to the bin on our school porch.

    Shabbat shalom and Hag Sameach,
    Rabbi Schwartz
  • October 06, 2020 4:43 PM | Lance Strate (Administrator)


    Yom Kipuur, 5781

    Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz

    On the afternoon of June 6, with masks and social distancing, Debby and I walked up Broad Avenue to join the Leonia Black Lives Matter protest. It was the largest gathering I had seen in our town. We marched to the library, and were led there in a rally. What moved me most, what gave me goose-bumps, despite the sweltering heat, was the chant, call and response style: Say my name! Say my name: George Floyd! Say my name: Breonna Taylor! Say my name: Ahmaud Arbery!

    Say my name. The power of three words.

    On this Yom Kippur, permit me a brief reflection on the power of naming, and the imperative to keep alive the story and the legacy behind every name.

    The acclaimed Israeli poet Zelda published a poem in 1985 which has achieved iconic status. It is called L’kol Ish Yesh ShemEach of Us Has a Name.  It begins:

    Each of us has a name

    given by God

    and given by our parents.

    The notion that there is a divine-human partnership in the sacred act of naming goes all the way back to Book of Genesis:

    And the Lord God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that would be its name. (2:19)

    And when a baby is born in our tradition, we welcome this child into the covenant with a baby naming ceremony. The newborn becomes a person in the fullest sense once the baby has its own unique name.

    Speaking of newborns: it is with the greatest of joy that Debby and I announce the birth of our grandson yesterday! Adin Doron Schwartz, Reuven Hershel ben Nadav v’Ita- welcome to the world.

    (Too bad Adin is missing this sermon).

    The Hebrew Bible attests to the significance of naming over and over again. God says to our first patriarch,

    And you shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I make you the father of a multitude of nations. (17:5)

    And to our first matriarch,

    As for your wife Sarai, you shall not call her Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah…I will bless her so that she shall give rise to nations… (17:15-16)

    A name change also explains what we call ourselves. Jacob famously wrestles with an angel, who says

    Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have wrestled with God and men and prevailed.

    That’s our collective name as the Jewish people, Yisrael–the one who wrestles with God.

    Do you know the meaning of your name? Do you know how it was chosen? Do you have an English name and a Hebrew name? Chances are that your parents thought long and hard about your name. They chose it for a reason. The liked the sound, yes, but they also cared about the meaning. They wanted your name to say something about you. In the Ashkenazic tradition your name may also bear the memory of a loved one. Your name has meaning. Your name has power.

    It was not just a man who died in Minneapolis; it was George Floyd.

    It was not just a woman who died in Louisville, it was Breonna Taylor.

    It was not just a jogger who died in Atlanta, it was Ahmaud Arbery.

    Names bestow personhood and names tell a story. Names keep alive memories and names perpetuate a legacy.

    When I was first an assistant rabbi in the DC suburb of Chevy Chase, MD in the late 80’s I went to the National Mall on the day before Yom Kippur. I went to see the National AIDS Quilt. It was the last time that the Quilt was going to be seen in one place at one time. Sadly, because of that plague, it had grown too big to be displayed as a whole.

    My parents, children, Debby and I walked up and down the rows, and I was overcome with emotion.

    I knew how many people had died of Aids. I knew the statistics.

    But seeing name after name lovingly stitched on a vibrant, colorful, unique squarethat was what got to me.

    Every personwith a unique name and a unique soul.

    The dead cry out to us: Say my name! Remember me!     

    On this Yom Kippur in the midst of pandemic and protest, let us pause and reflect:

    Who will say our name? Who will remember us?

    And on this Yom Kippur in the midst of pandemic and protest we ask:

    Who should we be naming?  Whose legacy should we be remembering?

    Those final words from Hamilton haunt us on this Yom Kippur: Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

    Say my name: keep alive the story of George Floyd; the story of Breonna Taylor; the story of Ahmaud Arbery; the story of ordinary men and women who did not deserve to die.

    Say my name: keep alive the story of John Lewis; the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; the story of extraordinary men and women who did not give up.

    Say my name: keep alive the story of Yisrael; our story, our people, who bear witness to the suffering and to the quest for equality and justice generation after generation.

    Say my name: keep alive the story of America, also our story, our people, and do not give up on the dream of a more perfect union from sea to shining sea.

    Here, now, on Yom Kippur, on behalf of the dead and on behalf of the living:

    Say my name! Say my name! Say my name!




  • October 06, 2020 4:24 PM | Lance Strate (Administrator)


    Kol Nidre, 5781

    Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz

    Soon after the death of George Floyd and the nation-wide protests that ensued, my colleague Rabbi Lance Sussman of Philadelphia, wrote this poem, entitled “I Can’t Breathe”:

    I Can’t Breathe

    by Rabbi Lance J. Sussman

    I can’t breathe,

    The knee of oppression

    Is on my neck.

    I can’t breathe,

    The air of my city

    Is filled with tear gas.

    I can’t breathe,

    I am filled with rage

    And the smoke of burning buildings.

    I can’t breathe

    Because the air is filled with contempt for people of different colors.

    I can’t breathe

    Because my country is suffocating

    And the air of democracy is getting thinner and thinner.

    I can’t breathe

    Because I am grieving for America

    And praying its dreams aren’t dying

    In the streets of our nation tonight.

    I found this poem altogether powerful, but it was the end that struck me mostthe line that “the air of democracy is getting thinner and thinner” and “I am grieving for America”.

    I realized then that I was suffering from a malady that has recently been named, Democracy Grief.

    The term is an outgrowth of another illness of recent coinage: Climate Griefthe despair felt by environmentalists watching helplessly as our planet suffocates. As columnist Michelle Goldberg explains, “Those who pay close attention to the ecological calamity that civilization is inflicting upon itself frequently describe feelings of rage, anxiety, and bottomless loss.” Greta Thunberg, Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, has described falling into a deep depression after grasping the ramifications of climate change and the utter refusal of people in power to rise to the occasion. “If burning fossil fuels is so bad that it threatens our very existence, how can we just continue like before?” she asks.

    I ask: 

    If prejudice and hate and racism are so bad that it threatens our very democratic existence how can we continue like before? 

    If the original sin of this nation still has us in shackles, how can we be free? 

    If the political discourse has so degraded that it keeps us at each other’s throats, how can we manage?

    This summer I began my Independence Day Zoom Shabbat discussion by asking how people were feeling about our country. I asked our members to pick one word. The most common was fearful. Others were anxious, depressed. Only one member of our Zoom Shabbat congregation chose a positive word, optimistic.

    In a recent Pew opinion poll on the same subject the most commonly chosen word was angry and the second scared.  Only 17% chose proud

    Feelings like this are unsettling and they are unhealthy. They indicate, to my mind, more than malaise. They are a sign of deep anxiety about our nation. Democracy grief.

    I spoke on that July 4th weekend about being a nation on edge because our feelings of disunion were overwhelming our feelings of union.

    We feel disunion when our leaders fail to protect our nation during a pandemic.

    We feel disunion when our leaders fail to seek common cause in a time of protest.

    We feel disunion when our leaders fail the common test of decency in a crisis.

    We feel disunion when other fellow Americans acquiesce in this recklessness.

    We feel disunion when truth-telling falls victim to deceit and deception.

    We feel disunion when courage bows to expediency and vision is lost to triumphalism.

    In short, we feel disunion when our country is not pulling together but pulling apart.

    We fear for our democracy.

    And who among us does not tremble at least a touch at what may happen the day after the election in November?

    Yes, the air of democracy is getting thinner and thinner.

    But if there is one bright spot it is the American spirit that refuses to die.

    The American spirit that dreams and marches for a more perfect union.

    Maybe what we saw this late spring and summer and even now is that we are finally starting to move past denial.

    Maybe what we have witnessed is the beginning of a reckoning like never before.

    Henry Louis Gates, the esteemed Harvard professor, acidly observes that, “Racism has been part of America’s cultural DNA since before the ink dried on the Constitution. Dominant in some and recessive in others, it’s a gene that has mutated over time yet remains part of the inheritance weighing us down, one generation to the next.”

    Dominant in some and recessive in others….

    Not all of us are perpetrators, we know that. But all of us are bystanders. In one way or another by turning a blind eye we are enablers.

    Is it not true that we abided by slavery for 250 years, from the earliest settlement of this continent until the Civil War?

    Is it not true that we abided by Jim Crow segregation for another 100 years, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights era?

    Is it not true that we have abided by de-facto if not de-jure discrimination for another 50 years since then?

    We do the math and that adds up to four centuries; four hundred years. That has a painful resonance for us Jews. The Torah tells us that is how long the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt.

    The same Torah that reminds us again and again, “Do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    The same Torah that warns: “you shall not stand idly by”.

    The same Torah that commands, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.”

    On this troubled Yom Kippur we ask:

    Are we calling out prejudice in our schools?  In our workplaces?  In our very families?

    Are we demanding reform of our police?  Of our prisons? Of our courts?

    Are we narrowing the inequality gap or widening it?

    Are we advancing affirmative action or stymying it?

    What are we, as ordinary citizens, doing to strengthen the democratic foundations of our country? Our little part? In our little corner?

    Here’s the thing about democracy grief vs. mourner’s grief. When we lose a loved-one, we grieve for a life that is lost forever. Our deceased have departed and will not return. What is lost is lost. Gone forever.

    “Democracy grief isn’t like regular grief,” writes Goldberg. “Acceptance isn’t how you move on from it. Acceptance is itself a kind of death.”

    Our democracy may be damaged but it is not dead.

    The air may be getting thinner, but it can be replenished.

    More Americans joined in protests after the horrifying death of George Floyd than in any other time in American history. More than the height of the civil rights era. More than the height of the Vietnam War era.

    If this is an awakening of the American spirit, then our democracy will revive.

    If our protests lead to an unrelenting call for reform, then we are breathing new air into our suffocating lungs.

    If we understand, in the words of Dr. King that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and refuse to be satisfied with the mediocrity, hypocrisy and duplicity of our political establishment, then the arc of the moral universe, long as it is, will indeed bend toward justice.

    The promise of that day has never been forgotten by our faith and by our country. It is captured in another remarkable poem, by Judy Chicago. With it, I conclude, knowing that though our grief is real, so too is our hope. We have come a long way. We have a long way to go. But a better day is waiting to dawn:

          And Then

         And then all that has divided us will merge.

         And then compassion will be wedded to power.

         And the softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind.

         And then both men and women will be gentle.

         And then both women and men will be strong.

         And then no person will be subject to another’s will.

         And then all will be rich and free and varied.

         And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many.

         And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance.

         And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old.

         And then all will nourish the young.

         And then all will cherish life’s creatures.

         And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth.

         And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

Student Cantor

Joseph Flaxman

Religious School Director

Annette De Marco

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