What's New

Purimspiel 2017: The Neil Spiel

Ever wonder how the folks waiting on line for tickets to "Hamilton" pass the time? Or what Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka and Neil Young all have in common? (Okay, that was an easy one.) Come to this year's Purim play, "The Neil Spiel," to find out. But mostly to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing Esther's story and to be entertained beyond belief. It's on Saturday, March 11th, at 7:00 pm. Don't miss it!

A Jewish Response to Mourning

Cantor Meredith Greenberg will be offering one class to strengthen one's ability to embody compassion for the mourner on Sunday Morning, March 26 at 11:15 am. The class will include:

  • Learn about the traditions associated with shiva and mourning
  • Understand the liturgy
  • Practical tips for visiting a house of mourning
  • becoming aware of Ner Tamid minhagim/customs

If you're interested in attending please RSVP to Laurie Schifano.

This program is sponsored by the Temple Ner Tamid Chesed Committee. 

Friday Night Film Festival & Dinner

Friday, March 31 at 6:30 pm

Join us following the 6:30 pm Friday night service for dinner (provided by Ner Tamid), our feature presentation of Ace In the Hole, and discussion with Rabbi Kushner. 

Ace In the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper. 

The story is a biting examination of the seedy relationship between the press, the news it reports and the manner in which it reports it. The film also shows how a gullible public can be manipulated by the press.

This program is free and open to all.

Shabbat B'yachad

Please join us for our first Shabbat B'yachad of the year on Friday, February 24. The service will begin at 6:30 pm followed by a catered dinner. The service will be led by Rabbi Kushner, Cantor Greenberg, Cantorial Assistant Pressman, Peri Smilow and Rick Abrams. This engaging tefillah experience brings the warm, inviting, and inclusive spirit of the B'yachad High Holy Day services to Shabbat. 

The cost for dinner is $15 per adult and $5 per child. Please click here to register on the member portal. 

Rosh Chodesh Iyar Gathering

Save the Date: The Rosh Chodesh Iyar Gathering for the Women of Temple Ner Tamid and friends will meet at Ner Tamid on Sunday, April 26 at 7:30 pm for Songs & Stories of Kol Isha (A Woman's Voice). Sharon Goldman, a NJ-based singer/songwriter, whose insightful and vivid storytelling and heartfelt, soulful performances will be with us as she shares a bold, unique song journey merging Jewish imagery, myth, and memories with a modern, feminist perspective.

Join us with an opportunity to figure out how to take "your mask" off revealing your fuller self.

Please RSVP to Cantorial Assistant Ronni Pressman. 

ShopRite Food Collection

Hello. I am Emily Dephoure, the new volunteer coordinator for the ShopRite food collection program. Many of you already know about this great monthly program that helps the local Human Needs Food Pantry serve thousands of hungry people throughout suburban Essex County. The program has been vital to the Food Pantry, which is facing an ever increasing need. Ner Tamid volunteers have handed out flyers to shoppers at the Brookdale ShopRite and collected thousands of bags of groceries. And, many shoppers are eager to give because it is an easy way to contribute. But, we need more volunteers to help keep this program going. It is also a great service activity for families and teens. 

We are also looking for adult volunteers with large vehicles such as SUVs and/or pickup trucks who could help transport food to the Pantry, which is a few miles from the ShopRite on Label Street in Montclair.

Contact me at emilydephoure@me.com if you would like to sign-up for a shift.

Here are the 2017 collection dates - Please consider volunteering.

Sunday, January 29; Sunday, February 26; Sunday, March 19; Sunday, April 30; Sunday, May 21; Sunday, June 11; Sunday, July 16; Sunday, August 20; Sunday, September 17; Sunday, October 15; Sunday, November 12; Sunday, December 10

Update From the TNT Rabbinic Transition Committee

I want to share with you and the entire TNT community the status of the transition occurring as Rabbi Kushner retires in June of 2018. As I explained at the congregational meeting in May 2016, and in subsequent emails and E-Geret posts, the transition includes 4 phases: saying goodbye to Rabbi Kushner, self-evaluation by the TNT community, hiring a new rabbi and integrating the new rabbi and his/her family into the community. 

Several events to honor Rabbi Kushner have been scheduled or are in the planning. A Scholar in Residence weekend featuring Rabbi David Ellenson, former president of the Hebrew Union College and currently the Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, is scheduled for October 13-15, 2017. A movie festival, recognizing Rabbi Kushner’s love of film, is planned for fall 2017 with details to follow. And a special Shabbat Celebration, along with a fun party is also being planned for April 28-30, 2018 in Rabbi Kushner’s honor.

The process of self-evaluation has begun with a series of focus groups at which congregants express current feelings about TNT as well as their aspirations for the future. Already, about 80 people have asked to be included in focus groups and many others are being invited by congregants who have graciously offered to open their homes. Right before the start of Hanukkah, we held two focus groups. Many more are scheduled for January. Once all of the focus groups have taken place, we will share a summary report with everyone as this document will inform the search for a new rabbi.

In the spring, the transition committee will make a recommendation to the TNT board on whether or not to hire an interim rabbi for a specifically limited time before moving to a new permanent rabbi. The committee has studied several articles on this issue and will be meeting with several consultants on this topic.  To be clear, an interim rabbi is one who has received special training to serve a synagogue in a transition year- often after the retirement of a rabbi of many years. He/she understands that they are at the temple for only about one year.  The interim rabbi performs all the duties of a “regular” rabbi; ritual, pastoral, educational, etc. The interim rabbi also works with the synagogue’s clergy and professional staff as well as the synagogue’s volunteer leadership to implement and/or experiment with changes to existing programs and work practices, and seeks ideas to create and implement new programs from synagogue leadership. He/she will also interact with board members and other congregants in a frank and direct manner with a view toward enhancing all that TNT provides our congregants and the greater community. 

One goal in hiring a new permanent rabbi is to ensure his/her success. Many Reform synagogues have utilized an interim rabbi for one year to increase the likelihood of success by providing rabbinic leadership during a time of change and by providing room for the new rabbi to comfortably and productively take on the new role. 

A rabbinic search committee will be formed in the spring of 2017. That committee will be separate from the transition committee. Its work will be guided, in large part, based on our focus group discussions and the transition committee’s literature review, meetings with consultants, and intensive discussions.

Using all of this information, the search committee will create the job description for our new permanent rabbi or interim rabbi. We plan to post this position around Labor Day/High Holy Days 2017 with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (“CCAR”) - the rabbinical association for all Reform rabbis in North America that will be working with us on our search for a new rabbi. The CCAR will be working with us at no charge as a benefit of Temple Ner Tamid being a part of the Reform Movement as a member in good standing with the Union for Reform Judaism. 

The Transition Committee will continue to periodically share with you additional updates as we move forward with our work. We value your input and participation. Please feel free to email me (transtion@nertamid.org) or call me should you have any questions. Thank you in advance for all that you do for TNT.

Please Move New Vilnius Convention Center Project AWAY from the Old Jewish Cemetery

For close to five hundred years (starting in the 15th century), many thousands of Jewish residents of Vilnius (Vilna), the capital of Lithuania, were buried in its old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt (in the Shnípishok / Šnipiškės district), including many of the great Jewish scholars of a city once known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania”. During the Soviet Union’s misrule, the gravestones were all pilfered, and a sports arena was built in the middle of the cemetery, itself on a base mixed with human remains. Most of the graves on all four sides were left untouched, and many thousands are still buried there. It is sacred ground and should be restored as a cemetery and memorial park to which pilfered gravestones (which turn up all over the city) can be returned. Instead, some greedy business interests, cooperating politicians, antisemitic nationalists and "pliant Jewish figures" have joined forces for a new National Convention Center to rise on the site, where thousands would revel, cheer, sing, drink at bars and use toilets surrounded by Jewish graves.

Because of the Holocaust and the murder of around 99% of Vilna's Jewry, the buried people, whose families paid honestly over centuries for their perpetual place of rest, have no local descendants to take up their cause. To make matters worse, the developers and the politicians have boasted that many millions in European Union “structural funds” would be put toward the project (and European Commission leaders have thus far failed to take a clear moral stand on that). This fate would never befall a major Christian cemetery here in the 21st century. There has been staunch opposition from local Jewish and non-Jewish people, and from voices from around the world. Major Litvak rabbis around the world, as well as those from other traditions, have published protests expressing their shock and calling on our nation's leaders to reconsider. The city has many ideal alternative sites for the new convention center.

The decision to mock the memory of Vilna Jewry with a convention center in the middle of the city's medieval Jewish cemetery would be a grave error with unfortunate consequences, making for a blot on this city's status for centuries to come. By contrast, moving the convention center project to another site and preserving with respect the old Jewish cemetery at Piramónt would bring great honor to modern democratic, EU member Lithuania.

Thank you for considering my petition.

Ruta Bloshtein
Lithuania

Here is the Internet link to sign the petition.

Tikkun Olam Volunteers - Join our Community in Service to Others

We need your help. We have a variety of Tikkun Olam projects, but not enough volunteers to man them all. Depending on what’s your passion we have a volunteer opportunity that’s just right for you. But, if by chance you don't see that one special project that tickles your fancy, we want to hear where you want to help “repair the world.” 

Here's the list of our current opportunities waiting for your special touch:

  • Bloomfield Café – Soup kitchen partnering with United Park Methodist Church (monthly)
  • Brookdale Shoprite – Collecting food donated for the Human Needs Food Pantry (monthly)
  • Blood Drive – Donate blood (semi-annually)
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network – House homeless families; parents and children, in need of shelter (1 week a year)
  • Christmas Holiday Hospital Assistance Program – Relieve hospital staffs who celebrates Christmas (Christmas Eve and day)
  • Temple Rummage Sale – Setup and sell donated clothes and household items (annually)
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Network – Assist elderly and infirm Bloomfield residents with simple home repair and cleanup (a couple of weekend days)

Any of these projects require just a couple of hours of your time, and you're never going to be doing them by yourself. It's a great opportunity for families who want to experience community service together, for students looking for mitzvah projects, or for congregants wanting to get to know one another a little better while enjoying a rich rewarding experience. The work isn't hard. You might be tired at the end of the day, but you'll feel great about what you've just accomplished. 

Maybe you're looking for a broader social action opportunity. You want to be involved in an activity that can change the future of a larger constituency which might not necessarily be local. If this is the case contact Lori Price Abrams, VP Tikkun Olam, loripriceabrams@gmail.com to discuss your idea. Get involved! Be a Tikkun Olam volunteer and help “repair the world.” Click here to download your volunteer form today!

Bloomfield Café Feeds the Hungry

Throughout the summer Ner Tamid’s members and friends have dedicated their time and energy in an effort to help those less fortunate. Beginning in the middle of last summer we have been preparing food for our homeless of Bloomfield and Montclair. On the fourth Sunday of every month we use the Park United Methodist Church of Bloomfield’s kitchen and dining room to prepare and serve the community’s homeless a nutrient meal which might be the only meal they have had in some time. Food insecurity is something most of us only read about, but for these men, women, and children face this reality every day. 

You don't have to be a master chef to volunteer. You can help set up and serve. At the end of the day you’ll feel something very special in helping others. Be a joiner. We'd love to see some new faces. You're only volunteering for a couple of hours of work.

Please contact Sharyn Mandell sharynknows@aol.com with any questions or to add your name to the list of volunteer to help.

Please click hear to read more about the wonderful efforts of amazing volunteers and Tikkun Olam Committee.

Temple Ner Tamid's Amazon Store

Temple Ner Tamid has its own new Amazon.com store featuring favorite books and DVDs of Rabbi Kushner, Cantor Greenberg and fellow Temple members. 

Shopping via Ner Tamid's Amazon store won't cost you anything extra, but it does allow Temple Ner Tamid to earn about 6% from most purchases. You can purchase the books and DVDs recommended by clergy, staff, and fellow members or other items on Amazon.com that may not be featured on Temple Ner Tamid's Amazon store. All of your Amazon shopping benefits Temple Ner Tamid

Please click on the link below to access Amazon.com and then after shopping, proceed to the checkout. Ner Tamid's commission will be credited automatically. 

http://astore.amazon.com/nertam-20