In the News- NJJN “Second refugee family adopted by South Orange synagogues”

by Johanna Ginsberg-

NJJN Staff Writer February 15, 2017
Rabbi Dan Cohen of Sharey Tefilo-Israel said he was proud his community was able to welcome a family of refugees with only three days to prepare for their arrival… 

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Liba Beyer said her committee received a call asking if they could help settle an Iraqi family of six, with four children ranging in age from six to 23. The family would arrive on Friday. 

Beyer is part of a committee comprised of members from three South Orange synagogues partnering with the World Church Service to adopt refugee families and help them adjust to their new lives. 

The mad rush was necessary as this was the family’s second attempt to come to the United States. 

The family had already been approved by U.S. government agencies and were preparing to depart from Istanbul — where they fled when …

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In the News- NJJN “When politics came to synagogue”

by Johanna Ginsberg-
February 15, 2017
Anat Cohen of Livingston and her family dropped their membership this year at the Conservative-affiliated Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex in Caldwell. Her increasing discomfort as a Trump supporter in a liberal environment was one of several factors that went into her family’s decision.

“It was annoying that there was not another voice,” said Cohen, who asked that her real name not be used to protect her family’s privacy. While she said the rabbi and cantor were “very careful” in their rhetoric, nonetheless, “The message got across that we are terrible Jews if we do not open our border to refugees. The social action aspects of Judaism just take precedence over Judaism.”

Not too far away, West Orange resident Matt Greenwood, an avowed socialist and member of the Orthodox Congregation Ahawas Achim B’nai Jacob & David (AABJ&D), quipped that he and the …

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Why I Demonstrated… One TSTI Member’s Perspective

Sunday, I marched to voice my opposition to the recent executive order regarding immigration from several, but not all, predominately Muslim countries. I ran into Rabbi Cohen there and he asked me to write about why I came. Why had I decided that it was time to become openly politically active?  

Marching was almost instinctive. For me there was instant clarity that this is a time when it is imperative to stand up and fight for what is right. It is my moral duty as a citizen not only of America but of the world to fight for myself, my loved ones, and most importantly for those who do not have the voice. America was not designed to be a place to discriminate against people of different religions. A clear separation of church and state is stated in the Constitution, the very document that defines us as a nation. …

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What I Learn From My Grandfather’s Painting

On the wall of my study at the synagogue is a painting my grandfather Alex did in the early 1920’s. It depicts the Leviathan, the ship that brought my grandfather from Europe to this country. Both he and my grandmother, also an immigrant, came here fleeing persecution. My grandmother spent weeks, if not months, in fear of the next pogroms. It was a hard life and one that they rarely spoke of. Instead, they spent their entire adult lives as proud citizens of these United States.

That painting sits on my study wall as a constant reminder that my sister Martha and I have the life we have because of our grandparents’ decision to come to America. The painting is there to ensure that I never forget that I am the grandchild of immigrants and that, as a result, I not only owe this nation a debt of gratitude, but …

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SoMa Resettlement Project Update From Our TSTI Chairs

This past Sunday Rabbi Klein and I had the privilege of meeting the Syrian family our community is helping to resettle. It was truly a priviledge to meet them and to begin getting to know them a bit. It was clear to us that they had been through a great deal. Knowing that their lives will be so much quieter and more secure now truly warmed my heart. Our TSTi Chairs Sheryl and Alan have done an amazing job. We are grateful to them, and to all of you who have and continue to volunteer, for doing this important, and holy, work. 

Here is their most recent update. 


This week, the Syrian family we are sponsoring started their life in America. Every outing has been an adventure. So far, they have been to the library, many stores in downtown Maplewood and Target! Seeing everything new through their …

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Shabbat January 20th, 2017

Dear Friends-

As Shabbat arrives this evening our nation will have entered a new era. No matter where one sits on the political and social spectrum I do believe today is a day when we see the strength of our nation. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our great nation and is worthy of appreciation and respect. And while I hope the spirit of national unity extends beyond today, at least for today we have been able to see those with vastly differing perspectives standing together and celebrating our country’s democracy. We will see that democracy in action tomorrow as well, as hundreds of thousands of Americans make their voices heard as they call for respect for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic standing. 

Etched on the cornerstone of our middle building are words from the prophet Isaiah: “My house …

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SOMA Resettlement – A New Chance to Add Light to the World 

From the chairs of the Deuteronomy 10:19 Resettlement Project

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, Congregation Beth El, and Oheb Shalom Congregation are joining together to resettle a refugee family in our community. We are excited to announce that Church World Services has identified a Syrian family in need of our support and we are expecting a mid-January arrival. We need to quickly arrange housing and so much more before we can make this happen!

Thank you so much to all who have contributed so far! We have already raised an impressive $16K towards our goal. Please consider donating before the end of the year and sharing our fundraising page with your friends on social media. As an added incentive, we have a donor willing to match the next $1,500 raised to help us meet our end of year fundraising goals. Click here to donate on our gofundme page.

We are …

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TSTI in Israel December 2016- Join Us

Screenshot 2016-02-12 13.03.44

Our congregational trip to Israel next fall is in the planning stages. We already have some great interest and are hoping to get even more. Seeing Israel with your temple family is an amazing way to experience the Holy Land. Being able to share as one or more of our young people become Bar/Bat Mitzvah only makes the experience more powerful.

Once again Doron Harel will be our tour guide. But Doron is more than a tour guide. He is an educator, a passionate teacher and a dear friend. And, this year, my wife Raina- who headed Hillel’s Birthright program for three years- is planning the itinerary with Doron. That translates to a TSTI Israel Experience like no other.

If you have any interest in possibly joining us please let Sunny know in the temple office.

Here’s what the current draft itinerary looks like.

TSTI Trip to Israel December 21st2016- January 1st

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Ten Minutes of Torah – Celebrating Jewish Arts and Culture


So proud Debbie Halpern, author of this article, is a member of TSTI. 

I understand why Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last month. It is a beautiful, captivating and moving story. Set in World War II, possibly the most written-about period in history, it manages to cover original ground. The main characters are tragically drawn, rich, and full. Novels as well-written are few and far between and deserving of honors.

It is only upon reflection, and in context, that I find it part of a larger, disturbing trend of well-written, popular novels that cast the Nazi soldier as victim. Like the “must-read” contemporary World War II novel The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak, Doerr’s novel paints a sympathetic portrait of the Nazi soldier – the “everyman” German as the victim of a larger evil force.

What made The Book

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 A TSTI Passover…


TSTI Rennasaince Group celebrates the second night of Passover at Giorgio’s in South Orange  …

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