30th Annual Ridgewood Interfaith Holocaust Memorial Service
Our annual Ways & Means gala on March 4, 2017 was a huge success and simply too much fun! We honored Joe & Sandy Wechsler for their innumerable contributions and Tina Polen for always being there for our community in so many ways. The jukebox theme got quite a few attendees in a retro mood and yes, a few Elvises were in the building. The food was delicious, the decorations fanciful and our hats go off to Linda Paige and her crew for putting together such a wonderful evening.
Members of TI-JCC's Tikkun Olam committee showed some love to clients of the Bergen County Human Services Center on Valentine's Day at the Family Promise Walk-in Dinner program. Food was prepped and later served at the shelter to an appreciative crowd. Our temple youth baked heart-shaped cookies for dessert.
Temple Israel & JCC’s 3rd Annual “Cabaret Night” on January 21 presented a brass band, a singer/songwriter, Bollywood dancers, 2 rock bands, and more performers in a three-hour festive evening of entertainment. Performing on Cabaret Night were The Barnert Brass, comprising members of Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes; singer/songwriter Ariana Gates of Fair Lawn; The Ridgewood Bollywood Dancers; Macaroon 5, the house band of the Glen Rock Jewish Center, playing classic rock hits; the North Jersey Choral Society Vocal Ensemble, storyteller Pam Grant, and the folk/rock band Di Fir Kashes (The Fire Catchers), comprising members of Temple Israel. In addition to a night of great entertainment, everyone enjoyed a sumptuous buffet of appetizers and desserts. We're looking forward to next year's Cabaret already!
On December 25, 2016, over 200 people gathered at Temple Israel to light the first Hanukkah candle, play dreidel, eat Chinese food and jelly donuts, and have fun. Adults and kids alike enjoyed the holiday with old friends and new ones. The little ones watched Happy Feet as older kids gathered for their party in the library. Many thanks to our volunteers who organized and publicized the successful evening; and to the Puritz Endowment Fund for underwriting the food expenses and an anonymous donor for donating the silver dollars.
The NNJJA Chanukah party held on Dec. 11 was a big success. Students from the five congregations that comprise the NNJJA consortium had a great time together; check out this "sticker by numbers" menorah artwork these students are showing off. NNJJA is the Northern NJ Jewish Academy, hosted at Temple Israel & Jewish Community Center and supported by several other area synagogues.
Congratulations to Rabbi Fine on the publication of his latest book, "Passionate Centrism: One Rabbi's Journey." We enjoyed hearing about the premise and background of his book during the launch party held on the morning of November 13, at which Rabbi Fine read excerpts that addressed various aspects of Jewish history, tradition and observance. Many of us now owned original signed copies! The rabbi's parents were also there to celebrate with us. The book is available on Amazon or through the synagogue office.
On Mon., Oct. 24, Rabbi Jacob led Shakshukah in the Sukkah. Congregants from RCBI and Temple Israel gathered together to learn how to make the Israeli dish shakshukah. After lots of cutting, slicing, sauteeing and simmering, dinner was served in the sukkah, just before the annual ice cream social and Simchat Torah service. Everyone had a great time working in the kitchen and sitting down together to enjoy a light dinner together.
Eco-activist and author Betsy Teutsch gave a presentation on Sept. 25 about many affordable ways we can improve lives for the world's most impoverished people. She brought examples of some of the tools being used as part of her global tikkun olam initiative and touched upon themes from her book, "100 under $100: 100 Tools for Empowering Global Women," which was available for sale and signing at the event.
Our Shabbat Under the Summer Sky is always a beautiful way to usher in the Sabbath. On June 24th, we especially enjoyed the service with Cantor Caitlin Bromberg, now Cantor Emerita of Temple Israel & JCC. Our musicians were on hand to accompany her as she played guitar and congregants sang and prayed together as summer's dusk descended.
Shalom Yerushalyim comes to TIJCC Korean Christians for Shalom Jerusalem brought a lively and very colorful cultural festival to Temple Israel on June 20. The program was presented by this coalition of Korean Christians who recognize the biblical importance of the Jewish people, and who pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The evening included opportunities for us to try on Korean kimonos and other native garb and have our names written in characters before the big show. The stage was soon filled with wonderful demonstrations of Korean folk dancing (including a number with adorable children), drumming, tai chi with a world-renowned master, a play depicting the Book of Ruth, songs and other musical performances against a multi-media backdrop. Afterwards, clergy from three area churches representing the people of Korea, China and Japan took the stage to offer gifts and exchange remarks with Rabbi Fine. The Korean pastor read a heartfelt proclamation that explained the organization's mission, to express deep repentance for the persecution suffered by Jews over the millennia, and to show their love for the Jewish people and build bridges of understanding through these cultural exchanges. The group will travel to Jerusalem next year.