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  • December 05, 2019 5:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    News from our religious school

    Last month we were delighted by our 6th grade's participation in our Family Shabbat service.  They sang beautifully almost all of the prayers, leading the congregation in song and presenting a wonderful skit on the week's Torah portion about Abraham, Sarah and the VERY unexpected arrival of their son Isaac.  This month the 5th grade will be leading our service on December 13th with a presentation on Channukah.  Please come everyone to these wonderful family services which are fun, short and to support our children as they raise us in song.  The onegs always have good treats for all to enjoy and it's a great way to get to know each other.  

  • December 05, 2019 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Dec. 5, 2019
    Dear Friends,
       Lincoln famously said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand".
       Yet our country was deeply divided both at its founding and today, never mind during the Civil War.
       It’s particularly instructive to understand how our Founders dealt with division, as did the Founding Family in our Torah portion -- which we will examine at our Shabbat Evening Service (7:30 PM). 
        This theme continues at our Shabbat morning Torah study (10:00 AM).
         This Sunday is our annual Mitzvah Mall (11:15 AM), one of our nicest social action programs. Come learn about organizations making a difference in our community and receive beautiful donation cards which make wonderful Hanukkah gifts.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • November 27, 2019 8:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Nov. 27, 2019
       
         On this Thanksgiving I am thankful for a group of American heroes who have recently spoken truth to power.
         I will offer a tribute to them at our Shabbat evening service (7:30 PM).
         
         Political events have also been tumultuous in Israel of late, and how these events are echoes of ancient Biblical disputes will emerge in our Shabbat morning Torah study (10:00 AM).

    Shabbat Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving,
    Rabbi Schwartz

    PS- A reminder that Religious School does not meet for the holiday weekend.

  • November 26, 2019 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    So Many Ways to "Do Good"

    The end of 2019 is in sight.  Let's go out in style - Tikkun Olam style!

    • Oneg Sponsorship - 2020 - Dates through August have been added to our online sign up.  This is a special way to recognize yahrzeits, birthdays and anniversaries.  Click here to sign up - 2020 sponsors needed!
    • Mitzvah Mall - Sunday, December 8 - 11:15 am (changed from 11:30 am) - Social Hall
      • How does it work?  Make a donation to a participating charitable organization and receive a blank greeting card with an insert which describes the charity. These cards can be given as gifts to friends and family so they know a donation was made in their honor.  Organizations this year include: Operation Respect, Hackensack River Keeper, Jewish Braille International and Bergen County Animal Shelter.
    • Food Donations - On-going - The Center for Food action continues to need our support.  Current donations are important for the increase demand for aid around the year end holidays.

  • November 21, 2019 9:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Nov. 21, 2019

    Dear Friends,

      I was quite surprised to learn that my alma mater, Duke University, is embroiled in a dispute with the Trump Administration over its Middle East Study Center.
      It’s complicated, and it even relates to this week's Torah portion!
      I'll explain at our Shabbat evening service (7:30 PM).

      At our Shabbat morning Torah study (10:00 ) we'll take a close look at the foundational event that established the Jewish people—the revelation at Mount Sinai. What exactly happened there?

      I was asked to give the sermon at this year's Leonia Community Thanksgiving Service, this Tuesday, the 26th, at the Presbyterian Church (8:00 PM), 181 Ft. Lee Road. It's always a nice occasion, and a jazz band is playing.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • November 14, 2019 8:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Nov. 14, 2019

    Dear Friends,

      The saga of Abraham and Sarah is not particularly funny, but it is in the hands of the 6th grade, who will lead our Shabbat Family Service (7:30 PM).

      We revisit the epic of the Exodus at our Shabbat Morning Torah study, "Turning Points in Jewish History" (10:00 AM).

      These Biblical stories also come alive in creative ways at our weekly religious school service on Sundays (9:00 AM) and at Confirmation Class (11:00 AM).

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • November 07, 2019 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Nov. 7, 2019
    Dear Friends,

      Even though Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass", the beginning of the Holocaust in earnest, occurred 81 years ago this Shabbat, our member Kurt Roberg was an eyewitness to the tragedy. He will share his vivid recollection at our Shabbat Evening service (7:30 PM).
      
      At our Shabbat Morning Torah study (10:00 AM) on "Turning Points in Jewish History" we will examine what happened when Alexander the Great conquered Israel...and the world changed forever.

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • October 31, 2019 8:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Week at Adas Emuno

    Oct. 31, 2019

    Dear Friends,

         There was something about Noah (the subject of this week's Torah portion) that bothered the sages, and it has relevance to what is happening today. I'll let you in on the secret at our Shabbat evening service (7:30 PM).

         We join with our local Reform congregations for a special combined Torah study at Temple Sinai in Tenafly with guest scholar Rabbi Leon Morris on Shabbat morning (9:00 AM).

         Don't forget to have your clocks "fall back" an hour so you will be on time for religious school and anything else on Sunday.

         Do you know someone with a tot age 1-4? If so, they will enjoy our special Tot-Shabbat program this Sunday (9:30-10:30 AM). Contact Kerri Klein at kklein7304@gmail.com.

         And check out our new book club, which has its third meeting on Monday (7:30 PM).

    Shabbat shalom,
    Rabbi Schwartz

  • October 17, 2019 2:51 PM | Lance Strate (Administrator)

    YOU WILL BE FOUND

    Kol Nidre, 5780

    Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz


    Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
    Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
    Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
    Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

    So sings a lonely young man named Evan in the Broadway hit, Dear Evan Hansen. His quivering voice is all too familiar; his pain all too palpable.

    His is the voice of a teen, a new generation. He echoes a famous melody of my generation, when the Beatles sang:

    All the lonely people
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people
    Where do they all belong?

    How can this be? In our hyper-connected world, how can so many be so lonely?

    Two billion people on this planet use Facebook monthly; 1.3 billion use it daily. 79% of Americans are on Facebook. The average number of friends now: 338.

    Yet to the question: How many of your Facebook friends could you trust to help you in a crisis, the most recently study found: four. That is actually an increase from previous studies that indicated one or two.

    Robert Putnam, author of the famous book on the decline of civic and social engagement, Bowling Alone, once said, “People watch Friends on TV; they don’t have them.”

    Social scientists are today speaking of The Loneliness Epidemic in our country.  Just google those words and you will be overwhelmed by the number of articles on the subject.

    The US Dept. of Health has an entire section of its website entitled with that term. On it we learn:

    Over a quarter of the U.S. population now live by themselves.

    28 percent of older adults live alone, including 1 in 6 boomers.

    One in every 11 Americans age 50 or above have no spouse, partner, or child.

    Two in five Americans report that they sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful.

    One in five say they feel lonely or socially isolated.

    Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

    Finally, in a Cigna study, it was the young who felt the loneliest; Generation Z members, ages 18 to 22, and Millennials, ages 23 to 37, sadly scored the highest of any age group.


    Another term besides The Loneliness Epidemic has been recently coined, The Happiness Recession. As reported in the Atlantic in April, only 25% of those young people rated their lives “very happy”—the lowest recorded. This summer, as I was preparing these remarks, I was so saddened to learn that suicide among teens and young adults is at a record high. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that over the last 20 years the rate has increased 12.5% for young adults and 47% for teens.

    Why are these young people with their whole lives ahead of them giving up hope?

    Why aren’t more of them happy or very happy? Why are so many lonely or isolated?

    The Atlantic study attempted to look at the why? It came up with four broad social factors, while also acknowledging some specific current causes like the opioid crisis and cyber-bullying.

    First, marriage, and specifically: the sharply declining rates of it among young adults.

    Married couples are 75% more likely to report that they are happy. In 1972, 59% of young adults 18-34 were married. Today its 28%.

    Married couples are much more likely to engage in weekly sexual relations, factor number two, and to join a religious or social community organization, factor number three.

    The study found that the last factor, time spent with friends, stayed even over the past three decades, but could not compensate for the marked decline in the other three.

    It turns out that those two “old-fashioned” institutions, marriage and church/synagogue affiliation make a big if under-appreciated contribution to our lives.

    Both are being delayed or spurned altogether by millennials in record numbers. It hurts us older folk to see our children and grandchildren pay the steep price of the ensuing loneliness.

    But the song continues:

    Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
    Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay
    'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand
    You can reach, reach out your hand
    And oh, someone will coming running
    And I know, they'll take you home
    Even when the dark comes crashing through
    When you need a friend to carry you
    > And when you're broken on the ground
    You will be found
    So let the sun come streaming in
    'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
    Lift your head and look around
    You will be found
    You will be found….

    The co-writer of this song and the script-writer of the play are Jewish; perhaps that is why the song, though couched in general language, exudes a Jewish sensibility about never giving up hope.

    Consider how our tradition acknowledges that loneliness is indeed a basic and omnipresent human condition… that can be overcome.

    Of Adam, Genesis relates that “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him.’” (Gen.2:18)

    When Jacob is in despair and running away from his family, God says, “Remember I am with you…” and Jacob responds “Surely, God is present in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen.28, 15-16)

    When Joseph is in despair, literally and figuratively all alone in a pit, abandoned by his brothers, and then all alone in a prison cell in Egypt, his faith sustains him and he later says to those brothers, “It was not you who sent me here, but God... to insure your survival and to save your lives.” (Gen.7-8)

    When Hannah, subject of the haftarah for Rosh Hashanah, is in despair, unable to conceive a child and misunderstood by her husband and by the high priest, her faith sustained her and “in her wretchedness she prayed to the Lord, weeping all the while… she kept on praying before the Lord.” (I Sam.1:10,12)


    The song continues:

    Out of the shadows
    The morning is breaking
    And all is new, all is new
    It's filling up the empty
    And suddenly I see that
    All is new, all is new
    You are not alone
    You are not alone

    God’s message’ to our ancestors and to us, over and over again is: you are not alone!
    The message of friendship and faith is: You will be found!
    Who do we know who needs to hear that message again?
    Who cries out but is not heard?
    Does not our prayer book, the liturgy that we just recited this morning ask this same thing?

    On Rosh Hashanah we reflect, on Yom Kippur we consider…
    Who shall be plagued by fear of the world; who shall strangle for lack of friends?
    Who shall be serene in every storm; who shall be troubled by the passing breeze?

    On this holy day let us proclaim:

    Who lies broken on the ground?
    You will be found.
    Who is too weak to stand?
    Here, take my hand.
    Who is overcome by the darkness crashing through?
    I will carry you.

    The story is told of young man, lonely to the point of despair, who has a dream. He is walking along a beach, with a person he does not know besides him. He looks back and sees two sets of footprints.

    Then that person disappears and he is walking alone. He looks back and sees a single set of footprints.

    The young man senses that his dream has a message. In prayer he realizes that the walk is his life and the presence besides him is God. He cries out to God, “Why did you disappear? Why did you abandon me when I needed you most?” “No, my son,” comes the reply. I never left you. I carried you. I picked you up and carried you.”

    You are not alone. You shall be found.




    You Will Be Found

    Songwriters: Benj Pasek / Justin Paul

    Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
    Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
    Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
    Like you could fall, and no one would hear?
    Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
    Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay
    'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand
    You can reach, reach out your hand
    And oh, someone will coming running
    And I know, they'll take you home
    Even when the dark comes crashing through
    When you need a friend to carry you
    And when you're broken on the ground
    You will be found
    So let the sun come streaming in
    'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
    Lift your head and look around
    You will be found
    You will be found
    You will be found
    You will be found
    You will be found
    Even when the dark comes crashing through
    When you need a friend to carry you
    When you're broken on the ground
    You will be found
    So let the sun come streaming in
    'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
    If you only look around
    You will be found (You will be found)
    You will be found (You will be found)
    You will be found
    Out of the shadows
    The morning is breaking
    And all is new, all is new
    It's filling up the empty
    And suddenly I see that
    All is new, all is new
    You are not alone
    You are not alone
    You are not alone
    You are not alone
    You are not alone (You are not alone)
    You are not alone (You are not alone)
    You are not
    You are not alone (You are not alone)
    Even when the dark comes crashin' through
    When you need someone to carry you
    When you're broken on the ground
    You will be found!
    So when the sun comes streaming in
    'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
    If you only look around
    You will be found
    Even when the dark comes crashin' through
    You will be found
    When you need someone to carry you
    You will be found
    You will be found
    You will be found

  • October 17, 2019 2:38 PM | Lance Strate (Administrator)

    THE GREAT EXTINCTION

    Yom Kippur, 5780

    Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz


    On May 6 of this year the New York Times published a photo that broke my heart. It was a picture of a magnificent olive ridley sea turtle washed up on an Indian beach. The turtle is dead, strangled by the fishing rope still looped around its neck.

    I wondered why I had such a strong reaction. I thought it was tied to the fact that just four months earlier I had the unforgettable opportunity to swim with these glorious, peaceful animals in the Galapagos Islands.

    Then one week later Magaret Renkl, a contributing columnist to the Times, captured in stark prose our shared reaction to the striking image:

    That photo undid me. All week long I found myself coming back to it until I had it committed to memory, the shapes and the colors…. I kept being struck anew by the sorrow of that one lost creature, that one preventable tragedy. The turtle’s great head is bowed, resting on the sand. Its eyes are closed; its ancient face is drawn back in a mask of grief. The turtle’s whole body signals resignation, surrender. In the background, [people] play in the surf.

    Renkl goes on to say, “If the photo is traumatizing, the story is worse.” The Times article that accompanied the photo was about the unprecedented assault on biodiversity across our planet. Renkl entitled her own piece, “Surviving Despair in the Great Extinction”.  The tag line underneath it read, “One million species of plants and animals are heading toward annihilation, and it’s our fault. How can we possibly live with that truth?”

    Yes, the report, a 1500 page study by the UN, speaks about the coming extinction of one million species. Think about that. As Renkl writes, “That’s every individual creature in a species—times one million. We can’t possibly conceive of such a thing. We can hold in mind… the image of a single animal who died a terrible death. Devastation on this scale is beyond the reach of imagination. How could we hold in mind a destruction so vast it would take not just one sea turtle but all that animal’s kind, as well as the kind of 999,999 other species?”

    That’s what makes the scourge of eco-destruction and global warming so hard to comprehend. The scale is so epic in size and years that we can’t really see what is going on. It’s a nightmare unfolding in slow motion.  By the time we awake the damage is done and it is vast. And it is not us, but our children, and our children’s children who will suffer the most.

    Those who know me know that I have been a passionate environmentalist since I was a kid. Growing up in the beautiful Hudson River Valley made an impression on me. Visiting so many of our great National Parks with my family made an impression on me. Seeing my father leave his secure teaching position to join a cutting edge environmental education project in the 70s made an impression on me.  Working with colleagues to help found Shomrei Adamah, the first Jewish environmental organization, made an impression on me. The good fortune of hiking many of the great walks of the world on six of seven continents made an impression on me. How can I not talk about this report of the looming Great Extinction?

    It’s a terrible term, The Great Extinction. Extinction is forever. There is no turning back. There is no do-over; no second chance.  Once a species is gone the world is permanently diminished. That color of the bio-diversity rainbow is no more. The Great Extinction, the great die-off has already begun. The only question is whether we can slow it down.

    Permit me to inundate you with just some of the facts and figures from the UN report:

    The loss of species is now happening tens to hundreds of times as fast as the average rate over the past ten million years. Extinction has always happened but now is accelerating out of control.  1 million of the 8 million known species could disappear within decades, not centuries.

    The world population of 7 billion has “severely altered” 75% of the land environment and 66% of the marine environment.  Human activity has depleted the average abundance of native species by a fifth, putting at extinction risk a third of all marine mammals, a third of all reef corals, and 40% of all amphibians.  The alarming decline of bees and other insects, which pollinate ¾ of the world’s crops, could result in a half trillion dollars worth of damage.  

    The heightened destruction of coastal habitats due to floods and hurricanes associated with global warming, which we see on TV so often now, puts as many as 300 million people worldwide at risk.

    Robert Watson, one of the report’s lead authors, emphasized that drastic environmental action is not just about protecting animals; it’s about protecting people. “We are eroding the very foundation of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” he writes.

    Back to Renki’s haunting question: One million species are heading toward extinction, and it’s our fault. How can we possible live with that truth?

    How can we live with that truth as global citizens, as American citizens, and as American Jews, on this Yom Kippur, when we confess not only our personal sins, but our communal sins?

    Did we not recite al het shehatanu: for the sins we have sinned against You:

     For poisoning the air and polluting land and sea

     For deceiving ourselves and others with half-truths and denials

     For using the sins of others to excuse our own

    How can we live with that truth when our Torah tells us that “the earth is the Lord’s” and we are here “to till it and tend it.”?

    How can we live with that truth when our Talmud teaches us that “just as my ancestors planted for me, so I will plant for my children”?

    It’s important to note that all the scientists involved in the report argue that only transformative change will make a difference. Only a global “Green New Deal, if you will, a vast, multilateral agreement. Anything else, they say, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    So on this Yom Kippur, I am going to add to our list of “al hets”—for the sins we have sinned against You:

    For pulling out of the Paris global climate accords.

    For turning back the clock on automobile emission standards and fossil fuel industry regulation.

    For downsizing the precious lands we have set aside for preservation.

    On this Yom Kippur forgive us:

    For thinking nationalistically rather than globally.

    For building walls rather than bridges.

    For thinking about today at the expense of tomorrow.

    Is it too much to demand from our political leaders that a responsible Green New Deal is an ecological and economic imperative for this nation and for the world?

    Is it too much to ask that the United States turn from protectionist and obstructionist policies and become the world leader in energy conservation and innovation?

    Is it too much to hope that as we enter the third decade of the 21st century we finally awake to the perilous future of our planet?

    I close, as I opened, with another picture that broke my heart and those of people around the world. In 2007 photo-journalist Brent Stirton was in Virunga National Park, along the border of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The Virunga Mountain range is the last remaining habitat of the magnificent mountain gorilla. Stirton captured the ghastly image of a funeral procession for seven of these animals, murdered by poachersthe most unforgettable image of tearful park rangers bearing the body of Senkwekue, the massive male silverback who had tried in vain to protect his family.

    There are only some 800 mountain gorillas left in the world today. That is actually a significant improvementwhen Diane Fossey worked with them in the 70s and 80s they were less than 300. But of course, one virus or another civil war could wipe them out in a flash. Males take 15 years to maturity; females 10 years, and a single baby is born to a mother once every 4 to 8 years.

    The mountain gorilla has never successfully been kept in captivitywhat you may have seen in a zoo is a western lowland relative.  The mountain gorilla is our closest primate relative, sharing 98.6 percent of our genome. Not surprisingly, their intelligence is surpassed only by our species, sometimes.

    The mountain gorilla remains on the list of critically endangered species. What a loss to the world if they become extinct.

    This summer Debby and I trekked through the Virunga mountains of Uganda and had one unforgettable hour to quietly observe these fierce looking but peace-loving, family oriented, vegetarian eating, so human-like primates.

    What a loss to the world if we lose these gentle giants of the jungle, and those gentle giants of the sea, and all those creatures, great and small, all those wild things wise and wonderful, all those beings bright and beautiful that share the planet with us.

    What a loss to the world if my children, and their children, will visit the Galapagos devoid of those turtles in the ocean and those tortoises on land, never mind the marine iguanas and the blue-footed boobies.

    What a loss if they will trek to Africa devoid of those gorillas in the mist, never mind the black rhinos and Rothschild giraffes

    An African proverb states: Let us think of our world not so much as inherited from our ancestors but as borrowed from our children.

    Amen to that. Amen.     


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Cantor/Religious School Director


Ronald Broden


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