The first Jewish mellah (Arabic for “salt marsh” or “salt spring”) was established in the Moroccan city of Fez in 1438. Historical records suggest that the Fez Mellah, similar to a European ghetto, was built to safeguard the city’s growing Jewish population in return for loyalty to the sultan. Today, it stands in ruin.Read More
On a governmental level, I’m writing to share our immediate responses to this alarming development in a neighboring state.
Councilwoman Elsie Foster-Dublin (head of the Public Safety Committee) and I consulted with our Police Chief Stephen Rizco about the steps we can take to bolster synagogue security in our town. As an immediate measure we have increased drive-bys at our synagogues at times when services are held.
We are scheduling a meeting between representatives of the NJ Department of Homeland Security, clergy members of faith communities in the area, church & synagogue administrators, and current church & synagogue presidents for this Tuesday (time and place to be shared with meeting invitees).
There is one other thing that each one of us can do. The federal government has recommended for the past decade or more; If you see something, say something. If you notice someone who appears out of place in your synagogue, an untended bookbag, or an unusual package received in the mail, tell your rabbi or a synagogue officer immediately (don’t wait until after services end).
If the person you inform cannot identify the suspicious person, bookbag, or package, have them contact the Highland Park Police Department immediately (call 911). Don’t delay and don’t worry that you are causing an undue alarm. You may be saving lives.
Wishing everyone a safe, secure, and healthy fall.
A new study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that a religious upbringing positively correlates with an individual's happiness.
The study, conducted by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that those raised with religious practices have better physical and mental health as they age, and have a lower risk of depression, tobacco use, STDs, and substance abuse.
The study, which followed participants for 8-14 years, included 5,000 people. Children and teens who attended prayer services with their parents at least once a week were 29% more likely to volunteer, and 33% less likely to use drugs in their 20s.
Those who prayed or meditated daily were 30% less likely to engage in promiscuity at a young age and 40% less likely to have an STD. They were also 16% more likely to report being happier in their 20s. These adults were also better able to process emotions, forgive, and be satisfied with their lives.
Study author Ying Chen said, "These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being."
We just received 150 copies each of the Orot Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur mahazorim for this high holiday season. The new Orot Mahazorim contain a revised translation and is set in linear style. The font is clear and easy to read.
Etz Ahaim now has the entire set of Orot siddurim — Shabbat, Chaggim, and the High Holidays available for your davening.
We like to thank all of the individuals who donated money to pay for these new mahazorim. It will make it easier to follow our services, and the translation will help those whose Hebrew knowledge is imperfect to better understand the prayers.
Etz Ahaim now has beautiful new seating for our men's section. The new benches were produced from Kibbutz Lavi in Israel.
We like to thank all of our donors. Please keep the seats clean. Don't leave dirty tissues and other trash inside the seat back storage compartments. Please ensure that the sidurim and chumashim are put away on the shelves, and that the tallitot are replaced neatly back on the rack.
Etz Ahaim now has an intern. Rabbi Elon Weintraub got his first semichah as a Rutgers student in Physical Chemistry while studying with Rabbi Moshe Silver at Etz Ahaim through Pirchei Shoshanim. He's now a student of Yeshiva University working on a Sephardic semichah with Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim. He is also pursuing his Masters of Education.
Elon will be training with Rabbi Bassous and will be giving classes, leading services, giving sermons, He will be leading the youth boys in services on Rosh Hashanah.
Elon first came to Congregation Etz Ahaim when he was three years old. He has been attending Etz Ahaim for almost three decades and recently has been giving classes on chagim and Shabbat.
NOTE: We never want to let financial considerations prevent anyone from attending. If you need financial help to pay for High Holiday seats, contact Rabbi Bassous or call Congregation Etz Ahaim.
High Holiday Services are now listed on our website.Read More
Hello, my name is Dalia Mitzner and I am eleven years old. I currently attend the Laurel School of Princeton. On September 2, 2018, I will celebrating my bat mitzvah.
As part of my preparation for my bat mitzvah, I wanted to do a very meaningful project. That is why I decided to choose Sharsheret for my chesed project. A chesed project is pre-bat mitzvah volunteer project where the person volunteers in order to perform tikkun olam, which means repair the world.
Sharsheret is a national not-for-profit organization that supports women and families facing breast and ovarian cancer. The word sharsheret in Hebrew means chain.
Breast Cancer is a very serious disease and one of the main causes of death for women. In addition to knowing people in my own community who are affected by it, I also had a cousin who passed from the disease.
I first found out about Sharsheret a year ago when my old school, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (RPRY) held a Pink Day. A Pink Day is where people are encouraged to wear pink to show support for breast cancer awareness. I was serving on the student council at the time and was helping out with selling some Sharsheret merchandise to raise money for the organization. I came away from the experience very impressed with Sharsheret and appreciative of all their work to help fight this horrible disease.
The money donated will support the free program and resources Sharsheret provides to thousands nationwide who contact them as well enhance their efforts to educate others about their cancer genetic history and preventative measures. In order for you to learn more about all the great things Sharsheret does, I have also included a link to their website.
As part of my fundraising goal, I am hoping to raise a lot of money so I can help a lot of different families. My goal is to raise $1,000. With your donation, you will receive a Sharsheret giveaway!
Please go to my fund raising page and donate. Tizku l’mitzvot (may you merit to do more good deeds)!
The Fourth Edition of the directory is being prepared. Please help us by updating or adding your information.Read More