December 2001

Table of Contents

 

A Glimmer of Light By Ephraim Buchwald

Things are happening so rapidly in the world at this time, that I write this column fully aware that what I write today might be entirely irrelevant by the time it appears in print.

The traumatic events which struck America on September 11th have changed so much of what we commonly took for granted. Who would have ever imagined that 19 men with box cutters could transform America, indeed, transform the world? And yet, we have been transformed. We are, at the time of this writing, a nation gripped with fear, a people in dread. And as much as we try to conduct our lives in a “business-as-usual” manner, we have learned that our lives have changed, and that nothing anymore can be considered “usual.”

The A-lmighty has a strange sense of humor if this calamity is His way of getting people to pay attention to Him. After all, this is not what Jewish tradition had in mind when it speaks of yirat shamayim, “fear of G-d.” The conventional understanding is that yirat shamayim is a “respect” that G-d’s wishes to instill in our hearts. And yet, reports from all over the country indicate that churches, synagogues and houses of worship of all faiths are showing greatly increased attendance.

Could it be that the A-lmighty is saying, “I tried to do it with goodness, but you paid no heed”? After all, we can count the ways that G-d tried with “goodness.”

Who would have believed that the Jewish nation would ever recover, and certainly not so quickly, after the monumental destruction of the Holocaust? Who would have ever believed that a Jewish state — the State of Israel, would be established? Who would have ever believed that Jerusalem and all the ancient holy places would be returned to Jewish dominion? Who would have ever believed that after the profound losses just 60 years ago, a generation of Jews would arise that would be the most highly educated and the most prosperous in all Jewish history? And yet, all the goodness, for the most part, has led to naught. Jews, educated Jews, prosperous Jews, have been walking away from their Judaism in massive numbers. The trauma of the terrorist acts has been more than a wake-up call. It has made it eminently clear to each of us how fragile life is, how quickly our lives can be transformed, how tenuous our suppositions.

But, enough philosophy! The phones are ringing off the hook. Whatever the motivation, our brothers and sisters want to learn. They want to learn Aleph Bet. They want to experience Shabbat. They want to become more knowledgeable about Jewish philosophy. In light of the recent tragedies, they seek to understand the “origins of evil.” They want to know why the Jewish people have been singled out from among all nations to play a central role on the stage of world history.

We wish that it didn’t have to be this way. But the great destruction has provided NJOP with a challenge, and an opportunity that we must not fritter away. NJOP is ready and eager to respond to the call of the children of Israel who wish to explore the deeper meanings of life, of Jewish life.

We thank our friends and supporters of NJOP for their increased assistance during these very trying days and years. We pray that the momentum of return will continue to grow and will usher in the era of the Great Redemption speedily in our days.

Read Hebrew America/Canada

“BE A PART OF IT!”

“The people of our community thrilled to participate in this course and especially enjoyed being part of a national Jewish program. Even though we are a suburb of Los Angeles, the Jewish community here often feels disconnected and isolated from the larger synagogues and community. This program, as well as Shabbat Across America, helped us feel more connected and part of the larger Jewish community. Thank you!” Cong. B’nai Emet, Simi Valley, CA

“Be a part of it!” enjoins the Read Hebrew America/Canada (RHA/C) jingle. Being part of Read Hebrew America/Canada is about more than just learning to read Hebrew — it is about being part of a united Jewish people, and EVERYONE, beginners, intermediates, et al., can be a part of it.

The past year has been a period of great stress for the world-wide Jewish community, with terrorism shaking the very foundations of life both in Israel and in North America. How should we react to these great challenges? While there are no easy answers, it is always important for Jews to fortify themselves with the knowledge of who we are. For many Jews, learning Hebrew is the perfect first step.

Since the first RHA/C campaign in 1998, over 35,000 Jews have participated by taking either NJOP’s Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level I or Level II, or the One Day Review.

After four years, why do people continue to sign on for RHA/C? Because it’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s a proven success!

One major selling point of RHA/C is the short duration of the courses — a mere 5 weeks, broken into convenient

once-a-week 1 ½ hour classes. This makes the classes easily adjustable to busy schedules. And all the classes are offered free, so there is no excuse to pass up this unique opportunity to reconnect with the language of one’s heritage.

Does it work? Have Jews really been learning Hebrew? Has it really impacted the Jewish community? YES! YES! and YES!

Not only have people learned to read Hebrew…but former NJOP students are now teaching RHA/C. Wendy Maislen Frank of Buffalo Grove, Ill., writes:

“I have always wanted to learn to read Hebrew and did some work on my own. I heard the NJOP ad on the radio for a free class. It seemed too good to be true. I was stunned to learn that I could just go and learn, and that the classes were free! Now I am teaching Hebrew and I am so grateful for your program.”

Teri Bilenker of Cranford, N.J. noted that not only did “being able to read Hebrew (although slowly) enhance [her] enjoyment of services,” but that “after taking the HRCC [she] was able to really participate in a [Passover] Seder.”

The impact of RHA/C on the greater Jewish community has been vast. Reports from the “field” indicate that thousands of past RHA/C participants have begun attending services on a more regular basis, lighting candles in their homes on Friday nights, and joining the local synagogue. Clearly, NJOP programs effectively inspire Jews to make Judaism a stronger force in their lives and the lives of their families.

A particularly inspiring and unifying element of the RHA/C Campaign is that many participants are excited to know that the identical class is being taught in synagogues of all affiliations, and at Jewish institutions that are not affiliated at all. As Michael B. Carpe from Wakefield, Mass., pointed out: “The program made us realize that everyone has different levels of knowledge of Judaism, but we are all Jewish people and should concentrate on our common heritage and work together to increase awareness of our culture.”

As the 4th annual Read Hebrew America/Canada began, Jews from all over bame involed by taking a class, teachinga class or recommending a class to a friend. Everyone truly tried to “be a part of it.”

 

NJOP VOLUNTEERS HONORED FOR THEIR UNFAILING DEDICATION

“…Just wanted to drop a line on how much we appreciated the course, especially the teacher …”

“…[my teacher] not only teaches Hebrew beautifully, but also manages to impart a true sense of the religion…”

“…[I want to] tell you what a wonderful experience it has been. Mrs. P is a very caring person and always available for questions. Because of her, I am now able to read from the siddur …”

NJOP students praise teachers everywhere!

It takes an army for one organization to touch the lives of more than a half million Jews in over 3,000 locations. The “army” of the National Jewish Outreach Program is an unusually committed corps of volunteer teachers and coordinators. Across the continent — indeed, around the world — dedicated men and women offer their time and skills to run NJOP Programs. From Hebrew Reading Crash Course teachers to Shabbat Across America/Canada coordinators, NJOP depends on its devoted volunteers.

On May 16, 2001, NJOP honored this esteemed troop of volunteers at a Teacher and Coordinator Recognition Evening. The evening, sponsored by long time NJOP supporter Esther Judith Manischewitz, was an opportunity for teachers and coordinators to share ideas, meet the NJOP staff, kvell over their accomplishments and commiserate over the vast task that yet lays ahead.

Following NJOP Marketing Director Andrea Snyder’s heartfelt welcome, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald spoke of a remarkable Torah law: “cities of refuge” must be built in the Land of Israel to serve as asylums for people who commit accidental manslaughter. In detailing the operation of the cities of refuge, the Talmud states that if a student is exiled to such a city, the student’s teacher is exiled with him, based on an interpretation of the Biblical verse: “so that he may live.” It is not only that the teacher is exiled because he did not teach his student properly, leading him to accidentally kill someone; but rather that the teacher must go into exile with the student because not learning Torah is like a virtual death sentence for the student! Scriptures in hand, Rabbi Buchwald, thanked the volunteers before him and stated that he was happy to be “here with people who are fighting the dissolution of Torah, who are dedicated to stopping the hemorrhaging of the Jewish people, and who are making certain that their fellow Jews may live.'”

The dedication of which Rabbi Buchwald spoke is reflected by Rabbi Richard Kirsch, of Temple Beth El in Rutherford, N.J. While Rutherford is a small community, Rabbi Kirsch has worked hard at bringing people in, and he has found the entire spectrum of NJOP programs to be excellent outreach tools. His job, as he sees, it is to not only reach out to Jews in the surrounding North Jersey communities, but also to motivate those already affiliated to become more involved. Using NJOP programs, Rabbi Kirsch encourages his members to bring new people to Shabbat Across America and to reach-out themselves.

When Florence Weiner addressed the volunteers, she spoke with a passion backed by her many years of commitment to the Hebrew Reading Crash Courses. Florence, NJOP’s Program Coordinator and Hebrew Language Specialist, is the author of the Instruction Guides for all three NJOP Hebrew reading courses. Calling upon those present to spread the word about the need for Level II classes, Florence promised the full support of the NJOP staff, whom they can call with any questions. “All it takes,” Florence encouraged the audience, “is the right energy. That makes any Crash Course a success.”

The students themselves recognize, and are inspired by, the passion of their teachers. Sylvia Chase was so appreciative of her teacher, Frieda Falk, that she transported her to the Teacher and Coordinator Recognition Evening. For over a decade Mrs. Falk, a young 88 years old, has made her New Hyde Park, N.Y., home a classroom for the HRCC.

The final address of the evening came from Larry Greenman, NJOP’s recently appointed Community Development and Outreach Coordinator. Using the imagery of helping fellow Jews climb a spiritual ladder, he rallied the volunteers before him to recognize the importance of follow-up. Whether through partnered learning or Beginners Services, the graduates and participants must be encouraged to continue their involvement.

Nodding in agreement, some volunteers are already trying to increase follow-up at their locations. At the Young Israel of Kingsbay in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rachel Edelman and Allen Popper helped their synagogue conduct Shabbat Across America for the first time this year. In the synagogue’s attempt to reinvigorate itself and recruit new members, they used SAA/C as a tool to reach out to their own inactive members and the surrounding Russian Jewish community.

With over 100 participants, the evening was a great success, and resulted in great communal kindness as members anonymously sponsored those who otherwise could not afford to attend the dinner. SAA/C also served to jump-start a whole new in-house “attitude” at the Young Israel. The synagogue now looks forward to offering more classes and, perhaps, working with NJOP to run an HRCC in the Russian language.

“Inspired and inspiring,” was how Andrea Snyder described the Teacher Recognition evening, adding that NJOP wished a similar event could be held in every community. Those NJOP volunteers who were able to attend the Teacher and Coordinator Recognition Evening left with a sense of mission.

After sharing ideas and stories with each other and with NJOP’s staff, it was now time to return to their communities to lead the effort to reach out to every Jew, wherever he/she may be!

Boston University Hillel — A Model of Cooperation

 

The Hillel House at Boston University is a bustling center of Jewish student life, where students come to mix and mingle, to worship at weekly Shabbat services, to eat together at the Friday night meals, and to enjoy the comradery of the kosher dining hall. To meet the challenge of drawing even more students to their programs, BU Hillel decided to join the long list of American campuses taking part in Shabbat Across America/ Canada 2001.

With weekly Shabbat programing already part of the Hillel’s schedule, the students of BU wanted to make their Shabbat Across America/Canada a unique experience. To add more firepower to the ingredients, BU Hillel staff contacted the PANIM program of Yeshiva University’s Affiliated Max Stern Division of Communal Services. Drawing students from Yeshiva College, Stern College and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), PANIM sends representatives to enhance students’ Jewish experiences and to provide educational programming on college campuses around the country.

More than 100 new students attended BU Hillel’s SAA/C Friday night dinner. Additional tables had to be set up to accommodate the 300 attendees. “The BU students made the weekend really happen,” said PANIM Coordinator Jason Finklestein. “But there’s no question that the success of the weekend was due in no small part to the programming and materials of NJOP’s Shabbat Across America/Canada. [NJOP] did a terrific job publicizing the weekend’s events, which helped us draw such a significant number of students to our programs.”

The program commenced with a spirited and moving SAA/C introductory service and a lively Friday night dinner. PANIM volunteers then divided the BU students into twelve groups and led discussions concerning the meaning and significance of Shabbat. Both the PANIM representatives and the Hillel staff were impressed with the depth of conversation generated by the participants. “The students seemed to really enjoy talking about what Shabbat meant to them, and asking me questions about my own experiences,” said PANIM member Eli Deutch.

Rabbi Ben Lancton, the Associate Rabbi and Director of Student Activities at BU Hillel, noted that the discussions were “very cross-sectional. The wide-ranging conversations,” he said, “brought together a diversity of perspectives.”

After succeeding to create a strong sense of unity through the intimate discussion groups, the PANIM volunteers brought all the participants together again for a traditional kumzitz, replete with spirited singing and the requisite assortment of refreshments. It was an atmosphere charged with spirituality and comraderie – a mood that continued into the next day.

Following the standard Hillel morning services and Shabbat lunch, the PANIM volunteers offered an array of educational programs and spent the afternoon, as so many Saturday afternoons on a college campus are spent, chatting and hanging out. But this “hanging out” was different. It was Shabbat. Discussions weren’t about frat parties and midterms, but rather, concerned the sanctity of the day and the importance of Judaism. It was, as the kabbalists describe Shabbat, “a taste of the world to come.”

The collaborative efforts of NJOP, PANIM and the Boston University Hillel created an inspiring Shabbat experience and demonstrated the power of a unified community effort.

 

SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA UNIFIES AUGUSTA COMMUNITY

Am Yisroel, Am Echad! The Nation of Israel is One Nation! And with their exquisite Shabbat Across America/Program, the small but vibrant Jewish community of Augusta, Ga., proved just how unified a community can be.

Casually sorting through her mail, Alberta Goldberg, the program director at the Augusta Jewish Community Center, noticed a blue postcard announcing the date for SAA/C 2001. She seized hold of it as the perfect opportunity to bring the Augusta Jewish community together.

After inviting the two local synagogues to participate with the Jewish Community Center, Alberta dispatched a steady stream of flyers and word-of-mouth creating a strong interest in the SAA/C program. Expanding the traditional SAA/C Friday night program to include Saturday lunch and Havdallah, Alberta created a schedule in which everyone could “feel ownership of the program.”

Augusta’s SAA/C began on Friday night at Congregation Children of Israel. In addition to their regular service, Congregation Children of Israel held a pre-service Dinner in honor of SAA/C. To capture the desired spirit of unity, the guest speaker of the evening was Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, rabbi of Adas Yeshrun Synagogue. The SAA/C dinner and service attracted a crowd of over 150 people.

Adas Yeshrun Synagogue followed up the SAA/C evening program by hosting Saturday morning services and a kiddush/ lunch, confirming the spirit of unity felt the previous evening. Over half of those who attended the SAA/C dinner returned for the morning program, and the pulpit switch from the night before was reciprocated as Rabbi Jordan Parr of Congregation Children of Israel delivered the Shabbat morning sermon.

Alberta, however, did not let the program end with just two services and meals. To complete the Augusta community’s SAA/C Shabbat program, everyone was invited to return Saturday evening to a special Havdallah celebration at the Augusta Jewish Community Center. The highlight of the concluding program was a special reading by Cathy Goldberg Fishman of her recently published children’s book, On Shabbat. As she read through her work, which explores the celebration of Shabbat through a young girl’s eyes, the 75 Augustans in attendance were wrapped in the warmth of knowing that, together, they too had celebrated a most meaningful Sabbath day.

As the three-wicked havdallah candle illuminated the room, Rabbi Greenbaum and Rabbi Parr joined together to lead the ceremony separating Shabbat from the rest of the week. The spirit of Shabbat Across America/Canada transcended the single day, creating one community, united together by their faith, emboldened by the knowledge that they could now build on their experience and plan for a more meaningful Jewish future.

Governor Pataki Salutes NJOP

An Afternoon in the Hamptons

Rain, rain, and more rain — but the National Jewish Outreach Program knows the truth about rain: rain is a gift In fact, Jewish tradition teaches us that rain is a blessing, a blessing of abundance. Indeed, on August 12, 2001, at Sam Domb’s Westhampton Beach home, the friends and supporters of NJOP found an abundance of delightful comraderie, delicious food and meaningful lessons to take home.

The highlight of the Sunday afternoon event was New York Governor George E. Pataki’s salute to the National Jewish Outreach Program for its vital work in bringing Jews back to Judaism. As the governor pointed out, in the increasingly materialistic society in which we live, a connection with one’s history, with one’s faith and heritage, is what keeps people connected to their humanity.

After a week of soaring temperatures and stifling humidity, the sun gave way to powerful downpours… and still over 250 people made their way deep into Long Island to support NJOP. Protected by a large festive tent, no one seemed to mind the rain. Not only were the guests entertained by the music of Lior Adaki, but they also enjoyed a sumptuous buffet with everything from sushi to burgers…the perfect Sunday afternoon barbecue.

The day was about more than just mixing and mingling, it was about the vital work of NJOP and it’s efforts to secure a bright future for the Jewish people. NJOP’s work took on even deeper significance in light of the devastating suicide bomb at Sbarrosâ„¢ in the heart of Jerusalem, only a few days earlier. Not a soul present was unaware of the need for the Jewish people to unite in unequivocal support of Jewish education — clearly the fundamental ingredient of Jewish continuity. This sentiment was dramatically underscored by an unexpected message received by

Rabbi Buchwald on his cell phone just moments before the program began. The call was from Shmuel Greenbaum, whose pregnant wife, Judith, was killed in the bombing: Mr. Greenbaum pleaded with Rabbi Buchwald to convey the message to those gathered that his wife must not have died in vain. It was his request, therefore, that “people commit themselves to better Jewish practice, because what the Jewish people is experiencing now is due to the fact that we are Jews; not because we are a state or a nation, but because of our faith.”

Introduced by the Hampton Synagogue’s Rabbi Marc Schneier as a representative of “the quintessential example of the paragon of Jewish Outreach, the State of Israel,” Consul General, Ambassador Alon Pinkus stressed the idea that Israel and the diaspora strengthen one another and that nothing is as important as Jewish education to Jewish life. The Ambassador’s message was straight to the point. “This is not an easy time…but we’ve been saying that for 53 years.”

The Westhampton event also served as an opportunity for NJOP to honor Sony and Yair Levy and Shani and Stephen Odzer, for their dedication to the Jewish people. In recognition of their commitment, Rabbi Buchwald presented the Levys with a beautiful sterling silver kiddush cup and the Odzers with a stunning silver menorah. NJOP and Mr. Domb also expressed their appreciation to Rosalyn and Ron Binday, Florence and Michael Edelstein, Kin Franceschini, Rochelle Malek, and Michelle and Eli Salig by presenting them with silver mezuzot in recognition of their dedication to NJOP and the Jewish people.

The work of the National Jewish Outreach Program, the challenge of strengthening Jewish commitment to Jewish living, and the driving need to support Israel, can only succeed when individuals work together for the greater good. For this dedication, which is an integral aspect of every NJOP supporter, the National Jewish Outreach Program, is truly thankful.

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Rabbi Buchwald Lauds Sam Domb’s Dedication

Noting that Sam Domb, successful businessman, Israeli war hero and renowned philanthropist, could be spending his time sitting by the bay behind his beautiful home, Rabbi Buchwald called Mr. Domb’s constant struggle to help save the Jewish people a feat of supernatural dedication.

Rabbi Buchwald then compared Mr. Domb to the Biblical prophet Elijah, who called upon G-d to create a miraculous event to convince the Israelites to stop worshiping idols. In the First Book of Kings (Chapter 18), during the reign of the idolatrous King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, Elijah stood up to 250 priests of Baal and challenged the Jewish people, demanding to know how long they would sit on the fence before making their commitment to G-d. When the priests of Baal could not bring down fire from their false gods, Elijah cried out to heaven and G-d showed His might as a heavenly fire licked up the water-drenched offerings, proving that G-d was indeed the Ruler of the world. While Sam Domb has not brought down a physical fire from Heaven, said Rabbi Buchwald, he has helped to re-ignite the spark of Judaism in thousands of Jews through his support of the National Jewish Outreach Program.

In recognition of his mighty deeds, Rabbi Buchwald presented Mr. Domb with a beautiful silver plaque which reads: “In appreciation of his inspirational leadership of the Jewish people and his unsurpassed commitment to the National Jewish Outreach Program and its mission. His accomplishments will certainly be recorded in the history books of the Jewish nation.” In addition, Rabbi Buchwald presented Mr. Domb with a beautiful photo montage of the many special occasions that he has shared with the National Jewish Outreach Program.

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THE GOVERNOR’S SALUTE

In an unprecedented endorsement of the work of NJOP, Governor George E. Pataki commended NJOP for its outstanding efforts to reconnect Jews with Jewish knowledge and spirituality. Noting that in the age of modernism and materialism, morality is an oft overlooked necessity, the governor asserted that “when [NJOP] brings people back to reclaim their Judaism, and teaches them not just the religious but the ethical and legal strength of Torah…[they] are helping to reclaim them as citizens of a broader world.”

In a ringing statement of solidarity with the worldwide Jewish community, Governor Pataki not only upheld his belief that Jerusalem is the “eternal, united capital of Israel,” but he also shared his dismay at the anti-Israel bias regularly displayed by the press.

Speaking with great emotion, Governor Pataki proclaimed himself a proud friend of both the National Jewish Outreach Program and Mr. Sam Domb. Recognizing the threat hanging over the Jewish nation, the governor stood tall and declared that the Jewish people “must stand as a shining example for centuries more.” The National Jewish Outreach Program is thoroughly committed and prepared to make the governor’s declaration a reality.

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Host Sam Domb

NJOP’s host extraordinare, Mr. Sam Domb, was passionate in his appeal to the attendees of the Governor Pataki Salutes NJOP event. “History has taught us a lesson,” Mr. Domb declared,” that Jewish survival cannot be guaranteed by any one else. It has to be guaranteed only by us — You and I, and G-d, of course!”

As a former soldier in the Israeli army and a tireless crusader for the Jewish people, Mr. Domb urged those gathered before him to “be participants, not spectators.” Throughout history, nations have tried to destroy the Jewish people, he declared, but they have not succeeded or survived. Now the Jewish nation suffers a physical threat, while still battling the siege of assimilation. It is a two front war, Mr. Domb pointed out, as he urged everyone to take part in both battles.

American Jews can help the State of Israel, Mr. Domb affirmed. They must fight back politically by helping “politicians who are in favor of the State of Israel, of the Jewish people…and those politicians must speak out on behalf of the Jewish people.” A concrete example of such a politician is Governor Pataki, who has proven that he “cares about Israel and wants to help!”

To fight the war on assimilation, Mr. Domb asserted, one must “be courageous — and support the National Jewish Outreach Program. NJOP offers the highest return on your investment, in dividends which build Jewish homes and spiritual lives…NJOP provides guidance… They do not perform heart transplants, but they certainly heal many Jewish broken hearts…”

That is Sam Domb’s dream — a healthy and secure Jewish people.

And it is a dream for which Mr. Domb continues to work — tirelessly, of course.

NJOP Beats the Personals

  1. Female graduate student, studying kaballah, Zohar, exorcism of dybbuks , seeks mench. No weirdos, please. POB 56 Agnostic, dyselexic insomniac male, seeks similar female to stay up all night to discuss whether or not there really is a DOG. POB 83ks
  2. Divorced Jewish man, seeks partner to attend shul with, light Shabbos candles, celebrate holidays, build Sukkah together. Religion not important POB 658
  3. 80-year-old bubbe, no assets, seeks handsome, virile Jewish male, under 35. Object matrimony. I can dream, can’t I? POB 545

As one of the pre-eminent Jewish outreach organizations, the National Jewish Outreach Program is often confronted with the challenge of Jewish singles, who are not meeting “nice Jewish guys or girls.” Taking the bull by the horns, Sam Domb and NJOP hosted a special, invitation only, sold-out Shabbat dinner for singles on May 18, 2001.

The social hall of Congregation Ohav Sholom on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was transformed into an elegant dining room, and as the guests entered, they were each asked to draw a table assignment from the appropriate male or female basket. This lottery-style seating “served multiple goals,” according to NJOP’s Director of Special Events, Amy Vogel. “Selecting a table number out of a basket alleviates much of the stress of finding one’s own seat. At the same time, NJOP was able create a balanced number of men and women per table.”

In the vastness of the New York singles’ scene, the constant challenge is to find ways for people to meet, rather than simply coming to programs and socializing with old friends. Amy therefore created a comfortable and warm and slightly romantic, yet spiritual, setting in which the 85 dinner guests could relaxed and get to know one other.

Adena Samowitz, Vice President of Rockwell Abstract, welcomed the crowd and spoke about the singles’ life in New York, where events are constantly being planned to meet the needs of Jewish singles. She emphasized, however, that making the most of these opportunities is up to each person individually.

Contemplating on the search for the perfect spouse, Rabbi Buchwald read aloud some of the “funny personals” that came in over the internet:

Agnostic, dyslexic insomniac male, seeks similar female to stay up all night to discuss whether or not there really is a DOG. POB 83

Worried about in-law meddling? I’m an orphan! Write POB 74

On a more serious note, however, Rabbi Buchwald described the long lists of ideal spouse character traits he often hears from singles who come to him for help. His sound advice to the singles before him: “Make a list of the top ten characteristics that you feel are most important. If you meet someone who has 6 or 7 of those — grab em!”

NJOP’s sponsorship of a special singles’ evening came at the behest of Mr. Sam Domb. Greeting the gathered singles, he could not help but smile at the latent potential in the room. Mr. Domb, however, knew and understood that all would be for naught unless it was understood that Jews marrying Jews and raising Jewish families is critical. Sam reminded everyone that more than a desire, more than a dream, it is an obligation for each and every Jewish single to get married, and that there is no better place to begin the search than with NJOP.

While the official program of the evening concluded with a beautiful buffet of desserts, the evening continued on as guests mixed, mingled and perhaps met their future mates. Unlike Cinderella, even midnight could not clear the Ohav Sholom social hall. Whether a match comes from the evening or not, the NJOP Singles’ Shabbat Dinner was a wonderful success, one which NJOP looks forward to repeating in the future and encourages other communities to sponsor.