• About us

    About us

    Welcome to the East Northport Jewish Center. We are a Conservative, egalitarian synagogue of approximately 300 families. We are truly multi-generational; our youngest members are infants, our oldest are in their nineties. On any Shabbat, you can find three generations of the same family in our pews. Read More
  • The Forgotten Refugees film

    The Forgotten Refugees film

    The ENJC Israel Committee invites you to a light bite, a film and speakers on the topic of the history of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their demise in the face of persecutions following the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948 Read More
  • Adult Education, Fall 2017

    Adult Education, Fall 2017

    As in many religions, God intoxication and God manipulation get in the way and distort Judaism's basic core of humaneness. Join in the discussion as we grapple with Conservative Judaism in this light. Read More
  • Men's Club Paid-Up Membership Dinner

    Men's Club Paid-Up Membership Dinner

    Join us November 2, 2017 at 7:15 PM for great food, camaraderie, and to thank Joe for ALL that he has done for the Men’s Club and the ENJC Read More
  • Election Day Blood Drive

    Election Day Blood Drive

    Donating Blood is a simple thing to do, but it can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Tuesday, November 7th, in the ENJC Ballroom, from 2:45 - 8:45 pm. Contact the ENJC office to reserve a time. Read More
  • Try Your Luck...

    Try Your Luck...

    Join us and enjoy munchies and beverages while playing Blackjack, Roulette, Craps and Poker with chances to win fabulous prizes. Bring your friends! Read More
  • Parents' Night Out

    Parents' Night Out

    Whether you want to get some Chanukah shopping done, or just have a night to yourselves, here's your opportunity! Your kids will be safe under the watchful eye of the Sisterhood, having fun with snacks, crafts, movies, games and much more! Read More
  • Buy a Brick

    Buy a Brick

    Honor or memorialize a loved one, commemorate a special event, mark your years of ENJC membership, give a lasting and meaningful gift. Your brick or bench will be a part of a beautiful new outdoor seating area, to be enjoyed by all our members and guests. You can place your order by clicking below. Read More
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rabbi10View current news articles, commentary, videos and more that have an impact on Jewish culture, politics and religion at Rabbi Silverman's Sites to See

Between Purim and Passover

Rabbi Jason Rubenstein makes an interesting observation that the very beginning of the Megillah presents an anti-Passover message of providence. It appears that Haman rolls the dice in his lottery for the destruction of the Jews on the 12th month, Adar, and the 13th day. But on what day was the fate sealed? –On none other than the day before Pesach, Adar 14, when the Jews, instead, prevailed. And what does Mordecai tell Esther? He tells her, “Help might come from another quarter, but if you don't do something, you and your father's house will be destroyed.” Notice that he doesn’t say God will help us; he says something shall come to the rescue eventually (yavo memakom acher), but we are left wondering what form that help will take. After all, God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther at all. And Esther insists that the Jews fast for three days, but this comes at the time of feasting at the Seders of Passover! Note how despairing they must have been at this moment when they should have been fulfilling the commandment of eating matzah to celebrate God's rescue of the Hebrew Slaves at the time of the Exodus! In the end, religious significance is attached to this miracle rescue of the Jews from Haman, and it is declared a holiday, but the rite of that holiday is reading about human beings risking their lives to turn the tide.

Pesach enters, however, through the back door, in our rabbinic tradition, when it comes to the events of the story of Esther. Do you remember that Achashverosh couldn't sleep and insisted in reading from his chronicles? That occurred too, our sages tell us, on the exact night marking the time of our release in Egypt! (cf. Haggadah: cf. vayehi be chazi Halaila) This teaches that while you might think that all happens is due to luck, happenstance and human endeavor, we realize that Providence is behind this concatenation of events–ultimately God is working behind the scenes.

Passover presents a different theological view. God is a maker of miracles and will impose His will on human history if the experience of his people is dire and if their prayers and tears crack heaven. The explanation of our rescue and release comes from God and no other–a Divine rescue.

And yet, Passover depends, too, on the actions of people. It depends on a leader who evolves from a self doubting 'send someone else' sort, to a leader who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It depends on a people who evolve from insular, to advocates, to a people who begin to believe and inspire Moses. And it depends ultimately on their faith to follow God's directive to slaughter a ram at a time of Egyptian Ram worship, when Aries, the Ram, is considered sacred.

 

In a beautiful passage, God instructs Moses to put blood on the doorpost and the crossbeams of doors on the night of the last lethal first-born plague. But when Moses repeats this directive to the Israelites, he says the opposite, telling them to place the blood on the lintel and then the doorposts. Why the difference, asks the Nachalat Zvi commentary. The first passage shows God's perspective. From His perspective, His miracles are dependent on human actions below the heavens, which are stirred by what we do down here below. From Moses' perspective, miracles come from above, and from how much we turn our hearts and our prayers heavenward.

Naturally this Pesach-Purim divide is a much broader discussion and we see its tension in opinions this very day. There are many who feel that God is the one who makes or breaks circumstances; there is no coincidence and God has everything, always, under control–even if we don’t see it. There are others who say, "heaven helps only those who help themselves," and only pious fools place themselves in harm’s way by saying "God shall provide."

I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle. Certainly, a little help from heaven is always a good thing, and sincere prayer is, therefore, called for and important. On the other hand, even God kept us out of the way of the Philistines until we were ready, as a people, to wage war, providing forty years for training before we were ready to conquer our land. In making peace, prayer alone is insufficient. Human might and resourcefulness is imperative, as is bravery and risk taking, in the road to redemption. In creating a strong and productive society, prayer is helpful but insufficient. We must fight for justice, we must risk for kindness, we must trust, to the extent that we can, in our neighbors, and extend our hands to them–only then can heavenly rewards rain down upon us.

Beth and I wish you and yours a sweet and joyful Pesach.

–Rabbi Ian 

Leadership

  • Ian Silverman, Rabbi
  • Zachary M. Mondrow, Cantor
  • Eric Loring, ENJC President

rabbi10View current news articles, commentary, videos and more that have an impact on Jewish culture, politics and religion at Rabbi Silverman's Sites to See

It is hard to envision Sukkoth on the other side of the High Holidays because of the monumental place of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the American Jewish holiday cycle. I composed a sermon a couple of decades ago bemoaning the slow death of Highway 66, which holds an iconic place in the American imagination. The article rued the demise of the charming and distinctive locales now no longer encountered because of the interstate system. Little towns, motels and restaurants are bypassed by truckers, bikers and tourists as they make their way to the west coast. “Sometimes,” I wrote, “the holiday cycle is the same as the Jewish calendar. The interstate highways of Passover, Hanukah, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are travelled so well by so many, but the little locales of the other holidays in Judaism get such short shrift and are sadly victim to this infrastructure.”

But Sukkoth is an important holiday in its own right. Back in the time of the Bible, it was really important and even bigger than Passover as a pilgrimage holiday. In the Rabbinic literature it was called “HaHaG,” the quintessential holiday. It no longer has quite that turbo-charge today, although it is still a very big deal in Jerusalem. Sukkoth’s Kohain rite in the Kotel Plaza is like no other spiritual moment. Still, Sukkoth has many things going for it, running on multiple cylinders, and therefore I commend it. Here are some facts in honor of the seven days of Sukkoth:

  1. It is a holiday that has a direct connection to nature. The lulav and etrog carry with it the symbolism and the prayer for rain of climate and habitat.

  2. It is a holiday where we are provided tools to not only celebrate the Heavens but, in some way, sway them by our waving of the lulav and Etrog. Tradition tells us that we actually vitalize the seven lower sphirot potencies of God in our ritual.

  3. It is a holiday with an “outward bound program that thrusts us, albeit gently, into the wild to get a new perspective.

  4. It is an existential holiday that has us reflect on mortality; on our own life being a somewhat fragile hut subject to the ravages of time. We read from the book of Ecclesiastes, which ponders the verities and the vanities of earthly life and orients us to the spiritual.

  5. It is a social holiday with much entertaining of loved ones, friends and special “historic” guests in our sukkah.

  6. The sukkah is a time machine “blast into the past” which recalls Biblical tent dwellers and the ancient Temple of King David. It is also provides the spiritual “flux capacitor” to catapult us into the future, envisioning a messianic time.

  7. Sukkoth is a holiday that celebrates every kind of Jew- the studious, the loving, the uninitiated and the righteous. We hold all the species together to uniquely symbolize our strength in all contributing to the whole.

Sukkoth is the first “local” stop on the Jewish calendar year, off the beaten route of the interstate holidays. Get off at this exit and enjoy the color and vibrancy of this unique calendar moment. Help us celebrate it Yontif morning, October 5th and 6th and on Hoshana Rabbah morning, Wednesday, October 11 at 7 am. 

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 CantorMondrow

Name That Tune

I am often asked, at a Kiddush or Oneg, “where did that tune come from?” This question arises with many congregational tunes, and with some tunes more than others. Many tunes have been so well ingrained in not only liberal (Conservative and Reform) Judaism, but the western Jewish world as a whole–tunes like Maotzur and Adir Hu– that they are considered “Mi Sinai,” or from Sinai; thought of jokingly as so old and well accepted that Moses himself must have taught them to the Jewish people at the foot of Sinai.

There are also the tunes that are just so widely accepted and entrenched within our weekly davening that they might as well be classified as “Mi Sinai” as well. For example, Michakeyl Chayim from the Amidah has a very recognizable tune, and it is generally accepted throughout the Conservative Movement that if a cantor does not use this tune, he or she better have a very good reason. The melody was written by Chazan Max Wholberg sometime in the middle of the 20th century and was published in his book The Next Generation. His intention was to write simple tunes in order to teach t’filah to children. He never expected this tune to take off as it did. Today, it is used widely throughout the Ashkenazi world in Orthodox and liberal congregations alike.

Another widely accepted tune within the world of Conservative and Reform Judaism is that of the Aleinu. This prayer is actually split into 3 tunes. The beginning section is widely attributed to the composer Sabel. However, once we get to sh’hu noteh shamayim, that is where the fun begins. I’m sure many of you, even while reading this, can hear this tune in your heads. I have to apologize; there is no deep and exciting source of this tune. Its origins actually reside within the mouths of your children and grandchildren. The “Itsy Bitsy Spider” crawls up his waterspout every Shabbat morning. Or those of you of the 1940s generation may recall the Johnny Horton song, The day they sank the Bismarck. Finally, everyone’s favorite part at the ending, bayom ha hu y’hiyeh adoshem ehad, invokes The Farmer and the Dell, and is credited to Rabbi Israel Goldfarb of Shalom Aleichem fame.

So next Shabbat, as we’re singing along, consider where these tunes have come from, and even ask yourself when chanting other melodies, “I wonder where this tune comes from?”

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EricLoringIt is a new year, a time of new beginnings! I hope that everyone had a lovely Chanukkah. As everyone knows, Cantor Nussbaum is now retired. He and Avrille are making arrangements to move closer to their family in New Jersey. He is extremely appreciative of the love and support he has received.

A lot has been happening over the last couple of months, so I would like to give an update of where we stand. We have hired Eliza Zipper as Religious School principal. She is a graduate of the Davidson School at Jewish Theological Seminary and has many years of experience as a Jewish educator and youth leader. She brings a great deal of energy and excitement about Jewish education. We look forward to working with her.

Also in the Religious School, we have hired Rabbi David Shain as the Hay Prayer and Hebrew Skills teacher. Those of you who have spent time at Gurwin may be familiar with Rabbi Shain, who has served there as a mashgiach (kashrut supervisor) and their Shabbat Rabbi. Rabbi Shain is very personable and knowledgeable. I am confident that our Hay students are in good hands.

Turning our attention to B’nai Mitzvah preparation, we have hired Dr. Paul Kaplan, a former long-term congregant, to tutor our B’nai Mitzvah students. Dr. Kaplan is a retired college professor with decades of teaching experience. In addition, in his own words, he has prepared “a thousand students” for their Bar and Bat mitzvah including at least one member of our Board of Directors. We are lucky to have him on board.

Finally, the Cantor Search committee has been meeting regularly since mid-November. With input from the Board and committees, a job description for our Cantor position has been developed. We have submitted our job posting to the Cantor Assembly Placement Office and we have begun to receive applications. It is still very early in the process, but we are on course and schedule. Look for future updates as things develop.

Shalom, chaverim! See you in shul!

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Services

  • This Week

Week of Monday, October 23

Mon – Thurs, October 23-26
Weekday minyan – 8:15 pm

Friday, October 27
Evening Shabbat Service – 7:30 pm

Saturday, October 28
Morning Shabbat Service – 8:45 am
Family Service – 10:30 am

Sunday, October 29
Morning minyan – 9:00 am
Evening minyan – 8:15 pm

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Sisterhood Pd-Up Torah Fund Dinner-10/17/17

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Contact Us

The East Northport Jewish Center
328 Elwood Road
East Northport, NY, 11731  

Phone: 631-368-6474
Fax: 631-266-2910
Religious School Office: 631-368-6474

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Religious School: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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