• Welcome to the ENJC

    Welcome to the ENJC

    The ENJC is a Conservative, egalitarian synagogue of approximately 150 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. We offer something for everyone by meeting our members' needs for spiritual, cultural and social connection to the Jewish people. We are known as the “haimish shul,” so visit and spend a Friday evening or Shabbat morning with us and see for yourself!
  • Sisterhood Connection invites you to–

    Sisterhood Connection invites you to–

    A series of fun afternoons playing with cards and tiles where you can social with friends, meet new friends, enjoy a light snack and have a relaxing good time. Join us on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4 at 1:30 for non-competitive Mah Jongg. Whether you're new to the game or a seasoned professional, come by and play!
  • ENCJ/Melville JC Blood Drive

    ENCJ/Melville JC Blood Drive

    The ENJC and Melville JC are teaming up to help save lives with your blood donations. Make an appointment to go to the Melville Donor Center on Monday, DECEMBER 5th between 7:45 am and 8:30 pm. Make an appointment at https://donate.nybc.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/308342
  • Commack Candle Lighting

    Commack Candle Lighting

    Commack's Menorah Lighting will take place at Commack Corners Shopping Center on December 19 at 7:00 pm. There'll be latkes, donuts, dreidels, gelt, music and more!
  • Chanukah Candle-Lighting at Northport Harbor

    Chanukah Candle-Lighting at Northport Harbor

    Join Rabbi Silverman and Hazzan Walvick for Chanukah prayer and song as we light the village menorah.
  • See some great Israeli films this fall

    See some great Israeli films this fall

    Join us to view five highly acclaimed Israeli movies ranging from documentaries to dramas to comedies. Celebrate Israeli culture! Popcorn and snacks served. Click on the Read More button to see the film schedule and short synopses of each. Read More
  • Announcing this year's Adult Education series

    Announcing this year's Adult Education series

    Expand your heart and your mind with 13 topics that you can study with Rabbi Ian and fellow congregants from the comfort of your own home. New students welcomed! Click the Read More button for more info. Read More
  • ENJC Book Club

    ENJC Book Club

    Get a head start and begin reading The House at Tyneford, by Natasha Solomons, story of a young woman who must leave the life of glittering parties and champagne in 1938 Vienna, to become a parlor maid in England. Our next discussion will take place Monday, January 16 at 7:00 pm.
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  • Ian Silverman, Rabbi
  • Steven Walvick, Hazzan
  • Fighting Racism

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

Thanksgiving, Sukkoth and Chanukah…

Many say that Thanksgiving is patterned after Sukkot, the Jewish Holiday of the Harvest. At Sukkot we celebrate a successful harvest, petition God for good rains and climate, enjoy the outdoors in the Sukkah and, in general, are conscious of all the many blessings of God. There is no doubt that there are some parallel themes to our American Thanksgiving day but it appears from the information below that the tie is not terribly strong.

Apparently “thanksgiving days” were not, at first, necessarily harvest festivals… Rather, Thanksgiving was a reformist, Calvinist and Puritan response to “too many” Catholic holidays. The Puritans, and before them, the followers of Henry the VIII, sought to replace “church” holidays with holidays of fasting and thanksgiving for events that were felt in contemporary life. Thus there were many Europeans—British, Irish, French, Welsch and Spanish–who had this tradition. The settlers of what would eventually become the U.S and Canada adopted these customs when they settled in the new world. Many such fast and thanksgiving days were established to mourn drought and disease, and to celebrate military victories and rescues. For the settlers in a new land, a thanksgiving day was often declared after a successful crop or a successful repelling of an Indian attackby governors and preachers in the colonial territories of Canada, and what would become the United States. Among the reasons for these declarations would be a successful harvest and the success of a territory at the turn of the year toward winter.

The tie to the Pilgrims became solidified just before the Civil War era by the author Sarah Hale, who was the composer of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She was the person who contended that it was the Pilgrims of 1621 who established a first Thanksgiving. Evidence that this was the grand celebration she depicted with turkey, cranberry and all the trappings is sparse, as they may not have even had access to those foods. Yet her twenty-year effort to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday ultimately was successful, 'though the first Thanksgiving under President Lincoln was interrupted by the Civil War and its aftermath. Many individual states by Lincoln’s time had established a Thanksgiving Day, but the date was not uniform and some states did not celebrate it.

It was only after Hale’s campaign got the support of Abraham Lincoln that Thanksgiving became an official holiday. Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November, in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America's refusal to recognize Lincoln's authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Be that as it may, Thanksgiving Day has entered the American psyche and is the quintessential American holiday celebrated by most citizens. It is recognized as a time to reflect on all the bounty that this great country offers us.

From a Jewish standpoint, it is important to cultivate a sense of gratitude. In our daily prayers, we are reminded of God's miraculous qualities in “renewing the creations each and every day.” I encourage you to make this day a spiritual moment for those with whom you celebrate.

A more direct relationship may be found between Sukkoth and Chanukah. Some scholars contend that it was the pining for Sukkot, our Judaic major pilgrimage festival, which influenced the first Chanukah after the Maccabeen victory, as an eight day holiday. The miracle of the oil lasting 8 days may be the folklore reinforcement of this desire to celebrate the rededication of the Temple as an eight-day holiday of gratitude. There was no waving of lulavs and building of sukkoth, of course, as that was date-bound to the middle of Tishrei. But it might be that the focus on light and flame was influenced by the water libation celebrations that involved torches in the night that were developed especially in the second Temple period.

Here is how the water drawing ceremony during the holiday of Sukkoth is described in sources: Torch-laden boys scrambled up ladders scaling candelabras, 75, perhaps, 150 feet tall, to light the thick wicks of the candelabras’ four enormous lanterns so that all of Jerusalem was filled with light–like day. Kohanim began sounding their trumpets, the Levi’im played their flutes, lyres, cymbals, and every sort of instrument in thunderous, heavenly music, while all the people joined in song.

The most wondrous spectacle of all was the sight of the distinguished elders, with their long white beards, singing at the top of their lungs, dancing wildly, performing acrobatic feats, and even juggling acts. The most illustrious sage, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who presided over the supreme court of seventy elders, would juggle eight flaming torches—and never would one torch touch another. “If you never saw the celebration of the water-drawing,” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi would say, “you never saw a celebration in your life.” Might it be that this ceremony, so missed by the Judaens, rubbed off on the holiday of Chanukah and influenced it to becoming an 8-day cadelabra holiday?

Nevertheless, with regard to Thanksgiving in our nation, you may wish to use this beautiful piece by Connecticut Governor Wilbur Cross at your supper table. Cross was also an English and Literature Professor. (You may also wish to look up the footage of Cross's proclamation on YouTube from 1936! Makes for interesting viewing)

Thanksgiving  Proclamation
Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of Public Thanksgiving

…for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth -- for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives -- and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; -- that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Beth and I wish you and yours a most enjoyable, meaningful and festive Thanksgiving (and Chanukah too!)

 It's your moment to step up

וַיְצַ֣ו מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיַּעֲבִ֨ירוּ ק֥וֹל בַּֽמַּחֲנֶה֮ לֵאמֹר֒ אִ֣ישׁ וְאִשָּׁ֗ה אַל־יַעֲשׂוּ־ע֛וֹד מְלָאכָ֖ה לִתְרוּמַ֣ת הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ וַיִּכָּלֵ֥א הָעָ֖ם מֵהָבִֽיא
Moses thereupon had this proclamation made throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make further effort toward gifts for the sanctuary!” So the people stopped bringing

At the end of the book of Exodus we encounter the one, and probably only time, where a Jewish leader had to ask the Jews to stop donating! Talk about your abundance mindset! Imagine having enough so much gold, and silver and animal skins that you had to start turning people away. I, for one, can tell you, that here at the East Northport Jewish Center, we are still accepting as many dolphin skins as you are willing to donate (and can procure without upsetting the people at PETA too much.) 

Oy! To live in such a time where everyone wanted to participate, and give, and the only real issues you had was in which tent you piled all the crimson thread, and in which tent you piled all the royal purple threads. Alas, we do face challenges, and it is easy to look back to this story from our past and be wistful. Heck, we don’t have to go back quite so far. We can look back to the boom in the founding and growing of synagogues post World War II, or even the huge numbers of involved congregants we, along with most other congregations had in the 1980’s and yearn for “The Good Old Days.” But, if you’re hoping I have the answer to bringing back the days of hundreds of congregants attending Shabbat services every Shabbat and jam packed tribute booklets for a “Man of the Year” dinner, alas, I don’t have those solutions. But maybe those aren’t necessarily the challenges we should be struggling to achieve. Similarly, I’m really not sure what we would do with even ONE dolphin skin, let alone hundreds. But what are the challenges we can and should address as we hopefully approach the light at the end of this pandemic? What are the main places we should focus our strength and energies? I’ll give you a hint. Let’s start with what we’re good at. When I was struck by an automobile on the way to shul, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection and support from our congregants—both those whom I have weekly or daily interactions with, as well as even those who some might consider “three times a year” Jews, yet nevertheless felt the very Jewish need to fulfill the obligation of Biqor Holim, via e-mails, phone calls, or the delivery of delicious delicacies hand-cooked, or provided by our community’s one and only Kosher eatery: Pastrami ‘N Friends. (Talk to our President Robin Kain if you want to purchase gift certificates!) When I was unable to lead services, the Rabbi was not left to fend for himself, but our congregants stepped up to help lead, either via our Zoom offered minyanim, or our in-person hybrid Shabbat services. We are a community of doers and givers. We are truly the heimish community, who might actually have needed a Moses to tell them when enough has been given. (I should add, that, our freezer is now full, and there’s only so much corned beef I can consume at one time, but thank you for the continual offers!) 

Sure, if you read the Pew report, it sure seems like doom and gloom, and I’m not going to bother to repeat the statistics that portray a very real and very scary outlook for our future, not only at ENJC, but as Jews, nay as ANY organized religion faces in the years to come. But instead of focusing on the negatives, let us double-down on our positives. What gifts can YOU bring to the East Northport Jewish Center? What skills do you possess that might be helpful to our community? What hidden talents might brighten someone’s day? Do you know how to read Torah or Haftara? Can you deliver a sermon or D’var Torah? Can you lead any part of our services? Let’s take a step forward here. Are you willing/able to learn new skills to help our community? Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach a man to make Gefilte Fish, and he can start a global empire under the Mrs. Adler’s label! If you can read Hebrew, I can teach you how to lead a prayer service. Whether the relatively short 15-minute evening minyan we host each weeknight, or either parts of the Friday and/or Saturday morning services. It’s never too late to learn how to chant from the Torah or Haftara. Not so skilled in Hebrew? Thanks to such resources as the website Sefaria, it is easier than ever to write a D’var Torah, and I would be happy to show you how to research a week’s Torah Portion and bring insights from your own life into a message to deliver to the congregation. 

As we hopefully have more and more in-person events back in our community, it’s time to think about other activities we can be doing at the ENJC. Before the pandemic, we had wonderful sessions on learning to play mah jjong led by our dearly departed congregant Jodi Saperstein, as well lessons in canasta. I hope to be teaching a group on how to play bridge, with the help of Renee Rubin soon. Howie Lewin gave a great talk on researching family lineages, that contained only a merciful few of his terrible puns. We had a growing pickleball contingent coming on Sunday afternoons before we had to close down for insurance reasons. What other skills or knowledges can you teach or offer to our ENJC family?  Of course, we can’t always expect that we’ll be able to implement every idea, and just because you are an expert at swallowing knitting needles, doesn’t mean that Sue Kazazz will necessarily be able to fit into our schedule, but it never hurts to let us know. What we do here at ENJC is give back, and help each other, so let us focus our gifts to improve the lives of our members. 

וְעָשָׂה֩ בְצַלְאֵ֨ל וְאׇהֳלִיאָ֜ב וְכֹ֣ל אִ֣ישׁ חֲכַם־לֵ֗ב אֲשֶׁר֩ נָתַ֨ן ה׳    
חׇכְמָ֤ה וּתְבוּנָה֙ בָּהֵ֔מָּה לָדַ֣עַת לַעֲשֹׂ֔ת אֶֽת־כׇּל־מְלֶ֖אכֶת עֲבֹדַ֣ת הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֖ה הֹ׃
Let, then, Bezalel and Oholiab and all the skilled persons whom God has endowed with skill and ability to perform expertly all the tasks connected with the service of the sanctuary carry out all that God has commanded.

Neither Bezalel, nor Oholiab were known to be especially pious Jews. They weren’t priests. They weren’t Rabbis, or especially learned in Jewish rituals. It’s doubtful they could have sung even Adon Olam in a tuneful way (possibly because it would be thousands of years before Adon Olam would be written). But they were skillful. Bezalel is noted as being highly artistic and skilled. But even that isn’t a barrier to participation. Bezalel’s assistant, Oholiab, is not mentioned as having any particularly extraordinary skills at all. He was a doer more than a leader, he knew when and where his help was needed and he volunteered. Now is the time for all of us to volunteer to bring ENJC out of this pandemic and into the future. The Rabbi and I don’t need you to be Moses or Aaron. If you’re a Bezalel, and bring special skills, great. But even if all you have is a willing and giving heart and want to help, or even just become more involved as a participant at ENJC, now is your moment. 

Read More

Fighting Racism 
There are no words that convey our outrage, grief and our exasperation at the loss of 21 in Uvalde,TX, 19 of which were children 10 yrs old and less, with their lives, dreams, plans, joy and comfort robbed from them and their families forever. My prayer is that every resource goes to these bereft sons and daughters, parents, siblings grandparents and loved ones, so as to help them emerge from this tragedy and somehow honor and memorialize their children by moving forward and continuing in spite of unbearable grief. God, our precious parent, give the surviving families the gift of resilience. 

But our prayers and petitions must also be  for our politicians, local, state and federal, our courts and our law enforcement agencies, to find the courage and maturity to formulate sensible gun laws such as universal background checks, waiting periods, red flag legislation, and laws that put stricter age limits on the purchase and use of semi automatic weaponry. Our country is the only country in the world with this problem. We are not any more or less mentally ill than other countries. We are here because of the lax regulation and access to these weapons. In my opinion this too should be the prayers we offer as well: prayers for the resolve to legislate laws to protect our treasured children. Below find the statement of the Rabbinical Assembly. 
         –Rabbi Ian Silverman 
Rabbinical Assembly Heartbroken by Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Following the killing of 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Uvalde, TX, and the wounding of others, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the international association for Conservative/Masorti rabbis, issued the following statement:

This event is simply heart-breaking. Children must be more precious to America than its guns.

While our hearts and sincere prayers go out to the people of Uvalde, especially the families of the victims, thoughts and prayers have never been enough; it is past time for action. It is the lack of action that has brought us Sandy Hook and Parkland and too many other mass shootings to list. And now Uvalde.

It is high time that United States politicians, currently obsessed with reelection campaigns, put aside partisanship in order literally to save lives. They must firmly and immediately enact meaningful gun reform legislation. The same with mental health reform.

As we have said all too often – and too recently – we offer our deepest condolences and support to all those impacted by this despicable attack and reiterate our vehement condemnation of gun violence.

The Rabbinical Assembly has spoken out many times against gun violence in the United States. We unequivocally call upon lawmakers to immediately take all available measures to ensure the safety of the public and to limit the availability of guns. As our tradition reminds us, 'Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor' (Leviticus 19:16).



  • This Week

Monday-Thursday, December 5-8
8:15 pm – Weekly Minyan (Zoom)

Friday, December 9
7:30 pm – Erev Shabbat (In-person & Zoom)

Saturday, December 10
9:30 am – Shabbat Service (In-person & Zoom)

Sunday, December 11
9:00 am – Morning Minyan

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The ENJC wishes you a Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah Menorah dreidal sufganyot 

Sacred Book Burial, November 6, 2022


Contact Us

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

Phone: 631-368-6474
Fax: 631-266-2910
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Office hours: Mon, Weds, Fri - 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Religious School Office: 631-368-0875
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