• 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!
  • Shabbat Across America

    Shabbat Across America

    Synagogues across North America will come together for this special Friday night celebration. Join us on Friday night, February 28 at 6:15 pm for Mexican dinner! Adults are $9, couples are $18 and families are $25. Children under 4 are free. Contact the synagogue office to RSVP NOW.
  • Storytime at Barnes and Noble

    Storytime at Barnes and Noble

    Join us at Barnes and Noble for a magical Purim experience, with stories, crafts, munchies and fun! We'll be meeting at 10:30 am on March 1. Please contact the synagogue office with any questions.
  • Don't Know How to Play Mah Jongg?

    Don't Know How to Play Mah Jongg?

    Now is your opportunity to learn! The ENJC Engage Program is offering Mah Jongg classes on Sundays, March 1 and March 8 at 1:00 pm. Please RSVP to the synagogue office at 631-368-6474 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. It's FREE!
  • Register for Sisterhood's Mah Jongg Tournament

    Register for Sisterhood's Mah Jongg Tournament

    Join us March 15th for a day of Mah Jongg tournament play, including a bagel breakfast, lunch and snacks, and great prizes for the winners. Bring your friends! Price is $45 to reserve your space. Deadline to register is March 9. Read More
  • ENJC Purim Services 2020

    ENJC Purim Services 2020

    Join us for the Full Megillah Reading on MONDAY EVENING, MARCH 9th at 7:30 pm, with songs and a special concert of the ENJC Klezmer Band. And of course, followed by delicious hamantaschen.On TUESDAY, MARCH 10th our Second Megillah Reading will begin at 9:00 am, with a Seudah Purim Meal served from 5-6:30 pm. We hope you'll be there!
  • A Passover Presentation

    A Passover Presentation

    All congregants are welcome for a wonderful presentation by our own Rabbi Deborah Miller discussing Passover Around the World, on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 pm
  • Cholent: The Shabbat Stew

    Cholent: The Shabbat Stew

    Join us, following Saturday morning services, on March 28th, for a variety of traditional Sabbath cholents. Our shul will be filled with the aroma of these slow-cooked stews that will make your mouth water from the second you enter the building. It's the perfect comfort food for a cool winter day!
  • The Wrap Rap

    The Wrap Rap

    On Sunday morning, February 2nd, congregrations worldwide came together for the mitzvah of wrapping tefillin.... but no other congregation has a World Wide Wrap Rap! See it performed by Rabbi Silverman and Hazzan Walvick by clicking on the Read More button. Read More
  • Czech Torah Webpage Project

    Czech Torah Webpage Project

    As owners of a Czech Torah Scroll, the ENJC joins a community of over 1000 scroll-holders around the world. These scrolls miraculously survived the Shoah and were brought to London in 1964. Read of the history of the ENJC Czech scroll by clicking on the Read More button. Read More
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View current news articles, commentary, videos and more having an impact on Jewish culture, politics and religion at Rabbi Silverman's Sites to See

Should We Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Some celebrities have recently gotten on the bandwagon for not celebrating Thanksgiving because it glorifies a time at which the Westerner essentially inhabited and took over land and resources from the indigenous peoples of America. These same concerns have taken hold of those who decline to celebrate Columbus Day as well. My impression is that Thanksgiving celebrates the mutual help lent by settlers to Indians and vice versa, and that therefore, this day may be all the more needed. My focus here, however, is not to determine if we should or should not celebrate Thanksgiving for these reasons. Rather, let’s examine why some Jews don't celebrate this National holiday for Halahkic reasons; that is, reasons of Jewish law. 

Some who are very opposed take the position that it is a case of Avodah Zara, that Thanksgiving is a holiday dictated by the worship of a foreign power, and that Jews should give their lives rather than in engage in such idolatrous worship. That viewpoint is disputed by the great Rabbi Moses Feinstein, who tells us first that some aspects of even foreign worship, like being compelled to drink a wine libation used for foreign worship, still would not require a person to sacrifice their life. But that aside, this is not worship of an idol, nor is it even worship dictated by religious authorities per se. This is a celebration that became a custom over time, with the help of secular authorities wishing to celebrate a national sense of thanksgiving at the end of harvest time and at the moment when we move determinedly into the winter months. Yes, there is a reflection of a good God Who shall help us, but it is decidedly generic and diffused, and therefore not a religious holiday per se.

Rav Feinstein rules, however, that Thanksgiving might be seen as a "custom of the Gentiles," as it seems to be followed with a particular rigor by many who don't have a logical reason for such a custom. He would regard a distinctive hair style that many take up for no particular reason in the same light. Finding that the laws in the Torah that state "don’t follow the customs of the Amorite" might be appropriate, he rules that it's advisable that Jews don't eat turkey on that particular day as a matter of principle. Others say that he may have softened his view over time and he certainly allows a festive meal on that day so long as it is understood in one’s mind that partaking of the meal is voluntary and not “obligatory” in any sense.

Some authorities bring up the rule of "Bal Tosif"– "adding Torah laws" with holidays that are not specifically specified in the Torah. That, however, might make Purim and Chanukah problematic, as they aren't specified in the Torah either! Furthermore, Rabbi Moses Isserlis (Rema), in the Shulchan Aruch, mentions that Jews may even participate in exchanging gifts at times of Christian holidays with their neighbors if it's for the sake of good will or the welfare of Jewish communities in their environment (Yoreh Deah, 184:12). The fact that this is not a Christian holiday but a national secular one, set in motion by the American government and society, makes it all the more permitted. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, another Torah luminary, ruled that, as such, there was really nothing wrong with celebrating with our fellow Americans. He himself had a Thanksgiving meal, although he didn’t cancel his Talmud classes that day!

 I have yet to come across a Conservative Teshuva on the issue, probably because it was inconceivable that enjoying Thanksgiving was problematic. One might even make the case that Thanksgiving is a holiday we should feel is mandatory. Its features include giving thanks for the providential care God gives us in life, and a concomitant concern for those who are in need and without sustenance as they face the harsh winter. Both of those concerns are mitzvoth that we must perform each and every day. If we encounter a destitute person, the Torah tells us we must contribute toward feeding and clothing them. Deuteronomy tells us that you should take a poor person into your household and seek shelter for them. Each and everyday, every morning and noon, we pray from our Siddur that we are grateful to God for giving us the small miracles of body and soul, and declare thanks to God for being Mechadesh bechol Yom–He Who each and every day creates the world anew!

Therefore, one can make the case that Thanksgiving is not at all a holiday following gentile customs. It is simply an opportunity, on that particular day, to fulfill two important mitzvoth. Naturally, we should respect the views of others who hold otherwise. That, after all, is the American way and the Jewish way. Know, however, that if you do keep Thanksgiving, you have Halachic legs to stand on.

May we, at Thanksgiving, enjoy family and friends, and draw its important lessons of gratitude to God, country and empathy for the poor. Beth joins me in saying May your bounty be sufficient and our winter warm–

Leadership

  • Ian Silverman, Rabbi
  • Steven Walvick, Hazzan
  • Frank Brecher, ENJC President

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

Oh, the Places You'll Go at Purim

It's Adar, and it's time to laugh. As our sages say, “Mishenichnas Adar marbim besimcha – When Adar comes in, one must 'get happy.'" I therefore very much like being in Adar, even more so than many other times and places...

In fact, I have been many places, but I have never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go there alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my family, friends and those with whom I have worked.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump and I am not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm. 

Sometimes I visit in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense. It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart. At my age, I need all of the stimuli I can get. Now if only I can just avoid getting in Continent.

Now truly, I don't know where I got the clever piece above, but I know this– Please come to be in cahoots with Hazzan Walvick and me on March 9th and 10th as we read the Megillah. You need not come incognito, though that is encouraged! You might be driven insane by the joyful silliness and satire as we read and grog our way through the story of Purim, but I would not necessarily jump to that conclusion. I have, however, no doubt that our Klezmer band, our children reading from the Megillah, and our story in voices of the Ganze Megillah will keep you, if not in suspense, then in stitches to the end! So don't be inflexible. We know your are capable, and in time, you will be a regular participant.

B'simcha rabba–

Read More

With Pesah coming up, it's never too early to start thinking about seders. So I've been asked to offer up my chicken soup recipe, but the truth is that I can't give it to you–and not because it's top secret–but rather, I don't exactly use a recipe. Sure the ingredients are mostly the same: water, chicken, vegetables, spices, etc. But the truth is it varies: sometimes I use chicken thighs, sometimes I use gizzards. In fact, sometimes I've even used turkey necks for my "chicken" soup. I always try to use celery, carrots, onion and dill, but often I try to add parsley or parsnips, occasionally a turnip. This time, on Mary's suggestion, I added thyme, a lovely addition. But there are still some key tips and tricks I can give you to improve your chicken soup, no matter which recipe you use:

1. Don't cook the soup the same day you serve it. Soup is ALWAYS better a day later, when the ingredients have had an opportunity to mix and mingle. Waiting a day or even two can make all the difference between a good soup and a GREAT soup.

2. Brown the chicken before putting it in the soup. Sure, if you're in a rush, you can toss the chicken in a pot of water, but by browning the chicken in the pot before adding the water, you add an immense amount of aroma and browning flavors that will intensify your soup and bring it to the next level.

3. Sauté the vegetables as well, while you're at it. While not quite as impactful as cooking the chicken, you can make the vegetable flavors stand out more. Often I will do the chicken first, then remove the chicken and cook some of the vegetables in the chicken fat, and then add back in the chicken and the vegetables.

4. Skim the soup to eliminate extra fat, etc. Especially when using chicken wings, you often have to deal with feathers, and those things don't dissolve in the soup but float to the top, so you can skim that off along with any extra fat.

5. Know your audience. Some people prefer clear soups, and so you might want to wrap ingredients in cheesecloth, while others don't mind "stuff" in their soup. Some actually prefer it! Some people like throwing in thin egg noodles, or making kneidels/matzoh balls. But if you want to know about how to make those, you'll have to ask Libby, the Kneidel Maidel herself. She even as a song about it!

Read More

Last month was very busy at the ENJC, with numerous activities for all. The turnout at all our events was outstanding, starting off with our second annual SOUPER SHABBAT!

Our Shabbat service was enjoyed by all, and was highlighted by the soups that over 85 congregants tasted while celebrating Shabbat together. A very special thank you to our chef’s – Steve Alberti, Beth Schlesinger, Ilene Glatman, Karen and Jason Tyll, Allan and Donna Berman and Hazzan Walvick. Look for their recipes in this month's Bulletin. I enjoyed all the soups I tried and my only regret was that I did not get a chance to try them all. Thank you as well to Robin Kain, the salad maker. YASHER KOACH to all that helped make it a very special Shabbat.

On Sunday morning, February 2nd, it was time for East Northport’s participation in the World Wide Wrap. The Daled and Hay students made their presence felt with a large turnout. Steve Krantz and the Men’s Club provided hot sliced bagels. Over 40 people got up early on Super Bowl Sunday to attend!

The following Shabbat was another busy weekend! Our Friday night Service was followed by 35 congregants enjoying our annual Tu B’Shevat Seder. It is one of my favorite nights of the year, as my 23-year-old daughter Amanda joins me in participating in the Seder. She was happy to attend and both Rabbi Silverman and Hazzan Walvick made it enjoyable and memorable.

The Engage Program is involving many ENJC members in the many activities offered. Mah Jongg Sundays have started up, and on February 23rd we were treated to some insights from Yossie Mermelstein about the War on Entebbe. Yossie was a pilot with the Israeli Air Force at that time and when he spoke, we all felt that we were there too.

February is ending with our participation in Shabbat Across America, highlighted by a Mexican Dinner. I’m sure it will be MUY BUENO!

Purim is next – SEE YOU IN SHUL!

Read More

Services

  • This Week
  • Weekly

 

Week of Monday, February 24

Monday-Thursday, 2/24 – 2/27
Weekly minyan service – 8:15 pm

Friday, February 28
Shabbat Across America
Mexican Dinner – 6:15 pm
Shabbat Evening Service – 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 29
Shabbat Service – 9:15 am

Sunday, March 1
Morning Minyan– 9:00 am
Evening Minyan – 8:15 pm

 

 

  

 

    

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Monday-Thursday
Weekday Minyan: 8:15 pm

Friday Shabbat Services
8:00 pm (7:30 First Friday of the month)

Saturday Shabbat Services
9:15 am

Sunday Morning Minyan
9:00 am

Sunday Evening Minyan
8:15 pm

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World Wide Wrap at the ENJC

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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: 631-368-0875

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