• Welcome to the East Northport Jewish Center

    ENJC is an egalitarian synagogue affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. 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 connections to the Jewish people. We are know as the HAIMISH SHUL! We invite you to spend a Friday evening or Shabbat morning with us and see for yourself!
    Welcome to the East Northport Jewish Center
  • Passover at the ENJC

    Join us as we gather for a meaningful community Passover services led by Rabbi Steven Walvick
  • Fighting the Public Relations War

    Join us for an insightful and compelling talk by Dani Berdi. Dani is an Israeli Reservist and director of an organization dedicated to connecting Americans and Israel in fighting the public relations war, "We Walk Together." Learn about vital efforts to defend Israel's truth in the global arena. WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 7:00 PM at the ENJC
    Fighting the Public Relations War
  • Our Next Book Club Selection

    Our next book is the historical fiction A TALE OF A COLONY by Jack Michonik, taking place in a tight-knit Jewish Latin American community. Here, heritage and history clash with the desire for independence, as forbidden love affairs and criminality rise to the surface. Our discussion will take place Monday evening, June 17 at 7:00 pm
    Our Next Book Club Selection
  • Join us for Canasta

    We're playing Canasta on Sunday mornings at the ENJC! If you've never played before and want to learn, or already know how to play, we welcome you for an enjoyable few hours of cards. Contact the synagogue office for next Sunday date.
    Join us for Canasta
  • ENJC Supports Israel

    The ENJC Community prays for peace and stands in solidarity with Israelis, keeping Israel and her people in our hearts.
  • Help IDF Soldiers

    Purchase needed clothing and equipment requested by IDF soldiers from an Amazon Gift Registry, to be packed into duffels headed to Israel. Click on the READ MORE button below to view the items available.
  • Raise Awareness of the Hostage Crisis

    Join the run/walk each Sunday, 10 am at the Northgate Shopping Center. The route goes along the sidewalk of Northgate to Friendly's and then back again. Wear red or pin a hostage flier to your outfit. This is a unity walk and not a protest.
    Raise Awareness of the Hostage Crisis

Our Clergy

  • Steven Walvick, Rabbi/Hazzan

     

    StevenWalvick

    Passover Parodies

    Now that my years of intense study at the Academy for Jewish Religion has come to a close, and I am officially both a Rabbi and a Hazzan, what is the point of it all?  What does it matter to come into this position holding both skill sets of music and text, of the Siddur and of the Talmud, of Lewandowski and Maimonides? Why does the East Northport Jewish Center need both of these roles to be fulfilled, and not simply hire a sole Rabbi (or a sole Cantor) to serve all of its clerical needs? Now certainly, if you went with someone who was just a Rabbi, you’d likely have uninspired and unmusical Tefillah, as the prayers might lack the artistry granted by a skilled Hazzan. And if you simply had a Cantor, perhaps the sermons would lack the depth that a Rabbi trained in homiletics could provide. But all that is obvious. What is not obvious, is that someone trained in both text and music can create monstrosities of parody songs for Passover that simultaneously educate and (hopefully) entertain the listeners.

    Towards that end, this year I wish to share some of my creations for Passover, and add a brief commentary on what the song teaches. We start with one of my oldest creations, and perhaps the easiest musically to implement into your own Seder:

    “Four or Five Glasses of Wine” a la “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”

    Refrain:

    Four or Five glasses of wine on this night–one for each promise divine –
    They’re all in Shemot, but the fifth missed the boat

    We hope that Elijah will solve this in time

    Verse:

    Hotzeyti, "I'll bring you out" that’s listed first

    Hitzalti "I'll rescue" - same verse

    Ga'alti "Redeem"; you know what I mean

    Lakachti "I'll take you" That's four for our thirst

    (refrain)

    Verse:

    And yet there's Hayveyti, a promise as well,
    to bring us all to Yisrael.
    But that’d make it five, and that wouldn’t jive,

    so we’ll wait for Elijah to come and to tell.

    (refrain)


    This song addresses a practice that most of us misunderstand. כוס אליהו – Elijah’s Cup. This is not simply some “Milk and Cookies for Santa” rip-off. As Eliezer Melamed wrote in his seminal text Peninei Halakhah, Pesach 16:36: “A significant uncertainty arose concerning the fifth cup. Some say that there is an extra special mitzvah to drink a fifth cup; the fourth cup should be drunk at the end of the Hallel and the fifth cup after the concluding berakha. Others say that the fifth cup is merely the Sages’ recommendation for one who wishes to continue drinking after the fourth cup. Still others say it is forbidden to drink a fifth cup.”
    The customary practice is not to drink a fifth cup, ‘though the custom is to pour it and to call it “Eliyahu’s Cup.” The Vilna Gaon explains how it got this name: when there is an uncertainty that cannot be resolved, we believe that when the prophet Eliyahu returns as a harbinger of the messianic era, he will resolve it. Thus, we pour a fifth cup in his honor, and when he arrives he will tell us if we must drink it.’

    This is not an opportunity for Elijah to ride from home to home, drinking people’s terrible, terrible Seder wine. It is a symbol for the disagreement over how the Seder is to be performed, and it’s there to demonstrate that there is a place for divergence in the Jewish community, and that we don’t simply dismiss the minority opinion out of hand, but preserve multiple voices and customs, even if we don’t follow those practices.


    If that is not enough for your Seder, I additionally wrote the following song to address both the Ma Nishtana and the practice of Maror and Haroset:

    “Take Ḥaroset” a la “Hit the Road Jack” by Percy Mayfield

    Chorus:
 You take Ḥaroset, and then you gotta dip maror, maror, maror, maror
    You take Ḥaroset, and then you gotta dip maror  (x2)

    Verse:
 On every other night we eat “Ḥametz uMatzah”,
    tonight our only bread is flat as Oklahoma.

    Then Hillel came and changed the score—
    We gotta eat it with that bitter maror.

    That’s Right!

    (Chorus)

    Verse:
 On every other night we eat Sha’ar Yirakot,
    any type of veggie that might float your boat;

    But tonight there ain’t no either/or—
    we’ve gotta eat that bitter maror.

    That’s Right!

    (Chorus)

    Verse:
 On every other night, we don’t even dip once,
    Afilu pa’am eḥad” in the Hebrew, you dunce!
    
Once for karpas and what’s more—
    The second time’s that bitter maror.

    That’s Right! 

    (Chorus)

    Verse:
 On every other night we may sit or recline,
    “kulanu m’subin” when we’re drinkin’ our wine

    Yet there’s one food we must all sit for,
    we can’t recline when we eat our maror.

    That’s Right! 

    (Chorus)


    The Ma-Nishtana has always bothered me. The whole point of the Seder is to ask questions, to learn and study the concept of freedom, similarly to how the ancient Greeks would hold a symposium to focus on ideals like love. As Peter Garnsey stated in Food and Society in Classical Antiquity: “the event depicted in the symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium, which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation” Now, we’ve replaced the after dinner revelry (Greek: epikomion) with a bit of left over matzah (Afikoman) but the format is otherwise intact. But if the point is to delve into a subject as rich and deep as “freedom,” why do we use the same canned questions year after year? Even worse, some of those questions aren’t even applicable anymore. Is dipping food such a strange phenomenon to those of us who routinely dip French fries in ketchup, or pita in hummus? Meanwhile, is reclining at the dinner table a valid option today? I’m fairly sure your great aunt would disapprove of you not sitting up straight! So what do we get out of this ritualized question and answer? Well, you get participation from the children, which is one of the essential goals of the Seder. For this is not simply an event for the adult males to discuss while the womenfolk provide food and entertainment, and the children are not to be found at all. Rather, the Seder is an all-inclusive family event where everyone is encouraged to participate.

    This brings us full circle, back to adding parody songs to your Seder. If you and your family are all fully fluent in Aramaic, great, chant the traditional text, add a few new commentaries and texts, and you’ve fulfilled your obligation. But if not, it is not only allowed, but fully encouraged to add texts and songs to the Seder that will both educate, and prompt people to add new questions to the Seder, even if those questions are “Why are we singing this dreck?”

    Hag Kasher v’Samayach

     

  • Fighting Racism

    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).

     

Services

This Week

Monday, April 22
9:00 am – Fast of the First Born Study Session

Tuesday, April 23
9:30 am – Yom Tov Services, 1st Day Pesach

Wednesday, April 24
9:30 am – Yom Tov Services, 2nd Day Pesach
8:45 pm – Maariv/Chol Hamoed Services/Havdalah

Thursday, April 25
8:15 pm – Maariv/Chol Hamoed Services

Friday, April 26
7:30 pm – Shabbat/Chol Hamoed Services

Saturday, April 27
9:30 am – Shabbat/Chol Hamoed Services

Sunday, April 28
9:00 am – Chol Hamoed Services
8:15 pm – Festival Maariv Services

Monday, April 29
9:30 am – 7th Day Pesach Yom Tov Services
8:15 pm – Festival Maariv Services

Tuesday, April 30
9:30 am – 8th Day Pesach Yom Tov Services with Yizkor (appr. 10:15 am)
8:45 pm – Maariv/Havdalah


PASSOVER RESOURCES

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click on a link below:
Rabbinical Assembly Pesach Guide 2024
The Passover Preparation Checklist
Chametz Form (download, print and bring in)

 

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StevenWalvick

A Message for the New Year

As 5783 comes to a close (and I’m still writing 5782 on my checks!) and we approach the High Holidays, it’s always worthwhile to take stock in how this past year has gone, and what we can do to further grow and change as Jews for the upcoming year. In my upcoming sermons we’ll be focusing in on the concepts of Teshuva, Anavah, and Zikaron:  Repentance, Humility, and Remembrance. To be honest, I don’t really like any of those English renditions, and feel like there is a lot lost in translation, so I’ll try to prime the pump by giving you a better sense of what these words mean. 

Teshuva literally means return, reply or even answer. It’s related to turning, and it is about refocusing our lives, about changing the trajectory towards which we are travelling. Our lives don’t travel in straight lines, and we often meander to the left or right, or find ourselves moving in circles, but the more often we can take stock, and look at where we are going, the greater ability we have to shepherd ourselves in the direction we want to go.  

Anavah is often translated as humility, but it is often mired down in the concepts of meekness, and modesty, or the act of lowering ourselves. Perhaps there is virtue in this, as it allows us to really see the divine spark in others when we lower ourselves. I would argue that we are better served by not lowering ourselves in our own estimation as we would be rather by raising others up to a higher level.

Zikaron can be memory, memorial or remembrance, but in the Hebrew it connotes much more than a simple cerebral activity. Judaism, in general, is much more that what happens inside the boundaries of our brains or our hearts, but rather in the actions we perform in the outside world. Our set of Mitzvot, commandments, are all about how we function in society, practically, and Zikaron is no different. There is a long tradition of connecting acts of charity with Zikaron. This is the reason we have the High Holiday appeal on Yom Kippur: It’s not that you are simply donating so that we can have a new roof, or the enhanced security features, but rather by participating in acts of Tzedakka, righteousness, we are connecting the memory of those who have passed with the good deeds, that only those of us still living can actuate. 

I hope this simple Hebrew lesson adds a little bit more meaning to your High Holiday experience, and as the kids say: “Like and Subscribe” for the full story.

In Solidarity with Israel

WeStandWithIsrael

Candlelighting