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Hakarat Hatov - Sukkot

09/26/2023 01:08:15 PM


The two main themes of Sukkot are Joy and Gratitude. Sukkot, as a harvest festival is a time to bring in and celebrate over the last harvest and show gratitude for the bounty of the harvest. In many ways, Sukkot is an opportunity to recognize gratitude in our lives. 

Notes from Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

09/18/2023 05:55:06 PM


Cantor Avima Rudavsky Darnov

A Rosh Hashanah to Remember! 

09/18/2023 10:48:49 AM


Rosh Hashanah 5784 was definitely one for "the books"! There is a traditional saying:  

תכלה שנה וקללותיה - תחל שנה וברכותיה

"Tichleh shanah v'ki-l'loteh-ha, Takhel shanah u'vir-cho-teh-ha!" 

"May the (previous) year and its curses  end, and the New Year and its blessings begin". 

It strikes me that on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we...Read more...

Hakarat Hatov, Recognition of  Good

09/11/2023 03:30:37 PM


When one has only one brief Religious School lesson in which to teach about the High Holidays, the holiest days on our calendar, what to we teach? That is the challenge with which we were faced this year with the challenge imposed by this year's Jewish calendar. I had a 30 minute period...Read more...

More High Holiday music! 

09/04/2023 11:46:34 AM


Last week I shared with you a link for some basic Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur cantorial nusach (traditional liturgical melodies). This week I am excited to share a link for a wonderful program that was featured on National Public Radio. It is called "Music for the Days of Awe: An Observance of the Jewish High Holidays". This one hour narrated program contains some absolutely breathe-taking solo and choral masterpieces of the High...Read more...

Music of the High Holidays 

08/28/2023 11:29:43 AM


Would you eat Latkes on Rosh Hashanah? You might, because, well, hey, latkes! But most of us might feel that eating latkes on Rosh Hashanah would just be weird. Why? Because the aroma and taste of latkes brings to mind all things Chanukah including the memories associated with Chanukah. How about eating matzah on Chanukah? More holiday confusion!! Our traditional melodies, called"nusach" calls for different melodies for different...Read more...

Words of Chesed and Emet

08/20/2023 04:54:35 PM


I do not have an engagement ring. My husband opted for a necklace. He had a necklace made with part of a verse from Proverbs 3:3 which  loosely translates to "Chesed (loving kindness) and truth, they will not abandon you; Tie them  around your neck..."  In...Read more...

Olam Chesed Yibbaneh -The World  Will Be Built From Love

08/13/2023 08:01:47 PM


There is a beautiful passage that we recite in our morning prayers found on p.68 of our Sim Shalom Siddur.  It is a rabbinic teaching on lovingkindness, "chesed". This paragraph describes a conversation between the great Rabbis Yochanan Ben Zakkai and his disciple Rabbi Joshua as they  lamented the ruins of the Temple. Rabbi Joshua says "Alas for us! The place which atoned for the sins of the people Israel through the...Read more...


08/06/2023 08:25:59 PM


Grilled cheese, tomato soup, potato chips and ice cream. Lakes, trees, dirt paths and cabins. Camp. Filled with Jewish souls, Hebrew, Jewish culture, Shabbat, Jewish values. Jewish summer camps! I was privileged to join a group of Educators on a trip sponsored by The...Read more...

An Attitude of Gratitude  - There's an app for that!

07/30/2023 09:21:50 PM


My morning spiritual practice begins with the recitation of the traditional words of gratitude that many of us learned as children: Modeh (modah) Ani. The 12 words can be found on p.61 of our siddur. "I am grateful to You, living, enduring Sovereign, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure." Saying those words and taking a few moments to actually list things for which I am grateful in a little journal...Read more...

A Musical Congregation is a Spiritual Congregation

07/24/2023 09:04:38 AM


One of my many goals upon stepping into my dual role as Cantor and Director of the Religious School  has been to help build upon and develop the musical element of our services and our general congregational life. To my delight, I was made aware of the many talented musicians among our Adath Shalom family and the many ongoing musical projects. I felt it was incumbent upon me to build on the momentum. With that goal in mind, we...Read more...

New Caje 14 

07/16/2023 08:12:07 AM



I will be attending the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education  ( known as NEW CAJE) in Montclair this week. I am looking forward to several days of connecting with educational colleagues and attending workshops. Here are some of the titles of the workshops I will attend: "What's the "new normal" in our post-Covid world?", "Help, I need Guidance to Reimagine Jewish Learning in My School", "The Future...Read more...

Each note  in a melody counts! 

07/09/2023 11:56:04 AM


“In a Hassidic niggun, each note turns to the one behind him and says: ‘thank you for being my Rebbe.’ Then he turns to the note in front of him and says: ‘I bless you, and give you permission for being even more beautiful than I.”   Rabbi Nehemia Polen 

I first learned this beautiful teaching many years ago when I participated in a cohort of  The Institute for Jewish Spirituality. It came across my...Read more...

Mazal Tov to our Diller Teen Fellows! 

07/03/2023 03:05:54 PM


Among the many wonderful programs offered by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest is the Diller Teen Fellowship program. 

Diller Teen Fellows is a premier leadership development program for Jewish 10th and 11th graders in Greater MetroWest NJ. The yearlong fellowship invites a select group of 20 teens to explore their Jewish identity and develop leadership skills towards social action and community...Read more...

Ma Tovu Oha-leh-cha Ya'akov, How Goodly Are Your Tents O, Jacob? 

06/26/2023 09:03:31 AM


The terms bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah and b'nai mitzvah are possibly the most incorrectly used terms in popular usage. I too have been guilty of using these colloquialisms that are technically incorrect. The first thing to understand is that the term bar mitzvah is in itself a descriptive noun referring to a person, not a party or ceremony.  (ie. "I am going to a bar mitzvah".)

The term bar mitzvah refers to a male who has...Read more...

Happy Pride Month! 

06/19/2023 07:18:49 PM


I had an opportunity recently to visit the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. I would definitely recommend this museum which covers the America Jewish Experience from the Colonial period through our own day. The gift shop alone is worth a visit! (I do love gift shops and I love Judaica... so what is not to like?). I lived in Philadelphia while in art school in 1981 and the following year (after I quit art...Read more...

Mazal Tov to a special Bar Mitzvah Boy! 

06/13/2023 10:42:54 PM


Bar Mitzvah Boy Larry Edelstein with his dad, Sam

The end of June will mark the end of my first year at Adath Shalom. It is a good time to pause and to express my gratitude for the warm reception my husband and I have enjoyed. We truly feel we have...Read more...

The Power of Community

06/06/2023 07:55:02 AM


Pirkei Avot teaches us: "Al Tifrosh min hatzibbur", "Do not separate yourself from the community".

The name of our congregation is "Adath Shalom". The Hebrew word "Adath" means community (of). Some synagogue names begin with the word "Beit" or "Beth" meaning house (of). We are more than a "house". We are a community. 

This past shabbat was a demonstration of how joyful it can be to be among community. In fact, for me this...Read more...

October 27, 2018 - Where Were You?

05/29/2023 09:00:57 PM


Where were you on Shabbat morning, October 27, 2018. Once I remind you of the significance of that date, I am sure you will remember where you were as clearly as you remember where you were on the morning of 9/11/2001. October 27, 2018 - 18 Cheshvan 5779 - Parshat Vayera. On that date I officiated at a private bat mitzvah. When I emerged from the hall, I turned on my phone and saw my first alerts about the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in...Read more...

Torah Trope  - Part  6

05/22/2023 09:00:57 PM


One of the biggest challenges for Torah readers is mastering the reading of the Ten Commandments. If you look at some printed texts of the Torah which include trope symbols (te'amim), you might see what appear to be more than one trope symbol for each word in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appears in two places in the Torah. One is in the book of Exodus (chapter 20) and then again later in the book of Deuteronomy (chapter 5). I...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 5 

05/12/2023 06:06:48 PM


     In English the word "trop" or "trope" is used to refer to the system of chanting the Torah, however, in Hebrew we refer to the symbols as "Ta'amay Hamikra", or simply "te'amim".   The word actually means "taste". The melodies are referred to as "n'ginot". We are all familiar with the "n'ginot" that the Lithuanian Jews brought with them when they came to America in the 19th century. In fact, the...Read more...

Let's do  this B'yachad!

05/09/2023 11:23:50 AM


     May 7 was the last day of Religious School for this year. There are so many people to thank for our successful year. As I drove to school early in the morning I mentally planned my closing message. The word that continuously came to my mind was "B'yachad" - Together. This year could not have been successful without the guidance and help of so many. Our teachers, madrichim, parents, committee members, Pam in the...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 4  

04/30/2023 04:09:40 PM


     The  system of trope includes  28 symbols which indicate not only melody, but syllabic stress and punctuation as well. The symbols are classified into two groups: one group being separators (disjunctives) and the other group serving as connectors (conjunctives). If  you learn to identify just two of these symbols and understand how they function to break up a pasuk (biblical verse - sentence)...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 3  

04/25/2023 02:52:50 PM


I have been reading Torah for many, many years. For a long time it felt like an exercise in memorization since the vowels and the trope do not appear in the Torah. As you know, one prepares a Torah reading by using a book called a tikkun. The tikkun shows each column in the Torah in two ways: one without vowels and trope markings and one "dressed" with vowels and trope markings. The reader must not only prepare the correct...Read more...

Torah Trope Part 2

04/18/2023 03:10:35 PM


     Who created the system of trope? Ezra the Scribe led a group of Jews back to the land of Israel from Babylonian exile. Ezra found the Jews had neglected the regular study of Torah and he instituted the public readings on Mondays, Thursdays, Shabbat and Festivals that we still follow to this day. Mondays and Thursdays were chosen because they were the days Jews gathered in public squares to buy and sell their wares. This...Read more...

Torah Trope 101

04/09/2023 01:08:10 PM


Guest contributor: Rabbi Allen Darnov

     Adath Shalom can boast a host of Torah readers able to leyen (read) Torah on sabbaths and holidays.  These individuals have not only superb Hebrew skills, they have also mastered the “accents” or ta’amim attached to the Torah’s words which have crucial importance. Look at a line of Hebrew in the Bible: the signs that don’t appear to be vowels are musical...Read more...


04/04/2023 09:42:32 AM


     How can I do a series of Passover articles about seder songs without mentioning everyone's favorite?  Dayeinu! If you use a traditional haggadah, you will see that the Dayeinu song actually consists of15 verses. We commonly explain that the word "dayeinu" which is sung as the chorus and nowadays, even as a standalone song means "it would have been enough for us". Each line describes an action of God for which we...Read more...

The Journey Song by Debbie Friedman 

03/26/2023 08:22:58 PM


    In the mid 1990's, I served a congregation in Westchester, NY. In those years the ground breaking Jewish singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman was leading Passover seders for women. These sedarim inspired many communities to create their own womens sedarim (seders). Haggadot were compiled incorporating women's themes. In 2000, the first edition of  "The Journey Continues"  Haggadah   was published by...Read more...


08/23/2022 03:20:37 PM


     My husband and I have been slowly purging some of the possessions we have accumulated over the years. We started almost a year ago and have continued to work through the clutter in fits and spurts. I have found that the constant decision making is exhausting, but once I decide to rid myself of an object and do whatever has to be done to remove the object from my home, I feel a great sense of relief. I realize I...Read more...

Take a "Chant"

08/17/2022 01:53:59 PM




Last Shabbat at Kiddush, Cantor Avima shared a beautiful spiritual practice- chanting. ...Read more...


08/09/2022 01:31:23 PM


We are so thrilled to announce that you can now register your children for religious school through your shulcloud account.

Simply follow these instructions: 

1. Log into your shulcloud account and scroll down to "other info".

2. Look for tiles that say: "My Enrollments" and "Start School Enrollments".

3. Click on "Start School Enrollments" and fill in the information requested. Some information will...Read more...

08/09/2022 01:30:14 PM


Update this content.

Learn Cantor  Avima's Top Tefillah Tunes, Religious  School News and more...

07/28/2022 04:35:29 PM


A singing congregation is a bonded congregation! Music is such an important part of our tefillah experience. Being able to "join in" strengthens our connections to each other as a community. Please join us the second shabbat of every month beginning August 13 after services to learn Cantor Avima's top tefillah tunes.  Ability to read music or Hebrew NOT required, in fact, neither is a "good" singing voice! Have a special...Read more...

Cantor, you changed the melody and now I can’t sing along!

07/25/2022 12:03:59 PM


 Every Cantor, upon beginning a new position, has the challenge of discovering the “Musical Minhag Hamakom”. “minhag ha-makom” loosely translates to “the custom of the place”. I have learned that Adath Shalom has some lovely customs unique to this community, such as reporting on recent events in Israel as we are about to offer the prayer for Israel after the Torah service. I observed that the person who holds the...Read more...

Tish B’Av, the 9th of Av

07/19/2022 06:44:28 AM



    No matter when I eat a latke, even if it is in the middle of the summer, I am transported to Chanukah. I am not sure why I would eat a Hamentash in August, but, if I did, I would likely start thinking about every Purim memory I have. Likewise, particular melodies from the Jewish calendar evoke a similar reaction. This past Sunday, we began observing a three week period of mourning in...Read more...

“Ma Tovu”

07/12/2022 09:15:01 AM


This week’s torah portion is best known for its famous blessing “Ma Tovu”.  The story reads like a comical farce. Bilaam, a diviner is tasked by Balaak, the king of Moab to utter a curse over Israel so that they would be weakened in battle. He tries to curse the Israelites but, each time only words of blessing come out of this mouth. In his final effort, we hear the words: “How goodly are your tents O Jacob, your...Read more...

Tue, September 26 2023 11 Tishrei 5784