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5780 High Holiday Appeal

In Case You Missed It on Rosh Hashanah

Hello everyone and Shana Tova! I am so excited to be up here addressing all of you today…mostly because this is the last time I have to do it!!!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Roberta Ort, the Immediate Past President of Shomrei Torah (in my second and final year – see the smile on my face?)

So ….how did I get here?
And ….why am I here?

I got here by following the path of MY Jewish journey.
And the reason I’m here today is to ask you about yours.

You thought I was going to say I’m here to ask you to contribute to the high holiday appeal…..but I’m not. I’d like you to think about your own Jewish Journey. Where did it begin? At home as child? As a teenager in summer camp? Or as a young married couple with influence from your spouse? Or even later…..when you had children of your own - at their bris, baby naming, taking them to Hebrew School.

My Jewish Journey began in Brooklyn, NY growing up in the 60’s. That alone says a lot. We had scores of Jewish neighbors, classmates, store owners. We all had that same New York accent and we all had mothers who piled on the Jewish guilt. There was comfort in our commonality. Some of us went to an after school Hebrew school program, and others like me…..And this is for you Carol Fertig – attended the Rabbi Harry Halpern Day School of the East Midwood Jewish Center….the very same shul featured in several episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Whether we attended the af-ter school program or the full day school, we were kids….so we hated it. It’s part of being a kid! But on the holidays we gathered together, went to shul, schmoozed and then of course ate and ate and ate…. and it was good! Great memories and even better, a great foundation.

Years passed and for me, my Jewish journey was put on hold. I went to a public high school and then off to college, got married and still lived in Brooklyn but didn’t even belong to a shul. And then….we had kids. Now what? We moved to Wayne New Jersey, a town with three shuls – so I was sure it must have a strong Jewish presence. And I expected that my kids would have some similar experiences to mine….right? Not exactly. In fact – not even close – I mean I’m comparing it to Brooklyn in the 60’s and 70’s! So we joined Shomrei Torah and here we found our Jewish neighbors. We sent our kids to Hebrew school and they hated it! Now we knew we were on the right track!

We met other Jewish families, we socialized, we played Jewish geography, we found people who spoke like us (despite my ongoing effort to hide my NY accent). We found our natural commonal-ities. It is human nature to gather – we are for the most part – a social species. We join groups where we share mutual interests be it in our professions, or hobbies or cultural backgrounds. So, if we didn’t have a place to gather to meet our fellow Jews, where would we find them?

My kids, now 28, 24, and 21 are in that same spot in their Jewish journey I was in at their age, in a hiatus. And that’s OK. It’s OK because I know at some point they will continue their Jewish journey with the foundation Jeff and I set by sending them here to Shomrei Torah and celebrating with our Jewish customs at home. Those of course which always center around a stupendously delicious abundance of food (thanks to my Chef husband) incorporating our traditional dishes – because what would a holiday be without stuffed cabbage and brisket? The kids sometimes cross paths with some of their peers they met either here at Shomrei or at summer camp – bumping into them in the city, at a work event, or even while traveling. They immediately fall into that comfort zone. They share something in their Jewish heritage and that is something they will have forever.

So back to the beginning…..where are YOU on your Jewish journey? Let’s start with you are HERE at Shomrei Torah. And maybe your children and parents are with you, and maybe they aren’t, but for the moment Shomrei Torah is here for you and your family. And maybe a few years from now you’ll be in a different state, or a different country but I’d like to think that wherever that may be, there will be a place there, where you can find your fellow Jews. We need our gathering places.

We are all acutely aware that anti-semitism is on the rise. If we lose our foothold and the following generations don’t have one – anti-semitism will win – because we know they won’t stop trying. Whether Shomrei Torah is the place you come to pray, or socialize, to educate your children, or just to meet fellow Jews, it is my hope that it will be here for YOUR needs and for any other Jewish fam-ily that comes into Wayne - be it for a short stay or for the long haul. We need a place to find each other. To stand together. And to gather together.

And so I ask you, if you see a reason for Shomrei Torah in Wayne NJ to exist, please support us and by that, yes, I mean to contribute to the High Holiday Appeal. In any way you can. Any amount helps. Contribute to YOUR Jewish journey and to all Jewish families who may be looking for theirs.

Shana Tova!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and sweet new year!

P.S. Please use of the methods below to donate.  Thank you so much for your contribution and support!


Roberta Ort
High Holiday Chair
Immediate Past President



New - Two Ways to Donate

Shomrei Torah Members can donate online by clicking here.
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If you would like to donate using a different payment method or if you would like to pay with installments, you can download a copy of our High Holiday Appeal form by clicking here.

Thu, February 25 2021 13 Adar 5781