A Day of Blessing and Celebration

Mazel Tov to Jacqueline and David Cohen as we celebrate the naming of their daughter Emerson.
This past Saturday, November 10, 2018, I was so very honored to officiate the Simchat bat of Sarah, daughter of David and Jacqueline. We share the family’s profound joy on this very special day and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it . May Emerson grow to be a wise and understanding lady of goodness and greatness.

Simchat Bat
Jacqueline and David Cohen with their daughter Emerson and Rabbi Nat Benjamin

Great Cantors of the Golden Age

Please join Rabbi Nat Benjamin and Cantor Janine Schwarz for a very special Shabbat Morning at our Chavurah Beth Shalom tomorrow, October 20.
10:30 am: Morning Shabbat

11:00 am: Saturday Morning Workshop: The Great Cantors of the Golden Age.

Hazzanut (Hebrew) and Chazzanut (Yiddish) is a Jewish musician trained in vocal arts and in English we call our Cantor. Please join us for this special retrospective from Gershon Sirota in the early 1900’s to Moshe Kusevitsky, regarded as among the greatest Cantors of the 20th Century (who performed at Carnegie Hall in 1938! )

We welcome our members and their guests to this special day dedicated to the Cantor, the spiritual leader who leads their congregation in songful prayer.

Great Cantors of the Golden Age Workshop

Rabbi Nat BenjaminRabbi Nat Benjamin will be hosting a very special Shabbat Morning at our Chavurah Beth Shalom this Saturday, October 20.
Following our 10:30 am Morning Shabbat , our Chavurah Beth Shalom Morning Workshop (11:00 am-12:00 pm) will discuss the Great Cantors of the Golden Age which by most is considered the period from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century (1874-1965) . 
We will listen to some of the greatest recorded performances of these great Cantors and discuss the times in which they lived.  Rabbi Benjamin has accumulated a vast collection of the recordings by many of the Cantors of this period and he will share with us these collectibles. It is a unique way for us to develop a better understanding of the words of prayer expressed through the vocal talents of their wonderful voices.
Hazzanut (Hebrew) and Chazzanut (Yiddish) is a Jewish musician trained in vocal arts and in English we refer to as Cantor. Please join us for this special retrospective from Gershon Sirota in the early 1900’s to Moshe Kusevitsky, regarded as among the greatest Cantors of the 20th Century who performed at Carnegie Hall in 1938!
What makes the history of the Hazzanut/Cantor so very special is it’s a unique Jewish art form and this workshop will be one of the special moments of our Chavurah Beth Shalom
We welcome our members and their guests to this special day dedicated to the Cantor, the spiritual leader who leads their congregation in soulful prayer each and every week. 
Rabbi Nat Benjamin

Chavurah Beth Shalom

Rabbi Nat Benjamin

Chavurah Beth Shalom is a progressive reform congregation dedicated to the values of education, inclusive worship and social justice. We invite you to join our contemporary Jewish community.

Our Values:
At Chavurah Beth Shalom, we embrace the values of a contemporary Reform Judaism that integrates reason, experience, intellectual curiosity and spirituality into our modern religious practice. Firmly rooted within the prophetic tradition, we believe that:

  • Jews in every generation have a responsibility to preserve Judaism for the future.
  • Jews in every generation must respond creatively to the challenges of contemporary society.
  • Jewish tradition and ritual are a vital part of our religious practice and must comport with the highest standards of ethics. Old and new rituals alike must stand the test of reason and experience, and our rituals must enable us to lead an ethical life and to better understand the divine.
  • Jews must embrace openness to truth from all sources including philosophy, science, art and literature.
  • Jews must be willing to respect and acknowledge the value of other religious traditions and work with other religions to find common ground and strive for the betterment of all.
  • Meaning in our lives comes from the pursuit of justice, a sense of humility, the idea of mercy and an obligation to make peace with ourselves as Jews and with other people of the world.

These values stand at the core of the teaching of the prophets and are the essence of Reform Judaism. Our Chavurah is dedicated to offering this vision of Reform Judaism to families who seek an inclusive, rational, ethical and religiously compelling form of Jewish practice and Jewish life.
Our History: (written by one of our founding members Bjorg Ollendorff)
In 1991, we established Chavurah Beth Shalom to be a special place – a Reform Chavurah dedicated to excellence in education of contemporary Judaism and a place of friendliness and inclusiveness.

Rabbi Nat Benjamin
“A Progressive Reform Chavurah dedicated to excellence in education of contemporary Judaism.”

Our Chavurah would not have been possible were it not for a great humanitarian, philanthropist and good friend – the late Russ Berrie. Russ’ vision and steadfast support was the cornerstone of the creation of our Chavurah, and with Angelica Berrie by his side, he was our generous benefactor and greatest champion.

Today, our Chavurah has grown to a membership of 235 families. We are a full-service congregation, whose spiritual leaders take great care in providing individualized and personal support to guide our congregants through all of life’s cycles.

We are very proud of our spiritual leaders. Rabbi Jack Bemporad is an internationally recognized scholar of theology and philosophy. He travels and speaks widely on Jewish-Christian relations as director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, an organization dedicated to building bridges of cooperation and tolerance among people of all faiths.

Rabbi Bemporad has led several Jewish delegations to the Vatican. He was instrumental in presenting Pope John Paul II with a Holocaust Menorah that now stands permanently on the grounds of the Vatican’s Pontifical North American College, where he also serves as a visiting professor of religion each fall. Rabbi Bemporad’s popular Saturday morning Bible classes at the Chavurah have been filled for years with eager adult students who are encouraged to debate and question.

Rabbi Nat Benjamin is another cornerstone of our Chavurah. He has a deep love of Jewish music and, with his sweet, elegant voice, he participates in the very popular Cantorial Series. Along with Nadine Posnansky, he also leads our choir whose magnificent voices create an atmosphere of joy and spirituality for our Holiday Services. Rabbi Benjamin is also a dedicated teacher for our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, offering guidance, patience and friendship so that each child shines on her or her special day.

Our religious school, led by Barbara Schneider, meets once a week at the Alpine Community House. We have an experienced teaching staff that is very committed to Jewish studies. Rabbi Benjamin and Cantor Janine Schwartz will train 25 Bar and Bat Mitzvah students this year.

We are also introducing several innovative and exciting documentary films and study guides into our religious school curriculum in order to give our students a better knowledge of the State of Israel and our recent Jewish history. Through the films and study guides, it is our hope that they will gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, Israel’s War of Independence, the Six Day War and other events and transform this learning into lessons that guide their contemporary lives.

Chavurah Beth Shalom has so much to offer and we invite you to join our friendly community of education, worship and Jewish living.

Rabbi Nat Benjamin

Rabbi Nat Benjamin
“Enlightening education, inspiring worship and inclusive Jewish living.”

Our Membership:
The members of Chavurah Beth Shalom look forward to welcoming you to our congregation. Your membership opens the door to a community founded on the values of enlightening education, inspiring worship and inclusive Jewish living.
For more information about membership at Chavurah Beth Shalom, please call:
(201)294-8028 or email : ChavurahBethShalom@gmail.com for a membership application.

Memorial Day Parade In Alpine, NJ

Memorial Day In Alpine, NJ (2018) :
I am very excited to represent our Chavurah Beth Shalom at the Alpine(NJ) Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28 and will deliver the invocation The parade will be at 11:00 am ( formation will be at 10:30am) and if anyone would like to attend, please feel free to join us .
Our Chavurah Beth Shalom, has been holding services in Alpine since 1991 and many of our families reside in Alpine and in nearby communities. We are privileged to share in showing respect for the men and women who serve and have served in our Armed Forces.
Following the ceremonies refreshments are served back at Alpine Borough Hall on Church Street. There will be activities for children and Alpine Mayor Paul Tomasko is looking forward to seeing us on Memorial Day.
Sharing hear a few pics from last year’s Memorial Day event. In the pictures are Mayor Tomasko along with founding Chavurah Beth Shalom members Dr. Deane Penn and Mrs. Susan Penn.