Poetic License


Among those attending our latest Poetry Workshop are, seated from left, Lee Nowikas Landau, Stella Hart Grayson, and Sandy Greenbaum; and, standing from left, Mim Willinger, workshop leader Gail Gerwin, holding a proof of her latest poetry collection, called Crowns (Kelsay Books, Aldrich Press), and Ada Rosen. Gail’s new book, with cover art by Hadassa Zusman of Netanya, Israel, is available on Amazon.



Cantor Bill Walton

Cantor Bill Walton will present a lively program on “Jewish violinists” for our Paid-Up Membership Brunch on Sunday morning, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m., at a private home in Mendham. The event is free to all paid-up members.

Cantor Walton will spotlight the musicality of Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman, as well as other Jewish violinists, in his animated talk, punctuated by wonderful recordings for solo violin, chamber music and major violin concertos. Attendees will savor selections by Bach, Mozart,  Beethoven,  Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. The cantor will discuss these violinists’ musical style and their careers.

Cantor Walton served for 10 years as cantor at Temple Israel of Union. He is presently the cantor for High Holiday services at Temple Israel in Binghamton, New York. For the past five years, the cantor has performed with his son, Alex, a pianist, in the father-son duo Montclair Musicale, specializing in the Great American Songbook. Cantor Walton has issued a CD, called A Song Goes ‘Round the World, an eclectic blend of songs in six languages.

The cantor wrote and performed a segment on Hanukkah for public television. The multicultural special, “Winter: Season of Darkness–Season of Light,” was produced by Kentucky Educational Television, a PBS affiliate. He toured Israel and Europe as a soloist with an Israeli chamber choir and performed with the Israel Sinfonietta and on Kol Yisrael, the national radio of Israel. He has sung with the Opera Company of Boston, Amato Opera, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein.

To attend the NCJW, West Morris Paid-up Membership Brunch, RSVP to stellahart@optimum.net.

NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking Update

Many members of our Section participated in the SOAP campaign before the Super Bowl in 2014. We distributed thousands of bars of soap with the HT hotline phone number printed on their labels to hotels in northern New Jersey. The Coalition continues this project in 2015 in Essex and Middlesex counties and in 2016 in Atlantic and Union counties.

Many members of our Section spoke with our local mayors and freeholders, and successfully requested that they issue proclamations declaring that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Now the Coalition is expanding this effort by advocating for the NJ State League of Municipalities to pass a more binding resolution to institutionalize these declarations and also to create a non-accusatory rating of municipalities’ efforts to end Human Trafficking.

This year, the Human Trafficking Awareness Day official observance will take place on Saturday, January 16, at Calvary Temple in Wayne. The Coalition has over 110 member organizations, and the Church Abolition Network is convening this event. Unfortunately for NCJW, this will take place on Shabbat, so we cannot officially support it. However, for more information, you can visit the Coalition website, www.NJhumantrafficking.org, or write to CAN@calvarynj.com.

The main focus of the Coalition this year will be on prevention, done through education at high schools and colleges with the aim of engaging students and teachers in fighting human trafficking.

The Coalition has received a grant to purchase supplies to make plywood silhouettes which each member organization can embellish to represent a victim of Human Trafficking. This is where our own Section can be a leader. We would like to reach out to student groups to encourage them to participate in this project. This includes not only local schools, but synagogue youth groups. This project isn’t limited to just students. We can embellish a silhouette ourselves.

The silhouettes will be displayed at community events to promote public awareness of this important issue. Our Section can help to make this happen by organizing a community event on a Sunday in early April that would include a dramatic presentation, a fair trade goods sale, and—just to make things interesting—a judging of the silhouettes. The grant money includes funds for prizes to give to organizations to help fund their HT projects.

If you would like to participate in the silhouette or the SOAP projects, please contact Susan Neigher at sneigher@hotmail.com.

Rabbi Steven Bayar to Lead Free Classes, Sponsored by NCJW, West Morris Section at Morris County Library

Rabbi Steven Bayar, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, will blend pop culture with Torah learning in a series of thought-provoking classes on Tuesdays, Dec. 1 and 8, and Monday, Dec. 14, at noon, at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave., in Whippany. The gatherings are coordinated by the Our Jewish World program, under the direction of Melanie Levitan and Ellen Nesson.

The classes are free and open to the public.

The first session, on Dec. 1, is called “Bubbe Meises: The Difference Between Superstition and Law.” Topics for the next two classes will be determined by the group at the first session. Options for the other two classes include:

* Classical Biblical Stories You Thought You Knew and the Actual Original Story

* The God You Thought You Knew / Introduction to Theology

* Ethics of Wizardry, with the Harry Potter series as a touchstone

* Ethics of Modern Media, using the TV shows “South Park” and “The Simpsons” as a springboard for discussion

* Ethics of Disney characters

Rabbi Bayar, who was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, served in congregations in Maryland and New York state before coming to Congregation B’nai Israel in 1989. He is the author of Teens & Trust: Building Bridges in Jewish Education, with Francine Hirschman (Torah Aura), and And You Shall Teach Them Diligently to Your Children: Transmitting Jewish Values from Generation to Generation, with Naomi Eisenberger (Town House Press). He currently serves as chair of the Rabbinic Advisory Committee of Golda Och Academy and as president of the Millburn Clergy Association, and he is a chaplain for the Millburn Police Department.

Our Jewish World presents the Rabbi Lecture Series throughout the year, with wonderfully insightful rabbis from throughout the area.

To reserve a place at Rabbi Bayar’s classes, e-mail ellen.nesson@gmail.com.


Beth Fields, a member of our Section, will present a special latke-making program using “real food” on Sunday morning, Nov. 29, at 11 a.m. at a private home in Dover. Called “Seasonal Latkes,” the program is free and open to all members and prospective members. Among the ingredients Fields will be using—depending on what’s available at her local farmer’s market—are carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, and even apples. Participants will all have a chance to sample the seasonal latkes, which are traditional for Hanukkah.

Fields loves to cook. And she loves to eat. But she loves to cook and eat real food, as distinguished from so-called “edible food-like” substances. So she seeks out the produce and products of local purveyors at local farmer’s markets and local farms. Because she is concerned about the sustainability and health of our bodies and our planet, seasonal, local produce is always her first choice.

The presenter, who holds degrees in chemistry and law, spent many years working as an intellectual property attorney in areas as diverse as agricultural chemicals, food technology, pharmaceuticals, and genetically modified organisms. Her background has convinced her that many common chemicals are best avoided. She has also spent the past year as a Greenfaith Fellow, learning how to bring this message to her faith community. “We each only have one body and one planet. Let’s work to keep them as healthy as possible,” she says.

To sign up for the “Seasonal Latkes” program, RSVP to stellahart@optimum.net.