Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, February 4, 2022

This week’s Parashah, Trumah, is about the building of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan.  While the Tabernacle was in existence, for 40 years when the Israelites were wandering, the Tabernacle was in the middle of the encampment.  (You can see a diagram on page 572 of the Hertz Humash.)  After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, the Tabernacle was at Gilgal for 14 years.  Afterwards, the Tabernacle was moved to Shiloh for 369 years until it was destroyed by the Philistines. 

The Israelites didn’t need to worry about terrorists; they were warring against tribes (principally the Philistines) that fought over the same land that Israelites occupied.  Individual terrorists were the farthest thing from the minds of Israelites.

During the pandemic, we rebuilt our sanctuary.  The floor was sanded, the walls were painted, the new pews were installed, and the new laylight was installed.  Before we have in-person services, we should address security.

In my tenure, after 2005, we had an open-door policy.  Curiosity seekers would enter the sanctuary, Jewish and non-Jewish.  I would hate to lose the open-door policy.

I attended today (February 2) a webinar sponsored by the New York Jewish Federation devoted to security.  We had a couple of years ago the Board meeting devoted to security:  Robert Wilson and an official of the State Homeland Security were there.  After the situation at Colleyville at which Rabbi Cytron-Walker and a few congregants escaped unscathed, we should revisit the security of Ahavas Sholom. 

As I said, I would hate to lose the open-door policy, but the policy should balanced with our security.  We should foster friendly relations with our neighbors and our community, but that doesn’t mean that we are not protecting ourselves.