For some time now it has felt by many Jewish residents of this area that a Reform-Liberal-Progressive Jewish Congregation was necessary to provide for the religious needs of many families presently unaffiliated with any congregation and many others who find it inconvenient to go to congregations at some distance from homes. Accordingly, a group of us are calling a meeting to consider the formation of a Reform Jewish Congregation.
May we take this opportunity of inviting you to attend the meeting to be held on WEDNESDAY EVENING – May 21st – at 8:15 o’clock, in the MARY ELIZABETH TEACH ROOM, 96 Engle Street, Englewood, New Jersey. We shall have the pleasure of hearing from RABBI DANIEL L. DAVIS, Director of the New York Federation of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He will discuss with us the ideas and programs of a Reform Congregation, and will be prepared to answer questions that may be put to him concerning the organization of the new Congregation….
…May we invite you to join with other interested mean and women in this creative undertaking to the end that we may form a Congregation, modern in spirit, dedicated to the liberal interpretation of Judaism, and providing a program for effective Jewish living on the American scene….”
The above is excerpted from a letter signed by “the Committee of Sponsors,” made up of 5 founding families of Temple Sinai: Mr. and Mrs. George S. Grabow, Mr. and Mrs. Michael G. Lane, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mannes, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Rosalsky and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur R. Wecker. The date of this letter: May 12, 1952.
Tomorrow evening, sixty years to the day from when this founding document was written we will be celebrating the anniversary of the congregation formed as a result of this auspicious letter, Temple Sinai of Bergen County. Believe it or not, Jane Gellman, co-chairperson of our celebration at the Palisadium tomorrow evening, told me today that when the date was chosen for this 60th anniversary celebration neither she nor anyone else involved knew that it was to be exactly 60 years from the date of this letter. “There must have been some Hidden Hand at work.” I’ll say. That is the definition of b’shert!
There have also been a lot of unhidden hands at work, i.e. a remarkable committee led by Jane and her co-chair, Freyda Simon, to make for what promises to be a spectacular evening. Two-hundred and twenty people are coming, the largest group to attend a Temple gala in years. Twenty-two past presidents of Temple Sinai and Congregation Beth Am will be there. The “Party Dolls,” a female singing group will serenade us with sixties songs. Co-President Jack Reich will lead a group playing at the cocktail hour. There will be a DJ “spinning” 60s tunes. The bar will even feature a drink in our honor, the “Sinai Sling.” The dress – as so many are asking – is “Sixties Optional.” I will be wearing jeans and a tie-dyed shirt with a jacket over it.
I look forward to seeing so many of you tomorrow night!!!
Rabbi Jordan Millstein