Rabbi JJ Schacter
“Personal autonomy and individual choice are values that are central in American culture at large and in the Jewish community within it. In contemporary times, when Jews will engage with their Judaism only if they choose to do so, Rimon stands out as an example of an institution that inspires Jews to connect with JudaismIt is open, warm, accepting, and non-judgmental while presenting the beauty and substance of Jewish life. Blessed with extraordinary and dynamic lay and rabbinic leadership, it is a model for engaging – and re-engaging – Jews of all backgrounds and orientations. It deserves the support of all who care about the future of Jewish life in America.”
University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought
Senior Scholar, Center for the Jewish Future
Oran Zweiter spent Shavuot at Rimon as a speaker for tikkun leil Shavuot; he talks about the impact those 2 days had on him ….
“At the risk of sounding cheesy, I wanted to really thank you for Shavuos. I find experiences like being in East Windsor to be very inspiring and thought provoking, and wanted to say thank you in a more meaningful way. Here are some thoughts I walked away with:
Places like East Windsor remind me that as Jews born and raised in America we have a responsibility, and indeed a privilege, to reach out to the vast majority of American Jews who have not had the same upbringing as us. We have to strengthen our own communities, and reach out to others. When I think of my future, I often reflect on what Esther Hamalka says, “Ki Eichacha Uchal V’raiti Ba’Raah Asher Yimtzah Et Ami”. How could I know that I have the tools to make an impact and not do it? Thank you for heeding the call of Esther and for inspiring me, and hopefully others to do the same.”
Oran is a Jewish Studies teacher at Yeshivat Noam, and a smicha and philosophy graduate student at Yeshiva University.
Sanford Werfel, a resident of Monroe township
….Rimon sensitizes Jewish neshamas (souls) to the beauty and richness of our Jewish heritage….
Rebekah Costin , mother of 2 sons in the teen program…
“Sunday was the last class of the Rimon teen class and after it was over, my two sons came bounding through the door brimming with lessons and associations to share with me:
My 13-year-old, with all the confidence of a wise man, lectured me on the relationship of Judah to his brothers as seen through the prism of the Tamar story. He was particularly keen on explaining the racier bits to me – which, even though I was familiar with the story, I didn’t remember. In the heat of the discourse, I pulled out my own Tanakh, and we discovered, to his amazement, that the JPS translators had sanitized his favorite parts. Undeterred, he proudly gloated: “well, my version is the real version – from the Hebrew!” Feeling vindicated, he then turned to explain the Tamar story to his younger sister, who was in need of a good story about a strong woman taking things into her own hands, against all odds, to do the right thing.
A few minutes later my worldly 17-year-old son informed me why Nathaniel Hawthorne had chosen the color Scarlet for his adulteress’ Letter: from the scarlet thread tied around the wrist of the (alleged-adulteress) Tamar’s first twin! The next day, he told me how pleased his AP English Literature teacher was when he explained the scarlet thread and the similarity between Tamar, the biblical righteous “adulteress”, and Hester Primm, Hawthorne’s puritan “righteous adulteress”. The teacher was thrilled that one of her students had applied material from her class to enrich and enhance his understanding of something else he was learning, and then circled it all back into her classroom.
This Rimon program has worked wonderfully for both of my sons. The material is vigorous and interesting, and the teachers are engaging and confident. The program also fills a Jewish educational gap that exists in their own lives. The oldest completed the normal course of study at his home community but he and his friends wanted to continue with text study, rather than join the more social-action oriented programs available to them. The younger had become frustrated by his inability to find his place socially and intellectually in his own Jewish community following his bar mitzvah, but he has found it here. He joined late in the year and was technically underage, but next year he intends to return and already has a number of friends whom he intends to bring along.”