Renaissance Group–March 4, 2012

Hello!  I will be talking about My Mother’s Shoes on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 10am for the Renaissance Group.  A book signing will follow.  I look forward to meeting you!–Shirley


The Renaissance Group of Temple Emeth (and other synagogues) meets the changing social, educational, and lifestyle needs of “empty nesters” who no longer have children in religious school but who wish to remain affiliated with the congregation through other activities.

Over the years, we have seen the need to retain the ties to Emeth of those who are becoming less active in Temple as their children grow up and move away. Longtime members have wished for opportunities to explore new interests within the congregation. And many newer members without children in the religious school have expressed the need for activities that could help them get more out of the Temple’s social, educational and religious life.

Activities are varied and have included theater parties, day trips to places of interest, pot-luck suppers, dinners at ethnic restaurants, New Year’s Eve celebrations, lectures/discussion groups, and much more. These activities have helped to form and bond new friendships, often among those who previously were just acquaintances.

Since members of the Renaissance Group include some who are working full-time and some who are retired, most activities are planned during evenings and weekends. While some activities are reserved for Renaissance Group members, others are open to the Temple membership at large.

The Renaissance movement was started in 1990 at Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, NJ (60 Overlook Road), as a way of retaining members whose children were no longer the ties that bound them to synagogue life. The idea caught on so rapidly that now there are more than 30 Renaissance Groups in the URJ New Jersey/West Hudson Valley Region alone.

The New Jersey/West Hudson Valley Regional Renaissance Coalition meets every year to share programming ideas and trade information.


About shirleywachtel

Shirley Russak Wachtel is the author of The Story of Blima—A Holocaust Survivor (publ.2005), a novel which recounts the early years of her mother, Betty Weisstuch Russak. The novel s listed as a recommended novel by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Wachtel is the author of several children's books, including a series of interactive mysteries, Charlie Wonder, Chef-Detective (2005), which includes several recipes; Brad Sureshot, Coach-Detective (2007) which details basketball skills; and Howie Rocket, World-Traveler-Detective (2009) which has handy foreign language phrases. In The Mellow Light (2009) is her first book of poetry. She is a professor of English at Middlesex County College in New Jersey. In addition, Wachtel is the co-author of Spotlight on Reading (2011), a textbook for college-level students. A mother of three sons, she resides with her husband, Arthur, in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Initially written as a doctoral dissertation for her Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, My Mother's Shoes , says Wachtel, is not just the novel of her life, it is the novel of her heart.
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