A Place for Jewish Values
A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Congregation
Celebrating Sacred Moments
A Place for Jewish Values
Our Mission
A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Community
Our Mission
Celebrating Sacred Moments
A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Congregation
A Place for Jewish Values

A Place for Jewish Values

We hope to offer a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Congregation

We hope to provide a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

Celebrating Sacred Moments

“The old shall be new and the new shall be sacred.” – Rav Kook

A Place for Jewish Values

We hope to provide a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

Our Mission

We offer a caring and inclusive congregation that prays together, builds Jewish Community through acts of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), shares life's events and provides education for all ages.

A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Community

We hope to provide a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

Our Mission

We offer a caring and inclusive congregation that prays together, builds Jewish Community through acts of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), shares life's events and provides education for all ages.

Celebrating Sacred Moments

“The old shall be new and the new shall be sacred.” – Rav Kook

A Vibrant and Growing Jewish Congregation

We hope to provide a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

A Place for Jewish Values

We hope to provide a warm and nurturing environment for everyone who walks through our doors.

Blind Drawing and Messy Living
Yom Kippur 2015 – 5776
September 22, 2015
Rabbi Joseph M. Forman
Kol Nidrei
Or Chadash

Life is messy. It’s not neat and systematically filed like the cavernous corridors of Loews or The Home Depot where a friendly employee will tell you where you can find all of the obscure widgets you need. Life is not neat and ordered like the shelves of a grocery store before it opens to the public who, once they arrive, immediately begin moving things out of place.

Real life is messy. We hardly need leave our own yard to know that. The straight rows of vegetables in our summer gardens are hardly perfectly lined up. And our desktops – whether virtual or real – could certainly use some organizing.

But the messy nature of things should not surprise us.

Let me share with you a story of Sam Anderson. [“Blind Contour Drawing”, NYTimes Magazine 5/17/15]

Not only a writer, Sam is an artist. Not one who sells paintings at galleries, Sam is the kind of artist who draws on the open spaces of the newspaper when he is on the phone with you – likely the New York Times which he writes for – and sometimes he actually draws things that he wishes to save or give to friends and family.

Sam calls himself “an enthusiastic doodler”. But when he began to get frustrated with his drawings, finding them boring, he almost stopped drawing. He mentioned this to a friend of his who happens to be what he called “a real artist”. His “real artist” friend suggested he try drawing without looking at the paper. Instantly his drawings came to life!

“Finally, my drawing had life in it, just like the art I had always admired. It was ugly,” he said, “but it had a powerfully direct relationship to the world.”

“…a powerfully direct relationship to the world.” Wow!

Described by Betty Edwards in 1979 in "Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain", the technique Sam used is known as “blind contour drawing”. “The goal of blind drawing is to really see the thing you’re looking at, rather than retreat into your idealized vision of it,” Sam explained.

“Blind drawing,” he went on to say, “trains us to stare at the chaos, to honor it. It is an act of meditation, as much as it is an artistic practice — a gateway to pure being.

It forces us to study the world as it actually is.”

“[And] It turns out that the world, on close examination, is gloriously strange.”

“Things are lumpier and hairier than we have been led to believe,” he says. “Planes are never flat; colors are never solid. Matthew McConaughey’s hairline is not the Platonic ideal you might imagine: It is jagged and wandering, like a map of the coastline of a distant mysterious continent. Your father-in-law’s head is squatter than you ever knew. Sleeve wrinkles can be as beautiful as the most exotic flower. Every object (book, pencil, glove, banana) is in fact a bewildering universe of lines.”

The reality is that this “really seeing the thing that you are looking at” can be true not just for objects, but for all kinds of things, as well – things like ideas, people, relationships, love and war and everything that we think we know. Life. It is all -- all of it -- subject to our putting away our preconceptions and really looking at what is there.

Just as blind drawing forces us to stop imagining that flowers and faces and sunsets and boxes are symmetrical and even and easily captured, blind drawing also helps us see the irregularities and imperfections of nature in all aspects of life. Blind drawing helps us better see our own lives, too. It can help us get away from our idealized version of what we might think our lives are supposed to be. It can help us honor our true nature and discover that life is in fact ‘gloriously strange; a bewildering universe of lines; and a bit hairier and lumpy than we might have been led to believe’.

Looking to plan a perfect day, but somehow it goes a bit wrong? This – we can learn from blind drawing and paying attention to what is real, rather than hoped for – is not such an aberration. When was the last time you ever had a perfect day that had no bumps or wrinkles in it?

Allowing ourselves to get away from our preconceived notions of how life should be, blind drawing prepares us to understand that our relationships, our values and religion, our behaviors and our hopes and dreams are all a bit messy. Lots of things we wish were plain and simple and clean and neat and uncomplicated simply are not. Theologly. God. Religion. The conflict in the Middle East. Politics. Parenting. Health. Not one of these topics upon close examination is simple or easy. They’re all bewildering and contain far more nuance than a quick gloss could ever provide.

Real life – every bit of it -- is uneven, and wavy, and irregular and confusing – at times immensely rewarding and sublime, at times incredible aggravating; there are days when we see readily the beauty of life, and there are days when we painfully discover that life is less than perfect – if we can even understand it at And so it goes. Life is messy. And not only are all those wrinkles OK, but actually, it’s better to see the world that way. It is an embrace of life; it honors what’s really there. It honors the full complexity of human thought and emotion, and it honors the humanity of those we love.

On Yom Kippur, our Jewish tradition calls us to seek forgiveness for a litany of failures we have committed during the past year. We are reminded that despite the somewhat pristine image we wish to cast of ourselves, upon close examination, we, too, are “a bewildering universe of lines.” And as beautiful as wrinkles can be, we too need to iron out some of them.

We can be jagged in our thoughts, irregular in how our logic sometimes fails to direct our behaviors. We have complex emotions that can push us away from our friends and family and colleagues and pull us toward them all at the same time. We don't always say what we want to share, or react how we know we really want to. We mess up. Everyone does. It’s part of our essence. But rather than deny it, we ought to get closer to it.

And that is where forgiveness comes in. We are not perfect. We really don't aim to be.

Blind drawing makes us look at ourselves rather than the self we imagine us to be. Our goal, then, is to appreciate the very real undulating irregularities of our lives and those who share our world with us. And then we need to open our hearts’ closets, do a bit of straightening up, acknowledge we all have wrinkles, and then forgive others their failings.

Sometimes, though, blind drawing and seeing the madness is not so easy. When the only thing that meets our vision when we look away from the idealized fantasy is intolerable ugliness, such an encounter is not pretty at all.

The 19th century German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine once wrote, “All I ask is [for] a simple cottage, a decent bed, good food, some flowers in front of my window and a few trees beside my door. Then if God wanted to make me wholly happy, He would let me enjoy the spectacle of those trees with six or seven of my enemies dangling from them. I would forgive them all wrongs they have done me – forgive them from the bottom of my heart, for we must forgive our enemies. But not until they are hanged!” (As quoted in Edge-Tools of Speech,1899, Maturin Ballou, p. 169.)

Not quite offering a full embrace of forgiveness, Heinrich Heine, who might have benefitted from letting go of the wrongs done to him, certainly encountered some of the less flattering aspects of this world.

About the ones we resent, Reb Nachman of Bratzlav, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov who founded Chassidism, taught: when we push ourselves to look for the goodness that resides somewhere inside those who touch our lives, when we succeed in finding those redeeming qualities, then redemption can begin. Our redemption.

Let me share with you a short story – not from the Talmud, but from Japanese Zen traditions.

(A Heavy Load – from Zen Stories)

Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her carriage. The rain had made deep puddles, and she couldn't step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn't help her across the puddle.  

The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side.

She didn't thank the older monk, she just shoved him out of the way and departed. 

As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn't even thank you!"

"I set the woman down hours ago," the older monk replied. "Why are you still carrying her?"

The well-known Jewish composer and musician Shlomo Carlebach understood this story. Carlbach was able to look at life and its imperfections with a clarity that was sure.

He had fled the Nazis as a young man. Now a famous rabbi and singer, he was once asked how could he go back to Austria and Germany to perform. “Don’t you hate them?” he was asked.

Carlebach responded: “If I had two souls, I’d devote one to hating them. But since I have only one, I don’t want to waste it on hating.”

Tonight, on this Kol Nidrei, this eve of Yom Kippur, we are reminded that we must look at our lives as they really are. Surely, we are not to waste our souls hating. Tonight is a time for letting go of such emotions; tonight is a time for putting down what we need to stop carrying. Real life is messy. People are not as perfect as we might wish them to be. No surprise.

On this Sam Anderson, the enthusiastic doodler, remarked:

“Part of the magic of blind drawing is the impossibility of doing it wrong. This makes it the perfect antidote to perfectionism, because its first and only step is to abandon any hope of perfection…. [I]nevitably, almost by accident, your hand will produce little slivers of excellence….”

On this eve of Yom Kippur, I encourage all of us to engage in a bit of blind drawing. Such an act of faith in our ability to embrace the true nature of others just might produce in us little slivers of forgiveness.

And that, perhaps, is the true artistry – not of drawing, but of living.


What's Happening at Or Chadash


Upcoming at Or Chadash
Click here for High Holy Days and ticket info. If you would like to purchase additional tickets, please complete a registration form by 3 PM on Monday, September 17th.

Yizkor Memorial Service Booklet Deadline Wednesday, September 12th. 
Indicate family names on your High Holy Days registration form.

Click here to sign up to attend and/or contribute to Break Fast


Friday, September 14th, No Services
Celebrate Shabbat at Home with Family and Friends!

KOL NIDRE - Tuesday, September 18th
Services, 8:00 PM

YOM KIPPUR - Wednesday, September 19th 
Morning Services, 10:00 AM
Children's Services, 2:00 PM
Study Session, 3:00 PM
Yizkor Memorial Services, 4:00 PM
Neila Concluding Services, 4:45 PM
Break the Fast, 5:30 PM

Friday, September 21st 7 PM - SHABBAT EXPERIENCE

Sunday, September 23rd 
9 AM - 3rd through 6th grade
10:15 AM - Kindergarten through 2nd grade

Thursday, September 27th
6:30 PM - 6th through 10th grades

Sunday, September 23rd - WELCOME BACK BBQ 
See flyer below

Sunday, September 23rd 9 AM - SUKKAH BUILD

Friday, September 28th 6:30 PM - SUKKOT DINNER IN THE SUKKAH

Sunday, September 30th
Grow-a-Row in Pittstown, NJ




The Bridgewater Jewish Community Center is hosting an event to support the JCC Special Needs Scholarship Fund. Please see the flyer below. Click here for more information and to RSVP. 

A message from Cindy Stoter, Or Chadash member and facilitator of The Presidential Volunteer Service Award for our synagogue:
Hello Or Chadash Members,

I want to share some exciting news regarding volunteer and service hours.

Or Chadash is now a certifying organization of The Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA)! The PVSA recognizes U.S. citizens who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period. The awards are offered in multiple levels and include bronze, silver, and gold, based on the number of service hours completed and the age of the volunteer. In order for you or your child to have qualifying hours, Or Chadash must be the recipient of the volunteer service or a facilitator of the service. All service must be unpaid, volunteer, and take place within the one year period specified.

Congratulations to the following members who have recently received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award through Or Chadash: 
Jonatha Berg
Julia MacIsaac
Tali Parliyan
Cassondra Stoter
Ben Weiss

The next qualifying period runs from March 1, 2018-February 28, 2019.

Please reach out to me by email, chstoter@comcast.net, if you would like more information. I can assist you with the required online forms to document service hours and answer any questions!

Membership Information

We thank you for your interest in Or Chadash.

Please click here to get to our membership page which contains information on what joining Or Chadash can mean for you.

To get the latest events and information on Or Chadash, subscribe to our e-newsletter.


Religious School Calendar

Register for Temple Tots

Register for Temple Tots

Temple Tots is a one-hour program led by Rabbi Forman, Cantor Kathy Gohr, Educator Betsy Zalaznick and our Teaching Assistants. It offers enriched programming, story time, music and craft projects for pre-school aged children. This program meets on Sundays at 11:00 AM until Noon (ish) and is geared towards children ages 2 - 5 and their parents, grandparents, or caregivers.

Temple Tots will be held on select Sundays.

2018/2019 DATES
October 7
November 4
December 9
January 27
March 3
April 14

Teaching Assistants

Our Teaching Assistants are role models for our younger students and 
provide invaluable support.   You will be helping out teachers and students 
of Or Chadash Religious School.  

Click here for the TA Application.

Current TA's:  Click here to let us know if your schedule has changed and you will be unable to be at Religious School.

Sign Up to Usher

Usher Sign-ups:  

Sisterhood Sunday Morning Walks and Coffee Talks

Or Chadash Sisterhood Presents: 
Sunday Morning Trail Walks and Coffee Talks
Want to meet some new people, or catch up with friends you only see in the hallways of OC or while waiting to pick up your children? Join us monthly for either a quick walk, and/or a quick coffee klatch!  We never seem to have time to get together, so a nice walk and talk during Hebrew school on Sundays seemed to be just the thing! We will meet at the front door of Or Chadash at 10:15 AM and take a 30 minute walk up Foothill Road. We will return to OC at 10:45 AM for coffee and treats. IF you prefer not to walk, meet us for coffee at 10:45 AM. We hope to see some new and familiar faces. Any questions, please contact Lisa Tauscher (ltauscher@embarqmail.com) or Debbie Weiss (deb1508@aol.com). 

Everyone should ask at least ONE other person you know to join us!

Stay tuned for our fall schedule.


Sign up for Scrip today!

Shop with Scrip!

Purchase giftcards (“scrip”) online at face value, and Or Chadash gets a percentage of our purchases.  It’s easy to sign up!  It’s easy to order!  Click here to find easy instructions.

Legacy Circle

The Board of Or Chadash is proud to announce the implementation of our temple’s Legacy Program.

A Legacy gift symbolizes the true meaning of L’dor V’dor, passing on traditions from one generation to the next. To be part of the Legacy Program no upfront funds are needed, only your intention to leave a future gift of any amount which can be changed at your discretion any time in the future.

As part of the Legacy Program you will be honored as part of the Legacy Circle and have the opportunity to create your own page in the Book of Life in both hard copy and digital versions. Our response so far has been tremendous with 28 congregants joining the Legacy Program.

Further information about the Legacy Program and the Book of Life are available online:

Or Chadash Legacy Program

Or Chadash Book of Life

To join the Legacy Program or learn more, contact our Legacy Chairperson, Harvey Gold or a team member consisting of Adam Belkin, Rick Rosenthal, Renee Trambert and Debbie Weiss

Larry & Beatrice Abrams
Susan & Steve Albert
Adam & Audrey Belkin
Kimberly & Doug Beman
Jeff & Christine Berg
Jonathan & Alana Dambrot
Rabbi Joseph M. Forman
Dan & Jackie Freedman
Cantor Kathy Gohr
Harvey & Kathryn Gold
Matt & Jaimee Gold
Steven Grumbach
Chris Hann & Leslie Werstein Hann
Alan Hecht & Maria Jose De La Hoz
Richard & Evelyn Kurtzberg
Darren & Elizabeth Loew
David & Katherine Moutner
Gary & Susan Parilis
Nisim & Alexa Parliyan
Rick & Jill Rosenthal
Don & Sara Schenker
The Senator/Graybeal Family
The Sloan/Gong Family
Louis & Caryn Speizer
Andy & Jane Stein
Rabbi Richard F. Steinbrink
Caryn & Marc Tomljanovich
Renee Trambert
Kimberly & David Turner
Glenn & Eve Wasserman
Ross & Susan Weinick
Debbie & Gary Weiss
Mark and Kristina Witzling
Betsy & Bruce Zalaznick

College Student Outreach

As fall approaches, the Student Outreach Program of Or Chadash is about to swing into full gear. The purpose of this program is to maintain a Jewish connection for our students away from home at preparatory, college or graduate schools. Students will be mailed a treat symbolic for some of the Jewish holidays. The Rabbi includes a delightful letter reminding students of the significance of the occasion. Students tell us each year how much they look forward to these packages and how comforting it is to know that they are still important to our Or Chadash Family.

We create a new “Student Address List” each year, so all interested parents should send in their child’s address for the coming year as soon as possible. You must submit this each year, even if there has not been a change. You will notice that there is space for an email address. 

Don’t let your child miss out on the first mailing!

Click here to fill out the form.


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Calendar at a Glance

09.23.2018 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Sukkah Build
09.23.2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gr. 3-6 Religious School - 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
09.23.2018 10:15 am - 12:00 pm
Gr. K-2 Religious School - 10:15 AM - 12:00 PM
09.23.2018 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Welcome Back BBQ

A Year at Or Chadash

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