Multicultural Montclair Shares its New Year’s Traditions

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (2)

new year

No matter where you are from, the New Year signifies a new beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. Wishes for good luck and prosperity and resolutions for health and wealth. Here in the U.S. we celebrate the new year with fireworks, ball drops, and noise (we ran outside to bang our pots and pans at midnight when I was a child.) In other cultures, while the wishes and hopes are the same, they usher in the new year in quite different ways.

We asked Montclair residents, originally from other countries, how they will ring in 2015:

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Winter Preparedness Checklist

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Winter Preparedness

After last year’s horrendous weather, the last thing many of us want to think about is snow. But winter is officially upon us now and think about it we must. Essex County itself, as recorded in Cedar Grove, saw 71” of snowfall during the 2013-2014 season.

Last winter ranked 7th for the highest snowfall totals in New Jersey of the last 120 years with an average 54.3” of snow across the state. Specifically in the northern region (Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Hudson and Essex Counties), we saw 57.3” that landed us at the number 14 spot for the same time period. This accumulation was more than 20” more than the long-term average according to NJ Weather & Climate Network.

Even in a milder winter, preparedness is essential. Before the forecast turns ugly, there are some things you can do to get your home and family ready.

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Darkness Into Light: Exploring Hanukkah Through Meditation

BY  |  Friday, Dec 05, 2014 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Happy Hanukkah How do you prepare for the Festival of Lights?

Bnai Keshet lay leaders Beth Sandweiss and Melissa Schaffer, Cantor Meredith Greenberg of Temple Ner Tamid, Larry Schwartz, Shelly Levine and Rabbi Rex Perlmeter invite members of the community preparing for Hanukkah to spend half a day on Saturday, December 6, 1-5 pm, in contemplative practice to help kindle a source of light during the darkest time of the year. Continue Reading

Counting Blessings On Thanksgiving — And And All Year Long

BY  |  Thursday, Nov 27, 2014 7:59am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Baristanet (1)

Photo: Michael Reitman

Local clergy gathered at Temple Ner Tamind for the Annual Thanksgiving Week Service which rotates around the Houses of Worship of the Montclair Clergy. Some 80 people were in attendance and the Ramblers played traditional tunes of Thanksgiving.

The quote of the evening was “turn Thanksgiving into Thanksliving,” by Br. Getty Reyes, capturing the true spirit of alms to the poor and the disenfranchised.

Thanksgiving Participants (left to right): Continue Reading

Coats Needed For Thanksgiving and Beyond at Salvation Army

Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 1:43pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

salvation army shieldMontclair’s Salvation Army is in need of adult coats. They would love to hand some out tomorrow while serving Thanksgiving dinner to the needy. Continue Reading

Reunited: MFF Brings Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert Together Again For Big Laughs

BY  |  Saturday, Nov 22, 2014 9:16am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Photo: Montclair Film Festival Photo: Montclair Film Festival

Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell regaled fans at a benefit for the Montclair Film Festival at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark last night with memories and insights from collaborations at Second City in Chicago, The Dana Carvey Show and their epic “Even Stepvhen” debates on the Daily Show.

The show began with screenings of Waiters Who are Nauseated by Food and The Ambiguously Gay Duo sketches from the short-lived Dana Carvey Show (1996) featuring Colbert and Carell. Later that year The Ambiguously Gay Duo was reincarnated on Saturday Night Live. That work helped Carell land a gig on the Daily Show in 1999 which already featured Colbert as a correspondent. While on the Daily Show, they produced some memorable Even Stepvhen debates on Responsible Drinking and Medical Marijuana which drew big laughs at the benefit.

“In order to preserve your soul you had to assume a character,” said Colbert about his days as a correspondent. “Going out and doing those field pieces was really hard.”

“You were shining a light on intolerance and ignorance,” said Carell. They both recalled one particular interview they thought was a turning point for the show.

During John McCain’s 2000 Presidential bid Carell, was conversing with the candidate. “He was loving it,” Carell recalls. Colbert picks up the story from there, then you questioned him on how he could be a warrior against pork barrel politics even though his committee approves more pork than any other committee in Congress. “He blanched” Carell recalls. “The whole interview hinged on that moment, that’s what we were hoping for, just to get a moment where he looked bewildered. I stared at him and then said, ‘I’m just kidding, I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“The Daily Show changed at that moment,” says Colbert. “Just keep being an idiot and you can ask the questions nobody else is asking.”

Colbert and Carell also spoke about Carell’s role as John DuPont in Foxcatcher, the critically-acclaimed psychodrama about the millionaire John Du Pont’s murder of wrestler Dave Schultz.

Was there any temptation to make it funny? asked Colbert. “I never thought of that,” Carell replied. “Some of the scenes resonate with people comedicaly which was a complete surprise because when you’re doing it you’re not thinking of it being funny, it’s just where this guy is. The story itself it so absurd.”

That conversation was followed by a brief Q&A and finished with Carell and Colbert singing the Star Spangled Banner. Colbert told the audience, “As a comedian this is why you end with the national anthem, you’re always guaranteed a standing ovation.”

A Conversation with Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell lasted about 90 minutes and was the Montclair Film Festival’s fourth annual fundraising event with Stephen Colbert. The festival will run from May 1-10, 2015.

VProud: A Place For Women to Have Honest Conversations Created by a Montclair Woman

BY  |  Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

VProudImagine hanging with your closest girlfriends at your favorite coffee shop talking about news, relationships, parenting, and hot topics. Now imagine it’s all online and that group of friends is much larger. That’s what VProud is.

Last month, Karen Cahn of Montclair officially launched VProud (the “V” stands for video), a video social network whose mission is “to cultivate honest conversations among women in a safe and non-judgmental environment.”

With an extensive background in digital media — Cahn has worked for Google, Huffington Post, and YouTube — she created a site for women to have honest and open conversation in a safe environment.

Years ago, while going through a divorce, Cahn says there wasn’t a place online where she felt she could talk to other women going through the same thing. She felt lonely and isolated. She feels that video inspires us to feel less alone and says that VProud’s ultimate goal is to “Make women feel there is a community for them.”

Every conversation on VProud begins with a video, made by women, and a thought-provoking headline as a starting point, like this one featuring another Montclair woman, Alma Schneider discussing the dreaded task of making school lunches:

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Showing Love to the Montclair Public Library: My First Chapter

BY  |  Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

My First ChapterThis essay kicks off the Montclair Public Library Foundation’s third annual “My First Chapter” series. These essays are in support of the Montclair Public Library. This installment, which first appeared in the Montclair Times and is reprinted here with permission, is from Montclair resident Harvey Araton. Araton has been a longtime sports reporter and columnist for the New York Times and is the author of six nonfiction books and a 2014 novel, “Cold Type.”


I grew up in a home without books, save for those required by school. Ours was a cramped three-bedroom apartment in a Staten Island housing project, diversely working class and chronically noisy, family disagreements often based on the unworkable formula of too many children and not enough cash. Continue Reading

Flora, Fauna, and Owls to Explore in Montclair

BY  |  Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (1)

rp_Barred-Owl.jpgNature and bird lovers will want to know about two upcoming events:

The gardens at Van Vleck House are no stranger to butterflies, chipmunks and rabbits, but did you know that owls have been known to stop by too? Van Vleck invites residents to take a walk through the gardens looking for owls, which have made the beautiful grounds their nesting site in years past. You’ll learn how to identify signs of owl activity and learn some basic knowledge about our nocturnal neighbors. Following the hike at 5:15pm, stick around to meet two live owls from Flat Rock Brook Nature Center. Discover which owls live right here in NJ. Learn about the special features and characteristics these amazing creatures have that help them survive.

Owl Prowl Hike and Presentation
Van Vleck House & Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042
Friday, November 14 starting at 4:30 pm, rain or shine
Open to families (with children ages 5 and older) and individuals
$5 per person for the hike and $10 for owl presentation.  LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE. To Register: email or call 973-744-4752



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Cigars Anyone? Montclair’s Fumé Cigar Shop & Lounge’s Frank Alberto Talks Shop

BY  |  Monday, Nov 03, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (16)

Frank Alberto, co-owner of  Fumé Cigar Shop and Lounge

Frank Alberto, co-owner of
Fumé Cigar Shop and Lounge

For me, cigars have always been associated with Edward G. Robinson, George Burns and Gordon Gekko and a pungent odor that clung to my clothes days after I was around a cigar smoker. To better understand the world of cigars, I stopped by Fumé Cigar Shop and Lounge (415 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair).

“Cigars are definitely an acquired taste. Some people prefer beer; some people prefer wine; some people prefer cigarettes over cigars; and then there’s different types of cigars and there different types of cigar smokers,” says Frank Alberto, who along with brother Ralph (and another person who is no longer with the shop), opened Fumé in 2004.

The shop offers 2-3,000 different types of hand-rolled, limited produced high-end “boutique” cigars from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Honduras ranging from $7.00 to $50 per stick or $100-$1,000 by the box, depending on the number and type of cigars in the box.  The Alberto brothers also sell cigar cutters, lighters, tobacco pipes, humidors and select cigarette brands. 

Members (for a $400 annual membership fee) have access to a lounge where they can smoke their cigars that are stored in their own humidified lockers.  They can also watch sports on a wide screen TV (hot food is served on Sundays), attend special events and get discounts on purchases.

While the majority of members are male, Alberto says there are two female members.  “One lady is here every night,” says Alberto, who grew up in Newark and now lives in Cedar Grove.  “It definitely takes a woman who can deal with men on a large scale.  There is a little bit of a watch TV, a lot of sporting events on.  If you’re not into sporting events, it’s probably difficult if you’re a lady.  Some guys don’t even like sporting events, so they’ll go in the back room where it’s quiet and sit there and smoke.” 

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Featured Comment

The less than four inches outside my house this morning would suggest those 16' models were about as accurate as Kate Moss forecasting this "crippling and historic" storm.

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