Religions & Spirituality

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Newark Archdiocese Will Begin Gradual Reopening on Sunday

May 16, 2020

NEWARK, NJ — Churches under the Archdiocese of Newark will begin allowing private prayer this weekend, the Archbishop announced Friday, as the first step of a cautious reopening plan. 

The initial phase, which will be minored by parish staff to ensure social distancing, also allows Sacrament of Reconciliation to be celebrated if social distancing can be maintained and masks are ...

Archdiocese of Newark Will Close 10 Catholic Schools

Difficult Decision Will Strengthen Schools, Safeguard Future of Catholic Education; At-Home Learning Continues Through End of School Year 

The Archdiocese of Newark has announced the consolidation of its school community and the closure of nine archdiocesan-operated elementary schools at the end of this school year, the result of archdiocesan strategic planning efforts to ...

'We can't allow that to happen': Governor Murphy Says No to Plans for Catered Weddings

New Jersey - When Governor Murphy said stay safe and stay home, he meant it. According to a recent Monmouth University Poll, executive orders restricting certain activities in the state are also widely popular. 

Specifically, 'requiring people to maintain six feet of distance (97% approve / 95% aware) and to wear a face covering in public (95% approve / 95% aware), as ...

Orthodox Weddings to Resume in New Jersey: Rabbi Aaron Kotler

NEW JERSEY — While the Governor has said to stay home repeatedly at every  news conference, he may be changing his tune. Weddings are, according to Murphy supporter and Ocean County Rabbi Aaron Kotler, now authorized.

A public letter was just released from the President of the largest Yeshiva in the world, outside Israel.

Religious weddings approved by the Governor? ...

Archdiocese of Newark Will Livestream Holy Week Liturgies

NEWARK, NJ — Catholics around the world will begin the observance of Holy Week, which begins with Palm (Passion) Sunday, April 5, followed by the Sacred Triduum on Holy Thursday, April 9; Good Friday, April 10; Holy Saturday, April 11; and Easter Sunday, April 12.

Holy Week liturgies in the Archdiocese of Newark will continue to be livestreamed online due to the coronavirus ...

Hundreds Gather for a Memorial Service for Yousef

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - More than 200 people gathered in East Brunswick tonight in a memorial service for Yousef Khela who lost his life in a tragic accident this past Wednesday when he broke through the ice at the Municipal Pond.  The mood was somber and the tone was quiet as the mourners, many of whom were students who knew Khela at Churchill Junior High, some of whom were members of the ...

SOMA Community Turns Out for 2019 Menorah Lighting in Spiotta Park

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The public menorah lighting the eighth and final night of Hannukah felt as much somber vigil against violence as spirited community holiday celebration. Some 80 people stood shoulder to shoulder in rainy, cold Spiotta Park to let light into what has been a dark week: Every day of Hannukah this year, anti-Semitic attacks have been noted in the news in the New York/New ...

Montclair Police Investigate Destruction of Menorah

Montclair, NJ — The Montclair Police are investigating the destruction of a grand Menorah located on Church Street.

On Wednesday evening, Rabbi Yaacov Leaf received a call from Police Chief Todd Conforti, informing him that the Menorah had been vandalized. Though police have not rushed to label the destructive act a biased incident, this comes in the midst of the festival of lights, ...

Celebrating the Festival of Lights in Maplewood Village as the Hanukkiah is Lit

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Monday evening, December 23, at Ricalton Square in the center of Maplewood Village, there was a sizable gathering of friends and members of Congregation Beth Ephriam-Maplewood Jewish Center. They were present for the lighting of the candles for the second night of Chanukah. Rabbi Shalom Bogomilsky, the spiritual leader of the congregation, gave a brief explanation of ...

Masorti Israel Leaders Speak in West Orange About Special Needs Individuals Within Jewish Community

WEST ORANGE, NJ — As Masorti Israel continues to focus on treating people with development disabilities with the dignity they deserve in the Jewish community, Nava Meiersdorf told a group she was speaking to in West Orange that “this is not just a special needs fight for dignity and respect; it’s all our fight.”

Nava, a Masorti Israel rabbinical student now studying at ...


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New Jersey Date Night: Chicken Restaurants That Sizzle

May 28, 2020

New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

Before you know it, our date nights can actually happen at a table in a restaurant! As New Jersey begins to slowly emerge from stay-at-home rules, couples are itching to get our and experience something hot. How about something sizzling found in a basket, on a plate or inside a bucket?

When it comes to ...

Skills I Thought I’d Never Need Again (Or Ever)

Skills I thought I’d never need again (or ever)

Or how I put my skills to work in this new world


Every post-apocalypse movie has this weird combination of technology and pioneer sensibilities. I’ve always thought that odd – if there were droids watching over them, why were they cooking over an open hearth, if you have flying cars why aren’t your stores ...

Coronavirus Pandemic Adds to the Admiration as Hospital Honors Local EMS Members

Overlook Medical Center celebrated the work of the dedicated EMS first responders throughout the communities it serves with awards, gifts and other recognition as part of the national EMS Week, May 18–22.

“The first responders throughout our region have been our steadfast partners through the height of the pandemic, and their collaboration in caring for our patients during this ...

Atlantic Health System Leads Phase 1 Study on CPI-613® (Devimistat), First-in-Class Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer to be Presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2020

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care’s Angela Alistar, MD, medical director of GI medical oncology at Morristown Medical Center and medical director of the Phase 1 Breakthrough Treatment Center, is lead author of a phase 1 study of CPI-613® (devimistat), a unique first-in-class treatment for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer, in combination with two chemotherapy drugs.

Community Conversations: Is It Safe To Have Surgery?

James C. Wittig, MD, chairman, Orthopedic Surgery, Morristown Medical Center, medical director of Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Oncology and Sarcoma Surgery for Atlantic Health System, joined host Luke Margolis for the latest edition of our Facebook Live event series, Community Conversations. Dr. Wittig shared what our patients need to know before having an important surgery that’s been ...

Surprising Benefits of the Virtual Visit

When Atlantic Health System put telehealth into effect to help control the spread of COVID-19, I thought, I’m going to hate it. I felt strongly that there’s no substitute for in-person visits, and expected that trying to communicate using video apps would be cumbersome. So I was surprised to find that there are some real benefits to virtual medicine.

I noticed, for example, a ...

Protect Your Health: Do Not Put Off Important Medical Care

The safety of patients and team members is Atlantic Health System’s top priority. To make sure emergency departments across Atlantic Health’s hospitals remain safe for every patient who enters, reconfigured processes and facilities are in place to optimize safety and improve the patient experience.

All care is delivered with strict rules around social distancing, universal mask ...

Atlantic Health System Earns New Level of Recognition for Environmental Sustainability, its Overlook Campus Again Taking Top Honors

Atlantic Health System achieved a new level of recognition for its accomplishments in environmental sustainability, receiving the System for Change Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. Its Overlook Medical Center once again earned Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor, the Top 25 Environmental ...


Talia Ramer, Tulane Class of 2020

May 21, 2020

Talia Ramer, daughter of Alia Covel of South Orange and Daniel Ramer of West Orange, graduated cum laude from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, on May 16. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a minor in business management. She was a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority and held internships working in television production at Wonderama in New York City ...

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health is Greater than We Know 

May 27, 2020

While COVID-19 makes its horrific mark on New Jersey, we at Family Connections are continuing to serve thousands of people of all ages through our dynamic programming. In talking to these clients, we’re hearing increased symptoms among those who already had mental health issues and reports from clients now experiencing new feelings of depression, anxiety and social isolation. We are also ...

OPINION: A Pandemic Doesn’t Stop the Dedication to Newark

When I was a child, growing up on Quitman Street in Newark meant any adult could tell any child to straighten up and fly right, should they observe that child in need of such advice. The neighborhood was like an extended family, and people were thankful to have extra sets of eyes and ears to look out for one another as their days got busier and the world around them became more ...

Maplewood Police Blotter, May 1-13

May 26, 2020

May 1, 2020; Possession of Stolen vehicle Arrests; At approximately 11:30 p.m., officers responded to the 66 Gas Station. With the assistance of Union PD, a vehicle stolen out of Irvington was recovered and three individuals were arrested for being in possession of it.  Nineteen-year-old Anaia Staton of Montclair, eighteen-year-old Kamryn Coates of Maplewood and a sixteen-year-old ...

South Orange Police Blotter, May 18-22

Burglary to Auto — A West Montrose Avenue resident reports between May 15th and 16th during the overnight hours unknown suspect(s) entered his vehicle, which was parked in his driveway, and ransacked the inside.  Detective Bureau is investigating the incident. 

Shoplifting — On May 16, 2020 the manager at Ashley Market notified South Orange Police of a ...

Assembly Leaders Address the Killings of Arbery and Floyd by Hosting a Community Conversation and Candlelight Vigil

May 30, 2020

(EAST ORANGE/ORANGE) - The women of the NJ General Assembly Black Women's Caucus are hosting a candlelight vigil and conversation with the community on Facebook Live, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 6:00 PM. The virtual event is titled, "Lifting Our Kings & Queens." The live stream is in direct response to recent and past unwarranted excessive use of force, resulting in the death of ...

Weekly recap for Maplewood and South Orange, May 30

In case you missed anything, here were some of the local news stories of the week:

South Orange got to five days without a new COVID-19 positive test.

Mayor Frank McGehee gave an update of what’s going on in Maplewood.

 S.O. BOT Shows United Front to state police and firefighter unions at their Board of Trustees meeting, and then issued a formal statement in ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, June 2, 7:00 PM

South Orange

Board of Adjustment Meeting



Wed, June 3, 7:30 PM


Township Committee Meeting



Wed, June 3, 7:30 PM


Board of Health



Wed, June 3, 7:30 PM


Community Board on Police Meeting


Both SOMA Mayors and the Essex County Executive Support Governor's Borrowing Plan

May 29, 2020

Essex County, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced his support of Governor Phil Murphy's proposal to borrow $9 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve to balance the State Budget. On Friday, May 29th, DiVincenzo sent a letter of support to the Governor; the letter was also signed by 17 of the Mayors in Essex County, including Sheena Collum of South Orange and ...

Former and Late East Orange Mayor Thomas H. Cooke Jr.: A Legacy Remembered

EAST ORANGE, NJ — Former East Orange Mayor, Thomas H. Cooke, Jr. passed away the morning of May 18, 2020 at the age of 90. Mayor Cooke was a trailblazer and the city's second African American-elected Mayor from 1978 to 1986.

Mayor Cooke was honored posthumously at the 2020 East Orange Memorial Day Celebration. In 2019, he was awarded the Lifetime Citizens Award.

A ...

Changes Coming to Route 22 ShopRite / Best Buy Shopping Center

May 29, 2020

UNION, NJ - The Union Planning Board heard testimony at Thursday night’s virtual public meeting of plans to modify existing structures and construct new buildings at the ShopRite/Best Buy shopping Center on Route 22 west.

Representatives for the Robbins Agency presented proposed plans for the site in several parts, including the vacant, standalone Pizza Hut and gas ...

2020 4th of July Fireworks at all Union County Parks Canceled

SPRINGFIELD — The Union County Department of Parks and Recreation has announced that Independence Day fireworks scheduled to take place in Union County Parks have been canceled this year due to COVID-19.

The announcement includes fireworks at the following sites:

Cranford fireworks scheduled to take place in Nomahegan Park on July 2. 
Plainfield fireworks ...

Correcting a Tax Return Will Soon be Easier

May 29, 2020

The Internal Revenue Service  announced today that later this summer taxpayers will for the first time be able to file their Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return, electronically using available tax software products.

Making the 1040-X an electronically filed form has been a goal of the IRS for a number of years. It’s also been an ongoing request from the ...

Economic Impact Payments Sent via Prepaid Debit Cards in Plain Envelope; answers FAQ's

As Economic Impact Payments continue to be successfully delivered, the Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers that some payments are being sent by prepaid debit card. The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” 

Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check.

Van Vleck Gardens 2020 Online Bulb Sale

Plant it forward!

Our horticulturalist at Van Vleck Gardens has curated a collection of hard to find and exquisite plants to plant this fall and enjoy next spring. The order form will be live at 9AM on Monday, June 1st and be active through June 14th at 9PM. Check out the photos of unique flowers that will make your garden even more beautiful next ...