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Updates from Steve Zeidwerg, Co-President



May 25, 2021  7:30pm

To all Congregants:

When I was asked to be Co-President two years ago, people said, “Don't do it”, or “Think about it before you commit”; or they said, “Hopefully, you won’t be the last President of the Shul.”  After hearing this, I started to have reservations about the position.  And, in hindsight, whoever thought a pandemic would be part of the administrative challenge?

But after some thought, I accepted, knowing that Bob Salston and I were on the same page and would complement each other and give our full effort and cooperation every day during our tenure.  Certainly, that proved to be true, and I consider Bob to be a friend and invaluable in providing the stability needed for the upcoming year.

When I first started here, people told me that nobody would appreciate my efforts, but I experienced the complete opposite.  People are appreciative for the improvements that were made. Changes in financial policies, accounting and information systems, maintenance and facility infrastructure, safety and security while simultaneously infusing transparency are some of the accomplishments that were made over the last two years.

At the beginning of my tenure as Co-President, we introduced a business model within EBJC that promoted financial integrity, accountability, and responsibility.  We used actual data to control and report our financial position as well as aiding in developing realistic budgets. Working with Neil Kosher made things easier in preparing for the financial challenges we faced.  I thank him for his efforts.

I reduced our expenses and discretionary spending that resolved the cash flow problems experienced in the last quarter of past fiscal years.  We now budget on a monthly basis.  I avoided the contractors that took advantage of EBJC in the past, and our maintenance budget was reduced by half. There are many more examples of savings through cost-cutting.

In addition, we introduced an organizational structure for our leadership and committees, including programming and scheduling, to unify our efforts. Howard Jacobs and I spent several hours resolving many issues that arose with communications and programming, and I thank him for his efforts.  In addition, I worked alongside the Constitution Committee, spending many hours revamping EBJC’s By-Laws, and I appreciate their efforts on completing a monumental task.

We worked with a strong Executive Board and Board of Directors, and I want to thank those groups for their input and support over the past two years. Sisterhood, Men’s Club, the other arms of the Shul, the Membership Committee, and the other standing committees were all instrumental in making advances at EBJC, especially in these trying times.  I appreciate working with all these groups and leaders over the past two years.

I am proud of the changes that we made with security at EBJC, and we expended a great effort in applying for a $150,000 security grant this year.  We will find out the results in July from the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

Over the past two years, I worked tirelessly with our Executive Director, Ellen Botwin.  We made many operational improvements with help from Cheryl Decker and Nicole Cavalli in the office; Lynda Perel in the Center for Early Learning; Cantor Larry Brandspiegel in the Kesher Hebrew School; and Jose Mendez and Leo Gutierrez in maintenance.  We all worked well together and I thank them for their efforts.

I will always value the personal relationships that I developed with both Rabbi Pivo and Cantor Larry.  Both these men are vital to the future of our Shul, and hopefully, they will be the faces of EBJC for a long time to come.

EBJC has changed in ways never seen before, and not only because of the pandemic.  We identified and found solutions to many problems. The future administration will continue to be strong with many new faces and with those who continue to serve, and I know they will explore new and innovative ideas in taking EBJC to the next level.

Maybe my path, my journey with Judaism has somehow affected your path in some way, perhaps here and now, or in the future, by making sure this Shul is here for you.  My path now leads me to the role of Executive Director at another synagogue. 

EBJC has truly impacted my life, and I will never forget that.  I thank all of you for your good wishes.  While I will not be serving as Co-President next year, I take great pride in what was accomplished over the last two years.  Serving EBJC as Co-President is truly my honor, my privilege, and my pleasure.

Yours truly,

Steve Zeidwerg



December 9, 2020  2:30PM

I want to remind you to be skeptical of emails requesting your personal information, asking you to verify your credit card information, or that try to lure you into entering some kind of monetary transaction, especially anything to do with gift card purchases.  The schemes are endless, and you must delete the email and not respond to them at all. Hackers are asking you to reply to them about your Amazon account, either advising you of fraudulent charges or asking you to purchase a gift card through Amazon for them.  DO NOT REPLY TO THEM!!!  You will be exposing yourself to a fraud scheme.

If you receive an email that your account has been hacked, that fraudulent credit card charges were placed on your account, or some other gimmick or phishing scheme (someone sending you an email purporting to be from a reputable company in order for you to reveal personal information about yourself, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and/or other personal information), from any merchant such as Amazon, a bank or credit card company, etc., then assume it is fraudulent. Again, DO NOT REPLY TO THEM!!!  If you think that you want to check it out, then call them on the phone using phone numbers from your previous paid bills or sign into your account through their official website; however, DO NOT RESPOND TO AN EMAIL SENT TO YOU FROM THEM!!!

Be skeptical of other emails you receive, as well, requesting information from you or some kind of monetary transaction, especially anything to do with gift cards.  Stay acutely aware and be suspicious of emails that are unsigned by an individual, have broken English, misspelled words or names, and/or make any monetary or informational request from you.  If you are wary of any request, talk to the individual or group signing the email, or call our office if it is an EBJC request, and make sure it is legitimate before you respond.  

I cannot stress enough to stay away from entering into any non-traceable and non-cancellable monetary transactions (especially gift cards) as most of these are fraud schemes.  The tone of urgency in any email, along with the promise that they will reimburse you at a future time, is your immediate tip off of a FRAUD!!! 

Be on your guard, especially now that we are entering into the holiday season.



November 12, 2020  11:30am

We currently find ourselves in the midst of an uptick in COVID cases and we made the difficult decision to discontinue holding in-person indoor services.  Our priority has been and continues to be the safety and well-being of our clergy and members. This was not an easy decision and we will revisit it weekly.  As has been our practice, all services will continue to be broadcast on Zoom. 



May 4, 2020  6:30pm

I am proud to announce that on May 1, 2020, Rabbi Pivo and EBJC signed off on his new contract for an additional four years.





April 28, 2020  3:00pm

I would like to address a valid concern that has been expressed to me by some of our members. I want all our members, especially those who are older and those vulnerable with pre-existing medical conditions, to know that the present lay leadership and clergy will always take everyone into consideration when making decisions about coming back together. These will include decisions about continued live-streaming of meetings, services, High Holidays, classes, and other events. Our members’ health and safety are of prime concern to us, and I do not want anyone to think or have to worry that we would make major decisions without considering the health and safety impact to everyone. We will always try to be inclusive to those who cannot physically attend the happenings at EBJC, and while we do not know when we will actually physically return to the Shul, we are starting to develop the logistics and strategies for the different scenarios that might play out. As always, this administration and the Shul will have your back!



April 18, 2020  10:00pm

On April 17 at approximately 4:10pm, the house next to the Pivo's caught fire and was severely damaged.  Everyone got out safely and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.  The East Brunswick  Independent Fire Company, with the backing of the other East Brunswick Fire Companies, fought the fire and our thanks go out to them.  Their response and the way they attacked the fire saved the Rabbi's house from being engulfed as the wind direction and flames were moving in that direction.  The Rabbi's house has vinyl siding damage from the intense heat with no smoke or fire damage.




  Rabbi's House Damage



March 30, 2020  10:00am


More than ever before, be aware that there will be scammers calling you and sending email and regular mail, about the Coronavirus and how you can donate to those on the front lines, receive your government check sooner, how you can defer payment and receive forgiveness on your credit card bills, and even how you can receive government assistance on your utility bills, etc.  The scams are endless and bad people are thinking these up as I am writing this.


With our current world events, we have those that will try to scam and take advantage of good and vulnerable people.  During these times, when good people want to donate to a cause, there will be those who will take your money or personal information illegitimately.

If you want to donate to the front lines or anywhere else, do your research.  Make sure you are going to their official websites for their information. Don't count on an email, regular mail, or phone call that you receive, no matter how good it looks or sounds, as being legitimate.

Websites, emails and regular mail are being made to look and seem legitimate, but they include fake addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of the organization, with the hopes that you will send your personal information or donation by gift card or by some other non-trackable and non-cancellable transaction.   Phone calls are made that are ever so convincing, and believe me, these people know how to convince you to give your personal information or donation when they are not really the actual organization that they claim to be.

As time goes on, there will be more scamming stories and more ingenious ways to scam you.  Follow the simple rules above that are in big letters. Don't give anyone the opportunity to scam you.  Cut it off quickly, and do not feel obligated to listen to or read their gimmick. The longer you are on the phone with them the more you will give them an opportunity to convince you of their nonsense.  Be safe not only for your physical well-being; but be safe and smart with how and to whom you communicate.


March 29, 2020  8:00pm

It has been pounded into us - stay home, maintain social distancing at least six feet apart if we go out. We get it and we are doing it.  Now everyone needs to be aware of their mental health and well-being.  Make yourself busy.  Don't watch the news all day.  Stay in touch with us and attend our live stream programming.  Keep your sense of humor.

Whether you are young, middle-aged, or older, what we are experiencing today is a major hurdle in our lives that we will get over just like any other problem that we faced in our lifetime.  We will all gain a new perspective on how many of our past problems weren't really so major.

We have to come to the realization, and really know and believe that both individually, as well as the EBJC family; that we will overcome this pandemic and we will be stronger, smarter, more empathetic, and more resilient than ever before.

All of our EBJC congregants are extended family to us and we have to remain close.  And, as we get through this together, we will get closer yet.  When we physically get back together, we should and we will appreciate each other more than ever.

Currently, I am working on this website to make it less disjointed and to keep it current.  There is a great amount of information on here and I want it to be the main conduit to disseminate information and programming to all of our congregants.  All of our programming and live stream events will be listed on the events/live events tab and will have a link to attend.   If you have any suggestions, please email me at 

Mon, June 14 2021 4 Tammuz 5781