Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth,
Olam (healing the world).
We are proud to be an extended family of
equals - welcoming,
caring, and inclusive.
Together, we engage in religious observance,
enjoy social activities, and
pursue life-long learning.
From our Rabbi
At this time of year, with Passover on the horizon, I have been thinking about the themes of justice, mercy, freedom and redemption, for they are the foundation of this Festival of Freedom. They are the currents through which any haggadah tells the story of our people's Exodus from Egypt. Freedom - Redemption - Justice - Mercy; these are central tenets of our faith, history and culture and they are guiding principles for the way in which many of our members express their Judaism.
This year our Social Justice/Action Committee has become involved in the URJ's Brit Olam program. In addition to several initiatives, we have been focusing on criminal justice reform at both the state as well as national level. In January, we joined with others from the interfaith community to watch and discuss the incredibly powerful documentary 13th. If you were not able to come, you can watch the documentary on Netflix. Everyone who participated that night was deeply moved and challenged by what we learned. During the discussion that followed, there was a consensus that people wanted to follow up both with action as well as continued education.
In May, the Social Action/Justice Committee will be hosting a discussion about the national bestseller, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Just Mercy, which reads like a novel, is the powerful story about how Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. In addition to describing many of the cases, the book tells the story of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. This experience drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship and in doing so, transformed Bryan's understanding of mercy and justice forever.
We invite you to read the book and then join us for the discussion on May 7th at 7:00 p.m. Even if you are not able to read the book, we hope you will come and learn from others. We will also be talking about ways that we can follow up on our concerns. If you have specific questions or would like to get involved, please contact Susan McHugh at
From our President
It's been a very busy time lately - working on Bylaws revisions, doing budgeting for next year, and thinking ahead already to the Annual Meeting. (Speaking of which, please save the date for our Annual Meeting on your calendars - Wednesday, May 30 at 6:30pm.) Spring brings new opportunities, but all this takes time. I look forward to writing more in the future ... but for now I will wish you all a Happy Passover.
From our Education Director
The word Tzedakah simply translated means charity. The root word is Tzedek, (Tz-d-k) which is translated as justice or righteousness. While the word Charity generally suggests giving with generousness to less fortunate people, the idea behind Tzedakah is the concept of giving but it suggests a moral component as well. In Judaism, it is our duty to be Righteous and to be Just and giving money to those in need is a duty for everyone, rich and poor alike. Jewish law actually specifies several different places where we are commanded to give Tzedakah: Farmers are commanded to leave the corners of their fields so people could eat from
(Leviticus 19:9-10, 23:22); there are laws for providing interest free loans (Exodus 22:24); there are laws for forgiving loans or tithing (Deuteronomy 15:1-11)
and there are other places within Jewish tradition where the giving of Tzedakah is weaved into the fabric of Jewish life.
Each year Rabbi Perry and I look at a host of different Tzedakah projects and this year was no exception. We teach about and commit our school and our Temple community to the importance of giving Tzedakah. Please take a minute to visit our Tzedakah wall located outside my office as we track our fund raising progress. The Miracle League of Massachusetts' own website describes it best: "At its core. The Miracle League of Massachusetts is an all volunteer, non-profit organization that gives children with disabilities a chance to play baseball as part of a team in an organized league at no cost to their family."
We were fortunate to meet Lauren Richardt, a parent of a child with a disability and also a committed founder and volunteer for this organization. Lauren shared with our Hebrew School children about the importance of this organization to her family and what a significant impact the Miracle League of MA has made on her child and other children in the area. This incredible organization, based in Acton MA, allows children with disabilities to play as part of a team with support from parents, coaches and buddies who help to make this organization into a successful and supportive baseball league. They are always looking for volunteers to help at the field and of course you can always go and watch a game. Here is a link to the inspiring video that Lauren shared with our children.
While we are not asking for a tithe of your income, nor the edges of your fields, we are asking that every student and hopefully the whole community will donate generously to this amazing organization as we strive to get a "home run" before the end of the year.
From our Cantorial Soloist
No news from Jodi this month.
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Social Action Committee
March for Our Lives pre-rally
On March 24, Congregation Shalom members gathered to share breakfast and make signs before attending the March for our Lives events in Boston and Chelmsford, raising awareness and demanding action to prevent gun violence in America.
Martin Ames Social Action Shabbat, Friday, April 27, 2018, 7:00 PM
Our guest for this year's Martin Ames Shabbat will be EJ Cohen, a premier American Sign Language interpreter. EJ will speak about disability needs awareness, the tzedekah theme that children in our religious school have been learning about this school year. Please join us for this joint Family Shabbat event.
First annual "Social Justice Book of the Year" Book Discussion - May 7, 2018
We invite everyone to read
by Bryan Stevenson, and join us for a discussion on May 7 from 7-9PM. This highly acclaimed book is a memoir, highlighting systemic problems in our justice system through the stories of one activist attorney. This event is open to the community as well as our members, so feel free to invite a friend. We are looking for volunteers to help plan and publicize this event. If you are interested, please email us at email@example.com.
Mitzvah Month is coming - June 2018
This year we are planning several weekend mitzvah events in June rather than a single day. Stay tuned for details on volunteering at the Paul Center and Chelmsford Senior Housing in Chelmsford and at Mill City Grows in Lowell.
Blood Drive - June 11, 2018
Congregation Shalom will host a blood drive on Monday June 11, from 2-7pm. Volunteers are needed to help set up, staff the canteen table, and clean up the drive. If you are interested in volunteering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to donate blood, please sign up at www.redcrossblood.org and enter in Congregation Shalom's zipcode (01863) to be directed to our location to sign up.
Need for volunteers at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Congregation Shalom is part of a team of volunteers at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford, an organization that serves a free meal to all, no questions asked, every Tuesday from 5-6pm at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center. Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on May 22, 2018. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Sue McDonald at email@example.com.
Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center
Congregation Shalom is collecting food for the Lowell Transitional Living Center. It is easy to help out with this mitzvah. Donations of meatloaf, and/or brownies and/or salad are accepted each month. There will be a cooler chest located by doors of Congregation Shalom. Simply place your donation in the cooler and know that you have done a good deed! You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, April 18 (starting around noon) through Thursday, April 19 (until 8pm.) May dates will be May 16-17 - mark your calendar now!
Torah Study Saturday, Apr 7 at 9:00 AM
Mishnah Pe'ah 1: "These are the obligations without measure, whose reward, too, is without measure: To honor mother and father, to perform acts of loving-kindness, to attend the house of study daily, to welcome the stranger, to visit the sick, to rejoice with the bride and bridegroom, to comfort the bereaved, to pray with sincerity, to make peace when there is strife. And the study of Torah is equal to them all because the study of Torah leads to them all."
Come study Torah with us!
Café Wisdom 2nd Tuesday of every month
10:30 AM -12:00 PM
Café Wisdom is a monthly study group that meets the 2nd Tuesday every month from October to May. This year we will be reading and discussing the book Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit. We always welcome new people and, if you are interested in learning more, or on being added to the Café Wisdom mailing list, please contact Rabbi Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israel Politics April 22 at 10:30 AM
How does 1948 independence figure in Israeli politics? Discover the context for the major political shift from Labor to Likud in 1977 and the awakening of Mizrahim in Israeli society. Examine the key Israeli Prime Ministers and the representation of women and minorities in Israeli politics. Come and learn together!
Israel Society April 29 at 10:30 AM
Mapping immigration patterns growth: waves of aliyot from 1881 to present; challenges of rapid 1950s immigrant absorption; women & Arab-Israelis; Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Ashkenazi cultures; Ethiopians & Russians; the military and education.
Come and join us!
Tamar Wexler for the Adult Education Committee
Save the Date
Saturday, April 7 - Torah Study
Tuesday, April 10th - Cafe Wisdom
Sunday, April 22nd - Adult Ed Program on Israel Politics
Sunday, April 29th - Adult Ed Program on Israel Society
April B'nai Mitzvahs
Saturday, April 14th - Bat Mitzvah of Hannah Wolman
Saturday, April 28th - Bat Mitzvah of Aliah Katz
* Please note that the service is open to all temple members
April Oneg Schedule
Apr 6 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Music with Jodi & Adam - Pitts & Rosenthal*, Ablove, Dangel & Gordon, DiGiovanni, Klamka, Shuldiner
Apr 13 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Hantman*, Gertz, Notinger, Riddick
Apr 20 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Boerman & Shaponick*, Epstein, Laider & Myers, Smith R&L
Apr 27 - 7 pm MOCA Shabbat/Social Action - Music with Sue Horowitz - Miller B&L, Newell, Sedgwick, Silton, Supple
Dear Congregation Shalom Family,
Thank you very much for your generous donations, cards, good wishes, and prayers for a speedy recovery for our grandson, Ben. We truly appreciate your caring and support for our family.
Fred and Esther Wikander
Good and Welfare
We are delighted to announce the birth of Lydia Verbun, born March 13, 2018.
We extend a warm Mazel Tov to her parents, Alexander and Emily as well as to older sisters Stella and Hannah.
We welcome back Roy and Carrie Steiman to our temple family.
Lillian B. Fostie
David Carl Menaker
George Moore III
Nancy Solomon Davis
Ronald S. Levi
We continue to need squares to make Misheberach afghans for temple members. If you would like to learn to knit or crochet, please email us at
and we will teach you!
If you knit or crochet, we need 10" x 10" squares in pure white (not off white, please) or any shade of blue. Yarn should be 100 acrylic, worsted weight (#4) Please measure your squares as it's difficult to use them if they are too big or too small.
Thank you for your help in continuing this comforting tradition.
Thank you! Janet & Laura
|Our Caring Committee Can Help
The Caring Committee is always available to provide meals or transportation to those members and families who need a little help. Please don't hesitate to email Katie Wolman at
or Rabbi Perry at
, or feel free to call Katie at home.
|Newsletter Ads and You!
We are always looking for advertisers for the Temple newsletter. Ads can be placed at any time with special pricing for members. Ads need not be for a year so if you want to try us, we take ads for 3 months as well as six months. If you decide to continue your ad for a full year, we do pro-rate the price. As the saying goes, "Try us, you'll like us!"
Throughout the year, there are many enriching Jewish experiences available to our youth through our synagogue or the community. These include, but aren't limited to, summer camps and trips to Washington, New York, and Israel. Fortunately, there is some scholarship money available through the temple to those families in need of financial assistance for these opportunities. Please contact Margie Berenson at
with any questions and/or for an application form.
Changed Your Address?
Notify us at: email@example.com
and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.
Every few months when we have not sold hair products, whether on the On-line Auction or by word of mouth, we take them to some very worthy organizations. Last week I dropped off shampoo, conditioner and other hair products and this is the email I received today:
Thank you so much for the fantastic donation of hair products last week! We had a client on Wednesday (survivor of domestic abuse) who took a few items and said she felt human again... gave us all chills and a few tears. You made a huge impact.
This is one way the Fundraising Committee practices Tikum Olam.
The Fundraising Committee
Now is a Great Time to Join the Grocery Card Program!
Pick a store and an amount and join in to receive grocery store gift cards. I send you the cards, and you write a check to the Temple. That's it! You'll see how easy it is to fundraise for the Temple and fill your cabinets without spending any extra money or time.
Contact me to get started with one of our best fundraisers. Each month you will receive your desired amount of gift cards for Hannaford, Donelan's, Whole Foods or Stop & Shop. Your payment to Congregation Shalom results in 7% cash back for the Temple.
Thirty-three Sisterhood members attended the annual retreat at Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsboro on March 3, but we also felt the spirit of those who were unable to join us. There were sparkly tiaras, incredible music, and some very competitive Scattergories players. The theme of the day offered lessons to be learned and pondered about inspiring women from the Bible, the Megillah, history and show business. The day went by quickly, but it was wonderful to reconnect, meet new attendees, and share some laughter as we "let loose."
Let's keep the fun rolling! Our next event is a game night. Some of the details have changed. On Monday, April 9, we plan to meet at Asian Plus Noodles & Rice in Westford from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a bite to eat and games. You are welcome to bring your favorite easy to play group games, for example Apples to Apples, Yahtzee, Bananagrams, or Uno. If there is interest, we will have some basic mahjong lessons.
We have made a change to the event planned for Sunday, April 22. Instead of a Plant Night activity, we will enjoy lunch together at 110 Grille in Chelmsford. We will meet at 12:30 to enable you to attend the morning adult education program, then join in for lunch afterward.
Planning ahead for May, please mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 8th for our annual "Sisterhood Spring Social," formerly known as "Dinner with the Rabbi". During this evening we will vote in new Sisterhood board members.
Watch for e-vites with more details for each event.
Don't forget that we have a variety of gifts and Judaica items available in our gift shop. Many beautiful options are on display. Contact us if you would like to make a purchase.
Our next board meeting will be on Tuesday, April 3 at 7p.m. All are welcome to attend to share input and ideas.
The Shalomites had an awesome time running the annual Purim Carnival! Thank you to everyone who came.
Some of our members will be attending NFTY's Spring Conclavette in Needham from April 6-8. On April 29, we will be watching "Monsters University," with a program following the movie. Hope to see you there!
In early May, we will be holding a Shalomites Information Meeting, open to all prospective youth group members as well as current members. We will give an introduction to the Shalomites and go over the different board positions as applications are coming up.
The Congregation Shalom book group invites all who are interested to join us in an evening of book review and discussion.
The next meeting will take place on On April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Marcia Gross. We will be discussing the book
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
|iGive for Congregation Shalom
Have you ever thought how great it would be to be able to shop online at 783 different well-known stores and still donate money to Congregation Shalom? Well, you can do that! It's free and easy so join those of us who have been sending donations to the synagogue for years simply by shopping by first going to the iGive website once you have established the link.
to register for Congregation Shalom to automatically be the recipient cause.
If you make a purchase through iGive within 45 days of signing up, an extra $5.00 will go to Congregation Shalom. If you have any questions, please contact
The Music of Jewish Life
Jewish Adult Education Series
The series will consist of a trio of programs that explore "The Music of Jewish Life" through different lenses. Participants will learn about the evolution of Jewish music in religious and secular settings and hear how it can express communal and personal values and experience.
All programs will feature professionals in the field of music.
The first in the series will be held on Sunday, April 15 at 3 pm at Congregation Beth Israel, located at 360 Merrimack Street, The Riverwalk in Lawrence. The session will be divided into two mini-sessions. The first, A Yidishe Meydel, led by Merle Roesler and Elaine Winic, will explore women's life though Yiddish folk songs. The second half of the afternoon Bob Moverman explore George Gershwin's magical melodies, and how they have influenced life in America.
On Sunday May 6 at 2 pm, at Temple Emanuel Andover, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Cantor Idan Irelander will present a workshop on the History of Jewish Music. Participants will explore a variety of Jewish music cultures and sing some Jewish music favorites.
The final program will be held Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm, and will explore Jewish Music and Social Justice. This program will be held at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road, North Chelmsford. Cantor Rosalie Toubes will lead participants in exploring the intersection of music and social justice. This presentation will include: the music of Jewish heritage - Israeli pioneer songs, songs of early Jewish Day camps and current compositions; as well as secular music by Jewish composers that address issues of social justice. There will be a chance to ask questions and share experiences as to how they relate to social action.
The cost of the program is $50 for all three sessions, or $20 per session. For payment or information, visit the website,
or call the office at 978-688-0466.
Reform Jewish Outreach Boston (RJOB)
offers classes and workshops supporting interfaith couples and individuals exploring Judaism:
Yours, Mine & Ours for Interfaith Couples
Interfaith couples who are seriously dating, engaged, or newly married strengthen their communication around faith, family, and culture, in a short-term, small group setting. Held October and March.
Introduction to Judaism
Explore a modern take on Jewish life. Engage with Jewish values, celebrations, and spirituality. Introduction to Judaism is an engaging 16-session course for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Jewish life through a Reform lens. Courses starting in Brookline, Boston, and Sharon/Westwood.
Planning a Jewish Wedding
For Interfaith and Jewish couples. Explore the symbols of the Jewish wedding ceremony, ways to honor family traditions, and how to personalize your ceremony. Workshops in Boston and Cambridge.
RJOB is a program of the Union for Reform Judaism, working in partnership with URJ congregations and with the support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Free Dinner Served
Every Tuesday from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center
All are welcome. No questions asked.
Also, if you know of someone who cannot get out,
but would benefit from a dinner being delivered to them, please contact us.
For more information contact:
Return to Quick Links
From the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates...
VNA Hospice Care needs volunteers! Hospice volunteers play a key role in helping to provide caring and compassion to patients and families facing life-limiting illness and loss. A volunteer may provide patients with company and emotional support, give the spouse, partner or other caregiver a needed break from care giving, and/or help caregivers run errands or get to and from appointments. A strong need exists for volunteers who can visit on weekdays. We also seek: musicians who would like to sing or play music quietly at the bedside of nursing home residents; Reiki practitioners who would like to offer Reiki to patients and/or caregivers; and people interested in visiting with their therapy dog. Volunteers who speak both English and a second language are also helpful. We provide volunteer training and ongoing support. Call 781-569-2888 and ask to speak to a Volunteer Coordinator for more information. Or email LPalais@vnab.org.
Spiritual Poetry Journal
"Soul-Lit" is a new on-line spiritual poetry journal. A number of entries have been from Jews and have
Jewish content. Writers are encouraged to submit their own poems which have a level of spiritual content to them. Two volumes have already been published.
To check out the website, please click here.
Please spread the word to members of the community who are writers / poets, and who may wish to submit their own writings.
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