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
Honi Ha-m'agel, (Honi the Circle Maker) was a 1st century BCE Jewish scholar. You may be familiar with this Talmudic story about Honi: One day, Honi the Circle Maker was walking on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, "how long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?" The man replied, "seventy years." Honi then asked the man, "and do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree?" The man answered, "perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees." Honi's wisdom teaches us the importance of planting and building for the future.
In 2017 our congregation is entering its 50th year and such a major anniversary deserves celebration. It is also a time to reflect and think about the future and how societal changes will impact our congregation. Jewish life is changing dramatically and the institution of the "synagogue" is facing many challenges. Recently our board of trustees read and discussed the 2015 Greater Boston Jewish Community study. This study, which was commissioned by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and undertaken by researchers at Brandeis University, demonstrated and described the significant changes that Jewish life and communities are facing. If you are interested in reading the study yourself, you can find it
by clicking here
.This research has offered to our congregation's lay leaders and professionals, both a challenge and an opportunity. How, as the landscape of Jewish life is changing, can we sow the seeds that will help Congregation Shalom thrive as a vibrant place of Jewish learning, spirituality and community for the next 50 years?
Atid is a Hebrew word that means "the future" and it is often associated with leadership development and planning for Jewish institutions like synagogues and federations. Our lay leaders realize that one of the most important ways that we can build for the future is to cultivate and inspire a new generation of lay leaders. Jill Friedman Fixler, who is a consultant that specializes in volunteerism and Sandie Eichberg, who is a Jewish communal professional, wrote an article entitled
Creating a Culture of Synagogue Volunteer Engagement
"Volunteering is nothing new in Jewish life. The first volunteers were the Israelites who built the Mishkan, desert sanctuary. God said to Moses,"make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them," and Moses said to the Israelites, "let all among you who are skilled come and make all that Adonai has commanded," and everyone who excelled in ability and everyone whose spirit moved him came until their efforts had been more than enough for all the tasks to be done (Exodus 25:8; 35:10:22; 36:7).
required a sense of purpose and thoughtful assessment and planning. The new culture of volunteer engagement invites each and every congregant to shape and nurture the synagogue and the future of the community. This is accomplished by crafting a vibrant congregation in which all members are inspired by their passion to bring their skill to fulfill the mission of the synagogue. When this happens, wonderful synergy will occur. Torah, study;
, worship; and
, acts of kindness will thrive."
I share this passage with you because a new cohort of our members stepped up to participate in an 8-month leadership development program called Atid. We will be celebrating them at our February 10th Sunset Shabbat service. I hope you will join us for this graduation ritual and perhaps you too may be willing to become a partner in the building of our next 50 years of community.
Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry
From our President
Have you ever indulged in thinking about 'what ifs'? What would I do if I suddenly had buckets of money - millions? Would I sleep late for a month? Would I quit my job? Would I spend with abandon? Donate money to my favorite charities?
Sometimes, as tough things happen to me, my mind wanders from the positive, rosy what-ifs to the more scary ones. What if, this world that Pastor Martin Niemöller describes, came to be in America?
They came first for the Communists
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
What if our beloved country decided to act against Muslims? What if our country did decide to ban Muslims? Or, taking a smaller step and created a Muslim registry? Would I register, too? Like the Danish king who put a Jewish star on and said if one of my subjects has to wear this, then I will, too, would I step up? Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that if a registry existed, he would register, too. Just hearing Mr. Greenblatt say those words sent a shudder through me.
From our Education Director
If you come to my office you will see a bulletin board right outside that says "Tzedakah" and along the top is a banner that reads, "Inspiring a Love of Jewish Life". This year we have a beautiful and majestic tree that is slowly "growing" lemons as the year progresses. As many of you know, our tzedakah project is raising money to plant lemon trees in an area called Halutza, located in the Northwest Negev on Israel's borders with Egypt and Gaza. In honor of Congregation Shalom's
birthday, our goal is to raise money to purchase 50 lemon trees and we are thus far almost 1/3 of the way there. This is particularly timely for us as each year we celebrate Tu B'Shvat, a New Year for the trees and this year our tzedakah project reminds us of the importance of trees. On February 15, our Hebrew School will once again gather together to celebrate Tu B'Shvat and we will once again reflect on the beauty and importance of trees.
The lemon trees that we are fundraising for will support the Jewish National Fund (JNF) as they try to support Halutza. This area was founded in 2005 by a group of families evacuated from the Gush Katif communities of Atzmona and Netzarim during Israel's disengagement from Gaza. These pioneers chose to move to this remote corner of the desert, which had never been inhabited or farmed, with the hope of developing the Negev Desert. If you Google Halutza, a picture of a completely barren desert comes up on Wikipedia. Amazingly, within months, there were greenhouses and the desert fields were filling up with crops. What was once an area filled with sand dunes; it has expanded to a robust agricultural area and attracts new residents from throughout Israel. Like Halutza, Congregation Shalom started with a few pioneers with a vision, and has grown into a warm and welcoming Jewish community that attracts people from over 20 different cities and towns.
I encourage everyone to help us grow lemons by donating money to our Tzedakah project and I ask that all our students bring in a little extra tzedakah for the month of February and especially for our Tu B'Shvat Seder so that we can both celebrate the New Year of the trees and hopefully a new lemon grove in Israel's Negev desert.
From our Cantorial Soloist
On Friday Feb 10th our congregation will celebrate Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath of Song. It is during this Shabbat that we chant Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, found in the parasha (portion) B'shalach in Exodus. As Moses and the Israelites miraculously pass to freedom they share their joy and awe in song. The words of Shirat Hayam express their gratitude to God and their awareness of their divine liberation on the shore of the Sea of Reeds.
The chanting/singing of Shirat Hayam is quite distinctive. Perhaps to add eloquence and a sense of triumph, the phrases that contain God's name are sung with a special melody. Those verses in Shirat Hayam without God's name are chanted using the traditional cantilation that we hear on a typical Shabbat. Shifting between the traditional cantilation and the special melody creates a uniquely characteristic sound. One of the verses sung to this festive tune is the Mi Chamocha, our prayer of freedom, that is part of our weekday, Shabbat and festival liturgy. Each time we chant the Mi Chamocha, we thank God for our miraculous deliverance from Egypt.
Adam Dehner and I have adapted Tindley and Seeger's versions of "We Shall Overcome" and set the text of Mi Chamocha to this melody. These are words of liberty and reclamation!
Please click the link below to hear (and see) this piece of redemption.
Shabbat Shira this year will be particularly special as our Kol Kolot and Kol Kolot Gadol choirs will be sharing their beautiful voices with us once again. Come to be lifted in song and spirit as we share pieces of redemption and strength.
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Social Action Committee
Hanukkah Party Mitzvah Project
Thank you to the kids and parents at the school Hanukkah party who helped tie over 50 beautiful fleece scarves to donate to newly arrived refugees, via the International Institute in Lowell. They were gratefully received, and were delivered to refugee families as part of holiday gift bags.
Winter clothing drive to benefit refugees
Based on the ongoing need for winter clothing by refugees in Lowell, Social Action will be collecting boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and gently used winter coats through February. Adult sizes are especially welcome. Your generosity makes a real difference to people in need of warm clothes this winter!
Need for more 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, at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center. We have had some turnover and now need more volunteers to help serve! Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on March 21st from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Linda Newhard at
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 the doors of Congregation Shalom. Simply place your donation in the cooler and know that you have done a good deed! The food will be collected and brought to the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell, where our donations are greatly appreciated each month. You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, February 15 through Thursday, February 16 (until 5 p.m.) March dates will be March 15-16 - mark your calendar now!
Save the Date
February 14th - Cafe Wisdom
February 18th - Torah Study
February 20th - Movie Monday -
Jews and Baseball
February Oneg Schedule
Feb 3 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Grade 5 Jodi w/Adam Music Kaplan*, Dangel & Gordon, Kiloski, Klamka, Schwartz, Silton
Feb 10 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat - Atid graduation
Adult Sunset Jodi w/Adam Music Rodman P&L*, Holladay & Navy, Hurd, Sedgwick, Sevici
Feb 17 - 7:15 pm Shabbat Shirah Shabbat - Shpiel Desrochers*, Brother, Cohen & Evans, Goss & Beck-Goss, Sullivan
Feb 24 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Green*, Arthur, Galvin & Blume, Toomey
Karen and Rick
Is your costume ready! The Purim megillah reading and BYOB party is coming at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday March 11. Keep an eye out for the Evite! Email
for more information.
Good and Welfare
Mazel tov to Sharon and Jim Grier on the birth of their grandson, Riley Andrew Pettitt.
Mazel tov to the Miranda family on the birth of Charles Edward Miranda, son of Liz and Tim and brother to Sophia and Penelope.
Samuel Robert Berman
Kevin J. McHugh
George Kyte Mackillop
Judy Heines Miller
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As a community who is committed to life-long Jewish learning, celebration and culture, we wanted to share with you information about The Jewish Arts Collaboratives Spring 2017 series of concerts, lectures, performances and more. These are wonderful opportunities and we hope you will take part in some of the events.
Religious School Fundraiser
It's Been Fun
More and more members are partaking in the Online Auction and reaping the benefits of being the winner of exciting prizes. Each year people in our community have joined us in bidding - some have won and others will be ready to jump into the bidding wars next year. A huge thank you to all who bid, whether you were successful or will find that success next year. A special thanks to all the committee members who went from restaurant to store to restaurant to get all those wonderful gift certificates. We couldn't have this auction if it wasn't for Ava Schutzman who puts everything together, and of course the writer of the Auction program, Howard Schutzman.
The Final Sale of the Online Auction will be over by the time you read this and I sure hope you visited us at the Final Sale on the 22nd in the Temple lobby during schools hours. At the same time we held the "FILL A BAG" initiative. Along with the Epilepsy Foundation of America, we are collecting clothing, shoes, handbags, belts etc. The things collected were sent to Savers stores throughout the country and we received money in exchange for holding this special day. To all who brought their bags, thank you.
Look for the 50/50 Raffle in the Spring. A former Shalomite got a check for over $800.00 Lucky him!
If you have any questions, please contact us.
If you were unable to attend the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Night Out or our movie and dinner in January, please try to join in for an event in February or March. Are you looking for some relaxation and time with friends? Join us for a 'Spa Day' on Sunday, February 26 and treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. Watch for an evite with more details soon. Or mark your calendar for some creative beading on March 21.
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.
We will not be having a board meeting in February. Our next board meeting will be on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend to share input and ideas.
On January 2, the Brotherhood and Sisterhood had "a night out" at Burton's Grille in Westford. Great to see so many temple people together, enjoying each other's company and the good food.
On the morning of Sunday, February 5, guest speaker David Riese will be talking to the Brotherhood about Diet and Health. Come enjoy a bagel (or maybe 1/2 bagel) and coffee. There is always something on this subject that we all can learn. Look for more information in your e-mail to follow.
In March we are planning a Formula 1 racing event in Wilmington. Looks like a lot fun, these modified go-carts really wail.
Submitted by David Brother
|Grocery Store Cards
GIVE YOUR VALENTINE ..... A GROCERY CARD!
Then he or she can buy their own chocolate!
grocery card for Whole Foods, Donelan's, Hannaford, or Stop & Shop and no matter what the amount, the temple receives cashback! Free!
..... mmmmm... chocolate ;)
The Congregation Shalom book group welcomes all who would like to spend an interesting evening of book review, discussion and socializing.
Jot the following dates into your calendars and note the book selections for those dates:
January 9 th -
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Hostess -Becky Bronson
February 27th -
Home Lands by Larry Tye
Hostess- Ethel Kamien
April 3rd -
The Devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen
Hostess- Phyllis Kallus
May 22nd -
Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
Hostess- Esther Wikander
|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
SAVE THE DATES
March 25, 2017
with Special Bourbon Tasting!
Start recruiting your teams now for a spirited evening of questions and answers!
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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