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
For over ten years I have participated in a monthly Spiritual Direction group with colleagues. We have been witnesses to each other's spiritual questions and struggles. We have respectfully listened to each other and because of this collaborative journey, we have been blessed with periodic moments of personal insight. More often than not, we have been strengthened by one another's companionship and friendship. In rare moments, perhaps we have even felt a presence of something that some would call grace, some would call holiness and some might even call God.
The experience of participating in this group has taught me many things about my personal spiritual journey, one element of which I would like to share with you. For me, one of the greatest gifts that Judaism has given to me is the presence, responsibility and opportunity of hope. Many Jews call themselves the "People of the Book". For me, although, clearly there is truth in that sentiment, I resonate more the sense that as Jews we are people of hope.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, "
Judaism is a religion of details, but we miss the point if we do not sometimes step back and see the larger picture. To be a Jew is to be an agent of hope in a world serially threatened by despair. Every ritual, every mitzvah, every syllable of the Jewish story, every element of Jewish law, is a protest against escapism, resignation or the blind acceptance of fate. Judaism is a sustained struggle, the greatest ever known, against the world that is, in the name of the world that could be, should be, but is not yet. There is no more challenging vocation. Throughout history, when human beings have sought hope they have found it in the Jewish story."
Today was a day that my Spiritual Direction group met, and on a cold, dark, rainy, rainy day, we talked about hope. Together we reflected on a Chinese teaching that the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff recently quoted.
"Hope is like a path in the countryside: At first there is nothing and then because people walk this way again and again, a path appears." I am not sure what this teaching will spark within you, but for me, I found myself thinking about the phrase in Debbie Friedman's Mi Sheberach, "help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing...." For me, each and every day that I witness people who are able to find the courage to live lives of blessing, I am inspired by hope. I have come to know that this hope for me, must find an expression through action. As Rabbi Sacks wrote, Judaism calls us to act, to struggle and when needed to protest, to work for a world that could be....I share this with you, with the HOPE, that you too might consider joining me on that path.
From our President
What would you say is at the heart of a synagogue?
These are all great answers. But here's one more - the kitchen!
We all know that food is central to our practice of Judaism. It is true in our homes, with latkes at Chanukah and matzoh ball soup at our Seders. And it is certainly true within the walls of our temple building. There are many examples...nearly every Friday evening we offer an Oneg where we share food and socialize with others who have come to Shabbat services. We hold a Second Seder each year for the community, Brotherhood makes latkes for the school children, and Sisterhood traditionally holds a dinner to kick off each new year. In fact, I'd say that most events and meetings I attend involve snacks. We rely on having a functioning kitchen for all of this.
We are working to improve our kitchen. We have been struggling without a working stove recently, and I am happy to report the exciting news this month that we have a brand new stove. It is the culmination of many people's efforts over many months. And it would not be possible to have bought the stove, or to contemplate other necessary upgrades to our kitchen, without the monetary gifts that we have received. There are three groups that have been very generous in their donations for the stove:
Congregation Shalom's Sisterhood,
the families of the 2017 B'Nai Mitzvah class, and
the families of the 2016 Confirmation class.
Thank you very much to these groups, each of which has made a generous donation. We appreciate the importance of having a working kitchen so we can gather to share food, to socialize, pray, and learn together.
Congregant of the Year Nominations
The Board of Trustees is now accepting and reviewing recommendations for Congregant of the Year recognition. Please privately contact a member of the Board, or email Joanna Myers at
with your recommendation and reasons for endorsing your nominee.
From our Education Director
The power of hands-on experiential learning should never be underestimated and this year's Interim Chai School is no exception. Interim Chai School began a few years ago when our students expressed sadness that Chai School was over and they wanted to have more time together. Interim Chai School was created as a fun interactive cooking elective that explores different Jewish themes. This year we were faced with an unexpected hurdle - how do we run a cooking elective with no stove? We explored slow cookers, pressure cookers and mini ovens but nothing felt quite right. Then we stumbled on the JFCS website (Jewish Family and Children's Services) and they have an entire collection of recipes that are designed to help people living in poverty as they find ways to cook nutritious and tasty meals without having access to a stove. From this concept, Amy Degen, our talented Chai School educator, created a curriculum teaching about poverty and homelessness and we used the recipes to help our students focus on what cooking would be like if you don't have access to a stove.
Amy set out to do the shopping and on the first night they made tuna salad and quesadillas. At first glance, tuna salad seems like a simple recipe, tuna and mayonnaise and you have a delicious meal. However, Amy did not buy mayonnaise, instead she bought beans. You see mayonnaise needs to be refrigerated and we were teaching about the experience of not having a stove or a refrigerator so mayonnaise was not an option. I wish I could tell you the tuna salad was delicious, but in fact by all accounts the tuna salad was inedible and no one wanted to eat it. Sadly, the quesadillas were not much better. Now the class faced an additional challenge, if they don't eat it, they would throw it away. What does that mean for someone to throw food away that does not taste good? How often do we simply say, I don't like the taste of this and I will throw it away? What if this is the only food you will eat today - will you still throw it away? Each of these examples reminds us of the power of hands-on learning, the real opportunity to grapple with dilemmas. The Interim Chai students are living and exploring the complexities of learning something while knowing you can go home and eat a healthy and hot meal. This is a powerful juxtaposition to the realities of homelessness and it gives us all something to wrestle with and affords the opportunity to be grateful for what we have. My hope for our Chai students is that the tuna salad was a reminder of the blessings in our lives and the struggles that others may encounter .The Talmud teaches us "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." All of this learning and experience came about because of a broken stove.
I was about to submit this article when I heard we have a new stove. I texted Amy to share the good news that we can now cook hot meals. Wisely, Amy declined and said "she would like to get across how difficult it is to live on food that is not cooked on the stove and in an oven". This is the mark of an incredible educator. Amy is offering our students a glimpse into a reality where new stoves and ovens are not always available and living in poverty does not always allow for a quick fix.
From our Cantorial Soloist
No news from Jodi this month
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
I know many of you have enjoyed our movie nights and we are working to bring a movie or two in the next couple of months... stay tuned to this space as we had to cancel our originally planned dates but we're working to get at least one movie for us to enjoy this year!
Your input is welcome!
Wisdom - Tuesday Feb 13 at 10:30AM
Café Wisdom is a monthly study group that meets the 2nd Tuesday every month. This year's discussion centers on the book Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit. We always welcome new people and if you are interested in learning more or being added to the Café Wisdom mailing list, please contact Rabbi Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Torah Study -
Saturdays Feb 10 & Apr 7 at 9AM
The Torah is central to Judaism. As it says in 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."
Everyone is welcome. Come study Torah with us!
Thanks to all those who have made squares. We greatly appreciate it!
We are still in need of 12 knitted or crocheted squares to make afghans. Squares need to be 10 x 10 (please measure). Use 100% acrylic yarn. 4ply- worsted weight only,. Yarn can be any shade of blue or pure white (not cream or off-white).
If you would like to learn how to knit or crochet, please email
and we will arrange lessons for you.
Save the Date
Torah Study - February 10th
Cafe Wisdom - February 13th
February Oneg Schedule
Feb 2 - 7 pm 5th Grade Family Shabbat - Music with Jodi & Adam - Kiloski*, Berman, Burke, Chandler W&E, Cole & Evans
Feb 9 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Music by Shpiel - Mackillop & Rabinowitz*, Boyer, Cohn, Goss & Beck-Goss, Mayer
Feb 10 - 4:30 pm Tot Shabbat - Havdallah?? Grier, Schertzer & Strizhak
Feb 10 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat - Havdallah - Kamien*, Kurland, Michaud & Capland, Raichek, Valleley
Feb 16 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Green*, Brother, Hurd, Kerzner, Mizen
Feb 23 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Bass*, Hunt, Indorf, Miller C&S
Good and Welfare
Condolences to Jonathan Waxman and family on the passing of his mother Selma Waxman.
Kevin J. McHugh
George Kyte Mackillop
Judy Heines Miller
Frances Strock Circle
Cindie Davis Holub
Julia (Sabel) Salmirs
Social Action Committee
Social Justice and Social Action at Congregation Shalom
We are excited to announce that the Social Action Committee is expanding to include Social Justice initiatives. Our committee will be collaborating with Reform congregations and other faith groups across the country. By combining social action and justice, we acknowledge that inequities in society require direct help to people in need as well as advocacy toward long term solutions. Over the course of this year we'll be focusing on issues of criminal justice and immigration. Right now there are criminal justice bills pending in the Massachusetts State House, and they are of immediate concern. Please watch for updates from us.
If you want to be part of a large, energized, national Jewish and multi-faith organization right here at Congregation Shalom, send us an email for more information at email@example.com.
Congregation Shalom hosted a blood drive at the temple on December 11, 2017 that collected 47 units of needed blood. As always, thanks to Laura Rodman for managing this event, and thanks to all who donated blood or volunteered their time.
Christmas Day Serving
Thanks also to our members who continued Congregation Shalom's tradition of serving others in the community on Christmas Day. Volunteers from Congregation Shalom donated all the food, prepared, and served Christmas dinner to seniors at Chelmsford Senior Housing. Our members also provided needed help in serving dinners to a completely full dining room at the Lowell Transitional Living Center on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Thank you all for bringing joy and comfort to others in our community through these mitzvot.
Social Justice Education - screening of the film "13th" on January 29
Congregation Shalom, together with Reform synagogues across the United States and Canada, has made a commitment to learn about and advocate for a humane criminal justice system. On Monday, January 29th, we organized a showing of the film "13th" for our members and others from the community. The film powerfully highlights the current racial injustices in the United States prison system. Stay tuned for future Social Justice events coming in 2018.
Need for volunteers at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
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! The food will be collected and brought to the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell, where our donations are greatly appreciated each month.
NOTE: this month we are collecting food on the fourth Friday rather than the third Thursday. We will be collecting food on Friday, February 24 - Saturday February 25 (until 5pm.) In March, we will be back on track with food collection on Thursday March 15 and Thursday March 16. Thank you!
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.
Fundraising Adventures This Month
And so we finished the Online Auction with the Grand Finale on January 21st. This has been an amazing year with more and more people bidding and winning items. An impressive number of non-members have joined the bidders this year. Some items are still waiting to be picked up so please 'give me back my bedroom.'
Our three Passive Fundraising Projects (these are ongoing):
- The Yellow and Green Paper Recycling - please remember that the container says right on it NO CARDBOARD yet we still find boxes thrown in the container.
- The Gray Recycle Container - just about anything that can be recycled goes in here. There are a few things (pillows, CD's, and others) that are not accepted. The list is on the container. Stains won't come out of something, throw it in - book bags with broken zippers, throw it in, books that are falling apart from use, throw them in, broken toys beyond repair, throw them in. The list just goes on and on.
- Amazon - no, not Amazon Smile. We are grandfathered into an Amazon Affiliate program that donates back to us anywhere from 2% to 15% of what you spend. If you haven't signed up yet, just go to the Congregation Shalom website, look for the Amazon logo, click on it - when the Amazon site comes up, bookmark it and from then on, anything you buy will have a percentage coming to us.
The Fundraising Committee
One of our most anticipated events is the Sisterhood Retreat on Saturday, March 3! This year, we will meet at The Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsboro. The committee members have been busy planning all the details from food to activities to go with the intriguing theme: Purim, Women Learning, Laughing Letting Loose and......Payment and registration are due by February 5. Here is the link for more details and registration form:
We only have one scheduled event in February, and you don't want to miss it! Warm up for the Super Bowl by spending a fun afternoon together at our first "Souper Bowl Party." There won't be football, but there will be a delicious lunch. Attendees should bring soup or salad to share, along with the recipe so we can put together a recipe book. You should have received an evite with details.
Our group is currently 70 members strong, and full of energetic and gifted women. We invite everyone to consider getting involved to keep our organization vibrant. Board positions open for 2018-2019 are: President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Programming Chair, and Trustee. We are a fun and friendly group, and we only meet about 6 times a year. Please contact the Sisterhood if you have interest in one of the roles or have any questions.
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, March 6 at 7p.m. All are welcome to attend to share input and ideas.
Please watch for evites with information for all upcoming events.
As cold as January was this year, it failed to slow the momentum of the Congregation Shalom Brotherhood. On January 14 the Brotherhood/Sisterhood dinner was held at Burton's in Westford. Many thanks to all that organized this enjoyable evening.
Paul Hantman continues to draw to the temple the "poker faced" brotherhood, the 1st Sunday of each month, for poker, pizza and brew. Plan to be there Sunday March 4 @6:30.
The Brotherhood retreat this year starts on May19, get your reservation ( and $185 check) into Bob Blumstein (contact email@example.com ). Don't be without a bed at this annual Cape Cod pilgrimage featuring fun, superior home dining, and an unparalleled opportunity to bond with brotherhood members.
On Sunday morning, February 11, the Brotherhood is sponsoring a breakfast at the Radisson in Chelmsford (9:00-10:30) featuring author Daniel Kimmel, an expert on Jews that made Hollywood great. This is an opportunity to get inside information not generally known to the public. Brotherhood members are admitted Free of Charge. Others are welcome for a fee of $12 which is a discount from actual cost, courtesy of the Brotherhood. We need a head count because space is limited, so contact Bob Blumstein at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Do it today. Don't be one of those, wish I had been there folks!
The Shalomites kicked off 2018 with our annual ski trip in North Conway, NH! People skied, tubed, and hung out at the house during the -10 degree weekend.
This past Sunday, we had the Shalomites Olympics, which was opened up to seventh graders. It was so nice to see the future Shalomites at the event!
We are beginning to plan for the Purim Carnival that will take place at the beginning of March.
The Congregation Shalom book group is meeting during these winter months and welcomes all who are interested to attend their meetings.We meet on scheduled Monday evenings at 7:30PM at the home of the hostess.
The following is a list of dates and books that we will be discussing:
Monday, January 22, 2018 at the home of Jean Rubinstein
Book selection :
Karolina'sTwins by Ronald Balson
Monday, February 26, 2018 at the home of Margie Berenson
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Now is a Great Time to Join the Grocery Card Program
Are you looking to stock your fridge and stick to your New Year's resolution for eating healthier? Doing more home cooking and less eating out at restaurants? Planning on making some big batches of soup during this cold winter weather? Get on board this month to receive grocery store cards and you'll see how easy it is to fundraise for theTemple 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.
|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
Imagine If Women Told The Stories...
Thursday, February 8, 7:00 PM
Fabulous female folk and other tales featuring Cindy Rivka Marshall. Cindy's award-winning renditions of tales and original stories convey a sense of wonder and humor.
Event is at the Stevens Estate, 723 Osgood Street, North Andover, MA.
Winter Family Fun Event
Sunday, March 11, 2:00 PM
Kevin Driscoll, Ventriloquist and his Troop of Mischievous Friends
followed by: Make Your Own Sundae Party
Boston's Musical Ventriloquist Kevin Driscoll will bring Jerry and Jessica, the wise-cracking 40" puppets,
Doug the Talking Dog, Willie the Singing Whiteboard, and all the Driscoll puppets to entertain
everyone ages 3 to 103.
Event is at Osgood Landing, 1580 Osgood Street, North Andover, MA
and more information.
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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