July 2017 - 5777

Volume LXV #10

Member of the Union For Reform Judaism


Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth,  and Tikkun
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.
Congregation Shalom
large blue green divider
Rabbi From our Rabb i rabbi     

Dear Friends,

The first part of Congregation Shalom's mission statement reads, "Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth, and Tikkun Olam (healing the world)."  As one reads this, it is easy to separate out the categories - Education, Spiritual Growth, Tikkun Olam, as if they are distinct and non-intersecting endeavors.  For instance, if we were to reflect on the pursuit of Education, we might conclude that studying Jewish texts, reading in general, attending lectures and classes, watching movies, reading newspapers, discussions with others, etc. would all be actions that fulfill this mission.  If we were to think about a path towards Spiritual Growth, we might consider that prayer, ritual and meditation would fall into this category.  As for Tikkun Olam, we would probably think about tzedakah and performing acts of gimilut chasidim - acts of loving kindness.  For instance, helping at Mitzvah Day, cooking for the food shelter, donating clothes, teaching English to refugees, and more, would all be examples of Tikkun Olam.
What if, however, we were to turn this idea on its head?  What if the pursuit of Tikkun Olam, was actually THROUGH education?  What if by performing Tikkun Olam, we grew spiritually?  What if education led our spirits to grow more aware of the Holy?  What if our understanding of what the Holy One wants from us and our understanding of Jewish ethical and spiritual texts, were to lead us to perform Tikkun Olam?  WHAT IF.... What if EDUCATION, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, and TIKKUN OLAM, were actually interwoven with one another as a DNA Helix!  A DNA molecule is actually a very simple, molecule, that is twisted like a long ladder.  The shape is known as a double helix.  Take a look below to see the image; see the twisted ladder, with rungs that are four alternating chemical bases:  adenine, thymine, guanine and cystosine.

I imagine, that the DNA of Judaism actually works the same way; that Education, Spiritual Growth and Tikkun Olam, are the twisted rungs, each essential to the core of Jewish life.  They are not separate and distinct, rather interconnected paths leading to the same thing. 
Let me share an example of what I mean.  In our prayers, we open our hearts and spirits to the vision of peace in the world.  Our prayers Oseh Shalom, Shalom Rav and Sim Shalom all embody this message.  The Aleinu also communicates the vision of a world that is whole, which IS the goal of Tikkun Olam - the Healing of the World: 
We pray with all our hearts:  let violence be gone; let the day come soon  when evil shall give way to goodness, when war shall be forgotten; hunger  be no more, and all at last shall live in freedom.  O Source of life: may we,  created in your image, embrace one another in friendship and joy.  Then shall  we be one family, and then shall the Holy One be present in all the earth.
From my perspective, one of the most important ways to fulfill the spiritual goal of Shalom (peace), Sh'leimut (wholeness) and Tikkun Oalm (the healing of the world), is THROUGH education.  In the Mishnah, the first code of Jewish law, we read, "Who is wise?  The one who learns from all people."  The 12th century scholar, Moses Maimonides, offers another perspective, "Wisdom is cognizance of the self".  I love how these two perspectives balance and bring perspective to the other.  For us to pursue wisdom, we must open ourselves to learn from others; people from different cultures, faiths and personal histories - people who might think differently than we do and have different opinions.  For us to pursue wisdom, we must also open ourselves to self-examination:  Why do we believe the things that we do? What are our prejudices?  What are our fears?  Are we able to be open-minded and learn from others? 
In the book of Proverbs, we are taught to "Give our hearts to learning".  I believe, that if we can learn about others, the knowledge we gain, will inspire us to do the work of Tikkun Olam and in doing so, we will grow spiritually. 
In world that is so conflicted and fractured, as ours is today, perhaps, one of the greatest acts of Tikkun Olam, is simply to spend some time learning about those we consider "other" than ourselves and even taking the step of talking to those whose opinions and beliefs differ from our own.  The reality is, how much do we really know about people who live in different parts of our country or the world?  How much do we know about their cultures and their beliefs?  How much are we impacted by stereo-types and misinformation?  Probably, for all of us, more that we can imagine. 
Today, in passing, I saw a quiz from the Pew Research Center testing how much Americans know about religion in America.  It was a simple 15 question quiz, but what I found most enlightening, was to see how little those of different faiths knew about the most basic teaching of other faiths.  Interested in how well you would do or to see how others taking the test did?  Here is the link to try for yourself.  After you find your score, continue reading below to see how you compare to those of other faith groups in America. 

As we reflect on the intersection of learning, spirit and healing, I leave you with this teaching by Noah BenShea - "If two people discover each other's blindness, it is already growing light."
Have a wonderful summer,

With warm regards,
Rabbi Sig
medium blue green divider
From our PresidentBarryTop   

Dear friends,
It is an honor to be starting my term as Congregation Shalom's President.  I feel humbled to be entrusted with this role, and eager to rise to the challenge of leading our community.  I feel the task of nurturing and supporting our vibrant Jewish community is a sacred one, and I will do all that I can to lead with enthusiasm and mindfulness. 
Our immediate Past President, Tamar Wexler, along with many others, has helped me to understand that, although there are often many sides to an issue, there is usually one direction that encompasses our Jewish values and allows us to move forward with clarity.  She hands the reins to me with many important tasks well underway, including re-writing of our governing ByLaws, a committee actively working on long term planning, and a parking lot project that is very close to completion.  Speaking of which, I offer a big thank you to Mitch Hyatt who, along with expert advice from Linda Lischer, is transforming the entryway of our building with beautiful plantings.
As we continue celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Congregation Shalom this year, it is clear that I stand on the shoulders of all those who have labored to create our community - founding members, past presidents, our Rabbis, school staff, and all those members who have believed in the value of this Jewish community.  I plan to continue their work, while looking to the needs of the future so Congregation Shalom can continue to thrive for another fifty years.  I'm hoping everyone will come celebrate and share the pride we feel at our 50th Anniversary Gala on October 15.
Luckily, the duties and responsibilities of this office are not undertaken alone.  I will rely on the officers - Liz Denly (Vice President), Cayla Maguire (Second Vice President), Rosanne Riddick (Treasurer), Janet Dubner (Recording Secretary), and Sandy Moore (Recording Secretary).  I look forward to working with this group, as well as the entire Board of Trustees.  We have the important work of leading our temple today and into its future. 
A few people have asked me recently, "Are you ready?"  My answer is complicated.  I clearly do not know every detail about Congregation Shalom.  But I do have faith in the people all around me here.  I don't underestimate the possibilities when working with committed, high quality people, and that is one reason I'm so comfortable taking on this responsibility.  With our Rabbi, Education Director, office staff, committee chairs, and many volunteers from the congregation, I know there will always be someone to help tackle the issues that need to be addressed.  In addition, I feel in my heart the fundamental importance of this place.  So that is more than enough to make me confidently reply, "Yes, I'm ready!"
Joanna Myers
From our Education Director     

Last night I had the true pleasure of spending the evening with the Post Confirmation students for their final class of the year. We sat in a large circle in Rabbi Perry's home and we chatted about memories and experiences from their years at Congregation Shalom. They reminisced about their teachers, their classes and even their most meaningful tzedakah project.

You might argue that it was the delicious dinner that enticed them to come on a very hot night in June. However that simple assessment would miss the depth of importance that the dinner and discussion represents. I witnessed a group of young adults who had formed a community and were proud to be a part of Congregation Shalom, a group of young adults who chose to come to a class to retain connection and to grow a community for themselves. Yes, not every student we have in our school stays to Post Confirmation, but this incredible group of students come to learn and to support one another, holding on to their common pasts while being rooted deeply in their pride as Jews and bonded by their love of Judaism.

As I looked around the room, I felt humbled by the knowledge that we have contributed to giving these young adults the roots they need to grow and develop as young Jewish leaders. Our juniors were as much a part of the discussion as the seniors and you would not have known that this tight knit group of students was in different grades. Many of our juniors and seniors have served on national boards, have competed on national stages and have travelled the world making a difference. While we cannot take credit for all their accomplishments, we can take comfort in knowing that they have a firm Jewish foundation and they can go out and make the world a better place.
To all our seniors as you take your next steps into adulthood, please know that we are proud of each and every one of you. We have been honored to be a part of your spiritual journey and we look forward to watching you as you go out into the world. Remember, Congregation Shalom is and always will always be a spiritual home for you. We will miss you.

Good Luck!
    Yael Signature  
From our Cantorial Soloist

No news this month from Jodi. 

B'Kavod v'Shalom (With Respect and Peace),

Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist                                         

large blue green divider

50th Anniversary Gala: October 15, 2017

We are actively planning for this exciting evening.  If you know of any past members who might be interested, please share their names and contact information so that we may include them in our upcoming 
50th Anniversary celebration notices.  Please 
 with the information.

large blue green divider
Social Action Committee socialaction
Mitzvah Day 2017
Thanks to all who participated in Mitzvah Day on Sunday, June 4! More than 50 congregants spent the day working to repair the world onsite at temple and at five offsite venues.  
Thank you to members of all ages - children through adult - who donated diapers, recycled electronics, crafted pipe cleaner flowers, placemats, and other gifts, knit hats, created fleece blankets and dog toys, created bouquets using recycled flowers, made cookies for the Lowell Transitional Living Center, sorted donated household goods for the Wish Project, performed amazing talents and sang at Bridges in Westford and the Atrium in Chelmsford, served lunch at the Lowell shelter and Chelmsford senior housing, and cleaned and repaired the Paul Center. 
Your efforts improved the lives of so many people in our community: young mothers and children in need of diapers, the homeless at the shelter, children with developmental disabilities who use the Paul Center, and seniors who received the gifts of talent, music, and flowers to brighten their day. Thank you all for continuing a beloved Congregation Shalom tradition, and for embodying our community's commitment to tikkun olam!
Blood Drive, June 2017
Congregation Shalom held another successful blood drive on Monday June 12. Thanks to those who donated blood and to those who volunteered to help staff the event. With your help we collected over 20 units of blood!
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. You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, July 19 through Thursday, July 20 (until 5pm.)  August dates will be August 16-17 - mark your calendar now!
Volunteer 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. PLEASE NOTE: Beginning on July 11, 2017 and running through the summer, Table of Plenty will temporarily relocate to St. Mary's church on North Road, due to renovations 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 July 18, 2017. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Sue McDonald at

medium blue green divider
Featured This Issue
President's column from our new President
small blue green divider2
Save the Date

October 15th - 50th Anniversary Gala

small blue green divider2
Summer Service Schedule

July 14th
July 28th
August 11th
August 25th

All services will start at 6:00 p.m.
small blue green divider2

  small blue green divider2
QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

small blue green divider2 

Good and Welfare

Condolences to Hale Powell and  family on the loss of his step mother Pauline Powell

Condolences to Jay Newlon and family on the loss of his mother Gibi Cox.

small blue green divider2
Welcome New Members

We welcome  Michelle & Scott Supple and their children Addison and Hadley, to our Congregation Shalom Family.

small blue green divider2
July Yahrzeits Yahrzeits

July 7th
Ella Antokal
Hilda Edelstein
Bernard Hoysha
Mary Rauch
Sam Salmirs

July 14th
Elaine Capland
Abraham Danzig
Alfred DesLauriers
Josephine Dreher
Sam Fagelman
Hy Frankel
Marianne Fried
Adele Friedlander
Dorothy Griffith
Joan Liebman
Arthur Nahabedian
Michael Picard
Lawrence Wikander

July 21st
Sidney Berenson
Melvin Boroshok
Abraham David
Joseph David
Joseph Davis
Ann Elkins
Nathan Harry Katz

July 28th
Barry Berkovitz
Milton Capland
Evelyn Derby
Faye Goldstein
Rose Kallus
Rita Miller
Moses Solomon Strock

small blue green divider2
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!"


Youth ScholarshipsYthScholar

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. 

small blue green divider2

Changed Your Address?

Notify us at:  and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.

small blue green divider2


Deadline for the

August Newsletter is 

Thursday, July 20th


Please send articles to  


small yellow blue divider2

large blue green divider

                                                    Fundraising in July
A respite - Fundraising for the fiscal year ended on June 30th.  You can still do you share by collecting you newspapers and magazines and depositing them in the yellow and green containers. Books no longer wanted, go in the grey container as well as clothing beyond help, belts, handbags, book bags, just about anything that can be recycled.  No VHS tapes, homemade DVD or CD's!  If you are not sure, check the NO-NO list on the grey container - if it is not listed, don't put it in!
If you are not on the Temple's Amazon site, do get on it.  It doesn't cost you a thing but whatever you buy, up to 15% will come back to Congregation Shalom.  Just go to our website, look for the Amazon sign - click and bookmark it.  Each time you go to Amazon, the Temple will receive money.  Do remember to get rid of your old Amazon bookmark first.  Last year, the Temple profited by over $1000 just because members shopped!  This is not Amazon Smile.  This is a program we grandfathered into and is far superior to Amazon Smile. 
We also collect empty inkjets and if you have the right kind of inkjet, it can be worth up to $2.00 each so don't throw them out - put them in the black and green recycle container in the foyer.
More 50th Gala News
The Fiftieth committee is looking for some very special items for a Silent Auction to be held during the anniversary Gala. Some of the items from the 40th Anniversary were:  three lots of Israeli Silver Proof Coins, several paintings by Israeli artists, a round of golf and dinner at a local private club, and a $100 gift certificate from a local vintner.  Do you have an 'in' at a hotel that would give us a package?  We don't want a lot of items, just a few.
We will be selling very distinct pewter spoons, made by congregants, by pouring molten pewter into specially prepared molds. They were sold at the Congregation Shalom Fourth of July booth at the Town's celebrations.  These are truly pieces of Shalom's history.  They are beautifully crafted in the fashion of the 1700's. Own a piece of history and Art.

if you want to see one up close and in person.

large blue green divider

Sisterhood Snippetssisterhood
large blue green divider
Brotherhood NewsBrotherhood

Book Group

The Congregation Shalom book group will be on vacation this summer. During the summer we will be reading the classic " Exodus  " by Leon Uris

Some other books mentioned for summer reads were:

Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
1984 by George Orwell
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Happy reading!  Have a great summer.
iGiveiGive 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.  Click here  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 Laura at



large yellow blue divider
Extended Community
large yellow blue divider

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 

large blue green divider

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


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.



large yellow blue divider

Please support our Congregation Shalom advertisers

large yellow blue divider


  new QPL ad Nov 2012
new Morse Bayliss ad
Dan Dubner new business card double
BethEl Cemetery
Sky Meadow
Westford Regency ad