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
As Jews, what is the relevancy of our spiritual and ethical tradition? How often do we turn to Torah and other Jewish texts for guidance as we wrestle with the challenges of our lives? One of the more difficult issues that many of us are grappling with today has to do with civil discourse and communication. How can we have open lines of communication with those who have very different opinions than our own? Can we engage in dialogue that actually shifts our own thinking or the views of another? Can we offer critique in a manner that is respectful? Do we need to go a step further and offer rebuke in the face of behavior and views that we believe are destructive and dangerous and if so, can we do this while staying connected to those we rebuke? These questions seem particularly relevant for the world we live in today and Judaism speaks to these very questions. These questions are not new to our generation; they emerged in the earliest days of our ancestors and I would venture to say, have been around as long as humanity has lived in community. In the text of the Torah these very questions were addressed and they were expanded upon throughout Jewish texts and throughout every generation.
Speaking personally, I find myself questioning the boundaries of communication on a daily basis and wonder what my responsibilities are as a Jew in the face of actions and behavior that trouble me. I recently had a very intense conversation with a salesperson at the Verizon store who at every level had diametrically different opinions than I did. He was intensely anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and against any kind of openness towards transgender individuals. Additionally, he was a strong proponent of the ability to carry concealed weapons in any location and was opposed to ANY type of gun control.
Can you imagine the conversation as I was trying to learn about my new Google Pixel 2? Imagine the debate; should I switch from being a long-term Apple phone user to the unexplored life of being an android phone owner?!!!! As he was transferring my data from the Apple to the Google, I found myself trying to have a civil discourse with him. Instead of just writing him off, I thought, here is my opportunity to perhaps help him through the questions of limits.... step by step. Could he see that a person who had been arrested for domestic violence, perhaps shouldn't be allowed to buy a gun? Hmmmmm.... He could maybe see that. Could he see that a person who has a serious mental health issue, shouldn't be allowed to buy an assault weapon? Hmmmmm.....I could see him wrestle with the slippery slope of these questions. He wanted to agree with me, but if he did, it would undermine the fierceness of his libertarian position. What an evening that was!
If you have found yourself wrestling with similar questions and would like to explore what Judaism has to teach us on the subject, I invite you to participate in an adult education evening at Congregation Shalom. We are going to be participating in a distant learning experience as a part of the HUC-JIR's College Commons Bully Pulpit Podcast - Torah with a Point of View. Our first session will be on Tuesday, March 27 at 7:00 pm. We will listen to and discuss a podcast called "Critique and Rebuke" with Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, the President Scholar of Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion and National Director of Recruitment and Admissions at the college. Dr. Sabath Beit-Halachmi will explore some of the personal and ethical issues surrounding conversations and friendships and relationships with people who have radically different viewpoints than us. The podcast is based on a blog she wrote for The Times of Israel in which she asked "Can I stay friends with a racist?" The podcast expands on this discussion. I hope you might consider participating in this exciting new kind of educational program in our community. I will be sending out additional information in March with the link to the podcast, the transcript of the conversation and more. Even if you are not able to join us for the evening conversation in March, you will be able to hear and learn from Dr. Sabath Beit-Halachmi.
In the meanwhile, I wish you all a Happy Purim.
From our President
Our Board members have been busy lately, focused primarily on how to think strategically about the future and our fiscal responsibilities, along with a self-assessment of our leadership culture and values. Sounds pretty dry, doesn't it? At times like this, I like to take a look at our temple calendar (available to everyone on our website at
The calendar is so full that you have to be careful to click on all the places it says things like "+5 more" to be sure to see everything. I see 72 entries just for the month of March! (Now I see why it can be hard to get a room for a meeting.) The calendar is color-coded, which helps you zero in easily on what you're most interested in. In addition to Worship, B'Nai Mitzvah rehearsals, and School, I spot six blocks in gold (Shalomites), four teal (Adult Ed), and four each in pink and blue(Sisterhood and Brotherhood, respectively).
Let me list out a sampling of the upcoming events. The school's Purim Carnival is coming very shortly, thanks to the hard work of the Shalomites. There will be two Sunset Shabbat services, one with music by Shpiel and the other with Harmoniyah. Some of our older high school students are headed to Washington, DC on their L'Taken trip to learn about and participate in political activism. The upcoming holiday of Passover means Sisterhood will be making their annual shopping trip to Brookline and our Second Seder will be happening the last day of the month.
Our temple calendar can be a starting point if you're looking to find out what our members are up to. It's just one more way to connect. We post on Facebook, send emails, display items on the lobby TV, and use our Newsletter to publicize and give more information. But it's all included in one of those brightly colored blocks of the temple calendar.
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
On Sunday, March 4, our doors will open at 9:45am for our annual celebration of Purim. Each and every year the children in our school wait for this celebration. Purim means "lots" because during the Purim story we learn that the evil Haman chose to cast "lots - Pur" to decide what date the Jews would be exterminated. The randomness and callousness of this act is juxtaposed with the story of Esther who exhibited strength, poise and calculated risk in order to save the Jews. How poignant that this story that threatened annihilation of the Jews by an evil man, in fact has become a Jewish holiday representing fun and joyous celebrations, something that would never have been anticipated at the beginning of this story.
Each year Rabbi Perry and I plan a fun and exciting morning filled with laughter, great costumes and a theme that we hope will delight families of all ages. Simultaneously, our Shalomites are working hard to organize a Purim carnival that will be filled with enjoyment and excitement for everyone while at the same time giving the Shalomites the opportunity to continue to build and strengthen their own connections. The tradition of having our temple youth group create this incredible carnival is always such a stark and powerful reminder that despite the threat of persecution, the Jewish people have overcome so much and the strength of Jewish identity and faith continues to be reflected so powerfully through the commitment of our youth. Each year, I find myself thinking about Haman and the other evil powers that have threatened the Jewish people and I want to say, "come and see the power of the next generation, we are and will always be strong". What an amazing message for our youth group to hold and to teach to the younger generations.
I recently read an article about Purim that offered a lesson that gives us the importance of strength even when times are hard. The author suggested that the story of Purim offers us hope that no matter how bad the circumstances, things will turn out well in the end. I love the idea that as we enter the month of Adar, the happiest month in the Jewish calendar, we can be inspired and uplifted by the notion that positivity and hope can sustain people even when times are hard.
I look forward to seeing everyone on March 4.
Chag Purim Sameach to everyone!
From our Cantorial Soloist
I am writing this article on Thursday, February 15th a
fter yet another school shooting in this country. I am at a loss.
I am deeply saddened for the lives STOLEN...for these senseless preventable tragedies.
We need our children to feel safe...we need to feel safe. I offer this song, its words highlighting the blessings of sanctuary and refuge.
May the memories of those lost be a source of blessing in the lives of all who knew them, and may their families feel held at this time by the love and support of their communities.
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Café Wisdom Tuesday Mar 13 at 10:30AM
Café Wisdom is a monthly study group that meets the 2nd Tuesday every month from October until May. 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 on being added to the Café Wisdom mailing list, please contact Rabbi Perry at email@example.com.
Sunday March 18 at 11 AM
Great Decisions, the centerpiece of the longest-running civic education program in the United States devoted to foreign affairs, empowers readers to discuss global issues shaping U.S. foreign policy and the world. The briefing book provides historical background, current U.S. policy and alternative policy options, informative maps and detailed graphs, suggested readings and resources. The reading is between 8 and 10 pages. Our final discussion topic is "Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan."
For more information go to http://www.fpa.org/great_decisions/?act=gd_topics. The cost of the booklet is $18.00. To sign up, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Commons Tuesday, March 27 at 7:00 PM
Bully Pulpit: Critique and Rebuke
The College Commons enriches Reform Jewish life by providing unique, topical and scholarly digital
Jewish learning to synagogues worldwide. This month's event is about the bully pulpit - how far should we go to change someone's opinion? Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi takes a look at Jewish tradition and draws some lines.
Torah Study Saturday, Apr 7 at 9:00 AM
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!
Come and join us!
Tamar Wexler for the Adult Education Committee
51st Annual Second Seder
The Passover Seder will be held at the temple on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 6:00 PM.
This event is open to our members, their families and guests, and will include the complete Seder menu, ceremonial foods, Seder plates, ceremonial wine and beverages.
The Seder will be partially catered. The chicken will come from Boston Market. Families or individuals attending may be asked to bring: Matzah Ball Soup, potatoes, sweet carrots, strawberries, or wine. The cost will be eighteen dollars per person ($18 /person). Please reserve this important date in the traditional religious life of our congregation and plan to join us in this observance.
More information and forms will be in the future weekly update emails.
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
Save the Date
Tuesday, March 13th - Cafe Wisdom
Tuesday, March 27th - College Commons
March B'nai Mitzvah
Saturday, March 17th - Bar Mitzvah of Noah Ablove
* Please note that the service is open to all temple members
March Oneg Schedule
Mar 2 - 7 pm Grade 6 Family Shabbat - Music with Sue Horowitz - Ebersman*, Kaplan, Klamka, Libby & Shannon, Maltby, Menaker
Mar 9 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat w/ Shpiel - Rodman P&L*, Cohen & Evans, Heines, Rosenberg, Rubinstein
Mar 16 - 6 pm Tot Shabbat - Music with Jodi & Adam - Jegasothy, Miranda & Stewart-Miranda
Mar 16 - 7:15 pm Adult Shabbat - Music w/ Jodi & Adam - Berenson*, Arthur, Cohen D, Linden, Sohn, Thomas
Mar 23 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Harmoniyah Howard*, Degen, Kreithen & Goldman-Kreithen, Lathrop, Rose
Good and Welfare
Condolences to Brad Friedlander and family on the passing of his father Yael Friedlander.
Condolences to David Smerllng and family on the passing of his infant grandson Drew Micah Smerling Marcus
Condolences to Karyn Stern and the Danzig family on the passing of Karen's mother Anita Stern.
Hanna Kapon David
Rachel Helen Kreithen
Meyer M. Dreher
Social Action Committee
On January 29th, our committee screened the film 13th, a documentary which powerfully highlights the racial injustice in our prison system. The showing drew our own Congregation Shalom members, as well as groups of congregants from neighboring churches. The discussion that followed focused on prison reform and the possibility of working together to accomplish more than any one of us can do alone. This is especially timely, since the Massachusetts House and Senate are debating prison reform legislation right now. The Social Justice/Social Action committee met at the end of February and will be planning another meeting to be announced soon.
Want to join our discussion? Want to keep track of what's next? Drop us a note at email@example.com.
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. You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, March 14 through Thursday, March 15 (until 5pm.) April dates will be April 18-19 - mark your calendar now!
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT FUND
40 In honor of High Holidays (from non-members)
10 In honor of High Holidays (from members)
3 General Donations
1 Donation to further the needs of the Community
1 In honor of
Sara Epstein for her kindness
3 In honor of
Women of the Wall Program
MARTIN AMES MEMORIAL
1 In honor of
11 General Donations
1 In memory of
Herbert and Emily Fischler
1 In thanks for
Adult Education Programs
1 General Donation
3 In honor of
Amanda Spiro and Kenneth Weintraub's 25th Anniversary
1 In memory of Arthur O. Rainen
1 In memory of Mildred Rainen
1 In memory of Roes Ried
1 In memory of Harry Ried
SUSAN MURRAY YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP FUND
1 General Donation
TREE OF LIFE LEAF ENGRAVING
1 In honor of
Spencer Evans-Cole's Bar Mitzvah
|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.
Here we are, looking for crocuses to peep out, hoping they will but knowing they won't show their faces for a few more weeks. Who can blame them? Not I.
So, thinking in terms of March Madness and how many people play the odds, pick their school or just throw the colleges into a big bowl and pull out names, hoping for a winner - oh, if only! Chances are your money is flying away BUT if you are lucky enough to be one of the Lucky Ones, do think about sharing a little bit of the wealth with Congregation Shalom. It's a Mitzvah!!
We are not resting on our laurels after the most successful Online Auction ever. We have almost nothing left from the Final Sale - good for us. Success! We are assessing donors, non-donors and those establishments that haven't donated in so long we must decide whether their names should be stricken from our lists. We are starting to accumulate items for next year's auction and compiling new names to add to our Potential Vendor List. If you can think of a store, restaurant, service, send us the particulars and if they have not been contacted, they will be added to our list. Think in terms of dance classes, judo, instrument lessons, the popular cooking classes. Let's make next year's Auction better than the 2017 Auction.
We wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Safe March.
The Fundraising Committee
By the time you read this, our annual retreat will be just days away. So much work goes into this much anticipated event. Our sincere gratitude goes to Janet Dubner, the Retreat Committee, Rabbi Perry, and Sue Horowitz for making this a day of fun, learning and spirituality.
Mark your calendars and watch for information on upcoming events in March and April. Join us on Sunday, March 25 for shopping in Brookline. We will organize carpools and you'll have a chance to stock up on some items for Passover. Plan ahead for two events in April. On Monday, April 9 we will have a game night in the Temple Social Hall. On Sunday evening April 22, come and create your own terrarium at our Plant Night event.
We still have open positions on the board for 2018-2019. We are seeking individuals to serve as President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, Programming Chair, and Trustee. If you love Sisterhood and want to get more involved, this is your chance!
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.
The Shalomites are currently planning for the annual Purim Carnival! We are in the process of organizing games and prizes. We have a Purim Carnival Planning Meeting on February 27 at 7:00 open to all youth group members. There will be a Shul-in the night before the carnival to set up for the following day. The Purim Carnival will take place on Sunday, March 4th. We can't wait to see you all there!
The Congregation Shalom book group invites all who are interested in an evening of book review and discussion to join us at our meetings. We will be meeting at 7:30 PM on the following Mondays.
February 26, 2018 -
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Hostess- Margie Berenson
April 2, 2018 - A
Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
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
Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation Presents: 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.
Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation Presents:
Trivia Night and Vodka Tasting
COME LEARN ABOUT AND TASTE ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR SPIRITS AND
TEST YOUR GENERAL TRIVIA KNOWLEDGE!
SIP A LITTLE, GUESS A LITTLE, LAUGH A LOT!
FREE APPETIZERS & DESSERTS
FABULOUS PRIZES ~ RAFFLES ~ CASH BAR
OR BRING A TEAM
THE MORE THE MERRIER!
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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