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
Harvest! Revelation! Celebration! These are spiritual themes of synagogue life, particularly during the springtime in the days surrounding Shavuot. Fifty days after Pesach, Shavuot is the holiday that marks Matan HaTorah, the Giving of Torah, as well as being the festival of first fruits and fully ripened grain.
From a spiritual perspective, I think it is very meaningful to think of our synagogue's "crop" as our students; together in a partnership between our families and school, we plant the seeds of Torah, identity and joy. Each and every day that we teach our children about their religious, cultural and ethical heritage, we are planting seeds, raising up and nurturing the Jews of the future. This is holy work and truly worthy of celebration and affirmation.
It is in this spirit, that I hope you will join us in May and June for many significant celebrations and life-cycle events. Each of these services will lift up the members of our congregation and affirm to them how important their achievements are and how much their participation in the life of our community matters. When I ask our B'nai Mitzvah students what is important to them about becoming adult Jews, they often immediately say that they will now be counted in a minyan; that they COUNT! I would say that this is a message to all of our members at Congregation Shalom. Even though we may not know a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or have a child who is graduating or becoming Confirmed, we have a responsibility to let them know that we think THEY count and that we honor their commitment to Judaism; that we value them as links in the chain of Jewish peoplehood. I hope you will come and "count" and let these young people know that we are witnesses to their Jewish life passages.
It is in this same spirit that I would like to invite you to a special service to honor our education director, Yael Hurwitz-Lange, as we say "L'hitraot - We will see you again.." on Friday night June 1st. "Z'man Matan HaTorah - the Giving of Torah" is written in a form that conveys that Revelation is on-going and continual. The experience of Sinai, is not an isolated event in time when our ancestors stood at the mountain. This is a perfect image for us to think about as we honor Giveret Yael. Over her years as Education Director, she has passionately worked to create moments of connection for our children with Torah, Judaism and Spiritual values. In doing so, she has helped to create a learning environment where a strong connection between our children and God and our children and Torah has been forged. More details about the service and pot-luck dinner will follow in the days ahead, but we wanted to be sure that people had the chance to hold the date.
Although you will be able to see the details of these dates on our calendar, I wanted to honor these B'nai Mitzvah students who will be leading services this spring..... Evan Skolnick, Emily Ebersman, Kenedi Silton, Rylan Chandler, Maggie Lischer, Melissa Miller and David Shuldiner. I also want to say Mazal Tov to Noah Ablove, Hannah Wolman and Aliah Katz who have already become B'nai Mitzvah. In the Fall we look forward to the second half of our Kitah Hey's B'nai Mitzvah celebrations: William Eskenas, Claire DiGiovanni, Breanna Cohen, Josalyn Newell, Nonnie Shannon, Nick Leonard, Dean Linden and Sidney Schwartz. On May 18th, we will be celebrating these Confirmands: Caitlin Curry, Charlotte DiGiovanni, Sophie Eskenas, Jordan Galvin, Denis Maguire, Maura Maguire and Nathan Morrissey. On June 8th we will be honoring our Chai School graduates: Rachel Landress, Justin Mayer, Abigail Morrissey, Ben Smith and Josh Waxman. Again, I hope you will join us for these moments when the fruits of our students achievements and commitment to Jewish life are marked.
From our President
As you may know, the Board of Trustees has been working on amending our Bylaws for quite some time. While our current Bylaws were sufficient at the time they were adopted, they are seriously out-of-date and inefficient for the workings of a modern synagogue. Not only is Congregation Shalom a much larger community today, but we operate differently on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, in certain sections our current Bylaws are vague, ambiguous, and internally inconsistent. Oftentimes the Board spends just as much time trying to decipher the Bylaws as it does conducting business under the Bylaws.
The Board did not take this project on lightly. Over the past five years the Board had read and reread the current Bylaws and made more than a dozen iterations of amended Bylaws. Three different committees worked on amending the Bylaws, seeking guidance from our professional and lay leadership and reviewing notes on the deficiencies of the current Bylaws which had been accumulating over the past two decades. The Board argued and debated each section (and often each word), met in several special meetings, and sent the draft document back to the committee on many occasions.
We are ready to present to the membership an Amended Bylaws that has the support of the Board of Trustees. It addresses many of the shortfalls of the current Bylaws, retains traditions and values we hold dear, and brings our congregation in line with Reform congregations in the year 2018.
A number of steps are being taken in preparation for calling for a vote by Congregation Shalom's membership to approve the new Bylaws:
- 3 documents will be posted shortly to the Members Only section of our website:
- Current By-Laws, dated May 20, 2012
- Proposed Amended Bylaws, dated March 25, 2018
- Significant Changes
- We are scheduling a series of informational meetings. All members are encouraged to attend one. At these meetings, we will discuss the changes in more detail. Questions are welcome, and encouraged.
- We plan to hold a meeting in the near future to ask the congregation's approval of the Bylaws.
As each Board member will tell you, the proposed Amended Bylaws may not be perfect, as each one of us views this congregation through our own eyes and with a different perspective. However, I think you will agree that the proposed Amended Bylaws, as a blend of many visions and perspectives, will meet the needs of Congregation Shalom today and well into the future. I look forward to the chance to engage with you as we all become more familiar with these Amended Bylaws in the next months.
From our Education Director
The month of May offers us so many amazing and exciting opportunities to celebrate the end of the school year. Please mark your calendars for all of these wonderful events: We have our Teacher Appreciation Shabbat on Friday, May 4 where our wonderful Kol-Kolot will sing to our teachers and we will thank and honor them; On Sunday, May 6, we will invite our Grade 7 class to display their Ketubot and to share their beautiful art work; Wednesday, May 9 our Kitah Aleph class will be celebrated when they receive their prayer books; Friday, May 18 is Grade 10 Confirmation, a true highlight of the year and Sunday, May 20 is our exciting all school Shavuot celebration for the whole family. This is a fun hands-on and exciting way for us to celebrate the last day of Religious School as a community. If that is not enough, on Wednesday, May 23 we will honor our outgoing Kitah Hey class and welcome in our rising Kitah Hey class in a beautiful ceremony where we pass the Torah down from Kitah Hey to Kitah Dalet. Please join us for a special ma'ariv service at 5:10pm. It is the richness of a month like May that showcases the strength and beauty that is this Congregation Shalom community.
On a more personal note, this past month has been a rollercoaster of emotions and with the bittersweet decision to leave, I have experienced so much support and encouragement from the Congregation Shalom community. I have loved my past 7 years working at Congregation Shalom and I have been honored to serve as the school's Education Director. I am deeply grateful for the warmth and caring that Congregation Shalom has shown to my family and myself and I will miss this loving and welcoming community. I am so lucky to have an incredible faculty that has made this journey so meaningful and exciting - your commitment to our student's Judaic education is truly inspiring. I have been blessed with incredible office staff and will miss everyone in the office - it has been wonderful to be a part of your lives. Thank you to Stephen Rodman, Tamar Wexler and Joanna Myers for your unwavering support of me and for your leadership and commitment to our school community. Rabbi Perry has been the most supportive colleague anyone could ever wish for and I am grateful for her direction, her support and her friendship.
I will remain in my role as Education Director through the remainder of the school year and will assist in any way I can to ensure the smooth transition between a new Education Director and myself. It has been a privilege to be a part of this community and I will miss everyone greatly.
I thank you and will be forever grateful for the time I spent at Congregation Shalom. It has truly been an honor.
From our Cantorial Soloist
Webster's Dictionary defines the term teacher as: "
especially : one whose occupation is to instruct." When I think about our Congregation Shalom teachers, that definition is simply not sufficient.
Our teachers are not merely instructors. They are builders. Each week they help to inculcate our children with values, emphasizing the importance of what it means to see oneself as part of something bigger than the individual. They present texts and concepts surrounding those texts in meaningful and accessible ways. At Congregation Shalom, our children understand the importance of building a world of love and tolerance.
(Kaddish of the Rabbis) consists of Kaddish Yatom (Mourners' Kaddish) plus an additional paragraph asking blessing upon teachers, students, and all those who study Torah. On Friday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m., please join us as we share this piece and many others in celebration of our Congregation Shalom teachers. Through soulful song and story, we will honor our educators and their contributions to the CS family. On this night, Kol Kolot, our children's choir, will also lend their rich voices in gratitude to the blessings of our "builders".
Please enjoy the following video featuring the song, Olam Chesed Y'baneh, highlighting the notion of building a world of love.
Looking forward to celebrating with you all.
B'Kavod v'Shalom (With Respect and Peace),
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Social Action Committee
First annual "Social Justice Book of the Year" Book Discussion - May 7, 2018
We invite everyone to read
by Bryan Stevenson (or watch his TED Talk, "We Need to Talk About an Injustice" at ted.com/speakers/bryan_stevenson), and join us for a discussion with Dr. Kaitlyn Clarke, Professor of Criminal Justice at St. Anselm's College on May 7 from 7-9PM. This highly acclaimed book is a memoir, highlighting systemic problems in our justice system through the stories of one activist attorney. This event is open to the community as well as our members and is appropriate for high school age and beyond, so feel free to invite a friend. We are looking for volunteers to help plan and publicize this event. If you are interested, please email us at
MA Criminal Justice Reform
Like many Reform Congregations in the US and Canada, our Social Action and Justice Committee has been working on Criminal Justice reforms. We have good news to report in Massachusetts. A landmark criminal justice reform bill has passed the Massachusetts State House and has headed to the Governor's desk. It cleared the Senate 37-0 and the House by 148-5.
Looking ahead, Reform Congregations expect to be involved in an election year education campaign sponsored by the ACLU. It's called "What a Difference a DA Makes", and it focuses on educating the public on the critical role District Attorneys play in our courtrooms. DA's are often low profile, sometimes virtually invisible and rarely face a contested election. But they are considered the most important person in the criminal justice system. More details to come!
Mitzvah Month is coming - June 2018
This year we are planning several weekend mitzvah events in June rather than a single day. Stay tuned for details on volunteering at the Paul Center and Chelmsford Senior Housing in Chelmsford and at Mill City Grows in Lowell.
Blood Drive - June 11, 2018
Congregation Shalom will host a blood drive on Monday June 11, from 2-7pm. Volunteers are needed to help set up, staff the canteen table, and clean up after the drive. If you are interested in volunteering, please email
. If you would like to donate blood, please sign up at www.redcrossblood.org and enter in Congregation Shalom's zipcode (01863) to be directed to our location to sign up.
Need for volunteers at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Congregation Shalom is part of a team of volunteers at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford, an organization that serves a free meal to all, no questions asked, every Tuesday from 5-6pm at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center. Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on May 22, 2018. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Sue McDonald at email@example.com
Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center
Congregation Shalom is collecting food for the Lowell Transitional Living Center. It is easy to help out with this mitzvah. Donations of meatloaf, and/or brownies and/or salad are accepted each month. There will be a cooler chest located by doors of Congregation Shalom. Simply place your donation in the cooler and know that you have done a good deed! You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, May 16 (starting around noon) through Thursday, May 17 (until 8pm.) June dates will be June 13-14 - mark your calendar now!
The College Commons enriches Reform Jewish life by providing unique, topical and scholarly digital Jewish learning to synagogues worldwide. Torah with a Point of View from passionate discussions on the issues that are inspiring our leaders and thinkers in the Jewish world.
Anti-Semitism: Roots and Reality - Tuesday May 22
at 7:00 pm
The College Commons will be back at Congregation Shalom for us to learn about how European racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise. While American Jews enjoy the most successful time in our history, we face stereotypes and anti-Israel movements. Come and learn!
Your input is welcome!
Tamar Wexler and t
he Adult Education Committee
Save the Date
Monday, May 7th - Social Justice Book Discussion
Tuesday, May 22nd - College Commons
May B'nai Mitzvahs
Saturday, May 5th - Bar Mitzvah of Evan Skolnick
Saturday, May 12th - Bat Mitzvah of Emily Ebersman
Saturday, May 19th - Bat Mitzvah of Kenedi Silton
Please note that the service is open to all temple members
Board of Trustees
The Nominating Committee is proud to present the slate for the open positions on next year's Board, to be voted on at the annual meeting. We would like to thank all the nominees for their willingness to serve.
Treasurer: Rosanne Riddick
Corresponding Secretary: Janet Dubner
Recording Secretary: Sandy Moore
Trustee: Carol Frampton
Trustee: Rich Smith
Trustee: Steve Nottinger
Trustee: Gary Green
The remaining officers are:
Joanna Myers, President;
Liz Denly, Vice President;
Cayla Maguire, 2nd Vice President,
who will each be serving the second year of a 2-year term.
The additional 4 Trustee seats are held by:
who will each be serving the second year of their 2-year term.
- The Nominating Committee: Rob Berkovitz, Joanne Hyatt, Dina Katz, Tina Kempner, and Cayla Maguire
Good and Welfare
Mazel tov to Margi and Roger Loyer and family on the birth of their granddaughter Saffron, born April 2, 2018 in Australia.
Condolences to Katie Ebersman and family on the passing of her mother Dolly Goldfarb.
Thanks very much to those who made a dontaion, sent cards, or brought flowers for my mother's passing. It means a lot to me.
Welcome New Members
We extend a warm welcome to Andrew and Rachael Pokrovski, who recently joined our temple family.
The following donations were received from February 1, 2018 through March 31, 2018:
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT FUND
3 General Donations
1 Member Donation
To upgrade the temple website
1 General Donation
1 In memory of
SUSAN MURRAY YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP FUND
1 In honor of
May Oneg Schedule
Jun 2 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Lay led Newman E&R*, Nazario, Pitts & Rosenthal, Skolnick, Smith T&L
Jun 9 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat - Graduation Adult Sunset Music with Jodi and Adam - Moore*, Beningson, Degen, Giniger & Revy, Mackillop & Rabinowitz, Miller M&L, Solomon
Jun 16 - 6 pm Tot Shabbat - Music w/ Jodi and Adam - Ginsberg & Kawashima-Ginsberg, Libby & Shannon, Schertzer & Strizhak
Jun 16 - 7:15 pm Shirah Shabbat - Music w/ Jodi and Adam - Heines*, Andreola, Sohn, Starr, Zeichick
Jun 23 - 7 pm Adult Shabbat - Adult Choir (Music) Board Installation - Denly*, Bass, Fidler, Haas, Holladay & Navy, Myers, Newlon & Rothstein, Riddick
Jun 30 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Janoschek*, Leonard & Miller, Lydon, Notinger, Rose
Phyllis R. Dimond
Norman Josett Sr.
Raymond E. Riddick
Elaine Cutler Becker
Barbara (Bobbie) Greenfield
We continue to need squares to make Misheberach afghans for temple members. If you would like to learn to knit or crochet, please email us at
and we will teach you!
If you knit or crochet, we need 10" x 10" squares in pure white (not off white, please) or any shade of blue. Yarn should be 100 acrylic, worsted weight (#4) Please measure your squares as it's difficult to use them if they are too big or too small.
Thank you for your help in continuing this comforting tradition.
Thank you! Janet & Laura
|Our Caring Committee Can Help
The Caring Committee is always available to provide meals or transportation to those members and families who need a little help. Please don't hesitate to email Katie Wolman at
or Rabbi Perry at
, or feel free to call Katie at home.
|Newsletter Ads and You!
We are always looking for advertisers for the Temple newsletter. Ads can be placed at any time with special pricing for members. Ads need not be for a year so if you want to try us, we take ads for 3 months as well as six months. If you decide to continue your ad for a full year, we do pro-rate the price. As the saying goes, "Try us, you'll like us!"
Throughout the year, there are many enriching Jewish experiences available to our youth through our synagogue or the community. These include, but aren't limited to, summer camps and trips to Washington, New York, and Israel. Fortunately, there is some scholarship money available through the temple to those families in need of financial assistance for these opportunities. Please contact Margie Berenson at
with any questions and/or for an application form.
Changed Your Address?
Notify us at: 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.
Spring? As I look out the window, that may only be wishful thinking. There is one thing that comes in the Spring besides the Red Sox, like clockwork, is our 50/50 Raffle. This is CASH to the winner - pure and simple. Okay, it is really a check, but it is made out to you and no one else! The minimum prize is $250. The more tickets sold, the more money someone wins. No need to think, "oh goody, a gift certificate to a restaurant I have no desire to go to." What about the certificate to a hairdresser you had a disagreement with and would never step foot in 'that salon' again. Won't happen here! One, and only one prize, and it could be yours.
Ask your friends and neighbors to buy tickets - we have plenty of extras. Remind them that the minimum they could win is $250 and the more tickets sold, the higher the prize. For more tickets or questions you may need answered, contact us at
Good luck to all!
The Fundraising Committee
Now is a Great Time to Join the Grocery Card Program!
Pick a store and an amount and join in to receive grocery store gift cards. I send you the cards, and you write a check to the Temple. That's it! You'll see how easy it is to fundraise for the Temple and fill your cabinets without spending any extra money or time.
Contact me to get started with one of our best fundraisers. Each month you will receive your desired amount of gift cards for Hannaford, Donelan's, Whole Foods or Stop & Shop. Your payment to Congregation Shalom results in 7% cash back for the Temple.
Spring is here, and so is the Brotherhood retreat on Cape Cod from May 18-20. If you have never been on the retreat, you don't know what you're missing. Comradery, great food, and just plain fun. There is still some room remaining in the three houses we have rented, so contact Neil Berenson at email@example.com if you can make it. You will not be disappointed.
There will be a family hike in May, details to be announced. In April we had a well attended dinner with the rabbi where we discussed Jewish involvement with 'Superheroes" in theater and print. Guys night out saw ten brotherhood members gathering at the Establishment restaurant in North Chelmsford. Look for an announcement regarding May's get together.
On April 29, The Shalomites will be having an information session following Sunday school, open to all current and prospective members. Following the meeting, all Shalomites are invited to a Monster's University viewing, followed by a program. The 2018-2019 board applications will be due mid-May. Look out for more information!
The Congregation Shalom book group invites all who are interested to join us in an evening of book review and discussion.
|iGive for Congregation Shalom
Have you ever thought how great it would be to be able to shop online at 783 different well-known stores and still donate money to Congregation Shalom? Well, you can do that! It's free and easy so join those of us who have been sending donations to the synagogue for years simply by shopping by first going to the iGive website once you have established the link.
to register for Congregation Shalom to automatically be the recipient cause.
If you make a purchase through iGive within 45 days of signing up, an extra $5.00 will go to Congregation Shalom. If you have any questions, please contact
The Music of Jewish Life
Jewish Adult Education Series
The series will consist of a trio of programs that explore "The Music of Jewish Life" through different lenses. Participants will learn about the evolution of Jewish music in religious and secular settings and hear how it can express communal and personal values and experience.
All programs will feature professionals in the field of music.
The first in the series will be held on Sunday, April 15 at 3 pm at Congregation Beth Israel, located at 360 Merrimack Street, The Riverwalk in Lawrence. The session will be divided into two mini-sessions. The first, A Yidishe Meydel, led by Merle Roesler and Elaine Winic, will explore women's life though Yiddish folk songs. The second half of the afternoon Bob Moverman explore George Gershwin's magical melodies, and how they have influenced life in America.
On Sunday May 6 at 2 pm, at Temple Emanuel Andover, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Cantor Idan Irelander will present a workshop on the History of Jewish Music. Participants will explore a variety of Jewish music cultures and sing some Jewish music favorites.
The final program will be held Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm, and will explore Jewish Music and Social Justice. This program will be held at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road, North Chelmsford. Cantor Rosalie Toubes will lead participants in exploring the intersection of music and social justice. This presentation will include: the music of Jewish heritage - Israeli pioneer songs, songs of early Jewish Day camps and current compositions; as well as secular music by Jewish composers that address issues of social justice. There will be a chance to ask questions and share experiences as to how they relate to social action.
The cost of the program is $50 for all three sessions, or $20 per session. For payment or information, visit the website,
or call the office at 978-688-0466.
Reform Jewish Outreach Boston (RJOB)
offers classes and workshops supporting interfaith couples and individuals exploring Judaism:
Yours, Mine & Ours for Interfaith Couples
Interfaith couples who are seriously dating, engaged, or newly married strengthen their communication around faith, family, and culture, in a short-term, small group setting. Held October and March.
Introduction to Judaism
Explore a modern take on Jewish life. Engage with Jewish values, celebrations, and spirituality. Introduction to Judaism is an engaging 16-session course for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Jewish life through a Reform lens. Courses starting in Brookline, Boston, and Sharon/Westwood.
Planning a Jewish Wedding
For Interfaith and Jewish couples. Explore the symbols of the Jewish wedding ceremony, ways to honor family traditions, and how to personalize your ceremony. Workshops in Boston and Cambridge.
RJOB is a program of the Union for Reform Judaism, working in partnership with URJ congregations and with the support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Free Dinner Served
Every Tuesday from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center
All are welcome. No questions asked.
Also, if you know of someone who cannot get out,
but would benefit from a dinner being delivered to them, please contact us.
For more information contact:
Return to Quick Links
From the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates...
VNA Hospice Care needs volunteers! Hospice volunteers play a key role in helping to provide caring and compassion to patients and families facing life-limiting illness and loss. A volunteer may provide patients with company and emotional support, give the spouse, partner or other caregiver a needed break from care giving, and/or help caregivers run errands or get to and from appointments. A strong need exists for volunteers who can visit on weekdays. We also seek: musicians who would like to sing or play music quietly at the bedside of nursing home residents; Reiki practitioners who would like to offer Reiki to patients and/or caregivers; and people interested in visiting with their therapy dog. Volunteers who speak both English and a second language are also helpful. We provide volunteer training and ongoing support. Call 781-569-2888 and ask to speak to a Volunteer Coordinator for more information. Or email LPalais@vnab.org.
Spiritual Poetry Journal
"Soul-Lit" is a new on-line spiritual poetry journal. A number of entries have been from Jews and have
Jewish content. Writers are encouraged to submit their own poems which have a level of spiritual content to them. Two volumes have already been published.
To check out the website, please click here.
Please spread the word to members of the community who are writers / poets, and who may wish to submit their own writings.
Please support our Congregation Shalom advertisers