November 2016 - 5777

Volume LXV #2

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.
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Rabbi From our Rabbirabbi    

Dear Friends,
Have you ever noticed that we are all wired differently?  Some of us view life from an analytical, scientific frame of reference and others of us experience life from more of an emotional or spiritual perspective. Some of us are able to find a balance between these two approaches and others of us are very black and white in our understanding of life. I personally am the type of person who tends to be drawn both to the scientific as well as the spiritual, which is why I find it so fascinating that both science and faith have something to say about the power of gratitude!
More and more research has recently been done on the benefits of gratitude.  In a Harvard Health Newsletter, the benefits of practicing gratitude are clearly outlined.  You can read about the research at this link:  In Psychology Today, Amy Morin writes about seven benefits of being grateful: 
  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  • Gratitude improves physical health.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  • Grateful people sleep better.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  • Gratitude increases mental strength.
In a Tech and Science column in Newsweek Magazine you can learn about 5 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude (
  • Grateful people are more hopeful and healthier
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased helpfulness and empathy
  • Increased resilience
The research clearly teaches us that:
  • That the brain we're born with can be changed. Technically speaking, they call that neuroplasticity. (You can teach an old brain new tricks.)
  • We can change it by adopting new thought patterns, by training our brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.
  • All of us are hard-wired for negativity (blame evolution!) but can profoundly benefit from learning new ways to react and deal with everyday stresses.
  • It doesn't take a lot of effort to make a real difference in your life. A few simple and even entertaining mental diversions will change things.
Coming from the perspective that I do, in which I love to balance science with a spiritual approach to living, I find it very meaningful that the Jewish tradition places a great deal of emphasis on gratitude as well. 
In every prayer service there is a prayer known as the Hoda'ah, which is prayer of gratitude. The Jewish Mussar tradition, which outlines a spiritual approach to life and presents us with a discipline of transformative practices, also places great emphasis on gratitude. The Hebrew term for gratitude is Hakarat Ha'tov, which means to "recognize the good." As Alan Morinis who wrote the book Everyday Holiness writes, "practicing gratitude means being fully aware of the good that is already yours." As the ancient proverb teaches us, "Who is rich? The one who rejoices in his own lot." The Talmud teaches in a story how the very same experience can elicit different reactions and emotional responses.
            Ben Zoma use to say: "A good guest says, "how much my host toiled for me!  He put so much meat in front of me, so much wine, so much bread - all his  exertion was just for me!" A bad guest says, "What did my host toil for me? I ate  just one roll, just one piece of meat, I drank just one cup - all his exertion was for  his own household!'" Babylonian Talmud:  B'rachot 58A
As we enter the month of November, the month so many of us celebrate Thanksgiving, I encourage all of us to consider taking on the regular practice of gratitude. A story in the Talmud teaches us about one individual, Nachmun Ish Gamzu, who embraced this approach to life.  The Talmud tells us that Nachmun was a righteous man, who upon reaching the last days of his life, was faced with terrible physical pain and immobility.  Despite his hardships, he framed every experience that happened to him with the phrase, "Gam zu l'tovah - And that is also for the good."  Alan Morinis suggests this practice.  He writes, "When something apparently "good" happens to you, you offer the blessing, 'And that is also for the good.'  And if something "bad" happens to you, "And that is also for the good."  On the last broadcast of this television show, when comedian Jerry Lewis was being thrown off the air, he quoted the saying that Nachmun Ish Gamzu referred to above, which Lewis learned from his mother: "Gam zu l'tovah," he said on the camera.  "And that is also for the good." No doubt this is a difficult spiritual practice, but when done sincerely, it has a powerful impact on your life."  This practice may not work for all of us, but to try it in a focused mindful way for one month, may alter our perspective on life.
On the theme of gratitude, I hope you will consider joining with other congregations, as we do every year, for our Interfaith Thanksgiving  Service. This year, we will be gathering at The First Parish United in Westford on the town green on Tuesday night November 22nd at 7:00 pm. Our theme for the service is "The Abundant Community". Our prayers and readings will reflect on how we as a community can help those who are in need of resources and support and that by doing so we become a more abundant and rich community in that our society's fabric is enriched.
With Gratitude,
Rabbi Sig
  Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry

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From our PresidentBarryTop     

On Contagious Teshuvah
D'var Torah I gave for the MVJF Annual Meeting September 27, 2016
Last Saturday's parsha was Ki Tavo from Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 and it begins:
When you enter the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it, you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that the Eternal your God is giving to you, put it in a basket and go to the place where the Eternal your God will choose to establish the divine name.
The upcoming parsha is Nitzavim from Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 and it begins:
You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God-you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all of the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer...
To my way of thinking we are between giving God the appropriate due - first fruits - and standing together as a community. I take this to mean that the best that each can do is to strive to be the best individual within your community. And, that involves, in this season, Repentance, Teshuvah. Let me digress for a minute to explain.
I once was in a laugh class. I'm not kidding...a class on laughter. And, there was one moment in this class where, after laughing for half an hour straight, we were brought into a circle to calm down. So, we breathed quietly for a few minutes and then the teacher told us to close our eyes, she was going to ring to a bell, and we should sit silently for 60 seconds, then she would ring the bell again. She rang the bell for the first time and we sat silently for about 10 seconds until one person laughed. Followed by someone else and within half a minute every one of us was laughing uncontrollably. Laughter is really contagious. 
But, you know, I have observed, so is anger. I can be pretty calm, but if someone comes in and starts screaming at me in anger... I catch it. I do. So, if laughter and anger are contagious. What about pain?
Rabbi Alan Lew said in his book This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared "If someone else is suffering, there's no way we can shut it out.  It spreads heart to heart and soul to soul, a movement that is absolutely irresistible, like the waters of a flood."
If that is so, Teshuvah, Repentance, working to address your pain and another's pain is a critical piece of Tikkun Olam, healing the world. 
Rabbi Lew also wrote, "What is the pain that is pressing on your heart right this moment? That's what you need to make Teshuvah about. "
I think he is right, and, forgiveness can be contagious, too. The words of forgiveness that make peace for the other person are the ones that free the other person to forgive you so that they can give you the words that make peace for you. When Rabbi Lew continues and says, "You need to make Teshuvah about your fractured mind and your fearful heart. What is occluding the deep connection between you and your fellow human beings?"  he is onto something.
May we all find the steps that lead us to Teshuvah so that this year may be a meaningful turning and a meaningful time of healing for us all.  Amen.
From our Education Director     

November is filled with moments of gratitude and thanks. Throughout our school, we see moments that will remind us of the strength of our school Kehillah (community), the importance of our School and the importance of the Jewish education that we offer to our children.

As we enter into the month of November, we start with the 2nd graders and their families learning about Noah and the Ark. We will wrestle with how we take care of the earth and how we take care of the animals in our kingdom. Jewish law is very specific on how we treat animals and the notion of preventing "tza'ar ba'alei chayim", the suffering of living creatures is a primary Jewish principle. This respect for all living creatures has started an annual tradition at Congregation Shalom.  On November 6 at 12:30pm we invite all families in our greater Temple community to bring their pets to the Blessing Of The Animals. If you have a beloved pet that can be out with other pets or if you prefer to bring a favorite stuffed animal or even a photograph of your favorite animal, we invite you to join us as we bless and celebrate having these special animals in our lives. It is a wonderful time to meet our furry members and it is possible you may even meet Mitzvah Dog Senior and her sidekick, Mitzvah Dog Junior.

Later in November, we will have the first of our monthly Ma'ariv services led by our Grade 6 class. If you have never been to a class led Ma'ariv, I urge you to join us as we become a part the younger generation as they lead us in prayer. It is always a meaningful and prayer filled experience for everyone.

On November 18, our Sweet and Soulful Shabbat will bring beautiful music to our community and will also have our wonderful Kol-Kolot Children's Choirs as part of the service. This year, we have a group of older students and also a group of our younger students and I encourage everyone to join us as we listen to the beautiful music of our respective children's choirs.

As we enjoy class Shabbat, family education programs, animals, Ma'ariv services, Kol-Kolot performances and many other enriching and meaningful experiences, I feel thankful to work in such a warm and engaged community. 

I want to wish everyone a meaningful and relaxing Thanksgiving filled with laughter, food, family and friends.

Yael Signature

From our Cantorial Soloist     

Last month we came together with gratitude and welcomed 5777. In this new year, it is through our soulful music that we will express our thanks and praise in song and prayer. Sometimes simply saying or reading words of prayer is not enough to lift our spirit.  Melody resonates within, making prayer more accessible to us and praying with intention or  kavana  possible for us. The building of this kind of connection to prayer through music starts with our children. Come and listen to our Kol Kolot  junior choir on Friday, November 18th.  Hear the children croon the words from our liturgy, making the Text come alive.  Also on this very musical evening, we will have the second of our newest Shabbat experience at Congregation Shalom- "Sweet and Soulful: A Shabbat in Song". This special Shabbat service will incorporate some traditional Shabbat repertoire but will also feel like a folk-like song session. Sweet and Soulful will often be the third Friday of each month, but the schedule may vary. Please check the temple calendar for the monthly plan. The blending of voices and ideas on this Shabbat of Song each month will surely be something for which to be grateful!!
Lastly, please click here to hear our recording of Stephen Richards composition, R'tzei. This prayer/song is found in the Hodaah (Thanksgiving) section of our T'filah (Prayer).
I wish you all a sweet month of deep intention and gratitude.
B'Shira V'Shalom (With Song and Peace),
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist

Social Action Committee socialaction

High Holiday Food Drive
Once again, our members showed their generosity to those who are less fortunate.  On Yom Kippur members of the Social Action Committee delivered 4 carloads of donated groceries and grocery store cards to food pantries in Chelmsford, Westford, Nashua, and Lowell.  Sales of grocery store cards continue, and as this newsletter goes to print have already exceeded $2,200.Thank you to all who participated!
Grocery cards continue to be available for purchase by e-mailing g .

Cleaning Supply Drive
Thanks to all our members who donated cleaning supplies to help newly arrived refugees served by the International Institute. Your generosity helps extend families' limited budgets by providing necessary but frequently replaced items. We will continue our partnership with the International Institute, and look forward to more opportunities to help welcome refugees to our country.

Need for more volunteers at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Congregation Shalom is part of a team of volunteers at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford, an organization that serves a free meal to all, no questions asked, every Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center.  We have had some turnover and now need more volunteers to help serve! Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on December 20th. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Linda Newhard at .
Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center
Congregation Shalom is collecting food for the Lowell Transitional Living Center. It is easy to help out with this mitzvah. Donations of meatloaf, and/or brownies and/or salad are accepted each month. There will be a cooler chest located by 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, November 16th through Thursday, November 17th (until 5pm.)  December dates will be December 21st-22nd - mark your calendar now!
Featured This Issue
Great Decisions
Whole Foods Added to Gift Cards
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Save the Date

November 6 - Blessing of the Animals
November 10th - Great Decisions 
November 18th - Sweet and Soulful Shabbat
November 19th - Torah Study
November 21st - Movie Monday                      

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QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

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November Oneg Schedule

Nov 4 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Grade 3 Jodi w/Adam Music Libby & Gallagher*, Barter, Dangel & Gordon, Feuerstein, Miller B&L
Nov 11 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat - Adult Sunset Shpiel Upson & Correia*, Blumstein, Epstein, Myers, Rosenberg
Nov 18 - 6 pm Tot Shabbat - Jodi w/Adam Music Ginsberg & Kawashima-Ginsberg, Jegasothy, Lazar, Libby & Shannon
Nov 18 - 7:15 pm Shabbat Shirah Shabbat - Jodi w/Adam Music Lischer*, Ablove, Eskenas, Kreithen & Goldman-Kreithen, Nazario, Silton, Zehngut & Frampton

Karen and Rick
Oneg Committee
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November Yahrzeits Yahrzeits
Alice Berit
Jerold Gilmore
Leon Katler
Barbara Schachet
Arleen R.Yegelwell

Gordon Bronson
Alvin Ecker
Helen Ginsburg
Julian Greenfield
Muriel Hyatt
Rose Reid
Hyman Rodman
Rae Rosen
Evelyn Rosenstein
Celia Singer
Samuel Spiegler
Bernie Tack
George Wiener

Celia Brass
Bernice Bresnick
Howard Cravis
Michael Glott
Martin Gruber
Rae Himelfarb
Lenore Rambach
Carole Reichert
Pearl Shapiro
Florence Snyder
Barbara Weinberg

Blanche Brown
Lisa Rothstein
Irene Segal
Sigmund Weitzman

Barbara Baron
Jonathan Baron
Frances Becker
Pauline Chertok
Joshua Friedman
Ray Niedergang
Selma Raichek
Mildred Rainen
Morris Rosenberg

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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. 

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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.

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Deadline for the

December Newsletter is

Thursday, November 17th


Please send articles to  


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Adult EducationAdultEd
Adult Beginning 
Hebrew Class
   Nov 6    
9:00 a.m-10:00 a.m. 
Congregation Shalom
Led by Cantor Sheldon Chandler: five more Sundays on the following dates: 10/30, 11/6, 11/20, 12/4, 12/11
Great Decisions 
  Cost $10/pp or $18/couple for booklet that includes all four articles that will be discussed
Nov 10
7:00 p.m.
Congregation Shalom
Facilitator led discussion about topical current events 1st of 4
Other dates: Jan 12, March 9, and May 11
Topics: Shifting Alliances in the Middle East; The Rise of ISIS; International Migration; Cuba and the U.S.
Torah Study
Nov 19  
9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.
Congregation Shalom
Led by Rabbi Perry
Monday Movie w/Amy Degen
Nov 21
    7:00 p.m.
Congregation Shalom
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Religious School Fundraiser



1 pair of socks is just $10
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With the Online Auction starting very soon, rather than list all the items or at least many of the items, here is an accounting of what we are offering as of 10/19/17 with more and more items coming in:

For all the curly-haired members, we have just received hair products just for you. The brand is OUIDAD and we have shampoos, conditioners, volumizing foam, clarifying shampoos and more.  We also have Salon FEKKAI hair products and CHI professional flatirons.  These are not on the Auction so if you would like any more information about these products, please email

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Sisterhood Snippetssisterhood

Come and sample delicious olive oils, along with some wine, cheese and bread! We will meet at New England Olive Oil Company in Concord, MA on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:00 p.m.
On Sunday, November 20th, we will meet at Samuel's in Andover for lunch at noon, then visit the Addison Gallery.
For football fans, we will don our Patriots gear and gather to cheer on the team at Donna Upson's house on Sunday, December 4th at 12:30 p.m. Thanks Donna for hosting what is becoming an annual tradition!
What are you doing on Sunday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 14? Save these two dates for the annual Chanukkah Fair! This year, we are encouraging you to do a little holiday shopping, and are also looking for some helpers to assist Patti Green. She does a fantastic job organizing the event, but counts on us to assist with set up, sales and clean-up.
Don't forget that we always 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. 
Watch for evites with more details for all of our upcoming events.
***Please save the date for the 17th Annual Sisterhood Retreat - March 3rd - 5th  at the Anchorage Inn, Ogunquit, Maine
Our next board meeting is on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend to give input and share ideas.
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Brotherhood NewsBrotherhood

With the help of able guide Jerry Bass, a number of Brotherhood members started the New Year off right with a hike on Mt Watatic, in central Massachusetts. Weather was great, and all who attended had a great experience. 

Thanks to the Brotherhood members who participated in Sukkah set-up and take down. A special thanks to Bob Blumstein for organizing the effort.
On November 12, Mel Starr, chef, and noted writer of cook books, will again put on a night of  "Cooking with Mel". This year Mel will lead us in preparing "A Feast from the Middle East". Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you want to just partake of the meal or also help with preparation of the food. Come and learn from Mel so you can take his culinary knowledge home with you. Cost is just $25/person and a promise that you will not leave the temple hungry! Look for further e-mail and announcements. Cooking with Mel always fills up fast so contact to reserve your spot.
David Brother

Grocery Store Cards  
We've signed up Whole Foods as another member of our grocery card program!

You can now help the temple while you shop at Whole Foods (a new store now in Westford in the old Market Basket location). Get a grocery card for $100 (Hannaford, Stop & Shop, Donelans, or Whole Foods) each month, and the temple makes $$ cashback. This leads to thousands of dollars for our program, with no out-of-pocket monies from you. Just email  Judy Beningson at  and I will get you started.  


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BGBook Group

The Congregation Shalom book group welcomes all who would like to spend an interesting evening of book review, discussion and socializing.

The following is our November meeting:

Monday, November 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Esther and Fred Wikander
Book selection  " My Japanese Lover" by Isabel Allende

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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


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Extended Community


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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 

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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.



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Please support our Congregation Shalom advertisers

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