Dear Friends,

We are excited to invite you to join us for a special virtual tour to Israel sponsored by the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and Jewish National Fund. We'll spend four amazing days (2 hours during the evening) – Monday, November 16 – Thursday, November 19.

From the comfort of your favorite armchairs, our virtual trip to Israel will include the Kotel (Western Wall), Machna Yehuda (Jerusalem’s colorful outdoor market) and Masada. Make sure to pack your virtual bathing suits. -- It’s incredible to float on the lowest point on Planet Earth! Some call it the Dead Sea; I like to call it the Salty Sea. We will uncover some of the hidden secrets of Israel and hear some exciting stories about the Jewish State.
Israel is a fascinating study in both pluralism and diversity: people, religious expression, cultures, ethnic groups, sexual and gender expression....

We will be exposed to this diversity and meet people and see places committed to pluralism.
We’ll conclude our tour by planting a virtual tree and leave Israel a tiny bit greener than we found her. We will meet virtually at the El Al counter at Logan on Monday evening November 16th.

Keep on the lookout for a link to register. The link should be ready in about a week and then you can reserve your seat and get your boarding pass. Previous virtual tours have sold out quickly, so save the dates now and we’ll send you the registration link as soon as it’s ready.

Please see below for a bio about our tour educator and JNF professional who will be leading us on our exciting adventure.
We look forward to meeting you.

We wish you early safe travels or Bon Voyage
or in Hebrew - Nesia Tova!

Please look for a registration link coming next week.

Gretchen, Dana and Mordechai
Dana Klein is an Israel Programs Admissions Director for Jewish National Fund. She says that her first visit to Israel with her Temple confirmation class on a NFTY trip when she was 16 was lifechanging! She became addicted to Israel! After graduating from Tulane University, she lived for a year in Yoqneam, Israel as a Sherut Laam volunteer. She studied at Brandeis, receiving a Master's degree from the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program. She is passionate about Israel and believes that there is no other way to learn about Israel then by being there. She loves sending teens, college students and anyone she can to Israel with the many programs that JNF - AMHSI offers. In fact, her three daughters are all Alexander Muss High School in Israel alumni.
Mordechai Cohen is a proud faculty member at Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel and loves teaching students of all ages and engaging them on Israel. Mordechai is a dynamic guide and is proud of his passion for Israel. He is excited to be your tour educator. Mordechai brings with him a rich background in Jewish/Israel education. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations, Mordechai went on to study at different yeshivot in Israel. He served as a coordinator for the Livnot U’Lehibanot program in both Tzfat and Jerusalem. He also studied on the Pardes Educators Program and did post-graduate study at Hebrew University’s Melton Center. He went on to teach and later became director of the Jewish Studies Department at New Jewish Community High School in Los Angeles. Mordechai then returned to Israel and worked as a pedagogy instructor for the teacher-training program at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Mordechai also worked as a tour operator for the Israel Experience Ltd. In 2009, Mordechai returned to North America and served as the Jewish Studies Principal for the Danilack Middle School of Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto, North America’s oldest and largest day school. In 2013, he once again returned to Israel and is now proud to be an educator at JNF AMHSI. He is married to Liat, a Sabra, and they have four children, Galia (20), Yael (19), Avinoam (16) and Adi (12). Mordechai can’t wait to meet you and show off incredible Israel.
A few testimonials below or what happy virtual tourers said about Mordechai’s tours 

Today's virtual visits in Israel were "beyond" as my dear friend says. What a terrific day...we really put miles on our bus...but boy do I need a hike after so many tasty treats!!!
It was by far the finest mission to date that we have been on...thank you for guiding us and for so many good stories. 

Thru these virtual missions we are learning so much...and it's also good to see that we haven't forgotten all that much either!!! Visiting all the familiar places this week has definitely brought an abundance of tears and is a reminder of how soon I have to return...oy!!! 

Thanks so much, 

Kol Hakovod!!!!
With our best,
H and A 

I want to say a giant thank you for being our virtual guide on the Israel trip this week. It was an incredible experience. 
When the pandemic first started and we were completely locked down, I made a list of things I would do when it was over....a way to keep my sanity and a reminder that it would end. At the top of the list was “plan a trip to Israel”. So this trip had a special meaning as it is virtually fulfilling one of my “pandemic to dos”.
I have been to Israel 3 times —but haven’t been for many years— and thought this trip would be a rehash of what I had already seen. Boy was I wrong! I loved the combination of super old sites, with the new modern Israel. I loved seeing things I hadn’t seen (or even known about)—the bullet factory, Declaration Hall, etc.  
Most especially, I loved your storytelling! I was engrossed when you would weave a tale together making the site come alive and helping us understand its relevance. That is a real gift.
I truly appreciated your enthusiasm and exuberance. You instilled in me a real excitement to go back to Israel—and surely I will when travel is possible again.
Thank you for creating such a memorable week this summer. I am eternally grateful.
Shavuah Tov.
May you and your family always have good health and many blessings.

Dear Mordecai,  

What a delightful trip. Israel has definitely changed since 1975. There is no way I would have recognized Beer Sheva. We particularly enjoyed the Bullet Factory.   We loved your telling of Masada. We also enjoyed your telling of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the archeological finds that I really was not aware of. Caesarea may have been my favorite.  You are an incredible teacher. Your students are incredibly lucky to have you as a teacher. 

When Covid is over we would like to actually visit Israel again. 

Thank you so much, Have a good Shabbat,  

  1. We could not think of a negative comment.  

Dear Mordechai 

It was lovely to see Israel thru your eyes. Thank you for every second of it. It’s been a GREAT week.  


Improve your building's air quality!
Save money on utilities!
Please join us to learn more....

COVID-19 Indoor Air Quality Best Practices for Houses of Worship

This program is offered on MONDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 2 at 7:30pm EST.

Presented by Professor Curt M. Freedman, PE, CEM, CEA, LEED AP, Adjunct professor of Energy Management and Alternative Energy at Western New England University (Springfield, MA), a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), and a Registered Professional Engineer, will engage participants in an interactive discussion of best practices and Massachusetts standards for COVID building ventilation and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

Participants are encouraged to submit in their registration any additional topics that they would like the speaker to address during the presentation.

A Zoom link will be emailed to all registrants on Monday.
Please join us: Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
Thursday, December 3, 2020 
Seven o'clock in the Evening (EST)

Community Events*
LimmudFest Online
Sunday, November 15
11:00 am - 4:30 pm

Join us for a day filled with Jewish culture, learning, music and so much more!

Don’t miss out on LimmudBoston’s eFestival 2020

Sign up now for LimmudFest 2020, a unique and inspiring online festival being held on Sunday, November 15 from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm. The eFest features superstars from across the Jewish world, like Israeli Educator Rachel Korazim, Racial Justice Activist Ma Nishtana, former White House chef Susan Barocas, rabbi and musician Menachem Creditor, Virginia-based musical group Trio Sefardi, and 30 additional teachers and performers. 

Special this year will be several sessions that celebrate the racial diversity within Judaism and explore issues of identity, justice, and acceptance here, and in Israel. 

Register at
Hadassah Boston:
The Forgotten Refugees
Sunday, November 1 @ 7:30PM

A film about the unknown history of the Jewish communities in Arab countries, ome of which had existed for over 2,500 years. Hadassah Boston invites you to a discussion and Q & A, with Executive Producer, Avi Goldwasser, on his film: The Forgotten Refugees. Upon registering: the link to view the film, and the zoom link for the discussion, will be sent. Thank you to the Israel Advocacy Alliance.

Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston
November 8, 1:30-4:40pm EST - Virtual - Zoom
Free for JGSGB members / $5 for non-members Register at 
Jonathan Brent - YIVO’s Rediscovered Archives in Vilna and New York; and Spotlight Talk: Elliot Matz- Bringing Jewish Life to Lithuania’s “Sturbridge Village.”
YIVO’s collections include more than 2.5 million documents and 12,000 books that were long thought to be lost and represent over 500 years of Jewish history in Eastern Europe. The landmark Edward Blank YIVO Vilna project will preserve and digitize these materials, making them available to researchers. Dr. Jonathan Brent’s talk describes the project and the political and social roles these records play in contemporary Lithuanian society and 21st century Jewish identity.
Spotlight Talk:
Before World War I, there were thousands of small market towns in Eastern Europe where Christians and Jews resided. Today, millions of their descendants are not well served by an existing open-air Museum of Lithuania in the town of Rumsiskes, which all but omits the lives of the former Jewish population. Elliot Matz speaks about his efforts to remedy this situation by adding a view of Jewish life in these towns to the exposition.
November 15 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm EST Virtual - Zoom
Free and open to all. Registration begins November 9 at
Annual Lecture: Steven J. Zipperstein – Myth and History in the Recent Jewish Past
For many Jews, the Russian and East European Jewish past is little more than a miasma of misery. As often as not, the experience is summed up with little more than the word “pogrom” which has come to serve as a sturdy coda for all that transpired in what was, at the turn of the 20th century, the largest concentration of Jews in the world. How consistent these assumptions are with history, how they surfaced and with such persistence and what else transpired in this culturally diverse, complex community will be the subject of this talk.

Don’t miss the world’s largest event on antisemitism, hate and bigotry. Never Is Now is the best way to learn about and discuss contemporary drivers of antisemitism and hate and how to replace misinformation with facts. This year, it’s online and free, so we expect a bigger crowd than ever!

Shusterman Center for Israel Studies

American Jews and the State of Israel: As One or Divided? 
Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy in conversation with Jonathan Sarna and Shirley Idelson, based on the book "Never Alone" 
Monday, November 9, 2020
12:00-1:00 PM EST
Zoom event
Presented by Brandeis University's Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. Hear Natan Sharansky, hero of the Soviet Jewry movement and former chair of Israel's Jewish Agency, along with his "Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People" co-author, historian Gil Troy. They will discuss Israel's relationship with American Jewry, antisemitism on college campuses, the failed compromise aimed at opening the Western Wall for non-Orthodox prayer services and more with Schusterman Center Director, University Professor Jonathan D. Sarna, and Leon A. Jick. Director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, Rabbi Shirley Idelson. Co-hosted by the Office of the President. Free and open to all. Registration required to receive the Zoom link. 

TLV TV Israeli TV Binge: Unchained - Live Q&A
Sunday, November 15
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EST
Zoom event

Enter our raffle (by 11/01) to win a free ticket!

Stream “Unchained” Season 1 (Hebrew with subtitles) between November 4-15. Tickets: $15. Then Zoom in for the Live Q&A, included with purchase of ticket or all-access pass. The conversation will feature creator/director Tamar Kay, lead actress Avigayil Koevary, and Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and will be moderated by Boston Jewish Film Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam. Sponsored by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, with cosponsorships from the following Brandeis University partners: Brandeis Alumni Association, Hebrew Language and Literature Program, Hillel, and the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

Unchained: Live Q&A
Included with purchase of TLV TV Israeli TV Binge ticket or all-access pass. Zoom in for a conversation with creator/director Tamar Kay, lead actress Avigayil Koevary, and Dr. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, moderated by Boston Jewish Film Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam.

Sponsored by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies with cosponsorships from the following Brandeis University partners: Brandeis Alumni Association, Hebrew Language and Literature Program, Hillel, and the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

Books and Babies: Reproductive Literacy among Haredi Women in Israel
Thursday, November 12, 2020
12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT
Zoom event
An academic presentation by Michal Raucher, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of Israel studies, religious ethics, Jewish studies, and the anthropology of women and gender. She explores how Jewish women in the US and Israel push boundaries, reinforce norms, and construct moral worlds. Dr. Raucher’s book, "Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women,", was published by Indiana University Press in November 2020. She will be discussing her research and the book. Free and open to all. Registration required to receive the Zoom link. 
Free National Webinar
Join us for a Conversation with Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Author of How to be Friend to a Friend Who's Sick
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 8pm EST/5pm PST
Join Sharsheret and our community partners for an engaging conversation with activist, breast cancer survivor, and author, Letty Cottin Pogrebin as she offers insights and practical advice and answers your questions.
The book can be purchased on Amazon, or at your local bookseller.
Email Melissa Rosen with any questions, or for additional information.
For support navigating this challenging and uncertain time, please email [email protected] to be connected to a Sharsheret social worker. 
Sunday November 22, 2020

Joyce & Michael Bohnen
Ellie & Barry Shrage


Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) is accepting applications for children (ages 6-18) to be matched with a caring adult (21+) mentor in our Children’s ProgramLGBTQ+ and questioning children can be matched with an adult in the LBGTQ+ community. This is a FREE program to children and their families with opportunities for summer camp and college scholarships. Matches are currently meeting in person with CDC and Mass Govt guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing. Additionally, we are recruiting adults (ages 18+) with mild to moderate disabilities to participate in the Friend 2 Friend Adults with Disabilties Program. In Friend 2 Friend, an adult with disabilties is matched one to one with a friend in the community. Friends create their own schedule and agree to see each other 1-2 times per month for at least a year. Again, JBBBS in-person meetups follow CDC and Mass Govt. guidelines of social distancing and masks. Below is a blurb that covers both programs.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters is also recruiting adults(18+) with mild to moderate disabilities to participate in our Friend 2 Friend Adults with Disabilities Program which introduces adults with disabilities to new friends in the community. In the Friend 2 Friend Program, matched friends meet 1-2 times a month for a minimum of one year. All JBBBS in-person meetups follow CDC and Mass Govt. guidelines of social distancing and masks.  

Learn about how JBBBS has helped people across Greater Boston (in 90 cities and towns) at Or contact [email protected]
Jewish Family & Children's Service: Family Table

Family Table, the kosher food pantry at Jewish Family & Children’s Service, is looking for volunteers in Waltham, Marblehead, and Canton as we continue to serve our clients during the pandemic. In the past few months, our numbers have increased as we are providing emergency food for many people impacted by the ongoing health crisis. Volunteers are needed to pack and deliver groceries on Sunday distribution days, pre-pack bags during the week, and assist during our curbside pick-up distributions. Strict social distancing guidelines are in place. All volunteers 18 and older must undergo a CORI background check prior to volunteering. If you’re interested in volunteering with Family Table, please see our Distribution Schedule and fill out this application form. For questions, email [email protected] or call 781-693-5593.
Israeli American Council

The Israeli American Council offers events and programs for individuals of all ages. Explore their catalogue of educational offerings, activism programs, holiday celebrations and commemorations, festivals, gala, and more!

Yachad New England

This fall, Yachad New England is offering a wide range of virtual events. Enjoy programs based on varying themes, from meditation to sports to Torah, and so much more!

*If you have an event or initiative you'd like us to promote in a future bulletin, please email us at [email protected].