May 15, 2020

Please check our current newsletter for additional information about these and other events, or call AJ's main office for information. 

***Please note: Due to a Zoom event with JTS Chancellor Eisen, minyan on Tuesday evening will be at 8:00 PM and Tuesday night's session of Rav Shai's class, "Introduction to Judaism," will be cancelled.***

Please note: Due to coronavirus, the synagogue building will be closed until further notice. Until then, all services will be held virtually through Zoom. See below for the links.

***The May/June 2020 Newsletter  is now online (the March/April 2020 Newsletter is too, of course).
Dear Friends...
Mazel Tov!
An Exclusive Conversation with JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen
Do You Know a Graduate?
Healing Service, Led by Hazzan Glantz
Save the Date! AJ Trivia Night
Great Opportunity for High School Students!
Looking for a Family-Friendly Event?
Needed! Homemade Masks for Einstein Patients
AJ's Virtual Services
Scheduled Virtual Events
Ongoing Virtual Events
Changes at AJ
Update Regarding the AJ Website
Let Us Help You Celebrate!
Are You Suffering From Loneliness?
Donations and Cards
Helpful Resources
Kosher Meals from Betty the Caterer
Jewish Federation Needs You
POSTPONED! Six-Week Adult Education Class
KleinLife: Montgomery County
Community Events You May Be Interested In
In Case You Missed It...
Dear Friends....
As noted on the AJ calendar, tonight is "Guess Who's Coming to Shabbas?"  Although we had planned to get together in the homes of fellow congregants, or at shul, we will instead take part in our first virtual GWCTS. A huge thank you to Merril Stup, Dayna Glantz, Leslie Sokolow, Sandy Nadel, and Marjorie Trager. Through their efforts, we  will  join together this evening, via Zoom, to share our Shabbas dinner following Kabbalat Shabbat services.  They lovingly planned, coordinated, publicized, shopped, delivered, and organized this event. I am extremely grateful for all they have done so that we can usher in Shabbat together.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom. 

Mazel Tov!
Lorna Rosenberg shares that after 36 years of service at the US environmental protection agency, she retired on April 30, 2020. Since the middle of a pandemic is not a very good time to relax or travel.... she'll be contributing her work on green and healthy schools with colleagues around the Commonwealth and the nation on the safe re-opening of K-12 schools. Best of luck to you, Lorna!

* * *
Jessica Goldberg, daughter of members Leslie and Michael Goldberg, and granddaughter of members Vivien and Allan Marmon, recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, summa cum laude and will continue for her Master's degree at Pitt. Mazel tov to the whole family!
EisenAn Exclusive Conversation with JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen
Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00 PM (via Zoom)
Chancellor Eisen's 14-year tenure will end on June 30. At one of his last appearances as Chancellor, join him as he reflects on his time leading JTS, and the challenges that JTS and the Jewish world face in the years to come. 
Chancellor Eisen will discuss:
  • Expansion of JTS curriculum and programming to better prepare leaders for the challenges of modern Jewish life;
  • Completion of the new JTS campus that exemplifies Jewish values of community, accessibility, and scholarship; and
  • Challenges facing JTS and Jews around the world as a result of the pandemic and its effect on Jewish practice and engagement. 
This is an exclusive event for Friends of JTS synagogues and their congregants. Please register here.

***Tuesday evening minyan will be held at 8:00 PM.

***Tuesday night's session of Rav Shai's class, "Introduction to Judaism," will be cancelled.
Do You Know a Graduate?
During Shabbat services on Saturday, June 13, we will be honoring our high school and college graduates. Please let us know of any family members who have graduations coming up so that we can include them. Send an email to
HealingHealing Service, Led by Hazzan Glantz
Monday, May 18, at 5:00 PM
Why attend a healing service?

Some folks attend a healing service for themselves. Others may be motivated to be present for a loved one who is suffering. For some, wounds and ailments are visible and more obvious, but many people hurt and suffer from pain that cannot be so easily seen. The healing service has the potential to help participants seeking to find balance or solace or spirituality within. 

Unlike a standard prayer service, there is no set structure that has been handed down through the generations. Although there will be a 'seder', an order to things, there is no haggadah that guides us in our choices. I like to include music, brief meditations, a ritual washing of hands, prayers that are both communal and personal, aloud and in silence. The service includes healing prayers that may be familiar, steeped in our ancient liturgy as well as more contemporary and current inclusions. Toward the end of our (approximately 45 minute) time and space, I warmly offer participants the option of sharing something brief about their experience.

We will end with a reminder that what has been shared in this service is private and confidential and that this promise is upon all of us to keep for each other.

Here is the Zoom info:

By computer:
By phone:  Please dial 929.436.2866 or 301.715.8592. 
Meeting ID#: 965 1325 9245

Hazzan Glantz
TriviaSave the Date! AJ Trivia Night!
Sunday, May 24
Join us for a fun-filled, family friendly trivia night! Fantastic prizes and interesting tidbits guaranteed! The event will begin at 7:30 after evening minyan on Sunday, May 24. Stay tuned for more details. We look forward to seeing you there!
JTSGreat Opportunity for High School Students!
JTS JustCity and CityStage: Transformational Summer Programs for High School Students

The pre-college summer institutes of JTS,  JustCity and CityStage, hold transformational summer programs for high school students. This summer, they are offering an online course entitled "Justice and Art in Moments of Crisis" from June 28 through July 12.

Course Description: 
Explore the intersection of Judaism and justice, earning 1 college credit. As part of this online program, you'll let your creative juices flow and produce your own works of art, while building friendships with teens from across the country.
1:00 p.PM -- 2:30 PM ET: Judaism & Justice Deep Dive
3:00 PM -- 4:30 PM ET: Creative Arts Workshop
8:00 PM -- 9:00 PM ET: Community Time: Learning from each other and guests from the field
Shabbat and Sunday programming, too!

You can download a flyer here. You can learn more about the program and register here.
Looking for a Family-Friendly Event?
The Bible Players present "Live and Inside," a streaming improv comedy event, every Sunday at 4:00 PM. You can get more info about these events on their  Facebook page , and about The Bible Players, in general, on their  website .
Needed! Homemade Masks for Einstein Patients
The City of Philadelphia has a significant number of new COVID-19 cases & hospitalizations continue to rise. Inner city neighborhoods are being hit harder by this highly communicable disease. Masks help stop the spread. Einstein is in need of hand-crafted masks to give to our patients to help keep others safe and preserve medical grade masks for staff. Can you help? 

You can download the instructions here . Your support would be much appreciated!
AJ's Virtual Services
Through the Zoom platform, congregants can attend services virtually. You can find information about how to use the system  here

We have two links for AJ's servic es:

For Saturday evening services:
By computer: 
By phone: Please dial 929.436.2866 or 301.715.8592.
Meeting ID#: 933131679

For all other services (Sunday through Friday morning and evening services, and Shabbat services):
By computer:
By phone: Please dial 929.436.2866 or 301.715.8592.
Meeting ID#: 109428724

You can find  PDFs of Seder  Avodah  here.

Please note:
To avoid the possibility that any of our services will be interrupted by hackers or other unwelcome interlopers ("Zoombombing"), we are making a couple of changes in how we use Zoom. There will now be a virtual waiting room and the host will welcome each guest into the meeting. You may want to call or log in a few minutes ahead of the start time so that the host has time to welcome each guest. There will also be a co-host assigned so that any interlopers can be removed from the service quickly. 
Scheduled Virtual Events
ClassAdult Ed with Rav Shai: Introduction to Judaism
Continuing on Tuesday and Thursday nights , at 7:45 PM, Rav Shai will teach a 24-part  Introduction to Judaism.  This class is designed for those of you who would like a refresher of the basics in a systematic way or who might have a gap or two in your knowledge base you'd like to fill. It's also for folks who are thinking about joining the People of Israel -- and for their loved ones to see what all the fuss is about!

***There will be no class on Tuesday, May 19***
The topic for Thursday night's class will be "Israel and Zionism." Rav Shai and  Hazzan Glantz will be leading that program together.  
This class will run for 24 sessions, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and follow The Great Courses' "Introduction to Judaism" course taught by a much younger version of Rav Shai. The class is wide open to friends and family. His only request is that you view/listen to the relevant class session  before the class convenes. (The 24 sessions are 30 minutes each, and you'll listen/watch those on your own.) That way, at 7:45, we'll be able to review, explain, expand, and relate the content of the session to our unique predicament. The Zoom information is below. (It will also be on the  Facebook AJ Community page  and on the Event Calendar on .)

You can order "Introduction to Judaism" (Course #6423) in DVD format for $39.95 with the audio streaming free of charge. This discounted rate will run from now through December 31, 2020. To receive this discount when placing your order, please call 1.800.832.2412, mention my name, and Reference Code 48. The Great Courses' office hours are from 9:00 AM to midnight ET, Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Zoom information: 
By phone:   Please dial 929.436.2866 or 301.715.8592. 
Meeting ID#: 969452689

Ongoing Virtual Events

All events, except where noted, will use this Zoom link:
By computer:
By phone: Please dial 929.436.2866 or 301.715.8592. 
Meeting ID#:  109428724
On Tuesdays
Hebrew Reading Practice Class with Hazzan Glantz* Maximum class size is four; first registered, first served. Hazzan will gladly add times as needed. Prerequisite: Know the letters and vowels, but want to improve and learn some of the tricks of the trade.  9:30 AM

Megillat Esther Trope Class with Hazzan Glantz.* 
Get ready for Purim in July... or next year! 3:20 PM - 4:00 PM **Note change in start time!**

Beginners Torah Trope  Class with Hazzan Glantz.* We'll start with the symbols. Prerequisite: basic Hebrew reading ability. 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

On Thursdays
Learn from Alef with Hazzan Glantz.*  Maximum class size is four; first registered, first served. Hazzan will gladly add times as needed.  Learn to read in Hebrew starting with the Alef-Bet. Prerequisite: Only the desire to be able to read the letters and vowels from the Hebrew texts. 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Talmud Class with Hazzan Glantz.* Hazzan will share what he is learning in Talmud Class. No prerequisites, geared toward adults. 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

On Fridays
Meditative Healing Service with Hazzan Glantz. Geared to adults. Scheduled by request. Send an email to 8:15 AM - 9:00 AM, or at a time convenient to you and to Hazzan.

Mesibat Shabbat with Hazzan Glantz. Geared toward preschool age, but likely fun for 1st and 2nd graders too. All ages welcome. 9:30 AM

Preregistration for these classes is appreciated; just send an email to
Changes at AJ Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This is a reminder that we have added a page to the AJ website that explains our actions and policies for dealing with the virus to date.  Here is the direct link to the COVID-19 page on the AJ website:  
Update Regarding the AJ Website
Some congregants have inquired about  the words "Log In" that appear in the upper right corner. The ability to log in to the website is a feature that is not activated, and can only be used by the site administrator at this time. The congregation will be advised if this feature is activated in the future.
Let Hazzan Glantz Help You Celebrate!
Do you know someone who is having a birthday and could use help celebrating? If so, contact Hazzan Glantz at and he'll record a birthday song for your child or relative!
Are You Suffering From Loneliness?
The social distancing required to defeat the coronavirus has upended our lives. We have been separated from family, friends, and coworkers. If you are experiencing loneliness or know of someone who is, please let us know how we can help . You can reach Rav Shai at 215.992.4112 or, or Hazzan Glantz at 215.439.5033 or
Donations and Notification Cards
We want to let you know that all donations are being processed but until the AJ building is opened again, we will be delayed in sending out cards. We appreciate your continuing donations.
Helpful Resources
Looking for things to do while you "Stay at Home"? Here is a link to a number of resources our Director of Programming, Ilana McAfoos, has compiled. You can also find it on the COVID-19 page on the AJ website.

US Senator for Pennsylvania Bob Casey has links to a wide range of resources that can help you, your family, and your community navigate the challenges of this difficult time. They include easy-to-understand descriptions of provisions from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act just passed by Congress. You can find those links here.

Kosher Meals from Betty the Caterer
Betty the Caterer is offering kosher meals for pickup at MBIEE. The menu for May is here. The menu for May 28 through June 11 is here. You can find out more about Betty the Caterer  here.
Jewish Federation Needs You!
The Jewish Federation's Emergency Fund is currently raising money for food, counseling, and other basic necessities for our Jewish social safety-net agencies. We anticipate that the funds will go to additional needs as they arise, and as funds are raised. Jewish Federation is uniquely situated to assess the needs, raise money, and distribute funds quickly, as the needs change. All of our Jewish safety-net agencies serve both Jews and non-Jews throughout Greater Philadelphia. Please consider making a donation to Jewish Federation's COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
Six-Week Adult Education Class with Rav Shai:
"Medieval Judaisms and Modern Denominations"
Rav Shai has decided that it makes sense to hold off on the re-start of this series, until we have a better sense of when we can meet at AJ, together. Stay tuned!
*  *  * 
Rav Shai will continue his series of Thursday night adult education classes with "Medieval Judaisms and Modern Denominations." They will begin at 7:30 PM. There will be a $18.00/per person materials fee  for non-members . If you haven't signed up, you can do so at the link above.  Non-members should also use the online form so they can submit  payment.

Class Description: 
Don't confuse the Bible with Judaism.  The Talmudic Rabbis read the Bible in their own image. It turns out, the medieval mystics did, too. Once the fiddler fell off the roof, denominational leaders chose from the rich smorgasbord of pre-modern Judaisms in order to create Judaism anew.
KleinLife: Montgomery County
Programs for Seniors at AJ  
KleinLife will be closed until further notice.

KleinLife: Montgomery County Dr. Gabriel z"l and Alma Elias Center operates at AJ on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:45 AM to 2:00 PM, in the Braemer Auditorium. Anyone 60 and older is invited to join us. The program is free of charge but space is limited. Please call to sign up! For more information, contact Gail Korostoff at 215.635.5244 or You can download the current newsletter with programs and activities here and a general flyer here.
Community Events You May Be Interested In

Tuesday, June 2: Jewish Population Study | Community Townhall Meetings. The 2019 Community Portrait Jewish Population Study provides a wealth of information to allow our communities to better understand the basic socio-economic, demographic and public health trends across the region's Jewish population. There are many interesting findings from the study about each of our unique communities within the Greater Philadelphia area.

Federation invites you to join them for virtual Town Hall Meetings to learn more about each of these communities. The time options for the Old York Road Corridor are below; a Jewish Federation representative will present the same information at both times. Each presentation will be tailored to that specific region and followed by a Q & A session. You are welcome to register for as many sessions as you'd like to attend.

Old York Road Corridor | Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Register for the afternoon 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Register for the evening 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

If you have questions about these Zoom webinars or would like to submit a question in advance of a webinar, please contact

In Case You Missed It... 

Below are some stories that were in previous weekly emails. We still think they are important enough to include for those who missed them or didn't need the info at the time they were originally published!
Eradicating D omestic Abuse  is a J ewish R esponsibility.

15-20% of all Jewish households experience some form of abuse or violence and Jewish survivors stay in abusive relationships twice as long as the national average. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of a loved one, please contact us at to talk with one of our intake volunteers. 

Dinah is a comprehensive legal services center providing low-cost and pro bono legal representation to survivors of domestic abuse in the Jewish Community of Greater Philadelphia. By partnering with existing Jewish social service providers, Dinah  combats intimate partner violence through advocacy, education and representation.  Visit for more information.
Lunch and Learn Noontime Torah Now Being Held at AJ   
CANCELED until further notice.
Feed your soul at Noontime Torah!

The Rabbinical Assembly-Mid-Atlantic Region invites you to join us weekly at noon for the study of Torah on Tuesdays at AJ from noon to 1:00 PM. A Rabbi and other like-minded individuals await you to engage in exciting discussion and thoughtful analysis of the weekly Torah portion or other stimulating topic. Each class is self-contained so you can plug in at any given week, in any given location. 


Join Us and Grow!

Bring your dairy or pareve lunch and a Bible, drinks will be provided. All are welcome. Classes are not held on major Jewish holidays. For more information, call at any of the locations for details or the main coordinating office of Rabbi Gary Charlestein (610.239.6003).

You can also attend Noontime Torah in Center City at the Offices of Cozen & O'Conner on Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 PM, or in Plymouth Meeting/Norristown at the Offices of Premier Dental Products on Wednesdays from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. Download a flyer for more info.

If part of this column is cut off (for instance, only half of the Service Schedule is showing), it is because your email application can't display an email of this size. Scroll to the bottom of the email and click on "Show entire message."
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Like us on Facebook
Weekly Service Schedule
All services will be held "virtually" on the Zoom platform. See the article at the left for directions for Zoom and links to services. 

May 15, 16, 2020
22 Iyar 5780

Light Shabbat candles
at 7:53 PM 

Friday Evening
Kabbalat Shabbat
6:15 PM
Saturday Morning
Shabbat Morning Service
9:30 AM

Saturday Evening
Min hah-Ma'ariv-Havdalah
7:55 PM

May 19, 2020
Tuesday Evening
Conversation with JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen
7:00 PM

Evening Minyan
8:00 PM
Sunday through Thursday
7:00 PM
9:00 AM
Monday and Thursday:
7:20 AM
Tuesday, Wednesday
and Friday:
7:30 AM
If you'd like to

make a donation to AJ, you can make a donation online, on our website.


Alternatively, you can

click here to download a donation form.

Ongoing Programs
Breathe...Relax...and...Renew your mind, body and spirit!

Friday Mornings
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
***Yoga is canceled***

Contact Esther at
267.240.1842 or
zymesther@gmail .com

$12 per class
Yoga is taught by Esther Goldberg, Certified Yoga Instructor, Certified Zumba Instructor, and Massage Therapist.

Want to make a difference?
Cook For A Friend is a unique program that prepares meals for those in need. CFAF meets at least one weekday evening and one weekday morning each month. Join us in making a difference!

Questions? Contact Sandy Basickes at 215.782.8586 (evening sessions) or Sue Lawson at 215.680.7112
(daytime sessions).

If you are interested in learning about creating Judaic hand crafts, come be a part of Stitchers. We are primarily stitchers, practitioners of the needle arts. No special experience is necessary.  New learners are welcome.  The Stitchers would love to have you come join us on Wednesday mornings in the AJ Library from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon. For more information, contact Karen Moses at 215.676.8542 or (please include AJ Stitchers in the subject line).

Mah Jongg is canceled until further notice.

This guided discussion group is held on designated Monday nights at 7:45 PM. Reading of the book is requested! Attend one or more sessions!
Download the UPDATED 2019-2020 book list.

Looking for a weekly mah jongg game? Want to make new friends? Join the best game in town!

We meet on Wednesdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon in the AJ library. Don't know how to play? We'll teach you!

**Mah Jongg is canceled
until further notice.**

For more information,
contact Judy Szekely
at 215.635.8812 or
Laurel House Shelter Needs Your Donations!
  Laurel House provides shelter and domestic violence services for abused women and their children. Download the Laurel House Wish Lists at the Laurel House website to see the specific items that are needed. Or you can provide a gift card from one of the stores below:

 Wal-Mart   *   Target   *   Amazon   *    Shop Rite   *   Wawa

All items should be NEW. NO gift-wrapped items, please.

Please give any gift card donations to Amy Devine-Stretch in the AJ office for safekeeping. Other items can be brought to AJ and put in the Braemer Foyer coat closet. can purchase gift cards online at store websites and have them mailed directly to Laurel House at: P.O. Box 764, Norristown, PA 19401, 610.277.1860. If the web site will not accept a P.O. Box number, you can send them to 605 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401.

AJ Caring Community
We all experience times of need. For many of us, family and friends step in to provide support. For others, those resources are less present, less apparent and asking for help can be embarrassing and complicated. This is where the AJ Caring Community Committee (AJCCC) comes in with varying levels of support, anything from a phone call to a meal.

Should you know of someone who has such a need or if you find  yourself in a difficult situation please get in touch with us. You can leave a message with Beryl (215.635.6611) in the office, or with Rav Shai at or Naomi Atkins, the chair of the AJCCC at  

Your AJ family is here to help you.
College Connection
We Would Like to Connect with Your College Student!
Surprise your college student with a taste of home! College students enrolled in the AJ College Connection Program will receive the monthly AJ News and enjoy holiday packages sent to school. Children of member families only. Please send the following information to Sandra Goldberg at or call the synagogue office at 215.635.6611: Student Name, School Address, Student Email Address, Parent Email Address and Expected Year of Graduation. This program is enthusiastically sponsored by AJWA Sisterhood.
Lost and Found
If you think you may have
left an item at the synagogue, please call the office
at 215.635.6611 and
we'll let you know if it's
in our Lost and Found