Volume 3 | Issue 5









From Rabbi's Desk

Chanah Haigh Plants a Tree in Jerusalem 

15 Shevat 5767 (Tu b’shevat 2007)

Today is Tu b’shevat 5783, the 15th of Shevat ( (טוin the Jewish Calendar and February 6th in the secular calendar. In Hebrew School this week the community shared in a beautiful celebration, the festival reminding all of us of our obligation to this planet. Since planting her tree in Jerusalem in 2007 our daughter had devoted much of her intellectual capital toward repairing the world. She is working toward her degree in environmental analysis and policy, recently publishing an article on her research into the issues around warehouses and their detrimental effects on the planet. Our obligations to lower the temperature in urban jungles and rejuvenate the land, taking responsibility for our carbon footprint, all call to us at this time at the birthday of the trees. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai taught in Avot der rabbi Natan, “if you have a sapling in your hand ready to plant, and the Messiah comes, plant the tree first then go and greet the Messiah.” Each of us must consider what we can do to change the world. 

We observe with horror this morning the death of over 20,000* people in Turkey and Syria, as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake literally shattered our planet. We know that the effects of the quake were felt as far south as Jerusalem. Just as we as committed Jews in the diaspora must plant our trees and work to sustain the planet and the Land, we too must realize the deep connections that each of us holds with one another. Our actions here affect those around the globe, our compassion, prayers, and concerns extend beyond the borders of our land toward those in need around the planet. Even as we plant trees in Jerusalem and pray for the coming of a new and healed world, we are reminded of the need to extend the borders of our care.  

On Sunday the 19th of February we will join with eight other faith-based organizations in the Woodstock area and offer prayers and songs for peace recognizing the tragedy that continues to unfold in Ukraine as the war, the invasion the attack on human dignity and freedom enters its second year.  

We pray too for those families devastated by this recent natural disaster. In first Kings, we are taught that Adonai was not in the fire, not in the wind, and not in the earthquake but in a soft murmuring sound (ק֖וֹל דְּמָמָ֥ה דַקָּֽה the kol dimmah dakah). May this whisper, quiet and beautiful, fortified in its combining with the voices and prayers and songs of our neighbors, and the actions of our hands be for all of us a touch point with the soft murmuring sound of God. Together in prayer and in action might we move to change and repair our world. Ken Yehi Ratzon 


Jewish Federation has opened a link for those

 interested in supporting survivors in Turkey and Syria

*as reported on 2/9/23

Rabbi Ilene Harkavy Haigh

From the Social Justice Chair

Shir Shalom’s nascent Social Justice committee—which is just getting organized—is looking at a new national Jewish organization called “Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action.” Dayenu says, “We’ve had enough! We’re building a movement to confront the climate crisis, rooted in Jewish values, experience, and spirit.” When our committee starts meeting, we’ll decide if we want to recommend that Shir Shalom should become a “Dayenu Circle,” which means we’ll have easy access to ideas for fighting climate change—at home, at work and school, at the synagogue, and throughout the state and nation.  

Dayenu has scheduled a three-part training called “Taking on Goliath” for anyone 18-32 that will focus on “ways to organize against the corporate forces of denial and delay.” The registration deadline is next Tuesday, February 14, and more than 50 young people have already registered from 22 states and jurisdictions; there are still a few spots available, so grab your spot today!


The training will be given in three parts later this month on February 21, 23, and 28, 8-10 pm ET / 7-9 pm CT / 6-8 pm MT / 5-7 pm PT.

Margie Elsberg, Social Justice Chair

Register Here

From the Hebrew School Director's Desk

“And you shall teach the Torah to your children and you should speak about it when you are at home and when you travel, before you lie down to sleep and when you wake up.” – Deuteronomy 6:7

Each year, our Hebrew School adopts a theme to knit together our learning. Last year, we celebrated “The Year of the Mensch,” and this year, “The Year of Torah.” Naturally, we don’t place down the mantle of menschdom or Torah when the year is over. Instead, students continue to build their knowledge and skills upon this foundational learning. What does the Year of Torah look like? We begin each Sunday with a recitation of basic Torah facts followed by our weekly all-school activity which is anchored in Torah. When the kids learn about: holidays, mitzvot, blessings, they learn the textual origin in the Torah for these customs.  

This semester, we are taking our Torah learning a step further, and dipping our toes into “A Taste of Torah” into our Judaic and Hebrew classrooms. Using the Ayeka Soulful Education methodology, our students will engage with the weekly parshah in a personal way. Instead of presenting text-heavy instruction, summaries, or sanitized versions of Torah, Ayeka empowers students and teachers to pull a word/line/concept of Torah that resonates with them and to engage with it on a personal level. This makes the learning highly accessible and relevant to all learners. Our students will also use Torah to practice their Hebrew skills by identifying letters and words in the weekly parshah, & they will learn how to navigate the text. Our hope is that by engaging with Torah regularly, they will build the skills needed for synagogue comfort. The Gan students will continue to learn the Parshat Hashavua (weekly Torah portion) through song and ‘Storah-telling,’ drawing on the life lessons our ancestors embodied – that continue to instruct us today. 

Why the emphasis on Torah? The Torah instructs us to teach the words of Torah to our children and students. Learning Torah is one of the greatest mitzvot, and in Jewish tradition: what one learns, one should teach to others. We want our students to understand that Torah is a living, breathing, relevant document that is just as insightful and meaningful today as it was when our ancestors received it on Sinai. Further, it is essential that young Jews understand that our actions, words, and customs are not arbitrary, but rather are tethered to Torah - connecting us to our ancestors and to future generations of Jews.

We hope that you join us on this journey - be it in Rabbi Haigh’s Torah or Roundtable classes, during Assembly at Hebrew School, via your child skipping out of Shir Shalom on Sunday mornings, during a D’var on Shabbat, through one of my ‘less than brief weekly emails,’ :), or via one of the countless books and websites devoted to Torah study. Shir Shalom is here to support you on this sacred journey - may we continue to grow and go from strength to strength.


Leah Gawel

2023 Hebrew School Calendar


Bernie Fishman

Blanche Blum

Dean Meltzer

Esther Susan Berman

Floyd Silver

Grisha Henry Dlgui

Herbert Lushan

Natalie Barbara Shirman

Seymour Gavins

Stan Pollack

Bessie Zimmerman

Estelle Kraemer

Harry Heller

Henry Stiller

Herbert Slater

Hy Earn

Jean Reehling

Joseph Philip Harris

Lawrence Finer

Samuel H. Levy

William Rabinowitz

Walter D. Shockley Jr.

Harold "Harvey" Jacobs

Max Feigenbaum

Alvin I. Cohen

Audrey Matlins Weiner

Charles D. Bushkin

Douglas Barba

Jean Sonder

Lizzie Grossman

Samuel Gore

Samuel Rosenberg

Sol Beres

William Drazin

Todah Rabah

For all the gifts of the heart that have been given between January 12, 2023 - February 9, 2023. We could not have done it without you!

Click for list

Coming Up

Sat. Feb 11 @ 10:30 AM

Shabbat Morning Minyan

Sun. Feb 12 @ 10:00 AM

Hebrew School and Hamentashen Bake-off

Mon. Feb 13 @ 4:00 PM

Book Club

Wed. Feb 15 @ 8:30 AM

Virtual Minyan on Zoom

Wed. Feb 15 @ 7:00 PM

Outdoor Social Group Meeting on Zoom

Thur. Feb 16

Rabbi Learning Series:

Torah Study @ 10:00 AM

Hebrew I @ 12:15 PM

Hebrew II Study @ 11:00 AM

Fri. Feb 17 @ 7:00 PM

Shabbat Worship with Rabbi Haigh

Sat. Feb 18 @ 10:30 AM

Saturday Morning Shabbat Worship with Rabbi Haigh

Sun. Feb 19 @ 1:00 PM

Interfaith and Community songs and prayers for Peace

Sun. Feb 19 @ 6:00 PM

Vermont Youth Climate Group: Tu B'shvat Seder

Wed. Feb 22 @ 7:00 PM

Adult Education - Jewish Art During The Weimar Republic

Fri. Mar 3 @ 5:15 PM

Purim Celebration and Service

Visit Our Calendar

Ukraine Initiative

Shir Shalom VT has successfully brought a Ukrainian teenager and her family to the Upper Valley. The need for help continues while they get settled in.

Please contact Mickey Elsberg or Andrea Felix if you wish to help.

Important Information

Calling all parents of SENIORS in high school:

We are planning our end-of-the-year 'Class of '23 Send Off' to honor this milestone. If you have a senior, please reach out to: 

[email protected]

Zoom Meeting

This will be used for Rabbi's teaching including Torah Study, Hebrew I and II, Adult Education, Wednesday and Saturday Minyans, Social Groups, etc.


Meeting ID: 725 948 2096

Password: 856328

Zoom Room

This will be used for larger group events such as the 1st and 3rd Friday Night Shabbat Services, B'nei Mitzvahs, and Events


Meeting ID: 219 902 8045

Passcode: Dg8WLC

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