Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
20 May 2021 - 9 Sivan 5781
Parashat  Naso
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
Parashat Naso contains the priestly blessing: "May Adonai bless you and protect you! May Adonai deal kindly and graciously with you! May Adonai bestow favor upon you and grant you peace!" In The Power of Blessings, Yael Shy writes: In these verses, God teaches the priests a special blessing for the children of Israel. It serves as an interruption from the priests’ seemingly endless list of sacrifices given and received on behalf of the people as well as rituals in their direct communication with the Divine. Compared to all the “dashing out” of the blood and guts of animals as well as the burning of fat and incense, this blessing is rather quiet and intimate. It does not depend on the behavior of the Israelites. It isn’t a response to guilt, or conflict, or jealousy or even gratitude. God simply wants humans to take a moment and bless each other. Rashi heightens the preciousness of the moment even further by picking up on the repetitive line, “saying to them,” in verse 23. saying: The word ‫ָאמֹור‬ is written in its full form [i.e., with a “vav”], indicating that they should not bless them hastily or in a hurried manner, but with concentration and with wholeheartedness.
I pray that we do everything with concentration and wholeheartedness, as the priests were to bless the nation. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from our President

I am inviting you to attend Congregation Agudat Achim’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 26th that will commence promptly at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. This is a wonderful opportunity for synagogue members to review the activities of the past year and to help determine the direction of the congregation for the following year by approving the proposed budget and electing the School Board and the Board of Trustees.

Once again, this year, due to the pandemic, the meeting will be conducted via Zoom. This will impact the voting process; therefore, we are asking that everyone who plans to participate in the annual meeting please RSVP (using the link that you received in the constant contact) and let us know if you will be using audio and video in Zoom, or just audio.

A detailed agenda and Zoom voting/commenting instructions will be sent out prior to the meeting. It will include the President’s report and Rabbi’s report, various committee reports, and the presentation of the proposed operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, there will be a report on the Religious School.

I have been honored to serve as your president this past year. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting; it is important that each member who is in good standing and eligible to vote attend our Annual Meeting and exercise his/her right to vote for the future well-being of our congregation.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jackie Rowen
Biblical Perspectives on Dying Tonight
This program will be held in a different Zoom room than the one on the flyer, please use the link below.

Meeting ID: 818 3718 4285
Passcode: 900019

Death with Dignity Program
Summer Hebrew Class Starting Soon
Men's Club Program
More Adult Education Offerings
Click the buttons below to read information on each
upcoming event!
Big Carrot Festival News
Kick-Off Meeting for 43rd Annual Carrot Festival
Wednesday, June 2 at 7:30 pm immediately following 7:15 minyan (in the same Zoom room)

Our 43rd annual Carrot Festival is October 10! While we know that we won't quite be back to "normal", we do know that we will be able to do more than we did last year. All who are interested are invited and encouraged to join our planning committee! Bring a new idea that you would like to try! Bring an old idea that you would like to bring back! Anything is possible! And because we are meeting on Zoom, you can even join the committee if you live out of town.

It is important to note that the Carrot Festival committee is divided into several smaller working groups, so we are sure that there is something that will appeal to you.

There is no need to RSVP. Just come and join the fun on June 2. Please contact Hillary Fink (committee chair) at 518-331-4208 or if you have any questions, you would like to talk about an idea, or you would like to join the committee and are not able to attend the meeting on June 2.

We look forward to making this the best Festival ever, and continuing to make our beloved Rose Westheimer z"l proud!
With our Members
Birthdays: Carole Feinberg, Polly Schwartz, Connor Shapiro, Haley Korn, Joseph Naparstek, Marc Weiss, Zoe Handelman, Alyssa Kahn-Ehrlich

Anniversaries: Walter & JoAnn Krefetz, Larry & Rise’ Routenberg, Neil & Linda Shapiro
Yahrzeits: Morton Faine, Mary Feinberg, Jack Feldman, Charles Hertzendorf, Dana Morse, Irwin Goldman, Anita Greenberg, Leonard Oshins, Eleanor Soper, Bernard Berk, Philip Diamond, Sharon Lineback, Morris Siegal
Thank You
Thank you to the individuals who participated in this past week's Shabbat and Yom Tov Shavuot services: Yashar koach!
Torah and Haftara Readers: Howie Mittleman, Alexandra Schmidt (Shabbat); Rabbi Spitzer, Rachael Besser (Shavuot I); Art Friedson, Murray Jaros (Shavuot II)
Daveners/Service Leaders: Rachel Schmidt, Eli Feret (Shabbat); Howie Mittleman, Murray Jaros (Shavuot I); Rabbi Spitzer, Art Friedson (Shavuot 
Service Coordinator/Gabbai: Alexandra Schmidt (Shabbat)
COVID-19 Compliance Guarantor/Shamash: Susan Sharfstein (Shabbat); Barby Harris (Shavuot)
Other Participants: Rachael Besser, Eli Feret, Murray Jaros, Susan Sharfstein, Ellen Carpenter, Ken Carpenter, Anita Merims, Neal Shapiro, Colden Shapiro (Shabbat); Leora Spitzer, Anita Merims, Eli Feret, Rabbi Spitzer, Edith Kliman, Murray Jaros (Shavuot I); Michele Kahn, Larry Kahn, Bob Weissberg, Henry Skoburn, Susan Sharfstein, Ron Scharf
Book of Ruth Readers: Art Friedson, Rachael Besser, Rabbi Spitzer, Barby Harris
Contributors to our Security Fund, Attendees…“…those who give funds for heat and light, wine for Kiddush and Havdalah, bread to the wayfarer and charity to the poor, and all those who devotedly involve themselves with the needs of this community… May the Holy Blessed One reward them, remove sickness from them, heal them, and forgive their sins. May God bless them by prospering all their worthy endeavors, and let us say: Amen.”
Would you like to see your name on this list?
Get in touch with Howie Mittleman or Rabbi Spitzer!

School Information

Final Days Schedule

May 20 regular day

May 23 half day ends at 11am to attend awards ceremony for Chris.

June 3 4:00- 5:00pm 6th grade family program outside with Rabbi Spitzer at the shul.

June 6 last day ceremony 10:30am - 11:3oam

New Meals to Go Listings
Catering's Meals to Go
Freezers are Filled

Prepared and packaged frozen food perfect for small gatherings or everyday meals!
Just contact Rise' Routenberg at to place your order and arrange pick up.
Make checks payable to Congregation Agudat Achim 
Or call the office at 518-393-9211 to place a credit card order.

You can see the entire list of offerings by clicking on the button below

Schedule for the Week
Ongoing Events

Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer Next Class 25 May
Rabbi Spitzer teaches a class on the weekly Torah portion on Tuesdays from 12:30p – 1:30p on Zoom. The link is on the CAA Online Programming Google Doc. If you are interested in exploring the weekly Parashah, please attend. All are welcome. Rabbi Spitzer invites you to call or email with your comments or thoughts.

Back to the Basics: Life Cycle Spring Rabbi Spitzer Teaches a 3-part class on Jewish Life Cycle events                                    Thursdays 3, 10, and 17 June 7:30p

Tot Shabbat Next Date 28 May at 4:30p  
Mark your calendars for all of the upcoming Tot Shabbat Programs 28 May; 11, 25 Jun.  Time: 4:30p - 5:05p

L'chu N'ran'nah Shabbat morning spiritual seeking 9-9:45a
  • Iyyun Tefilah/ Learner's Service: 19 Jun

Adult Hebrew Classes with Zipporah Harris
Please become part of this group of learners!
Next series of classes; May 25
New series starts: Tuesdays at 6pm on 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June; 6, 13, 20, 27 July, and 3 Aug
6:00-7:00 PM on Zoom
Register in advance for this meeting:

$10 per class, payable directly to Zipporah
Open to New and Returning Students!
Born in Israel, Zipporah is an experienced teacher who has taught Hebrew at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels for over 30 years. The class covers reading, writing, and conversation. Please become part of this group of learners! Classes. If you are interested in joining, write to Zipporah at

Back to the Basics: Introduction to Prayer Book Hebrew for Adults, taught by Rabbi Spitzer
Sundays 9:30-10:30am
Join Rabbi Spitzer and the Adult Education Committee as we present an introductory course for Prayerbook (liturgical) Hebrew. Registration for this course is now closed. Class dates for registered students 9, 23, 30 May; 6, 13 June (all Sundays, 9:30 am – 10:30 am)

CAA Healthy Living Group
Every Wednesday on Zoom at 10a.

CAA Book Club
Meets on the Second Wednesday of each month, at 12:00p Next Meeting June 9

CAA Men’s Club Torah Study
Meets Monthly on Sundays at 7:30p Next Meeting 23 May
Summer Minyan Schedule
Our evening 7:15p service each night except Tuesday night will be Mincha.. Friday Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 5:30p, on Zoom.

Links to Religious Services
Siddur Supplement
Until further notice, we are using the full Siddur Sim Shalom during weekday and Shabbat services. This version has both Shabbat and Weekday prayer services (whereas the "Slim Shalom," which only contains Shabbat services are typically used in the sanctuary). Rabbi Spitzer has made the following four prayers accessible.

We would like to make everyone’s experience of the service at home as barrier-free as possible so please get in touch with us if there are other things that we can do to increase ease of access.
In the Community
Book Launch Event
Join us for a discussion & reading with the authors

Thursday, May 27, 2021
10am PT / 1pm ET / 8pm GMT
Moderated by Rabbi Sharon Brous
About the book: 
In this Place Together: a Palestinian's Journey to Collective Liberation
by Penina Eilberg-Schwartz with Sulaiman Khatib
A joint project between an American Jewish writer and Palestinian peace activist Sulaiman Khatib, In this Place Together tells Khatib's story: how he spent ten years of his early life in Israeli jails, and how he came to dedicate his life to joint nonviolent work with Israelis. Ultimately, the project is a broader poetic and narrative meditation on joint nonviolence, on Palestinian-Israeli co-resistance in the face of occupation, and on the complexities of creating a new story. Intimate and political, In this Place Together opens a window to the questions of power, multiple narratives, and imagination that touch on struggles for justice everywhere.

Life Line Screening, the nation’s leading provider of preventive health screenings, will offer affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings at Congregation Agudat Achim on Thursday, June 24, 2021. 

A package of five screenings to identify risk for stroke, heart disease and other chronic conditions will be offered:
  • Carotid artery ultrasound to identify plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, a major risk factor for stroke
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound to identify presence of an enlargement in the largest blood vessel in the body
  • An EKG to identify the presence of atrial fibrillation, which increases the risk for stroke
  • Ultrasound of the lower legs to look for plaque buildup known as peripheral artery disease
  • Ultrasound of the shin bone to identify risk for osteoporosis
These 5 vital screenings are offered for only $149 and take 60-90 minutes to complete. If you register today, you will receive a $10 discount.

Register by calling toll free 1-888-653-6441 or text the word "circle" to 797979.
Staff Emails
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer,, (518) 348-9478
Joshua Cooper-Ginsburg, Executive
Jack Mintzer, Education Director:
Chris Parisi, Administrative Assistant:
Rise' Routenberg, Catering:  
Board Emails
Jackie Rowen, President:
Steve Schmidt, Program VP:
Jeff Shapiro, Youth VP:
Neal Shapiro, Treasurer:
Our Sponsors
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