Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
19 November 2020 -   3 Kislev  5781
Parashat Toldot  
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
When Yitzchak asks Eisav to prepare him some game “בַּעֲב֛וּר תְּבָרֶכְךָ֥ נַפְשִׁ֖י so that my soul may bestow a blessing upon you” (other translations render it “so that I may give you my innermost blessing” or “that I may give you my own blessing”), Eisav rushes out to do hunt for his father. In the Torah itself, Eisav comes off as a dutiful son in many respects, and he certainly rushes to do this task for his father. He is delayed in hunting, however, and we know that Rivka and Yaakov conspire to deceive Yitzvchak so that Yaakov will get the blessing instead. 
But why did Yitzchak choose this particular day? Midrash Pirkei DRabbi Eliezer has an interesting answer to that question, which the mid-13th century French commentator Chizkuni (Rabbi Hezekiah ben Manoah ) elevates: בעבור תברכני נפשי, “so that my soul may bestow a blessing upon you.” Yitzchak said to Eisav: “tonight is the night on which in the future the Israelites will all offer the Passover, and the angels will respond with many songs of praises to the Lord. This will make blessings pronounced today especially acceptable in heaven, as they will become part of the myriads of blessings uttered at this time.” What do you think is the connection between this story of blessing and the Passover offering? Why would Yitzchak have chosen this moment to bless Eisav?

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Spitzer
A Message from the President
The number of COVID cases around the country are on the rise and the Reopening Task Force is working to continue to keep our CAA community safe. Please keep in mind the following if you would like to attend in-person Shabbat services:
-Please do not come to the Shul if you are not feeling well. This includes a fever or cough. 
-If you have travelled outside New York State or if you feel that you have been possibly exposed to the virus.  
-When you do attend services, please remember to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth, follow social distancing etiquette and frequently use the hand sanitizers that are positioned around the building. 
-When the service is over, please leave the building as quickly as possible.  
If you have any questions about CDC or the CAA Reopening Task Force's recommendations, please call Josh in the office at 518-393-9211 and he will put you in touch with one of our medical professionals. As a community we have done a great job so far, so let's keep up the good work!

Jackie Rowen
With Our Members
Birthdays: Lawrence Newman, Joanne Seltzer, Jake Middleton, Judith Ruthberg, Deborah Yablon

Anniversaries: Sue Ann and Arnold Grosberg, Caroline and Marc Weiss
Yahrzeits: Lawrence Horowitz, Abraham Flecker, Joel Gahuse, Marlene Mendelson, Shirley Newman, Martin Rubinstein, Isidore Schwartz, Sidney Wolin, Morris Abramson, Rebecca Rosenberg-Gudina, Abe Saltzman, Sylvia Wallach, Samuel Braunstein, Herbert Rothernberg, Regina Steiner, Alan J. Westheimer
We have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Mildred Miller on 13 November 2020. Mildred was the mother of Sheryl Miller. Our condolences go out to the Miller family.
Misheberach List
On Shabbat, and on weekdays by request, we offer a healing prayer for those in our family, community, and world that need our attention and prayers. The rabbi reads a list of communal names, which can be easily added to by filling out this google form: Click here Misheberach List / Prayers for Healing Oct 2020 to add a name to our new list. Four times a year everyone will be removed, and we will only continue to pray for those who are resubmitted, if they continue to need our prayers. Rabbi Spitzer and Chris both check the form every week to prepare a list that includes all the names submitted.
Thank You
Thank you to the individuals who participated in this week's Shabbat services.
Yashar koach!
Torah and Haftara Readers: : Howie Mittleman, Grady Goldner
Daveners/Service Leaders: Rachel Schmidt, Grady Goldner
Other Service Participants:: Barby Harris, Roberta Steiner, Judy and Albert Lovenheim, Jay and Shari Lovenheim, Josh and Laurie Goldner, Sonia Goldman, Jill Lovenheim, Jason Goldner, Alex Goldner, Luanne Goldner, Kristine Goldner, Karly Jones, Sabrina Goldner, Julie Goldner, Jeremy Lovenheim, and Vanessa Lovenheim
Service Coordinator/Gabbai: Alexandra Schmidt
COVID-19 Compliance Guarantor/Shamash: Sharon Wohl
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!
Schedule for the Week
Most of our events are happening digitally. Please check the CAA website and Facebook, and look for updates and information via email.

You can find a daily schedule for the next week in a Google Doc which is being updated regularly at this link:
Tonight! Rabbi's Class:
Living A Jewish Life -- Kashrut 7:30p
Living a Jewish Life: Shabbat, Kashrut, and Tzedakah
Some of us received Jewish educations with gaps. Do you keep kosher because your parents did but don’t really understand parve? Who is responsible to observe Shabbat? What does Judaism say about how to allocate tzedakah funds? Whatever your gaps are, whatever your questions are, our adult education theme this year of “Back to the Basics” is for you!
Rabbi’s third class on this theme, “Living a Jewish Life,” (5, 12 & 19 Nov) will cover Shabbat, Kashrut, and Tzedakah.
Open to learners at all levels, including partners and community members of other faiths or of no faith. Come to one or all classes!
5 Nov; 12 Nov; 19 Nov @ 7:30p
Note: the full recording of our second program in this series (12 Nov) on the topic of Shabbat is available on the adult education page of our website. If you missed it, feel free to catch up before the next session, however each class is also stand-alone.
New Kabbalat Shabbat Time
This week: 3:07p
Beginning this week, our Friday afternoon Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat service will be exactly 60 minutes before candle lighting, on Zoom only:
20 Nov – 3:07p; 27 Nov – 3:05p
4 Dec – 3:03p; 11 Dec – 3:03p; 18 Dec – 3:05p; 25 Dec – 3:09p
1 Jan – 3:14p; 8 Jan – 3:21p; 15 Jan – 3:29p; 22 Jan – 3:38p; 29 Jan – 3:47p
Hanukkah Programming: Request for a Volunteer
Disappointed that we cannot have a festive Hanukkah dinner this year, because of the pandemic, Rabbi Spitzer came to the CAA Board of Trustees with a vision: Let's get a big electric loud-and-proud Hanukkiah, and put it out on the front lawn, near route 7, where we have our big carrot in the summer. Let's meet outside, wearing masks and socially distant, for songs and blessings and the opportunity to celebrate together. We don't want to exclude anyone, so of the 8 nights, let's do 3 on Zoom, and 5 outside. Rabbi Spitzer shared with the board his imagination: different parts of the community would take responsibility for different nights of Hanukkah, appointing members of their group to lead the blessings, to sing their favorite songs, to celebrate in their own way. He suggested that perhaps the USY would take a night, the Women's Network, the Men's Club. He suggested that we have a night where we invite the other synagogues in town to join us. Perhaps one night we can invite the Schenectady Clergy Against Hate. Maybe the JCC or Federation would want to be involved? All of this depended on acquiring a big menorah. Well, we are thrilled to announce that thanks to the hard work and organization of Hillary Fink and Deb Friedson, and the fundraising they were able to organize with diverse parts of the community, the 9' Aluminum Indoor/Outdoor Hanukkiah arrived at the synagogue this week. So, we're on!
So far, the CAA Religious School has claimed the first night of Hanukkah, 10 December. But there is a lot more organizing that has to happen to make this vision a reality. Perhaps you are captivated by this idea and would like to help? Please email Rabbi Spitzer ASAP at rabbispitzer@agudatachim.org to let him know that you'd like to work with representatives from the board and the holiday committee to create CAA's Hanukkah celebrations. Don't let the light go out!
PJ Library Havdalah
Next Program:
21 Nov @ 5:15 pm on Zoom
Back to the Basics: Introduction to Jewish History
with visiting scholar Jeffrey Spitzer
Begins 3 December at 7:30p
Democracy and Religion
in Israel
Next Program: Sunday
6 December 10:30a
Note: the full recording of our first program in this series (8 Nov) is available on the adult education page of our website. If you missed it, feel free to catch up before the next session.
Race and Racism in the Jewish Community
with Rabbi Sandra Lawson
Sunday 13 Dec at 10:30 am
Pre-registration Required
Note: the full recording of our first and second programs with Rabbi Lawson (29 October and 7 November) are available on the adult education page of our website. If you missed them, feel free to catch up before the third session.
USY News
Our dates and times to volunteer at the regional food bank for November and December are:

Sunday November 22 1-3 pm and Sunday December 20 10:30 – noon.

You can sign up now if you want to make sure you have a spot. You can feel free to sign up for both days if you like.
The food bank has served record numbers of people since the pandemic began and needs volunteers to keep doing that.
Feel free to email or call 518-810-2249 with questions.

Susan
School Information
Click here to register your child.
Click here for a schedule of classes for the Elementary Grades.
Click here for a calendar for the school year.
Click here for a single page calendar of the year.

Save the Date

First Night, First Light

10 December

Join the Religious School as we gather to light our Community Menorah

More information to follow after Thanksgiving

Introducing Our Meals to-go Drive-Thru Market
As You Like It Catering – Introducing Our Meals to-go Drive-Thru Market
Just in time for the holidays Hundreds of containers ready to go including both new and favorite recipes.

Many items are holiday-related including our Hanukkah Meals-to-Go Family Dinner but all are perfect to be enjoyed anytime. Consider stocking up for the winter ahead, bring a meal to a shut-in or a friend as a gift or surprise, providing food for a shiva or celebrating a simcha.

Please click here for Menu items, ordering and drive-thru pickup dates and times.

Just added: Customers: Please add these items to your order form. Thank you!

Gluten-Free Latkes - Pareve- $8 per dozen
Tahini Cookies (they taste like Halvah!)-Dairy- $6 per dozen

Learner's Service
Monthly Learner's Service with Rabbi Spitzer
Next: 21 November @ 8:45a
Join by livestream or in-person in the sanctuary to learn about the structure, themes, Hebrew, and melodies of our morning service. We are hoping to offer this program once a month before our main service at 9:45a. Come with questions, thoughts and curiosity. For learners at all levels, including partners and community members of other faiths or of no faith.

Our first Learner's Service was on Shabbat 31 October. You can access the recording of that program on YouTube and on the Adult Education page of our website.
If you have any lingering questions for Rabbi Spitzer, please send him an email, and the answers to your questions will be posted on the site on the Adult Education Blog.
Ongoing Events
Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer                        
Next Class 2 December
Rabbi Spitzer teaches a class on the weekly Torah portion on Tuesdays from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. 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. If you missed Rabbi Spitzer’s Tuesday Parashat Hashavua class this past week (17 Nov), the teaching we learned together can be found at this link: "Communication Matters" by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Spitzer invites you to call or email with your comments or thoughts.

Back to the Basics: How to Write a Dvar Torah with Steve Schmidt
Wednesday 2 December 7:30p

Hebrew Classes with Zipporah Harris                                                                  
Next Class 24 November @ 6:00p
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 meets for 10 consecutive Tuesdays via Zoom and the cost is $10 per class, payable to Zipporah. The class covers reading, writing, and conversation. Please become part of this group of learners! Classes resume Nov. 24; Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22. If you are interested in joining, write to Zipporah at morahtova1@aol.com.

CAA Healthy Living Group Meets Wednesdays at 10a on Zoom
CAA Book Club Meets on the Second Wednesday at 12p
CAA Men’s Club Torah Study Meets twice monthly on Sundays at 7:40p Next: 22 November
S: 8:30a Shacharit/Morning Minyan (joined by TI of Scranton), 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
M: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
T: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 1:30p Mincha/Afternoon Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
W: 7:30a Shacharit/Morning Minyan (joining TI of Scranton at their minyan link, password 1921), 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
Th: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan (Note: on Thursday 29 October, minyan will be at 6:40p to accommodate the 7:00p adult ed program)
F: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, Mincha/Afternoon Minyan and Kabbalat Shabbat will take place 60 minutes before candle lighting (this week 3:22p)

Shabbat Morning Services will be live-streamed beginning at 9:45am here

Rabbi Spitzer is also available for individual prayers for healing with congregants. Make an appointment: https://calendly.com/rabbispitzer/healing-prayer 

Siddur Supplement
Many congregants have noted that some of our regular prayers are not easily accessible now that we are using the big/full Siddur Sim Shalom (which has both the Shabbat and Weekday prayer services) in our own homes, rather than the “Slim Shalom” (which includes only the Shabbat/Festival prayers) in the sanctuary. Rabbi Spitzer has made the following four prayers accessible (click on the links below and feel free to print for your use at home):
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.
Every few weeks, CAA joins together for Havdalah and Hanging out. While we do Havdalah every week, we are moving to a rotation of age-cohort based Havdalah programs. This week will be a Religious School Havdalah (community invited) at 5:20p.
The next few Havdalah and Hangout programs will be:
5 December @ 5:05p
2 January @ 5:15p
30 January @ 5:50p
Donations
Help Inspire Children to Read
Tikkun Olam Volunteers of Women's Philanthropy have organized an opportunity to help inspire children to read.
 The Red Bookshelf is a non-profit located in Albany. Their mission is to inspire children to read. And their goal is to have every child in Albany own books, because having books in their home equips them with the tools for better literacy achievement.
 Their greatest need right now is board books for babies and early readers. But they will gladly accept books for all ages including young adults.
 Please donate any books that you might no longer need. This is a great time of year to help children's holiday season be that much better. 
Ann Zonderman will be collecting books at CAA
Tuesday, Dec. 8, 10:30a – 12:00p   
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 10:30a – 12:00p
In the Community
CAA is a sponsor of the first Scholar Stream series, an initiative of the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. You can register for the whole series or for individual sessions, and because we joined as a sponsor congregation, all registrations are free with our special coupon code: CAAFall20 (case sensitive). Note that the registration may ask for credit card/billing info but with the coupon code entered and applied, registrants can click through without entering the information.

Hidden Histories and Untold Stories
Tuesdays at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT
Join JTS scholars as they uncover the hidden context around biblical figures and important eras in Jewish history.
  • 11/10: Dr. David Fishman on how religious pre-Holocaust Eastern European Jewry actually was—or wasn’t
  • 11/17: Dr. Alan Cooper on why we stopped caring about Moses’s descendants
  • 12/1: Dr. Sarah Wolf on how foreign the beit midrash would feel to the early Rabbis
  • 12/8: Dr. Amy Kalmanofsky on what the Bible really had against Jezebel
Equity, Forgiveness and Intersectionality
Wednesdays at 10 PM ET / 7 PM PT
Join Ziegler faculty as they explore issues related to race, gender equality, intersectionality, and building a democracy of the future. Download the full descriptions for each Ziegler session here.
  • 11/11: Rabbi Cheryl Peretz will examine the centuries old Jewish march towards gender equality and justice
  • 11/18: Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff will explore the concept of communal forgiveness
  • 12/2: Rabbi Dr. Gail Labovitz on what Exodus has to teach us about intersectionality
  • 12/9: Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen on building a multiracial democracy
A New Season of Book Talks That Will Inform and Inspire You
What are the new books of Jewish interest that will matter most to you? What worlds and challenges are Jewish authors imagining? What new scholarship is changing the ways we understand Jewish history, identity, and life? I hope you’ll join The Library of JTS—one of the world’s premier centers of the Jewish Book—to discover new Jewish writing that will inform and inspire you, through conversations with authors sharing their passions, discoveries, and ideas.
Camp Ramah New England Virtual Tours
To learn more about our incredible overnight camp program, please sign up for an online tour of our facilities! You can connect live via Zoom with Josh Edelglass, Assistant Director of Camp Ramah New England. Josh will guide you through a multimedia presentation, with videos and 360-degree panoramic photos, in which we’ll take you on a virtual tour of our campgrounds, and he’ll answer all of your questions about our overnight camp experience. Please contact Josh to make a reservation. Visit our website: www.campramahne.org.
You can also watch our awesome short promotional video: http://www.campramahne.org/prospective-families/ and take a virtual tour of our camp facilities: http://www.campramahne.org/prospective-families/map/ on our website
Staff Emails
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer, rabbispitzer@agudatachim.org, (518) 348-9478
Joshua Cooper-Ginsburg, Executive Director:admin@agudatachim.org
Jack Mintzer, Education Director: eddirector@agudatachim.org
Chris Parisi, Administrative Assistant: secretary@agudatachim.org
Rosalie Fadem, Bookkeeper: bookkeeper@agudatachim.org
Rise' Routenberg, Catering: asyoulikeitCAA@gmail.com  
Board Emails
Jackie Rowen, President: CAAPrez2019@gmail.com
Steve Schmidt, Program VP: schmidsj@union.edu
Jeff Shapiro, Youth VP: penanglaw@aol.com
Neal Shapiro, Treasurer: nshapiro007@gmail.com
Our Sponsors
[518-393-9211]  [https://www.agudatachim.org/]