Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
3 June 2021 - 23 Sivan 5781
Parashat  Shlakh L’kha
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
Barry Holtz asks: “From a literary point of view Shelah Lekha is anything but a simple story. Perhaps the most prominent question the story raises is: Who is to blame for the disastrous consequences of the reconnaissance mission?” 

Is it the failure of nerves evidenced by ten of the twelve scouts? Is it the failure of the people, who wail that it would have been better to have died in Egypt than to “die by the sword” (14:3) now? Is it Moshe’s failure in framing the scouting expedition from a military perspective, asking questions that seem pessimistic from the start? Is it, as Deuteronomy suggests, that the failure is that the whole idea came from the people, rather than from God?

Barry Holtz suggests that “the spies failed not by misrepresenting what they had seen in the Land but rather, they failed in more subtle ways. First, they didn’t take into account the social impact of their words...And secondly, the spies failed not by misstating the truth about the Land, but by their own interpretation of what they had discovered.”

Who do you think was responsible?
What do you think would have been a just punishment? 

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Spitzer

Rabbi's Annual meeting Report
Message from our President

Our Re-opening Task Force met last week and I want to update everyone on changes to our protocols. These decisions were made based on our knowledge of vaccination rates in our area as well as in response to the CDC announcement on May 13 regarding masks. And most importantly, with the best interest of ALL of our members’ comfort and safety.
Our building protocols are now as follows:
● The office is staffed during regular weekday hours should you need any assistance from Josh
● Masks must be worn in the building at all times
● Please continue to sign in on entering the building for contact tracing purposes
Indoor Services:
● We are no longer limiting Shabbat attendance to 30 people
● Pre-registration is not required, but contact tracing will continue
● Masks must be worn at all times
● The right side of the sanctuary (as you walk in) and the small social hall will remain socially distant seating
● The left side will become regular, non-distanced seating
Outdoor Services:
● Masks are no longer required, but if you are more comfortable in a mask, please continue to wear one
● Social distancing is no longer required, but if you are more comfortable doing so, please do
Please allow others to maintain social distance if they choose to do so.
Our decision to continue to require masks in the building was not made lightly. We feel that as long as we have people in our community ineligible for vaccination (including our children under 12) we should all wear masks for their protection. Please respect this decision.
This is all very exciting news but also a lot to process. Please reach out to me if you have any questions.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all again!

Shabbat Shalom,
Jackie Rowen

President's Annual meeting Report
New Life Cycle Class with Rabbi Spitzer starts tonight
Jonathan Weil's New Course starts 9 June
Next Tot Shabbat 11 June
Rabbi Spitzer and family Invite
the CAA Community to a Social Gathering
Men's Club Program
New Rosh Hodesh Program
More Adult Education Offerings
Click the buttons below to read information on each
upcoming event!
With our Members
Birthdays: Andrew Francisco, Harvey Mendelson, Sam Bell, Susan Axelrod, Aileen Woolf-Fine, Jeff Handelman

Anniversaries: Eric & Josh Cooper-Ginsburg, Stephen & Roberta Berk, Eric & Ahbra Kaufman, David & Amy Posner, Carl & Cara Korn
Yahrzeits: Paul Fraster, Joel Lindy, Asher Arthur Lowenthal, Lilian Meyers, Abraham Pletman, Daniel Strichtman, Lewin Joel, Michael Belik, Sarah Cohen, Annette Hershenhorn, Berna Sevits, Joseph Spiegel, Bernard Wigler, Freda Anikstein, Philip Kozinn, Doris Pletman, Connie Garmil, Albert Gross, Robert Siegal
We have learned with great sorrow of the death on 30 May 2021 of our long-time member Polly Schwartz. Our condolences go to the Schwartz family.

Mazel Tov to Arthur and Deborah Friedson on the arrival of their granddaughter, Harper Sydney Friedson, daughter of Matt and Olivia.
Thank You
Thank you to the individuals who participated in this past week's Shabbat services: Yashar koach!
Torah and Haftara Readers: Alexandra Schmidt, Steve Schmidt, Rabbi Ted Lichtenfeld, Howie Mittleman, Tali Lichtenfeld
Daveners/Service Leaders: Rachel Schmidt, Orit Shiang
Service Coordinator/Gabbai: Ken Carpenter
COVID-19 Compliance Guarantor/Shamash: Rabbi Ted Lichtenfeld, Anita Merims, Neal Shapiro, Orit Shiang, Barby Harris, Ken Carpenter, Rabbi Rafi Spitzer, Tali Lichtenfeld, Colden Shapiro

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

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

June 6 last day ceremony
10:30am - 11:3oam
Outdoors at the Shul!

Registration for 2021-2022 school year
is now open for Prek - 7

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

Annual Meeting Video
Annual Meeting
Schedule for the Week
Ongoing Events

Reyut and Hessed requests for rides
It is now permitted for our volunteers, if they feel comfortable, and are vaccinated and masked, to drive people.  Please feel free once again to either call me, Linda Birnby, at 518-608-6083 or Josh Cooper-Ginsburg at 518-393-9211 to request a ride, and one of us will call the volunteers for you to get you a driver. Remember, the earlier that you call one of us to request a ride, the easier it will be for us to find you a driver.
We are delighted to be able to offer you this service once again!

Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer Next Class 8 June
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
Thursdays 3, 10, and 17 June 7:30p
Rabbi Spitzer Teaches a 3-part class on Jewish Life Cycle events                                    
Following up on the "Back to the Basics: Living a Jewish Life" class from this past November, which covered Shabbat, Kashrut, and Tzedakah, and the "Back to the Basics: Holy Times" class from this past March, which was survey of the Jewish calendar and holiday cycle (both series can be viewed on the CAA website), Rabbi Spitzer will continue with an overview of lifecycle events. The first session (3 June) will be called: Jewish Death and Mourning 101, and will cover all the questions you may have about the process of dying, preparing a body for burial, and all the mourning practices. The second session (10 June) will be on "Entering the Covenant" and will be about rituals for welcoming babies, Bnai Mitzvah, and Conversion. And the final session (17 June) will cover Jewish views of sex, love, and marriage, including a portion devoted to LGBTQ approaches in honor of Pride Month. 

Tot Shabbat Next Date 11 June at 4:30p  
Mark your calendars for all of the upcoming Tot Shabbat Programs 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!
New series starts: Tuesdays at 6pm on 8, 15, 22, 29 June; 6, 13, 20, 27 July, and 3 Aug
6:00-7:00 PM on Zoom
$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 6/13: Chukat; 7/25: Ekev; 8/15: Ki Tetze
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
 With summer just around the corner, I want to make sure you know about Hadar’s upcoming Summer Learning Retreat, happening online from June 13-17.

We just released this year’s full schedule and faculty list, and there is a lot of exciting Torah on offer. This is a great opportunity for anyone in your community -- family members, friends, first-time learners -- to get a taste of Hadar and deepen their connection to Torah. No prior experience is required.

Registration is on a sliding scale between $36-$360.
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.
A Wandering People: Jewish Journeys, Real and Imagined
A new weekly learning series with JTS scholars. Mondays from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET, June 7 to August 23.

As the pandemic surged and forced us into our homes, many of us dreamed with new intensity of being elsewhere. For Jews throughout the ages, the promises and perils of travel have been central to shaping the individual and collective experience. Notions of home and homeland have been redefined by Jewish wandering.

Drawing on literary, spiritual, and historical sources and responses, JTS scholars will explore what happens when Jews—whether by force or voluntarily, whether in reality or in the imagination—travel from one place to another

 You can view all of the sessions here
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
[518-393-9211]  []