Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
29 April 2021 - 17 Iyar 5781
Parashat Emor 
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
By popular request, I wanted to share that the books that Lily, Ryan, and Josh assigned me to read were: Auggie & Me (companion to Wonder) by R.J. Palacio, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. Mazel tov to the Harrows! As you probably know, I always ask our young people to assign me a book to read leading up to their Bnei Mitzvah, and I'm happy to pass their recommendations to you as well.

This week’s Torah portion, Emor, discusses the holiday calendar at length. This year, we’ve experienced the holidays very differently from past years-- but we’re not the first generation to do so. A passage from the Mishnah imagines a variety of difficult circumstances a person might be experiencing when coming to the Temple, and proposes a choreography and script for the encounter. Typically, most people who would enter the Temple precincts would move from the entrance to the right; however, some people would enter to the left, based on recent experiences: people would enter to the left if they were experiencing a hardship, including a person in mourning; a person who had been shunned by their family or community; the caregiver of an ill family member; or one who is preoccupied because of the loss of an important object.
The passage goes on to provide guidance to typical pilgrims when they would encounter those circling in the other direction. They should ask, “Why are you circling to the left?” If the person responded, “Because I am in mourning,” one should offer the prayer, “May the One who dwells in this house comfort you.” When encountering a person who says, “I have an ill family member,” one should respond with the prayer, “May the One who dwells in this house have compassion upon your relative.”
Rabbi Naomi Kalish, the director of the center for pastoral education at JTS, teaches, “Underpinning the Mishnah is a care and concern for the affective experience of the observance of the holiday. Though the scripting of exchanges has the resonance of a call and response liturgy, the ultimate goal is human engagement during significant and often difficult times. The cases provided are invitations for future innovation. The person moving to the right who is not experiencing hardship is instructed to begin the encounter not with a gesture of help but with a question—“Why are you circling to the left?” The encounter begins with the caregiver not knowing, and with deference to the one who is literally walking a different path against the mainstream.”
The Mishnah provides us with a mechanism to reconnect after a difficult time apart. We must take inspiration in how our ancient Sages urged the entire community to communalize the life challenges of individuals, especially at times of festive gathering.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from our President

For the last year and a half the Strategic Planning Task Force has been quietly and diligently working to create a Vision for our congregation and a plan to achieve it. In order to create the plan, many of our members were enlisted to join focus area working groups. As we work toward completing the Strategic Planning process, I would like to thank everyone who gave us their time and energy on the working groups, the members of the Strategic Planning Task Force and especially Steve Schmidt, Kathy Englebardt and Sharon Watkins-Fox for co-chairing and leading the charge. All of their hard work will enable our community to grow and thrive in the years to come.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jackie Rowen
With our Members
Birthdays:Stephen Berk, Harriet Goldstein, Alice Rudnick, Zachary Irving Handelman, Rabbi Eleanor Pearlman, Michelle Birnbaum, Jason Goldstein, Roza Khlyapova, Natalie Oshins, Jessica Peck

Anniversaries: Denise and Nathan Naparstek, Rachel Horowitz and Neil Yetwin, Robert Weissberg and Mishka Luft, Kim and Stephen Cohen
Yahrzeits: Irving Silver, Frederick Stein, Shirley Kagan, Samuel Abrams, Marvin Bloom, William Bernard, Rochelle Greenberg, Lester Wohl, Irving Schwartz, Alan Brown, Juliet Harrisr
Mazel tov to the Harrow Family on the B’nai Mitzvah of Lily Harrow, Ryan Harrow, and Joshua Harrow, children of Tamara and Richard Harrow!
Thank You
Thank you to the individuals who participated in this past week's Shabbat services :
Yashar koach!
Torah and Haftara Readers: Steve Schmidt, Elianna MosesTamara Harrow, Ryan Harrow, Josh Harrow, Lily Harrow, Sara Harrow, Steve Schmidt, Alexandra Schmidt
Daveners/Service Leaders: Rachel Schmidt, Sara Harrow
Service Coordinator/Gabbai: Ken Carpenter
COVID-19 Compliance Guarantor/Shamash: Sharon Wohl
Other Participants: Richard & Tamara Harrow, Larry & Michele Kahn, Daniel & Julie Kahn, Ron & Alyssa Kahn-Ehrlich, Eial & Michele Faierman, Alexandra Schmidt, Danny & Julie Kahn, AJ Kahn, Justin Kahn, Micah Kahn, Maddy Ehrlich, Ava Ehrlich, Zipporah Harris, Murray Jaros
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
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.

Final Book Discussion Tonight!
Join Rabbi Spitzer to discuss Sunday's program with Sarah Hurwitz, and to talk about the second half of her book.
If you missed Sunday's program, you can watch it on our YouTube channel:
Shavuot Information
Save the Date
More Adult Education Offerings
Click the buttons below to read information on each upcoming event!
School Information
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.

School Lag B'omer
Campground Celebration program
Thursday, 29 April, 4:30p
In Person!

Lag B'omer event is weather dependent

We will send notice out early in the morning. Keep an eye out for details.


New Meals to Go Listings Coming Soon

.As You Like It Catering is busy filling the Meals-to-Go freezers once again!
The entire list of offerings will appear in next week's announcements.
Perfect for your Mother's Day or Shavuot table or delicious anytime!
Stay tuned for contact information.

New and Ongoing Events

Back to the Basics: Life Cycle Spring--A Study of Mikveh in Two Parts with Mayyim Hayyim

Part I: What is Mikveh? A look at traditional, classical, and modern sources
Thurs 6 May 7:30p

Part II: Modern Mikveh Stories & A Virtual Mikveh Experience
Thurs 13 May 7:30p
Join educators from Boston’s flagship community mikveh, Mayyim Hayyim, to learn about the Biblical and Rabbinic understandings of Mikveh practice, from family purity to conversion to holiness and more. In part two, we will bring the learning into the modern period with an exploration of modern rituals of immersion and transformation, and close with a virtual handwashing guided mikveh experience. These programs will be on Zoom, and will kick off our spring study of life cycles.

L’Chu N’ran’nah: Musical PeSukei D’Zimra with Rabbi Spitzer Shabbat 15 May 9:00a
Join Rabbi Spitzer by live stream on Shabbat morning for a musical PeSukei D’Zimra!

Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer Next Class 4 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.

Tot Shabbat Next Date April 28 at 4:30p  
Mark your calendars for all of the upcoming Tot Shabbat Programs 28 April; 14, 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
  • Musical Psukei Dzimra: 15 May

Adult Hebrew Classes with Zipporah Harris
Please become part of this group of learners!
Next series of classes; April 20, 27; and May 4, 11, 25
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 25 Apr; 2, 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 12 May

CAA Men’s Club Torah Study
Meets Monthly on Sundays at 7:30p Next Meeting 2 May at 7:30p
We will be resuming the Torah Study group meeting on Zoom with a session this Sunday, May 2, 7:30 PM until about 9 PM. The focus this session will be the combined parasha, Behar-Bechukotai. As usual, I suggest reading it ahead of time, come up with questions, challenges, complaints, insights, etc., and supply yourself with a suitable beverage. As an added bonus, we will count the Omer
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
Staff Emails
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer,, (518) 348-9478
Joshua Cooper-Ginsburg, Executive
Jack Mintzer, Education Director:
Chris Parisi, Administrative Assistant:
Rosalie Fadem, Bookkeeper:
Rise' Routenberg, Catering:  
Board Emails
Jackie Rowen, President:
Steve Schmidt, Program VP:
Jeff Shapiro, Youth VP:
Neal Shapiro, Treasurer:
Our Sponsors
[518-393-9211]  []