Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
1 April 2021 - 19 Nissan 5781
Pesach VII and VIII
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
As we consider our holiday of liberation, when the Supremely Powerful Divine intervened in history to redeem the supremely powerless Israelite slaves, it is important to notice the moral imperative given us by the Exodus from Egypt. We are a people who understand what it means to be different, to be unlike the mainstream; we know what it means to be marginalized; and we know that we must stand up to those who would use power inappropriately and unjustly.

Yesterday was Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate the lives of transgender people in our world, while also raising awareness about the discrimination that transgender people still face in the world. It is an annual celebration of the joys of being trans and an occasion to honor the accomplishments and victories of transgender & gender non-conforming people. To the members of our community who are nonbinary and trans: I see you, and value you, and I’m glad that you’re a part of us.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from our President

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the middle of our second Passover of the pandemic. This year, thanks to greater knowledge and vaccines, some of us were able to have small Seder gatherings with family and friends for which we are very appreciative. Some of us were still gathering virtually with great hope to be able to gather together in-person in the coming months. On the second night, many of us came together on zoom for a community Seder led by Rabbi Spitzer. It was a wonderful evening of timely and interesting interpretations and conversation, singing and fun. It was so great to see people we haven’t seen in a long time and it made me think about how wonderful it will be when we can once again gather together in person for a community Seder. 

Chag Sameach. 

Jackie Rowen
With our Members
Birthdays: Richard Brooks, Rina Moses, Cal Rosner, Ricki Shapiro, Shawn Weiss, Ron Zinoman, Susan Sommer, Robert Feinberg, Leo Brown, Leo Folsom, Jillan Gilman, Matthew Braiman, Julian Kintz, Deborah Gold, Matthew Haber

Anniversaries: Barbara and Alan Miller
Yahrzeits: : Lillian Anderman, Elaine Barbara Lefkowitz, Phyllis Friedman, Sadie Hertzendorf, Muriel Krugman, Abraham Newman, Ethel Levin, Gertrude Regent, Abraham Zugman, Terry Fink, Helen Goldman, Beatrice Kaplan, Evelyn Sommer, Sara Weiskopf, Edythe Muriel Kole, Beatrice Stamborsky, Bernard Zonderman, Tillie Goodheim, Minnie Kliman, Lewis Miller, Helen Ruthberg, Evelyn Sencer, Betty Siegal

Mazel tov to Deborah and Gary Goldstein as they announce the engagement of their son, Zachard Goldstein to Aaron Yagoda. Mazel tov to the Goldstein and Yagoda families!

 Mazel Tov to Carole and Bob Feinberg on the Bar Mitzvah of their grandson, Andrew, son to Drs. Mark and Lori Feinberg, of Newton, MA

We have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Rhoda Ferber, mother of our congregant Emily Sondheimer, on Thursday, 25 March 2021. Our condolences go out to the Ferber and Sondheimer families.
Thank You
Thank you to the individuals who participated in this past week's Shabbat services and Yom Tov services.
Yashar koach!
Torah and Haftara Readers: Howard Mittleman, Rabbi Spitzer, Art Friedman, Dan Mayer, Murray Jaros, Rachael Besser
Daveners/Service Leaders: Rabbi Spitzer, Aryeh Korevaar, Orit Shiang, Joe Shiang
Service Coordinator/Gabbai: Rob Fox, Dan Mayer
COVID-19 Compliance Guarantor/Shamash: Barby Harris
Other Participants: Elianna Moses, Kati Illouz, Orit Shiang, Barby Harris, Murray Jaros, Rachael Besser, Susan Sharfstein, Art Friedson, Dan Mayer, Edith Kliman, Joe Shiang, Rabbi Spitzer, Deb Friedson
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, rather than Maariv, beginning 5 April. Remaining constant throughout the summer, Friday Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 5:30p, on Zoom.

Judaism & Science
Special Event Tonight
Make sure to register!
New Mussar Class Starts Next Week
Open to New and Returning Mussar Learners -- Spots are going fast, so Sign Up!
Shomrei Kehillah Celebration
Please join us virtually on Sunday, April 11 at 1:00 pm as we honor six very special congregants at our Shomrei Kehillah Awards Celebration! It is our wish to have as many people as possible attend this very special occasion. There is not charge to attend, but registration is required. The invitation is here. A big mazel tov goes to

Volunteers of the Year: Sylvia z"l and Herb Winer and Anita Merims

Tzameret Award for Youth Leadership: Eli Feret and Dara Weingarten

Woman of Valor (awarded by Women's Network): Mishka Luft

Shofar Award (awarded by Men's Club): Howard Wohl
More Adult Education Offerings
Click the buttons below to read information on each upcoming event!
Yom Hashoah Information
Thursday, April 8
12:00-1:00 PM Eastern
Hosted by Captial District Board of Rabbis
Our community-wide commemoration will again be virtual as was last year’s and features ten local Shoah survivors lighting candles in memory of those lost. Please plan on watching on Wednesday evening, April 7 at 8:00 PM as we remember those who perished in the Shoah, affirm the heroism of the resisters and honor the survivors who emerged from the darkness of the Holocaust to build new lives and new families, strengthen Jewish communal institutions, and help create the State of Israel. The commemoration will be available at No registration is necessary for this Facebook live presentation.
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!

Jews who influence sports today
Our one shot class on 18 April at 4:30p will be on the topic will be The Jews who influence sports today. By this point most of us have heard of the great Jews who influenced sports in the past like Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Mark Spitz, Dick Savitt and Marshall Goldberg. But what about the Jewish Athletes of today? Join us on April 18 to find out.
Open to 6th - 12th grade

As You Like It Catering
Meals to Go
Please contact Rise' at with any inquiries about food for sale.

Arrangements can be made for pick up on an individual basis.
Ongoing Events
Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer
Next Class 6 April
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. If you missed this week's class (16 March) on Parashat Vekhayel-Pekudei, the teaching we learned together can be found online. Rabbi Spitzer invites you to call or email with your comments or thoughts..

L'chu N'ran'nah Shabbat morning spiritual seeking 9-9:45a
  • Iyyun Tefilah/ Learner's Service: 17 Apr, 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 18, 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 14 April

CAA Men’s Club Torah Study
Meets twice monthly on Sundays at 7:40p; Next Meeting TBA
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.
Men's Club and Women's network information
In the Community
Town of Niskayuna to Host Community Conversation Series on Suicide Prevention & Depression 
Town of Niskayuna to Host Community Conversation Series on Suicide Prevention & Depression 

Beginning this week the Town of Niskayuna will host a series of community conversations on the topics of suicide and depression with nationally recognized behavioral health and suicide prevention organizations. 

Thursday, April 1, at 7:00 pm 

A Community Grieves - A virtual forum for community members to come together to process the tragedy that occurred this week and find support from local mental health providers.

This virtual forum will be facilitated by licensed mental health practitioners from Samaritan Counseling: Kelly Anderson is a licensed clinical social worker and works as a psychotherapist with individuals and families. She is the mother of three Niskayuna Schools students; and Dan O'Brien, resident psychotherapist at Samaritan Counseling Center and a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany where he earned a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work. He provides therapy for those seeking to process and move beyond depression, grief, anxiety, trauma, and self-esteem issues. 

To participate in the forum: 

Wednesday, April 7, 7:00 pm
Talk Saves Lives - National Federation for Suicide Prevention 
Suicide can be prevented. This presentation will cover what we know about this leading cause of death, the most up-to-date research on prevention, and what we can all do to fight suicide.
Participants in this virtual session will learn the common risk factors for suicide, how to spot the warning signs in others, and how to keep ourselves, our loved ones and those in our community safe. We will also be sharing material related to identifying teen depression as well as tips for supporting mental health self-care for people of all ages.

To register for this session:
Calling All American Jews: Speak Out Against the Rohingya Genocide
Since 2017, when the violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma escalated into a horrific genocide, the American Jewish community has stood in solidarity with the Rohingya people. We have demanded U.S. action to end the genocide, supported the Rohingya people’s call for justice, and remained committed to protect religious freedom and human rights in Burma. It is past time for the U.S. to join the Jewish community, legal experts and others and officially recognize these atrocities as a genocide.

We are asking for your help in two concrete ways:

Sign the AJWS letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking him to designate the Rohingya crisis as a genocide.
Beyond the Huppah: Creating the Jewish Marriage you Want

The program begins April 21st. All are welcome, including LGBTQ+ and interfaith couples. 
What: A six-session virtual program that will provide tools to solidify a strong partnership and explore different ways of creating a Jewish home. Facilitated by Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney Cohen and Matt Boney Cohen of BASE Boston. 
Topics will include: Communication and Couplehood, Decision-Making, Money, Sexuality, Jewish Ritual, and Building a Jewish Family. 
When: Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 PM ET in the comfort of your living room! Since our program moved to zoom, we’ve had couples from all over North America join this program. Wherever you find yourself in the world, you are warmly welcome. 
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]  []