Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth,
Olam (healing the world).
We are proud to be an extended family of
equals - welcoming,
caring, and inclusive.
Together, we engage in religious observance,
enjoy social activities, and
pursue life-long learning.
From our Rabbi
Fifty years ago, a small group of Jewish families were inspired by a vision. They wanted to build a synagogue in the town of Chelmsford that would be a focal point for community and friendship, that would become a center for Jewish learning for people of all ages, that would provide members with opportunities to engage in Tikkun Olam ("healing the world") and to provide a "sanctuary" for those who were spiritually seeking and wanting to engage in Jewish prayer and ritual. Those early founders were energetic as well as generous with time and resources. They planted the seeds for progressive, vibrant Jewish life in the greater Chelmsford area and that vision has flourished for 50 years.
In the next year, our congregation will have the opportunity to celebrate the past as well as build for the future. We hope you will be a part of the celebrations as well as the visioning and planning for the next 50 years. In Jewish tradition, we feel linked into a chain that is ever evolving and expanding; we are the inheritors of a past as well as the visionaries for the future. This is why when a member of a Jewish family says they want to be a part of L'dor V'dor ("from generation to generation") they feel it in their kishke! As members of Congregation Shalom, we have been blessed to have this community. For many it is a haven and for others a place for intellectual endeavors. For some, Congregation Shalom feels like an extended family and for others, it is a place they can gather a few times a year to find meaningful worship experiences. For some, our congregation provides a learning environment that is caring and energized and for others, our congregation embodies a source for caring support. For some, Congregation Shalom is the place we have shared our joys and for others it is the place we have grieved and been comforted in times of darkness. Congregation Shalom is all these things and more.
As 2017 begins, I hope you will be inspired to learn more about our community's history, to celebrate with friends and fellow congregants, and to plant seeds for future generations.
With warm regards,
From our President
When I was a kid, I could not understand why my Mom and Dad loved gardens so much. I mean, we always got distracted and forgot to weed, until the weeds towered over me! We never put up a fence to keep out the local wildlife. Never mind rabbits - just think about what it means to go picking lettuce when a skunk has found your garden is a good place to go for a snack?
Yet, as an adult, each year I contemplate a garden with some joy. It is, I think, the idea of a new beginning where anything is possible - like the beginning of baseball season where your team really is going to make it big this year. I realized recently, that I feel that way about cycling through the Torah, reading a parsha each week. And, if I get thrown off my regular reading, every few months, we're at the start of a book, I can go to 10 minutes of Torah (
) and read a few pages in THIS cycle and I'll have gleaned something worthwhile this quintile.
And, in this month of January, we start the book of Exodus, a new opportunity. Around the third week of January, we read parsha Shemot, the first chapter of Exodus. When I read through some of the commentary on Shemot from previous years, these three thoughts stood out to me.
In one commentary, Rabbi Geller of Beverly Hills writes: "Our tradition teaches that each of us has three names: the one we are given at birth, the one we are called, and our real name. The task of each person, according to the tradition, is to discover our real name."
In another, Rabbi Kalisch of Philadelphia says: "...the leader who emerges to help the Israelites escape from Egyptian slavery is Moses, whom the Torah describes as "a very humble man, more so than any other human being on earth" (Numbers 12:3). While Pharaoh's first words in Exodus are focused on oppressing the Israelites to consolidate his own power, our introduction to Moses in this week's Torah portion highlights Moses' humility and his doubts about stepping into leadership..."
And, in a third 10 minutes of Torah, Rabbi Gamoran, a professor in Illinois, presents this thought-provocative piece: "We will most likely never be in the position that the midwives in Egypt were when they were ordered to commit murder. Surely there will be times when we are tempted to cut corners, take advantage of a vulnerable person, or be unkind to someone who needs our understanding. But there is a God who lives and to whom we are accountable. If we fear God, we will guard our actions and will live in a way in which we can take pride. Our honest and upright behavior will not depend on whether another human being can see what we do."
Looking forward to the gleaning this year's Exodus will give us.
From our Education Director
January offers us a special opportunity to spend the morning with the whole school during our annual parent teacher conferences. A few years ago, we began having parent teacher conferences during school and we found that we had unexpected results. We were thrilled that more parents were able to attend the conferences. However, Rabbi Perry and I had an additional bonus, we have the unique opportunity to learn with the whole School Kehillah (community) and we are able to spend significant time with all of the students in Session 1 and then all of the students in Session 2.
One year we focused on the Jews leaving the land of Egypt and crossing into the dessert. This was a fun and interactive morning for everyone. Last year we focused on Maimonides Ladder Of Giving and we created Tzedakah socks for the Session 1 students and during Session 2, we designed a Maimonides Ladder Of Giving that hangs proudly in our school wing.
For this year, we wanted to focus on the fact that this is Congregation Shalom's 50th anniversary. The first part of our Temples Mission Statement says: "
Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth, and Tikkun Olam (healing the world)."
The concept of Tikkun Olam is core to our Temple community and core to our school. Whether it is donating food, collecting Tzedakah or Mitzvah Day, healing the world is a central theme.
With this in mind, we have decided to focus this years programming for our students on creating a mini-mitzvah day. Yes we have a wonderful Temple wide Mitzvah Day in June, but we are adding an additional day for just our students where they will be able to learn the importance of Tikkun Olam through their own hands-on experiences. Our younger students will focus on projects that are important to different agencies in the area and will work on various projects with us. The older students will have the opportunity to learn about refugees and how they might better understand this crisis through biblical texts and hands on learning.
Each of these sessions will highlight our core value that calls for us to be intentional when we think of Tikkun Olam, healing the world and I am excited to learn and share experiences along with our students.
From our Cantorial Soloist
"Shiru l'Adonai Shir chadash": Sing a new song unto G-d. These words from Psalm 96 are a guiding force for our Congregation Shalom family. It is both the traditional and contemporary melodies that make the liturgy accessible to all of us. I feel so blessed to be a part of a community that offers so many different kinds of services in a given month. From Tot Shabbatot to family services to Sunset to 'Sweet and Soulful' song sessions, there is a musical match for all. And so we hope you will choose to begin 2017 with song and strength by joining us for our many different prayerful and musical experiences. One date to be sure to hold is Friday,February 10th. On this night we will celebrate Shabbat Shira, our Sabbath of Song. This promises to be an inspiring night of rich music and spirit. Our Kol Kolot and Kol Kolot Gadol will be performing some pieces in addition to Adam, Nathan and myself bringing a blending of old and new tunes. Come to be lifted. To keep up with our many musical Shabbatot in this new year, please continue to check our CS calendar.
to listen to a new Shabbat composition. This new version of
Ki Eshm'rah Shabbat
(When I Keep Shabbat) is a particularly special new year's treat as it has our own Nathan Morrisey doing his magic on piano. Happy listening and sweet and healthy 2017 to you and yours.
(With Song and Peace),
Jodi Blankstein, Cantorial Soloist
Social Action Committee
On December 12, 2016, Congregation Shalom held an extremely valuable blood drive, collecting 34 units of much needed blood. Thanks to all who volunteered and especially to those who donated. Plan to help or donate again in spring 2017!
As this newsletter goes to press, our members again have plans to give of their time to serve others in their celebration of Christmas. We will donate food for Christmas dinner to be served at Chelmsford Senior Housing and serve meals to residents at the Renaissance Club for adults with mental health, as well as at the Lowell Transitional Living. Thank you to all who are part of this meaningful annual tradition.
Need for more volunteers at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Congregation Shalom is part of a team of volunteers at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford, an organization that serves a free meal to all, no questions asked, every Tuesday from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center. We have had some turnover and now need more volunteers to help serve! Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on February 14. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Linda Newhard at
Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center
Congregation Shalom is collecting food for the Lowell Transitional Living Center. It is easy to help out with this mitzvah. Donations of meatloaf, and/or brownies and/or salad are accepted each month. There will be a cooler chest located by doors of Congregation Shalom. Simply place your donation in the cooler and know that you have done a good deed! The food will be collected and brought to the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell, where our donations are greatly appreciated each month. You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, January 18 through Thursday, January 19 (until 5:00 p.m.) February dates will be February 15-16 - mark your calendar now!
Save the Date
January 8th - Mayyim Hayyim Tour
January 10th - Cafe Wisdom
January 12th - Great Decisions
January 16th - Movie Monday
January 21st - Torah Study
January Oneg Schedule
Jan 6 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Grade 2 Jodi w/Adam Music Shuldiner*, Anthony, DiGiovanni, Traverse, Wolman
Jan 13 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Boyer*, Friedman, Kurland, Smith R&L, Verbun
Jan 20 - 6 pm Tot Shabbat - Jodi w/Adam Music Arrington, Danzig A&K, Maltby, Matson
Jan 20 - 7:15 pm Shabbat Shirah Shabbat - Jodi w/Adam Music Rainen*, Cohen D&L, Lathrop, Lydon, Peisach & Wyshogrod, Weinberg & Fox-Weinberg
Jan 27 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Miller C&S*, Cohn, Gertz, Newlon & Rothstein, Rose
Karen and Rick
Aidan Maguire would like to thank those who made donations in his name in honor of becoming a Bar Mitzvah.
Condolences to Nicole Barter on the passing of her father Milton Guth.
Lee J. Strock
Norma Jean Wilgoren
Peter J. McHugh, Jr.
Charles Eliot Worden
Nancy Roth Berman
Gershon Yitzak Blumstein
|Our Caring Committee Can Help
The Caring Committee is always available to provide meals or transportation to those members and families who need a little help. Please don't hesitate to email Katie Wolman at
or Rabbi Perry at
, or feel free to call Katie at home.
|Newsletter Ads and You!
We are always looking for advertisers for the Temple newsletter. Ads can be placed at any time with special pricing for members. Ads need not be for a year so if you want to try us, we take ads for 3 months as well as six months. If you decide to continue your ad for a full year, we do pro-rate the price. As the saying goes, "Try us, you'll like us!"
Throughout the year, there are many enriching Jewish experiences available to our youth through our synagogue or the community. These include, but aren't limited to, summer camps and trips to Washington, New York, and Israel. Fortunately, there is some scholarship money available through the temple to those families in need of financial assistance for these opportunities. Please contact Margie Berenson at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and/or for an application form.
|Changed Your Address?
Notify us at: email@example.com
and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.
Religious School Fundraiser
Important Dates In Fundraising Activities
On December 26th at 11:59 p.m., the 2016 Annual Online Auction ended. With bargains galore, we hope you found something to tickle your fancy. From a very special dessert wine to a Brock Holt baseball, from hair products at prices you won't find in any store to Tai Chi classes held at the Temple. There was something for everyone.
On January 22nd we are partnering with The Epilepsy Foundation of America for a one day event. Check your closets - that sweater that would win "the ugliest Chanukah/Christmas'" contest, that pair of slacks sitting in your closet since college, those 3 inch platform heels to that men's Nehru jacket you wouldn't be caught dead in today. Please use 13 gallon bags - we need a minimum of 75 bags - I just got started and have 4 bags already. For every pound, we receive $0.20. May not sound like a great deal but it sure adds up. Drop your bags outside the temple from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - we will have a tax receipt for you.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Don't forget that we have a variety of gifts and Judaica items available in our gift shop. Many beautiful options are on display. Contact us if you would like to make a purchase
Please join us for the 18th Annual Sisterhood Retreat March 3rd -5th at the Anchorage Inn, Ogunquit Maine. The theme this year is "Eat.....Pray.....L" This is a weekend of song, prayer, study, friendship and laughter! Cost will be $300/double occupancy and $425/singles. This includes dinners Friday and Saturday evenings and breakfasts Saturday and Sunday mornings, as well as all taxes and gratuities.
If you haven't yet paid your dues, you can pay with your registration. Please note, attendees must be at least 21 years old. Registration and payment will be due by January 5. We will also offer a Saturday only option for those who do not want to stay overnight. Cost will be $50 and includes breakfast or $100 for breakfast and dinner.
Attached below is a letter with more details on the retreat and the registration form. If you have any questions, please email Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope to see you there!
As we slip into winter the Congregation Shalom Brotherhood has kept the fire of friendship and comradery strong. This month we again provided our temple youth with Brotherhood's finest potato latkes. Over the years the guys have refined their technique, making our latkes unparallel, in my opinion.
Movie night was held at my house this month. We all ate, enjoyed Jerry Lotto's brewed beer, and watched the movie Babel.
This month we are looking forward to the Brotherhood/Sisterhood night out on Sunday, January 15, @6:00 p.m. We will break bread together at Burton's Grill in Westford. You should have received an E-vite for this. Let us know if you can come so that we can have an accurate count of participants.
Remember Brotherhood welcomes all to poker night on the first Sunday of each month at the Temple @6:30. Friendly, rarely over competitive, only $10, including pizza. You could leave with more than the $10 contributed.
Submitted by David Brother
|Grocery Store Cards
START THE NEW YEAR BY FULFILLING YOUR RESOLUTION TO HELP THE TEMPLE
YOU can raise funds for Congregation Shalom programs without spending any money. Here's how:
1 -- You buy a grocery cashback gift card (for Donelans, Hannaford, Stop & Shop, or Whole Foods) and
2 -- The temple receives free cash back!
So, if you buy $100 worth of groceries, the temple gets $7. To learn more, email Judy Beningson at
OR purchase in person on Sundays at the temple during the religious school hours.
The Congregation Shalom book group welcomes all who would like to spend an interesting evening of book review, discussion and socializing.
Jot the following dates into your calendars and note the book selections for those dates:
January 9 th -
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Hostess -Becky Bronson
February 27th -
Home Lands by Larry Tye
Hostess- Ethel Kamien
April 3rd -
The Devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen
Hostess- Phyllis Kallus
May 22nd -
Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
Hostess- Esther Wikander
|iGive for Congregation Shalom
Have you ever thought how great it would be to be able to shop online at 783 different well-known stores and still donate money to Congregation Shalom? Well, you can do that! It's free and easy so join those of us who have been sending donations to the synagogue for years simply by shopping by first going to the iGive website once you have established the link.
to register for Congregation Shalom to automatically be the recipient cause.
If you make a purchase through iGive within 45 days of signing up, an extra $5.00 will go to Congregation Shalom. If you have any questions, please contact
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Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
Free Dinner Served
Every Tuesday from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center
All are welcome. No questions asked.
Also, if you know of someone who cannot get out,
but would benefit from a dinner being delivered to them, please contact us.
For more information contact:
Return to Quick Links
From the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates...
VNA Hospice Care needs volunteers! Hospice volunteers play a key role in helping to provide caring and compassion to patients and families facing life-limiting illness and loss. A volunteer may provide patients with company and emotional support, give the spouse, partner or other caregiver a needed break from care giving, and/or help caregivers run errands or get to and from appointments. A strong need exists for volunteers who can visit on weekdays. We also seek: musicians who would like to sing or play music quietly at the bedside of nursing home residents; Reiki practitioners who would like to offer Reiki to patients and/or caregivers; and people interested in visiting with their therapy dog. Volunteers who speak both English and a second language are also helpful. We provide volunteer training and ongoing support. Call 781-569-2888 and ask to speak to a Volunteer Coordinator for more information. Or email LPalais@vnab.org.
Spiritual Poetry Journal
"Soul-Lit" is a new on-line spiritual poetry journal. A number of entries have been from Jews and have Jewish content. Writers are encouraged to submit their own poems which have a level of spiritual content to them. Two volumes have already been published.
To check out the website, please click here.
Please spread the word to members of the community who are writers / poets, and who may wish to submit their own writings.
Please support our Congregation Shalom advertisers