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
Each month I invite the 11th and 12th graders to study with me at my home for Post-Confirmation class. Over brownies we converse about topics in which there is an intersection between Judaism, social justice, current events and identity. The conversations, which are wide ranging, make clear to me that our teens are growing up in a world in which they need to navigate issues that are truly challenging.
At our first class of the year I did a mixer with the teens. I opened up a pack of 50 postcards called Act Now! - Protest Postcards. Each teen was supposed to take one or two postcards which display an image that they care about or one that they care about and one they disagree with. The postcards were either photographs of actual signs for protest marches or pictures of people holding signs. We had a great conversation about the issues that are on their minds.
Two students picked cards that I think are relevant for all of us. One teen chose a card that has a picture of the earth from space and it says, "There is NO Plan B" with the earth being the "o" in NO. The second student picked a sign that says, "Science IS REAL". Both of these teens spoke about the fact that although they cared about many of the other issues that were written on the other cards, the issue of climate change was so scary and important to them that they could not think of another more important issue. This conversation happened the day after the UN released the 2018 report on climate change. All of the teens had heard about it and all of them were quite concerned and scared. The report outlines that in these kids very lifetimes they would be seeing mass die-off of coral reefs, a dramatic decline in species of both fauna and flora, worsening food shortages, increasing wildfires, more dangerous storms, a massive refugee crisis caused by climate change and more. I know that as a nation we talk about the impact of the national debt on our children, but that night I felt struck by how these kids felt like we were leaving them with a broken planet. It was very, very disheartening.
As Jews we are commanded to respond to our children's concerns. The Torah and Jewish texts clearly articulate our responsibility to protect the environment, and as such, I believe that it is essential for Jewish communities to respond to our youth's concerns. In the book of Eclesiastes we read: One generation goes and another generation comes, but the Earth remains forever. (Kohelet 1:4) We must ask ourselves, "Will the Earth remain forever if we continue down the path of ignoring the warning signs of climate change?" Judaism teaches us that we have a solemn obligation to improve our world for future generations and one step we must take is to learn how to live within the ecological limits of our earth. Unless we do this, we will fail to protect our children and will compromise the ecological and economic security of future generations.
In Genesis 2:15 we were told that humanity was given the responsibility of stewardship: of tilling and tending the earth, not destroying it. In the Talmud, we are taught the command of bal tashchit, "Do Not Destroy". This early environmental doctrine asserts that ownership of land is an artifice and that in actuality the earth is God's, a gift that is loaned to us and needs to be protected. This concept is reinforced in Psalm 24: "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." Judaism teaches us that any act of environmental destruction is an affront to God.
In this same vein, the Union for Reform Judaism's position on environmental protection includes the statement that "energy policy must also be equitable and just, as the Torah commands, "Justice, justice shall you pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20). The countries most responsible for climate change should be those most responsible for finding a solution to the problem. Judaism also underscores the moral imperative of protecting the poor and vulnerable: "When one loves righteousness and justice, the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Eternal" (Psalms 33:5). Indeed, poor nations are likely to bear the brunt of the negative impacts associated with climate change."
From our President
I realize some of you might be tempted to skip over this column as soon as you realize that I'm writing to ask for volunteers. Wait! Please give me me a chance to say why your reaction shouldn't be, "Oh no, not again, can't they ask someone else?"
As you know, we rely on our committees to provide many services which are the lifeblood of our temple. A little over a year ago when I became President, I knew of a number of committees which had open positions and that it would be my job to help fill them. There were volunteers who had moved, were burned out, or were ready to move on to something new - and they needed to be replaced with fresh people who were interested in becoming involved. It was a process of working to find the right people to step in to fill some holes. I've been very pleased over these months to have been a part of making progress in these important volunteer areas.
Well, it turns out that looking for volunteers is a never-ending process. Change is the norm. Each volunteer has a limit on how long they want to be in the same position, doing essentially the same thing. We each maintain a balance in our lives between looking for new challenges and wanting to keep to the comfortable status quo. There comes a time for every volunteer when they let us know they'd like to move on. If circumstances permit, most are gracious and offer to stay until someone can replace them, but we must respect their wishes once they've let us know.
Let me briefly run through where our most urgent volunteer needs are today.
- Our Oneg Committee needs someone to send reminder emails throughout the year.
- Our Communications Committee needs some new blood to help with our temple media outlets.
- We need to grow our Membership Committee, whose goal is to create life-long members through recruiting and integrating new members. This melds nicely with some corresponding efforts by other committees to increase publicity in neighboring towns, and to focus on engagement of our members.
- The Finance Committee is looking for some additional voices.
- A new Beautification Committee would be beneficial, and requires members who bring a critical eye to the aesthetics of our property.
- We want to form a Green Team to build on some recent efforts we've made to make our building more "green", with an immediate focus on looking at ways to make our kitchen more environmentally conscious. Please read Rabbi Perry's column in this issue for more information.
These are the committees that are in crucial need of support. We are looking for members, at any level of involvement, for each. If you want to help, but can't see how you fit into the opportunities I've listed here, please let me know and we'll have a conversation. I urge you to volunteer by contacting me at
. You will have a direct beneficial impact on our entire membership. To those of you ready to offer your time, your talent, and your commitment - thank you!
rom Our Education Director
In preparation for this article, I googled 'What is a Brit Kavod/Honor Covenant?' I received about 15,600 results in 0.21 seconds. "WOW! We must truly need support in this area," I thought.
A cornerstone of our religious school experience at Congregation Shalom is Kavod/Respect/Honor. Ours is a community built upon the tenets of kindness and helping those in need, all of which complete the circle of Kavod. One has to only peruse our website to see a thriving Sisterhood, Brotherhood, and Shalomite Youth Group, each dedicated to Mitzvot and acts of Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World.
In my short time at Congregation Shalom, I have been captivated by the kindness and compassion members of this temple extend toward one another and the broader community. During the summer I met with a Madrichah (her suggestion) to discuss the student she works with and how best to meet his needs, a web master and calendar expert both so involved in communal life they give way beyond the description of their volunteer positions, and an Office Manager who wears so many institutional hats that she is a walking encyclopedia of communal knowledge. The warm welcome I received personally as an outsider demonstrated the concept of Ushpizin/Welcoming the Stranger, and circling this all is a love and reverence of Torah, recently revealed as the congregation literally wrapped itself in the embrace of an unfurled Torah Scroll on Simchat Torah.
So, this brings me back to the concept of Brit Kavod. Why do we need a document such as this in a community and school which is already achieving so many high-level goals? It is precisely this high-reach which forces us as educators to have a set of rules created by, and for our students. The ongoing lessons established at Congregation Shalom over years will continue through coming generations only with due process, preview, and regular review.
During the coming weeks, each class will complete a written Brit Kavod and these will be displayed proudly on our classroom walls. These written goals will inspire our students in regard to their own behavior and learning. During these turbulent times, it is fitting to discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior through the lens of Brit Kavod. I am including a picture of two seventh grade students in Rob Berkovitz's class completing a creative Brit which adorns their classroom wall.
The first link below offers the thousands of googled results presented on this topic. There are so many to choose from, I hope you find a few videos or articles which answer some pressing questions you might have on this broad subject. The second link is a video for parents which is particularly on point:
General Brit Kavod Search:
Click here to see the results
Bim Bam: An Intro to Kavod (Respect) for Parents:
Stay Tuned for More Adventures
In Jewish Learning and Engagement...
Suggested donation for this event is $10.00, payable at the door.
Ongoing Adult Education Opportunities:
Taking Prayer Book Hebrew
to the Next Step
If you want to feel more comfortable in services, knowing more of the vocabulary of our siddur as well as the Haggadah and Tanach, then this is the class for you! Open to all Hebrew readers, will begin our class with a reading review to reinforce the sounds of letters and vowels. Then we will dive right into the text: Aleph Isn't Enough: Hebrew For Adults Book 2. This textbook helps students to understand key vocabulary and roots as well as basic grammar. In class, we will engage in lively discussions about the meanings of the prayers, the structure of the service and more. If you are interested in learning more or participating, please rsvp to Rabbi Perry at
This group provides a wonderful forum of exploration for personal spirituality. We explore how we can enhance our own spiritual experiences and reflect about how we can enrich the quality of our life experiences and relationships. Last year we learned that among us there is a great diversity of meanings and experiences of spirituality. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Lynne Rothstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bruce Goss at
2nd Tuesday of every month
10:30 AM-12:00 p.m.
Café Wisdom is a monthly study group that meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month (starting in October). This year we will continue reading discussing the book Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, & Spirit. We always welcome new people and if you are interested in learning more or on being added to the Café Wisdom mailing list, please contact Rabbi Perry at email@example.com.
Social Justice/Social Action Committee
We've Almost Got it All!
Making the world a little better is what drives us. It could be our work to protect Civil, Religious and LGBTQ Rights, Immigration, Gun Legislation or Criminal Justice. It could be helping to feed, clothe and house people in our community or around the world.
We have a strong and energetic committee connected with other social and religious groups in our area.
And we have fun working together while making a difference.
We almost have it all. All we're missing is .... You!
Ongoing Social Action
Table of Plenty
Join Shalom volunteers at the Chelmsford Table of Plenty. Table of Plenty serves dinner to all who walk through the door, without question, every Tuesday from 5-6 PM. Our group works to prep, cook and serve dinner every other month on the 3rd Tuesday. If you can volunteer sometime between 2 and 6 PM, be a part of this mitzvah. Contact Sue McDonald at
. Questions? Contact us at
Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center
Donate meatloaf and/or brownies and/or salad each month for the Transitional Center. Leave your donations in the cooler at the entrance to the synagogue beginning on Wednesday, November 14 starting around noon, until Thursday 10/18 until 8 pm.
December food donations will be on December 19-20.
Save the Date
November 4th - Kristalnacht Commemoration Concert (see flier below)
November 3rd - Nicholas Leonard
November 10th - Dean Linden
November 17th - Sidney Schwartz
Services are open to the temple community
Wanter: Newsletter Editor to Replace Me
We need a newsletter Editor to transition into my role. The time commitment is about 4 hours or less each month with most of the work happening towards the end of the month.
The process is that you read the articles as they come in, make edits as necessary and then put them in the template in Constant Contact, which I will train you on. I didn't know anything about CC when I started, but it's pretty easy to pick up. A basic knowledge of computers is all that is needed to take this job, and it will add to your skills.
The other small responsibility of the job is to attend the Communications Committee meetings once or twice a year.
Being the newsletter Editor is a nice way to stay informed about what is going on in the temple and provides an easy, valuable way to get involved. It's definitely a "behind the scenes" job and can be done from home.
If you'd like to learn more, just send an email to
November Oneg Assignments
Nov 2 - 7 pm Family Shabbat - Music with Ari Strasser - Grade 3 Libby & Gallagher*, Danzig A&K, Heater, Lazar, Miranda & Stewart-Miranda
Nov 9 - 6 pm MOCA Shabbat - Music by Shpiel - Howard*, Bass, Miller C&S, Valleley
Nov 16 - 6 pm Tot Shabbat - Music w/ Sue Horowitz - Ecker & Ball, Pokrovski, Skolnick
Nov 16 - 7:15 pm Adult Shabbat - Mackillop & Rabinowitz*, Boyer, Kaufman, Pitts & Rosenthal
Nov 30 - 6 pm Sunset Shabbat - Hirsch*, Indorf, Miller M&L, Orlinsky
New: Weekly or 2X a month challah deliveries by OMG bakery
is a new bakery that has been able to match the sweetness of past challahs that we have used. We will have plain and raisin challahs for delivery. For those of you who were at Erev Rosh Hashanah services, you were able to taste the challah at the oneg. This is both a service to our congregants, as well as a fundraiser for the Temple.
There is a minimum order though.It is either 1 month weekly, or 2 months if you do it 2X a month, which will be on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Pick up will be at the Temple on WEDNESDAYS at 4 P.M. Of course you can order as much as you want, past the minimum.
It is with heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude to all of you who made donations to the congregation and offered prayers for Bill's recovery during his ordeal. Thankfully, he has recovered nicely, looks and feels well and has resumed just about all of his activities.
Our membership in Congregation Shalom has always been so special to us; one of the reasons being the support and caring of our extended family here.
Much love - Joan & Bill Bernstein
I would like to thank the many people who have asked after me, sent their good wishes, and made contributions to the congregation in the wake of my recent car accident. I am happy to report that I am doing well and that I received superb treatment at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Thank you. - Jesse Heines
Good and Welfare
Condolences to Colin MacKillop and family on the recent passing of his mother Constance Morrison MacGillivray.
Mazal Tov to our members Sharon and Ken Boyer on the marriage of their daughter Sarah to Richard Attridge.
Mazal Tov to our members Jessica Cohen and Jamie Evans on their marriage.
Two new families have joined us recently.....we are pleased to welcome David and Dara Adams of Pepperell, MA and
Ariana Klinkov and David Gershen of Westford, MA
Martin A. Gruber
Mildred C. Rainen
|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
with any questions and/or for an application form.
Changed Your Address?
Notify us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.
A few restaurants to tempt you to check out the auction at
Il Forno, Legal Seafood, Burton's Grill, Cheesecake Factory, Feng Shui, La Santa Tacos and Tequilas, Not Your Average Joe's, b. good, Moe's Southwest Grill, Olive Garden, Moonstones, Taka, Seoul Kitchen. Yummy!!!
For theatres we have: The Merrimack Rep., The Wheelock Children's Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Greater Boston Stage Co. and Indian Hill Music.
We have surprise items from Tiffany's and a special Waterford piece. Then there are specialty stores like Michael's Shoes. Do you need a dry cleaner - we have one.
We have so much more that is not listed here. For instance a Mitch Moreland baseball and a class in bialys from scratch so join the fun and bid away.
If you are new to our Auction, go to the website listed above. You will see a line that says to click here if you have not registered and follow the simple directions. If you have been to the Auction site before, just log in. Bidding begins on Nov. 1st as 12:01AM
The Fundraising Committee
Now is a Great Time to Join the Grocery Card Program
Are you planning to host a crowd for Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe you have a college student who will be home for break and craving a favorite home cooked meal. Are your tweens always hungry, but open the refrigerator and say "there's nothing to eat" every afternoon? Get on board this month to receive grocery store cards and you'll see how easy it is to fundraise for the Temple and fill your fridge without spending any extra money or time.
Here's a savvy shopper tip: When you shop with your gift cards at Hannaford, be sure to sign up for My Hannaford Rewards. You'll get access to lots of coupons, accrue 2% back for Hannaford brand products, and even get deals to save $15 when you spend $150.
If you are at the Temple on Sunday mornings, look for Liz Jegasothy and she can assist you to purchase a card to use right away. She will be available on most Sundays until 10:30 a.m.
Contact me to get started with one of our best fundraisers. You can request cards as needed or sign up for our monthly program. Participating stores are: Hannaford, Donelan's, Whole Foods and Stop &Shop. Your payment to Congregation Shalom results in 7% cash back for the Temple.
Thank you to everyone who generously contributed to the High Holidays food drive. In addition to the hundreds of pounds of food and over $500 in pre-purchased gift cards, we have donated $2,400 in grocery store gift cards purchased via our
fundraising program. It's a win-win-win outcome for you, the Temple, and the local pantries!
Thank you to everyone who donated socks and underwear. Even on short notice, we collected seven large shopping bags stuffed with items. The shelters in Lawrence were no longer requesting these items, but The Wish Project recently relocated to North Chelmsford and was thrilled to accept the much needed items to stock their shelves.
Join Sisterhood friends for dinner and games on Thursday, November 8. We will meet at Asian Plus
Noodles & Rice in Westford at 7p.m. If you have a favorite game, bring it along for us to play!
What are you doing on Wednesday, November 14 and Sunday, November 18? Save these two dates for the annual Chanukkah Fair! We are encouraging you to do some holiday shopping, and are also looking for a few more helpers to assist Patti Green. She does a fantastic job organizing this event and selecting fun, new items each year, but counts on additional volunteers for set up, sales and clean-up.
Plan ahead and save the date for our annual Chanukkah party on Wednesday, December 5 at 6:00 p.m. Patti Green has graciously offered to host again this year. We will again be collecting items to donate to House of Hope in Lowell.
It's never too soon to save the date for the retreat! The Retreat Committee has been hard at work putting plans in place for our 20th Annual Retreat. It will be held in lovely Portsmouth, NH from April 5-8, 2019. You won't want to miss this special event!
Don't forget that we always 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.
Watch for evites with more details for all of our upcoming events.
A full Sisterhood meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 5th at 5:30 p.m. - see Evite that was sent out for more information.
In October a group of Brotherhood members took a tour of the Woodstock Brewery in Woodstock, NH, followed by a hike in Franconia Notch.
Easing in to our new calendar year, we look forward to continuing our tradition of "Cooking With Mel" coming on Saturday, November 17th at the temple. This year's theme will be Mexican food. Mel will be instructing us on preparation of the dishes at 4:30 p.m. with a scheduled meal time of 6:30. Whether you want to help with preparation or just come to eat, contact email@example.com with your RSVP. Cost is $25 including soft drink beverages and Sangria.
Remember, the first Sunday of the month, Paul Hantman hosts poker at the temple at 6:30 p.m. For $10 everyone gets pizza and the top three players receive a monetary reward
On October 28th, a group of Shalomites worked together to bake apple pies at the synagogue. The pies were donated to the Lowell Transitional Shelter.
Coming up on November 18th, we are helping out at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah clothing sale! Please continue to donate any unwanted dressy clothing!
The Congregation Shalom book group invites all who are interested to attend our meetings. It is an enjoyable evening of book review, discussion and fellowship.
We meet in the evenings at 7:00 PM .
Our meeting schedule for the fall:
Monday , November 26 , at the home of Becky Bronson
King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels
|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
Reform Jewish Outreach Boston (RJOB)
offers classes and workshops supporting interfaith couples and individuals exploring Judaism:
Introduction to Judaism
Explore a modern take on Jewish life. Engage with Jewish values, celebrations, and spirituality. Introduction to Judaism is an engaging 16-session course for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Jewish life through a Reform lens. Courses starting in Brookline, Boston, and Sharon/Westwood.
Planning a Jewish Wedding
For Interfaith and Jewish couples. Explore the symbols of the Jewish wedding ceremony, ways to honor family traditions, and how to personalize your ceremony. Workshops in Boston and Cambridge.
RJOB is a program of the Union for Reform Judaism, working in partnership with URJ congregations and with the support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
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