THIS WEEK'S TORAH PORTION
Parashat Vayishlah
3rd Triennial Genesis 35:16-36:43
Read the Portion on Sefaria.org - you can click a verse for commentary
 
RABBI'S CORNER
Pride and Humility

And Timna was a concubine to Eliphaz, Esau's son, and she bore to Eliphaz, Amalek (36:12) וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ לֶאֱלִיפַז בֶּן־עֵשָׂו וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז אֶת־עֲמָלֵק

  … and Lotan’s sister was Timna…(36:22) וַאֲחוֹת לוֹטָן תִּמְנָע


The following is the most famous teaching of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peschischa:
Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need.  In one pocket the note should read: "For my sake was the world created." And in the other: "I am but dust and ashes." The challenge is to know, in the moment, which note it is most helpful to read.
 
This year, in the third triennial (when we read the last third of each Torah portion), we are treated to a full 43 verses detailing the lineage of Jacob’s boorish brother Esau. The most dramatic detail in this section is the birth of Amalek, the namesake of Israel’s paradigmatic enemy.  Amalek achieves this status of enemy par excellence by attacking the weakest of the Israelites as they first enter the desert after the exodus from Egypt. The conflict with Amalek continues throughout the biblical text, and is the basis of the Purim story. Blotting out the memory of Amalek is a commandment in the Torah, hence the custom on Purim of making noise to blot out the name “Haman,” a descendent of Amalek, during the reading of the Megillah [Scroll of Esther].

Despite this unqualified enemy status the midrash makes an amazing assertion about the origin of Amalek’s animosity. The rabbis, reading with great care even the most prosaic sections of Torah, notice two unusual details about Amalek’s mother, Timna. As the verses above indicate, Amalek’s mother is sister to Lotan and a concubine to Eliphaz. These unexpected details jutting through the monotonous surface of the text inspire the rabbinic imagination to dig down for the story to explain this unexpected information. 

What is the purpose of [writing], ‘And Lotan's sister was Timna (Gen. 36:22)’? It is because Timna was a royal princess, as it is written, ‘alluf Lotan’ (Gen. 36:28) and ‘alluf Timna’ (Gen. 36:40). 'Alluf' (אלוף) means an uncrowned ruler. Desiring to become a convert, Timna went to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they did not accept her. So she went and became a concubine to Eliphaz the son of Esau, saying, 'I would rather be a servant to this people than a mistress of another nation.' From her Amalek was descended who afflicted Israel. Why so? — Because they should not have rejected her. (Talmud, Sanhedrin 99b)

The midrash makes an extraordinary assertion. Amalek, the great enemy of Israel is not inexplicable embodied evil, but is responding to a real grievance. Particularly in these times, when we see so much evil and violence directed against our people and our values, may we have the strength to defend our people, our values and the wisdom and compassion that our tradition demonstrates and to recognize our errors and avoid them in the future. For my sake the world was created. I am but dust and ashes. 
NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

SPECIAL LEARNING AND OUTDOOR KIDDUSH
THIS SHABBAT

To mark his father's first yahrzeit, Rabbi Lewis will offer a teaching in his honor as part of the Torah service. Following the service, those attending in person are invited to a short outdoor Kiddush (cookies by Janet Cline).
The TAA Food Drive for the Open Door was a wonderful success! 
We collected lots of food, enjoyed socializing and greeting our guests, and warmed up with hot apple cider and homemade cookies in our new gathering spot....our parking lot!
Thanks to Barry Schwartz and the Membership Committee for this wonderful idea, and to Janet and the Kitchen Crew for the great refreshments.
GLOUCESTER MEMORIES ROUND TABLE/STORY SHARING

Did you grow up in Gloucester or summer on Cape Ann as a child? Do you have a story or an experience you would like to share?
How was the Gloucester of the mid-to-late 20th-century different from what we know today? Can you talk about the time when many of the Main Street merchants were Jewish? What were services like in the old Temple building? What were the big social activities? What was your Hebrew School like, down in the basement? How did you celebrate your bar or bat mitzvah? What was it like to go to the local schools?

We are planning a round table, either in person or on zoom, depending on when this event takes place. It will have a Story Corps format. This will be fascinating for the whole congregation.

If you have a story to share, please click here and fill out the attached sheet. If you have any questions, get in touch with any of us. We are happy to help you.

TOGETHER AND APART: THE FUTURE OF JEWISH PEOPLEHOOD
“A values-based conversation, which focuses on Jewish identity, moral values, and principles of Jewish peoplehood, rather than on policy debates.

We have a wonderful opportunity to study together! TAA will be offering a course entitled Together and Apart: The Future of Jewish Peoplehood taught by Rabbi Lewis and designed by the renowned Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. This nine-session course will begin in January and will be open to TAA members. We are gathering a list of possible participants to figure out the best times to meet (in person and/or virtually). 

REHEARSAL/JAM FOR MUSICIANS AND ALLE BRIDER BAND MEMBERS! 
Sunday, Nov 21, 12:30 pm

We will be rehearsing for Chanukah and our December 17th Kabbalat Shabbat performances. Come to Play, to Sing, to Sit in and listen. (We appreciate your participation even if you can't stay for the whole time). Please let us know if you can join us by clicking the link below.

APPLE STRUDEL CLASS WITH JANET CLINE
Sunday, November 21, 12 pm on Zoom


TAA BOOK CLUB DECEMBER SELECTION
Wednesday, December 15, 7 pm on Zoom 
The book is Einstein and the Rabbi-Searching for the Soul by Naomi Levy.
Contact Barbara to join. All are welcome!
TAA AND CHANUKAH
VIRTUAL CANDLE LIGHTING
Let's all light our Chanukiot together!
6:00pm Nightly on Zoom

Sunday, Nov. 28
Monday Nov. 29
Wednesday, Dec. 1
Thursday, Dec. 2
Saturday, Dec. 4 (post Shabbat)
Sunday, Dec. 5

Note: There will be no virtual candle lighting Tues., Nov. 30 (See you at TAA for the Chanukah party!) or Fri., Dec. 3 (Shabbat begins)

Each night we will have a short program where we light, sing and have time for a 5 minute reflection about the light in the darkness.

As we have seen over and over again throughout these last few unusual years, it's important to cherish each and every opportunity to come together as a community. We hope to see you all virtually and in person this year at TAA's Chanukah festivities.

If your family would like to participate by lighting your candles for the group, or if you would like to share a a reflection on light or the season, please sign up here by November 20th.



LIGHTS, LATKES AND SONG - In Person!
Tuesday, November 30, 5:30-6 pm

Please physically join us in front of Temple Ahavat Achim for music, songs, the lighting of the Lobster Trap Menorah, and enjoy latkes and hot apple cider. Chanukah gelt for kids and more!!

NEFESH MOUNTAIN HANUKKAH CONCERT
Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport,
Co-Sponsored by TAA
Saturday, November 27, 8 pm 

A five-piece acoustic band that merges old time Appalachia and bluegrass with Jewish spirituality. They make their Rockport debut with a festive Hanukkah-themed concert that will also include tunes from their acclaimed album, Songs for the Sparrows, featuring bluegrass icons Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush.

TAA CHANUKAH CANDLES FOR SALE
TAA has Chanukah candles for sale for $5. Send a check to TAA or make a donation online and include "Candles" in the payment notes, then email Jasmine to arrange pick up.
TAA KIDS AND FAMILIES
PJ LIBRARY JEWISH HOLIDAYS FOR LITTLE HANDS AT TAA
December 5, 10:30 am
Stories, songs, snacks and a special art project around Jewish holidays with Expert Bubbies, Zaydes, Imas and Abbas from our community! Children under 5 and their caregivers welcome.

SIMCHA
Congratulations to Larry Constantine whose fifteenth novel, Always Beginning, is out November 30, which makes fifteen novels in just under fifteen years. (The poem he shared during the High Holidays figures in the story.) It’s available for pre-order now, with paperback and hardcover editions to follow. It’s the sequel to Always Me, which will be on discount for just 99 cents from November 24 to December 1.

REGISTER FOR OUR WEEKLY EVENTS
Torah Study, Thursdays, 11 am REGISTER TO JOIN ON ZOOM
Shabbat Service, Saturdays, 9 am REGISTER TO JOIN ON ZOOM
Sunday Morning Minyan, Sundays, 9 am REGISTER TO JOIN ON ZOOM
GET INVOLVED WITH TAA
The TAA Kitchen Crew is looking for community members to join our terrific team. You choose when, how often and the amount of time in the kitchen. If you have any questions or ideas please email Janet
TAA’s Everyone Eats! Team provides lunch supplies each Sunday at Gloucester's Action Shelter. To join the team or find out more, email Martha
"Chesed" is loving care in Hebrew, and the Chesed Committee provides support to families in our community.
Join the Caregivers Support Group for their Tuesday 10:30 am meetings
Know Someone Interested in Joining our Community?
Refer prospective members to Richard Huttner and Elaine Byrne
NOT SEEING THE WHOLE NEWSLETTER?
Look for the words "[Message clipped]  View entire message" at the bottom of the page, then click on "View entire message" to open the full newsletter in a new tab.
EVENTS NEAR AND FAR
ALLIES OF OUR AFGHAN ALLIES INFORMATIONAL MEETING
Tuesday, November 16, 7pm, in-person or virtually

Volunteers are needed to secure housing, furnishings, transportation, employment, education, legal counsel, medical coordination, and acclimation to our region. You are invited to an informational meeting at the First Congregational Church of Rockport (12 School St.). Masks and social distancing are required at the in-person gathering. To stream the meeting, go to Rockport UCC on Facebook or to the Old Sloop YouTube channel. Please consider donating to this resettlement effort. All monies received will be used to meet the Afghan families’ basic needs (no administrative costs). Two options for giving: Go to GoFundMe.com and search for Allies of our Afghan Allies, or send a check to WGTCC, ATTN: Treasurer, 488 Essex Ave., Gloucester, MA 01930. PLEASE note in the memo line “AAA” or “Refugee Resettlement.”
JARTS THEATREWORKS GROUP PRESENTS: YOU WILL NOT PLAY WAGNER
Tuesday, November 16, 7:00 pm
Directed by Lilia Levitina

You Will Not Play Wagner takes place in New York City and Tel Aviv as the characters Zoom across the COVID-19 plagued world. Ya’akov, a young Israeli upstart, provokes an uproar when he chooses to perform Wagner in the finals of an international competition for conductors. He comes into conflict with Esther, a Holocaust survivor and competition patron who has her own tragic connection with Wagner’s music. South African playwright Victor Gordon adapted his play for Zoom just before he passed away from COVID-19. This film is in his memory.

PRESENTATION BY FOUNDERS OF THE CAPE ANN SLAVERY PROJECT
Wednesday, November 17th, 6:30 pm, West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church

The West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church invites you to a presentation by the founders of the Cape Ann Slavery & Abolition Project, Rev. Janet Parsons & Rev. Susan Moran. They will share the forgotten histories of enslaved people, slave owners, sea captains and business owners involved in the slave trade on Cape Ann.

CONSUMING IDENTITIES: SLAVERY, SOUTHERN FOOD, AND KOSHER SOUL WITH MICHAEL TWITTY
Wednesday, November 17, 7:00 pm, Free virtual event

Join CJP and Salem State University's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies as we welcome culinary historian Michael Twitty for a conversation with award-winning historian Bethany Jay, and Dr. Sarah Abramson, CJP's Senior Vice President of Strategy and Impact.

THE BOSTON FESTIVAL OF NEW JEWISH MUSIC 1.2. YAEKO MIRANDA ELMALEH
Wednesday, November 17, 7:00 pm
Backroom at the Boston Synagogue or Online

Join us for the second concert of the Boston Festival of New Jewish Music, a free monthly concert series presenting original music that draws from the Jewish cultural experience. All concerts will be performed live at the Boston Synagogue and live-streamed. Violinist Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh is a member of the Klezmer Conservatory band and is the founder of her own ensemble, a group that plays a blend of Latin, Jewish, and Klezmer/Roma inspired music with an edge.

JLIVE WITH MANDY SILVERMAN (MANDYLICIOUS)
Friday, November 19, 12:00 pm

Known and loved as the Challah Guru on Instagram, Mandylicious’s Mandy Silverman shares the secrets of her creative and exceptional challah-baking, which to date includes over 300 Kosher recipes— several of which have been enjoyed at the JArts marquee food celebration, Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen.

REFUGEES AND IMMIGRATION: A NEW ERA
A SYMPOSIUM
Saturday, November 20, 2-5:00pm

Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will host our annual Symposium on Refugees and Immigration – a New Era. It will concentrate on what is happening in our communities and around the country. At our last Summer Series Congressman Seth Moulton talked about our responsibility for the safety and resettlement of people from Afghanistan in New England. The Symposium will seek the perspective of members of organizations who have assisted new arrivals for a long time and from people who have been through the immigration or refugee experience.

"I AM COMPLETELY NORMAL": THE STRUGGLE OF ETHIOPIAN ISRAELIS
Sunday, November 21, 10:00 am, Virtual event

Join Temple Emunah, CJP, and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies for a conversation with Israeli civil and human rights activist and educator, Shula Mola, Ph.D. Learn about the struggle of Ethiopian Jews in Israel for “normality” and ways to deal with exclusion and racism.

HANUKKAH STORY TIMES WITH PJ LIBRARY
Families with young children are invited to celebrate Hanukkah at any of these free programs sponsored by Lappin Foundation.
 
  • PJ Library Story Time at Lowell Book Company in Mill 5, Sunday, November 28, 2 pm. Walk-ins are welcome.
  • PJ Library Hanukkah Story Time & Songs with Tewksbury Public Library, Monday, November 29,10:30 am on Zoom.
  • PJ Library Hanukkah Story Time & Songs with Haverhill Public Library, Tuesday, November 30, 11 am on Zoom.
  • PJ Library Hanukkah Storytime at Tyngsborough Public Library, Tuesday, November 30, 1 pm.
  • PJ Library Virtual Hanukkah Storytime, Tuesday, November 30, 4 pm. Includes a special pickup, do at home holiday craft kit.
  • PJ Library Hanukkah Story Lantern Walk, Sunday, December 5, 4 pm at Sunny Meadow Farm, Robin Hill Road in Chelmsford.

HANUKKAH FILM FESTIVAL
November 28-December 5
Celebrate the Hanukkah season with eight nights of exclusive, award-winning new films. Tickets provide limited-time access to 11 films, exclusive filmmaker discussions and more, with new content added each night of Hanukkah.

ECCO ANNUAL MEETING
Thursday, December 9, 6:45 pm on Zoom

Join us to connect with one another, celebrate the work we have done together this past year, and commit to supporting ECCO’s work in the coming year. Whether you've been part of ECCO's work for years or are just getting to know our community, the annual meeting is a wonderful time to connect. We will also be hearing the ECCO Core Strategy team’s vision for campaign work in the coming year, which they are developing in collaboration with leaders of color from across ECCO.

SHEMITAH AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: A FREE FOUR-LESSON EMAIL JOUNEY

Join Sefaria to uncover the core values of Shemitah — the Jewish Sabbatical year for the land happening this year — and how it can speak to today's most pressing issues. Lesson 1: A Year of Food Justice; Lesson 2: A Year of Economic Justice; Lesson 3: Giving Up Ownership; Lesson 4: A Year of Rest.
Perfect for learners of all experience levels and backgrounds, each email will include texts from the Sefaria library, additional resources to deepen your learning, and "food for thought" to take home with you and turn into action.

27TH ANNUAL JCCNS JEWISH BOOK MONTH SPEAKER SERIES
October 5 – November 16

33RD ANNUAL BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
November 7-21
This year’s online festival delivers an eclectic lineup of 38 films and documentaries from around the world.

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH CONVERSATIONS
LOOK WHO'S TALKING SPEAKER SERIES
Wednesday, December 15, 7:00 pm, Temple Beth Am, Framingham, MA
Jordan Rich, "ON AIR, My 50-Year Love Affair with Radio"

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86 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 281-0739 
Myron Geller, Rabbi Emeritus
Amy Farber, President
Phoebe Potts, Director of the Sylvia Cohen Family Learning Project
Laurie Williamson, Bookkeeper 
Jasmine Epstein, Office Coordinator
In-Office hours: Monday 9 am - 3 pm; Tuesday 9 am - 4 pm; Wednesday 9 am - 3 pm; Thursday & Friday 9 am - 2 pm