Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
8 October 2020 -20 Tishrei 5781
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks teaches: SA’ADIA GAON, writing in the tenth century, asked a simple question. In virtue of what was the Jewish people still a nation? It had none of the normal preconditions of a nation. Jews were scattered throughout the world. They did not live in the same territory. They were not part of a single economic or political order. They did not share the same culture. They did not speak the same language. Rashi spoke French, Rambam Arabic. Yet they were, and were seen to be, one nation, bound by a bond of collective destiny and responsibility. Hence Sa’adia concluded: Our people is a people only in virtue of our Torah. In the lovely rabbinic phrase about the Ark which contained the tablets, “It carried those who carried it” (Sotah 35a). More than the Jewish people preserved the Torah, the Torah preserved the Jewish people. 
How has the Torah preserved you?
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from the Executive Director and the Membership Committee
We would like to recognize members who joined this past year, as our CAA community has grown even in the midst of this pandemic. Let us welcome all new members who joined or re-joined Congregation Agudat Achim during 5780:
  • Mike Pletman
  • Ed Pletman
  • Jonathan & Susan Weil
  • Michael & Marla Allentoff
  • Doug & Adrienne Klein
  • Len Zinoman
  • Paul Zinoman
  • Ron Zinoman
  • Harlan & Helen Harrison
  • Dr. William & Rabbi Eleanor Pearlman
  • Neil Yetwin & Rachel Horowitz
  • Peter Berry & Philippa Martin
  • Tiara Jaron-Borysewicz
  • Josh & Eric Cooper-Ginsburg
  • Jerrold & Lisa Schapiro
We appreciate all of our members staying active while the building has been closed and how the community has stayed together during the pandemic crisis. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, and that we can soon invite everyone back to the synagogue for regular programming. Moving forward, we will announce new members approved by the Board of Trustees in the section of our weekly announcements, “With Our Members,” after each monthly board meeting. Please join us in welcoming all new members!
Josh Cooper-Ginsburg
Executive Director
Holiday Information
Hosha'na Rabbah -- Tomorrow 9 October 7:15a on Zoom
Hosha'na Rabbah, the last day of Sukkot, is the final day of the intense period of reflection and self-evaluation that began on Rosh Hashanah. This day is considered the time of the final sealing of God's judgement. Thus, this day shares with Yom Kippur some themes of repentance and forgiveness. The prayer leader wears a kittel for the musaf service. The service includes elements of weekday, festival, and High Holiday services as the different sections reflect the wide range of holiday moods expressed. There are 7 processions, and an opportunity to beat the willow branches. As we conclude the penitential season, we recognize that separating ourselves from sin is difficult, just as trying to strip leaves from the willow branches is. Just as God's gift of rain enables the willow trees to grow new branches and leaves, our faith enables us to overcome our struggles and feel restored to a fresh life. Please join us for our observance of Hosha'na Rabbah.
Shabbat/Shemini Atzeret -- 10 October 9:15a by livestream
  • Candle Lighting on Friday 9 October 6:03p in 12309
  • This service will contain the final two chapters of the Megilat Kohelet, the Scroll of Ecclesiastes (click here for a link to follow along with those chapters)
  • PDF of the Torah and Haftara reading
  • This service will include the Yizkor/Memorial Service (click here to download the text of the Yizkor service that we will be using)
  • This service will include the Geshem Prayer (click here to download the inclusive text Geshem that we will use in our service) which prays for rain and begins our inclusion of Mashiv Haruach in the Amidah
Simchat Torah -- Sunday 11 October 9:15a by livestream
  • Candle Lighting on Saturday 10 October 7:01p in 12309 (Kiddush for Simchat Torah contains Havdalah from Shabbat to Yom Tov)
  • PDF of the Torah and Haftara Reading
  • This service will include the conclusion of the Torah scroll, the final verses of the book of Devarim, as well as the beginning of the Torah scroll the first verses of the book of Breisheet. We will be honoring a Hattan/Kallat Torah and a Hattan/Kallat Breisheet for these aliyot.
  • This service will include the opportunity for every adult Jew present to have their own aliya to the Torah.
  • Download these pdfs to follow along with the songs and hakafot at home!
  • Havdalah on Sunday 11 October 6:59p (goodbye Yom Tov until Passover!)

If you'd like to join us in person for the Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah services, there is still room! Please RSVP in advance at this link: 

For more information about the ongoing holiday of Sukkot, click here.

If you borrowed a Machzor or Machzorim to use for High Holiday services, please call the office to confirm the building will be open when you plan to return the Machzorim. You may leave them on the table inside the front entrance when you arrive.

Right now, you may view the Digital Book of Remembrance and Yizkor service presentation, Virtual Past Presidents Parade, and video messages from President Jackie Rowen, Dr. Stephen Berk, and other community leaders, as well as a recorded pre-Yom Kippur compassion meditation session with Rabbi Spitzer, by clicking the links at the top of the homepage at
With Our Members
Birthdays: Edith Kliman, Lisa Shapiro, Alan Miller, Gary Adelson, Clifford Tepper

Anniversaries: Denise and Mark Palatsky, Lynell and Eric Engelmyer
Yahrzeits: Abraham Fein, Norman Kudan, Eugene Moses, Shirley Flecker, Seymour Olin, Ida Belik, Richard Ginsburg, Basia Zugman, Eli Backer, Lorraine Joel, William Bristol, Harry Fink, Thomas Frank, Willard Goodheim, Samuel Levy
We have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Raphael Siegel, brother of Martin Siegel on Friday, 25 September, 2020. Our condolences go out to the Siegel Family.
Misheberach List Refresh

It is that time of year again where we are removing all the names from our Misheberach List, and are asking people to resubmit the names of those for whom you are praying. Click on this link
to add a name to our new list (updated Oct2020).

We have developed a system for keeping track of those for whom we are praying for their healing. Four times a year (around Rosh Hashanah (Sept/Oct), in January, around Pesah (Mar/Apr), and in July we are going to completely refresh our list-- everyone will be removed, and we will only continue to pray on Shabbat for those who are resubmitted, if they continue to need our prayers. Throughout the year, the best way to add someone to the list is to fill out the form above, which can also be accessed on our website and Facebook page. Rabbi Spitzer and Chris both check the form every week before Shabbat and make sure to prepare a list for our Shabbat prayers that includes all the names submitted.

During the week, when we pray together on Zoom, those who wish to share names when we get to the healing prayer are able to do so. However, now that some people attend only by Livestream for Shabbat, those people are unable to share the names of those for whom they are praying for their healing. We would therefore like to update our list so that the community will be able to pray for all of those individuals on Shabbat. Please update the list by filling out this form for each person for whom you are praying. Thank you!
Schedule for the Week
Most of our events are happening digitally. Please check the CAA website and Facebook, and look for updates and information via email.

You can find a daily schedule for the next week in a Google Doc which is being updated regularly at this link:
Dr. Berk Lecture Series
Fourth Installment Tonight
Fall Lecture Series with Dr. Stephen Berk
Third Lecture TONIGHT 1 October @ 7:30p
The American Jewish Experience: Zion In America
  • 17 Sep -- From Iberia to America:
They met with George Washington, fought in the American Revolution and began to create a Jewish community. They came for freedom and helped build a new country.
  • 24 Sep -- The Germans Are Coming:
Developments in Central Europe motivated tens of thousands of Jews to come to the United States where they revitalized a very small Jewish community.
  • 1 Oct -- The Russians Are Coming:
A Russian word enters the English language. The word is “pogrom.“ Pogrom became synonymous with attacks on Jews. In 1881-1882, a wave of pogroms swept over Russia, and 1,500,000 Jews came to the United States. They changed the course of American Jewish history.
  • 8 Oct -- The Roaring Twenties and Dismal Thirties:
An interwar period that had an enormous influence on American Jewish life. A Jewish infatuation with an American president failed to yield a positive result.
  • 15 Oct -- Golden Age for American Jews Part I:
The post-World War II period ushered in an unprecedented time in Jewish history. The barriers came down, and Jews became part of the American mainstream.
  • 22 Oct -- Golden Age for American Jews Part II:
If life is so good, then why are we so worried? Assimilation and the unexpected rise of anti-Semitism cast a shadow over a polarized Jewish community.
Religious School Programs

New Location!

Join the Religious School for Pizza-in-Your-Hut on Zoom

Thursday 8 October at 4:30pm
This celebration and educational lesson on the Holiday of Sukkot will be broadcast live from Morah Zipporah's Sukkah on Zoom.

Tune in from your Sukkah with your own pizza, as we have a really special program planned that both parents and students will enjoy. We may even serve a Lulav Shake! If you have any questions please contact Jack.
Junior Congregation
JCong Celebrates Simchat Torah this Saturday 10 October at 7pm
Join the school and JCong in the sanctuary this Saturday evening at 7pm for a unique opportunity to celebrate Simchat Torah with the CAA youth. Kids who come should please bring an adult. Masks and social distancing required.
Tot Shabbat Next Friday
16 October @ 5pm
Register today!
Carrot Festival Information
Upcoming Adult Education Programs
Free and Open to the Community
Please Register Now
and share widely!
Sunday 18 Oct 3:00p: Conversation with Leket Israel founder Joseph Gitler
Thurs 29 October 7:00p:
First of Three Conversations about Racism with Rabbi Sandra Lawson
Sunday 8 November 10:30a:
First of Three Conversations about Democracy and Religion in Israel
Meals To Go
Thank you to our congregation and the Capital District community for their ongoing support of our successful Meals to Go program. Only a limited amount of inventory remains but it is not too late to purchase for the holidays or anytime. 
To order, please contact Rise' Routenberg at

Items for Sale:
Latkes- 18 for $9-pareve
Indonesian Tofu-pareve (2-3 portions)
Falafel $8 for 24 balls-pareve
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce-$15 (3 portions)
Chicken Breast with Artichokes, Sundried tomatoes and Olives-(2-3) portions
Maple Soy Salmon with Rice (2-3 portions)- pareve-$12
Herb Roasted Salmon with Rice (2-3 portions)-pareve- $12
G-F Chocolate Chip Cookies-(approx 20), pareve, $10
Chocolate-Dipped Truffles-pareve, $10-1 pound
Holiday Honey Cake-pareve, $10
Upcoming Events
Learning Together

Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer                        
Next Class 13 October

Rabbi Spitzer teaches a class on the weekly Torah portion on Tuesdays from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. on Zoom. The link is here and on the CAA Online Programming Google Doc. If you are interested in exploring the weekly Parashah please attend. All are welcome. If you missed Rabbi Spitzer’s Tuesday Parashat Hashavua class this past week (29 Sep), the teaching we learned together can be found here: Introduction to Sukkot by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Spitzer invites you to call or email with your comments or thoughts.

Save the Dates for Rabbi's 3-Session Mini-Classes this Year
Rabbi Spitzer will be teaching three 3-session mini-courses over the course of the year. Topics are still TBD, but this is what we are thinking:
  • Back to the Basics: Living a Jewish Life -- 5, 12, and 19 November
  • Back to the Basics: Jewish Life-cycle -- 4, 11, and 18 March
  • Back to the Basics: Holy Times -- 3, 10, and 17 June
Praying Together
Minyan Schedule (updated and approved by ritual committee)

S: 8:30a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
M: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
T: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 1:30p Mincha/Afternoon Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
W: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:15p Maariv/Evening Minyan
Th: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, 7:00p Maariv/Evening Minyan NOTE the earlier time of our Thursday Maariv Minyan to accommodate the Dr. Berk Lecture Series
F: 7:15a Shacharit/Morning Minyan, variable Mincha/Afternoon Minyan and Kabbalat Shabbat

Shabbat Morning Services will be live-streamed beginning at 9:45am here

Rabbi Spitzer is also available for individual prayers for healing with congregants. Make an appointment: 

Siddur Supplement

Many congregants have noted that some of our regular prayers are not easily accessible now that we are using the big/full Siddur Sim Shalom (which has both the Shabbat and Weekday prayer services) in our own homes, rather than the “Slim Shalom” (which includes only the Shabbat/Festival prayers) in the sanctuary. Rabbi Spitzer has made the following four prayers accessible (click on the links below and feel free to print for your use at home):
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.
Joining Together
Following a Shabbat on which we do not have the opportunity to see each other, CAA joins together for Havdalah and Hanging out. This week, Saturday night begins Simchat Torah, so we will not be meeting for Havdalah.
In the Community
Camp Ramah New England Virtual Tours
To learn more about our incredible overnight camp program, please sign up for an online tour of our facilities! You can connect live via Zoom with Josh Edelglass, Assistant Director of Camp Ramah New England. Josh will guide you through a multimedia presentation, with videos and 360-degree panoramic photos, in which we’ll take you on a virtual tour of our campgrounds, and he’ll answer all of your questions about our overnight camp experience. Please contact Josh to make a reservation. Visit our website:
You can also watch our awesome short promotional video: and take a virtual tour of our camp facilities: on our website
JFS is offering many supportive programs and help at this time. They also seek volunteers to drive seniors, and to deliver groceries and meals.  Click here for more information. JFS has three virtual groups: Parenting During COVID, Activities for Emotional Well-being, and Coming Up for AIR: A Discussion Groups for seniors. Dates and registration information is here
Click here for more information: 

Jewish World Needs Our Help
The Jewish World has been a part of our community for 54 years, and they're raising money on this Go Fund Me site:
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]  []