Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
1 October 2020 -13 Tishrei 5781
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
My favorite holiday is Sukkot. After Rosh Hashanah’s emphasis on God as Sovereign and our own powerlessness, and Yom Kippur’s emphasis on God’s Compassion and our own mortality, I love Sukkot’s emphasis on God as the Source of Blessing and our own experience of joy/simcha. I love the physicality of the holiday: the dwelling outdoors in the Sukkah, the smell of the myrtle and the etrog. I love the celebration of the autumn and the harvest. I love gourds and pumpkins and corn stalks and evergreen tree schach/branches on the roof of the Sukkah. I love the custom of Ushpizin, inviting special guests into the Sukkah. I love hearty soups and shepherd’s pie. I love looking at the stars. I love the way we read the last verses of the Torah and the first verses of the Torah right next to each other, so that the whole cycle begins again. I love Sukkot. Come and celebrate with us at CAA for Sukkot!
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from the President
As we begin 5781, it's hard to not look back on this past year and be glad it's behind us. However, for many people and institutions in our community and the greater Jewish community, the pandemic has left them with financial hardship. Please check out our website for more information how you can help. There you will find my Kol Nidre appeal, along with a message from Dr. Stephen Berk on Israel Bonds, as well as messages from other leaders in our community.
Thank you all in advance for your generosity

Jackie Rowen
Holiday Information
For more information about the upcoming 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: Morgen Stewart, Ellen Carpenter, Michael Karp, Michael Weingarten, Aliza Ratner-Trachtenberg, Joshua Cooper-Ginsburg, Joel Weingarten, Paul Westheimer, Daniel Cramer, Doug Klein, David Stashower

Anniversaries: Fran and Malcolm Abrams, Eileen and Jeffrey Handelman, Ellen Wertlieb and Martin Greenberg
Yahrzeits: Nathan Kaplan, David Kagan, Julie Fink Myshrall, Jay Sales, Minnie Skoburn, Abraham Davidovitz, Helen Wohl, Philip Anikstein, Anne Ronen Berkov, Martha Bernard, Harold Menter, Tillie Hausler, Muriel Yablon, Eleanore Besser
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
Third 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 Sukkot Program
Join the Religious School for Pizza-in-Your-Hut on Zoom

Thursday 8 October at 4:30p
This celebration and educational lesson on the Holiday of Sukkot will be broadcast live from the Congregation'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.

High Holiday
Youth Services
This past Sunday, the CAA religious school joined Junior Congregation for a socially distant Tashlich service and Kapparot ritual at Blatnick Park led by volunteer lay leaders Steve Schmidt and Joe Shiang. The kids learned a passage from the Yom Kippur Haftara about the importance of combining social justice actions (tzedakah) with their ritual actions (prayer/tefilah). The Kapparot ritual involves waving cash over one’s head to symbolically make a “substitution:” let this tzedakah go to charity, and I’ll go on to have a good year, filled with meaningful actions such as giving tzedakah. The youth raised $180 collectively, which is truly wonderful, and Rabbi Spitzer’s Discretionary Fund matched that gift, and was able to donate $360 to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York just before Yom Kippur began.

Thank you to everyone who participated and SAVE THE DATE for another joint venture between the religious school and Junior Congregation: A Junior Congregation Celebration of Simchat Torah on Saturday 10 October at 7pm.

Please click on the photo above to see the whole album on FB
Tot Shabbat this Friday!
Upcoming Adult Education Program
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     NOTE: No Class on 6 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.

Learn Hebrew with CAA: Hebrew Class Returns
Next Class 6 October @ 6:00 p.m.
Join us for an exciting and continuing online Hebrew class with teacher extraordinaire Zipporah Harris. Born in Israel, Zipporah is an experienced teacher who has taught Hebrew at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels for over 30 years. The class meets for 10 consecutive Tuesdays via Zoom and the cost is $10 per class, payable to Zipporah Harris. The class covers reading, writing, and conversation. Don't miss the opportunity to become part of this group of learners. Classes resume  Sept. 29, and Oct. 6. If you are interested in joining, write to Zipporah at

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.

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 new 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!
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 the second day of Sukkot, so we will not be meeting for Havdalah.
In the Community
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]  []