Congregation Agudat Achim
Weekly Announcements
24 September 2020 - 4 Tishrei 5781
Shabbat Shuva /
Parashat Ha'azinu
Yom Kippur
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer -- President Jackie Rowen
Words from our Rabbi
Mishnah Eduyot 1:5 teaches: "Why do they record the opinion of a single person among the many, when the halakhah/legal ruling must be according to the opinion of the many? So that if a [later] court prefers the opinion of the single person it may depend on that opinion [to overturn the earlier ruling]."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, may the memory of the righteous be a blessing, taught similarly: "Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, 'My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.' But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow."
Judaism teaches this great lesson, that law changes over time as the needs of the community change over time-- that a later court can rely upon the minority opinion of an earlier age-- that a person whose legacy was in a powerful dissent is writing for the future.
That must be what Moshe felt like in some sense, at the end of his life, knowing that the people would fail, and fail, again and again, distancing themselves from God and from Moshe's teachings-- yet he was sure that the people would return, would learn, would come home.
The Haftara for this Shabbat, from which the Shabbat draws its name "Shabbat Shuva" ends with this statement: וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי בְקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל אָנִי Know that I [God] am in the midst of the people Israel. This is the power of return-- that repentance is not just about repairing human relationships, but that through that repair, through that recovery, we find the Presence of Adonai.
May we go into this Shabbat and this Yom Kippur graced with the ability to return to a sense of Presence, and confident that the arc of history bends toward justice.
Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Chatima Tovah, may we be sealed for good in the book of life,
Rabbi Spitzer
Message from the President
L'shana Tova! I hope that everyone who joined us this past weekend for Rosh Hashanah services, whether in person or virtually, was able to experience a spiritually meaningful and joyous holiday. It certainly wasn't the way any of us expected we would be spending the holidays six months ago, or even a few months ago for that matter. But, we adapt and there are many people to thank for putting together a High Holiday schedule that allowed all of our community to participate in ways that were comfortable and safe. These folks, including, but not limited to Rabbi, Steve Schmidt, Art Friedson, Joe Shiang and the entire ritual committee as well as the re-opening task force began working on ideas months ago, coming up with multiple plans for all of the different possible levels of CDC and State regulations. Without the hard work of our professional staff and lay leadership, I'm not sure what or how we would have joined together. Over the next few weeks, when you see (in-person or virtually) any of these folks, please make sure to thank them, they certainly deserve it.
Jackie Rowen
High Holiday Information
For more information about Yom Kippur, see

To enter names for the “Digital Book of Remembrance,” please complete the form here: 
(Deadline Friday 25 September)

Please click here to see the original email you received with other messages and the links included above:
Please reach out to Vice President of Programming Steve Schmidt at or Executive Director Josh Cooper-Ginsburg at with any questions.
With Our Members
Birthdays: Ellen Kerness, Jane Kintz, Hildy Reich, Elan Michael Shiang, Esta Skoburn, Luda Borodulin, Zakkary Friedman, Randy Fox, Mishka Luft, Linda Shapiro, Philippa Martin, Sharon Watkins-Fox

Anniversaries: Sandra and Harold Haber, Alice and Arthur Isenberg
Yahrzeits: Joel Kahan, Bessie Sobel, Irving Wasserman, Herman Bragin, Sam Ocean, Harris Sanders, Max Anikstein, Harry Lloyd Frisch, Lilian Miller, Gertrude (Trudy) Moses, David Sencer, Jean Woll, Charlotte Carpenter, Ruth Isenberg, Lillian Shaller, Mary C. Keesal, Lillian Mendelson, Tillie Gold, Sam Routenberg, Norman Shore
Schedule for the Week
Until further notice, our building is closed to the public, and all 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
Second Installment Tonight
Fall Lecture Series with Dr. Stephen Berk
Second Lecture TONIGHT 24 September @ 7:30 pm

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.
High Holiday
Youth Services
Yom Kippur

During religious school time, on Sunday 27 September at 10:00a at Blatnick Park, outdoors, in person, with masks and social distancing, adults asked to accompany their kids.

Calling all elementary and middle school learners, younger and older siblings, and parents to join for an in-person and socially distant, mask-wearing service at Blatnick Park.
Don't forget to bring some breadcrumbs and please bring dollar bills for each child (not more than $5/child) for use in the ritual-- these will be donated to a local food pantry, and the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund will match the donations brought by the young people. 
Save the Date for this Exciting 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:
Cashew, Mushroom and Caramelized Onions Hummus- $6-pareve
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
GF Chocolate Fudge Drops-pareve and nut free-9 for $6
Upcoming Events
Learning Together

Parashat Hashavua Class with Rabbi Spitzer                        
Next Class 29 September
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 welcomeIf you missed Rabbi Spitzer’s Tuesday Parashat Hashavua class this past week (22 Sep), the teaching we learned together can be found here: Introduction to Yom Kippur 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 29 September
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

If you would like to submit names to our July-September Misheberach list, please do so at this link: You will need to fill out the form for each of the people for whom you are praying. Rabbi Spitzer and Chris Parisi 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.
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, Havdalah will be at 7:25p.
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]  []