Weekly E-News 5784
March 29 - April 4, 2024


Egg Salad
Boiled Eggs
Tossed Salad
Bagels, Butter, Cream Cheese

This week, kiddush will be prepared by Charna & Marvin Cweibel. Thank you, Charna & Marvin!

Please consider sponsoring a kiddush, in whole or in part, to celebrate a special achievement or celebration. You may also donate to the kiddush fund in any amount at any time.
Contact the office for more details.

Another way to help with our kiddushes is by donating kosher items for the pantry. Currently, our most urgent needs are salad dressing, Coca-Cola products, white tuna, and garbanzo beans.
Only kosher items can be accepted!
AA Annual Gala - Sunday, June 9th, 5:30.
Class Updates
Motti's class on the history and culture of Israel will meet on Wednesday,
April 3, 10:30,
at AA.
Opportunities at AA
We're still looking for new members of the Fundraising Committee. This committee is charged with ensuring the long-term financial health of the synagogue. Planning events is not necessarily the goal! Please contact Adam if interested.
Special Shabbat Services
4/5 - 6PM - Family PJ Shabbat at AA

4/19 - 8PM - Dessert & Drash at the Parsonage

Please add to your calendar!
Rabbi's Message

This week, we get to read a very odd Maftir. Passover is coming up soon, and so, in the days of the Temple, the Jews needed to be reminded to purify themselves before Passover so they could offer the Passover sacrifice. How could they purify themselves, you ask? The Torah (and our Maftir) tells us: bring a red cow (פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה) with no blemish to the priest, who slaughters its outside of the camp. The priest then sprinkles the blood of the cow seven times, after which the entire cow is burned, along with wood, hyssop, and crimson material. The priest, and the one who burned the cow, is now impure. The ashes of the cow are gathered—and yes, the one who gathered those ashes is also impure. But those ashes are stored, and anyone who is impure due to touching a corpse can be made pure again—by having those ashes sprinkled on them.

It is a confusing segment. Why a red heifer? Why does creating the ashes that make others pure make the creators of those ashes impure? Why even sprinkle ashes to get rid of impurity in the first place? The whole ritual defies logical categorization. The Rabbis of the Talmud noted that the section begins with זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה, “this is a law of the Torah,” and from this imagined that there were special laws called Chukkah, that have no rational basis. Or as Rashi imagines God saying “חֻקָּה — גְּזֵרָה הִיא מִלְּפָנַי, אֵין לְךָ רְשׁוּת לְהַרְהֵר אַחֲרֶיהָ” “A chukkah—this is my enactment, and you have no right to criticize it.” The commentator Sforno draws on a tradition that King Solomon could understand the rationale behind every single commandment—except the rules of the red heifer. It simply does not make sense.

You might ask: what is the point of a commandment that doesn’t make logical sense? But life itself is not run by logic. Some things run on emotion instead. It makes emotional sense that that which makes pure can also make impure, that ashes are needed to purify the impurity of death. Like is needed for like. And even that interpretation may not be “true.” But emotional truth can be just as powerful as logical truth. Sometimes we need to tap into the side that is not quite logical, that does flow from a place of pure rationality.

That is the beauty of Judaism. Plenty of our rules have rational reasons. But also many do not. Take a look at a hakafah during Sukkot, where we dance around the Sanctuary waving our plants and vegetables, and tell me that it is purely logical! But also look at the Passover Seder, and see how every symbolic food is placed for a precise reason, how the night is scheduled so carefully. We have logic and emotion in our religion. Rationality and irrationality. They both make up the human experience, and so, in our practice of Judaism, we need to learn to embrace both sides. Even the mitzvah that King Solomon himself could not understand has its place, and its lessons to teach us.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gelman
Service Leader Sign Up

Are you interested in leading services? Reading Torah? You can sign up on our service leader sign up sheet! If you are interested in learning how to read Torah or lead services, contact Rabbi Gelman at rabbi@agudath-achim.com.
In Person Service Times:
Tuesday: 7:30 AM
Wednesday: 8:00 AM
Every Friday: 8:00 AM
1st Friday: 6:00 PM at Synagogue
3rd Friday: 8:00 PM at Parsonage
Shabbat: 9:45 AM
This Shabbat: 

2024 | 5784
Tzav/Shabbat Parah
Candle Lighting: 7:25 pm
Havdalah: 8:20 pm
(all times are for Savannah)
Annual Torah reading: Leviticus 6:1-8:36, Numbers 19:1-22
(Etz Hayim pp 613-625, 880-883)
Triennial Torah reading: Leviticus 7:11-7:38, Numbers 19:1-22
(Etz Hayim pp 617-621, 88-883)
Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-38
(Etz Hayim pp 1287-1289)


March 29th
Richard Barker

March 30th
Sam Carroll
Clay Emert
Sally Greenberg

April 1st
Julian Weitz

April 2nd
Arnold Tillinger
Simone Wilker
Phillip Wizwer

April 4th
Meredith Bodziner
Reggie Goldstein


March 29th
Morgan & Scott McGhie

April 1st
Allison & Mark Konter

April 2nd
Anna & Steven Berwitz
Linda & Gary Udinsky

April 3rd
Tova & Jonathan Javetz
Mitzvah Grams

If you'd like to wish AA members Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary, the Sisterhood will be glad to send cards for you!
The cost is just $.75 for individual names or $50.00/ 6 months for all members with a date to celebrate.

For more information or to enroll, call Natalie Hyman at 518-265-6777 or email her at [email protected].

March 29 - April 5

Thursday night/Friday, March 29 - 19 Adar II
Morris Sadler - uncle of Elise Shernoff & Kenneth Sadler

Saturday night/Sunday, March 31 - 21 Adar II
Norma Eichenholtz - mother of Marc Eichenholtz

Sunday night/Monday, April 1 - 22 Adar II
Arnold Bonder - father of Michael Bonder

Monday night/Tuesday, April 2 - 23 Adar II
Vera Lenowitz - grandmother of Richard Bodziner
Alan Wexler - brother of Ed Wexler

Wednesday night/Thursday, April 4 - 25 Adar II
Edith Karpf - mother of Sally Krissman

Thursday night/Friday, April 5 - 26 Adar II
William Haysman - grandfather of Melvin Haysman

Commemoration of the Yahrzeit begins the evening of the first noted date.

Community Events
Agudath Achim is a founding member of Justice Unites Savannah Together (JUST). JUST, an interfaith coalition, is campaigning for action on two critical issues:
The Right to Read: Reading proficiency in the Savannah/Chatham County schools is shockingly low. More than 42% of children in every grade from 3rd to 8th cannot read at grade level (it's 60% for 6th graders!!!). 
Affordable housing:  There is a dire shortage of affordable housing in the Savannah area. Many of the people who serve our community cannot afford to live here.
Delegations from 22 faith communities will meet with public officials to urge action on these issues on April 15 at 7:00 PM at St. Paul CME Church, 214 W. 33rd St. Please join us!
Donor Dues Program
Adam Fins, President
Rabbi Samuel Gelman
Motti Locker, Executive Director

Congregation Agudath Achim | [email protected] | 912-352-4737 | www.agudath-achim.com