December 2013 - 5774

Volume LXII #3

Member of the Union For Reform Judaism


Congregation Shalom is a Reform Jewish community committed to education, spiritual growth, and Tikkun
Olam (healing the world).  We are proud to be an extended family of equals - welcoming, caring, and inclusive.
 Together, we engage in religious observance, enjoy social activities, and pursue life-long learning.
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Stephen Rodman's photoFrom our PresidentBarryTop    


Dear Friends:


I hope by now you all have had the opportunity to "experience" our new website. With its modern design, vibrant colors, and intuitive interface, our website now truly serves as the communications hub of our community and the electronic gateway to Congregation Shalom.


So long as the website's content is kept up-to-date and its information remains relevant, it will continue to prove valuable. That, my friends, is the real challenge ...


Please click here to read the rest of this column on our website.


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From Our Education Directoreddir

You may have noticed, outside my office, we have a large outline of an ambulance that we are slowly filling in with color. This represents this year's Tzedakah Project - Magen David Adom (MDA). The literal translation is, The Red Star of David. However Magen David Adom is more than a symbol, it is an important organization that ...


Please click here to read the rest of this column on our website. 



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Social Action Committeesocialaction

Halloween Candy Drive

Thanks to everyone who donated candy this Halloween - thanks to you, we collected and donated 77 pounds of candy to our soldiers overseas through Operation Gratitude!


Martin Ames Shabbat, November 22, 2013

As this issue goes to press, we are looking forward to learning more about growing food for social justice at this year's Martin Ames Shabbat, which will be held at 8:00pm on Friday, November 22. Our guests will be Mill City Grows, an urban gardening initiative in Lowell that teaches inner city residents how to maximize food production.


Christmas mitzvot projects

Social Action is planning several opportunities for our members to serve others in the community on December 25. In the past we have served meals at the Chelmsford Senior Center, Lowell Transitional Living Center, and the Renaissance Club in Lowell. Stay tuned for more details coming soon about how you can sign up!


Volunteer to serve at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford

Every 8 weeks Congregation Shalom members volunteer to help serve food to those in need at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford. If you are interested in volunteering at our next serving date, please contact us at


Join us at our next meeting!

Our committee is actively welcoming new members. We'd love to have you join us at our next meeting, so please email us at if you are interested.


Fundraising is Living and Wellfundraising


The Congregation Shalom Online Auction is up to full speed. The first session is long gone with many happy people. The second session may well be over too by the time you read this. There is lots to see and buy so don't wait until the last day of the session at12:01 because you will be looking at the third session. Great buys are at your fingertips!


You have been asking about the Valentine's Day 50/50 raffle and the answer is YES, we are having one. Check your mailboxes in early January of 2014.


A gentle reminder - after you pay for you auctions wins, contact Laura at to claim your property.


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Sign Language Class


I would like to offer a Sign Language class to interested Congregation Shalom members. Content would be some of our 'regular' and favorite prayers and songs, to include: the Sh'ma, Eitz Chayim He, Hamotzi, and more. Content will be determined in consultation with Rabbi Perry, David Smerling, and class participants. In most cases we will only learn signs that would go with the English parts of the prayers/songs, although the Sh'ma is an exception. Dates and times of class TBD with interested participants. I am newly retired and have some flexibility, but am not available Sunday mornings. This could be a weekday or evening class. Let's start with 6 one hour sessions in January, February, and March.


Please contact me by phone or email if this interests you.


Margi Loyer


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Communications Cornercommunications

Greetings from your Communications Committee. Last month, I wrote about our terrific new temple web site. I hope by now you've visited the NEW If not, we are going to make it easier than ever! I mentioned last month that we were gradually adding content to the web site, and when we did, some things you've always found in this newsletter would start appearing on the web. It turns out that it hasn't been so gradual. Due to our busy committee members, you'll notice some changes in this month's newsletter.


Our community leaders' monthly columns are now blogs on our web site. Over time, the Rabbi, President and our Educational Director may write a blog whenever they have something to say. The beginnings of their most recent blog entry will appear in the newsletter, and then take you to the web for the full column. From here, you'll also see the history of their blogs, in case you didn't get to read the someone's column last month. (These blogs are also available as RSS feeds, but more about that another time). Some of the reappearing articles in the newsletter have been moved to the web site. But you don't have to go looking for them; the newsletter still contains an index of these topics, all linked to the web site.


Over time, our aim is to make the newsletter more readable, more useful and more functional. We also want to make the process of delivering the newsletter every month more efficient and effective. This is an ongoing project, and things will continue to change from month to month. So this is the perfect time for you to let us know what you think about the new web site and the new newsletter. You can send feedback to me at, to our newsletter editor, Joanna, at or to the web team at No matter how you do it, we want to hear from you. Thanks, and happy reading.


On behalf of our communications committee,


Peter Sohn


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Featured This Issue
Sign Language Class
Communications News
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Save the Date
Dec 7 
Dinner and a Winner

Dec 8 
Meditation & Drumming
Dec 15  Website Training


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QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

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Good & WelfareGoodWelfare


We are happy to announce joyous news in our extended Congregation Shalom family. Cameron Leslie Bishop was born on November 8th. Mazel tov to the grandparents, our members Margie and Jerry Lotto, and to the parents, Alexandra and David Bishop.



It is with a heavy heart that I write of the following:


   the passing of Carmita Smith, mother of our member Lu Smith


   the passing of Palma Spiegel, mother of our member Donna Raichek


   the passing of Dr. Martin A. Gruber, father of our member Wendy Segal


We send our deepest condolences to these families.


Newsletter Ads and You!


We are always looking for advertisers for the Temple newsletter. Ads can be placed at any time with special pricing for members. Ads need not be for a year so if you want to try us, we take ads for 3 months as well as six months. If you decide to continue your ad for a full year, we do pro-rate the price. As the saying goes, "Try us, you'll like us!"


Youth ScholarshipsYthScholar

Throughout the year, there are many enriching Jewish experiences available to our youth through our synagogue or the community. These include, but aren't limited to, summer camps and trips to Washington, New York, and Israel. Fortunately, there is some scholarship money available through the temple to those families in need of financial assistance for these opportunities. Please contact Margie Berenson at with any questions and/or for an application form. 

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Changed Your Address?
Notify us at and we'll make sure all the right organizations at the Temple are informed. Please include your full name in your request.

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Deadline for the

January Newsletter is

Thursday, December 19.


Please send articles to  


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Join Our Mailing List

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Sisterhood Newssisterhood 


We hope you have a wonderful Hanukah with family and friends and are adjusting to the more temperate cold weather. We want to thank those who helped us run the Hanukah Fair in November. We couldn't host this annual event without the help of our volunteers, especially Patti Green who headed this effort for us.


On December 2nd we plan to have a wonderful evening celebrating the festive holiday with a delicious potluck dinner at our annual Hanukah party. We will enjoy homemade latkes and kugel, and we are also able to share with those less fortunate by donating gifts for the holidays that will be delivered to the House of Hope in Lowell.


On Saturday, January 11th, we will get together with the Brotherhood for a night out on the town. Watch for a Constant Contact temple email with details on time and location. Mark the date on your calendar for now so you can join us for a relaxing evening with friends - old and new. What better way to fight off the chill of January? If you'd like to suggest a restaurant for this event, email it to us at the address below. We have not finalized the location yet and are always looking for input from our members.


Also on January 22nd we will travel to Jazzercise in Chelmsford to try out an exercise class that "combines dance, strength, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing movements into a fun filled workout". So, if one of your 2014 New Year resolutions is to get in better shape or try something new, join us and see how you like it.


We hope to see you soon at one of these events.



Katie Ebersman and Susan Miller, Co-Presidents

Brotherhood Buzzbrotherhood

For those who missed it, the Annual "Cooking with Mel" Mediterranean Night was a great success. The menu consisted of Greek appetizers, lamb and chicken with amazing sauces, orzo and peas, and a desert of fruit and cannoli - all made under the direction of our own Mel Starr. Thanks to all who attended and helped make this event a huge success. For those of you who missed it, make sure you attend this event next year.


Once again we served latkes to the Religious School students (on November 24). This is an annual event and is an opportunity for dads with school age children to help out and to get to know other temple members. We cook from scratch and then take the latkes to the classrooms and serve the students and teachers. The kids LOVE this event.


Coming up in December - Guys' Night Out on December 5th. Each month we pick a local restaurant to sample. Last month was Angelas's for Coal Fired Pizza and beverages. On the 5th it will be an Indian restaurant in the area. Watch for an eVite in your inbox soon. If you are interested please contact Jon Boroshok for details.


Brotherhood - Sisterhood Night out will be on January 11th.


We welcome new members and new ideas! If you can think of an event you would like to see the Brotherhood involved in please let us know.


Roger Loyer and Neal Berenson, Co-Presidents 


Click here to view the Brotherhood calendar at our Congregation Shalom website.


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It's been a great start for the Shalomites this year. We had 25 kids come together to welcome the 8th graders into Shalomites at our traditional kidnap in September, followed by a laser tag outing in October for 15 more. In November, we had a record-setting 18 Shalomites attend the NFTY Fall Conclavette in Sharon.


In December, we have two great events planned. The Shalomites are hosting our community event, Dinner and a Winner. This event will consist of a dinner provided by the Shalomites and then a night of game show fun! ALL TEMPLE CONGREGANTS ARE INVITED TO COME. There will be no charge; donations will be taken at the end of the night. All proceeds go to the Middlesex Transitional Shelter. This event starts at 6pm on December 7th. After the event, all Shalomites are welcome to stay for the Chanukah Party Shul-In. This event is free and will consist of a yankee swap, dreidel tournament, and plenty of latkes. The next weekend, we are planning to do some (indoor) rock climbing on Sunday afternoon. RSVP for both events to


Also right around the corner is the Shalomites' most popular event, the Ski Trip, Jan 10-12! As seasoned Shalomites know, half our kids ski and half are "no-skis" who hang out and play board games together. Each group says they have the most fun.  Why not come to see who is right? This year, we have rented a fantastic house in North Conway that can fit 25 people. The cost will be approximately $150 for the weekend, plus lift tickets for the skiers. Registration will open for Ski Trip very soon, so be on the look out!


See you all on December 7th!


Joey Penn

Shalomites President

Shalomites Dec 2013



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Food for Lowell Transitional Shelter (LTLC)FoodDonations 

November was my first time being in charge of this mitzvah, and it went beautifully! The kitchen staff members at the LTLC were so grateful for our food donations! I discussed it with them, and we decided to keep it cooked meatloaves and brownies each month.


December dates: Wed. 12/18, Thurs. 12/19, Fri. 12/20.


We're signed on for the 3rd weekend of each month. I take the food over Saturday morning. I'll leave coolers outside the temple doors from Wed. at 4 p.m. through Fri. evening services - to allow the maximum number of participants. I will be picking up food each evening/morning, but it should be cold enough outside - plus I put cold packs inside the coolers - so this won't be a problem.


TODAH RABA to all of you who participated this month; I look forward to lots of participation in future months.


Any questions or suggestions, contact me. Thanks for your help performing this important mitzvah!


Margi Loyer, 


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Library - Book Reviewlibrary

Book Review of Syd Arthur by Ellen Frankel


Ellen Frankel is a local author who lives in Marblehead, MA. She was trained as a clinical social worker and worked in the field of eating disorders. Her previous books include Beyond a Shadow of a Diet, The Diet Survivor's Handbook, and a memoir. This is her first novel.


Syd Arthur is a novel inspired by a conversation with Frankel's friend about the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. In Frankel's prologue she discusses how the man we know as Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha, a wealthy and privileged young man who was kept sheltered from the suffering of society. He leaves his pampered existence and becomes a seeker of truth, wandering as an ascetic. In time he discovers that the beginning of true freedom comes from practicing a life of inner and outer balance called the Middle Way.


In this book, Syd Arthur is a pampered housewife whose daughter has just left for college and feels that her life of shopping, dieting, and hanging out at the country club has left her empty inside. After she accidentally stumbles into a lecture on Buddhism (she was meant to be attending a talk about a new diet), Syd begins to question her life.


Starting with yoga, Syd begins a spiritual journey to find herself. She begins meditating, joins devotees of a guru, becomes a vegetarian, and starts working to help others. Her long time friends, parents, in-laws, and husband think she is having a mid-life crisis. Although they try to be supportive, Syd turns to some new friends to help her find her way. It is an uphill battle. She questions her Judaism, and digs deeper into the roots of her lifelong battle with dieting.


Despite a slow start, the book did become engaging. I liked that Syd did not automatically find enlightenment after attending a few yoga classes. Finding yourself is a lifelong search. There were some very funny parts in the book, for example when Syd meets other JuBus, or Jews that also follow a Buddhist path. Also, when her family buys her a book called Zen Judaism: For You, A Little Enlightenment. A couple of quotes from this book brought her family together for a laugh:


"There is no escaping karma. In a previous life you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?"


"Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as the wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with posture like that."

Submitted by Rhonda Waxman

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iGiveiGive for Congregation Shalom
Have you ever thought how great it would be to be able to shop online at 783 different well-known stores and still donate money to Congregation Shalom?  Well, you can do that!  It's free and easy so join those of us who have been sending donations to the synagogue for years simply by shopping by first going to the iGive website once you have established the link.  Click here to register for Congregation Shalom to automatically be the recipient cause.
If you make a purchase through iGive within 45 days of signing up, an extra $5.00 will go to Congregation Shalom.  If you have any questions, please contact Laura at


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ExtendedCommunityExtended Community

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From the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation...



Sunday, December 15 at 2:30 PM

Temple Emanuel, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Andover


CALL 978-688-0466

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From the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates...


VNA Hospice Care needs volunteers! Hospice volunteers play a key role in helping to provide caring and compassion to patients and families facing life-limiting illness and loss. A volunteer may provide patients with company and emotional support, give the spouse, partner or other caregiver a needed break from care giving, and/or help caregivers run errands or get to and from appointments. A strong need exists for volunteers who can visit on weekdays. We also seek: musicians who would like to sing or play music quietly at the bedside of nursing home residents; Reiki practitioners who would like to offer Reiki to patients and/or caregivers; and people interested in visiting with their therapy dog. Volunteers who speak both English and a second language are also helpful. We provide volunteer training and ongoing support. Call 781-569-2888 and ask to speak to a Volunteer Coordinator for more information. Or email


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Expanding Your Social Media Marketing


Learn how effective communications and use of technology can further your congregation's goals.


Tuesday, December 3

8:30 - 10:00 AM

at Temple Shalom, Newton


Cost: $18 per person (for breakfast & training)


This program is part of a series of PR/Marketing Breakfast Seminars offered by the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts.

Register now. 

LimmudBoston 2013 - the annual day-long festival of Jewish lifelong learning - is taking place on December 8, 2013 at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill, MA. Family rates are available. LimmudBoston is inspirational, educational and just sensational fun for the entire Jewish community. The day of learning includes storytelling, concerts, hands-on learning and more. See the schedule, ticket information, and volunteer opportunities at  


Parent Support Group


A Parent Support Group has formed, with monthly meetings in Westford.  The group is designed both to offer education and to form a supportive community for parents challenged with raising children struggling with mental health issues.  Come together and gain information and some skills to help your child.  The group is open to all.  Please click here for details about meeting times and location.

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Spiritual Poetry Journal


"Soul-Lit" is a new on-line spiritual poetry journal. A number of entries have been from Jews and have Jewish content. Writers are encouraged to submit their own poems which have a level of spiritual content to them. Two volumes have already been published.


To check out the website, please click here.


Please spread the word to members of the community who are writers / poets, and who may wish to submit their own writings.



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Please support our Congregation Shalom advertisers

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 new QPL ad Nov 2012
Morse Bayliss Ad April 2012
Dan Dubner new business card double
BethEl CemeteryMatt Schwartz Ad (2012)
Sharon Grier Business Card 2011

Peter Powell March 2013

Radisson Mazel Tov Ad
Sky Meadow