January 2015 - 5774

Volume LXIII #4

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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Rabbi From our Rabbirabbi

Dear Friends:

As many of you know, Cuba has been in the news a lot in recent days with the release of Alan Gross after five years in prison and after President Obama's decision to restore full diplomatic relations with the island nation. This is dramatic news on so many fronts. For those of you who are not familiar with who Alan Gross is, he is an international development professional who was working as a subcontractor for USAID as a part of a program known as the Helms-Burton Act. In 2009 he was arrested by the Cuban government while working there and was accused of espionage for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of the Cuban Jewish community. He was prosecuted for working with American intelligence services and had been serving a 15-year term. This past week, after years of advocacy on the part of the Jewish community and American government, he was released from jail and returned home to the USA.  You can read more about him and his involvement with the Jewish community of Cuba before his arrest in articles that can be found in the Jewish and international press.


The Jewish community in Cuba has fewer than 2,000 members and they enjoy a great deal of autonomy in the practice of their faith. We look forward to hearing from members of our community who visited several Jewish communities and to hear their insights, perspective and more. At our Martin Ames Social Action Shabbat on January 23rd at 8 p.m., Fran and David Hirschel, Terry and Phyllis Howard, and Amy Degen will share their experiences. I hope you will be able to join us for this timely and meaningful Shabbat experience.


I would like to invite you to another wonderful Shabbat experience in January.  On the 31st, Saturday late afternoon at 5 p.m., we will be hosting a community-wide Havdallah service and program. People of all ages are welcome to come. In addition to some teaching and stories, we will be able to hear the beautiful music of Jodi Blankstein and Adam Dehner. I am sure you will remember them from our High Holiday services of this year. They are excited to be with the community again and are looking forward to sharing lots of wonderful Jewish and Shabbat music. For those of you who have never attended a Havdallah service, Havdallah means separation and it is a service that ends the Sabbath. The service is done by candle-light and it is very sensory with spices, tastes and more. If you are interested in building upon this experience, you can invite people to come along. Those of you who are in our MOCA crowd can plan on going out to dinner afterwards! If you are a part of the younger family crowd, maybe you can invite some folk to stay afterwards and bring in some pizza for the families. If you are a part of the teen crowd, maybe you can plan on going to a movie afterwards. Who knows, maybe the new Exodus movie will still be in the theaters. If you are the current Bar/Bat Mitzvah class, you can come together, do this mitzvah with your kids and then maybe have a meal together! I hope you will join us for the music, community and light!


And to all members of our community, I wish you all a happy, healthy, secular New Year!


Warm regards,

Stephen Rodman's photoFrom our PresidentBarryTop    


Dear Friends:

Every year we seek to improve our physical plant; we look to improve our building to make it stronger, more efficient, and less costly to maintain. Thanks to the superlative efforts of our handyman, Dwight, and our House Committee, you will notice a change in the upcoming months that will enhance our building and make us a better caretaker for the environment.


At our most recent Board meeting, the Trustees authorized the replacement of the all the light bulbs and ballasts in the building with new, high efficiency light bulbs, most being LED. As a result of this replacement, we will realize savings of $2,300 dollars per year in electric costs and 16,000 kilowatt hours. Through our action, we will be reducing greenhouses gases by 17,635 pounds annually. All of our current bulbs and ballasts will be recycled properly at no cost to us.


With subsidies provided by National Grid and additional discounts, the "payback" period for the installation will be about sixteen months. Clearly, this is a "win-win" situation.


Over the coming months we will be reviewing other possible ways to reduce utility costs at the temple, including the conversion to modern thermostats. 


If you have any thoughts as to other ways we may improve the temple through maintenance, costs savings, or making us more environmentally friendly, please let me know at


Happy New Year to you and your family.



Stephen Rodman's signature 



Please click here to read previous columns on our website.

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From Our Education Directoreddir  


It is an amazing experience to be in the Congregation Shalom building at 5:45 p.m. on a Wednesday evening just before Chai School begins. Crowded in the kitchen are over 30 teenagers eating pizza, drinking soda and sneaking in a few more Twizzlers than they should. Every time I walk into the kitchen, I am reminded of the power of kehillah (community). The teenagers, many from different schools and different towns, come together as a community within our broader community and in our little kitchen; they find friendship, support, and a group of fellow Jewish teens to bond with.


If you have worked with teens before, you may be thinking that this phenomenon of teens bonding over pizza is not unusual, but allow me to fast forward to 8:15 p.m. At 8:15, groups of parents gather in the lobby to pick up their kids. I walk around to the classes letting teachers know that class is over. Every week, teachers look up and say: "8:15 already" and the students just keep on sitting and will say to me - "just a few more minutes please". The same thing happens at 7:15 p.m. as we switch from Core classes to electives. Every week I am in awe of the gift of learning that takes place in our Chai School community. I am proud of the teachers for inspiring our students and I am proud of our incredible Chai School students who have committed themselves to their ongoing Jewish education. Just this past Chai session I witnessed the 8th graders wrestling with ethical dilemmas using a Jewish lens, I saw my 9th graders deeply engaged in conversations about being a bystander and what that means both today and during the Holocaust, and I saw the 10th graders grappling with theology and what God means to them. In electives, we had difficult and important discussions about what happened this summer in Israel during Operation Protective Edge, we analyzed how Jews are portrayed in popular TV shows, and our students began the fascinating process of searching their family trees.


On the last night of Chai School, I announced that this was our last week of Session 1 and we would begin again in mid-February. Everyone complained and asked why we could not have Chai School every week. Students begging to have more "school" - I was thrilled. With this in mind, we have decided to introduce an "interim Chai Session." We will offer a 3 week 90 minute inter-session for any student that is interested. Please email Ariel Madway at to sign up before January 7.


If you have a child in grades 8, 9, or 10 and you are either part of our Chai School or you would like to join our Chai School please come and experience the strength of our teenage community. You will find great food, lasting friendships and a learning environment that is engaging and hands-on for your teenagers.

 Yael Signature


Please click here to read previous columns on our website. 

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Social Action Committeesocialaction


Successful Blood Drive, December 8

We hosted another successful blood drive at our temple last month. More than 40 donors from our congregation and the community gave over 32 units of blood. Thanks to all who helped by donating blood or volunteering to staff this mitzvah.


Christmas Mitzvot

As this newsletter goes to press, over 50 members have made gifts, or signed up to donate food or serve it to a variety of community organizations this Christmas. At the school Hanukkah Party on December 21 we handmade 13 warm fleece blankets for kids in a foster care group home. Through the generosity of our members, we are able to donate the food, serve Christmas dinner, and provide musical entertainment to seniors at the Chelmsford Senior Center. We will also serve three meals at the Middlesex Transitional Living Center in Lowell, as well as Christmas dinner at the Renaissance Club for adults with mental illness. Thank you to all who donated or gave of their time to help others celebrate Christmas in the community around Congregation Shalom.


Martin Ames Social Action Shabbat, Friday, January 23

For this year's Social Action Shabbat honoring past President Martin Ames, please join our own congregation members David and Fran Hirschel, Amy Degen, and Phyllis and Terry Howard as they share their experiences travelling last year to assist the Jewish community in Cuba. We are looking forward to an informative evening!


Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living Center

Congregation Shalom is collecting food for the Lowell Transitional Living Center (LTLC). It is easy to help out with this mitzvah. Donations of meatloaf, and/or brownies and/or salad are accepted each month. There will be a cooler chest located by the doors of Congregation Shalom. Simply place your donation in the cooler and know that you have done a good deed! The food will be collected and brought to the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell, where our donations are greatly appreciated each month. You can leave your donations in the cooler beginning on Wednesday, January 21 through Thursday, January 22 (until 5pm). February dates will be February 18-19 - mark your calendar now.


Volunteer at Table of Plenty in Chelmsford

Congregation Shalom is part of a team of volunteers at the Table of Plenty in Chelmsford, an organization that serves a free meal to all, no questions asked, every Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center. Our team serves every other month on the third Tuesday, and will next serve on January 20. If you have time to volunteer during the afternoon on Tuesdays and would like to take part, please contact Linda Newhard at


Questions? Need more information? Please contact


Fundraising Committeefundraising


Auction is over for 2014


We have had an exceptionally wonderful Auction this year. Our Last Call / Final Sale will be held in the lobby of the temple on January 11th during school hours. Lots of fabulous bargains to be had by all - you pay and you take it away. Make an offer - we'll listen.


For those who won items, please remember to pay for them and take them to your home. They are tired of living in mine.


Be sure to look for our 50/50 raffle - one of the most popular things we do.


Have a healthy and happy Secular New Year.


Your Fundraising Committee


Featured This Issue
Social Action Shabbat
Havdallah Service
Grocery Cards
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Save the Date


Jan 9-11  Shalomite Ski Trip

Jan 24  Brotherhood/Sisterhood Night Out

Jan 31  Havdallah Service

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QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

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Martin Ames Social Action Shabbat


Friday night, January 23 will be the Martin Ames Social Action Shabbat.


The theme of this year's service will be The Jewish Community in Cuba. How timely! Members of our synagogue who traveled to Cuba last year will be speaking. Please read more about this in the Rabbi's column.

Havdallah Service in January


On January 31 at 5:00 p.m., we will be having a community-wide Havdallah service with Jodi Blankstein and Adam Dehner leading the music.  People of all ages are welcome.

Purim Extravaganza Being Planned


Purim already?? Your menorah may still be covered with wax but we're already planning this year's Purim extravaganza, complete with megillah reading, costumes, and party (BYOB). If you are interested in reading megillah (you can even chant it in English!) or helping out, please send a message to Valarie Rosen via  And mark your calendars for March 7!


15th Annual Sisterhood Retreat


Save the date: April 10-12, 2015.

Ogunquit, Maine


Details coming next month in the newsletter and via emails.



Thank you for your generous donations and wonderful notes on Emily's marriage to Joy Hurd. We are blessed to be part of such a caring and thoughtful congregation.

  Janet & Dan Dubner


Good and Welfaregoodandwelfare

Donna Upson and David Correia were married on December 13.We wish them a warm Mazal Tov!


It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of our member Arlene Newman, mother of our member Pearl Burton. We send Pearl, Mark, and all their family our heart-felt condolences.


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

February Newsletter is

Thursday, January 15.


Please send articles to  


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Join Our Mailing List
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Sisterhood Newssisterhood


The Sisterhood offered its first Café Shalom on Sunday, November 16. Several Sisterhood members met with other temple members as they dropped off their children at Sunday school. Bagels and coffee and hot chocolate were offered and it was a relaxing time to get to know each other. The next Café Shalom is scheduled from 8:15-11:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 25th in classroom 6, behind the social hall.


Later in the day on Sunday November 16th, several Sisterhood members met for dinner and a movie. Six of us met at the Outback in Lowell and then drove down to see "Rosewater" at the AMC in Burlington. We all had a lot of fun and look forward to maybe doing this again during Oscar season next spring.


The Hanukkah Fair had another successful event with plenty of Hanukkah crafts/supplies offered during both Wednesday Hebrew School and a Sunday school session. Everything from dreidels, to menorahs, serving pieces, many different games and toys, books, and yarmulkes were available.


On Wednesday, December 10th, over 20 Sisterhood members met at Patti Green's house in Chelmsford for our Annual Hanukkah Party. We enjoyed yummy latkes, kugel, applesauce, and lots of camaraderie and fellowship. In lieu of a Yankee Swap, we all donated bags full of much needed toiletries to the House of Hope. Thanks so much to Patti for hosting this fun event!


Finally, many of the Sisterhood and Brotherhood joined Dave Correia and Donna Upson at their Ufruf at Congregation Shalom on Friday, December 12. Spiel performed as a large crowd celebrated this special occasion. Congratulations to Dave and Donna on their 12/13/14 wedding.


Upcoming events:

Combo Brotherhood/Sisterhood social event: January 24 at 6:30 p.m.


Café Shalom: Sunday January 25, 8:15 - 11:30 a.m., Classroom 6


Sisterhood Spa Day: Sunday February 8, from approx. 11a.m. - 1 p.m. Location: TBD


Save the date: Sisterhood Weekend Retreat - April 10 - 12 - Location TBD

Sisterhood Board 


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


Return to Groups.


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Brotherhood Buzzbrotherhood


On Wednesday, December 10th, we had our monthly Guys Night Out. This month, we went to a Mexican restaurant. The food was delicious, the service was excellent, and the prices were very reasonable. A good time was had by all.


On Sunday night, December 14th, we had our annual Movie Night. This included a pizza dinner before the show and popcorn and snacks during the movie.


On specified Sunday nights (6:30 start time), we have our Poker Night. $10.00 gets you a night of poker, a pizza dinner, and a low-key good time.


On January 24th, we are co-sponsoring the annual Brotherhood/Sisterhood Night Out. This year, the dinner will take place at John Ryan's Pub in Billerica. Details to follow. We are looking forward to this wonderful event.

Mark Burton, Brotherhood Vice President  


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


Return to Groups.

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Nothing new this month from The Shalomites.

Check back next month for more news!


Hannah Muhlfelder

Shalomites President 


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


Return to Groups.


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Caring Yarns Yearlong ProjectCaringYarns   

Calling all knitters! We have a project for you that can be finished in one evening while watching TV. We have a pattern for making slippers for women that we will take to the Lowell Women's Shelter. The pattern comes in 3 sizes, requires size 9 needles, 2 stitch markers, a yarn needle and one skein of worsted weight (#4) yarn. You can make a few sets with this one skein.  Please click here for the pattern.

We will be working on this project through next summer. Thanks for joining us in this project.


Return to top.

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Grocery Cards  

Start The New Year By Fulfilling Your Resolution To Help The Temple


YOU can raise funds for Congregation Shalom programs without spending any money.


Here's how:

1 -- You buy a grocery cash back gift card (for Donelan's, Hannaford, or Stop & Shop) and

2 -- The temple receives 7% cash back.


So, if you buy $100 worth of groceries, the temple gets $7. To learn more, email Judy Beningson at, or purchase in person on Sundays at the temple during the religious school year.


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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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January Yahrzeitsyahrzeits


Howard D. Dimond, Sara Eisenstein, Hyman Finkelstein, Maurice Franklin, Marjorie Laxer, Nathan Marx, Arnold Starr, Lee J. Strock, Norma Jean Wilgoren



Gershon Yitzak Blumstein, Rose Cohen, Joseph Derby, Norman Fried, Louis Goss, Werner Janoschek, Morris Kallus, Gertrude Kupor, Don Lischer, Paul McBride, Peter J. McHugh, Jr. , Barbara Schutzman, Noel Whitby, Charles Eliot Worden, Hope Worden



Edwin Chertok, Harold Cohen, Robert Mizen, Thomas Rosen, Robin Ruehli, Julius Wilgoren, Herb Zalkind



Edward Becker, Alice Danzig, Myer Graff, Peter Leonard, Sol Rauch, Charles Richards, Samuel Schneider, Yetta Silverstein, Archie Sudhalter

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ExtendedCommunityExtended Community

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 Tikvah Family Shabbaton


On April 24-26, families who have children with disabilities will join together at Camp Ramah in New England in Palmer, MA for a fun and meaningful Shabbat retreat. The Shabbaton will include programming catered specifically to parents, children with disabilities, and their typically developing siblings. Together we will create a unique, supportive community, where everyone is not only accepted, but truly celebrated. For more information about the Shabbaton click here. To register for the Shabbaton click here. If you have any questions about the Shabbaton contact Tali Cohen, Director of Tikvah Vocational Services at or 781/702-5290 x108.


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From the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation ...


Tuesdays with Morrie


POSTPONED to January 13


Osgood Landing

1580 Osgood Street     North Andover, MA    (South Entrance)


Free to Donors - Please RSVP by January 6 

(978) 688-0466 or


General Admission $20 per person for Non-Donors

Click Here to Purchase Tickets



Ladies, Let's Get Into Trouble


On Sunday, February 8,3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Lanam Club, Andover


Join us for a special Merrimack Valley screening of the documentary film that pulls back the curtain on three generations of funny Jewish women.


MAKING TROUBLE tells the story of 6 of the greatest female comic performers of the last century: Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Wendy Wasserstein. It looks at how they defied stereotypes, took big risks, and used comedy to express themselves while making a living and entertaining others.


These talented women defied cultural expectations and opened doors that ALL women are walking through today. Jewish history is richer and the world a more enjoyable place because of their contributions.


Table of Plenty in Chelmsford

Free Dinner Served

Every Tuesday from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Chelmsford Center


All are welcome. No questions asked.

Also, if you know of someone who cannot get out,

but would benefit from a dinner being delivered to them, please contact us.


For more information contact:



 Return to Quick Links


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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


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
Sky Meadow