February 2015 - 5774

Volume LXIII #5

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:


One of the risks of writing for a newsletter that is going to be published a few weeks later is that the subject matter of the letter may become "old news". I guess that is the risk I am going to take today. You see the big Boston news story this week in the aftermath of the AFC championship game is all about football pressure, cheating and truth telling. Being the big Patriot fan that I am, at the risk of making a pretty bad pun, I must say the whole story makes me feel deflated!


Today Bill Belichick gave a news conference and stated that he was completely shocked by the news and allegations. His exact words were: "In my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league and officials and we play with what's out there."


Maybe I am na´ve, but I guess I believe him. The irony is that in looking at the comments after the articles that were on the web, there was a pretty even split between those who, like me, were believers and those who adamantly accused him of being a serial liar, cheater and more. So what is the truth? Clearly I don't know and not being able to tell the future, I don't know if we will ever know. I just hope Tom Brady wasn't involved....


What I do know, however, is that Judaism has some things to say about telling the truth and telling lies. For me, this episode is clearly an example of the wisdom of our sages. In the Talmud it says, "Such is the punishment of a liar that, even when he speaks the truth, no one listens to him." (Sanhedrin) A more recent commentary on stretching the truth is found in the repertoire of Yiddish proverbs - "a half-truth is a whole lie". So, whatever the truth is, the fact that Bill Belichick has been known to stretch the truth in the past and was involved in the illegal taping of another team's practices will unfortunately taint everything he says and does going forward.


We too are all vulnerable in this regard. We have all made mistakes through our actions and with our words and unfortunately it can seem hard to move past these mistakes and start anew. In this regard, I find the following 19th century Midrash an interesting guide for all of us as we live our lives and think about our relationships:

"A Rasha Gamur - very evil man - decided to atone and completely transform his behavior. He did this by deciding to fulfill one mitzvah - never to lie, under any circumstances! Whenever he felt like he wanted to transgress and do wrong, he realized, "If I am questioned as to whether I did this, what will I say? If I speak the truth, I will be disgraced. If I lie, I will have violated the one rule I agreed to accept." Thus, by keeping this one rule, he was prevented from doing wrong."


So what will the future bring? Who knows? But what I do know is that I feel most badly for the Patriots who played their hearts out to win the AFC championship. For me personally, whatever anyone might have done with those 11 balls, if in fact something was done, will not diminish in my mind the players' success nor tarnish their efforts to be champions. 



Stephen Rodman's photoFrom our PresidentBarryTop    


Dear Friends:

The ground is frozen, ponds are iced over, and snow is in the forecast. Winter is not even half over, and I am thinking about ... next autumn. Yes, the High Holidays are on my mind.


As most of you now know, we will be employing new prayer books for the upcoming High Holidays. Instead of asking individual members of the congregation to purchase these prayer books, as has been done in the past, the temple itself is purchasing the prayer books.


Because the temple placed its prayer book order prior to publication, we locked in a forty percent discount on the price of the prayer books. Since last March, the temple has been raising funds to pay for the prayer books through the sale of book plates. While the fundraising effort has been successful, we have not yet raised enough money to pay for the new prayer books. With our second payment due on the books just a few short months away, it is time to make a final push to raise the funds.


Please consider this a personal request to purchase book plates. By purchasing book plates, at a cost of $36, you can memorialize and honor those special people in your life and provide a tangible benefit to the members of this community. If each member purchases just two book plates we will have reached our goal.


To make the purchase of book plates more convenient, over the next few weeks members of our Board of Trustees, who currently sell supermarket gift cards on Sunday mornings between 10:00 and 10:30, will begin accepting orders for book plates. Please stop by and place an order.


If you do not find yourself at the temple on Sundays or would prefer another method of purchase, please contact for assistance.


Together we can reach our goal.



Stephen Rodman's signature 



Please click here to read previous columns on our website.

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From Our Education Directoreddir  

I love the idea that our Jewish calendar celebrates Tu B'Shvat, a New Year for the trees. It reminds us of the simple things in life. As adults, and sadly often as children, we rush around and do not always allow ourselves the time to reflect on the beautiful and natural plants and trees around us. I admit that as I am writing this, it is freezing outside and we are dealing with ice and snow, so writing about spring and the renewal of nature seems to be so far away. However, do not lose heart; the cold of this winter will pass and we will once again see the spring buds on the trees.


This year, I feel especially excited about Tu B'Shvat. Tu B'Shvat has become an integral part of our school and our Hebrew School students are eager to celebrate the annual Tu B'Shvat Seder. Even our Interim Chai School students had a Tu B'Shvat Seder with a twist. Our Chai students enjoyed 4 flavors of ice-cream, representing the different seasons and there were lots of different fruits to eat, each symbolizing something different about ourselves that cumulatively make up our warm and wonderful school community.


In addition, I feel that this year we have really focused on the important theme of nature and we are finding ways to celebrate the importance of growth and renewal. As you all know, our tzedakah project, Mill City Grows, helps those in need to obtain healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables while building a community around gardening and food sustenance. I think the frozen ground and the cold weather are reminders about the importance of taking care of the earth even when it is not so lush and green. Using community gardens in Lowell, Mill City Grows helps people learn how to take care of their own needs even when they are lacking the lush resources that others may have. Please continue to encourage your children to bring tzedakah every week.


In addition, our school chose a wonderful fundraiser that focuses on spring bulbs and planting. In the spring, we will once again be sending out a Flower Power catalogue and we encourage you to please order bulbs for yourself, your friends, and family. The money raised is used to enhance our school's programming. Please keep an eye out for the catalogue.


Finally, I hope that everyone will take a moment this Tu B'Shvat and enjoy the fruits of a new season. I challenge you to try a new fruit or vegetable, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful world we live in, and really honor the holiday that celebrates the trees.


Chag Tu B'Shvat Sameach to everyone. 


 Yael Signature


Please click here to read previous columns on our website. 

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Social Action Committeesocialaction


Successful Christmas Mitzvot, December, 2014

Thanks again to the over 50 members who made gifts, donated food, or gave of their time to serve a meal on Christmas Day last month. 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 were able to donate the food, serve Christmas dinner, and provide musical entertainment to seniors at the Chelmsford Senior Center. Our members also served 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

As this newsletter goes to print we are looking forward to this year's Social Action Shabbat honoring past President Martin Ames on Friday January 23 at 7 p.m. Our own congregation members David and Fran Hirschel, Amy Degen, and Phyllis and Terry Howard will 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, February 18 through Thursday, February 19 (until 5 p.m.)  March dates will be March 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 March 17. 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


And so ends another two months of bargain hunting on the Congregation Shalom On-line Auction. If you were looking for a restaurant, we had 38 gift certificates from various restaurants. If you were 'hankering' for home made goodies, we had 10 offerings. There were donations from supermarkets, farm stands, and a bagel store. We had 2 separate homemade dinners that 15 people had or will enjoy. Nine members of the local community, not members of Congregation Shalom, joined the bidding and were winners, and there were several others who were not successful in their bidding. Our Auction is beginning to reach near and far.


If you didn't bid or even look at the auction site, you missed out. Next year you may be the big winner.


If you haven't paid for your goodies, please do so - we would like to close the books on this venture without asking Bonnie to bill you.


Look for the 50/50 Raffle that will culminate this year on Mitzvah Day.


Happy Winter to all and stay safe.


Your Fundraising Committee


Featured This Issue
Congregant of the Year
Purim Extravaganza
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Save the Date


Feb 13  MOCA Sunset Shabbat

Feb 27  Shabbat with Shpiel

March 7  Purim Celebration

March 8  Purim Carnival

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QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

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Congregant of the Year NominationsCongOfYear


Do you know a member who tirelessly gives of himself or herself for the betterment of our community? Is there a congregant who has had a sustained substantial impact on our Congregation? The Board is now accepting and reviewing recommendations for Congregant of the Year recognition. Please privately contact a member of the Board, or email Stephen Rodman, with your recommendation and reasons for endorsing your nominee.


Costumes! Comedy! The whole Megillah!


Purim is coming and Congregation Shalom is celebrating with an adult Purim party (BYOB) complete with Megillah reading and a pun-prone Purim shpiel. Costumes are highly encouraged and there will be prizes!


It's 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 at the synagogue. Look for the Evite! Please contact Valarie Rosen at for more information.
Women of Congregation ShalomRetreat


Congregation Shalom Sisterhood announces the 16th Annual Sisterhood Retreat to be held April 10-12 at the Anchorage Inn, Ogunquit, Maine. Our theme will be "Good Girls/Bad Girls" in the text and elsewhere.... The weekend includes services, study, good food, friendship, and lots of laughter!


Cost will be $300 per person for double occupancy rooms and $425 for single occupancy. Cost includes dinners Friday and Saturday night and breakfasts Saturday and Sunday morning.


We are delighted to welcome back nationally-known singer-songwriter Susan Horowitz for this weekend. Google Susan Horowitz to hear a sample of her wonderful voice.


Watch your email for details and registration form at the end of January. If you are not a member of Sisterhood, you can still join us by joining Sisterhood ($36 will be added to your registration fee.) For information now, contact



We would like to thank our extended temple family for all your support, calls, cards, visits and donations in memory of Pearl's mother, Arlene Newman. We are truly blessed to be a part of such a caring community.

  Pearl and Mark Burton


I want to thank everyone who donated to the temple in memory of my husband, Jerold P. Gilmore. I really appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness you have shown to me and my family during this difficult time. I feel truly blessed that I belong to such a caring and supportive community.

  Davida P. Gilmore


Good and Welfaregoodandwelfare


Rose Snyder, aunt to Margie and Jerry Lotto, celebrated her milestone 100th birthday on January 24th. Warmest mazel tov!


It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of Marcia Smerling. Marcia was the mother of David Smerling. We send David, Abbe 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

March Newsletter is

Thursday, February 19.


Please send articles to  


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Join Our Mailing List
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Sisterhood Newssisterhood


I hope that everyone is enjoying the winter and managing to stay warm!! Sisterhood is hard at work planning fun events.


The annual Sisterhood/Brotherhood night out will have taken place on Saturday, January 24 at John Ryan's Pub in Billerica by the time you read this. I trust a good time was had by all.


Keep an eye on the Weekly Updates for details of these upcoming events. I hope you can join us for them.


March 17: Lorraine Greenfield will speak on the Importance of Remembering and Recording Memories.


Mid-March: Painting Party.


March 29: Shopping trip to Brookline.


Save the date: April 10-12, Weekend Retreat. Details will soon be available.


The Sisterhood Board meets monthly. We welcome your input and feedback.


Debbie McBride, Sisterhood Board 


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


Return to Groups.


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Brotherhood Newsbrotherhood


This month's Guys Night Out happened at the Karma restaurant in Westford. They serve Japanese and Chinese food. There was a wide variety of tastes, from sushi and sashimi to egg rolls and seafood bird's nests. Good conversation and good friends. We welcomed some newcomers to this monthly event.


We are excited about an upcoming event. On February 22nd, from 5 - 7 p.m., we are going to a glass company in Waltham called "Flamma Glass".We will learn the art of flame working with torch and specialized tools; making glass objects and figurines. We are getting a special rate of $55.00 per person (regular: $99.00). This event is limited to 8 people. RSVP to David Brother at

Mark Burton, Brotherhood Vice President  


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


Return to Groups.

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Hello all!


I extend an absolutely massive thanks to all of the chaperones and all of those who participated in this year's annual ski trip to North Conway. It was a huge success, thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers and our always incredible and helpful Shalomites.


Coming up this month in the NFTY region is the JOSTY Shul-in, from January 31 to February 1 at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline. This is an amazing event for our 7th and 8th graders, who come back each year with stories to tell us of their newfound friendships and experiences. We strongly encourage those eligible to register and get to know other Jewish youth from the area. Also, our older NFTY participants are encouraged to sign up for MANTY's Winter Wonderland skiing trip from February 6-8.


We are so thrilled with all of the leadership opportunities available to The Shalomites in this coming month - seven members will be embarking on the L'Takein trip to Washington, DC with Temple Beth Elohim (BELY) and Temple Isaiah (LEFTY) youth to learn about social action and lobbying Congress. In addition, five Shalomites will be attending NFTY Convention in Atlanta this month to meet fellow Jewish youth from all over the continent.


In anticipation of our hosting of Spring Conclavette, we are looking for families willing to host teens for the weekend of March 20-22. Host families are an essential part of the Conclavette experience and we are eager to have such a wonderful community in our midst.


I wish you all a happy and healthy February.



Hannah Muhlfelder, The 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.


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Give Your Valentine.... a Grocery Card!  


Then he or she can buy their own chocolate!


Buy a grocery card for Donelan's, Hannaford, or Stop & Shop and, no matter what the amount, the temple receives 7% cashback! Free!


Buy the cards by emailing OR purchase in person on Sundays at the temple during religious school.

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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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February Yahrzeitsyahrzeits


Florence Epstein, Charles Fidler, Marc Hirsch, Ethel Lieberman, Sarkis Nahabedian, Israel Posner, Russell Richmond



Dora Birnbaum, Bertrand Goldstein, Walter Kent, Joab Rabinowitz, Alexander Sevici, Hillard Shurdut, Charles Steinberg, Esther Waxman



Murray Bernstein, Irene Brother, Edward Heckel, Rose Hovsha, Henry Howard, Bernie Hurwitz, Kevin J. McHugh, Judy Heines Miller, Edward Richards, Judy Schwartz, Lena Scolnick



Sarah Aronson, Ruth Graff, Cindie Davis Holub, Morris Hyatt, Dolores Lubowitz, Albert Powell, Audrey Sawyer, Randy Shuldiner, Edward Skolnick, Judith Solo, Alfred Zehngut


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ExtendedCommunityExtended Community

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From the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation ...


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.

Click here to purchase tickets or call Federation Office at 978-688-0466.



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