November 2015 - 5776

Volume LXIV #2

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,
Perhaps you live in a town that has piloted the One Book, One Community library event, which is an amazing community-reading program that has been enacted in towns and cities throughout the United States. This year our synagogue is hosting our own One Book, One Congregation program under the leadership of our Adult Education committee. We are very excited to bring together members of our diverse synagogue to pursue the mitzvah of Talmud Torah - learning together - as well as the mitzvah of building Kehillah - community.
We invite you to join in this experience. We will be reading My Promised Land by Ari Shavit. This book, which was a New York Times bestseller was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review and the Economist. When the book was published in 2013, it received the Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award in History from the Jewish Book Council, and it won the Natan Book Award. Ari Shavit is a renowned writer and journalist. Mr. Shavit was born in Rehovot, Israel, served as a paratrooper in the IDF, and studied philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Some of his grandparents were amongst the earliest Zionist settlers. In the 1980s Ari Shavit wrote for the weekly Koteret Rashit, in the early 1990s he was chairperson of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and in 1995 he joined Haaretz, where he serves on the editorial board. Shavit is also a leading commentator on Israeli public television.
The members of the adult education committee feel that, given the unprecedented challenges faced by Israel today, it is important for us as American Jews to learn more about the complicated history of the Jewish homeland. As one member of our committee wrote, "facing internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis." As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today's global political landscape.
Our facilitator for this discussion on May 15th will be Elisha Gechter. Ms. Gechter was the former associate director of community engagement for adult learning at Hebrew College, and is currently the program manager of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. A graduate of the Heller Hornstein master's program at Brandeis University, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and daughter. Gechter was named a 2015 Chai in the Hub honoree by Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
As we all know, talking about Israel, with all of its complicated history and people's diverse and nuanced feelings, can be one of the most difficult of all subject areas for us to discuss. We are lucky to have Elisha Gechter, who works with leaders of the Israeli political, economic, educational and military communities, come and help to deepen our own understanding and beliefs. Please be on the look-out for more details and you can start reading the book. The Adult Education committee will be buying several copies for our library.
May your reading inspire questions and the desire to learn more!

Rabbi Sig
 Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry

From our PresidentBarryTop    


Israel is an emotional topic for me, and, perhaps, for many of us. And, wherever you fall on the spectrum of J Street vs. AIPAC or Prime Minister Netanyahu vs. President Obama around Iran, I am sure you are all appalled by the recent and random knifings in Israel - more than two dozen reported by mid-October, resulting in seven Israelis killed, five of them in Jerusalem.
Yet, Israel is a topic that we all find, perhaps because of our intense interest, difficult to discuss with one another. And, for me, Israel, so vital and integral to Jews, should be something we talk about.
What if, as one member of the Adult Education Committee said, we all considered together something "intricate and relevant about Israel" and as a group "discussed it from our diverse, unique perspectives?" If we focused on respectful interaction, we might learn a great deal from each other about how we see ourselves, and about Israel.
The Adult Education Committee - a stalwart few who would welcome your presence among us - invites everyone in the congregation to read one book as one congregation - Ari Shavitz's book on Israel,The Promised Land. Then, together, we will meet in the morning of May 15th and discuss our various perspectives. For more on the book and on our planned dynamic speaker, Elisha Gechter, please see the rabbi's column.
I hope you will join us in the discussion.
Tamar's signature
 Tamar Wexler

From our Education Director    

Chai School is a unique and vibrant experience for our teenagers. If you come into the kitchen at 5:45 p.m., you will observe the vibrant intergenerational mixing of grades. It does not matter if you are in 8th, 9th, or 10th grade, everyone hangs out and chats together. Whilst the students are in separate core classes, the electives are a mix of different students with different interests and different passions.
One of the favorite aspects of my job is watching my Chai School students as they wrestle with their elective choices. It is not the struggle itself that I enjoy, but rather the thirst for knowledge that my 8th, 9th, and 10th graders have that inspires me. There are so many wonderful choices and the Chai School students are torn between what electives to choose. As I begin to think about electives, I have an open slate and I try to look at what topics might interest our teenagers. Every year I am inspired and just a little jealous that I cannot take some of the classes that our amazing teachers offer.
This year is no exception. Amy Degen will offer our students the opportunity to journey through Poland "with" her. Amy will share her experiences and make the country of Poland and the history of Poland come alive with our teenagers today. Steven Philp will ask our students to delve into their own personal stories using art and other hands on media. Our Jewish heritage is filled with books (megillot) that tell us stories and Steven will help our students learn about and create the stories that make up their own autobiographical megillot Superman, Batman, and the other superheroes - are they Jewish? Well Rob Berkovitz will delve into the world of superheroes and how they connect with our Jewish world and our Jewish values.
It is the enthusiasm of our teenagers and the talent of our teachers that blends together to create two hours of true kehillah, community, and I feel excited by the possibilities that these Chai classes offer for our teens.
Yael Signature

Social Action Committeesocialaction

High Holiday Food Drive
Once again, our members showed their generosity to those who are less fortunate. On Yom Kippur, members of the Social Action Committee delivered 4 carloads of donated groceries and grocery store cards to food pantries in Chelmsford, Westford, Nashua, and Lowell. Sales of grocery store cards continued afterwards and have now exceeded $2,000. Thank you to all who participated!
Grocery cards continue to be available for purchase by e-mailing
Chelmsford Community Garden plot
We have put the garden to bed for the winter after a successful growing season in 2015. We raised and donated to local food charities over 225 pounds of organic cucumbers, zucchini, delicata squash, basil, and tomatoes in our plot at the Chelmsford Community Garden. Our vegetables adorned the bima as decorations on the High Holidays as well! Thank you to last year's 5th graders and all the families who helped start seeds, plant, and maintain the garden this year.
Halloween Candy Drive
We will be collecting Halloween candy during the first week of November for donation to Operation Gratitude, which sends the candy to US troops overseas. This mitzvah was a huge success last year with 95 pounds of candy collected. We are rooting for members to break this record with even more donations this year!

Coat Drive
Starting in November we will hold a coat drive to benefit the Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell. The clients of this organization can use winter coats for all sizes, children through adult. Look for more information about this collection coming soon.

Monthly Food Donations for Middlesex Transitional Living 
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, November 18 through Thursday, November 19 (until 5pm.) December dates will be December 16-17 - 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 November 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  Thank you for your participation with this mitzvah.


'Recycle That' and Congregation Shalom
The Congregation Shalom Family has been doing their part by recycling for several years. A few years ago we included a 'Recycle That' container. We fill the container and they, in return, send us a check. It is a very good symbiotic relationship.
The EPA recently revised its textile recycling figures, reporting that the average U.S. citizen throws away 81 pounds of clothing annually. This is up 70pounds per person from previously reported. Recycling textiles helps reduce greenhouse gasses. Last quarter, Recycle That community partners collected 717 TONS of materials; the equivalent of removing 400 cars from our highways!
Join everyone who cares on November 15th!

America Recycles Day - Nov 15
America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle more items more often. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and buying products made from recycled materials.
ARD is a program of Keep America Beautiful, a national non-profit that provides promotional marketing support and resources to encourage environmental citizenship.
You are encouraged to visit their site and sign a personal pledge to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.

Featured This Issue
Online Auction information
International Food Truck Festival
Library - Book Review
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Save the Date

Nov 1  Online Auction begins

Nov 8  Speaker - Navigating the December Holidays

Nov 14  Food "Truck" Festival

Nov 15  Adult Ed film - "The Tribe"

Nov 20  Service - Songs of Healing and Renewal

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QuickLinksQuick Links

Links to Our Website

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nov20From Within - Songs of Healing and Renewal

Join us for a special MOCA Shabbat of 
inspiring music with our
Cantorial Soloist, Jodi Blankstein,
Minister of Music, Laura Weiss and
Guitarist Adam Dehner.

Experience songs of healing and renewal in addition to pieces we know and love.
Please click here for a sample of their music.

Congregation Shalom, Chelmsford
Friday, November 20, 8 p.m.

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thankyou ThankYou
Sage and I would like to thank the Congregation Shalom community for their kindnesses, meals, grocery shopping, memorial contributions, and overall support during my husband Ray's illness last winter and spring and his passing in May. We so appreciated gestures big and small during this time and the support we still feel today gives us strength. We cannot thank you enough.
     Rosanne Riddick

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Good and Welfaregoodandwelfare

We are excited to announce the birth of Anthony Matthew DiPerri, born September 27 to parents and Amy and Matthew DiPerri. We extend a warm Mazel Tov to them, as well as to first-time grandparents Joe and Sue Richmond.
It is with a great sadness that I write of the passing of Lucy Alterio, mother of our member Helene Segal. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Helene, Larry, and their entire family.

November Yahrzeitsyahrzeits

Alice Berit
Jerold Gilmore
Helen Ginsburg
Muriel Hyatt
Hyman Rodman
Gordon Bronson
Alvin Ecker
Michael Glott
Julian Greenfield
Ray Niedergang
Rose Ried
Rae Rosen
Morris Rosenberg
Celia Singer
Samuel Spiegler
Bernie Tack
Bernice Bresnick
Howard Cravis
Martin A. Gruber
Pearl Shapiro
Barbara Weinberg
Sigmund Weitzman
Blanche Brown
Edward Penn
Lisa Rothstein
Irene Segal

Our Caring Committee Can Help

The Caring Committee is always available to provide meals or transportation to those members and families who need a little help. Please don't hesitate to email Katie Wolman at or Rabbi Perry at, or feel free to call Katie at home.

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

December Newsletter is

Thursday, November 19.


Please send articles to  


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Join Our Mailing List
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How to Participate in the Congregation Shalom Online Auction
The 2015 Congregation Shalom 11th Annual Online Auction begins on November 1. We start the bidding at 25-30% of an item's value, guaranteeing great bargains. This year, Chanukah is December 6 - 14, so we'll have 2 sessions of gifts available prior to its onset.
We have about 150 gifts so far, with more arriving daily, including some new and unique offerings - handcrafted jewelry by Phyllis Howard, theater tickets, golf clubs and gifts, restaurant gift certificates of $50 and more to Staples, Legal Sea Foods, Evviva Cucina, and, among other great prizes.

Our usual four two-week bidding sessions end this year on December 26. Please note that each session ends at 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the session. (Bids received after midnight according to the clock on our server will be disqualified.)
Our easy-to-use auction program with anonymous bidding is found at:
Register if you are a new user. If you are a return user, the same email/password combo will work. Email or call Ava for help, or if you forgot your password.
  • To bid, just click on "Submit Bid" on either page.
  • Click on right column (Details/Photo) for the full description of each item.
  • To see status of all your bids, click on "View Your Bid History". You can tell if you are currently the highest bidder or not.
  • Session dates are shown at top of home page, upper left.
That's all there is to it! 

If you'd like, pay for your purchases at the end of each 2-week session by credit card online with our secure system (you don't need a PayPal account to use your credit card).
If you have any questions or problems please email Ava at
Thanks and have fun!
Laura, Ava, and the Fundraising Committee 
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It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year ... or is it?

As the December holiday season approaches, interfaith families often want to know how to respect and honor each other's religious holidays, while finding a level of comfortable participation in family traditions.
Join us on Sunday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m. at Congregation Shalom for a lively conversation on
Navigating the December Holidays
in Interfaith-Jewish families: Past, Present, and Future
with Esther Kosofsky, M.A., interfaith-Jewish Family Outreach Facilitator.

An engaging opportunity to share and
  • Learn tips on how to handle what may be a delicate (and not so new) subject.
  • Hear how American Jews can feel by the expectations and festivities of Christmas.
  • Discuss ideas, suggestions and strategies to consider when..."It's beginning to look a lot like..."
This program is jointly sponsored by the Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Congregation Shalom.
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Sisterhood Newssisterhood

Sisterhood has a variety of events planned for the fall! In October, we gathered to watch the Patriots defeat the Jaguars, and had a Shabbat coffee break at the Java Room when it rained on the planned group walk date. We'd like to thank Annette Skolnick for coordinating our Making Strides for Breast Cancer team. Seven members completed the walk on October 18, and many others contributed donations. Thanks to all for supporting this cause. We were thrilled to raise $700!
In November, we will have the rescheduled speaker event on Sunday, November 8 at 10:30 a.m. Esther Kosofsky will spearhead the conversation topic, "Being Jewish in December/Navigating the December Holidays." We are co-sponsoring this event with the Brotherhood. All congregation members are welcome to join us on November 8. On Sunday, November 15, we hope for good weather for a group walk beginning at 1:00 on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, followed by relaxing at the Java Room.
Believe it or not, it's not too soon to think about Chanukah. Plan to do a bit of shopping at the Chanukah Fair on Sunday, November 22 or Wednesday, December 2 during religious school. Please send an email if you would like to volunteer to assist on either date. The annual Sisterhood Chanukah party will be on December 9 at Patti Greene's house at 6:30 p.m. We'll be collecting items to donate to House of Hope. Please save the date and watch for more details in late November.
It's not too late to send in your membership form and dues. If you have any questions, comments, or activity ideas, please let us know. Our next meeting is on Tuesday, November 3 at 7 p.m.
We'd like to thank the entire congregation for contributions toward the New Year's Greeting and Memory Book. Laura Rodman and Sara Epstein did a fantastic job!
Toby Sedgwick and the Sisterhood Board 

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Brotherhood Newsbrotherhood

Cooking with master chef Mel Starr has become an annual event. Last year Mel, with the help of many Brotherhood assistant chefs, prepared a Russian cuisine meal fit for the Czar. This year, on Saturday November 7 at the temple Mel will be leading his culinary disciples in the preparation of a Korean feast. Cost for this multicourse extravaganza is only $25 per person. Reserve the date. Want to help and learn some of Mel's recipe secrets? Contact .
On Saturday, October 18, the Brotherhood took a hike led by renowned mountaineer, Jerry Bass. A survivors' list will be posted after notification of next of kin of those who didn't make it. Seriously, we want to appeal to folk who like a moderate hiking experience.
Last month, Brotherhood hosted a new member/ yearly kick off night, with great conversation, along with great music and great bar-b-que!
On Sunday, November 1, poker night is scheduled at the temple. Pizza, beer, and poker - a winning combination. Please respond to Paul Hantman's e-vite when you receive it. Paul will review the different style of poker games that are popular.
Guys night out on Wednesday, October 7, was attended by 12 Brotherhood members at  the Seasons IV Portuguese restaurant in Lowell. Look for an e-vite from Jon Boroshok about the next Guys Night Out on Wednesday, November 4.

David Brother
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The Shalomites' year is off to a great start! At Freshman Kidnap, we had over twenty-five Shalomites "climbing to new heights" at Vertical Dreams, an indoor rock-climbing gym. We also had a great getting-to-know-you program led by our Programming Vice President, Abby Segal. On Yom Kippur, the Shalomites group-led a program on "reproaching" for the whole community that our Religious and Cultural Vice President Sam Segal wrote. Most recently, the Shalomites had a blast at "Pie Wars"! We had a scavenger hunt around the temple to find all of the ingredients to bake apple pies. We then baked 5 pies and donated them to the Lowell Transitional Shelter. Save the date for our 1st annual Pajama Party on Sunday, November 8th! Also, our Creative Service for the whole temple community will be on Friday, December 11th. We will have food, a service, program, and of course celebrate Hannukah!
Julia Segal
Shalomites President 5775-5776 

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Grocery Store Cards  

Food Drive Thank You
Thank you to all the members and guests who supported the High Holy Days food drive. We delivered hundreds of pounds of food and almost $2000 in Hannaford food cards to appreciative food pantries in Chelmsford, Westford, and Nashua. (If you haven't sent in your pledge yet, please send checks to the temple office, with Food Drive in the memo line.)

Looking For A Few More Families
Do you want to help the temple without spending time or money? Yes, you can! Help while you shop. Get a grocery card for $100 (Hannaford, Stop&Shop or Donelan's) each month, and the temple makes $7 cashback. This leads to thousands of dollars for our program, with no out-of-pocket monies from you. I'd like to get 10 more families signed up for the monthly program. Just email Judy Beningson at and I will get you started. Thank you.

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Library - Book Review

Mystery Midrash:  An Anthology of Jewish Mystery & Detective Fiction
Edited by Lawrence W. Raphael
This collection of 13 detective stories was published in 1999. Here is a sampling of authors: Toni Brill, Howard Engel, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Faye Kellerman, Ellen Rawlings, and Shelley Singer.
According to the editor, "the word 'detective' did not appear in the English language until 1842, when its first recorded use was in the name of a new department of the Metropolitan Police Force in London." I hadn't known that! With the Enlightenment in the 18th century and Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, people had an increased awareness "that a single human being could observe the natural world, postulate a theory to explain a phenomenon, and prove that theory through experimentation and analysis". So, detective stories were born.
Jewish detective stories did not appear until later, possibly in the 1960's. Joel Siegel, who wrote the preface to this book, postulated that it was because Jews weren't policemen until much later in America.
My favorite story in this anthology was "Holy Water" by Faye Kellerman, who is the bestselling author of Peter Decker novels. The main character is a rabbi who gets kidnapped on Purim! I don't want to give too much away, as the story is so short, but the rabbi is quite clever and the story is funny and entertaining.
I also enjoyed "Poison" by Ellen Rawlings, who has published two mysteries with the Jewish heroine Rachel Crowne. It was a real "whodunit" type of story. I really felt for the characters, in that I hated some and pitied others. A third story was "Lost Polars" by Shelly Singer, who writes books about the private investigators Barrett Lake and Jake Samson. This story took place at Barrett's high school reunion, and I especially enjoyed it because I just attended mine! There wasn't a murder at my reunion however, just a pasta bar.
Some of the stories had more Jewish content running throughout them, such as the story about the rabbi. Some used more Jewish words or had Jewishness woven into the story. In " A Final Midrash" by Richard Fliegel, author of the Shelly Lowenkopf mysteries, the main character is a Jewish detective. He is assigned the case because a rabbi was murdered and his boss thought it would be more politically correct, or that he might have more insight.
I enjoyed this short story collection and would recommend it for laughs, suspense and entertainment. The good news is that the stories are short, so you can read one while you are having a cup of coffee and a nosh!

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 ...

First Light

A Special Show for All Ages

Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m.


Ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner


MVJF is eagerly anticipating the arrival of a gang of dummies. Assisted by renowned ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner, these madcap meshugeneh puppets will perform their highly acclaimed show, "Maccabee Mishegoss!", as part of the Chanukah Celebration. Children and adults (PJ kids, families, and seniors) are invited to enjoy this uniquely mesmerizing performance by one of the world's most amazingly skilled ventriloquists. Audience members are forewarned to prepare for a fabulous celebration with latkes and laughs.



More details to follow.  For more information contact .

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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
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