Rabbi Zehavi’s Message…



There are a number of stories explaining why we celebrate Hanukkah. Most of us are familiar with the tale, told in the Talmud, of the small jug of oil that miraculously kept the menorah in the Temple relit until new oil could be supplied. Many are also aware of the larger historical story of the defeat of the oppressive Seleucid (Syrian-Greek) empire by a rag-tag Jewish uprising led by the priestly Hashmona-i family (nicknamed the Maccabees).


The Talmud includes another explanation that is far less well-known. It is the story of Adam, the first human, facing his first winter. As the days grew shorter and shorter, he feared that the world was coming to an end, that it was being destroyed due to his sins and disobedience in the Garden of Eden. For eight days, he fasted and prayed, hoping he could prevent the world from returning to the state of chaos that had preceded God’s act of Creation.


On the ninth day, after the winter solstice, the daylight began to grow longer and the nights shorter. Continuing to watch this gradual process, Adam realized that he was not being punished but was instead witnessing the cycles of the natural world, the seasons. Out of celebration, he marked the next eight days as a holiday.


We are not the only culture to have noticed the increasing coldness and darkness when heading into winter and to have reacted with worry and fear. Nor are we the only ones to celebrate the turning point after which we can count on increasing light. What is unique about the Jewish approach to this season is the nature of the fears that come up and the rededication to specific core commitments. Each of these stories reflects a different fear: the inability to maintain Temple worship and sustain our relationship with God; the destruction of the Jewish people due to assimilation or foreign oppression; and the fate of humanity and the created world – the cosmic balance between light and darkness.


The three fears that the stories of Hanukkah portray match three great commitments (or relationships) of the Jewish people: devotion to God, the survival and thriving of our people, and the well-being of all Creation. Hanukkah, literally meaning “dedication”, is a time that we realize, by becoming more aware of our fears, how much each of these commitments matters to us, how deeply cherished these relationships are. With that awareness, we begin the days of increasing light with renewed conviction and zeal for our collective calling.


Wishing you a season of joy, light, and rededication!


Rabbi Zehavi


Shabbat Candle Lighting Times   

Friday, Dec.   7  – 3:53pm 

Friday, Dec. 14  – 3:54pm

Friday, Dec. 21  – 3:56pm

Friday, Dec. 28  – 4:01pm


Service Times:

Fridays: 6:00 pm

Saturdays: 9:30 am

Thursdays: 7:15 Morning Minyan



The Security Committee

chaired by David Susman. 

The Rabbi Search Committee

co-chaired by Glen Davis and Alana Clements.

Please contact SJ in the office to sign up!


Save the date!  Our annual Scholar in Residence Shabbat will be April 5-6, 2019 when we will learn from Dr. Rachel Adelman.


If you would like me to notify you of scheduling changes via phone, please call the office.   978-534-6121

(If you are not on our email list and would like to be, please email office@agudat-achim.org and let me know!)


We are still collecting membership pledge forms! If you haven’t sent back your form yet, please return it to Sarah Jane in the office as soon as possible. Thank you!


Kiddush luncheon on December 15, 2018

is sponsored by Bob Sarafconn in honor of Carol chanting the haftarah for her first time

all are welcome!










Thanks to everyone who came to the Agudat Achim Rockin’ Baseball Festival last week! Participants got to show off their talents in such fun games as baseball card throwing, “air-guitar” with a baseball bat, and other skill competitions! Thanks for helping to make it such a success—a good time was had by all!!

Our “Rockin’ Baseball Games” that took place at our shul on Sunday, November 25th, turned out to be quite an awesome event. We had an impressive turnout of both congregants and community members of all ages, and enjoyed a great day of fun games and surprises! The enthusiasm, good cheer, competitive spirit and help provided by all were at the highest level: We thank you very much.

Congratulations to Jesse, a friend of our members (and who put on a great magic show!) on being awarded the championship in a close race, just edging out Glen Davis who received runner-up awards. Seth Arum was dominant in winning the trivia competition! Bottom line: all in attendance were winners.

Overall without doubt the highlight of the day was the tribute to the Pittsburgh “Tree of Life” Congregants. Alan Schwartz, through his beautiful singing, along with others, connected us all to create great spiritual energy. Enough funds were raised through attendee’s generous donations to purchase eleven trees to be planted in Israel by the JNF in memorial for each of the eleven who passed on Z”L (may their memory be a blessing).                    

Thank you for your contributions and thanks again to all who attended! –Dave Fashing


Security Committee meeting:

In response to the recent attack in Pittsburg, CAA has formed a Security Committee in order to help provide a safe, secure, and welcoming environment

for all of us to worship, study, and socialize. We are holding our first meeting

Sunday, December 2nd at 10:00 AM—we welcome all members to come and participate.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact David Susman at dacsus65@gmail.com

We look forward to working with you.


We have worshippers who can’t find transportation to services!


Rafael Galva is looking for transportation to Friday and Saturday services from Pleasant St in Fitchburg. If you are available to help out, please contact Rafael ragalva@aol.com or SJ in the office. Thank you!



We have a worshipper who would be grateful for transportation to Saturday services. He is coming from Fernwood Drive, but could meet at a more central location if necessary.

Please contact the office so I can connect you! Thank you!



Information about Camp Ramah:

Camp Ramah is an overnight camp for Jewish youth grades 2 – 10, located in Palmer, MA.

Camp Ramah offers two-week sessions for children currently in grades 2-3 and four or eight-week sessions for children in grades 3-10.

Please visit CampRamahNE.org for videos, a virtual tour of the camp grounds, and program offerings!

They offer a $500 tuition discount to eligible new campers, and significant additional financial aid is available.  

For more information feel free to contact Josh Edelglass, Assistant Director, at joshe@CampRamahNE.org or 781-702-5290 ext 101.


For more info, check out their Facebook Live Information Session:

Wednesday, December 12th at 7:00pm.

Assistant Director Josh Edelglass will answer questions about the camp program.

“We hope you can join us for this special opportunity in order to learn more about Camp Ramah – the camping arm of the Conservative movement.”

Simon Luxemburg

(781) 702-5290  ext 111




Lighting the Hanukkah Candles

  1. Place the Hanukkiyah (special menorah/candelabrum for Hanukkah) in a visible location.
  2. Place candles in the Hanukkiyah starting from the right. The number of candles should match which day of the holiday it is, plus one additional (the Shamash or helper candle).
  3. Before the blessings, light the Shamash.
  4. Recite the blessings (below).
  5. After the blessings, use the Shamash to light all the other candles, moving from left (the newest candle’s spot) to right (the first candle’s spot).
  6. Let the candles burn uninterrupted until they go out by themselves—enjoy the light and ambience!
  7. On Friday, the Hanukkah candles are lit before dark and before the Shabbat candles.
  8. On Saturday evening, the Hanukkah candles are lit following Havdalah, after dark.

The first candle this year is on Sunday, December 2. 


Hanukkah is a time of rededication and renewal, bringing every greater light to dark moments. Enjoy the holiday!


Blessings to Recite Before Lighting the Hanukkiyah

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with your mitzvoth and charged us to light the Hanukkah candles.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days, at this time.

First night only:

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has given us life, and sustained us, and brought us to this moment.

 barukh ata Adonai, Elohenu melekh ha’olam, asher kidesh anubemitzvotav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel Hanukkah.


 barukh ata Adonai, Elohenu melekh ha’olam, She’asah nisim la-avotenu Bayamim hahem baseman hazeh.


First night only:

barukh ata Adonai, Elohenu melekh ha’olam, Sheheheyanu vekiyemanu Vehigi’anu lazeman hazeh. 




בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳

אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם

אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו

וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳

אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

First night only:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳

אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה.




Rules for Dreidel

                              Yiddish           English  

             Nisht (not)       Nothing (don’t put in or take out)  

     G          Gantz (all)       Get (take the whole pot)

     H         Halb (half)       Half (take half the pot)

   Sh        Shtel (put)       Share (put into the pot)






Saturday, December 1: Shabbat service 9:30am

Sunday, December 2: Hanukkah Begins –  1st Candlelighting Sunday evening

                                  Security Committee meeting 10:00am all welcome to participate!

Thursday, December 6: Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, December 7: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, December 8: Shabbat service 9:30am

Sunday, December 9: Hanukkah Celebration 10:00am -12:00pm all welcome!

                                  Interfaith Gathering at Congregation Church of Christ

                                                                             12:00-2:00pm all welcome!

Monday, December 10: Executive Board Meeting 7:00pm

                                      Board Meeting 7:30pm

Thursday, December 13: Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, December 14: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, December 15: Shabbat service 9:30am

                                  Outreach Luncheon following service all welcome!

Sunday, December 16: Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kids

                                  In social hall

Thursday, December 20: Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, December 21: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, December 22: Shabbat service 9:30am

Sunday, December 23: No religious school

Monday, December 24: Office Closed

Tuesday, December 25: Office Closed

Thursday, December 27: Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, December 28: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, December 29: Shabbat service 9:30am

Sunday, December 30: No religious school


**There will be an Education Committee meeting Sunday, January 6



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