Rabbi Zehavi’s message:


Next Shabbat coincides with Rosh Hodesh Nisan, the new moon of the month of Nisan. Two weeks later, the full moon of Nisan will be the beginning of Passover. The coming weeks are traditionally characterized by a cleaning frenzy – every nook and cranny of the house is searched, swept, and washed to remove every bit of hametz (leavened grain). This practice dates to the instructions we received while still in Egypt: “…Remove leaven from your houses…Eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements eat only matzah.” (Exodus 12:15, 19) This mitzvah goes a step beyond other Jewish food guidelines. Normally, unkosher food cannot be eaten; on Passover, hametz can’t even be located in our possession.

This extra level of strictness seems linked to a similar standard for Temple worship that was mentioned in a recent Torah reading: “No meal offering that you sacrifice to Hashem should be made with hametz for no leavening or honey may be offered as smoke by fire to Hashem.”

(Leviticus 2:11)

Leavening is forbidden from the altar all year round just as on Passover it is forbidden from our homes. This is one of the powerful instances in which our personal dwellings are transformed into places of worship, into representations of the Temple. We prepare our homes for Passover and maintain them free of hametz just like the altar. This is in anticipation of the service that we will carry out at the beginning of the holiday: the seder. While we go through the physical practice of clearing away hametz, I invite us to consider:

  • What does it mean to ready ourselves in this way?
    • How are we spiritually preparing for the Holiday of Liberation?
    • What do we need to clear out or let go in order to be ready for a new level of freedom?

The story of the Exodus from Egypt that we tell on Passover is really one of leaving home. It is interesting to compare Passover with its twin holiday of Sukkot which occurs six months later. During Sukkot, we actually leave our houses and move into temporary structures. On Passover, we talk about hurriedly leaving home (so fast that we can’t even finish our baking projects), but we don’t ritually leave. Instead, we try to transform our homes. We clear and cleanse them and treat them like the Temple to which we would have made pilgrimage two or three thousand years ago. This dynamic leaves us with a challenge: how can we loosen the bonds that hold us back without leaving the place of bondage? How can we step into the new life we hope for without necessarily changing our physical location? How do we hold space for continuity and transformation? What stays and what, like hametz, must go?

May these questions hold and guide us in the spiritual work of the month of Nisan. Wishing us all a liberating experience of cleansing and opening up space for what lies ahead.

In blessing,

Rabbi Zehavi



Shabbat Candle Lighting Times                  

          Friday, Apr.   5  –  6:56pm

          Friday, Apr. 12  –  7:04pm

          Friday, Apr. 19  –  7:12pm

                                      Friday, Apr. 26  –  7:20pm


Service Times:

Fridays: 6:00 pm

Saturdays: 9:30 am

Thursdays: 7:15 Morning Minyan’


Happy Birthday to: 

Benjamin Casper,

Jaida Fishbone,

and Leia Randall!



NO Thursday Morning Minyan:

On April 18th or April 25th

NO Kabbalat Shabbat:

On Friday, April 19th 6:00pm



Sunday, April 7th to Sunday, April 28th


Tot Shabbat Service

April 6, 10:30am

Calling all 0-7 year olds for a playful Shabbat morning program with songs, stories, snacks, and socializing!


Scholar in Residence Shabbat

Remember our Scholar in Residence Shabbat on April 5th to 6th!

Plans for the weekend include a pot-luck dinner (vegetarian or dairy)* following 6:00pm services on Friday night

and a Kiddush luncheon sponsored by the Tharler family

following 9:30am services on Saturday.

There is no need to RSVP — just join us to share yummy meals while we learn from an engaging speaker.

We look forward to seeing you there!

*See complete event flyer, and CAA’s potluck guidelines, at the end of this newsletter


UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Hospital is looking for volunteers!

HealthAlliance Home Health & Hospice, a non-profit program, is seeking volunteers to provide companionship to patients.

Especially needed are people with daytime hours available.

 Also needed are Military Veteran Volunteers to provide companionship to our patients who are veterans.

Volunteering for hospice is very flexible and only requires 1-2 hours per week when you are assigned. The hospital offers their volunteers support, ongoing training, and recognition for their efforts in helping others.

For more information, please contact Carol Recchion at 978-798-3192


Yarzeits for April 2019

Apr 1-6:  Hyman Epstein, Barbara Mand, Harry Winthrop

Apr 7-13 Albert Brotheim, Laurel Cramer, Samuel Feldman, Barnet Fine, Julius Goldman, Miriam Grand, Robert Lubin, Helen Tussman Mannion, Maurice Penan, Tamar Penan, Arthur Sisitsky, Lillian Chitoff Slovin, Florence Snegg, Jeanette B. Yalen

Apr 14-20:  Irving Benson, Simon Bernstein, Terry Biskin, Howard Elliott Casper, Daniel Christensen, Deborah Cohen, Eli Dansky, Walter Dreifuss, Lena Fergenson, Abraham Freshman, Rebecca Freshman, Sylvia Glassberg, Lena Joseph, Delia Kalin, Mabel Lubin, Gertrude Miller, Harold Novick, Lewis Shack, Sidney Schwartz, Abraham Tussman, Mary Zerinsky

Apr 21-27: Rose Berman, Abraham Cohen, Celia Cohen, Yette Flashner, Murray Gardner, Ruth Gotthelf, Maurice Jones, Jennie Joseph, Bertha Kahn Klein, Miriam Levine, Theodore Levine, Ruth Lowy, Dvora Miller, David Padonle, Charles Shack, Robert Smith, Morris Tankel, Freida Treewater,  Hyman Weinstein

Apr 28-30: Maidie Alpert, Nathan Caplan, Rebecca Dubinsky, Allan Frankle, Morris Levin, Harry Miller, Ethel Resnik, Richard Slarskey, Diane Spiller, Samuel Steinberg, Fanny Mandel Tharler, Edward Weizer, Sam Williams


Thursday, April 4:  Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, April 5:  Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

                   Join us after services for potluck dinner while we learn from Scholar in Residence Dr. Adelman!

Saturday, April 6:  Shabbat service 9:30am

                               Tot Shabbat 10:30am

                   Join us after services for a Kiddush luncheon while we learn from Scholar in Residence Dr. Adelman!

Sunday, April 7:  Kitchen closed for Passover

Thursday, April 11:  Morning Minyan 7:15am

Friday, April 12:   Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, April 13:  Shabbat Service 9:30am

Sunday, April 14:  School Vacation begins—no Religious School

Monday, April 15:  Office Closed

Tuesday, April 16:  No Religious School

Thursday, April 18:  No Morning Minyan

Friday, April 19:  Morning Minyan/Siyyum Beḥorim First-born Service 7:30am

                             Bagels and teachings to follow!

                             Burning Ḥametz 9:00am

                             No Kabbalat Shabbat this evening

Saturday, April 20:  Passover Service 9:30am

Sunday, April 21:  No Religious School

Tuesday, April 23: Religious School Resumes

Thursday, April 25:  No Morning Minyan

Friday, April 26:  Passover Service w/Yizkor 9:00am

                             Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm

Saturday, April 27:  Shabbat Service 9:30am

Sunday, April 28:  Kitchen Reopens




Guidelines for Potluck Shabbat Dinners at Agudat Achim

We have enjoyed sharing potluck dinners in the social hall.  These guidelines allow us to do so while maintaining standards of kashrut and Shabbat.  Questions can be directed to Rabbi Zehavi.


  • All food is to be dairy or pareve., i.e., nothing should contain meat or meat products (no chicken broth, gelatin, etc.).  Eggs are fine. Many kinds of fish are also fine, but not shellfish.  If you have any doubt about an ingredient, please check with Rabbi Zehavi first.


  • Disposable place settings will be provided. However, to reduce waste, you are encouraged to bring a dish and silverware from home and take it home to clean afterward. The kitchen will not be available to wash dishes.


  • Please bring with you a small sign or index card with a legible list of all ingredients to assist those with allergies or other dietary needs. 


  • Since Shabbat often starts before we arrive, food cannot be cooked nor heating elements plugged in when you set out your food.  The synagogue will set out warming trays on which you can place food to keep it warm.  Please bring any food to be served warm in a container that can be placed directly on a warming tray.


  • To maintain the higher standard of kashrut that has always applied to the synagogue kitchen, the kitchen will be closedduring potlucks and cleanup.  Please plan to pack any leftovers and to bring your serving dishes and utensils home unwashed.  If you find you need something that might be in the kitchen, please ask Rabbi Zehavi or a member of the Worship Committee (Rich Cohen, Jackie Davis, Bob Sarafconn, Marc Tieger, Scott Zibel) for assistance.

Thank you for following these guidelines so that we can both continue to enjoy these meals together and provide the community with a strictly kosher kitchen. The Worship Committee appreciates your respect and cooperation!


Please visit link below to see the flyer for our Scholar in Residence event with Dr. Rachel Adelman:

Scholar in Residence at Congregation Agudat Achim 2019




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