Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:
One of the best things about Judaism is how we exist in community. As an old camp song says “you’re never alone when you say you’re a Jew.” This is no more evident than in times of need, sorrow and joy. There is a reason for the stereotype about Jews and food, we believe that it is how we show love and caring to each other. “Oh, you had a baby, mazel tov! Here’s a frozen lasagna so you don’t have to cook dinner.” “I’m sorry to hear your father passed, can I send a deli platter?” “You are feeling under the weather? That calls for chicken soup.” Every need has a corresponding food solution. But really it’s not about the food, it’s about being cared for by others, knowing that your community is there for your needs without ever having to ask, except sometimes it’s really just about the food, and you wish everyone would go away. The question is how do we, the food deliverers and caring community, know the difference.
One option is to wait to be invited. Jewish tradition tells us that mourners should not have to be responsible for their daily needs, they should have time and space to mourn, so the community will often step in by sending meals and visiting the house. The first of these meals, is a meal of condolence or consolation held at the mourner’s home immediately after the funeral. (Sometimes this meal is at a central location like the synagogue, instead). Typically served for the mourners and sometimes close family or friends, it is often set up while the family is traveling back from the funeral to greet them when they arrive home. Hard boiled eggs are customarily eaten as a symbol of the cycle of life, but there are no specific food requirements. If the community is invited to this meal an announcement will be made at the funeral, or in the notices about the funeral. Without such an announcement or without an invitation from the family, one can wait until the evening shiva (or service times) to visit.
The other way we know is by showing up without making demands. In a traditional shiva call you arrive at the home of the mourners and let yourself in. If you have brought food for the home, you’d find your way to the kitchen, dining room etc. and drop it off. There may even be a friend or family member organizing this for the mourners. Then you move into where the mourner is sitting. And you sit. That’s all. In a traditional manner you would not greet the mourner or even speak until the mourner invites you into conversation by talking to you. It’s so beautiful, you don’t worry about saying the wrong thing because you don’t have to say anything at all. Some people in mourning want to talk of their loved one and will invite stories or memories, others want to share how they’re doing and will talk about sadness and grief. Some will ask you questions because they are done talking. Anything and everything is ok. But let’s take for a moment what is most jarring for most of us: the mourner doesn’t want to talk, or doesn’t talk to us at all. We sit, for however long we want and are comfortable with, and when we’re done, we go to the mourner and can offer the traditional words of comfort, “may you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem”, or any other brief words like “I’m sorry for your loss” etc. and then we leave. Maybe we go it another room with other family member, friends or people from the community, maybe we just head home. The point is to have been without needing to be fed or entertained. We’re there if the mourner wants, and happy to sit and be ignored if the mourner wants. We don’t need to know what’s needed we just need to be there and available. It doesn’t matter if we know the mourner or the mourned, we are all obligated to be there, because we are part of holy community, a kehilah kedosha, and community is always there for each other.
Now many of you will read this and say “I’ve never seen a shiva call like this” You’re right; you haven’t, but I encourage you to try it. As a mourner, take comfort that it’s all about you and no one expects anything from you. As a visitor, take comfort that you don’t need to know what to do and say, you only need to show up. And if this style doesn’t fit for you, still come visit, there’s probably a nosh and a cup of coffee just waiting for you.
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times
Friday, Feb 7 – 4:48pm
Friday, Feb 14 – 4:57pm
Friday, Feb 21 – 5:06pm
Friday, Feb 28 – 5:14pm
Thursdays: 7:15 am Morning Minyan
Fridays: 6:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:30 am
Office will be closed:
the week of Feb 17 – 21
No Religious School:
Sun Feb 16, Tues Feb 18, and Sun Feb 23
No Rabbi office hours:
Feb 10 – Feb 21
Board meeting: Mon, Feb 10, 7:30pm
Building Committee: Mon, Feb 3 7:00pm
Education Committee: Sun, Mar 1, 9:00am
Note: The Women’s Interfaith Discussion on February 2nd has been postponed. We will let you know when it is rescheduled!
PHISHING SCAM WARNING:
Some American synagogues have reported their members getting scammed—
If you get an email supposedly from our Rabbi asking you to purchase online gift cards for charity, IT IS A SCAM
–Please don’t be fooled!
Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz thanks us for offering our Social Hall for their holiday wrapping party, where they and their volunteers helped wrap gifts for local children in need.
Tu B’Shevat Seder
FEBRUARY’S MITZVAH HERO
CAA’s Ḥesed Committee
From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:
Thank you to Congregation Agudat Achim’s wonderful Ḥesed Committee! Chaired by Carol Sarafconn and Michelle Drury, the Ḥesed Committee has gone above and beyond in their efforts to help out our members and the community. From checking in with members and making visits to those stuck at home, to revamping our contact lists to make sure everyone stays informed, they do so much good to keep us all connected and supported. Thank you for all you do!
We hope you can all join us for our Outreach Luncheon
following services on Saturday, February 1st
Congregation Agudat Achim would like to thank David Fisher
for sponsoring this luncheon in honor of being blessed with his wife Susan,
and his daughters Madelyn and Allyson.
New Bulletin Topic:
Nearby Jewish Events/Jewish Community Info!
Jewish Camp Scholarships available
If you and your child are looking to pursue a Jewish camp experience, there are scholarships available from Congregation Agudat Achim, through the generosity of Sunnie Epstein and the family of Fay Scharmett. Please contact SJ in the office if you are interested.
The Jewish Federation of Central MA also offers scholarships for this purpose, and more information may be found on their website:
Please note that the deadline for the JFCM scholarship application is Feb 20
Shaarei Zedek synagogue in Clinton
Is holding Musical Kabbalat Shabbat services the first Friday of every month!
Join them for dairy potluck at 6:00pm,
and service with musical instruments to follow at 7:15pm
Dates: February 7, March 6, April 3, and May 1
Join us for Community Learning!
What Are We Saying When We Pray?
February 2nd at 10:00am
In this class, Rabbi Eichenholtz will lead us in navigating the prayers
from our weekly services. We will gain greater comfort and familiarity with the service
as we explore the emotions and deeper meaning behind our prayers.
All are welcome—open to all experience levels!
Tot Shabbat Service
February 1, 10:30am
Calling all 0-7 year olds for a playful Shabbat morning program with songs, stories, snacks, and socializing!
Come be social with us!
Sunday Morning Coffee & Internet Café!
Are you tired of waiting in your car for your children to get out of Religious School?
Come hang out and have coffee
with your fellow parents at the synagogue instead!
Join us in the double classroom (across from the President’s Room) at the end of the hall,
where we will have Keurig coffee and our new and improved wireless internet!
Enjoy company, coffee, or just come in to stay warm!
Our Café is also our new Game Room!
On Tuesday evenings during Religious School (4:30-6:00)
We will be meeting to play (or learn!) Mah Jong
Come join us for a game—all adults welcome, all skill levels!
Bring your Mah Jong set, bring a friend, or just bring yourself!
Our sympathies and condolences are extended to:
The family of Phyllis Rosancrans who passed away December, 2019
Yahrzeits for February 2020
Feb 1-8: Nathan Bass, Lewis Brodsky, Sadie Burnim, Irwin Casper, Etta Dansky, Edward Fields, Sol Flamholtz, Abraham Friedman, Morris Glick, Lawrence Hausman, Lester Kahn, Lawrence (Noah) Kirk, Isadore Levine, Ida Lewis, Joseph Litsky, Laby Lowis, Joseph Miller, Minnie Miller, Albert Moak, Anne Parnes, Max Poppel, Samuel Poppel, Etta Porter, Martha Roth, Netty Sachs, Max Sandrof, Rebecca Schechtman, Freda Selig, Ida Shane, Rubin Sidlower, Evelyn Silberberg, Hyman Solomon, Theodore Stern
Feb 9-15: Louis Bernhardt, Frieda Cohen, Nathan Cohen,Samuel Feigar, Norman Feingold, Charlotte Fichman, Lovick Frankel, Minnie Gerber, Sophie Goldberg, Brenda Green, Jacob Jakubowitsch, Joseph Long, Edward Portnoy, Joseph Rome, Abraham Shane, Rabbi Joseph Shragowitz, Louis Slarskey, Harry Sobel, Dora Wyse, Milton Zais, Richard Zatkin
Feb 16-22: Anna Bernstein, Gabriel Caplan, Myer Cohen, Dora Dell, Noel Feldman, Harry Gotthelf, Gussie Gruber, Morris Jacobson, Sarah Jakubowitsch, Barnet Katzman, Nelly Kurianski, Anna Mankoff, Irving Medoff, Jacob Penan, Morris Schwartz, Joseph Shack, Richard Shapiro, Hyman Aron Student, Sarah Winthrop, Sarah Wolfson, Robert Zerinsky
Feb 23-29: Annie Abraham, Rose Bernhardt, Sholom Braune, Robert Brodkin, Kathleen Coleman, Jacob Feigar, Gussie Fisher, Jacqueline Foster, Joseph Kline, Audrey Lappert, Rhoda Levine, Sarah Levine, Judy Murray, Harry Penan, Sadie Schretter, Harry Schwartz, Isadore Shane, Fred Shuman, Harry Silverman, Beverly Slarskey, Larry Student, Lawrence Zatkin, Naomi Zonderman
CALENDAR FOR FEBRUARY 2020
>>Saturday, February 1: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Tot Shabbat 10:30am
Outreach Luncheon to follow services All Welcome!
>>Sunday, February 2: Adult Continuing Education 10:00am
What Are We Saying When We Pray?
>>Monday, February 3: Building Committee Meeting 7:00pm
Thursday, February 6: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, February 7: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, February 8: Shabbat Service 9:30am
>>Sunday, February 9: Tu B’Shevat Seder 11:00am all welcome!
Monday, February 10: Board Meeting 7:30pm
Thursday, February 13: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, February 14: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, February 15: Shabbat Service 9:30am
>>Sunday, February 16: No Religious School
>>Monday, February 17: Office closed this week
>>Tuesday, February 18: No Religious School
Thursday, February 20: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, February 21: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, February 22: Shabbat Service 9:30am
>>Sunday, February 23: No Religious School
>>Monday, February 24: Office reopens, regular hours
Thursday, February 27: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, February 28: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, February 29: Shabbat Service 9:30am
>>Sunday, March 1: Education Committee Meeting 9:00am