Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:

If you came by synagogue on Tuesday, you would have seen me in a funny headband, with bright colored streamers, because it was Rosh Hodesh, the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar.  The month in which we celebrate Purim is marked, by a tradition that when it enters, we increase our joy.  We will spend the next two weeks getting ready for Purim, preparing mishloach manot – gifts of food for family, friends and the community, gathering costumes, and I for one will be practicing megillah reading. 

As I get ready for Purim, I’ve been thinking a lot about masks.  In 2010, I was in Venice just before Purim and I did the only thing I thought logical; I bought myself a Purim themed Venetian mask.  That year, Carnival was underway leading up to Purim, just as Christians around the world this year have begun the season of Lent.  Currently, in Jewish news, there is a lot of talk about a particular set of masks.  The annual Carnival parade in Aalst, Belgium, has a history of controversy.  Each year articles come out, with pictures and descriptions of costumes, masks and floats, showcasing caricatures of Jews, combined with anti-Semitic tropes.  Large hooked noses, bags of money, rats and bugs, and Hasidic dress all get paraded down the street.  Officials, participants and attendees, alike talk about joking fun and no harm being meant.  According to one reporter, the mayor of Aalst was quick to point out Jews are not the only group mocked in the parade.  Yet, is clear how most of the Jewish world, sees the parade – hate filled and a reason for concern and outrage.  The thing about masks is that they obscure the person beneath, motivations and intent are hidden behind the opaque images.  All we are left with is what we can see.

On March 8th and 9th, many of us will dress up and some will wear masks, they will hide who we are but will be so very intentional in what faces they show.  Superheroes, bright colors, and all our favorite characters, will all be on display, we will be merry as we celebrate the victory of Jewish unity and survival, and the success of Esther and Mordechai.  We put on a mask, which hides our humanness and allow our heroism to shine.  Instead of people, flaws and all we are ideals, we allow ourselves to dream.

These masks we choose will reflect hope and optimism.  But so often we wear masks of another kind.  We smile and laugh, when all we want to do is cry.  We politely nod our heads, when we’d love to really share our thoughts.  In order to navigate the world around us, we put on masks that obscure our true feelings.  We usually do this to protect ourselves or someone we love.  We do it because sharing our every thought and feeling isn’t how we make friends, and honor relationships.

As we prepare for Purim and get ready to put on costume masks, let us all consider the masks we wear somedays and everyday, what they obscure and what they show.  Let us hope that our masks reinforce the happiness of Adar and bring celebration to the world.

 –Rabbi Eichenholtz



Shabbat Candle Lighting Times   

Friday, Mar   6  –  5:23pm 

Friday, Mar 13  –  6:31pm

Friday, Mar 20  –  6:39pm

Friday, Mar 27  –  6:47pm



Service Times:

**Friday service time is changing to 6:30pm after Daylight Saving begins on March 8th**


Thursdays: 7:15 am Morning Minyan

Friday March 6: 6:00pm

Friday March 13: 6:30pm

Saturdays: 9:30 am




Board meeting: Mon,  March 16, 7:30pm

Education Committee: Sun, Mar 1, 9:00am



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!



If you haven’t turned in your Passover Seder survey, please do so right away! Thank you!

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 8th. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward before you go to bed Saturday night!


Rabbi Office drop-in hours:

Monday afternoon & Thursday morning.

Appointments available Sunday morning, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Please contact SJ in the office to schedule your appointment!




Rich Cohen and Scott Zibel

From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:

This month we recognize our wonderful President and 1st Vice President for all their many efforts on behalf of our congregation! Here they go above and beyond their Executive Board duties, unbolting some seats to improve our Sanctuary’s accessibility. Thank you, Scott and Rich, for all you do!



We wish everyone good health:

Here are some of the best ways to stay safe from colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands often, for 30 seconds, with soap

      Time yourself by singing “ABCs” once or

       “Happy Birthday” or “Row Row Row Your Boat”  twice

  • Don’t touch your face
  • Practice “elbow touch” greetings instead of shaking hands

      —or offer a wave!

  • Cover your cough with your elbow (not your hand!)



Nearby Jewish Events/Jewish Community Info!


Documentary Film Screening

“Breaking the Silence: The generation After the Holocaust”

Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St, Fitchburg

Sunday, March 22, 4:00pm

Fitchburg Community Reads Program for teens and adults.

Discussion and light refreshments following the film




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.




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

All Welcome!

Dates: March 6, April 3, and May 1





Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 8

With the time change, and candlelighting happening an hour later, we will be holding Friday night services at 6:30pm to see how that goes. We hope to see you there!

As always, feedback is welcome 🙂


Tot Shabbat Service

March 7, 10:30am

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


Purim is coming and we’re excited!  With multiple megillah readings and a Purim carnival, it is one celebration you don’t want to miss.


Kick off the party with our Purim Carnival on Sunday March 8th at 10:30am!

Run by our incomparable Hebrew High School. Thanks, guys!


On Monday March 9th at 7:00pm we’ll tell the story as it was written, with all its palace intrigue, questionable morality, guts and gore.


On the evening of Tuesday March 10th join our religious school for a family friendly interactive telling of the Purim story and megillah reading. 


Costumes for young and old encouraged at all events—wow us with your amazing outfit!



Come be social with us!

Sunday Morning Coffee & Internet Café!

Tuesday Evening Mah Jong!



New Oneg Policy:

With changes in service times and congregational behaviors, very few people come to services Friday night having just had a meat dinner and therefore only wanting to eat pareve food.  At the same time some of our beloved and convenient options have gone from pareve to dairy certification.  In light of this, the worship committee and Rabbi Eichenholtz are editing our oneg policy.  Dairy items will now be served in addition to the Pareve items on both Friday and Saturday morning.  Dairy items will be served in platters and bowls clearly marked with blue lining (doily, napkin, etc.)  We are excited to continue to offer a bountiful spread to enjoy Shabbat and our community together.



New Feature: Congregant’s Corner

Welcome to the first article of our Congregants Corner feature! The purpose of these brief sketches is to highlight members of our Agudat Achim community so that we may all get to know each  other a little better. If you’d like to suggest someone else to spotlight, please contact me at 603 899-2221 or gordensteinr@elms.edu. I appreciate your feedback. –Roberta Gordenstein


Our current president, Scott Zibel, was born in Framingham, moved to Tampa, and then moved back to Framingham. In Tampa, he attended a conservative Jewish day school where students led daily prayers and wore tefillin. 


Scott and his wife Heidi have been in Leominster for 19 years. They chose CAA because it was their local synagogue. Scott has graciously served our community as a board member, vice president (1st and 2nd), chair and secretary of the worship committee, and chair and secretary of the building/security committee. 


Scott is in his 19th year of teaching English at Monty Tech. He’s served the teachers union as a building rep, negotiating rep, and as chair for the negotiation team.


Heidi works fulltime as a Senior Compliance Analyst. She’s been at her job for over 20 years. They’ve been married since 1997. Their son Ardon is a junior at Leominster High and looking at colleges, while daughter Shayna is a freshman at LHS. Heidi and Scott are very proud of them.


Somehow, Scott finds time for multiple hobbies—hiking the White Mountains, listening to live music, spending time with his “awesome wife and children”, riding his 1989 Harley Sportster, going to the beach, watching the Bruins, and traveling to new places. He also enjoys antiques and eating food that someone else has prepared and cleaned up! As a big Elvis fan, he has even performed as Elvis in the school talent show!




Our members are doing some great stuff—check it out:


Teen Center Revitalization in Waterville, ME:

Lorne Carter, Colby College class of 2021, has always had a passion for social justice and community engagement. He found his place at Waterville’s South End Teen Center, a safe community space for teens in the South End to come for mentorship, peer engagement, and fun. Carter’s proposal for the O’Hanian-Szostak Fellowship involves an artful revitalization of one of the teens’ favorite places at the SETC: the basketball court.

“We will paint court lines and a fun, colorful design on the blacktop and decorate surfaces adjacent to the court, such as chain-link fences and a shed, with art. The project will supply new hoops, balls, and other sports equipment to help the Teen Center enjoy their rejuvenated space.” And the best part? “The teens themselves will craft the vision for the new space.”

But Carter believes this project goes beyond bringing new life to the basketball court. “The structure of this project is motivated by a belief in democratic decision-making, collective design, and placing agency over the space’s future with the community that calls it home.”

Lorne also hopes to engage Colby College in bringing kids from the Teen Center onto campus once a month for a free hot breakfast and an hour of shooting hoops on one of the school’s courts, two things a lot of people take for granted but which are rarely available to the Waterville community.


In memory of Seymour Bolinsky:


 Shirley Bolinsky has donated two of her beautiful embroidered artworks to Congregation Agudat Achim in memory of her late husband, Sy Bolinksy.

They now hang in our main hallway near the Chapel for all to enjoy. We are so grateful to Shirley for her generous gift!





Scout Shabbat 2020:

Scouts from across New Hampshire and Massachusetts gathered at Temple Emanu-El in Haverhill, MA on Friday, February 7th to celebrate Scout Shabbat.  Scout Shabbat offers an opportunity for Scouts to show their duty to God, an integral part of the Scout Oath/Promise, and allow worshippers to honor Scouts and Scout Leaders in the community for their achievements and service.  This was done as part of the standard Jewish Friday Night Service. Cantor Vera Broekhuysen and Rabbinical Intern Jen Stevens filled the Synagogue with song and helped the Scouts understand how Scouting and Religious Faith go together to help build a better world.

CAA members Erez and Ilan Cohen, center stairs, and Oren Cohen, rear center



Yahrzeits for March 2020


Mar 1-7:  Dorothy Borowsky, Earl S. Britton, Ruth Burwick, Edmund Buzanoski, Herman Casper, Jacob Cohen, Rose Cohen, Louis Dansky, Elaine Farb, Minnie Feingold, Jennie Foster, Samuel Foster, Hyman Friedman, Pauline Goldman, Anna Gordon, Nathaniel Greenberg, Lillian Isaacson, Elliot Kahn, Mack Kander, Theodore Katcher, John Kowal, Moris Kowalsky, Slamothe Krevoruck, Joseph Ligom, Lena Lowis, Julius Newmark, David Rosenzweig, June Shapiro, Ethel Skurneck, Louis Weinstein, Anne Weissman, Sidney Zomlefer


Mar 8-14:  Sandra Alch, Golde Aranson, Reuben Aronofsky, Rosa Berger, Maurice Burwick, William Charney, Lillian Cohen, Ruth Cohen, Ester Ebb, Philip Epstein, Bernard Falk, Gussie Fay, Eli Feingold, Moses Fergenson, Ellie Ferriter, Tillie Geiger, Morris Goodstein, Irving Gordenstein, Pauline Gotthelf, Anna Horwitch, Etta Kalin Jacobs, Yetta Pearl Kowalsky, Hannah Levine, Samuel Levine, Rita Marcus, Cline Mendelsohn, Chane Nowiski, Esther Perlstein, Barney Rosen, Paul Schack, William Schear, Lucille Tharler Schwartz, Donald Shaffer, Edward Selig, Harvey Silverman, Florence Sobel, Grete Spanier, Mildred Wiadro, Albert H. Williams, Nathan Wyse, Judith Zatkin, Arthur Zonderman

Mar 15-21: Edward Argoff, Eli Epstein, Lillian Feldman, Solomon Fine, Phil Flaum, Haimon Garbose, Anna Goldstein, Samuel Heimberg, Toby Holzer, David Kniager, Manfred Levine, Murray Rosen, Boris Rosenbaum, Esther Rosengard, Etta Segal, Mishael Selig, Barnett Shuman, Seymour Simmons, Evelyn Tieger, Eliane Tonkin, Lewis Wexler


Mar 22-31: Bonnie Bassuk, Morris Bernstein, Jacob Brodsky, Morris Bloch, Ethel Burns, Harry Burwick, Benjamin Cofman, Laurel Cramer, Lillian Elberger, Hyman Epstein, Saul Feldman, Barnet Fine, Samuel Frumer, Miriam Grand, Barbara Kaufman, Charles Krumholz, Morton Ingram, Hyman Linsky,  Robert C. Lubin, Barbara Mand, Paul Nissenbaum, Maurice Penan, Tamar Penan, Sophie Selvers, Lillian Chitoff Slovin, Florence Snegg, Fannie Tater, Sael Tater, Morris Vigoda, Cecile Weisman, Harry Winthrop, Nellie Winthrop, Jeanette B. Yalen






Sunday, March 1:  Education Committee 9:00am


>>Wednesday, March 4: Office closed


Thursday, March 5:  Morning Minyan 7:15am


Friday, March 6:  Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm


>>Saturday, March 7:  Shabbat Service 9:30am


                                                                             Tot Shabbat 10:30am                            


>>Sunday, March 8:  Purim Carnival 10:30am all welcome!


>>Monday, March 9: Megillah reading 7:00pm (the gory adult version)


>>Tuesday, March 10: Interactive Megillah reading for the whole family!

                                                  In the evening, at Religious School


Thursday, March 12: Morning Minyan 7:15am


Friday, March 13: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30pm *note later time!


Saturday, March 14  Shabbat Service 9:30am


>>Monday, March 16:  Board Meeting 7:30pm


Thursday, March 19: Morning Minyan 7:15am


Friday, March 20: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30pm *note later time!


Saturday, March 21:  Shabbat Service 9:30am


Thursday, March 26:  Morning Minyan 7:15am


Friday, March 27:  Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30pm *note later time!


Saturday, March 28:  Shabbat Service 9:30am


>>Sunday, March 29: Family Education Event—details to follow!


Monday, March 30: Kitchen closed for Passover



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