Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:
Well, this month has been different and unexpected. A month ago, we were asking you to made seder reservations and were in full swing with Religious school and adult education, moving from learning to playing Mah Jong on Tuesdays, and transitioning from Shabbat Across America to our many Purim celebrations. Congregants came and went in our building for services and activities, as did our tenants and community members. And then life started changing.
As you read the bulletin this week, our events list has changed. We’re not gathering in our building; we are gathering in other ways. We are connecting with phone calls and virtual meet ups, joining other congregations in prayer and learning. Our congregation continues our activities and caring for each other.
And Jewish time continues, after the celebrations of Purim we turn to Passover, a holiday known for its seder ritual, gathered with family and friends around a table, sharing food and stories, it feels in many ways that if we can’t celebrate Passover as we ‘normally’ would, that Passover is canceled. Those are the words on synagogue bulletins around the world, “Passover Seder Canceled.” Well maybe our communal seders are not happening this year, or even our private ones, maybe instead of our favorite cousin sitting across the table, a laptop will be sitting in their chair and they’ll be on the screen. Some of us will end up sitting at tables of one. And even so, we will go through 15 steps of the seder (or we can always add to the 2 hand washings already in the count). We will tell a story from darkness to light. But no matter what it won’t be the same.
Honestly, when the Israelites went to celebrate the first Passover after the Exodus, they were also concerned about how to do Passover in less than ideal conditions. The Israelites in the wilderness were concerned about ritual impurity and their eligibility to offer the Passover sacrifice. So, In Numbers 9, we learn that they asked Moses and Aaron who then asked God, what to do if you couldn’t do Passover when Passover came in the calendar. In verse 11 we learn God’s solution “they shall offer it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight.” If Passover one doesn’t work out, no problem said God try for Pesach Sheini (Second Passover), a month later you get your opportunity.
This year we don’t know when Pesach Sheni will be (okay technically it’s May 8th and 9th), but we know that our lives will return to more traditional patterns, we will emerge from our homes and go back to work and school. We will gather again at synagogue for services and programs, and maybe someone will have a box of matza around and we’ll have Pesach Sheni as we celebrate the freedom from slavery and the freedom of movement.
In the meantime, may we all have meaningful and safe Passover, grateful for the freedom to celebrate, even in less than ideal conditions.
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times
Friday, Apr 3 – 6:55pm
Friday, Apr 10 – 7:03pm
Friday, Apr 17 – 7:11pm
Friday, Apr 24 – 7:19pm
**Services at the synagogue are suspended; we will let you know when the building reopens**
(remote) Board meeting: Mon, April 13, 7:30pm
If you need to make an appointment to speak to Rabbi Eichenholtz, please contact the office via phone or email to make an appointment. While the offices are closed to face-to-face meetings, Rabbi Eichenholtz is still available for consults over the phone.
APRIL’S MITZVAH HEROES
Our Administrative staff and Committees:
SJ, Ed, Rabbi Eichenholtz, Scott Zibel….
From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:
This month we recognize the efforts of all of our admins and volunteers keeping the synagogue ticking along during difficult times. Thank you to our hardworking office staff, our Rabbi, our handyman Ed for keeping memorial lights on and taking the time now to work on some extra upkeep for us, and our Board and Committees for: reaching out to all of our members to check in, redoing our school program, setting up remote programming, and our social media volunteers helping keep us all informed and entertained! We appreciate all the work you are putting in behind the scenes.
Thank you all for your hard work!
We are currently planning for our building to be closed through all of April.
Rabbi Eichenholtz and the Worship Committee are working together to create meaningful experiences for Yizkor during Passover and Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.
We wish everyone good health:
Here are some of the best ways to stay safe from coronavirus:
- Please stay home to protect yourself and others
- Please stay out of public spaces unless you are in urgent need
- Stay at least 6 feet away from people at all times when outside or at grocery store or doctor’s office
- 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 “no-touch” greetings instead of shaking hands
—wave, nod, hand on your heart, Namaste bow….
- Cover your cough with your elbow (not your hand!)
- Stay calm, stay in touch, stay safe!
Join us for Community Learning and Social Interaction!
SURVEY TIME!!! Which of the below appeal to you?
To meet up over Zoom and/or Facebook Live for:
- Havdalah with the Rabbi after Shabbat on Saturday night (under 30 minutes)
- Pre-Shabbat check-in. Time suggestions for Friday welcome!
- Torah for Today – quick learning 10am Monday morning.
- Game time – Time and games TBD
Any other suggestions? Let us know! You can call or email the office any time.
Even if we are not in the building, we are checking our phone, etc. Stay in touch, please!
A message from Jewish Federation of Central Mass:
We hope you and your families are faring well and are following the recommended precautions to protect yourselves and others. As we all practice social distancing and quarantine procedures, we recognize that many in our community need assistance.
We want to remind everyone that Jewish Federation and Jewish Family & Children’s Service together have a Tzedakah Fund Program in place to help those needing financial assistance.
And Worcester JCC, and our Central MA congregations are ensuring that members are safe, secure, and healthy through a number of activities.
There are many efforts underway in our Jewish community to make sure all of us are supported through this challenging time. Jewish Federation encourages working together at the organizational and personal level. I am very proud of the tremendous outpouring of support from every part of our community.
Using the link below you can let us know if you need assistance or would like to assist others. Please let us know if you know of community members in need who do not use email, and please forward this email along to those who might not have received it. We will work with the JCC and our congregations to ensure needs are met, volunteers are available, and actions are coordinated.
If you need help
If you can help
Jewish Federation of Central MA
If you do not have the internet or email, please call the Federation 508-756-1543 and leave a message,
or call SJ at the synagogue office 978-534-6121
Community in the Time of Cornonavirus: A new bulletin section
In these times of physical distancing, please make sure the CAA community knows how we can be of service. Contact the office or the Rabbi.
Send us pictures, links to your video, emails or letters or phone calls describing your artwork, projects, new skills, poems, funny things your kids/partner/pet/animal outside your window is up to, etc –we will add it to our bulletin! (or you may share with our Facebook page)
Keep us all up to date on the happenings in your neck of the woods, or inspire us with fun new ideas. Thanks, guys, and stay sane J
Share your accomplishments!
The Clements family has been busy: Owen learned how to ride a bike, and Mia has been working with her watercolor art to make cards to mail.
What have you been working on? Tell us!
Information and Resources for the Community:
Has your employer closed, or are you otherwise unable to work from home or collect sick pay?
The Massachusetts Dept of Unemployment Assistance has set up online town hall meetings to help explain what help is available and how to apply. Details and signup here: https://www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-department-of-unemployment-assistance-dua-virtual-town-halls
Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts invites you to contact them if you need help, or if you can volunteer your help. See letter above.
To receive information with updates on COVID-19 news in MA you can:
text COVIDMA to 888-777
or sign up for COVID-19 info texts from Masslive here: https://joinsubtext.com/coronavirusmass
Call 2-1-1 to ask questions
Reminder: If you feel unsafe at home, help is available.
Journey to Safety is 1-781-647-JFCS (5327) –a program of Jewish Family and Children Services – Boston.
National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 –also available by text and internet chat on their website.
Facebook group JewishLIVE https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewishlivegroup/?fref=mentions has an important mission: “During this time of social distancing, jewishLIVE is curating the jewish you want and need, in one place.” Come see what they have found, or share your finds with them!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your feedback. –Roberta Gordenstein
Sylvia Rome can often be seen at Shabbat morning services but she hasn’t always been a member of Agudat Achim. As a child, she lived in Clinton and went to the synagogue there, but she didn’t attend Hebrew school so most of her Jewish education came from her parents and her grandparents who visited frequently. As a young woman, she worked as a secretary in a jewelry store in Worcester.
When she got married, she and her husband Jim moved to Gardner where he opened a furniture store with his brothers. Sylvia often helped out in the office. They attended the Gardner shul, Ohave Sholem, which had been founded by a member of the Rome family. When her children were born, Sylvia stayed home to care for them. Her son Arthur and her nephew Bruce ran the store until Arthur’s recent retirement. Her daughter Janet lives in Boston. She also has two grandsons.
In 1997, the synagogue closed and many of its members came to Agudat Achim. Several of the religious objects, including a large stained-glass Star of David, were donated to the Gardner Museum to preserve its history. Sylvia had volunteered and had been an officer of the museum, so if you’d like to learn more about the Jewish community of Gardner or visit the museum to see these items, Sylvia would be very happy to tell you about them!
Congregation Agudat Achim’s Golden Book:
This April we highlight page 142 of our Golden Book,
from April 26, 1990:
“The Leominster community honors Howard J. Rome for his many years of dedicated service.”
Yahrzeits for April 2020
Apr 1-11: Irving Benson, Simon Bernstein, Terry Biskin, Albert Brotheim, Howard Elliott Casper, Daniel Christensen, Deborah (Debbie) Cohen, Eli Dansky, Walter Dreifuss, Samuel Feldman, Lena Fergenson, Abraham Freshman, Rebecca Freshman, Murray Gardner, Sylvia Glassberg, Julius Goldman, Ruth Gotthelf, Lena Joseph, Delia Kalin, Mabel Lubin, Helen Tussman Mannion, Gertrude Miller, Harold Novick, Sidney Schwartz, Lewis Shack, Arthur Sisitsky, Morris Tankel, Abraham Tussman, Mary Zerinsky
Apr 12-18: Maidie Alpert, Rose Berman, Nathan Caplan, Abraham Cohen, Celia Cohen, Yette Flashner, Allan Frankle, Maurice Jones, Jennie Joseph, Bertha Kahn Klein, Miriam Levine, Morris Levin, Theodore Levine, Ruth Lowe, Dvora Miller, Harry Miller, David Padonle, Joseph Rosengard, Charles Shack, Richard Slarskey, Robert Smith, Diane Spiller, Freida Treewater, Hyman Weinstein
Apr 19-25: David Bayard, Rebecca Dubinsky, Henri Falk, Brian Maxwell Krumholz, Allan Loeb, Eric Maier, Harry Mishkin, Mr. Franz Moos, Bessie Malchman Reed, Ethel Resnik, Anna Rosenbaum, Annie Rosenbaum, Louis Rubin, Simon Saperstein, Samuel Sager, Jacob Sarkin, Leo Sirvint, Samuel Steinberg, Evelyn Striar, Samuel Tater, Fanny Mandel Tharler, Edward Weizer, Sam Williams
pr 26-30: Ida Alintuck, Susan Byer, Louis Cerier, Henry Cohen, William Elkins, Molly Fine, Isaac Flaum, Esther Folman, Joseph Glickman, George Irwin Gould, Herman M. Leavitt, Jacob Ligom, Isidor Meyer, Bernard Padonle, Ida Perlstein, Benjamin Primack, Orion Silverman, Ida Rood Slarskey, Celia Stone, Louis Tater, Adolph Wiederlight, Sadie Zerinsky
CALENDAR FOR APRIL 2020
Friday, April 6: Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook
Saturday, April 7: Shabbat Hagadol—Worship materials on our website and facebook.
>>Wednesday, April 8: Office Closed
Siyyum B’chorim with first-born 9:00am zoom meetup
First Seder—please practice safety with online/speakerphone seder at home!
>>Thursday, April 9: Office Closed
Second Seder— please practice safety with online/ speakerphone seder at home!
Friday, April 10: Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook
Saturday, April 11: Shabbat—Worship materials on our website and facebook.
Monday, April 13: Board Meeting 7:30pm
>>Wednesday, April 15: Office Closed
>>Thursday, April 16: Office Closed
Friday, April 17: Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook
Saturday, April 18: Shabbat—Worship materials on our website and facebook.
Friday, April 24: Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook
Saturday, April 25: Shabbat—Worship materials on our website and facebook.
>>Sunday, April 26: Yom haShoah –remote programs TBD
March 30, 2020 — 5780
It is officially Nisan; we are less than two weeks away from Passover and many of us are in the midst of preparations, some for the first time. The next pages will have the information you need to help you have a meaningful, symbolic, experiential and ‘traditional’ Passover.
Just as the Israelites at the first Passover began getting ready in advance of the night of the 10th plague, we too get ready beforehand as well.
Traditionally, we search for and burn the hametz, we rid our environments of leavened products and on Tuesday evening we’ll go through our homes searching for the last bits of previously forgotten bread. As always, a gentle reminder, that crumbs which are dirt (and not able to be eaten) are not considered hametz, cleaning is good, making ourselves crazy is not the goal. While you search for the hametz, you can also search for these items, to bring new meaning to the home you’ve been in for so many weeks straight, in our time of shelter-in-place. Share with us on Facebook or by e-mail the results of your search!
Use your imaginations:
In the living room
Find something that reminds you of family
In the bedroom
Find an object that belongs to someone else
How and when will you return it and what will you say?
In a storage area, closet, attic, garage
Purge one item to ‘free’ up space
In the kitchen
Find an item with a past expiration date
Why is it still in the kitchen?
In the dining room
Find an item that can be used in a new way for Pesach
While we attempt to rid our homes of leavened food, we know that it is not always practicable. The Rabbis allow us to sell our hametz for the duration of Passover. The mechanism for this is to appoint Rabbi Eichenholtz your agent and she will coordinate the sale of all of our hametz. (See attached form)
In recognition of the severity of the 10th plague and it’s the threat to first born, on the day before Passover throughout time, first born children take it upon themselves to fast. I Invite you to join me on Zoom, Wednesday April 8th, at 9:00am https://zoom.us/j/365151587?pwd=MUphT0J1Y2k0VEk4Mk5sZ0hGcFdTZz09, as I celebrate the completion of a section of Jewish text study. In recognition of this occasion I will be ‘hosting’ a siyum, enabling anyone who participates to lift their fasting obligation in celebration with me.
April 8th and 9th bring seder evenings. Seder can be daunting whether you’ve been hosting for decades or anticipating making a seder for the first time this year. This section is dedicated to helping you get through seder in this time of physical distancing.
Tips for DIY Passover Seder:
Matzah – One is obligated to avoid hametz throughout Passover, but the obligation to eat matzah is limited to fulfilling the rituals of the first/second night seder alone.
Karpas – Can be any vegetable. [In Israel, boiled potato is a common food for karpas]
Maror – If horseradish is not available, we are encouraged to find other vegetables or fruits that can bring a tear to the eye if consumed raw: hot peppers, fresh ginger, mustard greens, raw lemon. In Israel, romaine lettuce is commonly used as maror.
Egg and Roasted Shankbone on Seder Plate — A roasted beet and rice (if consuming kitniyot) in place of the shankbone and egg.(Pesahim 114b). A roasted onion may also be used in place of the egg.
If you need a box of matzah or a seder plate (plate only), please contact Sarah Jane in the office. We are working on curbside pickup times for no-contact pickup of Passover necessities from synagogue.
On our Facebook page we will be collecting links and invitations for virtual seder celebrations.
In time for first night seder, I will be posting on our Facebook page and website, my versions of the steps of the seder, so you can play these videos and other resources as you go through seder at home.
As we go into Passover, I know we are all waiting for our own sense of freedom to return, freedom of movement, freedom from the worries of COVID-19, freedom to worship again in person, freedom to celebrate all of our moments together. May this Passover bring us all from slavery to freedom.
Mechirat Ḥametz – The Selling of Ḥametz
The prohibition of ḥametz on Passover includes both eating ḥametz and owning ḥametz. Originally, all ḥametz was to be eaten or destroyed by Passover. The Rabbis recognized the difficulties and hardships for those who possessed large quantities of ḥametz. To obviate this situation the custom of Mechirat Ḥametz was instituted. The Rabbi acts as the agent for individuals in the sale of their ḥametz to a non-Jew and then the repurchase of ḥametz back at the end of the holiday. Though the physical transfer of
the ḥametz is not made, the non-Jew has the legal right to take possession of it. That is why a Rabbi acts as the agent. I am available to act as your agent by filling out the form below and mailing or e-mailing it in. For those who are selling hametz, if our buyer doesn’t complete the terms of payment (which I suspect she won’t) hametz will revert to their original owner on Thursday April 16th at 8:15pm.
The sale of your ḥametz costs you nothing, of course. But this is an excellent opportunity to perform another Pesach mitzvah, the mitzvah of maot ḥitim, providing money for Pesach supplies for those who need. You can make a donation to maot ḥitim when you send in your form designating me as your agent in selling your ḥametz.
I, , residing at
Street Apt.# City State
designate Rabbi Eve Eichenholtz of Congregation Agudat Achim in Leominster as my agent for the sale of all ḥametz and ḥametz utensils in my possession. I understand that I sell this ḥametz effective 10:00 a.m. on the 14th day of Nisan, 5780, corresponding to Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.
To fulfill the mitzvah of maot ḥitim, the mitzvah of making sure all Jews have food for Pesach, I enclose $___________. I pray that no person suffer hunger on this holiday of freedom or at any other time.
Checks should be made payable to Congregation Agudat Achim.
Please return this form to the synagogue office by Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Every year the Conservative Movement publishes a guide to Passover. While parts are reprinted here, please again note that we are all just doing the best we can in difficult circumstances. If you have any questions or are looking for more guidance always know I’m available. This year’s guide can be found at https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/2020-02/Pesah%20Guide%205780.pdf With additional comments at https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/kashrut-subcommittee-recommendations-passover-5780-light-covid-19
RABBINICAL ASSEMBLY PESACH GUIDE
The Torah prohibits the ownership of ḥametz (leaven) during Pesach. Therefore, we arrange for the sale of the ḥametz to a non-Jew. The transfer, mekhirat ḥametz, is accomplished by appointing an agent, usually the rabbi, to handle the sale. It is valid and legal transfer of ownership. At the end of the holiday, the agent arranges for the reversion of the ownership of now-permitted ḥametz. If ownership of the ḥametz was not transferred before the holiday, the use of this ḥametz is prohibited after the holiday as well (ḥametz she-avar alav ha-Pesach).
- Since the Torah prohibits the eating of ḥametz during Pesach, and since many common foods contain some admixture of ḥametz, guidance is necessary when shopping and preparing for Pesach.
During the eight days of Pesach, ḥametz cannot lose its identity in an admixture. Therefore, the minutest amount of ḥametz renders the whole admixture ḥametz and its use on Pesach is prohibited. However, during the rest of the year, ḥametz follows the normal rules of admisture, i.e. it loses its identity in an admixture of one part ḥametz and sixty parts of non-ḥametz (batel be-shisim). This affords us the opportunity to differentiate between foods purchases before and during Pesach.
What follows is a general guideline. However, your rabbi should be consulted when any doubt arises. Kosher le-Pesach labels that do not bear the name of a rabbi or one of the recognized symbols of rabbinic supervision, or which are not integral to the package, should not be used without consulting your rabbi.
Most Ashkenazic authorities have added the following foods (kitniyot) to the above list: rice corn, millet, legumes, (beans and peas; however, string beans are permitted). The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has ruled unanimously that peanuts and peanut oil are permissible, as peanuts are not actually legumes. Some Ashkenazic authorities permit, while other forbid, the use of legumes in a form other than their natural state, for example, corn sweeteners, corn oil, soy oil. Sephardic authorities permit the use of all of the above. Consult your rabbi for guidance in the use of these products.
- The following foods require no kosher le-Pesach label if purchased prior to Pesach: unopened packages or containers of natural coffee without cereal additives (However, be aware that coffees produced by General Foods are not kosher for Passover unless marked KP); sugar; pure tea; salt (not iodized); pepper; natural spices; frozen fruit juices with no additives; frozen (uncooked) vegetables (for legumes see above); milk; butter; cottage cheese; cream cheese; ripened cheese such as cheddar (hard), muenster (semi-soft) and Camembert (soft); frozen (uncooked) fruit (with no additives); baking soda.
- The following foods require no kosher le-Pesach label if purchased before or during Pesach: Fresh fruit and vegetables (for legumes see above) eggs, fresh fish and fresh meat.
- The following foods require a kosher le-Pesach label if purchased before or during Pesach: All baked products (matzah, cakes, matzah flour, farfel, matzah meal, and any products containing matzah); canned or bottled fruit juices (These juices are often clarified with kitniyot which are not listed among the ingredients. However, if one knows there are no such agents, the juice may be purchased prior to Pesach with a kosher le-Pesach label); canned tuna (since tuna, even when packed in water, has been processed in vegetable broth and/or hydrolyzed protein–however, if it is known, if it is known that the tuna is packed exclusively in water, without any additional ingredients or additives, it may be purchased without a kosher le-Pesach label); wine; vinegar; liquor; oils; dried fruits; candy; chocolate flavored milk; ice cream; yogurt and soda.
(continued from previous page)
- The following processed foods (canned, bottled or frozen), require a kosher le-Pesach label if purchased during Pesach: milk, butter, juices, vegetables, fruit, milk products, spices, coffee, tea and fish, as well as all foods listed in Category C.
DETERGENTS: If permitted during the year, powdered and liquid detergents do not require a kosher le-Pesach label.
MEDICINE: Since ḥametz binders are used in many pills, the following guidelines should be followed. If the medicine is required for life sustaining therapy, it may be used on Pesach. If it is not for life sustaining therapy, some authorities permit, while others prohibit. Consult your rabbi. In all cases, capsules are preferable.
KASHERING OF UTENSILS:
The process of kashering utensils depends on how the utensil was used. According the halakhah leaven can be purged from a utensil by the same process in which it was absorbed in the utensil (ke-voleo kakh poleto). Therefore, utensils used in cooking are kashered by boiling, those used in boiling are kashered by fire and heat, and those used only for cold food are kashered by rinsing.
- EARTHWARE (china, pottery, etc.) may not be kashered. However, fine translucent china ware which has not be used for over a year may be used if scoured and cleaned in hot water.
- METAL (wholly made in metal) UTENSILS USED IN FIRE (spit, broiler) must first be thoroughly scrubbed and cleansed and then made as hot as possible. Those used for cooking or eating (silverware, pots) must be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned and completely immersed in boiling water. Pots should have water boiled in them which will overflow the rim.
- The utensils should not be used for a period of at least 24 hours between the cleaning and the immersion in boiling water. Metal baking utensils cannot be kashered.
- OVENS AND RANGES: Every part that comes in contact with food must be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. Then, oven and range should be heated as hot as possible for half an hour. If there is a broil setting, use it. Self-cleaning ovens should be scrubbed and cleaned and then put through the self-cleaning cycle. Continuous cleaning ovens must be kashered in the same manner as regular ovens.
- MICROWAVE OVENS, which do not cook the food by mean of heat, should be cleaned, and then a cup of water should be place inside. Then the oven should be turned on until all of the water evaporates. A microwave oven that has a browning element cannot be kashered for Pesach.
- GLASSWARE: Authorities disagree as to the method for kashering drinking utensils. One opinion requires soaking in water for three days, changing the water every 24 hours. The other opinion requires only a thorough scrubbing before Pesach, or putting them through a dishwasher.
- DISHWASHER: After not using the machine for a period of 24 hours, a full cycle with detergent should be run.
- ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES: If the parts that come into contact with ḥametz are removable, they can be kashered in the appropriate way (if metal, follow the rules for metal utensils). If the parts are not removable, the appliance cannot be kashered. All exposed parts should be thoroughly cleaned anyway.
- TABLES, CLOSETS AND COUNTERS: If used with ḥametz, they should be thoroughly cleaned and covered, and then they may be used.
- KITCHEN SINK: A metal sink can be kashered by thoroughly cleaning and then pouring boiling water over it. A porcelain sink should be cleaned and a sink rack used. If however, dishes are to be soaked in a porcelain sink, or the sink does not drain immediately or backs up, a dish basin must be used.
- ḤAMETZ AND NON-PASSOVER UTENSILS: Non-Passover dishes, pots and ḥametz whose ownership has been transferred, should be separated, locked up or covered, and marked in order to prevent accidental use.