Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:

One of the most incredible moments of my life happened in the year 2000.  I was a participant of March of the Living, a two-week trip taking thousands of high schoolers from around the world, together with faculty, advisors and survivors of the Holocaust, to Poland for a march of the living on Yom HaShoah from Auschwitz to Birkenau.  It was a transformative experience, but the moment I’m thinking about today was a week later.  I was in Israel with the delegation from the NY metro-area and it was Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, or more technically, the moment between Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut.  If you’ve never heard about this, experienced it, or seen videos of it, the best analogy is flipping a switch.  A country in darkness suddenly emerges in light.  A country in mourning, suddenly celebrates.  Literal darkness is extinguished by bonfires and sparklers, mourning cries and somber lists of names are replaced by joyous shouts and blasting music.  From moments of silence to community parties.

I’ve been thinking about this moment as this week is Yom Hazikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, but also every time I hear or read a report about “opening our country is not like flipping a light switch.”  That is true I have no idea what our days and weeks moving forward look like.   We’re continuing our Zoom programing, phone calls and check ins and other not-in-person activities, and are looking ahead to Lag B’Omer and Shavuot with the same physical distancing.  I don’t know what it will look like when we hopefully can ease back into in-person gathering.  What I do know is that it will be neither instantaneous or universal. 

Part of the magic of the transition between Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut is how fully Israelis immerse themselves into these two observances, commemoration and celebration, looking back and looking ahead, sadness and joy.  Israel as a country and her citizenship are extremely aware of the cost of creating and maintaining the State of Israel and the Zionist hope.  With national service, most Israelis have served their country and almost everyone has a story that connects them with the sacrifices and loss that are a part of the fabric of life in Israel.  Everyone mourns because everyone is in mourning.  The country literally stops–yes, only for a day but everyone stops, everyone is together in their experience.  It is all encompassing and complete.  National broadcast, television, and radio are all turned towards this moment together. 

Then the country shifts, takes a deep breath in and lets go of the tension, and parties.  The complete jubilation is as immersive and widespread as the mourning of the previous day.  The streets are full with all ages from all walks of life.  Everyone celebrating their lives and their country together.   Seas of blue and white in the street.  Pride and happiness, flow through the country.

I understand the slight exaggeration of my description, Israel like everywhere else has a diverse population where certainly not everyone agrees, and there are segments of the population that experience these two days differently.  But never in another other country, in any other moment have I had the sense of such universal experience, universal feeling, universal expression.

I am very aware, that though we are all living in the same world right now, each of us, is in the midst of markedly different realities in our lives right now.  There are certainly shared experiences and we can come together in empathy, sympathy and understanding.  We can nod our head over a Zoom call and say us to on the phone.  But despite this, we are not really all in the same boat, we are not having a singular experience.

And so, I leave us with this question: What would it look like if we immersed ourselves so fully as a collective into something where the before and after were as stark as light and darkness?

–Rabbi Eichenholtz





Shabbat Candle Lighting Times   

Friday, May   1  –  7:26pm

Friday, May   8  –  7:34pm

Friday, May 15  –  7:41pm

                       Friday, May 22  –  7:48pm

                       Friday, May 29  –  7:54pm


Service Times:


**Services are online or over phone only**

Thursday Morning Minyan 8:30am

Friday Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30pm

Saturday Shabbat Service 9:30am




(Zoom) Board meeting: Mon May 11, 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.978-534-6121     office@agudat-achim.org


If you  would like to join our Zoom or call-in services, please contact the office 978-534-6121  or office@agudat-achim.org 



Our Marvelous Teaching staff and Education Commitee

From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:  This month we want to recognize Morah Devorah and all of our teachers for their herculean effort with the Education Committe to restructure our Religious School into an online format. Thank you for your adaptability and hard work! It means so much to the students and families to see you and each other every week.


Thank you all for your hard work!



Send the office your submissions for the Ma’asim Tovim jar!

(If you did something good for yourself or someone else, feel free to nominate yourself! Your good deeds count too)

You can call the office outside of business hours and leave an anonymous voicemail, submit anonymously through the “contact” link on our website, or just let SJ know!



We are currently planning for our building to be closed until at least mid-May.

We will keep you in the loop as this changes—check your email or our website regularly!

Details for upcoming events to follow. Thank you for your patience and understanding!


PARENTS: Keep an eye out for updates to our School schedule to the rest of the year.

Details to come via email.


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!


Look to your inbox, mailbox, or our website and Facebook for upcoming programs—we will give details as soon as we know! Thank you!


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.


We miss you! What are you up to during quarantine?

Share your news!

(SJ says: Yesterday I vacuumed and now every time I see my nice clean rug I am so happy.)

What are you doing to stay sane? 🙂 



Bored? Lonely? Looking for some culture?

Check out #JLive, a FREE virtual cultural series from the Jewish Arts Collaborative.

You can register here

Starts May 5, and includes Art, Music, and Cooking via Zoom.


Shavuot is coming up at the end of May!

Details to follow in future communications, but right now we would like to remind you that

Shavuot is Friday May 29 and Saturday May 30.

If you are doing fewer regular grocery runs right now, don’t forget to put cream cheese on your list before the holiday!



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


Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts invites you to contact them if you need help, or if you can volunteer your help. Use the below links, call the Federation 508-756-1543 and leave a message, or contact SJ in the office!

If you need help from Federation

To offer help through Federation



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 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!


We would also like to remind you that Congregation Agudat Achim has an online subscription to the Jewish Advocate.

If you would like to read the Advocate online, please call SJ for details 978-534-6121


Congregant’s Corner

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


Carol Sarafconn has served our community as a Hebrew school teacher, chair of the education and chesed committees, rabbi search committee, vice-president and president of the shul. This is all the more commendable because Carol is a Jew by choice.


She grew up as a Protestant but when she and her future husband Bob were planning to marry, they made an informal deal—if he would stop smoking, she would consider conversion! They were originally married by a Justice of the Peace, but when they came to Agudat Achim, she studied with Rabbi Weiss and was married in a religious ceremony.


Carol started working as an elementary school teacher but was laid off when proposition 2 ½ passed. She decided to start training as an occupational therapist. By the time her second child was in school, she was fully certified. She loved her work with the VNA, serving home-bound patients after their release from the hospital.


Besides everything she does for the synagogue, Carol has other interests. She is an accomplished quilter and volunteers for the Audio Journal, an organization which provides reading services for the blind. Every week she reads the Sunday Telegram and Gazette news. Once a month, she is the host for Speaking Volumes, a book club for the blind that was featured in Oprah Magazine’s article about six book clubs that changed lives.


Carol was very attracted to the rituals of Judaism and has found her spiritual home at CAA. She is a multi-talented person and an inspiration to all of us. We are fortunate to have her as a member of our congregation!



Congregation Agudat Achim’s
Golden Book:

This May we highlight

page 103 of our Golden Book,

from May 21, 1978:

“Ruth Gotthelf and Dave & Ruth Schwartz:

Thank you for the many onegs and breakfasts you have prepared for the enjoyment of the members of this congregation.”



Our sympathies and condolences are extended to:

The family of Shirley Bolinsky who passed away March 2020


The family of Carol & Paul Friedman, who passed away April 2020



Yahrzeits for May 2020


May 1-9:  Harold Aronoff, Gabriel Bockstein, Herbert Brenner, Sadie Burwick, Mary Cohn, Leo Dunn, Martin Fisher, Sidney Goldman, Fred Gordon, Goldie Grant, Ida Greenfeld, Max Gruber, Harry Levine, Anne Lipton, Elizabeth Loitman, Leslie Lowey, Louis Novick, Lewis M. Perlstein, Minnie Rome, Louis Rudnick, Allan Sarafconn, Lillian Schanberg, Manning Emanuel Selvers, Hyman Sharpe, Joseph Sisitsky, Tillie Ungar, Harry Weinbaum, David Weisner, Harold Willner, Israel Zerinsky



May 10-16:  Ruth Alpert, David Charney, Jacob Chatkis, Nina Cohen, Meyer Feingold, Gabrielle Feldman, Marie Flaherty, Frieda Jacobs, Celia Jones, Morris Katz, Philip Katz, Saul Krevoruck, Jacob Margolin, Jennie Possick, Abraham I. Rome, Fannie Fay Rubin, Philip Salny, Sara Schwartz, Arnold Sharpe, Ruth Lillian Simmons, Leon Sojcher, William Stone, Esther Orlov Student, Harry Tall, Maurice Tonkin,  Ida Wein, Steven Williams


May 17-23: Pauline Bloom, Ruth Boverick, Arthur Brodkin, Rebecca Candelmo, Hyman Cohen, John Coleman, Cyril Farb, Alberta Feldman, Joseph Finkelstein, Anna Gelfand, Beatrice Glickman, Harry Horwitch, Regina Jerus, Alexander Jones, Herbert Kahn, Thomas Eliot Kline, Helen Kline, Dora Kopelman, Harry Leo Lipkind, David Press, Philip Rubinstein, Annie Silverstein, Sarah Smith, Lena Weinstein, David Lawrence Zomlefer



      May 24-31: Abraham Ashkenas, William Cerier, Bernard Framowitz, Pepi Framowitz, Elaine Gardner, Samuel Gelfand, Irwin F. Levine, Sydney Levine, Minnie Paretsky, Milton Resnick, Abraham Scharmett, Ruth Schwartz, Joseph Silberberg, Samuel Slome, Hyman Weiskott, Randi Weizer





**unless otherwise stated, all events are still remote via Zoom**



Friday, May 1:  Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook


Saturday, May 2: Shabbat Hagadol—Worship materials on our website and facebook.  

Achrei Mot + Kedoshim


Thursday, May 7: Morning Minyan 8:30am


Friday, May 8:  Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook


Saturday, May 9: Shabbat Service—Worship materials on our website and facebook.  



Monday, May 11: Board Meeting 7:30pm


Thursday, May 14: Morning Minyan 8:30am


Friday, May 15:  Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook


Saturday, May 16: Shabbat Service—Worship materials on our website and facebook.            



Thursday, May 21: Morning Minyan 8:30am


Friday, May 22:  Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook


Saturday, May 23:  Shabbat Service—Worship materials on our website and facebook.   Bamidbar



>>Monday, May 25: Office Closed


Thursday, May 28: Morning Minyan 8:30am


>>Friday, May 29: Office Closed

                                   Kabbalat Shabbat—worship materials on our website & facebook

Saturday, May 30: Shabbat Service—Worship materials on our website and facebook.  



**Our schedules are still evolving as the situation changes! As of right now, services will remain via phone and online. We will keep you posted when we know more. Thank you for your patience and adaptability!


Sign up to receive announcements and information!