Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:
We are in the Hebrew month of Heshvan, usually a time when everything returns to “normal”. High Holidays are over and we have even finished most of the leftovers out of the freezer; we haven’t started quite yet on Chanukkah plans and for a whole Hebrew month there are no holidays. There is just routine and attempting to keep the commitments we made at the High Holidays.
This year feels different. I’m still trying to figure out what normal and routine look like and I know I’m not alone. As we prepare for winter during a continuing pandemic, it may be that we are prepared for normal and routine to actually be fluid and changing. Such it is at synagogue as well. Since March, we have been relatively reactionary, as our world has changed, so too have our services. As safer-at-home orders went into place, we moved out of our building and onto Zoom and then over the summer we added in-person hybrid option to our Shabbat Morning services. Religious School is on Zoom and this fall we celebrated Sukkot and Simchat Torah together, outside in a masked and distanced community celebration.
As we move forward to winter, we are proactively planning. Over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur one of the highlights of services for me, and I know for many of you, was how many of our congregants were able to participate. We announced honors and heard Haftarah chanted more than we had since Purim, when we were last in our synagogue for a holiday. After the meaningful success of this participation, it was important to everyone, including the board and worship committee, to continue participation in our services in this way. And so we set out to find safe and meaningful opportunities. To that end, we have a few updates .
When we moved to online services, I determined based on the opinions of the Conservative Movement and my study of the sources, that we would not count a minyan online. While we continue to say Mourner’s Kaddish, we have not had Torah reading or other parts of our service that require a minyan. The texts we have emphasize physical togetherness as important in creating a minyan. I wanted to recognize and hold the unusual manner of our prayer in time of crisis that felt together, but not quite, so we prayed communally, but without counting a minyan.
As time has gone on, I believe more and more that this no longer serves our community and so I went back to the sources. Thank goodness we have thousands of texts to look at and when we put the puzzle pieces together we can draw a different picture. One set of texts talks about the majority of a minyan or six people serving as the basis of the congregation and four others joining in to create a minyan. There are a variety of circumstances that apply this principle of majority but they all follow the same conclusion. That with six people the threshold is met and four others may join to create a minyan. What does that mean for our community? We will count a minyan if there are six people in the room and four people on Zoom.
This is important because everyone’s participation is important to make our minyan. We can’t do it just with people in-person and we can’t do it just with people on Zoom. Our physical space is an important element of our communal prayer, but it is not the only thing that connects us. We all have a stake in and a way to count in the minyan. It is my sincere hope that by making explicit how we are counting a minyan, we enable everyone to choose their own best way of joining our services, so we may once again regularly read Torah, call each other to prayer with the barchu and pray as a minyan.
You may notice that I didn’t mention Haftarah in the paragraph above. We are adding Haftarah back even if we don’t have a minyan. One of the highlights of our congregation is the talented and welcoming cadre of Haftarah readers. Our congregants spend their precious time engaged in learning the Haftarah and sharing that with all of us at services. I miss these voices and I know you do as well. I miss the participation and the learning and I am always inspired by those who step up and take on this mitzvah. We will be reading Haftarah when there is a minyan (as well as having the full Torah service) and whenever someone has prepared that week’s reading even if we don’t have a minyan. Haftarah readers will be joining us in-person or via Zoom and it has never been easier to commit to a Haftarah. In the age of our hybrid services, there are also significant opportunities for shortened Haftarot. If you are looking for one to take on for the first time, now is the time to raise your hand. We appreciate your understanding as our haftarah readers continue to organize ourselves and begin preparing for the weeks to come.
Congregation Agudat Achim has always been about our congregant’s participation in making our services special, by attending, or leading, or chanting Haftarah or reading in English, or kibbutzing in the back; the people are what makes it a celebration of Shabbat. Some of what we have been missing over these last months in connecting and sharing with one another. For this, I have one final invitation. I always welcome learning Torah (about the parsha or not) from each of you. You all have stories and wisdom to share, and Saturday morning is a wonderful time to share it. Maybe your Torah is about the Torah portion of the week, maybe it’s about volunteer work you do. Maybe your Torah is about a part of our services, a Jewish ritual, or an article you read last week. What is your wisdom and will you share it with us? I’d like to extend the invitation to each of you to take a D’var Torah slot, on Friday night or Saturday morning and share your Torah, your teaching with the congregation.
However and whenever you join us, on Friday night (6:00pm during Eastern Standard Time on Zoom), Saturday Morning (9:30am in-person, or Zoom), or Thursday Morning (8:30am on Zoom), we are better for everyone’s participation. Our congregation and our services are most complete when we all engage, as leaders and participants, speakers and observers, singers and clappers.
I may not know exactly what normal is, our routine may be more fluid than fixed, but I know and I trust in the strength and commitment of our congregation. I hope these opportunities create a stronger service and I am excited to emphasize the many talented contributions of our congregants, because it is with all of us together, that we are our best.
Looking forward to services.
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times
Friday, Nov 6 – 4:12pm
Friday, Nov 13 – 4:05pm
Friday, Nov 20 – 3:59pm
Friday, Nov 27 – 3:55pm
**Services online or over phone**
Thursday Morning Minyan 8:30am
Friday Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday Shabbat Service 9:30am
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.
The office will be closed:
–Wednesday, Nov 11 for Veterans’ Day
–and the week of November 23 – 27
Monday, November 9 7:30pm
Tuesday, Nov 3 is the Election.
Check with your town clerk for your town’s voting locations and hours.
You may also find voting information here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/
Voting by mail? You can check to see if your ballot has been received here:
MA has two ballot questions on the ballot this year! You may view your sample ballot here: https://ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup
Veteran’s Day Service
Friday, November 13, 6:00pm over Zoom
NOVEMBER’S MITZVAH HEROES
Beth and Marc Eichenholtz
From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:
We see Beth and Marc helping with all the CAA events—they have jumped right in to our community and we are so grateful to have them! Thank you both; your efforts do not go unnoticed.
Please join us for Torathon 2020!!
(This will be a remote event)
Saturday, November 14th, 6:30pm
Come see our amazing course descriptions and teachers!
Come learn, share, grow, be inspired
*Registration is now open on our website*
After you register, you will receive the link to Torathon, and all instructions necessary to help you participate in our fabulous remote event.
Please visit us, to view courses and register at https://jewishcentralmass.org/torathon
Attendance is FREE, donations gratefully accepted
All are welcome, see you there!
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 wish everyone good health:
Here are some of the best ways to keep our community safe from coronavirus:
- Please stay home when you can
- Please wear a mask which covers your nose and mouth whenever you are in public spaces to protect yourself and others
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others when outside or at grocery store, etc
- Wash your hands often, for 30 seconds, with soap
- If you visit with friends and family, visiting outside is safer than inside
- Stay calm, stay in touch, stay safe!
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.
Jewish Journeys class meets Thursday evenings from 6-8:30pm
Class communication via email if you signed up with the office
Veterans’ Day is Wednesday, November 11
Please join us for a special Kabbalat Shabbat service recognizing our Veterans on
Friday, November 13 at 6:00pm
Service will be held over Zoom
CAA Zoom Events:
Thursdays: morning minyan, 8:30am
Friday evenings: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday mornings: Shavuot Service, 9:30am
Welcome to our Congregant’s 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your feedback. –Roberta Gordenstein
Rachel Carter grew up in Haverhill but has been in the Leominster area for at least 25 years. She and her husband Keith, a systems analyst, came because it was affordable and convenient for their jobs. It was important for her to be near the synagogue because she knew it would be the focal point of her life, especially after she had children. As a child, she heard stories from her father about how he would walk 3 miles to the Orthodox shul and then stop at her grandfather’s furniture store for lunch. Her grandparents were some of the original founders of the synagogue in Haverhill, so Judaism always played a large role in Rachel’s life. At Agudat Achim she found an automatic group of friends. She remembers how Marilyn Gould came right up to her, introduced herself, and made her feel welcome. Rachel sees Agudat Achim as a small, caring community where everyone looks out for each other.
As a teen, she drifted away from religion, but while she was at the University of New Hampshire, she cofounded a chapter of Hillel. When her oldest child was preparing for his bar mitzvah, she became motivated to attend services more often. Rabbi Kaya inspired her to explore her spiritual leanings and question the deeper meaning of being Jewish in order to learn more. In fact, the rabbi inspired Rachel’s son Harrison to follow a career as a rabbi!
Rachel has been “all in” at CAA—she is currently Vice-President, but she also served at least fifteen years on the Education Committee, was in charge of the Rummage Sales, was head of the Sisterhood, and served on the Rabbi Search Committee for three searches. One of her present goals is to bring back the Sisterhood.
Besides her volunteer work for the synagogue, Rachel is an Assistant Librarian at the library in Lancaster where she now lives. She started as a volunteer there and eventually was offered a salaried position. She reads every day, a habit she has passed on to her four sons. Lorne is 22, a senior at Colby, Harrison is a junior at Brandeis, Robert is a freshman at Arcadia, and Nathaniel, who just had his ZOOM Bar Mitzvah, is in 7th grade. With all this going on in her life, Rachel still manages to do some cooking and experimenting in the kitchen!
Yahrzeits for November 2020
Nov 1-7: Samuel Aronoff, Harry Katz, Ethel Miller, Goldie Rosenbloom, Sadie Smith, Lillian Wein, Benjamin Bass, Dorothy Casper, Rose Glick, Lorraine Nodelman, Helene Portnoy, Marjorie Smith Rand, Simon Tonkin, Helen Herman, Clara Klein, Doris Schwartz, Henry Wolfson, Richard Davis, Louis Flaum, Ethel Katcher, Gloria Krumholz, Simon Friedman, Brian Shifrin
Nov 8-14: Joseph C. Foster, Phil Ross, Joe Joseph, Harriet Sirota, David Zerinsky, Vilge Angelini, Ellen Black, Jacob Bloom, Morris Coplon, Louis Hard, Sarah Sarkin, Bertram Gaynor, Arthur Goldstein, Sana Gould, Maurice Messerman, Harry Nathanson, Sally Ross
Nov 15-21: Netty Weedon, Sandi Braune, Zygmunt Gabel, Minnie Lazarowitz, Abe Levin, Julia Newmark, Arthur Rafer, Abraham Levine, Robert Schwartz, Jack Zonderman, Samuel Claman, Julius Miller, F. Robert Drury, Frances Goldfarb, Jerry Boro, Marvin Charney, Mordecai Cohen, Irene Levine, Anne Grossman, Bettie Robinson
Nov 22-30: Charlotte Feingold, Shirley Bloom, Freda Sandrof, Seymour Smith, Abram Weinstein, Eli Ebb, Rose Lipkind, Sarah Novick, Phyllis Rosancrans, Annie Horwitch, Morris Levine, James Poppel, Dora Jaffe, David Mankoff, Samuel Sandrof, Pinachas Tieger, Sadie Borowsky, Jean Freed, Meyer Green, Bertha Kerzner, Moses Kander, Simon Cohen, Abraham Rothstein, Michael Simmons, Milton Bernstein, Pearl Cohen, Samuel Goldfarb, Pearl Graham, Lee Rome, Ruth Shaevel
CALENDAR FOR NOVEMBER 2020
**events are still remote via Zoom**
Sunday, Nov 1: Daylight Savings ends –turn your clocks back!
Thursday, Nov 5: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
>>Friday, Nov 6: Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm *new time!
Saturday, Nov 7: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am in-person with pre-registration
Monday, Nov 9: Board Meeting via Zoom 7:30pm
Thursday, Nov 12: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
>>Friday, Nov 13: Veteran’s Service and Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
Saturday, Nov 14: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am in-person with pre-registration
Thursday, Nov 19: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
Friday, Nov 20: Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
Saturday, Nov 21: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am in-person with pre-registration
>>Monday, Nov 23: Office Closed this week
>>Tuesday, Nov 24: No Religious School
Thursday, Nov 26: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
Friday, Nov 27: Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:30pm
Saturday, Nov 28: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am in-person with pre-registration
>>Sunday, Nov 29: No Religious School
**As of right now, services will remain available via phone and online. We will let you know when more services become available in person. Thank you for your patience and adaptability!