Rabbi Eichenholtz’s Message:
 
I think Purim is the holiday that feels most similar to the world we are currently living in.  And no I’m not just talking about masks.  Everywhere I look I see our reflection in the story of the Megillah.  At the core of the story is the tale of the plot against the Jews of Shushan.  Esther, separated from her people, her community, gets the report that Mordechai is wearing sackcloth at the palace gates.  What ensues is Esther and Mordechai’s version of phone tag voicemails or a chain email.  Hathach taking on the role of Google, shuttles messages back and forth between Esther and Mordechai who are kept apart by the palace gates.  Society, the rules of the crown, so many things keep Esther closed into the palace grounds, but it is out of this isolation that Esther creates one of the most unifying acts.  Esther says: “Go, assemble all the Jews who live in Shushan, and fast in my behalf; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens will observe the same fast. Then I shall go to the king, though it is contrary to the law; and if I am to perish, I shall perish!” 
These words and the actions they inspire transcend space.  No distance or separation is too much to bind the Jews in communal action.  But it goes beyond that because this moment also transcends time.  Since the time of Esther up until today, Jews observe a communal fast the day before Purim, we join together with Jews through time and around the world no matter how distant we are to celebrate the solidarity that the Jews of Shushan had with Esther in their time of need and threat.  We know that even when there are those at greater risk, who are on the front-line of a crisis, we all as a community play a part in the story.  We all have a role, we all have a task, we can all lend support through our deeds and actions.  Isn’t that the moral of today’s world.
But unfortunately, this is not the only way that Purim is the most similar holiday to our world today.  Purim was also a time of great threat to the Jews.  Haman had an action plan and the plot to kill the Jews was approved at the highest level of government authority, the king.  In our time we have continued to see the rise of anti-semitism and its expression even from those in our government.  Much has been reported recently on a Georgia Representative and her claims of a laser from space, controlled by Jews, causing the California wildfires.  And many of us have reacted exactly as Purim taught us to.  Against the backdrop of real fear and concern, in the face of anguish and uncertainty, laugh.  Yes, we celebrate Purim because it is a story of survival, but we also have learned from it a lesson.  We laugh, we joke, because otherwise we’d cry.  The jokes about Jewish space lasers have been a plenty, but none of them make the threat any less concerning.
Yes and… Yes, we are distant and Purim teaches us there are ways to connect, to share in a moment, to be together even when we are separated by space, or even time.  Yes, there is anti-semitism all around us and it seems to be getting louder and more prevelant, and Purim teaches us to perservere, with hope and faith and pride and committment to Judaism and yes even with jokes and laughter. 
 
As Adar enters may our joy increase.
 
Happy Adar!
 
 
–Rabbi Eichenholtz
 
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Shabbat
Candle Lighting Times   
 
 
Friday, Feb  4 – 4:46pm        
Friday, Feb 12 – 4:55pm
Friday, Feb 19 – 5:04pm
Friday, Feb 26 – 5:13pm
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Service Times:
  • Thursday Morning Minyan: We will be holding morning minyan at 7:15am or 8:30am on alternating weeks (see below)
 
  • Friday Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
 
  • Saturday Shabbat Service 9:30am
 
**Services online or over phone**
 
Thursday Morning Minyan Schedule:
 
Feb 4: 7:15am
Feb 11: 8:30am
Feb 18: 7:15am
Feb 25: 8:30am
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In-Person Services Suspended:
In correlation with Governor Baker’s extended order from January 21st we are remaining closed for at least the next two weeks, Feb 6th and Feb 13th. The board will review all current orders and other factors at the meeting on Feb 8th and will make an announcement of any further extensions of closure or reopening after that meeting.
 
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The office will be closed:
Monday, Feb 15
 
No Religious School:
Sunday, Feb 14
Tuesday, Feb 16
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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.
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FEBRUARY’S MITZVAH HERO
Daniel Joseph
From the Ma’asim Tovim Jar:
This month our Ma’asim Tovim submission recognizes Daniel Joseph for his continued support of programs honoring Jewish War Veterans.
 
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Congregant’s Corner
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 gordensteinr@elms.edu. I appreciate your feedback.  –Roberta Gordenstein
 
As Michelle Drury approached a “big birthday”, she was considering how best to observe it. Inspired by Carol Sarafconn’s accomplishment in chanting the Haftorah, she decided that would be a perfect way to mark the occasion. After much study, she achieved this goal on her actual birthday, and it was memorable for her, her family and the congregation!
 
Michelle grew up in a Reform congregation in Detroit, Michigan. She had a Bat Mitzvah, but the Haftorah portion was in English. She was drawn to the study of religion and was strongly influenced by a course in high school in world religions and that interest has continued to the present.
 
When she got married to Don after college, they moved to Massachusetts for his job. She had been camping in New England as a child and always loved it. Before moving to Leominster, they lived in Acton and Lexington. They decided to join Agudat Achim because it was nearby and their friends in the neighborhood were members. They found the synagogue very comfortable since it was a community of people with various levels of Jewish experience and Don was not Jewish. He has always been very supportive of Michelle and is very proud of her accomplishments! Michelle feels that at Agudat Achim there is room for everyone and there is no judgment about observance.
 
Michelle majored in Religious Studies, Dance and English in college and has continued her interest in these areas. She has been dancing since she was 6 years old and has also studied yoga and taught it for many years, including classes for seniors. She loves to read, especially mysteries set in historical periods such as the Middle Ages and the Victorian period.
 
Michelle served as President of the Hadassah chapter at Agudat Achim and currently co-chairs the Chesed Committee with Carol Sarafconn. She also keeps busy with her family, husband Don, their two daughters and their husbands. She also loves spending time with her 3-year-old grandson who keeps her up-to-date on the latest dinosaur news.
 
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Our sympathies and condolences are extended to:
The family of Edith & Morris Sandrof, who passed away January 2021
 
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Yahrzeits for February 2021
 
Feb 1 – 6
Charlotte Fichman, Jacob Jakubowitsch, Abraham Shane, Gabriel Caplan, Hyman Aron Student, Sarah Wolfson, Barnet Katzman, Jacob Penan, Joseph Shack, Anna Bernstein, Dora Dell, Harry Gotthelf, Richard Shapiro
 
Feb 7 – 13
Noel Feldman, Morris Jacobson, Nelly Kurianski, Morris Schwartz, Myer Cohen, Gussie Gruber, Anna Mankoff, Sarah Winthrop, Sarah Jakubowitsch, Irving Medoff, Annie Abraham, Sholom Braune, Isadore Shane, Fred Shuman, Joseph Kline, Harry Penan, Kathleen Coleman, Gussie Fisher, Judy Murray, Robert Brodkin, Jacqueline Foster, Sarah Levine
 
Feb 14 – 20
Rose Bernhardt, Jacob Feigar, Audrey Lappert, Sadie Schretter, Harry Schwartz, Harry Silverman, Richard Zatkin – read on week prior, Naomi Zonderman, Rhoda Levine, Larry Student, Beverly Slarskey, Earl S. Britton, Louis Dansky, Lillian Isaacson, Herman Casper, Hyman Friedman, Mack Kander, Lena Lowis, June Shapiro, Ethel Skurneck, Anne Weissman, Dorothy Borowsky, Ruth Burwick, Jennie Foster, Slamothe Krevoruck, David Rosenzweig, Robert Zerinsky, Jacob Cohen, Elaine Farb, Minnie Feingold, Samuel Foster, Moris Kowalsky, Joseph Ligom
 
Feb 21 – 28
Rose Cohen, Anna Gordon, Nathaniel Greenberg, Julius Newmark, Sidney Zomlefer, Edmund Buzanoski, Elliot Kahn, Theodore Katcher, Pauline Goldman, John Kowal, Louis Weinstein, Ester Ebb, Eli Feingold, Etta Kalin Jacobs, Edward Selig, Mildred Wiadro, Sandra Alch, Rosa Berger, Gussie Fay, Pauline Gotthelf, Paul Schack, Golde Aranson, Reuben Aronofsky, Maurice Burwick, William Charney, Bernard Falk, Ellie Ferriter, Anna Horwitch, Hannah Levine, Cline Mendelsohn, Esther Perlstein, Barney Rosen, William Schear, Lucille Tharler Schwartz, Albert H. Williams, Lawrence Zatkin, Philip Epstein, Irving Gordenstein, Yetta Pearl Kowalsky, Rita Marcus, Donald Shaffer, Harvey Silverman, Florence Sobel, Arthur Zonderman
 
 
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CALENDAR FOR FEBRUARY 2021
 
Thursday, Feb 4: Morning Minyan via Zoom 7:15am (early time this week)
 
Friday, Feb 5: Zoom Parsha Study 10:00am
Zoom Cooking Class following Parsha Study
Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
 
Saturday, Feb 6: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am
  
>>Monday, Feb 8: Board meeting 7:30pm
 
Thursday, Feb 11: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
 
Friday, Feb 12: Zoom Parsha Study 10:00am
Zoom Cooking Class following Parsha Study
Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
 
Saturday, Feb 13: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am
 
>>Sunday, Feb 14: No Religious School
 
>>Monday, Feb 15: Office closed
 
>>Tuesday, Feb 16: No Religious School
 
Thursday, Feb 18: Morning Minyan via Zoom 7:15am
 
Friday, Feb 19: Zoom Parsha Study 10:00am
Zoom Cooking Class following Parsha Study
Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
                                                     
Saturday, Feb 20: Shabbat Services via Zoom 9:30am
 
Thursday, Feb 25: Morning Minyan via Zoom 8:30am
 
Friday, Feb 26: Zoom Parsha Study 10:00am
Zoom Cooking Class following Parsha Study
Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 6:00pm
 
 
**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!
 

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