Rabbi Zehavi’s Message…
Looking out the window at our landscape in Central Mass., it might be hard to imagine that the chain of Jewish spring holidays has begun. The full moon of each of the next three months ushers in a new holiday: Tu Bishvat in the month of Shevat, Purim in the month of Adar, and Passover in the month of Nisan. Each holiday tells its own version of the miraculous transformation from winter to summer, from dormancy to life, from slavery to freedom.
Our entrée into spring begins appropriately with a celebration of natural rebirth, a celebration of trees. As strange as it might seem during our usually snowy and frigid January and February, in Israel this is the perfect time to rejoice in the lives of trees. At this moment, the light pink blossoms of the almond tree, the first to bloom, dot the landscape and herald Israel’s beautiful, long, and mild spring season. It is a natural opportunity to offer appreciation for the blessings we receive through trees, acknowledge our dependence on them, and dedicate ourselves to their care.
While Purim and Passover both highlight the roles of God, miracles, and history in how we imagine rebirth, Tu Bishvat emphasizes the present moment and human action. We are called to observe the natural world. We mark the subtle shifts from winter to summer in the changing hues of our wine at the Tu Bishvat seder. The coming year’s abundance is made present through the enjoyment of as many different fruits and nuts as possible. And we study and recall the deep responsibility placed on human beings for the care of trees and, by extension, the Earth, our home.
There is a special spiritual challenge to celebrating Tu Bishvat in a climate so different from that in which the holiday originated. We are asked to acknowledge, appreciate, and dedicate ourselves to blessings that cannot yet be directly experienced. The trees around us may already contain the branches, sap, and buds that will provide for so many of our needs this year, but the blossoms will not arrive for some time. In our climate, one of the imperatives of Tu Bishvat becomes even more dramatic – the call to long-term thinking.
Long-term thinking goes against the currents of mainstream culture, media, and technology, even today’s politics, but I believe that it is central to the sustained health of our bodies, our families and communities, our culture and religion, and our planet. There is a well-known Talmudic story about a grown man planting a carob tree, a tree that will not yield fruit for another 70 years. When asked why he would plant a tree if never to see its harvest, he explains that his grandparents planted these trees for him to enjoy; now he is planting for his grandchildren.
We have a special opportunity on Tu Bishvat to see the world through this man’s eyes, to imagine what the world will look like in 70 years without our care and stewardship as well as what is possible with our action and commitment.
How are our actions right now shaping our grandchildren’s lives? Are they increasing or diminishing the blessings that our grandchildren will be able to receive, whether from this planet, from their cultural inheritance, or from their spiritual upbringing?
Many admirably use Tu Bishvat as a call to less destructive behavior, such as recycling and restrained consumption habits. I understand Tu Bishvat to be asking even more of us – not “How can we destroy less?” but “How much can we grow?” How can we be the gardeners that God instructs us to be in Genesis 2? What can we plant this year that will nourish life a century from now? What structures will weave reverence, appreciation, and love into the fabric of our families and communities for generations to come?
May Tu Bishvat mark the beginning of a New Year of bold, generative action.
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times
Friday, Feb. 2 – 4:42pm
Friday, Feb. 9 – 4:51pm
Friday, Feb. 16 – 5:00pm
Friday, Feb. 23 – 5:34pm
Thursdays: 7:15 Morning Minyan
February Birthdays: Ilan Cohen, David Bell, Pearl Kaija, Alexi Fishbone and Samuel Mendelson
Do you have a Simcha, Birthday or Anniversary that you would like to celebrate with an Aliyah at Agudat Achim?
Please contact the synagogue office.
Save the Date
Passover Community Seder
Saturday, March 31
We have not been informed of this year’s cost yet.
The next Bulletin will have more information. Mark your calendars!
“Donations in Honor Of”
Thank you to:
Tal and Nessa Cohen and family in honor of Shayna Zibel’s Bat Mitzvah
Carolyn Corliss in honor of Shayna Zibel’s Bat Mitzvah
Phylis Mills for her donation to Agudat Achim
“Donations In Memory Of”
Thank you to:
o Barbara Abraham in memory of her grandfather, Louis Bernhardt
o Rabbi Alan Alpert in memory of his father, Herman Alpert
o David Braune in memory of his grandmother, Sarah Braune
o Johanna Dansky in memory of her mother-in-law, Etta Dansky
o Ruth Goldman in memory of her parents, Anne and Nathan Grossman
o Jonathan Heimberg in memory of his father, Felix Heimberg
o Jim Kahn in memory of his father, Lester Kahn
o Shelley Kahn in memory of her mother, Sophie Selvers
o Barry Levine in memory of his father, Morris Levine
o Marc Levine in memory of the following: Max Levine, Milton Bernstein, Wallace Weinbaum, Howard Rome, Felice Lubin, Hilda Epstein, Susan Winthrop, Isadore Solomon, Bert Cohen, Simon Tonkin, Doris Schwartz, Joseph C. Foster, Irene Levine
o Ryna Lipkind in memory of her mother, Clara Charney and her aunt, Fannie Charney Shuman
o Barbara and Alan Rome in memory of Allen’s mother, Sylvia G. Rome
o Peter Rome in memory of his mother, Sylvia G. Rome
o Peter Selig in memory of his mother, Freda Selig
o Stuart Sojcher in memory of his mother, Carol Frymerman
Purim begins on Wednesday evening, February 28th!
Please join us (preferably in costume) for a festive
reading of the megillah! We’ll begin at 6:00pm.
SUNDAY, MARCH 4TH @ 10:30AM
JOIN US FOR FUN & GAMES!
DON’T FORGET TO WEAR YOUR COSTUME!
Family Friday Night – 6:30pm – February 2
Join us for a song-filled and kid-friendly Kabbalat Shabbat service!
Ashira will lead us with guitar and piano. The service will take place in the sanctuary,
followed by a dairy potluck dinner in the social hall.
Tot Shabbat Service – 10:30am – February 10
Calling all 0-7 year-olds (and everyone else) for a playful Shabbat morning
program with songs, stories, snacks and “socializing”!
Musical Friday Night – 6:30pm – Next one is March 16
Come and experience a special Kabbalat Shabbat service, as Ashira leads us
in her beautiful melodies with harp and piano. The service will take place in the sanctuary,
followed by a dairy potluck dinner in the social hall.
Just a reminder…. We have committed the synagogue to collect food for the Interfaith Hospitality Network shelter for homeless families. The following is a list of items they always need and can be dropped off in the basket outside of the synagogue office. Bring this list with you when you go shopping and pick up an extra item for the shelter.
Bottles of juice: apple, orange, grape, cranberry
Cans of tuna (in water)
Cans of chicken
Bottles of all-purpose cleaner (NO bleach)
Twin sheet sets from Walmart.
They can also use gift cards to Market Basket.
CALENDAR FOR FEBRUARY 2018
Thursday, Feb.1: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, Feb. 2: Family Friday Night Service 6:30pm w/dairy potluck dinner
Saturday, Feb. 3: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Thursday, Feb. 8: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, Feb. 9: Kabbalat Service 6:30pm
Saturday, Feb. 10: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Tot Shabbat Service 10:30am
Monday, Feb. 12: Exec. Board 7:00pm; Board Meeting 7:30pm
Thursday, Feb. 15: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, Feb. 16: Kabbalat Service 6:30
Saturday, Feb. 17: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Sunday, Feb. 18: No religious school; No adult education
Monday, Feb. 19: Office closed for President’s Day
Tuesday, Feb. 20: No religious school
Thursday, Feb. 22: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, Feb. 23: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30pm
Saturday, Feb. 24: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Sunday, Feb. 25: No religious school; No adult education
Wednesday, Feb. 28: Evening Service with Megillah Reading 6:00pm
“Yahrzeits for February 2018”
Feb. 1 – 9: Joseph Long, Rabbi Joseph Shragowitz, Freida Cohen, Nathan Cohen, Louis Slarskey, Milton Zais, Samuel Feiger, Minnie Gerber, Charlotte Fichman, Jacob Jakubowitsch, Abraham Shane, Gabriel Caplan, Hyman Student, Sarah Wolfson, Barnet Katzman, Jacob Penan, Joseph Shack, Anna Bernstein, Dora Dell, Harry Gotthelf, Richard Shapiro
Feb. 10 – 16: Noel Feldman, Morris Jacobson, Nelly Kurianski, Morris Schwartz, Myer Cohen, Gussie Gruber, Anna Mankoff, Sarah Winthrop, Sarah Jakubowitsch, Annie Abraham, Sholom Braune, Isadore Shane, Fred Shuman, Joseph Kline, Harry Penan, Kathleen Coleman, Gussie Fisher, Judy Muray, Robert Brodkin, Jacqueline Foster, Sarah Levine
Feb. 17 – 23: Rose Bernhardt, Jacob Feigar, Audrey Lappert, Sadie Schretter, Harry Schwartz, Harry Silverman, Naomi Zonderman, Rhoda Levine, Larry Student, Beverly Slarskey, Robert Zerinsky, Earl Britton, Louis Dansky, Lillian Isaacson, Richard Zatkin, Herman Casper, Hyman Friedman, Mack Kander, Lena Lowis, June Shapiro, Ethel Skurneck, Anne Weissman, Dorothy Borowsky, Ruth Burwick, Jennie Foster, Slamothe Krevoruck, David Rosenzweig, Jacob Cohen, Elaine Farb, Minnie Feingold, Samuel Foster, Moris Kowalsky, Joseph Ligom
Feb. 24 – 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 Jacobs, Edward Selig, Mildred Wiadro, Rosa Berger, Gussie Fay, Pauline Gotthelf, Paul Schack
CELEBRATE A SIMCHA by purchasing a leaf – $300, or a stone – $1,500 on the Simcha Tree, or a page in the Golden Book for $150.
YAHRZEIT MEMORIAL PLAQUES will memorialize your loved ones forever. The cost of a plaque is $360. To order leaves or plaques, please contact the synagogue office.