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Parshat Chayei Sara, 25 Cheshvan 5780 - November 23, 2019

11/22/2019 11:24:28 AM


Shabbat Candle Lighting before: 3:59 PM

Please check the ERUV hotline at (781) 446-9797

Community Mikvah open for Leil Shabbat Women’s Tevillah 

Yoetzet Halakhah Sarah Cheses (339) 364-2848 or via email at


RABBI’S MESSAGE: Sefer Bereishit tells the stories of families. Interestingly, there is a great variety to the structures of family groupings in the sacred narratives of our Avot and Imahot: adoption (think Avraham and Lot); children from different spouses (think Yishmael and Yitzchak); endogenous marriage (think Yitzchak and Rivka); love-matches (think Yaakov and Rachel); shot-gun marriages (think Yaakov and Leah); marriages of convenience (think Avraham and Hagar; Yaakov and Bilha and Zilpa); exogenous marriage (think Yosef and Potiphar’s daughter). Marriage, fundamentally, my mother would say, is a business proposition with a partnered division of labor. Of course, one hopes and works hard for a personal “happiness quotient,” as well. 

Perhaps the variety of family structures in Sefer Bereitshit comes to teach us that we too need to be aware that there are a diversity of family structures in our own community. The Torah wants us to be maximally sensitive to the warm inclusion of all seeking community, connection, and belonging who enter a Beit Knesset -- literally, House of In-gathering. Our teacher and friend Toby Zaitchik, a psychotherapist with a sub-specialty in adoption counseling, shared with me that November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and the Adoption & Jewish Identity Project (AJIP) has developed "12 Things Jewish Adoptees and Their Families Wish Their Communities Knew." Per AJIP: “Drawing on over a decade of research, this new resource distills essential lessons about the Jewish adoptive experience in order to enhance our entire community’s understanding of common challenges faced by Jewish adoptees and their families. An accompanying “12 Things User Guide” offers suggestions on how adoptees, members of adoptive families, Jewish communal professionals, and others can use “12 Things” in a variety of settings.” The goal, per AJIP’s mission statement, “is to help create healthy personal, family, and communal identities and advocate for an inclusive Jewish community that is fully welcoming to adoptees.”

The larger arc of the Torah’s narrative teaches that the families of Sefer Bereishit in all their functional and dysfunctional glory turn into the twelve tribes, who join to form the people of Israel. A people needs to be “One” because of its variety, not in spite of it! A people is also a business proposition, with a partnered division of labor, also aspiring to a “happiness quotient.” An inclusive, sensitive community becomes a holy and whole community. May our Jewish community learn the positive lessons of Sefer Bereishit and be a kehillah kedoshah!

Shabbat shalom, Rav Benjie


On a personal note, thank you to our compassionate kehillah for all your messages, thoughts, and prayers of concern and support for my father. Last erev Shabbat, Parshat Vayera - the parashah of bikkur cholim - we thought we were going to lose our father from this world. With Hashem’s help, and excellent medical care, my father is now recovering from his infection. It was a blessing to be with my devoted sister at our father’s bedside last Friday and Shabbat, and I have no doubt that our presence also positively contributed to his medical rebound. 

ADMINISTRATOR’S MESSAGE: The office will be closed Wednesday Nov 27, Thanksgiving Day Nov 28 and Friday Nov 29. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.


LATE MAARIV meets at 9 PM. We need people to sign up for at least one night per week Monday through Thursday. Late Maariv takes less than 10 minutes and is critical that we have a minyan promptly for those saying Kaddish, observing Yahrtzeits and most importantly, to daven with a minyan. Sign up at






Late Maariv





6:40 AM

4:00 PM


CL before 3:59 PM




8:00 AM

9:00 AM

3:50 PM


12:30 PM Young Families Shabbat Lunch

             Havdalah after 5:00 PM




8:00 AM

4:00 PM


8:30 AM Teen Minyan

8:50 AM Shiur n'Shmear  




6:30 AM

4:00 PM

9:00 PM

5:15 PM RBS Teen Learning

7 PM Meah Year 2 




6:40 AM

4:00 PM

9:00 PM

7:15 AM Mishna Study with J. David Jacobs

  7 PM Tai Chi with Danny Wyschogrod




6:40 AM

4:00 PM

9:00 PM





8:00 AM 

4:00 PM 

9:00 PM

Thanksgiving Day

Rosh Chodesh




6:15 AM

3:55 PM



CL before 3:56 PM

Rosh Chodesh




4:00 PM Minchah/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv 


8:00 AM Hashkama Minyan (Downstairs Beit Midrash) 

9:00 AM Main Sanctuary Minyan. Anim Zmirot: Sam Cohen. Dvar Torah: Prof. Jon Levisohn

10:30 AM Youth Programs:

Torah Tots group (1-5 year olds) meet in the small Youth Room downstairs.

K-2nd grade group meet in the Large Youth Room across from the Beit Midrash men’s entrance.


12:15 PM WTG in the Beit Midrash.  Daven - Julie Goschalk; Leyn - Ruth Langer and Stephanie Samuels; Gabbayit Rishona - Deborah Stanhill; Gabbayit - Shenia-Sarah Thumim; Alyenu and Yigdal - Assif Ankori.

Please help us begin promptly at 12:15. Thanks! and Shabbat Shalom

12:30 PM (approximately) Young Families Shabbat Luncheon in the Social Hall. 

3:50 PM Minchah: Youth leyner: Shai Robison-Mann. All youth who would like to participate should contact David Waxman to reserve a spot.  

4:00-5:00 PM Bnei Akiva Snif at Shaarei for Grades 2-6.

4:05 PM Seudah Shelishit

5:00 PM Maariv/Havdalah





Sunday Morning Teen Minyan at 8:30 AM in the Beit Midrash for davening and breakfast. All middle and high school girls and boys and their parents are invited to join us. For details please contact Hagay Ramati or David Berlove.

Shiur n'Shmear with (Rabbi Dr) Avi Rockoff at 8:50 AM – 10:00 AM in the Bayit. 

Sessions: Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22

Zemirot: Piyyutim for the Palate. The familiar Shabbat Zemirot are actually liturgical piyyutim. Their poetic artistry and deep erudition are hard to appreciate while quaffing schnapps and singing the words to niggunim, waltzes, marches, polkas, ditties, and drinking songs.
    In this class, we will study several Ashkenazic zemirot, as well as others from North Africa and Spain. The purpose will be to explore the Biblical, Talmudic, Midrashic, and Halakhic references in the zemirot, and the Shabbat-related themes these sources elaborate. Singing is not required.
    As an aside, we will also study a particular zemer once largely removed from Zemirot collections because of its association with Jewish social humiliation in 18th-century Poland in ways similar to blackface minstrelsy as experienced by African-Americans in 19th-century America, as well as "Jewface" vaudeville comedy 100 years ago.

Programs with Shlichot

Hebrew Story Time for Preschoolers 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM at Beth El

Adult Hebrew Club 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Beth El



Teen learning with Rabbi Samuels 5:15-6:15 PM in the Bayit.

Sessions: Nov. 25, Dec 2, 9, 16  Please spread the word!  

All families with high school students studying in non-Jewish-Day-School frameworks are warmly  encouraged to contact Rachel Greenblatt for more information at

Year 2 of Me’ah the fall semester, 7-9:30 PM at Shaarei in the Bayit

Dr. Alan Verskin will be teaching a Medieval course.  

Sessions: Nov. 25; Dec. 2, 9; Jan 6 , 13, 20




Mishna Study with J. David Jacobs , 7:15 - 8:00 AM. It is a great opportunity to first engage in text study, or come back to the Mishna as an old friend.  All levels are welcome. We are finishing Masechet Peah and will start Masechet Damei soon. 

Tai Chi 7:00 - 9:00 PM in the Social Hall with Danny Wyschogrod. Beginners welcome.




Programs with Shlichot

Challah Bake 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM at Shaarei




National JewishLives Bookclub: A Wrap-Up of our Discussion of  “Martin Buber, A Life of Faith and Dissent” by Paul Mendes-Flohr  8:00 PM - 9:30 PM in the Social Hall




Rabbi’s Wednesday Night Class 7:30 - 8:45 PM

Sessions: Dec. 4, 11, 18, Jan 8, 15

Standing on One Foot: Essential Jewish Values and Core Ideas

In adult Jewish education, we often offer advanced classes for beginners to accommodate sophisticated expectations and a learned audience who have limited past exposure to Jewish text learning. This class offers the inverse, a beginner’s class for advanced students. Put another way, this is a course designed for people who have had life-long exposure to Jewish text study and ideas, but could benefit from a sophisticated study of foundational Jewish values and core ideas. We will ask: what does it mean to be Jewish? Jewish life hopscotches across four different domains of relationship: between us and God (ultimacy); between people (interpersonal ethics); between us and our world (peoplehood and stewardship); and between each person and his/herself (personal responsibility). So whether you are an advanced student, or a beginner, come join in a study of fundamental values, principles and core ideas. Your Jewish perspective will be reframed and refreshed!

Co-sponsored by Shaarei and Ma’ayan. This class is free to Shaarei members, please register at to get access to online resources.




Save the Date! Scholar in Residence: Rahel Berkovits, a senior faculty member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she has taught Mishnah, Talmud and Halakha for over twenty years. Friday Night Oneg 7:30 pm Can Contemporary Halakha Meet the Needs of the Religious Gay Community? Modern Israeli Rabbinic Responses; Shabbat Morning D’rasha: The Hidden Meaning of Hanukkah in Masechet Shabbat; Motzei Shabbat: An Open Discussion of Orthodoxy and Feminism.
Location of evening events TBD.



7th Annual Rofeh International Toy Drive is Underway: Shaarei Tefillah is proud to announce that it will be once again a partner with ROFEH International to put smiles on sick children as part of it's 7th Annual Chanukah / Holiday Toy Drive.

Boston Children's Hospital, The Jimmy Fund DFCI, Tufts Floating Hospital for Children and MGH Hospital for Children will benefit from the over 1,000 toys collected by hundreds of kind and generous individuals and over 25 Jewish organizations / partners, from all walks of life.

There are 3 ways to participate:

1] You can drop off UNWRAPPED NEW toys in the big box located in our vestibule.

2] Write a check made out to ROFEH/Mike Hirsh, with toy drive in the memo line.

3] Order from the wish list on Amazon


The toys will be picked up from Shaarei at the end of December. To become a ROFEH partner or for more information contact Mike Hirsh at

Shaarei Tefillah’s Family Table program continues to partner with JF&CS in providing critically needed food. We have been assigned to provide 40 boxes of Whole Grain Pasta and 40 boxes of Whole Grain Cereal each month. Drop off anytime at the Family Table bin in the entrance lobby of the shul. 

Please consider volunteering in the rewarding experience of packing and distributing groceries for those in need. The scheduled upcoming Sundays are: Dec 15; Jan 26, 2020, Feb 23, Mar 15, Apr 5, May 10, June 7, July 12.

Contact Cheryl Levin at for more information or Lisa Katz at for more information and to schedule. 

New England Yoetzet Halacha Initiative (NEYHI) of Ma'ayan Yoetzet Halacha Sarah Cheses is available for consultation on questions regarding Taharat HaMishpacha (Jewish law relating to married life) and its intersection with women's health. She can be reached via phone or text at (339) 364-2848 or via email at The best hours to contact Sarah are 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and 8PM to 10PM. For more information and to stay connected, please visit and sign up for the mailing list.



Tikvah Fund Maimonides Scholars Program is a two-week summer institute (Session 1: June 28-July 9; Session 2: July 26-August 6) in Jewish thought and philosophy at Yale University for high school juniors and seniors. We read, discuss, and debate the greatest texts in the Jewish and Western canon including the Torah, Talmud, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Maimonides, and Spinoza. We have hundreds of Jewish teens participate each summer, and our website can be found here. For more information, contact Rachel Kaissar <>. 

Fri, August 14 2020 24 Av 5780