Online Shabbat Service Honoring the Rubin’s / Welcoming Michael Peckman

Please join us online for the second of our two Shabbat morning services this coming Saturday, April 16th at 10am. Our regular siddur – the “green book” will be visible on screen, so you do not need to have one of your own at home.

After the service we’ll remain online for maybe 15 minutes so people can chat and converse. This “virtual Kiddush” continues to be a success. Feel free to have your own wine or grape juice and challah (or other bread) available as we do the blessings.

SPECIAL NOTES:
We will be honoring the Rubin’s for their many years of service to the congregation as this year they retired from the board.

We will be welcoming Michael Peckman “to the tribe” as he will have completed his conversion this week.

David and Phyllis will have a virtual Aliyah as will Mike and Gail.

ADDITIONAL INFO FOR SHABBAT SERVICES:
The virtual Shabbat Services continue again this week (Saturday, April 16) with the Children’s Shabbat Service at 9am (lasting about 30 minutes) and the Morning Shabbat Service at 10am (lasting about an hour). Please consider joining us as we all work together and try to add a bit of normalcy in an otherwise crazy time! At this point, you should have received an email with information on how to connect to our services or if you are on our private Facebook page you should have received an Invite to an Event for each service with a Zoom Link to the Service in the event.

While Zoom is best used with a laptop or computer, it can also be used with a smart phone for video or even a flip phone if you just want to call in to listen. Whatever your technological abilities we can find a way to help you connect to our services. If you haven’t received an invitation or are not on Facebook please send an email to Mike Peckman and I’d be glad to help you out (don’t forget to tell me who you are in the message in case you are not in my contacts).

Shalom,
Mike

*NOTE: If the links above don’t work for you then you don’t have access to our PRIVATE congregation Facebook page and would need that for access. If you have Facebook and are a member of the congregation then I can help get you access. Just text me!

Join Us for our VIRTUAL, ONLINE First Night of Passover Seder on Wed, April 8 @ 6pm

Our weekly online services using Zoom have been a tremendous success with 12 participants at today’s 9am Children’s Shabbat Service and over 26 participants (most with video) at today’s 10am Morning Shabbat Services. It even included Carol calling in from Florida, so don’t let any distance keep you from attending any of our virtual services! We’d love to see you or at least hear your voice as we pray together virtually! We are all in each other’s living rooms for services and will get through these trying times together as a community! Folks have asked and YES, we will be holding 9am and 10am Shabbat services via Zoom each week moving forward for as long as we need to. Check back here and on our private community Facebook page for continued links and to join us in the future.

So with that being said we are excited to announce that we will be holding a Virtual, Online First Night of Passover Community Seder on Wednesday, April 8 starting at 6pm (arrive at 5:45pm to iron out any technical issues). All of the seder details and what you need to celebrate with us should have been sent to you via email or is available on our private Facebook event page titled Virtual, Online First Night of Passover Community Seder. There is a handy Passover Seder checklist that you can use to prepare for the Seder or if you prefer, sit back, put your feet up and just bring your matzah, Manischewitz, Gefilte Fish and whatever you’d like to celebrate with. Rabbi Heath will lead the Seder and provide the virtual Haggadah for us to follow along with.

We look forward to having you join us for our virtual, online First Night of Passover Community Seder. The more the merrier. See you on Zoom next Wednesday!

“Chag Pesach Sameach!” (Happy Passover Holiday)
— Mike Peckman

*NOTE: If the links above don’t work for you then you don’t have access to our PRIVATE congregation Facebook page and would need that for access. If you have Facebook and are a member of the congregation then I can help get you access. Just email me here!

Online Children’s & Morning Shabbat Services with Rabbi Heath via Zoom

For the past two weeks we’ve been holding a virtual Children’s Shabbat Service and a separate virtual Morning Shabbat Service online with Rabbi Heath. Two weeks ago we experimented with Facebook Live and it was ok but a little tough for some. Last week we used Zoom for both the Children’s Shabbat Service and Morning Shabbat Service. It worked very well and all those in attendance were happy with the service and felt it was a great alternative to in person morning services in light of our current stay at home restrictions.

The virtual Shabbat Services continue again this week (Saturday, April 4) with the Children’s Shabbat Service at 9am (lasting about 30 minutes) and the Morning Shabbat Service at 10am (lasting about an hour). Please consider joining us as we all work together and try to add a bit of normalcy in an otherwise crazy time! At this point, you should have received an email with information on how to connect to our services or if you are on our private Facebook page you should have received an Invite to an Event for each service with a Zoom Link to the Service in the event.

While Zoom is best used with a laptop or computer, it can also be used with a smart phone for video or even a flip phone if you just want to call in to listen. Whatever your technological abilities we can find a way to help you connect to our services. If you haven’t received an invitation or are not on Facebook please send an email to Mike Peckman and I’d be glad to help you out (don’t forget to tell me who you are in the message in case you are not in my contacts).

Shabbat Shalom,
Mike

*NOTE: If the links above don’t work for you then you don’t have access to our PRIVATE congregation Facebook page and would need that for access. If you have Facebook and are a member of the congregation then I can help get you access. Just text me!

EVERYTHING CANCELLED THROUGH MARCH 31

Good morning everyone – it shouldn’t surprise you that we have chosen to cancel all services, school sessions, social events and programs through March 31st.

 The search committee will work to reschedule Shabbat morning services with our rabbinic candidates for April.

 Information about the Sisterhood event in Middleboro on March 25th is not yet available.  An email will be sent when more information is known.

 The office will remain open normal hours, 8:30 AM to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday.

 This traditional saying can encourage us – Hazak, Hazka, v’Nithazeik – may we go from strength to strength.

 Shalom, Board of Directions, Congregation Agudath Achim

Mazel Tov! We Will Miss You!! Rabbi Heath Retires in 2020

Rabbi/Cantor Anne Heath is retiring at the end of May 2020 from her beloved Agudath Achim, after seventeen years serving our community.  She will leave behind a small, vibrant, committed congregation of learners and  spiritual seekers.   Agudath Achim is especially committed to engaging each and every member, no matter the religious background.  The membership is deeply respectful of difference and welcomes everyone.

A search committe for a new spiritual leader – rabbi or cantor – is underway.

Click here for a detailed position description.

Qualified, interested candidates should contact Mija Almeida, search committee member and past chairperson of our board of directors, at mbalmeida @ aol.com

From Fall Into Winter

It’s been quite a fall, the start of religious school, the round of holy days – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah – and now we’ve passed Thanksgiving, the first snows have begun and Hanukkah is around the corner.

Now’s a good time to recheck the calendar for the year and catch up on not only our regular schedule but our special programs.

While special programs are often outlined at the beginning of the year, new ideas for our members bring new opportunities to socialize, learn, and “do good”.

Honoring the Victims at Tree of Life Synagogue

We gathered as a community on 11/3/18 a week after the carnage in Pittsburgh – Jews, Christians, Muslims – people of faith and people of no faith – to remind ourselves that across the millennia, in different places and cultures “do unto others” arose as a central ethic of communal responsibility and remains to this day the path that brings shalom – peace and wholeness.

A local newspaper report of our gathering may be viewed here.

One of our guests wrote a poem that he wrote for the occasion and recited to those gathered.  It invites reflection and resolve. We thank Harvey Trieff for his words.

Being a Jew by Harvey Trieff

In cattle cars we went to the camps,

On our arms we all had stamps.

Our names were changed to a purple tattoo,

Mine ended in “1”,

Yours ended in “2”.

Could this feeling of horror

Once more be repeated?

Have my tears of sorrow

Not yet been depleted?

Into a Pittsburgh synagogue,

On the eve of a peaceful Shabbat.

Walked a crazy deranged demagogue,

And 11 innocent Jews were shot.

They came to pray in that sacred place,

And spoke to God from a pew.

Now they speak to God face to face,

Guilty of nothing but being a Jew.

Is it too late to end this hate?

Is there nothing that we can do?

We need to reflect,

to practice respect.

That’s the meaning of being a Jew.

 

Harvey Trieff resides in Fall River with his wife Judy. They have 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. Harvey is a member of Temple Beth El in Fall River and served as a member of its Board of Directors. 

He is currently the owner and operator of “At Your Service”, a Limousine and Courier company. He is active in Rotary International, having served as past President and currently serving as Secretary of the Rotary Club of Fall River.

Previously Harvey was a co-owner of Center Garment Company. An apparel manufacturing factory 

He enjoys spending time with family, playing golf and writing poetry.

 

 

Jewish Music Roundup – Today’s Find – 9/21/2018

Here, embedded into the post rather than linked to, a wonderful young woman, still a teen, who won Beit Sefer L’Musika a few years ago (young people’s school of music singing competition in Israel).  It’s interesting to see how songs with religious themes permeate Israeli culture – much of it secular – in a different way than such music does in other parts of the world.

Jewish Music Roundup – Today’s Find – 9/20/2018

Good afternoon – enjoy Nigun Atik (an ancient melody) played on the dulcimer (click here).  There are many videos of the traditional Israeli folk dance for this melody.  Click here for one version.  Enjoy.  And, may the year 5779 be a happy and healthy one for you and your family, full of many blessings . . . and, remember, you can be a blessing for someone else.  Do a good deed!!

Right Now, It’s Like This – A Rosh Hashanah Message

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Monday, September 10, 2018, Rabbi Heath included a teaching from Jay Michaelson – author of books such as God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Non-Dual Judaism.

Jay’s teaching appeared an email newsletter (Meditation Weekly #66) from the 10% Happier team who offer, an app dedicated to promoting spiritual/mental health through a wide variety of meditations. 10% Happier’s subtitle is “Meditation for the Fidgety Skeptic.”

Here is Jay’s teaching:

 

Right Now, It’s Like This
By Jay Michaelson
One of my favorite meditation teachers is a US-born Thai monk named Ajahn Sumedho. Now 84 years old, Sumedho has very simple saying that, in a way, encapsulates the whole point of meditation: “Right now, it’s like this.”

What does that mean?

Every animal, down to the microscopic level, wants more of the good stuff and less of the bad. Poke a paramecium, and it recoils. Put it near some sugar, and it goes for it. (Note: I know nothing about paramecia. I’m making this up.) That is how life works.

And yet, it’s also why we’re unhappy. Because, as Mick Jagger pointed out a few years ago, you can’t always get what you want. What if it were possible, instead of focusing on what you don’t like about a given situation – crying babies, crawling traffic, loneliness, obnoxious co-workers – you could just say “right now, it’s like this”?

You’re not saying it’s okay, or that you’re okay with it. Not at all! Maybe it actually sucks. But you’re saying, like that annoying cliché, it is what it is. It feels like this, it sounds like that, that’s what it’s like and I can just co-exist with it without freaking out.

Another benefit of “right now, it’s like this” is what it doesn’t say. Normally, when I get angry, I go into a long series of thoughts about what’s wrong with the situation: it should be like this, they should be like that. I’m right, they’re wrong. This sucks. “Right now, it’s like this” just doesn’t get involved in all that. Again, it’s not saying that they’re right, or you should be less angry, or you’re a bad person for being angry, or anything like that. It’s just saying it’s like this – nothing more.

Sometimes, you might find that a phrase like that gives you enough of a pause to actually do your meditation practice, right there in the middle of the suck. What is going on? How many things can you tell me about what is actually happening right now? What else is happening?

And then, hey, give yourself a break. If you find your jaw is clenched in anger, unclench it. If you’re hungry, eat something. You might even notice that you can be okay with whatever isn’t okay. Maybe not every time, but sometimes, “right now, it’s like this” is a gateway to just relating to whatever’s happening, outside and inside, as just sensations coming and going. Rather than something to be pushed away, you might be able to simply let it be. To inhabit the cliché of “it is what it is” and nothing more.

And, if something nice is happening, it can taste very sweet to say “right now, it’s like this.” It’s a way of seizing the day, one sandwich at a time. (Shout-out here to Warren Zevon, who, when he was diagnosed with terminal illness, told David Letterman that the greatest lesson he’d learned was to “enjoy every sandwich.”)

Finally, “right now, it’s like this” is, in a very subtle way, relaxing. Just dropping the effort to grab onto what’s happening, or reject what’s happening… feels good. It’s not quite a hammock on the beach in Bermuda, but it is a little vacation nonetheless.

Give it a shot. Or don’t! Either way, right now, it’s like this.

This is easier said than done. To give it a go, Joseph Goldstein walks us through overcoming reactivity and building the skill of acceptance in the following meditation:

Try ‘Accepting the Unpleasant’ (in the app)