Purim Torah

Prepare yourself for Purim with our educational and inspirational videos:

Purim Torah Thoughts on Beer


 Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe and Rabbi Norberr Weinberg

Introduction to the Laws of Purim


Rabbi Norbert Weinberg

Purim: Seeing Behind the Masks


Rabbi David Maayan

Revelation and the Dark Cloud -- Haman and the Serpent


Rabbi David Maayan

Megillat Esther and the Dimensions of Concealment


Rabbi David Maayan

The History, Laws, and Customs of Purim


Rabbi Norbert Weinberg
The Kabbalah of Beer - now on video

2015 beer tasting tinyTwenty-five people participated in our second annual Pre-Purim Melavah Malkah and Beer-Tasting Contest, which was held February 28, 2015.  The winners were Shaina Raklyar, Noam Cohen, and Effie Notis.

The event was recorded; see the videos below.

Rabbi Norbert Weinberg welcomed everyone, and then Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe delivered short Torah and Jewish History lessons to introduce each beer.  Each of his topics was inspired by the location of the brewery or of the origin of that style of beer.  

    The videos below include the following presentations:

  • Rabbi Weinberg Introduces Rabbi Yaffe
  • Italy and the Jews
  • Pachad Yitzchak and the Wages of Drunkenness
  • Russia and the Jews
  • The New World in Jewish Thought
  • Germany and Jewish Mysticism
  • Britain and the Jews
  • The Kabbalah of Beer
  • Beer, Hops, and Bitterness as a Mystical Metaphor





Hey, People of the Book!
books_4.jpgMany of us buy stuff over the Internet; everything from books and DVDs to pet food and tomato sauce.  And many of us use Amazon.com, the world's largest store.  Well, instead of going to Amazon.com by typing that into your computer, please go there by using one the links below (also found on our website's What's New Page). 

If you use the links below, Amazon will donate about 6% of your purchase to the shul.  Since they usually have the best prices, you save too!

For example: Here's a link to buy the Artscroll Siddur: Nusach Sefard (the same Siddur we use in the Shul).  And here's the The Chumash: The Stone Edition (the same one we use in the Shul).  Or any Books at all!  Whenever you buy books, you can help the Shul at the same time.

In fact, Amazon donates to the Shul when you buy anything (if you go to Amazon via our links), including: 

So please use these links to help the Shul whenever you shop.   Thanks. 
Chesed Notes

Would you like to be included on a list of people willing to prepare or deliver meals to Adams Street families in need of chesed at the time of a birth, death, or illness? 

If you would like to be contacted in these circumstances, please send your name, phone number and e-mail address along with any specific instructions (e.g., "I am happy to deliver meals, but I don't have any time during the week to cook.") to the following members of the Chesed Committee:

We would like to keep names on file so that we will be able to contact you to ask if you are available to help when a situation arises.

New Scrapbook!

2014-05-18 barbecue-album-cover-photoOur newest online scrapbook is now available for viewing.  It aggregates photos taken at our recent Lag B'Omer Barbecue. 

If you have any photos or videos to add, please send them to


WagnerJordan_200x150Here's an easy and cost-free way you can help our community grow!

Many people are searching for a shul near Boston via the Internet.  When people enter the search phrases that we care about, our own website sometimes comes out near the top of the search results.  But just as often, Yelp's page about our shul comes up more prominently. 

Yelp is a directory of businesses and institutions.  Anyone can post reviews there. 

These search results mean that many people's first impression of our shul comes not from our own website but from Yelp's listing. 

You can help us attract more visitors and prospective members by visiting The Adams Street Shul's listing at Yelp, and rating us or reviewing us there.  So far, there are only two reviews there (both very positive of course).

If there were many positive reviews, written by diverse people sharing their perspectives, that would make our listing in the Yelp directory a valuable aid to our long term growth.  It takes just a couple of minutes and is free. 

Musicians Wanted

KhanukaevMaestroSergey Sergey Khanukaev, our member and accomplished pianist and musical conductor, would like to organize a professional instrumental ensemble of children ages 9 to 16 to perform a variety of musical pieces focused on Jewish themes. 

After a series of rehearsals and preparations he would launch a series of concerts in Boston. This is a highly innovative idea, since there are currently no children's ensembles that are focused primarily on performing the masterpieces of Jewish music. 

Dr. Khanukaev would very much like to discuss his proposal with prospective parents and students.  Please contact him at 617-669-7778 or at to discuss ways in which you might collaborate.

If You Feed Them, They Will Come
Bert Grand at the Shul Centennial Red Sox OutingWe hope you have enjoyed the pleasant socializing each week after Shabbat morning services. Have you ever wondered how the shul manages to provide the kiddush even on weeks when it has not been sponsored? 

The Grand Family Kiddush Fund sponsors the kiddush whenever no one else has.  Even if you cannot sponsor a kiddush on your own, small donations in any amount are always welcome.  Simply designate that your donation is for The Grand Family Kiddush Fund. 

It's a nice way to honor someone, celebrate a simcha, or memorialize a loved one.  You can donate online now.
Chesed Committee Contacts
Home What's New Upcoming Events
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Not Too Late to Support the Shul in a Tasty Way!

2015 beer tasting tinyAny of the beers presented at the recent Pre-Purim Melavah Malkah and Beer-Tasting Contest can still be ordered at the special event pricing.  You can specify "delivery now" or "delivery after Passover".  In addition, Silver Lake Liquors will make a donation to the shul equal to 10% of your order. 

Click to view or print the Beer Descriptions.  And click to view or print the Order Form.  Fill out the order form and give it to event organizer Jordan Lee Wagner, or directly to John Negrotti around the corner at Silver Lake Liquors.

The event was a great success, with twenty-five people attending and with fascinating divrei Torah from Rabbi Yaffe.  Now you can make it worth even more to the shul, and to your tastebuds, by placing your order for some of these superb craft beers.

Many thanks to Sarah Wagner and Nechama Fleishmann for a gruelling amount of work in the kitchen and serving;  and to Dr. Howard Bleich for pre-event shopping and delivery;  and to Evie Notis and Noam Cohen who arrived early and made lovely hors d'ouvres; and to Talia Holtzman, Zevvy Goldish, and Noam Steinman who stepped into the breach by setting up the room;  and to to John Negrotti of Silver Lake Liquors for his guidance in selecting and procuring the beers and his related donation of beverages for l'chayims, and his assistance with poster production;  and to Robin Walker, Daniel Broniatowski, and Rabbi Weinberg for guidance that significantly improved the event's market positioning statement. 

Of course we also thank Rabbi Norbert Weinberg for his welcoming remarks and Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe for his extensive presentation.  They were recorded.  You can watch them on our YouTube channel or on our Event Scrapbook page on our website.



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The Kabbalah of Beer

YaffeShlomo03Plan to be with Rabbis Norbert Weinberg and Shlomo Yaffe for a Melavah Malkah on the Saturday Night before Purim, a unique event, entitled "The Kabbalah of Beer", that will combine Torah Learning with beer-tasting.  In fact, a diverse array of the the finest kosher, exotic craft beers. 

WeinbergRabbi 200x194There will be food-pairings and learning to go with each beer sample.  Match the unlabeled samples to the bottles they came from to win prizes.  

Reservations are required.  Click here to make a reservation (or to make a donation to support this event).  The 90-minute event begins at 8 PM on February 28th.  Bring your friends and meet new ones.

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Matanot L'evyonim Program

Yad_Chesed_Logo160Every year at Purim, The Adams Street Shul joins with fifty-five Boston-area congregations, day schools, and college Hillels to aid needy people through Yad Chessed, a unique charity that provides a safety net for individuals and families in severe economic distress. 

Last year, Yad Chessed distributed $92,925 in food assistance through its community-wide Purim program, which builds on the ancient Jewish practice of giving matanot l'evyonim ("gifts to the poor"), as the Book of Esther enjoins us to do on Purim day.

ChesesAryeh-200x150 02The Shul will collect funds for this purpose at our megillah reading on Saturday evening, February 23. Please bring your check payable to Yad Chessed with you on Purim night, or drop it off in advance at the synagogue office, or click to make a Matanot L'evyonim Donation online right now.

We will tally the collection and inform Yad Chessed of the amount the next morning, so that all of the funds can be distributed on Purim day itself.  The need is critical, and each of us can help!

Here are details about the Purim mitzvah of Matanot L'evyonim and about how our Communitywide Matanot Levyonim Program works:

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Congregational Purim Seudah, March 5th

seudahOne of the most pleasant mitzvahs in our calendar is coming together to enjoy a festive meal on Purim. 

This year's Purim Seudah, on Thursday March 5th,  is a combined project of the Adams Street Shul and IJK-Newton, the local branch of the Institute for Judaic Knowledge.

The event begins with mincha at 4:30 PM.  At 4:45 PM there will be a third Megillah Reading by Rabbi Yaffe upstairs for anyone who missed the earlier readings, while guests downstairs in the Elmer Lippin Social Hall enjoy salads and schmoozing.  By about 5:15 PM, all be together downstairs for the seudah.

The suggested donation is $10 per person, children under five are free, and with a $60 family maximum.  Prepay or pay at the door, but...

...Reservations are absolutely necessary.  The Deadline is noon on Monday March 2nd.  Respond by email or phone to Robin Walker (617-347-6249).  (To become a sponsor of the event, please contact Benyomin Fleischmann.)

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Shul Historical Tour this Sunday; Board Meeting Monday

Fleischmann BenyominThe Synagogue Council of Massachusetts's annual meeting of Synagogue Presidents will be held at Adams Street this year, from 9 AM to 12 noon this Sunday. 

This will be followed by a historical tour of the shul, beginning at noon. 

The shul's regular monthly Board Meeting has been moved to Monday night, January 12th, at 7:30 PM.

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Baruch Dayan HaEmet: Remembering Morrris Hollender

Hollender, MorrisWith sadness we report the loss of our dear friend (and great layner) Morris Hollender.  Morris was a frequent davener at Adams Street, where he served as the chazzan of our Heritage Shabbat program.  He was also the featured speaker at our 2011 Holocaust Commemoration event.

Shiva will be observed through Tuesday, January 6, at Evans Park (430 Centre Street, Newton, MA).  Visiting hours each afternoon are from 3 to 6 pm, and each evening (except Friday) beginning with a minyan service at 7:30 pm.

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Baruch Dayan HaEmet

The community extends condolences to Tim and Nancy Knight, and to their extended families, on the loss of Nancy's father, Marty Goldstein, grandfather of Elana, Ariella, and Sarah Knight.  As Nancy has reported, “Marty Goldstein passed away at age 92 from heart failure.  He loved life and filled his days with listening to and playing (sax and bodhran) music, inventing things, writing poetry, working as a receptionist in his building, singing in the chorus, and most of all loving his family.”  May the Knight family be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Domba, Rachel
The community also extends condolences to Rachel Domba, a lifelong member currently living in Atlanta, on the loss of her mother, Evelyn (Mirkin) Domba of Newton, who passed away on December 31st.  Evelyn was the beloved wife of the late Rev. Michael Domba. Devoted mother of Leonard and his wife Nancy, Rosalyn, Rachel, and Esther Domba.  Cherished grandmother of Olivia and Samuel Domba.  She was 91 years old.  Shiva will be at the home of Leonard and Nancy Domba, Sun-Thurs 2-4 & 6-8 pm; in Sharon MA.  May the Domba family be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Evelyn (Mirkin) Of Newton, formerly of Medway, MA passed away on December 31, 2014. Beloved wife of the late Rev. Michael Domba. Devoted mother of Leonard and his wife Nancy, Rosalyn, Rachel, and Esther Domba. Cherished grandmother of Olivia and Samuel Domba. Services at Stanetsky Memorial Chapels, 1668 Beacon St., BROOKLINE, MA on Friday, January, 2, 2015 at 10 am. Following interment at Mishkan TeFila Memorial Park, Shiva will be at the home of Leonard and Nancy Domba, until 2:30 pm, and will continue Sun-Thurs 2-4 & 6-8 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the .
- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=173693971#sthash.QRpSfwdU.dpuf
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Where did the schedule go?

We have split our newsletter into two.  The schedule of candlelighting and services will now come each Thursday morning, while community news about members and events will continue here as before.  

All subscribers to this newsletter have been subscribed to the new Thursday calendar mailing too, but you can manage your subscriptions independently if you want just one or the other.

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Early Mincha Begins!

hanukkah_snowmanFor the winter months, we will be holding the Shabbat Mincha service right after kiddush. 

That way, we can drive back for Maariv insted of wading through snow and ice.  We can also enjoy the full afternoon meal with our families despite the very short days. 

This week, maariv will be at 5:40 PM.  For more information, contact .

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Rules of Engagement

Ethics of WarWhen the bullets start flying and the tanks are rolling, do the standards of peacetime apply?  It takes great moral authority to tell soldiers what they can and can't do as they fight for their lives.

The Torah lays down uncompromising rules of engagement that regulate the harsh realities of armed conflict.  

You can now watch a video of Rabbi Yaffe's lecture on Jewish War Ethics, delivered on October 27,2014. 

You can also print or view the accompanying source texts on War Ethics.

Interested in the ethical significance of drones and of operations in Gaza?  Take a sober and thorough look at both the contemporary ethics and the Jewish laws of warfare.  Watch the video.

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The Chosen Movie!

zero mostel as tevye the dairyman: on the chosen peopleDid you miss Rabbi Yaffe's frank discussion on "The Chosen People" last week?  Well not anymore!  We recorded it.  Click to watch the video for a deep analysis of Tevye's famous protest, as well as some of our own. 

The source texts for the class are:  Genesis Chapter 12,  Exodus Chapter 19,  Isaiah Chapters 56 & 66,  Taana Devei Eliyahu Rabbah Chapter 9, and  Maimonides's Mishnah Torah Laws of Kings, 12, halacha 5.  Click to view or print the handout with these texts.

We often hear the Jewish People referred to as the "Chosen People". 

Chosen by who for what? 

Is the idea hubris? 


This theme has been as source of conflict, prejudice, and pride – in spite of the fact that it has been almost universally misunderstood.

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Instant Replay

popcornRewatching the inspiring videos from Tisha Bav can help us stick to our resolutions regarding our speech. 

Here are two of the ten short movies we watched.  More are expected to be added here, as additional permissions are received.

...and this time, you can have popcorn.

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Rabbi Zev Leff

LeffRabbiZevRabbi Zev Leff is one of Israel’s most popular English-speaking Torah educators.  Rabbi Leff has authored books and countless articles.  For more than 20 years, he has served as the rav of Moshav Matityahu, a small religious community located in central Israel just outside Modiin.  
He has the rare ability to bring across a subtle point of Torah learning with wit, humor and analytical brilliance.  As a much sought-after lecturer and teacher, Rabbi Leff is constantly traveling to speak throughout Israel and often in England, South Africa, the United States, and other countries.
Rabbi Leff was born in the Bronx, New York, where he grew up in a non-observant home.  He became interested in furthering his Judaic studies while attending a local Hebrew school.  After his family moved to the Miami area, he began attending the school at a local Conservative temple.  Here the teachers and lay leaders quickly recognized the young boy’s enormous potential.  Impressed, they were determined to provide him with the best educational opportunities available.

So when he was ten years old he entered the Hebrew Academy of Greater Miami.  While he should have been placed in the fifth grade, he was placed in a third grade class in order to help him catch up.  Two years later, Rabbi Leff had not only caught up but was rapidly developing into one of the school’s best talmidim (scholars).  During this time, Rabbi Leff also made the decision to become shomer Shabbat.

Rabbi Leff then went on to the Mesivta of Greater Miami where he was regularly assigned to the most advanced shiurim (classes) in the yeshivah.  He was an enthusiastic student and reveled in the give and take of Talmudic discussions.  It was not uncommon for him to come up with she’eilot (questions) that his rebbeim couldn’t answer, as well as teshuvot (answers) to questions they had never even thought of. 

Rabbi Leff left to study at the Telshe Yeshivah in Cleveland, Ohio, where he became a close talmid of Rav Mordechai Gifter, zt"l.

In the fall of 1968, he was introduced to Rivkah Minkoff, from Ellenville, New York.  Before the end of that year they were engaged, and married soon after.  The Leffs settled in Cleveland, where Rabbi Leff learned in kollel and supervised the Telshe dormitory.

During a Pesach visit to Miami in 1974, Rabbi Leff stepped in to help the Young Israel of Greater Miami in North Miami Beach with the Holiday sermons.  His sermons were received so well that after Yom Tov, he was invited to apply for the position of rabbi.

After returning to Cleveland, he mentioned the experience, in passing, to Rav Gifter.  To Rabbi Leff's surprise, Rav Gifter told him to apply, adding that twenty years earlier the roshei yeshivah in the United States had made a major mistake by failing to encourage their best talmidim (scholars) to enter the rabbanut.  Were more capable talmidim leading American synagogues, Rav Gifter said, America would look much different.  He also reminded Rabbi Leff that he had a personal responsibility to serve the community that had helped him develop into a ben Torah.

Rabbi Leff returned to Miami for an interview.  The board offered him a one-year contract.  He took it, but asked Rav Gifter to hold his old job open in case things didn’t work out.

Rabbi Leff served as the rav of the Young Israel of Greater Miami for nine years.  The transition from dormitory counselor at Telshe to rav of an out-of-town community was not terribly difficult for the young rabbi.  He had been moving in two worlds his entire life.   He had gone from growing up in a non-observant home to becoming the best talmid at the Mesivta.  While he never compromised his religious principles, he always maintained ties with his former world.  Indeed, his ability to incorporate all of his experiences enables him to relate to a broad spectrum of Jews.  It is what gives him a perspective and a depth of experience that few other leaders in the Torah world have.

While Rabbi Leff served as a rabbi in Miami, he invested much time and effort working with the NCSY chapter based in his shul, and even returned to teach at the Mesivta where he had been a talmid more than a decade earlier.

By 1983, the Leffs decided to make aliyah.  Upon moving to Israel, Rabbi Leff became the rav and morah d’asra (leader of the community) of Moshav Matityahu, a community located in central Israel adjacent to Kiryat Sefer, and just outside Modiin.

Today, in addition to his communal duties, Rabbi Leff is also rosh yeshivah of Yeshiva Gedolah Matityahu, and oversees the 20-member kollel on the Moshav.  Additionally, he teaches a group of unaffiliated Israelis who live near Moshav Matityahu and lectures at several leading Israeli yeshivot, seminaries and institutions, including the Orthodox Union’s Israel Center.  He is a featured speaker at the conventions of the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel, and Torah Umesorah.

"The lesson I learned more than thirty years ago at NCSY conventions is that Judaism is not monolithic and that there are many legitimate approaches to Yiddishkeit," says Rabbi Leff. "This has been the guiding philosophy of my life."

Rabbi Leff's shiurim can be heard in streaming audio format on his website: http://www.rabbileff.net

At the site, you may also submit questions to the Rabbi, which he will answer, B"H, in audio format.

Rabbi Leff can be reached at his home at 972-8-914-4797, or e-mail can be sent to him at //www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/leff/">

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Brandeis at Adams Street

WeinbergRabbi-150x200On September 12th and 13th we will enjoy a Shabbaton with students from Brandeis University.  This is about two weeks after school resumes, and two weeks before the High Holidays. 

CohenNoamThe Shabbaton is a joint project of The Adams Street Shul and the Brandeis Orthodox Organization.  All of the events are for Brandeis students and Shul families combined. 

On Friday night, there will be a congregational Shabbos dinner at the shul, followed by a shiur by a guest "Scholar-in-Residence", still to be determined. 

Brandeis students will do the Shacharit and Mincha laynings for the shul that Shabbos.  (The Torah portion is Ki Tavo.)

SteinmanNoamOn Saturday, after a special kiddush, the students will be guests for lunches in congregants' homes.  Some of the students will prepare drashes to deliver at the tables of their lunch hosts.

If you would like to have a group of students join you at your home for lunch on that Shabbat, please contact Jordan Lee Wagner.  Some of the students may be vegetarians or have food sensitivities, so if your meals are gluten-free or otherwise special, please volunteer to be a lunch host. 

On Saturday afternoon, we all regroup at the shul for special social and educational events, open to all.   Please plan to be with us throughout this special Shabbat. 

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Our Newest Video: Jewish Music From Three Continents

concertDid you miss the wonderful concert, Jewish Music From Three Continents that we presented last month? 

Well not anymore!  We recorded it.  

We hope you enjoy our newest video.  It's a video of that evening's exciting performance of Ernst Bloch's Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Hassidic Life.

Jewish Music from Three Continents is also the title of the beautiful studio recording Sergey Khanukaev and Daniel Broniatowski completed and released just days before the concert.  Here is a link to purchase the CD.

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Tu b'Shvat The Movie!

2014-01-15 TuBshvat SederDid you miss our Tu B'Shevat seder last Wednesday?  Well not anymore!  We have produced a video of the event, which you can watch online

We also provide the hagaddah that was used.  You can print and have it handy while watching the seder. (You can also use the haggadah as the basis for your own future seders.)

Now here's the video:

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Donate to the Shul Without it Costing You a Cent

stamperDonate to the shul without it costing you a cent.   When you shop at The Butcherie in Brookline, remember to ask for your receipt to be stamped.   When you bring your stamped receipts to the shul, we turn them in, and The Butcherie donates to the Shul.  What an easy way to support a great cause!

Bring your Butcherie receipts to the Shul and drop them in the pouch on the office door.  The Butcherie will donate 3% of your credit card purchases, and 5% of your cash or check purchases, to the Shul.  It adds up!


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