Condolences to Eyal and Shenhav Cohen and Family

IsraeliFlagBaruch Dayan Emet. 

With great sadness we report that Esther and Yitzchak Cohen, the parents and in-laws of Eyal and Shenhav, and the grandparents of Tzukit, Reve, Tor, and Livnei,  were killed in an auto accident yesterday in the Shomron.  Communications of condolences to Eyal would be most welcome.

"May Hashem comfort them among the mourners for Zion and Jerusalem."

 
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. 
 
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

 
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.

 
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.

 
Yelp!

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. 

 
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.
 
Russian Jewish Shabbat at Adams Street

Poock, Jeremy - Russian Jewish Community Foundation (RJCF)On Saturday, February 7th, the Adams Street Shul will host RJCF Shabbat. 

Russian Jewish Community Foundation (RJCF) is a non-profit organization created for charitable purposes by Russian speaking Jewish immigrants from the former USSR now residing in Massachusetts.  The RJCF mission is to preserve and enhance Jewish identity among Russian Jews and to support Israel.

RJCF and Adams Street invite you to a special Shabbat service on Saturday, February 7th:

The Torah portion that morning is Parsha Yitro, in which G-d presents the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people; and this is the only time throughout the Torah that G-d addresses the Jewish people as a whole. 

The D'var Torah will be given by Jeremy Poock, who serves on the boards of both Adams Street and RJCF.  Jeremy is also sponsoring the kiddush that week, which will be augmented by some Russian foods. 

 
Chesed Committee Contacts
 
 
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Congregational Tu B'Shvat Seder Next Tuesday

2014-01-15 TuBshvat SederJoin us next Tuesday at 7:30 PM to enjoy our annual Tu B'Shevat seder, led this year by Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, who will explicate complex Jewish concepts in an inspiring way. The seder will last about ninety minutes.  All are welcome.

A reservation is not absolutely required, although we would appreciate an RSVP so we make sure to have enough wine and fruit on hand.  RSVP to .

Admission is free; donations to defray the costs are welcome.  Click to make a Tu B'Shvat Seder Donation.

(Adams Street Shul events are open to all regardless of ability to pay, so if Hashem has blessed you with an ability to give more than your fair share, please give generously.) 

 

 
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The New Year for Trees

Image Tu B'Shevat marks the first signs of Spring in Israel.  At this time of year, trees sprout little leaves and the flower buds appear.  Tu B'Shevat is the New Year for Trees as far as our three agricultural laws regarding trees (terumah, maaser, and orlah) are concerned.  For example, Israeli fruits that began to develop before Tu B'Shevat are tithed separately from those that form after. 

fruit-01It is customary to eat fruits on Tu B'Shevat, especially those for which the Land of Israel is famous.  (Fasting is prohibited.  Tachanun is not recited).  Our Tu B'Shevat Seder celebrates the fruits of Israel with readings from the Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, and more. 

TuBShevat-221x196The Tu B'Shevat Seder expresses appreciation for the environment, and for Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel).  The special foods used as symbols at this Seder include certain fruits, nuts, and grains; plus both white and red wines. 

seder-01Although Tu B'Shevat has been a special day since Biblical times, the Tu B'Shevat Seder ritual was only begun in the 16th Century.  The Seder has always been popular among Sephardic Jews.  In recent decades it has become more widespread because of its attractive environmental and Zionist symbolism. 

Yaffe ShlomoCome celebrate Tu B'Shevat, the New Year for the Trees, at Adams Street.   This year, Tu B'Shevat begins on Tuesday evening, February 3.   Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, Chaiman of our Education Committee, will lead our seder.   Please plan to join us!  Enjoy a Tu B'Shevat Seder with interesting fruits, nuts, grain, wine and song.

 
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Second Annual Pre-Purim Beer-Tasting Contest & Melavah Malkah

How expert are your taste buds?  Find out on Saturday night, February 21st --- the first Saturday night of Adar --- at Greater Boston's Second Annual Pre-Purim "Drinking Contest" & Melavah Malkah! Bring your friends and meet new ones.

beer-duffYou win this contest not with quantity but with discernment.  Come to the historic Adams Street Shul and sample a diverse array of the finest kosher exotic craft beers.  Match the unlabeled samples to the bottles they came from to win bibulous prizes. 

YaffeRabbiShlomo-cropThis event is also a melavah malkah with Rabbi Norbert Weinberg and Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe.  There will be food-pairings and learning to go with each beer.  The event begins at 8 PM. 

Reservations are required to ensure we have enough on hand to keep your palate occupied.  Click here to make a reservation (or to make a donation to support this event).

Lchaim shot glass 001Admission is free with the new purchase of an Adams Street Shul Centennial commemorative shot glass. 

Or $10 for those who bring their own Adams Street Shul Centennial commemorative shot glasses! 

Or you may pay $14.95 to participate in the Beer-Tasting Contest & Melavah Malkah using a cheap plastic disposable cup.  Poor nebbish.

Read more...
 
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Preparing for Tu B'Shvat

tree-02Although a seder is involved, preparing for Tu B'Shvat is not like preparing for Pesach, so you've still got plenty of time. 

See some of these online classes for inspiration, as well as two Tu B'shvat Haggaddahs you can print and use yourself:

Tu B'Shvat Seder with Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe

 

Thursday,
16 January
2014

 

Rabbi
Shlomo Yaffe
Tu B'Shvat Seder with Rabbi David Maayan Saturday,
11 February
2006
Rabbi
David Maayan
 

And for deeper insight into the role of trees in our Tradition:

 

Rabbi Weinberg on Trees

 

 

30 April
2014

 

 

Rabbi
Norbert Weinberg

 

 

Video: Fifth Annual Picnic With the Trees

 

 

01 May
2011

 

 

Benyamin
Fleischmann

 

 

Video: Chassidus on Torah and Trees

 

 

03 May
2009

 

 

Rabbi
David Maayan

 

 

Rebbe Nachman and the Trees

 

 

15 May
2008

 

 

Rabbi
David Maayan

 

 Mothers Day With the Trees:
The Discipline of Your Father,
The Torah of Your Mother

 

12 May
2007

 

 

Rabbi David Maayan, Rabbi Avrohom Kelman, Rabbi Norbert Weinberg

 

 
 
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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

KnightFamily
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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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? 

Bigotry? 

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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