Welcome to Congregation Eitz Chayim

A Home for Wondering Jews

Welcome!   We’re glad you have decided to visit our website and find out about our wonderful Congregation and Hebrew School. We hope you will visit us in person on a Friday night, join us for the High Holy Days or festivals, or come to study and learn with us.  We would be delighted for you to join our community of Wondering Jews.    

 Above, scenes from Shavuot (photos courtesy of Stanley Sagov) and a rendering of our future sanctuary space.

High Holy Days 2015

Posted by Penina on August 3, 2015 in High Holy Days, home

Dear Eitz Chayim Community,

We enter the month of Elul – our preparation time for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We invite you to come reflect with us, and to welcome the New Year together as a community.

High Holy Day services are held at Congregation Eitz Chayim, and at Cambridgeport Baptist Church (CBC), half a block away, on the corner of Magazine and Putnam. We are excited to announce, however, that we are hard at work on extensive renovations to our own sanctuary. Starting next year the entirety of the High Holy Days will be celebrated in our own building!!

We begin with Selichot on Saturday, September 5, at 8 pm at Eitz Chayim. On Erev Rosh Hashanah, Sunday, September 13, we hold a 7:30 pm Kiddush at Eitz Chayim, followed by 8:00 pm services at CBC. Rabbi Stern will lead wonderful children’s services at CBC at 9:30am on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur.  Registration form contains the entire schedule.

To attend High Holy Day services, please return the forms by September 9. For Eitz Chayim members**, there is no additional cost to attend services. The fee for adult visitors is $200 per person for one or all services. If you join Congregation Eitz Chayim during the coming year, that fee will be applied toward your annual donation pledge.

Childcare will be available at CBC for 1st day Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur day services


The High Holy Days at Eitz Chayim are a time of community. We share meals, stories, collective confessions. We mourn together and hear the call of the shofar together. We hope you will participate as fully as you are able, and we invite you to volunteer. Participating in the activities is a wonderful way to enrich your experience, and to get to know other members of our community.

Rabbi Stern is accompanied by our cantorial soloist, Debby Gelber.  With the Rabbi’s words, Debby‘s voice, and the personal prayers of individual community members, we embark on our spiritual journey of the High Holy Day season, the Yamim Noraim – the Days of Awe.

We look forward to seeing you soon and to wishing you L’Shana Tovah in person.

–The High Holy Days Committee

Questions? Wish to help?

Contact Penina Weinberg: 781-343-1498 ◦ ecoffice@eitz.org

**You are a member if your membership form and payment of at least 25% of your annual donation pledge have been received at the Eitz Chayim office by September 9.

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A Ramp to the Future: Ann Braude D’var Torah Yom Kippur 2014

Posted by Penina on October 18, 2014 in Blog, High Holy Days, home

We are now gearing up for our capital campaign so we are re-posting this d’var torah from Yom Kippur.

I am honored to have the chance to give a d’var torah on this most momentous day in the Jewish year. The rabbi asked me if the d’var could provide an opportunity for me to speak with the congregation about our community’s Capital Campaign. I said of course. I’m a teacher. I can speak on any text. No problem.

Then I read the parsha. This parsha for me is one of the most terrifying and inscrutable in the torah. In a dependent clause, without comment or ceremony, Aaron experiences the disaster that Abraham avoided, the death of his two sons.   Instead of receiving comfort, Aaron is commanded to make expiation, first for the sins of his family and then for the sins of the community with gory animal sacrifice.

How on earth could I use this text to inspire the congregation to join me and other members who have committed to the goal of Building Sanctuary at Eitz Chayim?  But the truth is, the reason I value the torah is that it does not shy away from difficulty, and there is always something there beyond what I have been able to understand.   This rich and difficult text embodies so many contradictory possibilities of human existence. It binds pain, tragedy, self-­‐examination, forgiveness, community, metaphor, blood, gore and transcendence into a single narrative.

I’d like to take the difficulty of this story as my point of departure for talking about why I have decided to join with other members of our congregation who have committed to our communal future by initiating a capital campaign for the renovation and renewal of our sanctuary. more »