The Spirit of Community (Esther Adler)

Posted by mgw on September 22, 2015 in Blog, General

From the time my late husband, Simon and I, took roots in a community in this country, we joined a Conservative synagogue. We became active members, supporting the synagogue through physical attendance and contributions to its financial needs.

Once I moved to a retirement community in Canton, I found myself accompanying my children and grandchildren to Eitz Chayim.

While the experiences at Eitz Chayim are different from my past associations, I decided to become a member.  What is it that attracted me? There are a number of reasons: people are friendly; they are inclusive; the rabbi inspiring, there is a spirit of Zedakah, of caring for the world; there is a Ruah of sharing.

Today I received an invitation from my last synagogue in Florida to attend a Simhat Torah luncheon, catered by …… caterer, cost $15.00. Reading this, I saw myself suddenly enter a large room adjacent to where our Rosh Hashanah services were held.  A large table, covered with a white cloth, laden with an immense variety of dishes beckoned anyone present, to partake in this luncheon.  Dessert and drinks completed the offerings.

Members and visitors sat at long tables, a flowering plant enhancing the atmosphere; there we sat, introduced newcomers, ate, talked, creating a sense of belonging. No one had to make a reservation, no one had to pay.

How did all this food so magically appear? Who made sure that the invitation to contribute dishes would indeed materialize? This is part of the Ruah of Eitz Chayim, this deep sense of community.

While all attendees ate and were sated, we did not forget the outside world; an announcement was repeated not to forget to bring non-perishable food items, food for the needy!

That is the spirit of community, the spirit of Eitz Chayim!

—Esther Adler



Posted by Penina on May 22, 2015 in Blog, General

This year, on Shavuot, Jews around the world will have the opportunity to experience the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai in a unique way.

According to midrash, each of the commandments was said simultaneously in 70 languages. This year, Jews around the world will participate in a collective recitation of the Five Books of Moses.

This Saturday night at midnight (9PM PDT May 23 / 12AM EDT May 24), Jews around the world will read one verse of Torah, each a different verse, so that the entire Torah will be simultaneously recited as happened on Sinai. In this way, you will get to experience the revelation at Mount Sinai.

Go to to sign up for your verse. For security reasons, do not include your email addresses. Simply sign your initials on the verse you choose, one that is not already highlighted, and the verse will be highlighted in grey to indicate that you are reciting that verse. There will be no reminders, as we will not be collecting any emails so set your alarm for the given time and date in your time zone.

Bees Up On The Roof – a song

Posted by Penina on October 21, 2014 in Bees, Blog

Lyrics by Steve Baggish
(sung to the tune of “Fiddler On The Roof”)

Away above my head, I see the strangest sight,
Some bees up on the roof, they’re up there day and night.
They came for Rosh Hashanah, they stayed for Simchat Torah,
They all wear little yarmulkes and like to more »

Personal Prayer Esther Adler

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

Personal Prayer by Esther Adler, High Holy Days, 2014

The Yamim Noraim, the High Holidays, are a time for reflection. Even more so in my case, since I am in the fortunate position that enables me to look back to 90 years of life, a period of historical turmoil, destruction and achievements. more »

The Rabbi and the Bees

Posted by Penina on October 18, 2014 in Blog

Cambridge rabbi raises honeybees for Jewish New Year treatRabbi making Honey

By Sara Feijo
Updated Oct 9, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Rabbi Liza Stern of Congregation Eitz Chayim never thought keeping four beehives on the roof of her Magazine Street congregation would create so much buzz in Cambridge. click here for story

And then we eat the honey on the challah at Erev Rosh HashanahKiddush over Challah with honey

Repairing the Torah

Posted by Penina on September 18, 2014 in Blog, General

Repairing Torah 2014Thanks to a generous donation from David Merfeld and Bonnie Friedman in honor of their grandson Noah’s Bar Mitzvah, we were able to make repairs to our Torah. The sofer Jay Greenspan came during religious school time to show the children first-hand how the Torah is made and allow them to contribute to the Eitz Chayim Torah!

[First-grade student Talia Gosline working to fix the Eitz Chayim Torah.]

Summer family Shabbat 2014

Posted by Penina on August 30, 2014 in Blog, Education Director, School Director

Tot Shabbat ark 2014.upgSchool might have been out for the summer, but Eitz Chayim families still gathered for a monthly Family Shabbat led by Gavi Wolfe and Vicky Steinberg. We discussed the Torah portion for the week, sang songs and topped off the night with challah and pizza!
If you are interested in participating in monthly family Shabbat, email for details.

[Vicky and Gavi leading the children to open the ark]


Steve Alexander – A Remembrance October 28, 2012

Posted by Penina on October 28, 2012 in Blog, General, Ramp

This morning, our community was deeply saddened to learn that Steve Alexander passed away. As President of Congregation Etiz Chayim, and as an individual, I tell this story in Steve’s memory.  May his memory be for a blessing. more »

The Wimpel for our Torah mantle

Posted by Penina on September 25, 2012 in Blog, High Holy Days, uncategorized
Photo: George Bouret

On day two of Rosh Hashanah 5770, we recorded our Jewish stories on special Japanese mulberry paper. After soaking the paper we used drop spindles to spin strands of yarn from the paper sheets. Over the course of the year, we wove the yarn on a loom set up in our sanctuary and created a Torah binder, or wimpel.  The wimpel project was led by Catherine Tutter, a gifted artist and long-time member of Eitz Chayim.  Catherine has documented the wimple project on her website, as well as the creation of the beautiful Torah mantle for Eitz Chayim.