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Muslim and Jewish stories on the Biblical Narratives: Meah Select Winter/Spring 2018

Posted by Penina on November 17, 2017 in Adult_ed, events, General, home, Meah_select

Muslim and Jewish stories on the Biblical Narratives
Instructor: Shari Lowin, PhD
Ten Mondays 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Starting 01/29/18
Classes are held at Eitz Chayim  –  Class Calendar Below –  Course Fee $360

Eventbrite - Muslim and Jewish stories on the Biblical Narratives: Meah Select @ Eitz Chayim

Financial aid and information about class:
Sara Riedner Brown, Associate Director, Me’ah (617) 559-8708

Logistics at Eitz Chayim
Penina Weinberg, Meah Liaison

As brother religions vying for the same sacred history, Islam and Judaism trace the genesis of their spiritual and biological communities back to the very same founding parents. Yet Islam is not Judaism, Muslims are not Jews, and vice versa. Rather, the two traditions are, and understand themselves to be, distinct entities with distinct value systems. By comparing the Jewish and Muslim accounts of the shared Biblical ancestors, as well the often colorful exegesis on these narratives, this course will investigate various matters of moral and ethical concern to these communities and the lessons thereby imparted by each tradition. more »

Jews and Christians in the First 400 Years: Meah Select Fall 2017

Posted by Penina on August 18, 2017 in Adult_ed, events, General, Meah_select

Jews and Christians in the First 400 Years
Instructor: Rabbi Micha’el Rosenberg, PhD
Ten Mondays 7:00 – 9:15 p.m. Starting 10/16/17
Class Calendar Below       Course Fee $360

  Eventbrite - Jews and Christians in the First 400 Years: Meah Select @ Eitz Chayim

Financial aid and information about class:
Sara Riedner Brown, Associate Director, Me’ah (617) 559-8708

Logistics at Eitz Chayim
Penina Weinberg, Meah Liaison

People often think of Christianity as a “daughter” religion of Judaism, breaking away from the earlier, more ancient religion in the first century CE to become its own, distinct religious identity. But is that a proper reading? Is it more accurate to see both Judaism and Christianity as denominations that arose contemporaneously in the first few hundred years of the common era? Through the study of ancient texts, we will gain a more nuanced understanding of the early beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians. We will also explore how these groups eventually gave rise to two distinct religions and what this early history teaches us about contemporary intra-Jewish debates, radical theologies, and Jewish-Christian relations. Scroll to end for exact schedule for classes beginning on October 16, 2017. more »

EC Cabaret

Posted by mgw on June 22, 2017 in events, General

EC Cabaret: A monthly, 10 event performance series here at Eitz Chayim.

Join us Saturday nights beginning in September for this monthly performance series featuring music, comedy, story-telling, a game show and a whodunnit dinner theater. Our season kicks off on Saturday, September 16th with a concert/dance party featuring The Klezniks, followed in October by Paul Farwell and Sam Mendales in Shel Silverstein’s epic and bawdy one man show, “The Devil and Billy Markham.”

Details for the entire series are below.

Tickets for all individual performances are $18.00 per person. Children’s tickets are $9.00 each. EC members can save 33% off cost by purchasing a series subscription for only $120.00. That’s 10 great events for only $12.00 each!

The purpose of this series is to generate awareness of EC, help increase membership, raise funds for Eitz Action Initiatives and our Religious School and generally have a fun time! So, consider buying an extra subscription or two and give them to friends and colleagues who may be interested in Eitz Chayim. If you but a subscription and cannot use tickets for one or two individual events, give them to someone who can.

So, join us for EC Cabaret! At the shul that’s cool… Congregation Eitz Chayim!

Questions? Contact Paul in the EC office:

Big Happenings

Posted by mgw on June 16, 2017 in events, General

Big happenings at Congregation Eitz Chayim!

First, we welcome our new Educator, Anne Kalis who will be heading up our all new Sunday Religious School Program! If you have questions about the school, or just want to introduce yourself, feel free to email Anne at


On our recent Tzedakah Sunday we were overwhelmed at the turn out for our “Be True To Your Shul” event. More than 30 members came together to give 136 Magazine St. a face-lift (painting & cleaning), create a vegetable/herb garden, hang children’s artwork in the lounge area  and organize our holiday, sanctuary and storage closets. Thank you ALL for your help! We will have a few on-going projects this summer so let Paul know if you want to help.

In September, we will be debuting our EC Cabaret Performance Series. This will be a monthly event featuring music, theater, storytelling, comedy. The first show is a Klezmer Concert & Dance Party featurings THE KLEZNIKS! Future performances include Paul Farwell & Sam Mendales performing Shel Silverstein’s, “THE DEVIL AND BILLY MARKHAM”, stand-up comedy with headliner, LINDA BELT, Story Slams, a Whodunnit Dinner Theater and more!

Details coming soon!

Membership renewals and School registrations will be in the mail soon. We can’t wait for 5778 at Eitz Chayim!



Posted by mgw on March 28, 2017 in events, General

Karen St-Laurent is traveling all the way from Montreal to delight your hearts and souls with her spiritual chants. You will find yourself singing and possibly dancing to Karen’s beautiful voice and her talented musician Daniel at the basse and Gotta at the drums. Traditional Kirtans are originally from Indian and chanted in Sanskrit. In addition to chanting in Sanskrit and Hindi, Karen also incorporates chants from various traditions such as Judeo-Christian, African and Native-American chants and gives them beautiful fresh melodies with a twist of rock and folk that has made her famous in Montreal and through out the Quebec province.

We want to share this event with our Cambridge neighbors, introduce them to our unique community and let the chants do their magic!

A brief Havdalah service led by Liza will mark the end of Shabbat before the concert.


Purim Story Slam

Posted by Penina on March 10, 2017 in events, Holidays


Ki Tisa as a Song of Longing (Mar 16, 2017)

Posted by Penina on February 19, 2017 in events, Ruach HaYam

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Ruach HaYam Workshop at Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cambridge, MA
March 16, 2017.  See end of post for logistics.

This study is led by Penina Weinberg.

Parashat Ki Tisa is a Song of both longing and danger. First, the longing. Previous to our parsha, Moses has gone up to the top of Mount Sinai, entering the cloud of God’s presence, to remain with God for 40 days (Ex 24:18). While Moses is up on Mount Sinai encountering the Divine, the children of Israel wait expectantly at the foot of Mount Sinai for Moses to return with God’s prescription for a holy life.

Now the period of time is coming to an end and more »

Tziporah and the Awesome Fusion of Aaron and Moses (Feb 16, 2017)

Posted by Penina on January 31, 2017 in events

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Ruach HaYam Workshop at Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cambridge, MA
February 16, 2017.  See end of post for logistics.

This study is led by Penina Weinberg.

There is a mysterious and awe-filled encounter between YHVH and Moses, as Moses returns from Midian to Egypt to undertake the deliverence of the Hebrew slaves from Pharaoh (Exodus 4:24-27). It appears that YHVH seeks to kill Moses and that Moses’ wife Tziporah, a Midianite priestess with overtones of Osiris, performs a magical and life-saving circumcision. Immediately afterwords, YHVH sends Aaron from Egpyt to join Moses in the wilderness. Aaron meets Moses and kisses him. From now on, Aaron will “speak Hebrew” for Moses. Moses is both Hebrew and Egyptian and stuggles to come to terms with his existence as a hybrid being. Tziporah’s magical/priestly ritual forms a crucible for Moses, enabling him to essentially fuse with Aaron.

We will do a close reading of the text to uncover more »

Kabbalat Shabbat, 1/20/17 – Parashat Shemot

Posted by Penina on January 16, 2017 in events, General
On Kabbalat Shabbat, 1/20/17, we begin the book of Exodus, wherein Moses is birthed by 5 women, in defiance of the Pharaoh.   Moses, with the help of Shiphrah, Puah, Jocheved, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter, will come to liberate the Israelite slaves from the yoke of Pharaoh.  On January 20, we may wish to pay particular attention to where liberation comes from, how it comes about, and the essential partnership of women.  Please join us for a brief discussion of Parashat Shemot with Lay Leader and Hebrew Bible scholar Penina Weinberg.  A festive oneg will follow the service, as we celebrate our possibilities as a people.
Infancy of Moses (Detail) from the Dura Europos Synagogue 
Pay attention to what the Egyptian bible scholar Magdi Gendi** says about Pharaoh (bold is mine): “His main concern is to stay in power… He keeps believing that he is the wise king although he is mocked by the marginalized people… In fact… the people who defy his command are the marginalized people and even his own daughter… The Exodus narrative is a timeless one.  A Pharaoh character exists in every generation.  Pharaoh’s character represents a tyrant who oppresses the powerless people, who denies their rights to live, who bases his decisions on speculations, and sees the blessing to them as a threat to  him.  Pharaoh is a character who has a stubborn heart, full of arrogance and power.  Pharaoh is a character who refuses to learn from experience and believes that he is the wise one.”
**Brenner, Athalya, and Gale A Yee, eds. Exodus and Deuteronomy. Texts @ Contexts. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.  Gendi, Magdi S. “Pharaoh as a Character in Exodus 1-2: An Egyptian Perspective.”
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A True Leader – Moses and the Five Women who Birthed Him (Jan 19, 2017)

Posted by Penina on January 14, 2017 in events, General

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Ruach HaYam Workshop at Congregation Eitz Chayim, Cambridge, MA
January 19, 2017.  See end of post for logistics.

This study is led by Penina Weinberg.

Join us for a queer look at Moses and the five powerful women of Exodus 1-2 who birthed/midwifed/nurtured the great leader of the Hebrew people. Despite contrary decrees by the powerful Pharaoh of Egypt, the women used their wits to gain power when they lacked authority. They launched Moses as a prophet and leader, and Miriam became a prophet herself. At the end of the book of Exodus, we will see that their efforts led to another quintuplet of women who changed their world: the daughters of Zelophehad – Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

As we sit upon the eve of destruction, what can we learn about faith, resistance, persistance, and feminine and non-elite power, by a deep reading of this story?

This class more »