Welcome to Temple Ahavat Achim

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  • Welcome

    We are Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester, MA. For more than 100 years we have been, quite simply, the center of Jewish Life on Cape Ann and surrounding North Shore towns.

  • Our teen programming is based on experiential learning and gimilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness). We learn to be Jewish is to do Jewish!

  • We are the only Jewish congregation on Cape Ann. We have been an integral part of the community for over a century. There is a real sense that each one of us is needed to nurture and sustain Jewish life here.

  • Our lively, creative synagogue school is for students K-8th grade, and we have Shabbat and Sunday morning programs for 0-preschool ages, too!

  • We invite you to join us!

Events

Adult Torah Study with Rabbi Lewis

Thursdays at 11 am

Neighborhood Shabbat

Click here for details.

3rd Annual TAA Chinese Food, Film & Schmooze

Join us for the movie "Home Alone", craft project for kids, and vegetarian take-out from Horizon Restaurant!

Monday, December 24th at 5:30 PM-9:30PM at the Cape Ann Cinema 21 Main Street, Gloucester (above "Mystery Train Records") 

$18 per adult 

$12 per child 6+ 

5 & under FREE

Special Family Rate: $50 

(that's a savings of at least $10 if you bring 2 or more kids)

Affordable Beer & Wine will be for sale, if interested. Everyone is welcome!  

 CLICK HERE TO RSVP

News

Rabbi's Note to TAA Community after Shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue

בָּרוּךְ דַּיַּן הָאֱמֶת

Blessed is the True Judge

עֵץ-חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ, וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר

It is a tree of life to those who grasp onto it, and whoever holds on to it is happy. 

(Proverbs 3:18)

What do we do in the impossible moment when confronted by death, violence and horror?

The traditional Jewish response is to say: Baruch Dayan haEmet.  "Blessed is the true Judge."  It is a remarkable practice.  Reeling from shock and anguish, words often feel impossible. In that moment, our tradition puts words in our mouths, words affirming the world's coherence and justice - the opposite of what we are feeling.  Despite chaos, we affirm that reality is fundamentally ordered; despite appalling injustice, we affirm that the ultimate reality is justice;  despite cruelty, we affirm that the ultimate reality is love; despite the twisted lies and distortions, we affirm that the ultimate reality is truth - even if in the moment it is impossible to feel or to believe. 

After such a shattering, many of us have the impulse to flee to our own numbness, willful blindnesses, and protective narratives - anything we can do to not have to confront this horror as our new reality.  Self protection is natural and understandable, but from that place of retreat, healing can not happen. There can be no healing for us, and no healing for the brokenness in the world. To repair that brokenness we need each other.

The best thing we can do in the chaos of loss, is to come together for comfort and healing and, eventually, to be able to work to create a kinder world.  This need to join together for healing is reiterated with each death in the practice of shiva -- not to flee, but to sit in the new, shattered reality surrounded by comforters. 

The name of the synagogue where this atrocity occurred, Tree of Life (עֵץ-חַיִּים), comes from the verse in Proverbs quoted above, "It is a tree of life to those who grasp onto it, and whoever holds on to it is happy."  This tree-of-life is understood in our tradition to refer to the Torah - our source of wisdom and connection to God.  We sing this verse every time we return the Torah scroll to the ark.  We have a tree of life, the Torah and our tradition, if we can grasp onto it.  We have each other as a source of strength and healing, if we hold onto each other. 

May this awful shattering bring our Jewish community closer and strengthen our connections both to our tradition and to our neighbors who stand with us in grief and commitment to a world of greater justice, love and peace.

Our Hearts and Prayers are in Pittsburgh

After the tragic day in Jewish American history, here are several links you may be interested in:

The Tree of Life Synagogue website with information about donations directly to them.

Article by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) about how to talk to kids about violence and hatred.

The ADL website where you can sign a statement of unity #NeverIsNow and donate directly to ADL.
An article by Swampscott native, now Squirrel Hill resident, journalist David Shribman.

2019 WINTER-SPRING EVENTS

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat    

Sundays, February 3, 10 and 17th

Sunday afternoon movie series

Friday, March 1st

Dinner and Musical Shabbat

Friday, May 3rd

Dinner and Musical Shabbat

Connect

>>> THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER: CLICK HERE

 

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Donations & Dues

Make a donation or pay your dues online.


Click Here for the Photo Gallery

TAA photo

See images from recent events, and a record of our past


Hebrew Calendar

Weekly Torah Portion

 

Eric and Cynthia Kaplan

Cynthia and I came to TAA 12 years ago when we moved part-time to Gloucester.  TAA is a "Hamish" place and the Rabbi is a big part of why we enjoy it. 

I am a retired pediatrician having practiced for 40 years in Lowell and Westford. We lived in Chelmsford and raised our two daughters there.  My wife Cynthia loves plants and has worked at Cavicchio Greenhouses for many years.  One of our daughters is a lawyer in Massachusetts and the other owns a scene design shop for off Broadway shows in Brooklyn, NY. 

I enjoy the many opportunities to engage and help out at TAA.  I have joined the kitchen "crew", the Torah study class, and am a regular at Shabbat services and Sunday minyan. Having been a board member at my previous shuls for 25 years, I hope to have something to offer the TAA board of directors.