Adult Torah Study with Rabbi Lewis
Thursdays at 11 am
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!
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.
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.
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
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.