Weekly Bulletin: March 16

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We're excited to announce several Passover events in this email, including a second night Seder! We've also included haroset recipes from Jean Cherdack and Margie Sobil. Read on for all the details!

Resilience and Hope
in a Plague Year

Friday, March 19, 7:00 PM:

We are delighted to welcome Amy Leos-Urbel for our March Racial/Social Justice Shabbat. From Amy:

Over the past year, our country has faced a perfect storm of challenges: pandemic, economic collapse, and political turmoil - all against a backdrop of the climate crisis. For Jews in particular, we have been confronted, on a daily basis, with the 3 core elements of our historical oppression: blame, isolation, and terror; along with weaponizing of anti-semitism to divide and derail those who work for social justice. Fortunately, Jewish tradition contains tools for survival and resilience, guiding us in the direction of compassion, self-care, and connection. Together we will explore strategies for strengthening ourselves and our community, building alliances, and sustaining hope.

Amy Leos-Urbel is a skilled and powerful justice ally. She leads classes and workshops on healing from the effects of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Amy is co-author of the booklet "Anti-Semitism: Why Is It Everyone's Concern?" and the western MA team leader for the project Jews and Allies United to End Anti-Semitism. She is a long-time member of Congregation B'nai Israel in Northampton, where she is co-chair of the Tikkun Olam committee.

Model Seder

Sunday, March 21, 9:30 AM:

Join us for the Roots & Branches Passover program on Sunday, March 21 at 9:30 a.m.

We'll share stories and songs for the holiday. If you have a seder plate, please have it on hand that morning.
We are partnering with PJ Library to provide Passover Packs to families. These will include Passover crafts and activities for kids of all ages (through 7th grad). You can sign up via PJ Library using this link. We aso will have extra packs for families who don't sign up through PJ, so reach out if you want one!

A Very Kosher Passover: Second Night Seder with Rabbi Andrea

Sunday, March 28, 6:30 PM:

All Who are Hungry for community and freedom, come and celebrate!

Rabbi Andrea will host a seder second night of Passover. Working from the rich traditional themes of Passover - seasonal food customs, the nature of freedom, lineage and memory - we'll discuss, sing and eat together - on zoom. Register via this link

You'll need to create your own seder plate materials. View our home Seder guide for suggestions. We will be using the Freedom Haggadah, available online using this link.

This seder is free and open to all. If you would like to support TIG, your contributions are welcomed and appreciated. You may give online at

Register for our Second Night Seder!

Haroset Recipes
from Jean & Margie

Jean Cherdack and Margie Sobil have generously shared some of their favorite haroset recipes with us! This week we will feature one recipe from each of them. Tune in next week for additional recipes!

Jean's Passover Sephardic Haroset

  • 1/2 c pitted dates
  • 2 c peeled and sliced applies
  • 1/2 c dried apricots
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • wine to taste
  • cinnamon to taste
Place fruit in a pot together with just enough water to over.  Cook until apricots are tender enough to mash with fork. Mix all ingredients together, add nuts, wine and cinnamon to taste.  Approx 4 cups

Margie's Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset

YIELD: Makes about 4 cups

  • 3 medium Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
In large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve.

Notes: For the most even texture, dice the apples by hand. To save time, they can be chopped in the food processor — be careful not to over-process.

PJ Library Passover Packs

Join PJ Library Western Massachusetts and partner agencies for a "Passover Pack" for kids of all ages (through 7th grade)! This Passover Pack includes a wooden seder plate and mosaic craft, a "finding the chametz" kit, a set of activity cards, a printed (screen-free!) escape room activity for the entire family, and access to the JKids Radio Passover Seder (to watch any time)!

The kits are free to families. All community members are invited to sponsor this project by selecting a sponsorship. Your donation in any amount is deeply appreciated and will support the ongoing mission of PJ Library Western Massachusetts.

For more information and to signup, please visit:  

Also on Facebook:

Refugee Support Action via JAIJ and HIAS

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice Western MA are participating in a petition organized by HIAS to send a statement to Congress regarding support for refugees and asylum seekers. You can view and/or sign this petition here: If you wish to sign, choose MA: Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA from the dropdown.

Matzah Gift from Brattleboro Chabad

Chabad Jewish Center of Brattleboro is offering hand baked Shmurah Matzah as a gift this year. To sign up, visit this link and fill out the form.

Community News/Events

Housing in the US has become a commodity only available to the highest bidders—whether that be buyers or  renters. Those who do not meet the financial challenge become homeless and are treated as if their situation is a  personal failing, not the result of systemic issues designed to accommodate those with the resources. We believe  that this system must change. 

Join us for a virtual series on increasing access to affordable housing in Franklin County. On March 27, 2021 at 9 am, we kick off the event with a panel who will explore why affordable  housing is difficult to find. We will consider how housing became a commodity, how it has been  impacted by systemic racism created by government policy and what we can do with or without  government help to create more affordable housing. 

Panelists include: Brian Sargent, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, UMass Amherst; Linda Dunlavy,  Executive Director, Franklin Regional Council of Governments; State Senator Jo Comerford  US Representative Ayanna Pressley (invited). 

8 virtual workshops in April and May will dive deeper into specific action areas 

Register at 

There is no fee for the keynote or any of the workshops.

Essence of the Omer Online Class with Rebecca Golden

Essence of the Omer is an online 8 week course exploring the Jewish Ritual of Counting the Omer using Sephirot Meditation and Reflection, Flower Essences, and Art to help us count the omer and journey towards revelation. This journey will be guided and facilitated by Rebecca Golden, herbalist and Jewish meditation and mysticism learner and lover.
We will meet on Thursdays from 6:30-8pm March 25-May 13 on zoom. Together, we will do meditations, circle sharing, and have teachings on the sephirot and flower essences connected to them. During the week in between participants are invited to make art reflecting the sephirot of the week and their relationship to it, as well as take a flower essence picked especially for the energetics of sephirot of that week. 

Contact Rebecca at for more details about cost and content, to register, and to receive the zoom link. You can also check it out on the facebook event page.

Sunday, May 2, 12:30 PM: 18th Annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture & Chai Celebration

The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts is honored to join lecture founder, Dr. Herbert Birnbaum and the Birnbaum family, in presenting the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture. This year’s program features noted journalist and author, Yossi Klein HaLevi in conversation with Benjamin Birnbaum addressing the important and provocative topic, “Holding the Jewish Center.” An award-winning journalist, Ben is also Connie and Herb’s son. For more information, visit

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