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Visit us this weekend! Something for everyone...

Happy March (almost)! We are kicking off the month with a full schedule this weekend: a Hadassah sponsored Shabbat Service on Friday, a film screening on Saturday, and on Sunday a potluck meet & greet for our new effort 'Superbia: Designing Resilient Neighborhoods.' The Superbia project was profiled in last weekend's Greenfield Recorder, read the story here:

TONIGHT, Feb 28, at 7pm, Palestinian peace activist Ali Abu Awwad is leading a conversation at Congregation B'nai Israel of Northampton. Co-sponsored by TIG. For more information see the facebook event:

Table of Contents

  • This weekend: Hadassah Shabbat, Film Screening, Superbia Potluck
  • Yiddish Class starts on Sunday
  • Purim: Prep March 5, Celebrate March 11
  • Arts Weekend Update
  • Rabbi Message from February 28: From a colleague in Philadelphia
  • Community Announcements

Coming Up This Weekend!

Hadassah Sponsored Shabbat & Famous Chocolate Oneg

Friday, March 3, 7pm

TI is delighted to host this year's Haddasah evening service followed by the famous Chocolate Oneg.

The theme this year is Building because the gifts for building the ancient sanctuary is described on this shabbat. Hadassah members are builders too: they build community, this incredible organization, and the Hadassah Hospital in Israel!

Come for the sisterhood. Stay for the chocolate!

'Raise the Roof' Film Screening

Saturday, March 4, 6:30pm Nosh & Chat, 7:30pm Screening

TI's Cultural Art Programming group's 'Embracing Diversity' film and discussion series continues with "Raise the Roof"

'Raise the Roof' film banner

This powerful and dynamic film follows two inspired artists, Laura and Rick Brown, as they embark on a huge ten-year project to re-construct a replica of the stunning, mural-covered Gwozdziec Synagogue in Poland, including more than 300 students and artists from 16 countries. In 2014, this international team completed an incredible journey to rebuild, using period tools, one of Poland's most glorious architectural treasures, destroyed by the Nazis during WW II. By its completion they have done far more than reconstruct a lost synagogue; they have recovered a lost world.

We selected this film because of its beauty, poignance, and relevance to so many in our Greater Greenfield community whose roots in Poland. Its message and visuals are potent reminders for us today, of our need to live in peace, of the importance of building and maintaining our communities, and our need to remain open to one another. Please join us!

Facebook event:

Meet and Greet Pot Luck: Superbia - Designing Resilient Neighborhoods

Sunday, March 5, 4-7pm

Neighbors and members of Temple israel are invited to a (vegetarian) potluck dinner and discussion on planning resilient neighborhoods. We hope to study the opportunities to work together to grow food, share tools, know our neighbors and other goals of interest to We the Participants!

This is the first of a 3 part series to understand the how and why of re-imagining neighborhood resilience. In future meetings we will do a walking tour of our neighborhood and engage in a design process to map out our ideas and any projects we wish to support going forward.

Abrah Dresdale will facilitate our first meetings. Abrah is a teacher of perma-culture design principles and a skilled and gifted facilitator. There is no charge for the series - but do plan to bring a veggies soup, side or dessert. RSVP appreciated: office(@)

Yiddish Class

Temple Israel of Greenfield hosts its eleventh series of Yiddish classes, "What Yiddish Tells Us about Being Jewish," taught by Yosl Kurland.

Six Sunday mornings this Spring: 10:30 am on March 5 and 19, April 2 and 23, and May 7 and 14, 2017. May 21 is a make-up date in case of a cancellation.

The grandmother and her grandchild were on a bus in Tel Aviv. The grandmother was speaking to the child in Yiddish and the child was answering in Hebrew. "Redt Yiddish," (speak Yiddish) the grandmother would say every so often, but the child continued speaking Hebrew. Another passenger overhearing the conversation spoke up, "Lady, the child speaks a beautiful Hebrew. Why do you want him to speak Yiddish?" "Ikh vil," she answered, "er zol nisht fargesn az er iz a Yid." (I want that he shouldn't forget that he is a Jew."

What is it about Yiddish that its very structure contains the essence of Yiddishkayt (Jewishness)? The above sentence, if said in standard English would be, "I don't want him to forget...." Why the "shouldn't"? Shouldn't isn't an exact translation. The Yiddish word "zoln" turns the sentence into the subjunctive, indicating that we know we have no control over whether our wishes will be fulfilled, especially if they involve the actions of another, or of God. It's an acknowledgement of humility. As the Yiddish proverb goes, "Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht." (A person thinks (plans) and God laughs.)

Everywhere Jews have lived they have had internal bilingualism, using Hebrew for prayer and study, and a local Judeo-vernacular for daily life, in addition to whatever other languages they used to communicate with non-Jews. It could be Judeo-Italian, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino or Judezmo), Judeo-Farsi (Persian) or Yiddish. Believe it or not, there is a Judeo-English because Jews need such a language to express Jewish concepts in English.

Here, for example is a sentence in Judeo-English. "I went to shul to daven this past erev-shabbos and it was a good thing because I made a minyan so someone could say kaddish." (I went to the Synagogue last Friday evening, the beginning of the Sabbath, to pray in the manner that Jews traditionally pray, and it was good that I went because I was the tenth person, which made the group a quorum of ten people which is required for public prayer which enabled someone to recite a prayer with the support of the community in memory of someone who had died.) The sentence is English, but it wouldn't make much sense to someone who isn't familiar with the Jewish concepts.

But why should we know Yiddish instead of just using Judeo-English? Because the Yiddish Language contains the accumulated wit, irony, wisdom, poetry, laughter and tears of a thousand years of Eastern European Jewish civilization, plus another three thousand or so years of Jewish
civilization before that. Yiddish is the key to vast treasures of Literature. It unlocks the essence of who we Ashkenazic Jews are.


Yosl Kurland teaches Yiddish language and Literature at Temple Israel and at workshops across North America from New Mexico to Quebec. Classes focus on the relationship between the Yiddish language and Jewish religion, culture and philosophy, and make use of songs, poetry, idiomatic expressions and vocabulary building games. Although we are studying texts from Yiddish song, poetry and prose literature in depth, the classes are designed to accommodate students with some, little, or no familiarity with the language. Interested teenagers are welcome in Yosl's adult ed. Yiddish classes.

Suggested tuition: $15 per session or $75 for the series for Temple Israel members, $20 per session or $100 for the series for non-members. Or pay what you can. No one will be turned away if you can't pay.

Yosl studied Yiddish at the Columbia University/YIVO Summer program and at UMass Amherst. He writes Yiddish poetry and songs and is the lead Yiddish singer in the Wholesale Klezmer Band. For more information and class schedule see:

Yosl will also be singing his original songs, teaching a workshop on Jewish music, and participating in a panel on 'Making Jewish Art & Art-making as Jews' at Temple Israel's weekend of Art, Creativity, & Community Friday, March 24, 2017 -7:15pm to Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 5:00pm. For more information, see:

Zayt gezunt (be healthy),

Yosl (Joe) Kurland
Gan Eydn Jewish Art and Music
Colrain, MA 01340
Phone: 413-624-3204

Purim Celebration

Sunday, March 5 (Prep) & Sunday, March 11 (Celebration)

Families are invited to bring their children to Temple Israel on Sunday, March 5 to prepare for Purim. Hebrew school students will start the day at 10 a.m. All other children, will come at 11 to hear the story of the holiday, bake homentashen, and make masks. We'll have our Purim Carnival games ready to play. Snack will be provided. We will have special activities for pre-schoolers.
All ages welcome.

Purim begins on Saturday evening, March 11 this year. We will begin the celebration for children on Shabbat afternoon at 5:15 p.m. We will serve a meal at 5:30 and have interactive games and stories for the children. At 7 p.m. the congregation will gather for Havdalah, the ceremony that concludes the Sabbath, and the children will begin the festivities by performing a song and starting the costume parade. A Purimshpil, a play created for the holiday, will enact a version of the story, and the children who are able to stay will be welcome to help act it out.

Arts Weekend Update

Preparation for the Art, Creativity, & Community Weekend March 24-26 is ramping up! We confirmed the lineup for Saturday evening's concert - ReBelle, Sue Kranz & Friends, Yosl Kurland, and Maggid David Arfa. We've also confirmed performances for the Sunday afternoon Kids' program. We'll have handmade puppets and stories from Anna Sobel, and songs from Felicia Sloin!

Many wonderful workshops will also be presented on Sunday afternoon. For a full list, and to sign up for the workshops of your choice, please fill out this form:

Facebook Event:

Rabbi Message: February 28

From a colleague in Philadelphia, Miryam Klotz:

Last count was 539 headstones overturned.

We await news from the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia for how to help repair the cemetery. Meanwhile, prayers for the deceased and their families; funds being donated; vigils taking place; Mayor Kinney denouncing this act of hate. I am honestly still in shock from imagining how much intentional strength went into causing this damage. Yet, stronger than the sickening bewilderment at intentional cruelty is the strength of shared hearts, minds and muscles to right what was wronged and reveal the power of love in response to baseless hate.

Community Announcements

Brown RISD Hillel Shabbaton for Prospective Students - Register by March 3

Brown RISD Hillel is hosting a shabbaton for 11th & 12th grade prospective students from March 17-18!

Claire Fishman and Micaela Raviv, students at Brown University, are planning this event to allow prospective Jewish students to experience and explore the Shabbat culture and Jewish life on campus.

This Shabbaton has no cost for the students other than personal travel expenses. Housing for the weekend will be arranged with current student hosts. They recommend students arrive early Friday morning so they can have an opportunity to sit in on classes. Kosher food will be provided at Hillel on Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night. If students arrive earlier, we can arrange meals in the dining hall which serves Kosher food. There will be both Reform and Egalitarian services at Hillel Friday evening and a joint service Saturday morning.

Students who are interested should RSVP through this Google form: Brown Prospective Student Shabbaton Form.

Responses should be submitted by Friday, March 3rd. Registration is on a first come first serve basis.

For more info:
Micaela Raviv: [email protected]
Claire Fishman: [email protected]

'Get Ready for Purim' event for 3-5 Year Olds @ Eric Carle Museum March 5

Get ready for Purim on Sunday, March 5 at 10:00am with PJ Preschool Pals at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Lander-Grinspoon Academy's Kindergarten teacher Amy Meltzer and the staff of the Eric Carle Museum will lead songs, stories and crafts.
Space is limited. This is a fee based event and pre-registration is required at

March 6 Benefit for The Literacy Project at Hope and Olive

Monday, March 6 Hope & Olive will be hosting a Soup & Games night 5:00-7:30pm, to benefit the Literacy Project. 44 Hope St, Greenfield.

Tallis-Making Workshop

March 19, 2017, 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Temple Israel, 107 Walnut St., Athol MA

Make your own tallis/tallit. Workshop led by Peggy Davis and Rabbi Bob Sternberg. To register, or for more information, call Peggy 413-624-3204.
Registration deadline: March 8 to ensure we have enough materials.
Supplies: Bring a large piece(s) of cloth to make the tallis itself, a smaller contrasting cloth for the atarah (collar) and four corner patches, and thread to match the cloth. Recommended fabrics are cotton, silk or light wool. Do not use a fabric that mixes wool and linen.
Cost: $15 per household plus $5 for each set of tsitsis threads, the four knotted tassels in the corners.
You will learn how to do the knotted pattern.
Please bring needles, pins, sewing machine, iron and/or ironing board if you are able.