Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Welcome to Shabbat Services

Omer: 14
May 7, 2016 – 29 Nisan 5776
Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Mahar Hodesh 
Haftarah: I Samuel 20:18-42
Candle lighting 7:32 p.m.
Services Saturday May 7 9:30 a.m.

Kiddush generously sponsored by Doris and Stanley Pollack in
memory of beloved father, Benjamin Carroll

Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh, 76 Noyes St. Portland, ME 04103

President: Dr. Natan Kahn
Administrative Director: Susan C. Lawrence 207-773-0693
Shaarey Tphiloh Office Hours: T, Th, F 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ner Lamaore

Ruth Cohen, in memory of Stuart Lerman
Molly and Jacob Cinamon, in memory of beloved father Samuel Cinamon


A Self-Reflective God

Sometimes a dream dies. And the death of that dream becomes the focal point for how we choose to shape the future.

The Eternal spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of the Eternal. (Leviticus 16:1)

Whatever their sin may have been, for now, let us acknowledge that it is tragic when any young person dies. Sometimes they die for just causes, and sometimes for the wars of those more powerful than they are. Sometimes young people die for causes that others might judge to be “foolishness.”

The obscurity in the Torah text over the nature of Nadab and Abihu’s “alien fire” is apt. Whatever they intended to procure clearly missed the mark. The very Deity whom they are trying to honor instead strikes them down. The result is a tragedy. Their father is numb and silent. Their leader, Moses, takes matters into his own hands, and commands their cousins to remove the bodies.

What follows are several chapters of seemingly out-of-place laws (Leviticus chapters 12-15) on bodily purity. Yet, their placement is instructive and functions here as safeguards for the community. They teach: when you are in such and such a state, do not approach the sanctuary, for you too may end up like Aaron’s sons.

At the completion of the delivery of the purity laws to all the Israelites, the Torah returns to the event of Aaron’s tragic loss. Now, the advice is specifically directed to the family of the deceased, as if to give Aaron some time to mourn his loss before trying to give him advice. Moses is to tell Aaron that he cannot come b’chol eit, “anytime” (Leviticus 16:2) into the innermost part of the sanctuary, but only once a year.

These directions for sacred service do not emerge in isolation, but following the deaths of two who “drew near to God” (Leviticus10:3). The purity laws and the Day of Atonement laws serve not only as warnings to people who might approach the sanctuary, but also as a reminder of God’s responsibility. God, who willingly chooses to encounter us, must provide a life-affirming system. The laws in this portion should also be read as a rededication of God’s commitment to sustain life in human-divine encounters.

Elizabeth W. Goldstein , PhD (HUC-JIR 2001), is assistant professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) / Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)

Portland, ME
400 Deering Avenue
Temple Beth El (Conservative)
May 11 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Join the Jewish Community for a solemn ceremony for this year’s Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror followed by an uplifting celebration marking 68 Years of Israel’s Independence
Children’s activities and Israeli food
Please RSVP (207) 772-1959
Participants are encouraged to wear blue and white.
Please be in touch if you:
* Have a name or story of a fallen soldier or victim of terror that you would like shared *
* Served in the IDF and would like to share your story of army life *
* Have photos from your travels to Israel in the past year that you would like to share *

2016 Maine Conference for Jewish Life!

Registration is on a roll!

We have a special price available to those who register early, but this opportunity to save on the conference ends March 31. Please register today to get a special deal!

On June 17 – 19, 2016, at Colby College in Waterville, come enjoy Maine’s only state-wide Jewish conference. We offer superlative learning, speakers from near and far, good food, great socializing, and the opportunity to learn, play, and meet with Jews from all over our beautiful state.

The schedule is up on the MCJL website! Though more information will continue to go up, you can see the many amazing offerings we’ll have — from a crash course in trope to ASL translation for prayer to the amazing power of kugel to a teens mocktail-making session, the MCJL offers a ton of varied opportunities for learning.

This year, we’re featuring a special track of learning specifically to empower small congregations with the skills they might want or need — and have difficulty finding elsewhere. Learn how to run a successful synagogue garden, book group, and social justice committee; how to conduct a tahara; how to build a learning and praying community in the absence of clergy… and much more. Register today to reserve your spot!

You can always find interesting updates on our Facebook page. If you have any questions regarding registration, the schedule, or other aspects of the MCJL, please don’t hesitate to be in touch!


Wish List:

  • Diapers and wipes
  • RICE!!
  • Baked Beans
  • Pasta Sauce & Pasta
  • Kid Friendly Snacks-granola bars, etc.
  • Cereal
  • Juice Boxes

Learning Opportunity at Chabad House

On Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Shimon Simons will teach Maimonides’ Hilchot Deot, “laws of character development,” at Chabad House, 11 Pomeroy Street, Portland. The next class meeting is Tuesday, January 19. Texts will be provided. Call Chabad House at 871-8947 for more details or check the December issue of the Jewish Journal.


Every year, the Yiddish Book Center welcomes a group of enthusiastic, engaged high school students for our Great Jewish Books Summer Program. Applications for the 2016 program are due April 1.

Now in its fifth year, Great Jewish Books brings together a diverse group of rising high school juniors and seniors to spend a week reading important works of modern Jewish literature and discussing them in seminar-style classes led by college professors. Outside of class, they meet renowned visiting authors, enjoy group recreational activities in the Amherst area, and get a taste of college life while staying (with staff RAs) in dorms on the Hampshire College campus, adjacent to the Yiddish Book Center.

All students admitted to the program receive scholarships covering the full cost of tuition, room and board, books, and special events.

Because the program has proven so popular in the past, this year we’re offering two sessions of Great Jewish Books: July 24-29 and July 31-August 7.

You can learn more about the program at or by calling or e-mailing us at 413-256-4900, ext. 143, I’m also including a flyer about the program that can be downloaded here, which I hope you will post and share with others.

As we look forward to another exciting summer of Great Jewish Books, we appreciate your sharing this information with any prospective applicants you know.


All kids pre-bar/bat mitzvah are invited to all of our programs; however, each program is targeted to a different age group. Parents are invited to attend as well, but parent attendance isn’t necessary (except Minyan Katan) unless your child needs supervision. We expect parents and guests that attend to participate fully in the program.


May 7 – Shabbat Club (10:35) and Minyan Katan (11:30) at Temple Beth El

Note: Schedule is still changing as we coordinate with guests and the community.

Program Descriptions

Minyan Katan (New Program at Temple Beth El)
Targeted to 1-3 year olds
Mostly Shabbat related songs in a circle time environment with some finger
plays and movements
Short story around Jewish themes
At least one parent must be in attendance with kids

Shabbat Club (at Temple Beth El)
Targeted to 4-7 year olds
Prayers consist of mostly shacharit
Includes singing and dancing
Story for the kids around the parsha

Tefillat Yelidim (at Shaarey Tphiloh)
Targeted for 8-10 year old
Prayers consist mostly of preliminaries
Israeli style davening and tunes
In-depth discussion or d’var for older kids

No electronic devices are permitted. No electronic children’s toys or cell phones or cameras are permitted in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

Please consider making a gift to one of our many funds. Call the office at 773-0693 for details. Thank you for your support of Shaarey Tphiloh. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Yahrzeits This Week

30 Nisan Aisaac Dansky, James Nemon, Gertrude Whitney
1 Iyar Abram Berenson, Paige Borelli, Morris Crasnick, Patricia Ketover, Paul Lerman, Freda Reiner, Baile Seigal, Sara Urdang
2 Iyar Mrs. Fineberg, David Gerber, David Long, Louis Rubin
3 Iyar Fannie Levey, Maurice Levi, David Polakewich, Minnie Posner, Mark Sulkowitch
4 Iyar Lillian Goffin, Harry Goldberg, Abraham Taylor
5 Iyar Bessie Modes, Sara Silverman
6 Iyar Yetta Jaworniker, Annie Tellan, Maxwell Wiesenthal

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