Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Welcome to Shabbat Services

Parashat Vayikra

Shabbat Zakhor

March 18-19, 2016 – 9 Adar II 5776

Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Maftir: Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Haftarah: I Samuel 15:2-34

Candle lighting 6:34 p.m.

Friday evening services 6:30 p.m.

Saturday morning services at 9:30 a.m.

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

Larry and Donna Geller, in memory of beloved aunt, Jennie Peretz
Harriet Weisman, in memory of beloved husband, Robert Weisman
Harriet Weisman, in memory of beloved sister, Frances Jacobson
Harriet Weisman, in memory of beloved brother, Samuel Kroot
Louis and Shula Bornstein, in honor of and grateful thanks to Arthur and Gerald Cope, and to the Cope family, for their many years of dedicated, loving care of Mount Carmel Cemetery, and life-long devotion and contribution to Portland and the Jewish faith




Parashat Vayikra

This week, we begin the middle book of the Pentateuch, Leviticus or Vayikra. The content of the majority of this tract is Temple-centric: sacrificial laws, laws of purity and impurity, consecration, matters of holiness. Rabbinic tradition dubs this book “Torat Kohanim,” the Priestly teaching.

On the one hand, the content of Vayikra is vital. Commenting on the Mishna: “On three things the world stands: Torah, Worship and Good Deeds,” Maimonides defines ‘worship’ as the sacrifices and the ritual temple service. (See Rambam’s comments, Avot 1:2) Yet, on the other hand, to the modern reader these texts feel foreign as we struggle to find relevance and applicability of the priestly texts to the current Jewish experience. After all, the Jewish people live in an exilic state; temple reality is still a dream.

While we may read the subject matter of Vayikra as outsiders, the book begins as an invitation. The opening verse reads: “And He called out to Moshe and G-d spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying.” (Leviticus 1:1) Commenting on this verse, the Midrash offers a parable: A king commands his servant to erect a palace. At every stage of construction, the palace bears the name of the king. When the kings enters the completed palace, he reflects: ‘my servant has done all this in my honor, can I reside inside while my servant stands outside?!’ And the servant is welcomed to the inner chamber. (See Vayikrah Rabba 1:7)

G-d’s discomfort leads G-d to call upon and invite Moshe to the Tabernacle.

G-d declares that Moshe belongs inside, not outside. Do our temples recognize the vital importance of each person as an architect and builder? Do our synagogues feel the discomfort of self-imposed isolation? And can the architects and builders hear the call, the invitation to the inner sanctum, when our communities pronounce them?

The introduction to the Pesach Seder, in its call to the community to educate and celebrate the redemption from Egypt, provides a powerful corrective for the alien and alienating community as we extend the famous invite: “All who are afflicted, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Pesach.” (Pesach Hagadah, Ha Lachma An’yah)

Rabbi Menashe East
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah


Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh and Temple Beth El will celebrate Purim together this year. See you on Wednesday, March 23, 5:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El for a light meal and megillah reading at 6:30 p.m.
See for more information.

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!

Garth Silberstein, rabbinic intern from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, will be here several times in the coming months. Please join us:

March 19―Four Mitzvot of Purim
April 23―Passover

Sunday, February 28:
Garth Silberstein was a guest Sunday, February 28, on Sunday Simcha, Jewish music radio. If you missed it, find the interview in their archives at Sunday Simcha 90.9 FM, WMPG. It will be available for five weeks. Join DJ Gail Wartell as she engages Garth in a conversation about environmentalism and Judaism.

WMPG is a community radio station broadcasting from Portland, Maine. It is located on Bedford Street at the University of Southern Maine Portland Campus. Affiliated with the college, a mix of USM students and volunteers from the greater Portland community produce all the music and local public affairs programs.

Sunday Simcha 90.9 FM, WMPG, Sunday morning from 6:30-8:30

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.


Mar 12 – Cancelled
Mar 19 – Tefillat Yelidim (10:35) at Shaarey Tphiloh
Mar 26 – Shabbat Club (10:35) and Minyan Katan (11:30) at Temple Beth El
Apr 2 – Tefillat Yelidim (10:35) at Shaarey Tphiloh
Apr 9 – Shabbat Club (10:35) and Minyan Katan (11:30) at Temple Beth El
Apr 16 – Tefillat Yelidim (10:35) at Shaarey Tphiloh
Apr 23 – Cancelled
Apr 30 – Cancelled
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

11 Adar II Joseph Berman, Janette Chase
12 Adar II Charles Lewis
13 Adar II Fannie Shatz, Charles Shulman, Samuel Treshinsky, Mollie Weisman
16 Adar II Emily Goldberg

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