Shaarey Tphiloh Prayers, by Caryl Herzfeld
Shaarey Tphiloh Prayers, by Caryl Herzfeld

Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

Please join us in our new location

Saturday morning services
9:30 a.m. Room 4A
400 Deering Avenue
Portland, Maine

December 17, 2016 – 17 Kislev 5777

Shabbat Vayishlah
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Haftarah: Obadiah 1:1-21

Candle lighting 3:47

Shabbat Service Saturday at 9:30 a.m.


Ner Lamaore

Jay and Karen Ketover, in memory of Efim Toochin and Florence Wolff

Parashat Vayishlah

“Names are important in the Jewish tradition. At the moment of Covenant and the creation of Jewish destiny, God changes Avram’s name to Avraham “for I will make you Av Hamon Goyyim/Father of a Throng of Nations” (Genesis 17:5, Everett Fox translation). This moment is replicated and re-enacted when we name our children during the Brit Milah as they enter the covenant of the Jewish people….”

“When we first are introduced to Yaakov, he is presented as a passive character: a person who “sits in tents”. Yaakov receives the covenantal birthright/blessing only through the stratagems of his mother and the feebleness of his father. When Esav learns that Yaakov has received the blessing Esav plans to kill him and Yaakov is forced to flee. Yet in this fleeing from his parents’ home, Yaakov is forced to individuate himself from his parents and forge his own identity. He marries and becomes a successful entrepreneur able to hold his own with his uncle, Laven.

One assumes, however, that Yaakov feels that he has still not earned the covenantal blessing which was taken in trickery form his brother; that he is still not his own person. These feelings are no doubt intensified when he is about to return to the land of Israel and confront Esav. At this moment, something interesting and unexpected occurs: alone and at night, Yaakov is accosted by a unnamed assailant. After wrestling with him through the night and defeating him, Yaakov demands a blessing: “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:27). Yaakov needs the recognition that he is worthy of the blessing: he has to earn it. It is no surprise then that unnamed assailant replies “Then he said: Not as Yaakov/Heel-Sneak shall your name be henceforth uttered, But rather as Yisrael/God-Fighter, for you have fought with God and man and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:29, Everett Fox translation.)

In acquiring the name of Yisrael through his own efforts and accomplishments, Yaakov overcomes the passivity and mistakes of his past. He has earned the covenantal blessing and his descendents will be known by his new name: Yisrael.”

R. Avi Weiss

Art and Resolution: 1900 to Today

“Art and Resolution: 1900 to Today” includes work by Israeli photographer Adi Nes, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick.
Call 207 | 725 | 3275 for more information or see


See a dreidel collection at the Maine Jewish Museum generously on loan
courtesy of  Stan and Doris Pollack

Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh Board Meeting

The next meeting of the Shaarey Tphiloh Board of Directors will take place on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 400 Deering Avenue. Call 773-0693 for details.

Shaarey Tphiloh Members and Friends:

Join Temple Beth El and Levey Day School, Wednesday, December 21, 5-8 p.m., 400 Deering Avenue for a Chanukah Party.


Led by volunteers Jeff & Abby Halpern

Temple Beth El Youth Lounge/Library (off of the Social Hall)

Joint Temple Beth El and Shaarey Tphiloh children’s Shabbat services will be held on the first and third Saturday every month through June.

– Tefillat Yeladim (K – 5th grade): Starting around 10:30 am. Kids will be collected from each minyan or the halls. We will finish around 11:30 am.

– Tot Shabbat (Toddler – Pre K): Starting at 11:15 am, parents, please drop off your kids at the Youth Lounge (off of the Social Hall). Kids will be returned in time for Adon Olam at the parents’ minyan.

In all programs, children within the age range are welcome to attend while parents are at either shul. Kids older than the age range are welcome to attend as special helpers. Kids younger than the age range are welcome to attend with parent’s company.

We welcome special guests (including parents or grandparents). Please email Jeff at if you want to be listed as a special guest.

Grades 11-12 Community High School Program

Avis Smith

A community monthly class for students in grades 11 and 12 will be offered on Sundays from 5:00-6:30 PM. Registration is now under way.

Everything You Never Knew about Judaism!
(All the things you would not have learned in Religious School…)

We are excited to offer once again a Jewish studies program that is open to all high school juniors and seniors in Southern Maine. Our hope is that this program will provide an opportunity to get to know other Jewish high school students from the region, and to study and learn in an informal but stimulating environment. Teacher: Avis Smith

The classes will meet once a month, for a total of nine sessions, on Sundays, from 5:00 – 6:30 PM (no dinner, only snacks). This year’s dates are: September 25, October 30, November 20, December 18, January 22, February 12, March 25, April 30, and May 14.

The cost is $100. for the year. Classes will meet at Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland. For more information and to register call Louise at 879-0028.

Holocaust Studies with Anna Wrobel

~ Holocaust Cinema: rare and esoteric films, some from the direct postwar period, most of European origin.
Classes will meet from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on Wednesdays – 10/26; 11/30; 12/21; 1/25; 3/1. Films are listed at the JCA link below
~ Primo Levi ‘book club’: one book per month (not provided). Books and ordering information are listed at the JCA link below.
Classes will meet from 6:00-8:00pm on Wednesdays – 11/2; 12/7; 1/4; 2/1; 3/8 $100.
All classes held will be at JCA – 57 Ashmont Street, Portland, Maine

Yahrzeits This Week

18 Kislev David Fineberg, Sidney Fogelson, Aaron Garber, Etta Goodman

19 Kislev Meyer Lerman

20 Kislev Thelma Gardner, Annie Kovensky, Lewis Lerman, Lois Levitan, Benjamin Lourie, Harry Rosenbloom, Benjamin Shuman

21 Kislev Saul Brenerman, Bella Cope, Anna Fink

22 Kislev George Lane, Anna Pinansky, Esther Weiss

23 Kislev Hyman Drecksler, Bertha Mack, Sadie Serulnick

24 Kislev Lewis Bertfield, Nettie Gershenson, Louis Green, Percy Abling, Regina Grunes, Dora Levine, Max Milstein, Ruth Modes, Abraham Pachowsky

Shaarey Tphiloh is now celebrating 112 years as a traditional Jewish spiritual home in Maine! 

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