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


October 8, 2016 – 6 Tishri 5777

Shabbat Shuvah


Deuteronomy 31:1-30
Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10
Micah 7:18-20
Joel 2:15-27

Candle lighting 5:51 p.m.



Annabelle Mack died on Tuesday, October 4 in Falmouth, Maine. She was a lifelong, actively involved member of Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh. We mourn the passing of this exemplary Eshet Chayil, Woman of Valor.

Her funeral will be held at the Portland Jewish Funeral Home in the Levey Chapel at 12 noon on Friday, October 7. Rabbi Moshe Wilansky and Rabbi Gary Berenson will lead the service.

Following the funeral, friends and family are invited to the Chabad House at 11 Pomeroy Street in Portland for a meal. Shiva will be held in Montreal.

Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh extends its condolences to her family, brother and sister Gerald Boxstein and Bernice Bratz, and friends.

Ner Lamaore

Larry and Donna Geller, in memory of our beloved mother, Fradle Geller

Larry and Donna Geller, in memory of our uncle, Barney Mofenson

Parashat Vayelekh:
Singing in the Torah

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the last days of Moshe Rabbeinu as he turns to the nation openly and says, “Today, I am one hundred and twenty years old. I can no longer go or come.” Moshe, the Jewish nation’s first leader, who took the nation out of Egypt, who brought down the two tablets from Mount Sinai and led the nation with great dedication during its forty-year journey through the desert, is parting from the nation. But not before appointing the next leader – Yehoshua bin Nun.

What was the farewell gift Moshe Rabbeinu left for Am Yisrael? We read in the Torah portion about the last of the 613 commandments that Moshe wrote in the Torah: the commandment to write a Torah. It says as follows: And now, write for yourselves this song, and teach it to the Children of Israel. Place it into their mouths… (Deuteronomy 31:19) This verse can be understood as hinting at Shirat Ha’azinu, the song appearing in the next Torah portion, and several commentators indeed understood it that way. But the sages of the Talmud understood this verse as referring to the entire Torah: “Even though one’s ancestors left him a Torah scroll there is a mitzvah to write one on his own, as it says ‘And now, write for yourselves this song.’” (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Sanhedrin, 21b)

This reading raises a question – Why is the Torah referred to here by the unusual term “song”? Why is it in this specific commandment that we find this term and not in the other mitzvot of the Torah? Rabbi Yechiel Michal Epstein (a Russian rabbi of the 19th and early 20th centuries, author of a series of books on Halacha called Aruch Hashulchan) wrote a wonderful thought on this: “Any argument between Tanaim and Amoraim, or between Geonim and Poskim (halachic arbitrators), whose genuine aim is to get to the bottom of an issue, represents the words of the living G-d and has halachic status. Moreover, it glorifies our holy and pure Torah, which we call a song, the beauty of the song being that the voices are all different. This is why its nature is so delightful. And whoever wanders the sea of Talmud will see different beauty in all the voices that are different from one another.” (Introduction to Aruch Hashulchan-Choshen Hamishpat) Meaning, the plurality of opinions, disputes, methods and styles of understanding the Torah is not a fault. On the contrary, it is on purpose. And it is the incredible symphony of these different voices that combine to form an incredible creation that captures the hearts of all who hear it. – Anonymous

Children’s Shabbat Services

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. 

Shaarey Tphiloh Deconsecration Ceremony
YouTube Video

View the Shaarey Tphiloh deconsecration ceremony and last service at
76 Noyes St. on YouTube HERE.

Sunday Simcha
WMPG 90.9
Sunday mornings from 6:30-8:30am

Long time DJ, Gail Wartell, has left WMPG. Now, two hours of fabulous Jewish music is brought to you by volunteer DJs from the community. Shaarey Tphiloh members, Natan and Yoel Kahn, are your occasional hosts.Listen to recent shows from 9/11 and 9/25 at See Archives.

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine

The Samspon Center at USM is seeking a new member or two for its Judaica Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee works with the Special Collections department of the Glickman Library in matters related to Jewish issues. Call Chairperson Susan Cummings-Lawrence at 773-0693 for more information.

High Holiday Schedule

You can also find a complete schedule for the High Holidays and other holidays through Simchat Torah at our website, weekly e-mail announcements and in the new Shaarey Tphiloh space at 400 Deering Avenue.  

Tel: 773-0693
See us on Facebook

High Holidays 5777

Please join Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh for the High Holidays in our new location 400 Deering Ave, Room 4a, Portland, ME

Our speakers, prayer leaders, Torah readers and shofar blowers include:
Rabbinic interns and Chazzanim – Josh Pernick and Levi Mastrangelo from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Eitan and Yoel Kahn – Chazzanim
Natan, Yoel and Yoni Kahn – Torah readers
Teddy Lockman and Natan Kahn – Shofar

Sunday, October 2nd, Erev Rosh Hashana
Candle lighting at 6pm
Maariv (evening service) at 6pm

Monday, October 3rd and Tuesday, October 4th, first/second days of Rosh Hashana
Shacharit (morning service) at 8:30 am
Tashlich (discarding “sins” into body of water) TBA
Mincha (afternoon service) at 6 pm
Havdalah at 7 pm, Tuesday, October 4th

Tuesday, October 11th, Erev Yom Kippur
Candle lighting at 5:44 pm
Kol Nidrei at 5:45 pm

Wednesday, October 12th, Yom Kippur
Shacharit (morning service) at 8:30 am
Mincha (afternoon service) at 4:45 pm
Neilah (concluding service) at 5:45 pm
Havdalah at 6:45 pm followed by Break Fast with Temple Beth El

This year, because of our new more intimate space, reserved seats are available only for dues-paying members, volunteers and donors, space permitting. There will be free seating available in our temporary, expanded space that is adjacent and open to the regular space. Please contact the office at 773-0693 for any reserved seating requests.

There will be no services on the Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

Sukkot services

First night of Sukkot
Sunday, October 16th

Candlelighting at 5:36 pm
Maariv (evening service) at 5:40 pm

First and second days of Sukkot
Monday, October 17th and Tuesday, October 18th

Shacharit (morning service) at 9:30 am
Mincha (afternoon service) TBA

Buy your Etrog and Lulav through the synagogue office. Deadline: October 6, 2016. Call Susan at 773-0693

Shmini Atzeret

Monday, October 24th

Shacharit (morning service) at 9:30 am
Yizkor (Memorial service) at 11:15 am

Simchat Torah

Tuesday, October 25th

Shacharit (morning service) at 9:30 am

Join Shaarey Tphiloh and Temple Beth El in dancing and singing in celebration of the Torah

On the Day of Atonement

On the Day of Atonement in 1967, I
Put on my dark holiday suit and went
To the Old City in Jerusalem.  I stood,
For some time, before the alcove of an
Arab’s shop, not far from the Damascus
Gate, a shop of buttons and zippers
And spools of thread in all colors, and
Snaps and buckles.  A glorious light and
A great many colors like a Holy Ark
With its doors ajar.

I told him in my heart that my father,
Too, had such a shop of threads and
Buttons.  I explained to him in my
Heart all about the tens of years and the
Reasons and the circumstances because
Of which I am now here and my
Father’s shop is in ashes there, and he
Is buried here.

By the time I had finished, it was the
Hour of the ‘locking of the Gates.’  He
Too pulled down the shutters and locked
The gate, and I went back home with
All the worshippers.

                                          -Yehuda Amichai
Tr. T. Carmi


A piyyut is a Jewish liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services. Piyyutim have been written since Temple times. Most piyyutim are in Hebrew or Aramaic, and most follow some poetic scheme, such as an acrostic following the order of the Hebrew alphabet or spelling out the name of the author.


Many piyyutim are familiar to regular attendees of synagogue services. For example, the best-known piyyut may be Adon Olam (“Master of the World”), sometimes (but almost certainly wrongly) attributed to Solomon ibn Gabirol in 11th century Spain. Its poetic form consists of a repeated rhythmic pattern of short-long-long-long, and it is so beloved that it is often sung at the conclusion of many synagogue services, after the ritual nightly saying of the Shema, and during the morning ritual of putting on tefillin. Another well-beloved piyyut is Yigdal (“May God be Hallowed”), which is based upon the Thirteen Principles of Faith developed by Maimonides.


Important scholars of piyyut today include Shulamit Elizur and Joseph Yahalom, both at Hebrew University.


Google PiyutNorthAmerica and Old Piyyut for information about selichot piyyutim, recordings, chant cards and more. Also, there are many YouTube videos of choirs and individuals singing piyyutim.

Leonard Cohen New Song You Want it Darker

This song will put you in mind of forgiveness, of yourself and others, and redemption, especially at the end of life. He is still writing poetry and music at 82!

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
See JCA Adult Education link below for details.

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.

Yahrzeits This Week

6 Tishri Lenore Baum, Louis Bernstein, Doris Bornstein, Florence Cope, Florence Fenton, Ruth Kramer, Ruth Kramer, Toba Lerman, Sadye Merdek

7 Tishri Yisrael Erlick, Samuel Greenberg, Aaron Karlin, William Levi, Hannah Levi, Ethel Pfeffer

8 Tishri Dora Baer, Fradle Geller, David Glovsky

9 Tishri Rebecca Ber, Rebecca Rubinstein, Gerald Sheriff, Rachel Sheriff, Sarah Sulkowitch

10 Tishri Fannie Goldstein, Harry Kaplan, Harold Woolf

11 Tishri Joseph Hirshon, Eugene Kolko, Carl Lebovitz, David Rubinoff, Harry Weinstein

12 Tishri Louis Berenson, Edith Cope, Ida Goldman, Robert Meltzer, Sarah Grant, Phineas Grunes


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

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