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  • WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 1

    Words fromEtz Chaim


    Purim / March Edition 2017

    In This Issue...

    Our Israel Travellers Return! (Photos & More Start on 15)

    Purim Festivities Planned March 11th; Details Page 3

    And Please, Join Us At Etz Chaim For Minyan, Shabbos & Special

    Events — Details Inside!

  • Page 2 WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org

    Words From The Rabbi

    March 12th. Pay attention — it is crucial to hear every word.

    When Haman’s name is mentioned, twirl graggers (noisemakers) or stamp your feet to eradicate his evil name. Tell your kids that Purim is the only time when it’s a mitzvah to make noise! The Megillah is read from a handwritten parchment scroll, using an age-old tune.

    2. Give to the Needy (Matanot LaEvyonim). One of Purim’s primary themes is Jewish unity. Haman tried to kill us all. We were all in danger together, so we celebrate together, too. Hence, on Purim day we place special emphasis on caring for the less fortunate.

    Give money or food to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim, March 12th. Place two coins in a charity box earmarked for the poor. On Purim, we give a donation to whoever asks.

    3. Send Food Gifts to Friends (Mishloach Manot). On Purim we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food to friends.

    On Purim day, March 12, send a package containing at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim. It is preferable that the gifts be delivered via a third party. Children, in addition to sending their own gifts of food to their friends, make enthusiastic messengers.

    4. Feast! During the course of Purim day, March 12, gather your family, maybe invite a guest or two, and celebrate with a festive Purim meal. Traditionally, this meal begins before sundown and lasts well into the evening. The table should be festively bedecked with a nice tablecloth and candles.

    Wash for bread or challah, and enjoy a meal featuring meat, wine and plenty of Jewish songs, words of Torah and joyous Purim spirit. Sing, drink, laugh, have fun together.

    The Story of Purim in a Nutshell

    The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen — though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.

    Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed, and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar — a date chosen by a lottery Haman made (hence the name Purim, meaning“lots”).

    Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, to fast and to pray to G-d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

    On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated

    How We Celebrate

    1. Hear the Megillah. Head to your synagogue to hear the whole Megillah. The Megillah, a.k.a. “The Book of Esther,” is the scroll that tells the Purim story. Listen to the public reading twice if you can… once on Purim night, and again on Purim day. This year, that’s Saturday night, March 11 and Sunday day,

  • WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 3

    Purim? We Got The Whole Megillah Saturday

    March 11th At Etz Chaim!

    The 8th Annual Etz Chaim Purim party is will be held Saturday evening, 11th March from 7 to 10 p.m. Among other activities, the Tricky Britches will be performing and the Purim spiel will take place at 8, entitled, Dr. Zeuss meets Shakespeare. We hear it will be a short meeting as organizers prom- ise less than a half hour. The evening will also include a wine tasting hosted by Brian Dorsk and a costume parade across the bimah prior to the spiel with prizes for the best costumes. If you enjoy food, you can make your own ice cream Sundae and try our light party snack foods, hamantaschen and more. All are welcome to this free event, though we will put out a box for do- nations. Hope to see everyone for this fun, festive holiday!

  • Page 4 WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org

    Regular Services At Etz Chaim Everyone is welcome to join us for regular services held at Etz Chaim all year round:

    —Shabbat Morning — Saturdays at 9.30. Followed by Portland’s best Oneg.

    —Evening Minyan every Monday at 5.

    —Monthly Family Kabbalat Shabbat Service on the 2nd Friday of April & May. A prominent topical speaker will be part of each service and is included within the hour. NOTE: Due to Purim, there will be NO Friday evening ser- vice in March!

  • WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 5

    Etz Chaim Synagogue 267 Congress St., Portland, Maine

    04101 Phone (207) 773-2339


    Bulletin Edited By: Ted Fleischaker & Ivan Howard

    Words aboutContributing

    Recent Donations In Memory of Don Finegold

    Scott and Alise Koocher

    Howard Kaplan

    Linda Abramson

    Jackie Robinov

    Diane Sturman

    Arlyne Sacks

    Dr. Barry and Lori Saltz

    Arthur Burton, Michael Sacks

    Gerald and Selma Cope

    Edith Pagelson

    The Lunder Foundation

    Randall Patkin

    Susan Isenman

    Helen Isenman

    Martha and Steve Turner.

    In Honor of Rabbi Berenson’s Wedding to Sindee Gozansky

    Helen Isenman

    Susan Isenman,

    Teri Berenson

    Steve and Lisa Schiffman

    In appreciation to Rabbi Berenson

    East End Lofts

    Stan and Doris Pollack

    Dr. Jeff and Paula Finegold

    Seth Rigoletti and Gillian Schair

    Speedy Recovery to Maria Glaser

    Helen Isenman

    Susan Isenman

    Rabbi Berenson and Sindee Gozansky.

    Kiddush Fund

    Marshall and Amy Tinkle Steve and Lisa Schiffman Irwin and Susan Singer. To donate, contact Rabbi Berenson. Info below left.

    Etz Chaim, formerly an Orthodox congregation, is now an egalitarian, unaffiliated synagogue enjoying a resurgence in membership. All are welcome to attend weekly services on Monday Evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as once-a-month on Friday eve- nings, and for special holidays throughout the year.

    Lifecycle ceremonies such as bar/bas mitzvahs, wed- dings, funerals, baby naming, and vow renewals all take place here. Contact us if you would like us to host your special event.

    Etz Chaim is located in the Downtown Portland His- toric District, on the peninsula at the foot of Mun- joy Hill. The neighborhood housed so many Jewish families at the turn of the twentieth century, that it was commonly referred to as “Jerusalem of the North.”

    Established in 1921, Etz Chaim is celebrating its 96th year of continuous service to Jews in Greater Portland and beyond.

    Words about Etz Chaim

  • Words From The Kitchen

    There was a lot I had to learn when Ivan & I moved to Portland in mid-2015 (Hard to believe it’s been almost two years!) but one of the fastest lessons I got was that, in my Midwest mind- set steaks, roasts and beef were not up to the quality I loved from Indiana, but there was a myriad of seafood which I’d never before seen in my kitchen or even on a shelf, in a cooler or laid out on ice as they do so well at Harbor Fish Market in Portland or at Dock’s Seafood in SoPo.

    Allow me to say that I am aware many readers do keep Kosher and while I personally do not (and despite the fact that some- one told me at least one rabbi claimed Lobsters and Shrimp, being God’s gifts to Maine were Kosher here) I will be trying to stick to the rules and offering a seafood recipe which works with either salmon or swordfish — the latter of which I have had a very liberal education about recently. (Not kosher? Who knew?)

    I will say even some experts are not sure of Swordfish’s kashrut status. In fact, The Jerusalem Post published an article (you can find it in it’s entirety at www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Ko- sher-conundrums) about that fact a few years back.

    Let me say that 95% of what I have learned about cooking seafood has been handed to me in recipes and friends’ kitch- ens since coming to Maine. I cannot remember my usually culinarily helpful Grandma Gertrude ever offering anything “seafood” but salmon or tuna croquettes (both made with canned fish) or those fish sticks which are often more filler than fish and live in the grocery’s freezer aisle by the pizza.

    As a child I can never remember mom making more than a bland oven-baked-to-death piece of fish and rarely even that as dad much enjoyed his steaks, burgers a