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Embedded within us

04/09/2021 02:27:48 PM

Apr9

What matters most on the journey

04/02/2021 01:55:01 PM

Apr2

Time is short

03/26/2021 11:16:53 AM

Mar26

Spring into possibility

03/19/2021 01:45:51 PM

Mar19

Simcha Baby Announcement

03/15/2021 03:59:02 PM

Mar15

MAH KOREH? WHAT’S HAPPENING AT OLAM CHESED?

03/15/2021 09:32:25 AM

Mar15

It's been a busy winter at Olam Chesed. 

Though we've been apart we've been working together on all sorts of learning and finding ways to connect with one another, our JCOGS community, and the communities we live in.  

We went down to Egypt with Joseph and his brothers in January, exploring the power of dreams and dreamt up our own cloaks of many colors. We hugged trees all around Vermont and then came together online to create sumptuous platters for Tu biShvat.

Then came Purim and we delved into the mitzvah of mishloach manot: the kids sent beautiful cards of appreciation to one another and families put together creative and delicious packages of goodies which they delivered to JCOGS members far and wide.  We also flipped for Rabbi David's challenge to celebrate the joy of Adar!  Scroll down a few posts to see all different stages of upside down!

As spring brings a sense of hope to the world we are diving deeply into the mitzvah of our most precious prayer, the Shema, and the concept of ahavah/love. Last week we made personal mezuzot out of a range of materials incorporating our own interpretations of the Shema inside.

 Our teens participated this past weekend in a wonderful online Seder focused on slavery in the  modern world.  Together with teens from Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington, Beth El Synagogue in St. Johnsbury, and Kol Haemek/Upper Valley Jewish Community in Hanover, NH, they learned about migrant workers in Vermont while dipping their carpas, examined where their clothing came from, and contrasted the tragic conditions of textile workers in Bangladesh with the Triangle Shirtwaist fire as we tasted the maror, and discussed how and why to source our food reliably as we nibbled on fair trade chocolate.

 Families are helping with tikkun olam, too.  Pictured here, Ruby, Eliana, Ivy, and Steve spent a day during winter break making order of all the clothing donations we had received.  Thanks to their superb organizing (which involved a lot of laughing) now, when we get a call to help clothe our neighbors we know exactly where to go and what we've got.

Stay tuned for more ways to help, including volunteering with the new JCOGS Mitzvah Garden! Who knows? Maybe we'll have spuds for our latkes again this year! Click here for more information.
 

 

   Please support our March Appeal, and help us continue to build the
   future of Judaism by welcoming children of all ages, all locations, and all
   economic levels into our education programs.   

 

Women

03/12/2021 02:05:59 PM

Mar12

From your rabbi

03/05/2021 01:56:34 PM

Mar5

Who would have thought - a JCOGS President

03/01/2021 10:03:31 AM

Mar1

MEETING THE CHALLENGE UPSIDE-DOWN

02/28/2021 12:15:15 PM

Feb28

Did you know there is a trend of rabbis standing on their heads across the country?

Rabbi David has made a tradition of doing a handstand each year to celebrate the topsy-turvy fun of the Hebrew month of Adar and to honor the holiday of Purim when evil plans were turned into jublilant celebration.  This year he challenged the families of Olam Chesed to turn themselves upside-down.  Take a look at how many different ways our families flipped for joy, from summer splashes to incredible gymnastics, from sibling support, to family yoga. Who would have thought there were so many wonderful ways to celebrate the upside down nature of Adar?  

  When Adar begins joy increases! Mishenichnas Adar marbim b'simchah  משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה!

 

 

It’s been one year

02/26/2021 12:39:46 PM

Feb26

Celebrate!

02/19/2021 12:59:51 PM

Feb19

Music now at your fingertips

02/12/2021 03:45:29 PM

Feb12

WARM TOES FOR EVERYONE

02/08/2021 11:31:50 AM

Feb8

The Jewish Community of Greater Stowe (JCOGS) is pleased to announce the Warm Toes Fund, which provides socks and underwear for those in our community who are in need of these essentials. Socks and underwear are rarely included in clothing donations, yet they are essential to comfort and dignity. This fund will be perpetual, with sums provided directly to schools and health and human services organizations to provide socks and underwear for those in need.

JCOGS was pleased and astonished when one hour after initiating this fund, the sock company Bombas reached out to donate 1000 pairs of socks. This week, JCOGS will be delivering these Bombas socks to schools and organizations in the community who have requested some to have on hand for those in need. Among recipients are the North Central Vermont Recovery Center, Lamoille Family Center, and the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, as well as several schools across three districts. 

Due to a generous matching donor, JCOGS community members have donated $2,814 so far to the Warm Toes Fund, and JCOGS has already begun dispersing funds to organizations who regularly identify people in need. This fund will be evergreen, continuing to take donations and provide for our community. JCOGS invites the larger community to donate to the Warm Toes Fund by clicking here

Service providers in the area with clients in need should contact the front office: jcogs@jcogs.org or 802-253-1800. JCOGS will be glad to help out.

JCOGS especially wants to thank Bombas for their commitment to donate a pair of socks for every pair purchased. Our community has benefited from this generous program, and there will be a lot more warm toes this year because of it.

 

L’dor vaDor

02/08/2021 10:02:02 AM

Feb8

Warmth and care for all

02/05/2021 11:13:46 AM

Feb5

“I’m home.”

02/03/2021 04:52:45 PM

Feb3

Sixty-four years ago, when Steve Lichtenstein was at NYU Law School, some friends invited him over for dinner. They gave him two phone numbers. “These are two numbers,” they told him. “But you’ll like this one better.” 

That number belonged to a young woman, not quite 21 years old, who was living with her parents, as one did in those days. Steve called and invited her to a party. “I didn’t know him or anyone at the party,” Carole recalls. So she told him she was busy — “which I probably was” — and invited him to come out the following weekend.

“He came out and knocked on the door. And he always says to me that I was wearing a red dress, but it was coral. We went for a walk. We never stopped talking and talking and talking. And we fell madly in love with each other the first time we met.” 

Steve went back to Manhattan and said to his roommate: “I just met the girl I’m going to marry.” What did Carole say to herself?  “I’m home.”

They soon married. “In those days,” Carole remarks, “in order to be together like we wanted to be together, you had to be married.”

She goes on: “I was a little kooky in those days. Maybe I still am.” 

Four decades (give or take) later, they were in Stowe, having just finished dinner at the Green Mountain Inn. They saw a sign advertising Shabbat services. “And we said, ‘I didn’t know anyone else was Jewish here.’” From that point forward, Carole and Steve have remained committed to JCOGS, even before it had a name.

Today, Carole and Steve are founding members of our L’Dor vaDor Society, having included JCOGS in their estate planning. 

“We both love JCOGS because it’s so inclusive,” Carole explains. “I don’t care who you are, what religion you were before you joined JCOGS, what religion your spouse is, I don’t care what color your skin is. We welcome everyone. LGBTQ welcome. I love that. I feel that’s the right way to be for a Jewish organization.”

And, of course, “We love our rabbi. He’s so darling. He’s adorable. He’s very knowledgeable. His music is interesting, exciting, and fun. He makes Friday nights fun. His family is adorable. What else can I say?” she asks.

This is why they have chosen to put JCOGS into their will, to ensure there is a foundation of support for the next generation. “We just want this organization to go on and on.” 

Anyone who has ever seen Carole and Steve at Friday night services knows their love remains strong, and they light up JCOGS with its glow. 

“I thank God every day for bringing me to this man,” Carole says. “This is a man with a golden soul. He still is loving and affectionate and ‘What can I do to help you?’ and tucks me into bed at night. I am blessed. If I say that to him, he says he’s blessed. We are, we are blessed, we always say to each other: ‘I love you. I love you.’ I don’t know how you could not.

Our promise today for your pledge for tomorrow

02/02/2021 12:58:40 PM

Feb2

by: Marcie Scudder 

One of my most powerful memories of skiing in Stowe was Christmas Day. On that day, we had the whole mountain to ourselves. We believed it our little secret gift. We thought ourselves special. Others did not.

Among that blur of childhood memories is that of knowing that although the mountain was welcoming, not everyone was. There were clubs where we Jews were not invited. There were signs outside hotels loudly declaring: “No Jews Allowed.”

I was a child. My father loved and lived to ski. Thinking back, we could have skied anywhere. He chose this magical place, in spite of knowing that with a name like “Abramowitz” there were places we could not go.

We rented our first house when I was nine years old. As serendipity would have it, the owners were one of the few Jewish residents here in town. Immediately, there was a connection. A familiar mezuzah on the doorpost. A menorah sitting on the mantle. And candlesticks set aside for Shabbat.

Even at that young age, I wondered what it might have been like to be the onlies… the ones who did it differently… the ones who weren’t quite welcome but who still called Stowe home.

Eventually, and many years later, my mother uprooted and chose to make herself a new life here. A Holocaust survivor, coming from a large and tightly-knit Montreal Jewish community — she knew that in order to thrive… to feel safe…to grow, she’d need to plant roots. And those roots were in the form of a place in which Jews could congregate and gather. Determined to make Stowe her home, she, along with others, began the arduous process of planting the seeds that were the beginnings of JCOGS. A Jewish Community Center for all of Stowe and its surrounds.

A foundation was poured. Floors and walls and a roof took form. A religious leader and rabbi were hired. Jewish people began to openly gather and connect. Children were educated in a tradition that we know is our duty to pass on. L’dor V’dor. From one generation to another. No Jewish family need ever do it ever again alone. 

And - here I am. Hineini. I, too, have now made this magical place in these mountains my home. My mother lived and died here. My daughter was married here. My grandchildren have celebrated their mikvot here in my pond. In some bizarre and unexpected way — I’ve been handed this torch. I honor this gift. I will carry it on.

It’s for this reason that we’ve committed ourselves to the L’dor vaDor Society. We have a duty to nurture what my mother and her generation began. We have a responsibility to the many generations that follow, ensuring they will never be the onlies.

My husband Bill and I are moved that JCOGS has launched a L’dor vaDor Society, that the board is working proactively to ensure my mother’s legacy of a Jewish home in north-central Vermont. We believe so strongly in the importance of legacy giving that we are making this promise:

For every person who pledges to include JCOGS in their will, we will make a donation to the JCOGS annual fund to say “thank you.” All you have to do is call JCOGS or go on the website to find the pledge form. As soon as you have signed a pledge to support JCOGS with a gift in your estate, we will donate $180 to support JCOGS programs today.

 $180 because this is ten times chai. Chai is life. A pledge and promise to support the Jewish education and life of our children and our children’s children, so they can thrive, feel safe, and grow.

This is our gift of thanks. Thank you for honoring my mother’s work and a community’s vision. Without those who came before us, JCOGS would not be here for us today. Thank-you for embodying l’dor vador. From generation to another.

Click here to fill in the form and pledge that you will write JCOGS into your will. If you have any questions, contact our main office at 802-253-1800.

 So no Jewish family need ever do it ever alone again. 

Album launch TONIGHT

01/29/2021 11:10:32 AM

Jan29

The many, many events

01/22/2021 12:27:48 PM

Jan22

Warm Toes

01/18/2021 08:40:28 AM

Jan18

Joint statement from Vermont's Jewish communities

01/13/2021 11:21:27 AM

Jan13

The cry of true freedom

01/08/2021 10:10:28 AM

Jan8

Nothing short of amazing

01/04/2021 12:43:33 PM

Jan4

Some kind of wonderful

12/28/2020 10:04:30 AM

Dec28

olam chesed students increase the light

12/23/2020 11:01:25 PM

Dec23

In November,  the Wednesday program students were challenged by Jonah (our Jewish life teacher) to increase the light for the Hanukkah season by performing and documenting mitzvahs of all kinds.  The goal: if enough students uploaded photos and stories of their mitzvahs to  the online bulletin board called Padlet, then Rabbi David and the Olam Chesed staff would make donations to Capstone Community Action. The kids really came through! Click here to read about their wonderful deeds and acts of genuine kindness. Feel free to click on the hearts to show them some love in return.   From feeding their pets before they themselves eat, to preparing and delivering meals to neighbors and people in need, to helping in the yard and reading stories to grandparents, these kids are resourceful, helpful, and bright sparks of light!

May this shining and generous spirit set the tone for a brighter 2021. 

 

Lamoille Rock Star

12/18/2020 08:28:42 AM

Dec18

Your Hanukkah TONIGHT

12/10/2020 04:28:43 PM

Dec10

2020 in the rearview mirror

12/07/2020 10:01:47 AM

Dec7

increase the light

12/07/2020 09:54:15 AM

Dec7

This year's theme in Olam Chesed is mitzvah and as we approach the Festival of Lights, nestled deep in the darkest time of the year, we've been exploring the metaphor of bringing light into the world through acts of kindness and fulfillment of the commandment ואהבת לרעך כמוך v'ahavta l'reacha kamocha: love the other as you love yourself.  To increase the light we have challenged our students to find at least five ways that even they can bring more light into the world.  They are posting pictures and stories of their mitzvot on an interactive platform and if we reach  Lev makes sure to feed his dog, Winnie, before he sits down to eat.  Ella created Thanksgiving notes and delivered meals to new Americans to help them feel welcome.  She also showed grace after losing a game of chess by high-fiving her opponent.  Sharing these sparks of light brings awareness and hope at a time when we could all use a bit of brightening up!  Two years ago, the JCOGS community brought together an incredible group of people from across faiths and geography to sing together and banish the darkness after the Pittsburgh tragedy.  Click here to watch this inspiring video Increase the Light.

Sat, April 10 2021 28 Nisan 5781