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Plagued Passover 2020

03/31/2020 03:33:05 PM


Rugelach and pincushions

03/29/2020 08:37:41 AM


From Rabbi David — Those on the front lines

03/27/2020 01:48:42 PM


Simcha Announcement

03/25/2020 02:35:12 PM


Zoom, zoom, zoom

03/25/2020 11:58:12 AM


Community right where you left it

03/22/2020 04:00:43 PM


From your Rabbi – Helping one another

03/20/2020 03:59:32 PM


Important update regarding COVID-19

03/12/2020 04:50:52 PM


Dear JCOGS family,

We know that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is on the hearts and minds of many in our community. As we hold you in our hearts, we have some important updates for you regarding upcoming events at JCOGS.

In order to allow local, state, and federal officials the time and space they need to develop a plan for unfolding events, we are exercising an abundance of caution in the coming days. 

  • We will no longer be meeting in person for upcoming events and are putting plans in place to offer live streaming for our services and our youth programs.  Stay tuned for details, including for tomorrow night’s service at 6pm.
  • Kinderlach and Gesher will meet virtually this Saturday at 9:30-10am for fun and songs with Rabbi David and special guests. Debra Ann will be in touch with those families regarding logistics.  
  • Sunday’s Mitzvah class and Wednesday’s Olam Chesed will meet virtually. Beth will be in touch with those families regarding logistics.
  • The office will be in touch with committee chairs to facilitate moving meetings to virtual. 

In any other moment like this, gathering together as a community is exactly what we would want to do. Instead, these steps will help us ensure the health of our multigenerational members. Stowe brings people from across the north east and the world together each day. Postponing events and moving to virtual work will help ensure that JCOGS does not inadvertently bring together populations from geographically removed towns that otherwise would not be crossing paths. This is a rapidly unfolding situation, so we’re hitting a pause button to allow us to aid containment efforts. Read more about flattening the curve and slowing the spread of coronavirus.

We have also scheduled to do a deep clean of the building over the next week. Health authorities make it clear that conscientious cleaning is critical to containing this virus. 

It is important to remember that disruptions like this can hit vulnerable members of the JCOGS and larger community very hard. Please make sure that you alert us if you know of someone in need physically or emotionally. We are awaiting guidance from Capstone Community Action who address local poverty in our county on how we can aid their efforts, and we will share that when we know more.
During this time, let’s stay lovingly connected to one another and think about how we can support each other and our neighbors outside of JCOGS. Please, reach out to one another. Send text messages. Make phone calls. Get on a video conference. While many of us are decreasing our social contact, we need one another more right now, not less. 

And please do reach out to Rabbi David if you would like support during this time. Social isolation is a real risk, and we want to make sure not just bodies but also our spirits are cared for: or 802-253-1800ext.1.

Personal care

  • As a reminder, if you have been exposed or believe you may have been exposed, contact your healthcare provider or urgent care and ask if you need to get screened for COVID-19. 
  • Continue to follow the CDC guidelines, especially frequent 20-second hand washing, avoid touching your face, minimizing physical contact with others, avoid directly touching public and frequently used light switches, handles, etc. and continuously clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.  You can learn more at the CDC website.

Details will continue to be uploaded on our website at and Facebook page as we have them. And we will continue to share updates with the community about our plans as they evolve. 

Blessings for health and safety,

Rabbi David Fainsilber
Emily Rosenbaum, President

JCOGS: book of jokes

02/26/2020 01:46:56 AM


JCOGS needs your jokes. Our summer fundraiser will feature a JCOGS Book of Jokes, and our fundraising goals rely upon the advertising in that book. If you're funny, this is an easy way to use your talent to support JCOGS. Email your jokes here.

collecting for our neighbors

02/14/2020 02:38:56 PM


Capstone Community Action maintains an Essentials Closet for members of our community who don't have the funds to buy essential household items. There is a critical need for the items listed below. 

There is also a pressing need for winter clothes and sneakers at some of our area elementary schools.  They need items that will fit sizes five through adult.  Please leave items that are clean and in good condition in the box in the JCOGS lobby.

Items needed for Essentials Closet:

  • Laundry and Dish Detergent
  • Paper Towels
  • Toilet Paper
  • Body Wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Baby Wipes 
  • Deodorant
  • Sanitary products

Please donate what you can and place it in the designated box in the JCOGS lobby.

Todah rabah!

End of Year Appeal

12/20/2019 12:34:06 PM


We're coming up on the end of the year, when nonprofits around the country turn to the people who most value their organizations and say, "Help us keep the lights on in the coming year." Today, we are asking you to give to JCOGS. For the first $1000 donated by the end of the year, every dollar will be doubled by a matching grant.  Click HERE to donate today. Thank you! 

What are your latkes wearing?

12/02/2019 12:55:40 PM



JCOGS members canned applesauce way back in September just so you could have homemade applesauce on your latkes. Pick up your applesauce at JCOGS, or you can buy a jar and we'll donate it to the Lamoille County Food Share in your honor. Supplies are limited! All proceeds go to support JCOGS programming; $18 a jar. 

Place your orders here. 

Homegrown Judaism: co-creating community

10/17/2019 03:57:58 PM


How can you get involved at JCOGS? 

Choose your way of co-creating our community, then click here to sign up.

  • Help organize our magical summer fundraiser.

  • Bring a meal to someone in need in our community.

  • Tag JCOGS on social media and share our posts.

  • Host or plan an après-ski. 

  • Serve as a greeter and door monitor at Friday services.

  • Help setup or clean up at an upcoming Homegrown Shabbat potluck.

  • Have a coffee date/walk with a new JCOGS member.

  • Join the tikkun olam/repairing the world committee.

  • Host a meal for members in your home.

  • Send a card to someone who has celebrated a milestone or mitzvah.

  • Give a d’var Torah/sermon during services.

  • Help tend our beautiful garden.

  • Join the membership committee and welcome new members.

  • Lend your voice to our Spontaneous Jewish Choir.

  • Take photographs at our events .

  • Be a balebuste and organize a simple meal for Olam Chesed Wednesday or Kinderlach & Gesher Shabbat.

  • Help co-lead a Homegrown Shabbat service with Rabbi David.

  • Come to a Morrisville-Stowe Coalition meeting to address bigotry.

  • Run a program that shares your interests: yoga? mahjong? knitting? hiking? art? literature?

  • Sit on our governance committee.

  • Send a card to someone who has lost a loved one.

  • Get involved in holiday programming.

  • Bring a meal to the Lamoille Community House warming shelter.

  • Play music during services.

  • Run a tikkun olam social action project to benefit a local cause.

  • Teach a skill or share a story at Olam Chesed Wednesdays, Kinderlach & Gesher Shabbat, or Ateed Sundays.

  • Lead services when Rabbi David is away.

  • Label and stuff envelopes.

  • Show your handy side by helping maintain our building.

  • Proofread documents.

  • Create flyers for JCOGS event.

  • Help our Olam Chesed Wednesday program with setup and clean up.

  • Hang posters around town for our awesome events.

  • Help reach out to working families who need a lift for their children to one of our education programs.

  • Be an on-hand tech help for events (or volunteer your teen).

  • Teach or share a skill you possess with another member.

  • Help with our Yizkor Book of Remembrance.

  • Promote our events on Front Porch Forum.

  • Tutor a mitzvah student or assist a teen with chanting a Torah portion.

  • Brainstorm your own idea of getting involved and speak with community members about how to make it happen.

  • Talk to Emily Rosenbaum, our president, about other current volunteer opportunities.

From your rabbi—Sermons, Sukkot, & Spiritual Satisfaction

10/13/2019 04:20:24 PM


Dear JCOGS family, 

Another Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur behind us, we are full on into the new year 5780.

Let me tell you something about what this season has meant for me: 46 pages of sermon material that didn't make it into the four drashot that I did give over these holidays. Please have a look here to read the words and meditations that were included. Lots of thought and preparation went into sharing what I hope were and will continue to be enduring messages of struggle and hope.  Let me know your own thoughts as you read one or more of these.

Meanwhile, onwards we go. The full moon tonight means that we are ready to go with Sukkot , the festival of our joy! Join us for Pizza in the Hut tomorrow/Monday night at Alison and my home and sukkah, anytime 4:30-7p.m. 

Chag sameach, a joyous holiday to you and yours,

Rabbi David


10/02/2019 02:57:18 PM




  • Go to and click on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society's “Get Involved” tab to get to their “Take Action” page.

  • Speak out on behalf of higher refugee admissions.  With 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement because it is unsafe where they are, the need is urgent.   

  • Call town and state officials to ask how you can help them  welcome refugees in our communities.

  • Go to to learn about Migrant Justice’s No Mas Polimigra campaign and to sign up for action alerts.

From Rabbi David and family—L’Shana tova        September 29, 2019

09/29/2019 01:21:16 AM


Dear JCOGS family,

Shana tova! Our family sends our love for a sweet, happy and healthy new year during this most precious High Holy Day season. May you find yourself at this time and in the new year giving and receiving love and connecting among family, friends, and community.

In this season, we ask ourselves: How will we face the challenges of our times?  What is clear is that the challenges cannot compare to the opportunities, hope, and shared purpose amidst this JCOGS kehillah kedoshah/holy congregation.  We are blessed to be in Vermont with you all to make a difference in each other’s lives and in our greater community.

Wherever you are celebrating the High Holy Days, with us at JCOGS or elsewhere, may you find purpose and meaning. 

Enjoy the music below and may we continue to lift up our voices in song.

Shana tova u'metukah, a sweet new year to all of you!

Rabbi David, Alison, Adar, Yonah, and Hersh

~Music for the High Holy Days~

As the High Holy Days rapidly approach, it is time to set the mood for this season of song, prayer and inner reflection. Here are some recordings for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with some familiar classics and some new tunes. May these spark your voice and ignite your soul...each song title below is a link.










From Your Rabbi–NEW Music, NEW Year

09/22/2019 02:35:10 PM


Dear JCOGS family,

I am so excited to send our congregation into the new year with some NEW music. Titled Sanctuary Sessions, these eight prayerful tracks were recorded live over one day, right in the holy of holies, our JCOGS sanctuary.

Rabbi Ari Isenberg, a phenomenal singer, spiritual leader in Westchester, NY, and old friend of mine from Montreal came up to Stowe early in August to record these pieces.  With some contemporary Jewish music and some classics newly arranged, I think you’re going to like them.

I want to thank some of our JCOGS musicians featured on these pieces: David Goodman (clarinet), Deborah Black (cello), Dov Schiller (percussion), Jacob Schiller (piano, accordion), and Jeremy Hill (double bass).

Have a close listen to Adamah vaShamayim and Pure Heart, two melodies that will be featured during our High Holy Day services.  Click HERE to listen to the music.  It’s bound to get you in the holiday spirit.

Rabbi David

p.s. Need High Holy Day information?  Haven’t connected to JCOGS for the Yizkor Remembrance Book?  Want to know when to show up? Haven’t invited a friend to join you at JCOGS for Erev Rosh Hashanah yet?  Click here for all High Holy Day details.

How about those apples?

09/18/2019 01:03:50 PM


Do you have apples? Lots and lots of apples? Apples in the trees, apples in baskets, apples in cardboard boxes, apples in your sock drawer? Put those apples to good use and help support JCOGS. Click here to join our applesauce fundraiser and can quarts of applesauce we will sell at Hanukkah.

If you don’t know how to can, don’t worry. We can pair you with an experienced canner. Be forewarned: apples are a gateway. Before long, you’ll find yourself canning All the Things.

If you’re an experienced canner, let us know so we can pair you with a novice.

And if you don’t have apples, don’t worry. Everyone else does.


09/10/2019 08:52:53 PM


Join Jewish communities across Vermont by taking actions and raising money to help those in detention, separated from their families, and those seeking legal asylum. Donate here.  

In visits to the border, one need comes up over and over: legal help.  In order to help with this, the Jewish communities across Vermont are joining together for a campaign through Yom Kippur to raise money for three organizations (one local Vermont Freedom Bail Fund, one national HIAS – Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one focused on the southern border Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center) that are providing legal support and bail for those in need. We hope to raise $7500 to be divided between these three organizations. 

Please donate here generously.

URGENT NEED -  Hurricane Dorian Relief.  

09/10/2019 01:57:35 PM


It is impossible to fully comprehend the scope of the disaster in the northern Bahamas.  The massive destruction has left 70,000 people homeless - almost 1 out of 5 Bahamians.  The need could not be greater.  The following are some of the many organizations providing relief:

Red Cross -

World Central Kitchen -

Global Giving -

Joint Distribution Committee -!/donation/checkout

Please be generous.

From Your Rabbi: RH + YK Cometh!

08/24/2019 01:37:37 PM


Dear JCOGS family,

Today gave us the best of what Vermont summers are all about.  Yet we all know it’ll pass soon, and the leaves will once again turn their bursting colours and return to the earth out of which they grew.  For us, this means the chaggim are upon us.

I want you to know JCOGS has turned up the volume as we prepare for the High Holy Days.  These are true days of reflection ahead—and that takes preparation. Over the course of our Days of Awe, you can expect words of comfort and inspiration, breath-taking music like you’ve never heard at a synagogue, and luscious food.  Here are some highlights for Rosh Hashanah:

  • For Erev Rosh Hashanah services, September 29 at 7:30pm, we are inviting the greater community and local clergy to attend, bringing awareness to the need to draw together in community.  A dessert oneg will follow. Please invite your friends and neighbours. No tickets necessary.
  • Our youth will lead us in song on Rosh Hashanah Day, September 30 that will bring inspiration (and likely tears) to us all.

Click HERE to make sure you have your tickets now.  And here for our full High Holy Day schedule.

Wishing you a beautiful and restful Shabbat,

Rabbi David

p.s. Will you join me for Torah on Tap this Monday? 
We are meeting at Ranch Camp at 6pm which is located at 311 Mountain Road in Stowe, VT. Appetizers are on me. And how’s this for a timely and hot topic to have a drink over: “Loyalty and Disloyalty." RSVP strongly requested: or here.

Oh, what a night

07/21/2019 04:32:13 PM


Thunderstorms had been forecast in Monday, yet on the morning of July 18, it was clear this was going to be a perfect summer day. A slight breeze blew across Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott, carrying the smell of flowers and grass with a slight hint of ripening garlic. Guests were a little late in arriving, having been caught in road construction traffic in both Stowe and Wolcott. By 5:45, Deborah and David were playing music, friends were greeting one another, and the Summer Farm Dinner Fundraiser was in full swing.

JCOGS member Nat Bacon, head cheesemaker at Jasper Hill Farm, led a fascinating tasting of some of the finest cheeses in the world. Rare is the synagogue that can boast a world-class cheese tasting. Guests sampled Little Hosmer, Cabot Clothbound, Alpha Tolman, Bayley Hazen Blue, and Winnimere while learning about what they were eating. Winnimere, is made in the spring and found only in the local area, as it is sensitive to travel. Little Hosmer is traditionally made by women. And every cheese made at Jasper Hill is named for a Vermont location. 

As the evening wore on, guests browsed the silent auction, dined on food so fresh it had been picked yards away that morning, and sang Happy Birthday to Edie. And as the sun sank, the old friends debated the best way to roast a marshmallow as they made s'mores by the camp fire. 

We are deeply grateful to Sara and Bob Schlosser, who opened their hearts and their farm to JCOGS, working long hours to provide this beautiful evening to benefit JCOGS. Sandiwood Farm is a land of deep beauty where everyone slows down just a little and embraces the moment. Everyone agrees: there's just something about Sandiwood.

Thank you also to Patti and Linda, our auction co-chairs, who put in countless hours to make this auction a success. While most of the silent auction items sold, there were a few awesome offerings left. JCOGS members are invited to bid on these remaining items, which are listed below with minimum bids. If you'd like to see any of the items, drop by JCOGS or email to arrange for a photo. To bid, simply email by next Wednesday, July 31, with your minimum and maximum bid. Help close out our summer fundraiser as a resounding success. 

  • Signed, framed Karen Hallion print (value $300, minimum bid $100)
  • Mosaic by Bette Ann Libby (value $250, minimum bid $175)
  • Craig Mooney painting "Forest Trail" (value $2500, minimum bid $1250)
  • Two Stowe Theatre Guild tickets (value $40, minimum bid $20)
  • Three-night stay at Spruce Peak studio apartment with spa passes (value $2000, minimum bid $1000)
  • Seven-day stay at Casa Heavenly (value $14,000, minimum bid $7000)
  • Health coach consult and book (value $120, minimum bid $60)
  • Jewish genealogy session (value $120, minimum bid $60)
  • Mindful eating 12-week program (value $1800, minimum bid $900)
  • Pinnacle Ski & Sports package: (choice of any 2020 Men’s or Women’s Volkl Skis with marker binding up to $1000 in value. Ski/Snowboard Season Tuning Pass. New junior ski/snowboard season lease. Inner Bootworks: custom foot bed) (value $1250, minimum bid $625)
  • Power lunch with Tom Kearney (value $150, minimum bid $75)
  • Shmuel Katz signed lithograph (value $450, minimum bid $200)
  • Song writing session with Rachel Funk: (value $180, minimum bid $90)
  • VT Pottery Works leaf mold platter (value $145, minimum bid $75)

Stay tuned for a complete list of all our auction item donors!


07/01/2019 09:31:08 AM


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram to keep up to date on SJFF news.

SJFF is back for its fourth summer of fabulous films!
Mark your calendars, get your tickets, BE THERE!!!
This summer, we are moving up the mountain
to Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center…

comfy seats, state-of-the-art sound system and screen…
a perfect setting for 4 evenings of great film…
Tickets still $10 in advance and $15 at the door!
Want to see the whole schedule? CLICK HERE
Want to read more about the films? CLICK HERE
Want to just buy your tickets now? CLICK HERE

But WAIT….there’s more! On Tuesday, July 9 th , come kick off the
festival with a REGGAE BASH at Zen Barn in Waterbury! Honor the
spirit of our opening film, Reaching For Zion with Vermont reggae band Soulstice

(8 pm, admission by donation to support the film festival).

Come early for dinner and stay for the music!

Helping send refugees to camp

06/27/2019 06:13:17 PM


Our tikkun olam committee stepped up this summer to help three refugee boys attend camp. The boys have a scholarship to attend Camp Killooleet, an overnight camp in Vermont. JCOGS collected and packed all the gear these boys would need. Thank you to all the people who went through their hand-me-downs and donated funds, and a special thanks to our tikkun olam committee for packing them up. We'll be driving the boys to camp on Saturday!


05/28/2019 01:23:54 PM


There is great comfort in knowing that every Friday morning, all around the world, Jews are starting challah dough. Some are using stand mixers, others are using bread machines, and many are going about it the old-fashioned way. They’re using different flours and time-honored recipes and a few just may have switched over to the new one in this month’s Cooks Illustrated (seriously, check it out). But no matter how they do it and what they put in, as 6 AM slots into place in time zones around the world, Jews are starting challah dough.

How do you make your challah? And who does it make you think of?

Family & Friends

05/12/2019 09:44:52 AM


Friday night, May 10, was one of the most special Shabbat services of the year. We gathered to celebrate the end of the Olam Chesed school year, a year that was dedicated to learning about holiness. But this wasn't just a service for the children, as families were encouraged to bring parents and grandparents. For children whose grandparents live too far to come, JCOGS elders volunteered to be Bubbie and Zaydie for the night. Blessings were given, prayers were sung, food was eaten, and bonds were made. The partition had to be opened because there were far too many generations celebrating to fit into the sanctuary. L'dor vador לדור ודור - from generation to generation.

JCOGS brings poignant survivor's story to Olam Chesed and 300+ children in Northern Vermont for Yom haShoah

05/06/2019 01:22:07 PM


Read Henny's story in Sevendays 

See WPTZ's story on Yom haShoah

Members' Dessert Potluck

05/04/2019 07:35:26 PM


Ritz pie, gluten-free brownies, apricot shortbread, and chocolate coconut cake were on display Sunday night, when more than 60 JCOGS members threw a boisterous dessert potluck at the home of JCOGS president Emily Rosenbaum. A decadent and calorie-filled time was had by all. To see more photos, like our Facebook page.

Warming Shelter

05/04/2019 07:33:55 PM


JCOGS member Jacquie Mauer and Rabbi David have worked tirelessly to ensure there is a shelter in Lamoille County for those experiencing homelessness. Read the article here.

All the Chairs, All the Repairs

03/17/2019 07:32:45 PM


We're refinishing the floors in May, but it turns out that the plastic floor protectors on the bottoms of our chairs were doing the exact opposite of protecting our floors. Those plastic discs were stuck on good, but a fierce team of volunteers showed up with vice grips and screwdrivers to remove them and put on new, softer floor protectors that won't scratch the wood. Now the chairs are ready to meet our refinished floors.

Tue, March 31 2020 6 Nisan 5780