Sign In Forgot Password

Album launch TONIGHT

01/29/2021 11:10:32 AM


The many, many events

01/22/2021 12:27:48 PM


Warm Toes

01/18/2021 08:40:28 AM


Joint statement from Vermont's Jewish communities

01/13/2021 11:21:27 AM


The cry of true freedom

01/08/2021 10:10:28 AM


Nothing short of amazing

01/04/2021 12:43:33 PM


Some kind of wonderful

12/28/2020 10:04:30 AM


olam chesed students increase the light

12/23/2020 11:01:25 PM


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


Your Hanukkah TONIGHT

12/10/2020 04:28:43 PM


2020 in the rearview mirror

12/07/2020 10:01:47 AM


increase the light

12/07/2020 09:54:15 AM


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.

Salvation Farms

11/30/2020 03:01:43 PM


What does it mean to pray?

11/20/2020 10:40:59 AM


Precious, Precarious Democracy

11/13/2020 11:29:29 AM


Becoming United

11/06/2020 01:03:17 PM


Dear JCOGS family,

As the world waits with bated breath to find out who will be the next President of the United States, we are grateful that our democracy stands strong as people came out to vote en masse. Amidst the beauty of democracy in action, what emerges is a picture of a country as much divided as united. We would do well to use this uncertain time “between” wisely. Regardless of outcome, now is a time to consider how, in the aftermath, will we face each other? How do we reconcile a polarized people?

In a different context, Rabba Tamar El-Ad Appelbaum, the founding rabbi and spiritual leader of Kehillat Zion in Jerusalem, wrote A Prayer for Brotherhood, Unity and Friendship. You can read it in its entirety here. In her prayer, she writes of reconciliation and peace: 

     “Grant me the grace ever to work towards reconciliation and to grant

     others the benefit of the doubt,
     Even when those others are causing me personal pain by disagreeing

     with me so intensely.
     You, G-d, Who is good and Who does good, ever grant that I view others

     generously and kindly,
     And watch over me lest I succumb to the unwarranted hatred of others.”

May we turn towards each other with grace in the days ahead, free from hatred, full of generosity and kindness.

Join us tonight at 6pm on Zoom (registration required) or FaceBook Livefor some additional prayers for the election and for Shabbat, as we gather virtually in community.

Shabbat Shalom, may it be a peaceful Shabbat for you and your family, for this country, for the world.

Tihiyu bri’im, stay safe, be well,

Rabbi David

what tomorrow will bring

11/02/2020 06:00:27 AM


Dear friends,

The day before my 18th birthday, I studied Philadelphia bus maps. I was a month into my freshman year in college, and I knew that the next day I would find my way through the city, changing buses at Broad, so that I could get where I needed to be to register to vote. I don’t remember anything else about my 18th birthday, but I remember my incredible feeling of excitement as I registered to vote, exactly as planned.

That was back in the days when we sometimes knew what tomorrow would bring.

At the time, I didn’t wonder why there was nowhere in my West Philly neighborhood where I could register. I didn’t examine the privilege of being able to take half a day off to find my way downtown. All I knew was this was a club I’d been waiting my whole life to join: the Do-ers of Democracy. Now, of course, I know all the ways we fail at allowing every voice to be heard, the way we leave people out of that club.

If you live in Vermont, you should have gotten a ballot mailed to you. If you haven’t yet mailed yours in, please do not put it in a mailbox. Please bring it to your town clerk’s office today. And if you didn’t get a ballot mailed to you, show up at your polling place tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3. Vermont has same-day voter registration, so if you haven’t registered you can register right at your polling place. If you want to check that your vote has been counted,click here

If you live in the United States but not Vermont, you may not have had a chance to vote early in your state. I wish for you strong legs and gentle weather tomorrow as you stand, possibly for hours, waiting to be a Do-er of Democracy. This week, I donated to Pizza to the Polls, hoping that the food I’ve sponsored will allow someone to stay in line a little longer, helping one or two people do democracy. If the line you are in is long, you can call Pizza to the Polls, and they will send refreshments so you can continue your important work. I hope my pizza finds its way to you.

If you do not live in the United States, I’m sure the way we do things over here is a little confusing to you. Trust me, it can be confusing to Americans, as well. Just wish us a day of strong democracy, where every voice is heard. 

Our tikkun olam committee wrote out 200 postcards this fall, sending them to largely minority neighborhoods, urging them to vote. Thank you to everyone who participated, who let someone out there know that you value their right to be a Do-er of Democracy. As Rabbi David says, you are civic mensches

Thank you also to the local town clerks, who recognized that vote at home is great, unless you don’t have a home. They went to where people experiencing homelessness are residing, and they held outdoor voting opportunities in the parking lots. Our town clerks went the extra mile to make sure that every voice was heard.

I do not know what tomorrow will bring, which incidentally seems to be the recurring theme of 2020. My wish for each of you is that your voice is strong and clear, that you vote all the way down the ballot, and that someone brings pizza if you need it. 

May each and every one of us be a Do-er of Democracy.

All my best,

youth lead winter clothing drive

11/01/2020 10:02:39 PM


There are 150 homeless adults and 30 homeless children in Lamoille County. 

Our Ateed youth group is taking part in an interfaith clothing drive to help support Lamoille Community House and Lamoille County Mental Health Services.  There is a box on the front porch at JCOGS. 

We are gratefully accepting gently used coats of all sizes (adult, youth, child), hats, gloves, scarves, snow pants, boots, and heavy socks, warm winter clothing such as sweaters, thermals, and packages of diapers.

Please put all donations in tied black plastic bags to ensure safety during the pandemic. Drop-off Dates: October 30th– November 13th

Thank you so much for your support!

Yom hooledet sameach, rabbi david!

11/01/2020 09:42:37 PM


On Friday, October 30, the JCOGS community gathered to celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat and Rabbi David's 40th birthday.  The students of Olam Chesed Wednesday program created these poems and mazel tov signs in honor of Rabbi David.

mah koreh ? מה קורה 

10/26/2020 12:20:48 PM


Shalom! Mah koreh? means What's happening? This year, so different in so many ways, is no different in one: there are lots of things going on at the Olam Chesed Education Center.

Yes, we are meeting mostly on Zoom (more on that later) but we are managing to have really wonderful virtual gatherings, opportunities to be together across the miles, with songs, stories, and for the sake of rhyming, yes! lots of smiles.

Kinderlach & Gesher started off the year with a pre-High Holy Day adventure preparing our homes to be the sanctuaries we needed to experience a season like no other.  Nearly everyone brought their favorite stuffies to cuddle with as we welcomed the sweetness of the new year. We met again on Simchat Torah, donning crowns  received in the mail, and with parents hoisting their little human Torahs into the air and dancing with joy.

Ateed is now a combined program with teens from Beth Jacob Synagogue (Montpelier) joining us in person at JCOGS for firepit fun.  At our first meeting of the season, Simon Rosenbaum,  our teen leader, led the teens in a discussion of tikkun olam and then we made s'mores.  Our second event, scheduled for the corn maze, was unfortunately rained out but several teens got together via Zoom to join the Simchat Torah Dance Party together with teens from around Vermont. Stay tuned: Ateed will be reaching out to our community soon as part of an interfaith coat drive for Lamoille County Mental Health Services.

Mitzvah! this year has twelve students, our largest cohort ever! Meeting via Zoom each week, they've been learning trope and getting into deep discussions of the weekly parshah. For Sukkot,  they got to meet in person at the JCOGS Sukkah and that was just wonderful! Ayelet shared a teaching about Hoshanah Rabah, the prayer for rain, and the symbolism of the willow.  All enjoyed beating the ground with willow branches as they prayed for rain.

I guess it worked, because Olam Chesed Wednesday program tried not once, not twice, but three times to meet in person! They say three's a charm and the third time we gathered for a joyous outdoor program. Several activities were set up to keep everyone moving and socially distant.  In honor of our theme this year, mitzvotwe drew a GIANT Ten Commandments on the patio behind JCOGS, with each family decorating a different square.  A storywalk hung in the trees about creation; a station where we scribed letters and words in Hebrew with a feather and ink; an activity to decorate our own Shabbat candlesticks; and time to share tefillah with Rabbi David. Each family received a juicy pomegranate, learning of its symbolism in connection to the 613 mitzvot. 

New this year to Olam Chesed is a K-1 class that I have the pleasure of teaching.  Eight bright and curious students are learning about Shabbat, colors, numbers, holidays, and experiencing Hebrew Through Movement, a program that engages students kinetically with modern Hebrew that correlates to prayer Hebrew. For example, l'amod, the instruction to stand up is the root for the word Amidah, and "Y'amod!" is what Rabbi calls out as our children stand before the Torah for the first time as b'nai mitzvah.

Using breakout rooms, scavenger hunts, and art projects, we are engaging with our students on Zoom through discovery, inquiry, and social engagement. This past week Jonah led the group in a exploring the commandment of shmor v'zachor et haShabbatkeep and remember the sanctity of Shabbat.  

Join us on November 20th for our first Family & Friends Friday for this year! We're looking forward to celebrating Shabbat together with the JCOGS community.

welcome new office manager

08/28/2020 05:32:00 PM


​​​​​​​Welcome Tyler Hall, JCOGS's new office manager.
Tyler received her BA in fine arts from the University of Rhode Island. She comes to the position with a background in graphic design and project management and marketing experience. Tyler is passionate about building community through art and has worked pro bono as a creative consultant for Stowe Vibrancy. She lives in Stowe with her son, Austin. All are invited to meet Tyler tonight at 5:45pm during the schmooze period before Shabbat services (starting 6:00pm). 

Local matters

08/26/2020 01:37:11 AM


Local businesses are suffering and we should support them. Here’s Stephen's idea. 

Dire layoff news of 30 employees at the Stowe Reporter and News and Citizen.

What to do: Support advertisers. Subscribe or add a subscription year. Donate.

Let’s end their struggle. 

Saving our community. 

By now you’ve read the lay-off news of 30 employees at the Stowe Reporter and News and Citizen.  Their Waterbury Record  is now shuttered. Most everyone would agree that the papers deliver honest reporting and even a chuckle from the police blotter. Oh what a great chronicle of our good Vermont lives. 

Much off the job loss is due to lost advertising revenue. They surely held on as long as they could to provide a security blanket for their employees. 

So I’m going to plead with you to do a few things before it becomes more grave. Plan seriously to shop and support the advertisers. Many are JCOGS members but the balance are the fabric of our lives here. Let’s put a bit of Amazon shopping on hiatus even briefly.

Secondly, I’m hoping all of us can be sure to subscribe to either paper or at least call in a one year extension payment. It will provide needed revenue and help them attract more advertisers with increased readership. 

Lastly, during these dire times, I’m asking you all to send in a donation; whether its $18,  $118 or anything ending in 18. It will give us the opportunity to explain to Greg Popa,  the Publisher, the meaning of 18 as we find ways to heal our community. 

I can’t imagine us without these papers and the business community they serve. 

Stephen (Rosenbloom)

High Holy Days 5781/2020

08/26/2020 01:31:46 AM


Dear JCOGS family,

These High Holy Days are like no other.  Your High Holy Day taskforce has been hard at work planning for these unprecedented experiences.  We have planned.  We have surveyed the community.  We have reworked our plans based on your feedback.  And now we are eager to share the JCOGS High Holy Day schedule of events with you.

Inspite of the hardships at this time, we are truly humbled and excited.  This year will include beautiful music, members reading Torah, and poignant prayers.  It will include words from Rabbi David that meet this moment in history.  We will sing, schmooze, cast our sins away in the water, hear the shofar, and play out the story of Jonah.  We will remember lost loved ones and also celebrate simchas in our lives.  There will be some special surprises too. While we will be holding the majority of our services virtually this year, we will be offering points of connection in person on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

To be fully inclusive in this season, JCOGS is not requiring any tickets for this year’s High Holy Days.  If you have not yet renewed your membership, please do so as soon as possible.  Finances should not be a barrier to membership. If dues present a financial hardship or if you need a payment schedule, please complete your renewal online and JCOGS will be in touch to discuss alternative arrangements confidentially. 

You are also invited to acknowledge and remember your loved ones during this High Holy Day season while supporting JCOGS through the Yizkor Book of Remembrance.  The monies raised help support our continual holy work as a community.  Please complete this form with the deadline of Friday, September 11. 

Finally, Rabbi David will be away next week, Tuesday through Friday, devoting time to preparing for the High Holy Days, then back for that Friday night service.  Rabbi Rim Meirowitz will be our emergency rabbi those days. He is the first point of contact for pastoral needs, including if someone is unwell or in need of support, and you can contact him directly at 617-835-2861 or

Hope to see you tonight at 6pm, as we launch this month of Elul leading to the High Holy Days with some special opening reflections on resilience from our members and the hearing of the shofar!

Rav brachot, many blessings for health, renewal, and a return to our truest selves.

Rabbi David Fainsilber and the High Holy Day Taskforce: Susan Bauchner, Willa Bruckner, Rachel Funk, Aron Temkin, and Claudia Woodward

help us plan the high holy days

08/07/2020 12:08:40 PM


 Jewish Community of Greater Stowe

Dear JCOGS family,

For many of us, the High Holy Days are the highlight of the Jewish year. We all appreciate the familiarity of our JCOGS traditions, the opportunity to reconnect and schmooze with fellow members, and the ruach — the spirited energy that fills our sacred physical space more than at any other time in the year.
Due to the lifesaving measures established to keep us safe from exposure to COVID-19, we recognize that this year’s holiday experience will differ from our usual traditions. Indeed, before we can effectively plan and outline what this year’s holidays will look like, we feel it’s necessary to first acknowledge — as a unified JCOGS community — the loss this year of the typical High Holy Days with which we are so familiar. We will not experience an overflowing sanctuary this year, nor be uplifted by the collective harmonies, nor witness multiple shofar blowers up on the bimah, at least not in our traditional ways.

Our High Holy Day taskforce has been hard at work reimagining the High Holy Days in this era of COVID-19. We now turn to you, our community, to help us understand what the High Holidays mean to you. This brief survey will help us plan for this year's holidays and to dream about how we might create a meaningful, connective, and safe Days of Awe for each of us and collectively.

In the survey, you will learn more about what we are planning. While these holidays will certainly not be the same, in spite of the difficulties, we believe these will be very moving holiday experiences for all. We highly encourage you to fill out the survey, both to learn more about our ongoing plans, and also to help us plan further and meet our community’s needs. The deadline is THIS MONDAY AT NOON, but why not just get this off your to-do list now?

We pray that next year we will fully gather together safely and with abundant health, in community.

With hope and gratitude,

The High Holy Day Taskforce
Rabbi David Fainsilber, Susan Bauchner, Willa Bruckner, Rachel Funk, Aron Temkin, and Claudia Woodward

Statement on reopening from vt jewish clery

07/22/2020 02:01:20 PM


These are extraordinary, trying times we are all facing. As we consider reopening our spaces of worship and gathering, we must first draw on the values that have focused us on choosing life for millenia. Our tradition teaches us that there is no greater value than pikuach nefesh, preserving human life. We are also guided by areivut, our communal responsibility to each other, and savlanoot, patience in the face of crisis. While we so much wish to be together as a community in our sanctuaries, in our eagerness to return to our adored practice of coming together, we must also balance that we somehow may jeopardize the health of those in our communities. We will continue to draw on the wisdom of medical professionals and our values to guide our reopening as we plan for the summer, High Holy Days, and beyond.


07/06/2020 05:00:36 AM


Dear friends,

Rabbi David is off for the next two weeks, and Olivia is off for the next week. They need this time. They have been relentless in caring for our community for the past four months, so I more or less insisted they take time off. They resisted, and I insisted again. 

Please help me in this effort by not emailing, texting, or calling them. Whatever it is, please just hold off. Wait to email Olivia until Tuesday, July 14, and wait to email Rabbi David until Wednesday, July 22. That way, they will not return to an overloaded inbox that obviates any relaxation they are feeling.

If you need immediate assistance during this time, you can email and someone will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Rabbi Rim Meirowitz will be our emergency rabbi while Rabbi David is away. He is the first point of contact for pastoral needs, including if someone is unwell or in need of support, and you can contact him directly at 617-835-2861 or And, of course, for any other needs, I will be available, so please feel free to email me at

Thank you so much for your understanding.

All the best,

this is how we do it

06/29/2020 08:30:25 AM


Upcoming events below letter.

Dear Friends,

I am beyond words. Which, if you know me, tells you something.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been hearing from nonprofits in the area and synagogue presidents around the country that they are canceling their fundraisers. People are looking at their budgets and wringing their hands, knowing they can’t raise money through the types of events they usually host. At JCOGS, we cut the dollar goal for our fundraiser in half, and then asked the finance committee if they could figure something out. A placeholder for our usual summer fundraiser.

Well, if you logged on last night, you know they sure figured something out. The comedy event was hilarious, a mixture of professional, local, and our own homegrown talent. And the auction? When they couldn’t ask businesses to donate items, the committee asked our community to donate their talents. The items were an amazing array of our collective gifts, and I had several conversations over the course of the week that started with, “How much do you think I have to bid to get…?”

So, here’s the part you’re waiting for. We hit our new, reduced fundraising goal. In fact, we hit the old, original goal. We exceeded that goal. Through the tireless efforts of the fundraiser committee, we raised $12,068 towards our JCOGS annual fund. 

Here are the names of the people who did this remarkable work:

  • Committee chair: Sandy Manning
  • Auction magicians: Debby Sherman, Ellen Gibs, Debbie Steinerman
  • Committee members: Amy Wenger, Amy Murphy, Sarah Ellner

If you know these women, please reach out to them and thank them. They showed that it can be done. That we can come together in remarkable ways, can elevate the spirit of community, and will not let a thing like a global pandemic stop our connection with each other. Thank you, all of you.

On another note, I want to let everyone know that I’ve asked our staff to prioritize getting on vacation this summer. They have worked extremely hard through the spring, and chances are that getting away in the winter will prove difficult. This may mean that we cannot exercise our usual care in making sure there is seamless coverage, as people may need to overlap vacation time when their families are able to take time off. I ask you to be patient if some things take more time. Our staff absolutely needs to rest and recharge for the coming months. 

All the best,


A cheese tasting, a Hanukkiah, and 12 quarts of soup walk into an auction...

06/24/2020 11:45:42 AM


What can I do?

06/22/2020 12:52:42 PM



06/19/2020 03:02:06 PM


Sun, June 13 2021 3 Tammuz 5781