Congregation Sha'are Shalom

Southern Maryland's Reform Jewish Congregation

Sha’are Shalom Calendar

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Sha’are Shalom Wine Tasting Sat. March 21

Invite your friends and family!

wine tasting

25th Anniversary Dinner & Auction – Apr. 25


Holocaust Remembrance Event – Sat. Apr 18

Sat, April 18 (evening, likely 6:30 pm)

We will be hosting Dr. Alex Hershaft, who survived the Warsaw Ghetto and many months in hiding, on the evening of Saturday, April 18. Please join us to hear his story.  Dessert reception to follow.

Alvin Cohen Remembrance

We are sad to announce the death of longtime congregant Alvin Cohen.  Dr. Cohen died on Feb 17 at the University of Maryland Regional Medical Center in La Plata.  He was 83 years old.  The service and interment were held on Feb 19.

Dr. Cohen was born on June 30, 1931, in Washington, D.C.  He is survived by his wife, Ellen Cohen; his sister Phyllis Kirson; daughter Dr. Beverly Hoy and her husband, Kirk Hoy; daughter Hilary Cohen; grandchildren Samuel and Olivia Hoy.

In 1996, Dr. Cohen retired from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., after 34 years as a professor of economics, dedicating endless hours to improve the Lehigh community.  Throughout his career at Lehigh, he studied the economics of Latin American countries.  He served as president of the Middle Atlantic Council for Latin American Studies and was also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma (Business Honor Society), the Business Association of Latin America, the American Economic Association, and the Latin American Studies Association.

Dr. Cohen’s resume boasts many accolades, including three Fulbright scholarships and various grants from the U.S. State Department. Dr. Cohen earned his first Fulbright scholarship in 1957 to research economic growth of Chile at the Universidad Nacional de Chile in Santiago. He founded Lehigh in Guatemala and directed it for five years. This summer program gave Lehigh students the opportunity to study in a foreign country while learning about economics.  He also taught classes on the economics of the Czech Republic in Prague for several summers.

Dr. Cohen’s academic accomplishments have been coupled with personal triumphs, as he was a survivor of colon cancer.  His courage in overcoming his illness and his work as faculty advisor for Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity and later Zeta Psi fraternity led to the establishment of the “Good Scholar Election” at Lehigh University which over several years raised over $600,000 for the American Cancer Society.  In addition, Dr. Cohen was a longtime classical musical enthusiast who donated his original 1,000-album collection to Lehigh University in 1991 and donated his collection of 1,500 CDs to the College of Southern Maryland in 2006.

After his retirement from Lehigh University, Dr. Cohen kept very busy.  He spent his time reading books, listening to classical music, playing bridge, and supporting Congregation Sha’are Shalom. He also continued to answer many questions on Jeopardy and spend time with his family.  Memorial contributions may be made to Congregation Sha’are Shalom or to the American Cancer Society, Bethlehem, PA 18017.

Torah Study

Everyone is welcome regardless of knowledge or participation level.  You don’t have to be Jewish to study Torah, and knowledge of Hebrew is not required.  There are no right or wrong answers, just open, friendly discussion.  Coffee, tea, and snacks are provided.

March schedule

  • March 7th, 8:30 – 9:30 am:  Ki Tisa,  - Exodus 30:11 – 34:35
  • March 14th, 8:30 – 9:30 am:  Vayak’heil-P’kudei, Exodus 35:1 – 40:38
  • March 21st, 8:30 – 9:30 am:  Vayikra,  - Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26
  • March 28th, 8:30 – 9:30 am:  Tzav,  - Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36

What’s a “Tanakh”? Read the rest of this entry »

President’s Message by George Gazarek

George’s introductory remarks at the Feb. 14 Shabbat morning service:

We are gathered here today to celebrate Shabbat, to kick off nine months of events celebrating our 25th anniversary as a congregation, to honor the individuals and the families who were and are the founders of Congregation Sha’are Shalom.  As President of Congregation Sha’are Shalom, and on behalf of the entire congregation, I want to extend a very warm welcome to the founders, their families, and friends who have joined us here today.  And as the current representative of the benefactors of your efforts, I want to offer a really big thank you to each of you for taking that first step. Read the rest of this entry »


by Rabbi Arnold Saltzman

Our son, Josh, posted on Facebook a conversation with Keren, our granddaughter who turns three years old on Monday:

Josh:  Would you like to play with blocks?

Keren: No.  Can we go to the Ark and take out the Torah?

We were all delighted with that conversation and its unexpected response.  Keren attends the Forest Hills Jewish Nursery School in Washington, which every Friday makes Shabbat, and brings the children into the chapel for music and a brief and happy service.

Twenty-five years ago when the founders of Congregation Shaʼare Shalom decided to begin a new congregation, I think that that was the kind of experience they were hoping for, the type of response and experience a child might have in a new congregation. Read the rest of this entry »

Purim Order Form

Click to Order Online Hamantaschen and Purim Baskets and RSVP for the Purim Party

Tu B’Shevat Seder – Fri, Feb @ 6:30PM

Tu B’Shevat Seder – Friday, February 6th at 6:30PM

This holiday is the New Year of Trees. To celebrate, join us for our annual Congregational Tu B’Shevat Seder.

In addition to the traditional foods of Tu B’Shevat (come and learn what they are) the menu will include pizza and desserts! Read the rest of this entry »

Torah Study

Everyone is welcome regardless of knowledge or participation level. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided.

  • Dec 6, 8:30 9:30 am: Vayishlach, Gen. 32:4 36:43
  • Dec 13, 8:30 9:30 am: Vayeishev, Gen. 37:1 40:23
  • Dec 20, 8:30 9:30 am: Mikeitz, Gen. 41:1 44:17
  • Dec 27: Holiday Weekend