Congregation Sha'are Shalom

Southern Maryland's Reform Jewish Congregation

Sha’are Shalom 25th Anniversary Slideshow

Sha’are Shalom Calendar

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Jewish Food Festival

Sun, Nov 1, 12-4 pm.

The Sha’are Shalom Women’s Group is sponsoring a Jewish Food Festival on Sun, Nov 1, from noon to 4 pm.  Put this on your calendar as a “must attend” event.

We will have a wide array of deli favorites like corned beef, pastrami, chopped chicken liver, hot dogs, kugel, cabbage rolls, tzimmes, and chicken soup with matzah balls.

The event is also an outreach to the non-Jewish community, so we are featuring several programs during the afternoon:  Read the rest of this entry »

Kristallnacht Program   

 Sun, Nov 8, 3 pm. 

Please join us for a special program featuring songs from that time, videos, lighting of memorial candles, and a first-hand account by Ellen Cohen.  Contact George Gazarek at for details.

Walk to End Homelessness in Charles County

We are excited about this year’s 11th annual “A Walk to End Homelessness in Charles County” charity fundraiser!  Please save the date:  Sat, Nov 21.

Show your support for the efforts to help homeless families in our community.  This walk is supported by the United Way and Charles County Homeless and Emergency Shelter Committee.  All proceeds benefit the “Safe Nights” program, a temporary shelter that is operated by LifeStyles of Maryland Foundation, Inc.

Schedule Read the rest of this entry »

A Sha’are Shalom Success Story

By Madelene Weinberger

October 2015 marks the 18th anniversary of the Golden Card Project.  I remember it well: The board was meeting at my home and Ellen Cohen suggested that we institute the Golden Cards as a congregational fund-raiser.  She volunteered to chair the effort and Lee Weinberger volunteered to provide the cards.  Continuously for the last 18 years, Lee has provided the cards, Ellen has taken the orders, written the cards and paid the postage.

The project has been a big success, raising $13,530 over the 18 years; an average of $750 per year.  This is the easiest money we will ever make on a fundraiser.  Read the rest of this entry »

President’s Message “Getting to Know You”

by George Gazarek

Besides being a wonderful song from The King and I, “getting to know you” is the secret sauce for strengthening our congregation.  While our religious services,  events and activities are all important, in the end, it’s our relationships that will keep us together.  We tend to stay in organizations where we have developed relationships with others.  We like to be known and understood by others as we seek to know and understand them. Read the rest of this entry »

Library Notes

by Lorraine Blatt – Librarian

Mourning & Mitzvah

A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing

By Anne Brener

This book is “an integration of Jewish tradition and modern professional resources.  It gives spiritual insight and healing wisdom to those in our own time who mourn a death, to those who would help them, and to those who face a loss of any kind.”  The book bridges the gap between Judaism and psychology.  It focuses on the wisdom of Jewish tradition and its understanding of the process of healing. Read the rest of this entry »

D’var Torah – Rosh Hashanah 5776

by Suzanne Darby
Rosh Hashanah — why do we observe this day? Be-cause the Torah tells us we are commanded by God.
In Leviticus, Chapter 23, Verse 23, the Lord com-mands through Moses that on the first day of the seventh month, the Israelite people must “observe a complete day of rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts. You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall bring an offering by fire to the Lord.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rabbi’s Sermon “And We Cried Out!”

Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur 5776
by Rabbi Arnold Saltzman
Vanitzʼak is a word found in several verses of the Torah. It means ʻand we cried out!ʼ 
This is a year for crying out about the environment, about refugees, and political candidates, racism, and about anti-Semitism.
This past year, I sat in the congregation at Adas Israel as the Ambassador of France to the United States spoke from the pulpit, saying that France had failed. France had sinned against its Jewish citizens by failing to protect them from the crime of Anti-Semitism. Read the rest of this entry »

Rabbi’s Sermon – Rosh Hashanah 5776

by Rabbi Arnold Saltzman
Today, we celebrate the birthday of the world. In spiritual and biblical counting devised by the rabbis we are beginning 5776 years since the biblical telling of the Creation. Most Jewish people do not believe that 5776 is the age of the world, and I do not teach that in Religious School. Nevertheless, those years represent a time of God’s entrance into history, and hopefully without an exit.
The primary prayer in Judaism is the Sh’ma, and we could add the Amidah, the 18 or 19 prayers said daily and assembled by rabbinic tradition and discourse. The Sh’ma is Torah, while the Amidah is rabbinic.
The Sh’ma consists of: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord, is one! In Hebrew the prayer consists of six words: Sh’ma… Read the rest of this entry »

D’var Torah – Yom Kippur 2015

by George Gazarek

These are the days of awe. Two years ago I stood up here and talked about the awesome miracle of how the great trees grow from just a tiny seed. I talked about Maryland’s Wye Oak that was over four hundred years old when it was killed by a thunderstorm in 2002. Last year I wasn’t with you for High Holidays. I was hiking across Spain on the five-hundred mile Camino de Santiago. Many of you, along with my family and friends pledged donations to Sha’are Shalom based on how many miles I walked. Those donations, just under five thousand dollars, seeded many of the programs that you enjoyed this past year and will continue to enjoy next year. Today, I would like to talk about this awesome little seed. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We need to go back to the beginning of our story. Read the rest of this entry »