Congregation Sha'are Shalom

Southern Maryland's Reform Jewish Congregation

Sha’are Shalom 25th Anniversary Slideshow

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Purim Order Form

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

All Things Purim!

Untitledby Elaine McVinney

For those who are new to our Congregation, Sha’are Shalom celebrates Purim in a big way:  Purim Baskets, homemade hamantaschen, and a party are all part of our celebration.

Purim Baskets

The Purim Basket began as a way to ensure that each person had food for the festive meal.  It has developed into a tradition of sending baskets to friends and relatives as a sign of friendship.  As in many other congregations, the sale of Purim Baskets is one of our major fundraisers.

We have both children’s and adult baskets, with a different selection of delicious snacks for each type.  When people see the baskets and the contents, they can see that they could easily cost $5 to make, and ask, “How can you sell the baskets for $5 and make money?”  The answer is that if six people order a basket for one person, that person gets a single basket, not six baskets.  Each basket comes with a card listing the name of everyone who ordered the basket for that person.  Some very generous people order a basket for every family of the congregation. Read the rest of this entry »

Library Fundraiser!

by Lorraine Blatt, Librarian

bookmarksThese beautiful bookmarks are machine-embroidered lace.  They will be in a container on the table in the foyer.  All proceeds are donated to the temple.

Butterflies are $4, small bookmarks are $5, large bookmarks are $7.  If you would like other colors, I can make them to order.  They make great gifts.

Order your by contacting Lorraine at 772-359-7370 or

President’s Message “When the Heck is Purim?”

by George Gazarek

This year is a leap year; it has 366 days, as opposed to the usual 365.  Leap years have 29 days in February, not 28.  Leap years are needed to keep our modern Gregorian calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun.  It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds – to circle once around the Sun.  This is called a tropical year.

However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days! Read the rest of this entry »

“26 Lines of Torah”

by George Gazarek

Last year’s 25 lines of Torah was a big success with many individuals reading from the Torah for the very first time.  Saturday, March 12, we will be doing 26 lines of Torah.  If you would like to read a single line as part of this celebration, please let George Gazarek know at

You will be given a copy of your line in Hebrew, a transliteration, and a recording.  Everyone who did it last year found it to be easy and very rewarding.  This is a great opportunity to read a very small, manageable portion of the Torah.

2016 CSS Directory

by Mark Holt

Personal and Business Ads Now Being Accepted for the 2016 Directory!

This is the time of year for updating and publishing the annual Congregational Directory.  Our Directory is not only a very useful address book that most of us keep by the telephone but is also a major fundraiser for our synagogue.

Your support is essential for the continued success of this valuable publication.  You can support the Congregation’s effort in two ways:  One is to place a personal greeting in the Directory – a great way to wish everyone a happy New Year or to remember a loved one. Read the rest of this entry »

Library Notes

by Lorraine Blatt, Librarian

Last month I described three of the five books donated to Sha’are Shalom by Pat Myers and Mark Holt.   This month I will give you a glimpse of the other two.

Raoul  Wallenberg, The Biography

by Ingrid Carlberg

The book was originally a Swedish bestseller and winner of the August Prize for non-fiction.  This copy is the English edition published in 2015.  The author made every effort to adhere to the facts of Wallenberg’s life and his efforts to save thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.   Wallenberg, a Swedish businessman, saved countless Jewish lives and this ultimately cost him his own life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Adult B’nai Mitzvah

An Adult B’nai Mitzvah program provides a chance for adults who have never had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to participate in group study that will culminate in being called to the Torah and leading Shabbat Services for the entire congregation.

This program is designed for members of Congregation Sha’are Shalom who want to broaden their Judaic knowledge and experience.  Past participants have commented that the B’nai Mitzvah experience has helped strengthen their Jewish identity and enhanced their connections to our Jewish community in ways they never imagined.  It is a moving and emotional experience and one that you will always cherish.

If you are interested, please email George Gazarek at Once we know how many are interested, we will determine the dates and schedule.

The New “Proudly Jewish” Poster Series

posterMassachusetts-based philanthropists Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman are pleased to share what makes them “Proudly Jewish.”  The six quotes selected for a new poster series they commissioned,  along with powerful images and thought-provoking commentaries, inspire and motivate the Grinspoons in their Jewish living and giving. And so they donated these beautiful prints to congregations including Sha’are Shalom to share some of the special values Jews have given the world.

Each month we will display one of the six posters in our Social Hall and in the Gatekeeper.  We encourage you to discuss the quote, the picture, and how it affects you.  If you send your thoughts to George Gazarek at, we’ll include them in next month’s Gatekeeper.  The first one contains this quote:

Judaism is about sanctifying life. Read the rest of this entry »

First Annual “Cold Shabbat” Review

About 45 people, including a number of families with Religious School children, came out to Sha’are Shalom’s first annual Cold Shabbat.  There was plenty of singing and plenty of good food, as everyone enjoyed a BBQ chicken dinner before the service. The ice cream after the service was great, too.  Read the rest of this entry »