President’s Message


On behalf of our Board and Staff, I enthusiastically welcome your interest in our vibrant and growing congregation. I am happy to answer any questions that you have about Kerem Shalom so please get in touch. Contact information for our Staff is listed on the “Contact Us” page.
Shalom and Best Wishes!
Cherry Muse, President

For more information about Kerem Shalom please contact our administrator, Jessie Busiek, at 978-369-1223.

Musings from the President

December 2017

When do you feel most Jewish?1

If you ask a group of Jews this question, the number of answers will likely correspond to the number of Jews in the group.

  • “When I walk into a deli and get a whiff of half-sour pickles.”
  • “When I hear the opening notes of the Kol Nidre.”
  • “When I go to anything directed by Mel Brooks.”
  • “When my family lights the Shabbat candles and recites the blessings.”

When do you act most Jewish?

At Kerem Shalom, which Rabbi Darby recently described as a “God optional” community, daily or weekly religious rituals are not a priority for many members. But, when it comes to performing acts of loving kindness, we are a very observant community.

For some time, I have believed that social action is one of the most powerful ties that holds us together. This year’s Mitzvah Day was a case in point. From the enthusiastic cadre of volunteers who helped with set up and clean up to the parking lot filled to capacity and beyond to the multiple causes and issues that benefited from Kerem Shalom’s involvement, it was clear that we are a community that “prays with our feet (and hands)” to once again quote (and paraphrase) Rabbi Darby.

Health: We gave blood, learned about the life-threatening impact of food allergies, supported heart surgery for children around the world, provided princess and superhero clothing for pediatric cancer patients, and educated ourselves about the BRCA gene mutation that puts one in forty Ashkenazic Jews at increased risk for breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Hunger: We bought pie, schlepped cans of tuna and salmon to Kerem Shalom, baked apple crisp and filled the front lobby with bags of groceries for Open Table.

International: We signed letters for Amnesty International, donated bath towels and cleaning supplies to support local immigrants and refugees, bought crafts to provide funds for people in Guatemala, Uganda and Afghanistan and provided financial and material resources for individuals seeking asylum in this country.

Animals and wildlife: We supported a chimpanzee rehabilitation center, bought homemade dog biscuits to help rescue animals, beagles in particular, from research centers, provided funds for sheltering abandoned dogs and supported a center that provides refuge for big cats including tigers, lions and cougars.

Values: We shopped ethically by purchasing Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, supported Israel, provided Christmas gifts for homeless children, provided gift bags for cancer patients, made fleece hats and blankets for children in need and donated gently used household items for those who are setting up a new home after prison, a fire, homelessness or other life-altering circumstances.

This list is not exhaustive. It is representative of the passion for tikkun olam that links so many of us together. Kosher or not, religiously observant or not, educated in Judaism or not—these differences are insignificant when measured against the conviction shared by so many Kerem Shalom members that we have an obligation to spend our days on earth performing mitzvot, making the world a better place for all people.

This is one of the things that makes me so proud to be a member of Kerem Shalom… and confident that we can look forward to bigger things to come!

1. I recognize that at Kerem Shalom, many members are people from other faith traditions who have chosen to live Jewishly.

 

-Cherry Muse