All posts by Fred Zinn

Parent Workshop: Post-Election Worries, Anti-Semitism, and Hate Speech

With Dr. Margaret Miller, Wednesday, January 11, 7:00 p.m. at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton

A Parent Workshop with Dr. Margaret Miller, an experienced child psychologist, to address your growing concerns on how to talk with children about post-election worries, anti-Semitism and other hate speech. She is also a founding Beit Ahavah member and head of our Tzedek Tzedek Social Justice Committee. Please join us! All are welcome.

This workshop is offered in the Upper Valley on Wednesday, January 11, 7:00 p.m. at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, and offered in the Lower Valley on Monday, January 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Springfield JCC.

Sponsored by Jewish Family Service of Western MA and PJ Library of the Jewish Federation of Western MA.

Please join the Facebook event here and share with friends

Community Chanukah Celebrations

BEIT AHAVAH wishes you a joyous Festival of Lights
A freiliche Happy Chanukah

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 5:45 – 7:30 p.m.
Spread the Light: Community Chanukah event with Chinese food & movies!
Co-sponsored by CBI, Beit Ahavah, Lander-Grinspoon Academy and PJ Library!

Chanukah is a time to experience light in the darkness — let’s come together as a whole Jewish community Upper Valley and light up the night together! This 1st night of Chanukah celebration is a collaboration between Congregation B’nai Israel of Northampton, Lander~Grinspoon Academy, Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton and PJ Library — ALL WELCOME!! Schedule of candles, Kosher Chinese dinner, movies and dance below.

We will sing and we bask in the glow of the light from hundreds of menorahs. Please bring your own menorah if you can to add to the light. And given that this year, the first night of Chanukah falls on Christmas Eve, we are going to honor the age-old tradition of eating Chinese food and going to the movies! Celebrated local chef PENGYEW CHIN will prepare a delicious kosher Chinese feast. After the meal we will screen two films, one for kids and one for teens/adults. And then we will finish the night with a Dreidel dance party!

Ticket Cost: $10 person and $5 for kids under 12.

*Please also bring an item for our Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts Winter Clothing Drive for the over 100 new refugees families in our area. Bring: new and gently-used coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots.

5:00-5:45 p.m. Community Candle Lighting, Havdalah & Chanukah Singing with Felicia Sloin and Rabbi Jacob Fine, Rabbi Justin David and Rabbi Riqi Kosovske.
5:45-6:30 p.m. Delicious Kosher Chinese Food Buffet, with local beer for purchase.
5:45-6:30 p.m. Dreidel Games for all and games for young children kids with PJ Library.
6:30-8:30 p.m. Movies (one for elementary age and one for pre-teens and adults)!
8:30 p.m.-late night Dreidel Dance Party!

*Please bring your own menorah if you can. We will have some extras.

Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect St, Northampton, MA
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 5:45 – 7:30 p.m.


The Famous Beit Ahavah LATKE FACTORY!
Volunteer cooks needed 3:00-5:00 p.m.

* DAZZLING MENORAHSBring your menorahs & candles
* Chanukah & Shabbat Songs & Dreidel Games
* Vegetarian Potluck Dinner & LATKE FACTORY!

* Storytelling with Robert Harris

Latkes are fryin’ @130 Pine Street in Florence

All are welcome.


“Day is Same as Night” – Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Program of Yiddish Music of Labor, Love, and Loss, from the early 20th century

Join us for an emotional and moving walk down the pathways of our shared past history. 

Laurie Israel, a versatile Hilltown Musician, will be performing a benefit show for Beit Ahavah, the Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton in Florence, Massachusetts, on Saturday, November 19, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. The name, “Day is Same as Night” is from the title of a Yiddish labor song. This program will consist of seldom heard and unusual Yiddish music from 1903 to the mid 20th century.  Laurie will be singing and accompanying herself on guitar, piano, and accordion.  Songs will be sung in Yiddish and English, with translations available.  Members of the Beit Ahavah congregation will perform readings from the period chosen by Laurie and designed as a supplement to the music and meaning of the concert.  One of these readings is a letter written by Laurie’s grandfather to her father in 1943.  Another segment will consist of songs and piano pieces inspired by the horrific Kishinev Pogrom of 1903.

Laurie Israel has extensive experience in performing many types of music on a number of instruments.  She is a baroque cellist with Ensemble Suave, a Boston-based baroque performance group, which has performed in the Boston Early Music Festival.  Laurie is also a folk musician, performing on guitar with voice.  Her specialty is Yiddish songs of love, loss, and labor, as well as American popular, folk, and labor songs, from 1880 through 1950.  She explores rare and seldom performed music, finding them in collections and in on-line university library website archives.  As part of her work, Laurie has made fresh new translations of Yiddish lyrics.

Beit Ahavah was created in 1997 by a group of Jewish men and women who sought to build a Reform Jewish community in the Northampton area. This small group developed a vision of an inclusive community where worship and study would be spiritually enlivening and meaningful. The congregation of Beit Ahavah, which has now grown its membership to approximately 80 families, is known for its emphasis on social justice and action, fostering community spirit, and valuing diversity.  Beit Ahavah is inclusive of people from all backgrounds, and is known for its support of and sensitivity to interfaith families and the LGBTQ population.

Suggested donation is $18, more if you can, less if you cannot. All proceeds support Beit Ahavah!

For information, contact Beit Ahavah at, or call (413) 587-3770, or contact Laurie Israel at or (617) 719-8312.

Open Sukkahs & Celebrations! October 16 – 25

Continue your celebration of the High Holydays with us in the Sukkah at Beit Ahavah: 

  • Sunday, October 16, 1st Night Sukkot Dinner in the Beit Ahavah Sukkah, 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 21, “Refuge & Refugee” Sukkot Shabbat Early Evening Service at 6:00–7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 22, Shabbat Morning Jewish Renewal Service in the Sukkah led by Rabbi Riqi and Randy Furash Stewart, 10:00 a.m.–Noon
  • Sunday, October 23, Sukkot Harvest Festival at CBI Abundance Farm, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday October 23, Simchat Torah celebration ~ dancing with the Torahs, 6:00– 7:00 p.m.

Photos of the sukkah, past and present, can be found on the Beit Ahavah Facebook album: Sukkot at the Love Shack.