- Adult Education Committee
- Contact: Barbara Burkart
The Adult Education Committee plans and organizes educational offerings for adults in the community in
coordination with the rabbi. It is responsible for assessing the interests and educational needs of the
community and finding appropriate instructors to teach courses; devising a schedule for each semester and
arranging for available space; and publicizing the adult education opportunities to members of the JCA and
the broader Jewish community.
See our current brochure
- Beit Shalom Committee
- Contact: Josette Henschel
The Beit Shalom Committee was created to provide a neutral, confidential and caring (chesed) place for the
purpose of aiding individual members and groups within the JCA to register grievances and concerns not
resolved by other means available in the community. Exchanges with members of the committee are confidential.
Only when a situation may impair the well being of the JCA as a whole will a request be made to agree to
share information with leadership in the community. Beit Shalom members are guided in their work by the
principles of civility, objectivity, sensitivity, fairness and empathy. Any member of the committee can
be contacted to air concerns. The committee's guidelines are available from the JCA office or committee members.
- Board of Directors
- Contact: Bill Zimmer
JCA's Board of Directors consists of fifteen elected members including six officers
(president or co-presidents, two or three vice presidents, clerk and treasurer),
and nine members-at-large. All members of the board must be members in good standing of the
community and will be elected at the Annual Meeting. Board members are elected to serve for
an initial term of two years. The board holds regular monthly meetings.
- Book Group
- Contact: Ken Talan
The JCA adult reading group (ARG) has been meeting for over two decades.
We read four books a year by Jewish authors, September through June, drawing primarily
upon American and Israeli writers. The books are usually fiction but may be non-fiction,
and of current interest or classics in Jewish/Yiddish literature. We choose the next book
to read at each meeting, and it is publicized in the JCA newsletter. Everyone in the community
is welcome to attend any meeting that interests them without a commitment for the year.
- Building and Grounds Committee
- Contact: Bob Solosko
The Building and Grounds Committee supervises the care, maintenance and
repair of our beautiful building, capital equipment and furnishings, and
the grounds belonging to the JCA. It reviews their condition and makes
recommendations to the board regarding priorities for long-term maintenance
and capital improvements.
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- Cemetery Committee
- Contacts:Linda Sinapi, Devorah Jacobson
The JCA has a cemetery in a beautiful site in Shutesbury. The Cemetery Committee
is responsible for its upkeep and makes sure the grounds are well-kept, sells plots
to members and non-members, maintains cemetery records, and serves as the liaison
between the bereaved family, the funeral director and excavator. The committee
manages the cemetery with the guidance of the rabbi and under the supervision and
review of the board. It maintains cemetery rules that have been approved by the board.
- Chesed Committee
- Contact: JCA Office
The Chesed Committee offers support during times of need. Chesed, loving kindness,
is extended to community members facing challenging circumstances such as illness,
hospitalization, loss of a loved one, or isolation. We celebrate new babies by providing
meals and a welcome basket. Bikkur Cholim is an initiative that provides visits to those
who are hospitalized, chronically ill, or isolated. We depend on JCA members to inform
the JCA office or the rabbi when situations arise, and we keep a list of volunteers who
can help provide the services (meals, transportation, visits, and help with shiva) that
are needed. We rotate the leadership of the committee at each monthly meeting when we
coordinate the care that we offer. New committee members are welcome at any time to
participate in this mitzvah. Let the JCA Office (413-256-0160) know that you would like to help, and we will contact you.
- Chevra Kadisha
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- Contacts: Joan Saperstan, Ken Talan
The Chevra Kadisha, when requested, performs the mitzvot of ritually washing,
dressing and preparing the body for burial according to Jewish custom. The
members of the Society make a significant long-term commitment, appreciate
the awesome nature of their holy tasks, engage in educating themselves about
the Jewish approach to death, and provide information to the larger community on the topic.
- Finance Committee
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- Contact: Josh Goldman
The Finance Committee works collaboratively with the Treasurer, Administrative Director and relevant stakeholders on the development,
formatting and vetting of a proposed annual budget for consideration by the full board. The committee reviews and analyzes the
budget on a quarterly basis and makes recommendations, as appropriate, regarding any material variances between expected and actual
expenditures and revenue. The Finance Committee is also responsible for reporting out, as requested, on the overall financial status
of the JCA, including analysis of short and long term assets, liabilities and financial challenges for the future.
- Fundraising And Development Committee
- Contact: Chuck Songer
The Fundraising and Development Committee coordinates and supports all fundraising efforts, including events, annual
giving, special appeals and the Guidebook. Our charter is to stimulate the inflow of funds, other than dues, to support
the JCA's programs. We do this in a context of community-building and Jewish spirituality. Our mission is to integrate
giving and volunteering into the fabric of the JCA experience to allow all to practice philanthropy at some level to the best of their ability.
- High Holidays Committee
- Contact: Yossi Charette, Bob Solosko
The task of the High Holiday Committee is to organize the services to accommodate the hundreds
of adults and children who attend. The members of the committee are in charge of planning,
preparation, lay service participation, greeters, ushers, honors, parking, security, the oneg
and break-fast, and recruiting volunteers to help make the High Holidays a harmonious and deeply
meaningful community and religious experience.
- The Judaica Store
- Contact: Hadar Grabel
The Judaica Store at the JCA offers items for ritual, education and fun from unique suppliers
in Israel and Italy as well as commercial suppliers here. We have books by members of our community,
tallitot, kippot, mezzuzot and scrolls, a large supply of candles for Shabbat, havdallah and
remembrance, and a variety of ritual items for holidays. Purchase items whenever the office is open.
Special items may be ordered.
- Membership Committee
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- Contact: Tobi Sznajderman
The Membership Committee creates a welcoming atmosphere for new members and develops
programs for the orientation, integration, engagement and retention of all members.
It sponsors gatherings at which new and current members can meet informally.
It produces informational material about the JCA, answers queries, and helps host
new members in the community.
- Nominating Committee
The volunteer governance of the JCA community depends on a large cadre of skilled and dedicated leaders.
The Nominating Committee makes nominations for vacant positions on the board of directors and presents
a slate of officers and directors to the JCA membership for election each year.
If you are interested in serving on this committee, contact Bill Zimmer.
- Not Bread Alone Committee
- Contact: Devorah Jacobson
This sub-committee of JCA's Tikkun Olam/Social Justice Committee provides volunteers to prepare,
serve, and clean up the noontime meal at Not Bread Alone, Amherst's soup kitchen, one Sunday each
month and on Christmas Day. A group of regular monthly volunteers is identified each fall, and a
list of substitute volunteers is maintained. All JCA members are invited to join us on Christmas Day.
- Rabbi Liaison Committee
- Committee Members: Aaron Bousel, Barabara Burkart, Richard Cohen, Deborah Fine
The Rabbi Liaison Committee supports and enhances the rabbi-congregational relationship
by serving as a channel to communicate comments, issues and/or complaints from congregants
who would prefer not to contact the rabbi directly. The committee meets with the rabbi to
help with processing and thinking through issues or concerns that are raised either by
congregants or by the rabbi. All congregants are encouraged to speak to members of the
committee about any concerns they may have that they would like to be brought to the rabbi’s attention.
All information is shared only with the rabbi and the committee, and is held in strict confidence.
- Ritual Life Committee
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- Contacts: Yossi Charette, Aaron Bousel
The Ritual Life Committee provides support to the rabbi in planning and conducting religious services.
It considers and proposes policies related to Shabbat, holidays, kashrut and other religious matters,
subject to the review and approval of the board, and performs other such duties as from time to time
may be assigned to it by the president, co-presidents, or by the board of directors.
- Scholar in Residence Committee
- Contacts: Hadar Grabel or Libby Arny
Shomerim are watchers or guardians of the soul. Jewish tradition requires that the deceased (met)
not be left alone prior to burial. Shomerim sit at the funeral home in close proximity to the deceased,
reading psalms which comfort the soul (neshamah) of the departed. This mitzvah is considered an act of
pure kindness because it is carried out without expecting anything in return.
- Tikkun Olam/Social Justice Committee
- Contact: Judith Souweine
The Tikkun Olam/ Social Justice committee studies and analyzes local, state, national and international
issues and concerns in relation to principles of Judaism; sensitizes the community to the moral and ethical
implications of these issues and concerns; and plans and organizes, in conjunction with the rabbi, meetings,
events, discussions, films, volunteer activities and political actions. It speaks or encourages action only
in consultation with the president or committee cluster coordinator.
- Visual Arts Committee
- World Jewish Concerns Committee and Project Rehovot
- Contacts: Neta Bolozky (Programming), Marilyn Kushick (Project Rehovot Catering
The committee provides a link between the JCA and the broader world Jewish community, with a focus on Israel. It brings to the attention
of our members current issues of political, social and cultural interest to Jews by marking significant dates including the Holocaust
Memorial Commemoration, Israel Independence Day and the annual Rabin Memorial Lecture. Our committee has also sponsored mission trips to
Israel. We respond to current issues as they emerge over a broad social, cultural and political spectrum. In addition, the committee raises
funds for Project Rehovot in the Ma'alot Meshulam Elementary School in Rehovot, Israel to help immigrants and the children of immigrants
adjust to life in Israel. This project currently supports the salary of a part-time teacher who works with children having difficulties
in the regular classroom. Funds are raised through fundraising campaigns; grants; and preparing food for bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings,
kiddush luncheons, and special events.
- Youth and Family Education Committee
- Contact: Mara Hahn
The Youth and Family Education Committee, under the direction of our senior educators, and with the approval of the board,
establishes policies and reviews the programs for young children, families, religious school, teens and camp. It develops,
supports and monitors progress toward JCA long-term education goals. It works closely with, and coordinates communication
among, the leaders and staff of our integrated educational program.
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