Programs

Sisterhood, Men's Club, Culture Connection and Jewish War Veterans

Sisterhood Star Congregation Shaara Tfille

Programs

Sisterhood

If the beautiful Menorah window that brings light into our Sanctuary is the symbol of our Congregation, then the mosaic Silver Gala Star of David has become the symbol of Sisterhood.

The Star Project began as a simple art program at a regular Sisterhood meeting in 2016. But put a dozen or so motivated Jewish women together with a talented instructor and piles of glass shards and you end up with more than trivets or picture frames. A dozen women created stained glass mosaic triangles that were joined together by our talented instructor Susan Krane Ruscitto to form the Star of David, which was donated to the congregation in commemoration of Shaara Tfille’s Silver Anniversary in our building on Weibel Avenue.

As was the case with the Star of David project, our love of books grew from our bi-monthly Sisterhood Book Club discussion held after our regular meetings to become the Annual Jewish Book Sale with Featured Author. Each November, in conjunction with Sisterhood’s very popular Annual Hanukkah Sale, and in partnership with Northshire Book Store, we host a sale of dozens of books by Jewish authors or with Jewish themes, most not available in local bookstores. Over the past six years, speakers have included Dinah Berland, Steve Sheinkin, B.J. Shapiro, Alexandra Silber, Ruth Behar and Kim van Alkemade, as well as a special event with Jennifer Weiner.

In recent years, Sisterhood created two new annual events: Designer Bag Bingo and the Fall Craft Sale, featuring many local craftspeople and artists.

Sisterhood is a major fundraising arm of Congregation Shaara Tfille, involved in planning, promoting and executing large events such as the Silver Gala and the Woman of Valor Award luncheons, as well as the Mother’s Day Basket Raffle. All these events bring in funds for Congregation Shaara Tfille, as well as bringing our members and the congregation together.

Sisterhood is dedicated to Tikkun Olam – repairing the world – by supporting local charities. We prepare and deliver meals to Code Blue during winter months and bring a meal and goodies for Valentine’s Day, we support Wellspring (formerly known as Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse organization). We collect and donate “wish list” items to the Veteran’s shelter, prepare meals of comfort, bake and deliver hamantaschen on Purim and organize the Second Night of Passover Seder.

Two Sisterhood members with a staff member of the Mechanicville Community Center
In 2022 and 2023, Sisterhood collected requested items from the “wish list” of the Mechanicville Community Center and delivered several hundred dollars’ worth of much needed goods as part of our ongoing “Tikkun Olam” commitment to local communities to provide comfort and relief to families and seniors in need of assistance.
For fun, we host movies throughout the year for the Congregation, including the Valentine’s Day Movie and Chili Dinner. Sisterhood also assists in the selection of programs from 92nd Street Y that are regularly shown at the synagogue, as well as working on the programs for the annual Saratoga Jewish Cultural Festival.

Sisterhood maintains a Gift Shop in the lobby of the synagogue where a large variety of gifts and necessities are available for purchase. Items from the Sisterhood Gift Shop may also be purchased online from our website gift shop.

Judith Ehrenstaft Sisterhood President Saratoga Congregation Shaara Tfille

Message from the Sisterhood President

The original concept of “sisterhood” was originated by Mathilde Roth Schechter, wife of Solomon Schechter, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1918, one hundred women, many who were the wives of prominent rabbis and scholars affiliated with the Seminary, joined together, establishing as their mission the perpetuation of “traditional Judaism in their homes, synagogues and communities, a task for American Jewish women.”

Fast forward to today…Sisterhood of Congregation Shaara Tfille plays a vital role in the synagogue. Women of all ages, interests and talents, volunteer in planning, promoting and executing various activities throughout the year.

Even though one of our primary objectives is fundraising, we do more than that. Sisterhood participates in Tikkun Olam – repairing the world – by supporting local charities.

We meet every month for a general meeting, where projects and events are discussed and planned. Every other month, after the general meeting, we gather together for Sisterhood’s Book Club, where we discuss books written by Jewish authors or books with a Jewish theme.

For annual dues of $36, I invite you to join and become an active member of the dynamic Sisterhood of Congregation Shaara Tfille. For more information about Sisterhood, please use our website contact form to send us an email.

Shalom.

Judith Ehrenshaft
Sisterhood President
Congregation Shaara Tfille
Saratoga Springs, NY

Men’s Club

Congregation Shaara Tfille re-instituted our Men’s Club over 10 years ago. Each month committed volunteers sponsor and prepare a breakfast for congregants and others who are interested in attending. For holidays and other events, Men’s Club members have fried up latkes for Hanukkah in our Kosher kitchen or barbequed hotdogs in our outdoor space for Congregational picnics.

Men’s Club members are active participants working together to offer engaging programs with speakers, educational opportunities and social activities, with a focus on creating fellowship as well as promoting a more integral role for our activities in the community. For more information about Men’s Club please use our website contact form to send an email to us.

Mens Club Saratoga Congregation Shaara Tfille
Babka

Culture Connection

Congregation Shaara Tfille membership comes with some wonderful perks – one of them is the chance to explore exhibitions at museums around the country and across the world, virtually.

Why Do Jews Love Cake?

Could it be because over the centuries we have created some of the most delicious baked goods? Just think of it- Ruggelach! Honey Cake! Hamentaschen! But to many there is no contest, it has to be BABKA!

A quick search on the internet turned up the Babka described on the website Goldbelly.com: The sweet, braided bread – usually swirled with chocolate or cinnamon- is addictively delicious. But what is Babka, exactly- where does it come from- how is it made?
Like many Jewish American specialties, it originated in Eastern Europe –in the early 1800’s – in Poland and Ukraine in particular. It was made by rolling up left over challah dough with cinnamon or jam and baking it alongside the Challah.

If you are ambitious you might want to try and bake one for yourself. Here’s a link to a recipe found on a website called “Brown-eyed Baker”.

But if you’d rather just eat one and not have to bake it first, here’s a link to Goldbelly.com, where you can order it online!

Jewish War Veterans

Congregation Shaara Tfille is home to Jewish War Veterans Post #36. This post was chartered in 2014 and is part of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, an organization created by Civil War veterans in 1896 to raise awareness of the contributions made by Jewish servicemembers. Nationally, there are currently over 15,000 members, from World War II veterans to veterans of recent conflicts and active service members. It is the oldest active national veterans’ service organization in America. All branches of the military are represented at Congregation Shaara Tfille.

The Post’s many functions include community involvement, educational opportunities and memorial duties. The Post meets on a monthly basis and all veterans
are welcome to attend.

Post 36 Jewish War Veterans of Saratoga Springs was chosen for the Community Booth at Saratoga Racetrack on opening day July 13, 2023. They handed out American flag lapel pins and information on JWV of Saratoga Springs, New York. See our Photo Gallery page for a few images of the event.

Jewish War Veterans Logo
Membership is available to all veterans. An application may be obtained from the Post Commander. Please use our contact form to contact the office for more information.