Passover 2019 Newsletter

Friday May 10th Speaker Sarah Stern

Since everyone so enjoyed our poet last month, we plan to make it two in a row for our Friday Evening Kabbalat Shabbat service, as poet and author Sarah Stern will be joining us on Friday Evening the 10th of May at 7 p.m.  We hope you will, too!

We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune published last year is Sarah Stern’s third collection of poems and one of the poems in the collection, The Interview, was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.

Called “Breathtaking” by poet Brooks Haxton, We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune explores what is to be human in a world that is so often fraught with fracture and dissonance. The title of her collection is taken directly from a letter the author’s grandfather wrote from the front lines as a Jewish soldier fighting for the Germans in World War I. Stern’s inventive, wise, and sensuous collection goes to far-off places, “compressing complex feelings into love poems to the reader,” writes fellow poet Marilyn Kallet. 

Stern is also the author of two previous collections, But Today Is Different and Another Word For Love. She has also collaborated on visual arts exhibits throughout New York State and teaches and leads poetry workshops. A communications specialist and member of Pen America, she grew up in New York City and attended Barnard College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

She was short-listed for Ireland’s Fish Poetry Prize; a finalist for the Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Prize; and received Honorable Mentions from the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards and Lilith’s Poetry Prize.

It is our pleasure to welcome her to Etz Chaim on Friday Evening, the 10th of May at 7 p.m. to share some stories and readings as part of our Kabbalat Shabbat service. We hope you will join us to greet her!



Welcome to our website! Etz Chaim, formerly an Orthodox synagogue which is now an egalitarian, unaffiliated congregation enjoying a resurgence in membership, invites you to join us on-line, and hopefully someday, in person for a tour of our historic building, a service or a simcha.  All are welcome to attend services here, led by Rabbi Gary Berenson, so click thru on our schedule tab for all the details.

Lifecycle ceremonies such as bar/bas mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, baby namings, and vow renewals all talk place here, too, so contact us if you would like us to host your special event. We guarantee it will be memorable.

Etz Chaim is located in the Downtown Portland Historic District on Congress Street, at the head of India Street (Portland’s first street!) at the foot of Munjoy Hill, in a neighborhood which housed so many Jewish families at the turn of the twentieth century, that it was commonly referred to as “The Jerusalem of the North.”

Established in 1921, Etz Chaim is celebrating its 97th year of continuous service to Jews in Greater Portland and beyond.

Etz Chaim Synagogue has also been the home of the Maine Jewish Museum since 2010. The museum is dedicated to preserving our original turn-of-the-century, European-style building so that future generations can also worship, visit and enjoy. It also is dedicated to being a center for Maine Jewish history, art and culture, with a full calendar of museum events.

Feel free to explore our website. Look for info on the history of our synagogue (complete with a wild tale of how and why we came to be!), a full schedule of our various Orthodox, Conservative and Reform services, info on how you can join and, of course, our contact links and a map so you can drop by and see us if you are in Portland! We also have a full newsstand of Etz Chaim Bulletins so you can download and explore what we’ve been doing recently. There’s lots to see and do.