Groups and Committees
Founded in 2019 to bring Jewish theater experiences to Atlanta, the Atlanta Jewish Theatre Company performs musicals, dramas, and children's shows at cultural events and religious celebrations. The group is always looking for artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and backstage individuals to join the company.
Questions? Contact the chair: Aurélie Weinstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AAACTS strives to: create awareness within AA's community, the Atlanta Jewish community, and beyond, about the issue of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST); participate in and host relevant education opportunities; build a partnership of synagogues and other Jewish organizations that work together to end DMST; engage with interfaith and secular coalitions, human rights groups, government, law enforcement, and advocacy groups that share our enthusiasm and goals; provide opportunities for volunteering with community agencies and programs, and; advocate and lobby for policies and legislation that will help victims and work to abolish DMST.
The AAACTS Committee was recently awarded the prestigious 2017 Interfaith Children's Movement Child Advocacy Award in "recognition of outstanding commitment to eradicating child sex trafficking in Georgia."
"Do not oppress the stranger, because you know the heart of the stranger for you were a stranger in Egypt" (Exodus 23:9).
The Ahavath Achim Refugee Initiative (AARI) was created by AA congregants who identify with the Jewish people's historical experience as refugees from a variety of lands and as immigrants to the United States. Our mission is to recognize refugees in Atlanta who are innocent victims of war, famine, hate, or economic upheaval and offer them aid, through advocacy, education, and direct services. Current projects include volunteering in an ESL program for adults in Clarkston where we also provide lightly used clothing for their Clothing Closet.
What We Do: Ahavath Achim's Backpack Buddies (BPB) provides food insecure students at E. Rivers Elementary School with backpacks full of satisfying and healthy food for every weekend throughout the school year. Over 25% of children attending E. Rivers Elementary School on Peachtree Battle participate in the free or reduced price meal program. Many children leave school on Friday not knowing when they will eat again. Backpack Buddies provides food for these children on weekends to make sure that they stay nourished for the subsequent week.
The Process: The school first identifies students in need of the Backpack Buddies program. Food is purchased from the Atlanta Food Bank and other retail outlets and is kept in secure areas within our synagogue. Volunteers meet weekly to pack food and deliver it to E. Rivers. School counselors pack the food into backpacks supplied by Ahavath Achim. Individual backpacks are filled with single-serve, substantial foods. The backpacks are privately given to the children on Friday. The students must bring back their backpacks on the subsequent Monday in order to receive food again on Friday.
Donations: While it costs $180 per child per school year to fund Backpack Buddies, any size donation is appreciated! We also accept single-serve, non-perishable food items.
"Chesed" is holy work and is traditionally translated as "lovingkindness." Mark Twain defined the Chesed Committee's work most accurately when he said: "Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear."
The mission of the Chesed Committee is to connect with and support AA members during times of transition and need. Members partner with our clergy in caring for the entire congregation, because visiting the sick or bereaved is something each of us can and should do. A Chesed volunteer's visit with an ill congregant fortifies their will to recover. When we visit those who grieve, we comfort and strengthen them. Members also bring baby blankets, hand-knit by our congregants, to new babies in our congregation in a new program called Welcome Baby.
The Chesed Committee is supported by the Susie Habif Chesed Fund and the Bikur Cholim (Visiting the Sick) Fund. Consider donating to these funds to honor and remember friends and loved ones. If you are a warm, friendly, dedicated volunteer looking to strengthen our community and make a difference in peoples' lives, then this Committee is for you.
Caring touches make all the difference in the world to those receiving them. If you know of a congregant who is facing personal difficulties related to health, loss, or grief, please contact Fern Schorr (email@example.com; 404.355.5222) to let us know.
Questions? Contact the co-chair: Nancy Levine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Chevra Kadisha is an all-volunteer group of men and women who honor the deceased by respectfully preparing the body for burial in accordance with Jewish tradition. This dignified, ritual act of cleansing and dressing the deceased is called a taharah. The Chevra Kadisha is respected both for the services it provides the deceased and their bereaved families, and for the spiritual and emotional opportunities it affords participants. Help us honor the deceased and comfort the bereaved by joining us in preserving and practicing this unique, spiritual and comforting custom of the Jewish funeral. No special skills or knowledge required; only an open heart and a willing mind are needed. The task of the Chevra Kadisha is indeed true "Chesed Shel Emet," the most selfless act of kindness one Jew can do for another. Please join us so that we may continue Kavod HaMet (honoring the dead).
The Cultural Arts Committee is comprised of members who assist in organizing cultural arts programs at the synagogue. Members are involved in program selection, dissemination of event marketing, fundraising, and encouraging participation in events. Being part of this committee is an incredible opportunity to share some of the city's (and world's) greatest musicians with the congregation and community at large. Anyone who wishes to participate in this endeavor in any way is welcome to join the committee. There are no formal meetings, and the group communicates primarily through email and phone.
Some of the hardest working people in shul business, the Gabbaim, are those precious, mission-driven, and determined souls who work tirelessly throughout our prayer experience to help distribute honors to all of us sitting in the pews, to increase participation and to keep the experience moving. A crucial part of our davening (prayer) service, the Gabbaim are a small but dedicated group of individuals (both men and women) who make it all happen and who help our Rabbis, Cantorial Soloist and leadership look good.
Gabbai captain: Barry Prusin
GaRRS is a nonprofit closed-circuit radio station with a mission of seeking to improve the quality of life for every Georgian who is blind or visually-impaired, or who has difficulty with access to the printed word. GaRRS broadcasts current information via sub channel radio transmission and streaming on the internet. GaRRS broadcasts daily newspapers, current magazines, books, public service announcements and other community information. GaRRS programs are broadcast 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. All content is broadcast either live or recorded by more than 500 volunteers.
Questions? Contact the chair: Marty Kwatinetz (email@example.com; 404.812.1734)
Guided by Jewish values, we work to foster an environmental awareness in the AA community. We invite you to lend a hand with our gardening initiatives, support our recycling ventures, collaborate on environmental issues, work to preserve our amazing urban forest setting, maintain the daffodil garden in memory of children who died in the Holocaust, and more.
Questions? Contact the chair: Myrtle Lewin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everyone who walks through our doors on Shabbat and holidays is met with a warm greeting. This is due to the dedication of our valuable greeter team. Being a greeter is an easy and fun way to connect with other congregants, meet new people, and become an integral part of the synagogue. All you need to do is smile and say "welcome." Greeters welcome our attendees in the foyer at the onset of services on Shabbat and holidays.
Make for yourself a Rav (teacher); acquire for yourself a friend (Haver); and judge every person on the positive side (Pirkei Avot 1:6). The Havurah Initiative connects each of us to others by engaging in small groups where we can share in Jewish ritual, conversations, and celebrations. Together we create an "extended family" within the AA community. The Havurah Initiative encourages us to support each other, learn with one another, and perform acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Keep an eye out and ear open for e-blasts and bulletins for updates in the program.
Questions? Contact the chair: Shelly Dollar (email@example.com)
"Love your Neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18).
For too long, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has been marginalized, demonized, and ostracized by cultural bias and religious ignorance. Today we stand together as a congregation ready to welcome all members of our community into their spiritual home. AA will not stand idly by as our brothers and sisters are pushed aside and disregarded. The LGBTQ+ Inclusion task force seeks ways of engaging our LGBTQ+ community members and helping to open the door to the spiritually rich and welcoming congregation we have created together. Over the short life of the LGBTQ+ Task Force, we have tackled some of the more difficult issues including HIV/AIDS advocacy and anti-bullying initiatives. Join the LGBT Inclusion task force for a powerful year of learning, growing and living together as one community.
Questions? Contact the chair: Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal (firstname.lastname@example.org; 404.603.5744).
Love Unites, Hate Divides is the racial justice and antisemitism initiative of AA. We, as a Jewish community, have a responsibility and duty to reach out to members of the Black community and build lasting bonds based upon a mutual appreciation of each other's respective cultures and faiths. LUHD's outreach efforts are geared toward creating meaningful interpersonal relationships with members of the Black community. Members educate the community at large about current injustices that have and are still occurring and strive to be as inclusive and open to the congregation without shaming individuals. LUHD is looking for the same answers to the difficult questions that everyone else is asking.
Are you familiar with Ahavath Achim's Mature Active Adult Community (known as mAAc)? After an amazing first year with over 160 members, mAAc is beginning its second year. mAAc is a group for mature active adults ages 65 and older. This group provides the opportunity to connect with old friends and meet new ones while enjoying our mature years. The yearly cost of membership (used to defray our administrative expenses such as postage, printing, and publicity) is $18 per person for AA members and $36 per person for non-AA members. Becoming a mAAc member will get you a discounted rate for our events throughout the year. In the past, mAAc programs have included socials, tours of popular Atlanta attractions, educational speakers, and much more. Enjoy attending these events with your friends – join mAAc today!
Two ways to become a member:
- Download the registration form: fill out the form and mail it with your check (made out to the Mature Active Adult Community or "mAAc") to Ahavath Achim Synagogue (600 Peachtree Battle Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30327).
- Register online
Questions? Contact the chair: Gail Solomon (email@example.com; 404.456.6171)
With so many amazing things happening at AA, it would be a shame to keep it to ourselves! The Membership Committee is actively recruiting new members to join our AA family, welcoming them in at any point along their spiritual journey. Everyone at AA is part of the Membership Committee because YOU are the best representatives of all AA can offer. Please continue to talk about how many great things we offer, brag to your friends, and encourage them to come and sit with you at events and services. If you'd like to help more formally, we are always looking for those who would like to welcome prospective members with a phone call or coffee, host a Shabbat dinner, or help personally drop off items to remind prospective members that we are here when they are ready. If you know of anyone who should be on our prospective member list or should be contacted by leadership in any way, please let us know! Thank you for your good word and promoting what Ahavath Achim – the synagogue of brotherly love – has to offer!
Questions? Contact co-chair: Mark Papier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Men's Club of AA aims to bring together the Brotherhood of our congregation through humor, inclusiveness and revelry. Join us as we bring some kindness into the world, foster connections to grow our community, and try new things together!
Every day of the week, our minyan opens the spiritual heart of AA, one of few Atlanta synagogues that offers a minyan twice a day. Both congregants and community members are invited to join the services for prayer and fellowship as well as to observe yahrzeits on the anniversary of the death of loved ones. The daily minyanim at AA continue a rich tradition going back over 100 years. They allow us to greet each morning with gratitude for our well-being and to renew our spirit and energy for the day ahead. Each evening, we close our day with prayer and camaraderie, an opportunity to reflect on our efforts, accomplishments and aspirations. The morning minyan service runs approximately 45 – 60 minutes, and the evening minyan service runs approximately 30 minutes.
Are you up early on Shabbat Morning? Do you love to sing? Then come and be a part of the P'sukei D'zimrah Squad. Each morning, our prayer service starts with a warm-up of psalms and other traditional liturgical selections as a way of opening our minds and hearts to prayer. Led by a cadre of prayer enthusiasts, there is always a spot for you to learn how to lead this opening morning prayer service and to lead our congregation in song and devotion. Good singing voices are not a requirement, only enthusiastic souls and a willingness to learn and offer one's heart before God.
Questions? Contact the Ritual Coordinator: Jordan Forman (email@example.com)
With the aim of elevating Jewish ritual to enhance our spirituality, AA's Rituality Project engages the congregation to renew traditional services, explore Jewish prayer experiences, and facilitate daily practice. We are excited to hear your feedback, and we encourage you to share it at the weekly Rebbe's Tish or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Contact the chair: Rabbi Sam Blustin (email@example.com; 404.351.6070)
Did you know that there is an official AA softball team? If you did, you were one of the few! The AA Softball team is one of the best-kept secrets of the Ahavath Achim Synagogue. Our team has been playing in the Atlanta-area synagogue softball league for years, and it's time to support their efforts and root for the home team. Softball season takes place in late spring/early summer. Offer up some AA love by bringing a family picnic, forming a cheering section, or just showing up!
At the center of our worship experience, the Torah and Haftara readings are our congregation's chance to hear God's word spoken in the ancient traditional cantillation (trope). The readings of Torah and Haftara (weekly selections from the prophetic liturgy) have their roots in ancient Israel going back all the way to Temple times. Learn how to read, chant and be a part of this most holy experience.
Questions? Contact the Ritual Coordinator: Jordan Forman, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Shabbat usher is at the doorway of the service and directs congregants to specific seats if they are part of a B'nai Mitzvah group, if they know they will have an aliyah, or if they need to find the restroom during the service. Ushers also step forward to deal with any assistance that a member or guest may need such as a medical emergency, a mobility issue, or a request for a large-print Siddur. The usher is on duty with a smile and "Shabbat Shalom" until the end of the service.
Questions? Contact Susan Schlansky: (email@example.com)
Events and Programs
Loving God, what is more precious than our children? Is there any treasure that can be more beloved, more pure than the cherished souls we have brought into the world? Help me guide them well, dear God, and help them lead their lives with faith, wisdom, and truth (Rebbe Nachman of Breslov). Join us for a three-week course about everything baby! Especially crafted for first time pregnant couples and individuals, these mornings will be spent discussing the details of the Brit Mila and baby naming, childhood celebrations, and the ins-and-outs of raising a Jewish child. Meet with our clergy, educators, and health practitioners from the community to discuss, learn, ask questions, and to create fellowship with other individuals who are at this similar stage in life. This course is free and open to everybody.
Join us once a quarter for a special breakfast (following morning minyan) in honor of birthday and anniversary celebrants! Celebrate with your AA family by attending breakfast in your honor – invite friends and family to celebrate with you. Contributions to the Daily Minyan-Helen Cavalier Room and Joe Cohen Fund are greatly appreciated.
Questions? Contact Fern Schorr: (firstname.lastname@example.org; 404.355.5222).
Every year, we invite the community to join us for kosher BBQ, friends, and family while listening to the sweet bluegrass tunes of our musical guest. The evening ends with a musical Shabbat family service. The event is for ALL ages, and members are encouraged to attend and bring guests! Watch for more information about this annual event in late summer or early fall.
Do the mitzvah of donating blood at AA's quarterly Blood Drive! Everyday, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. The Quarterly Blood Drive is sponsored by AA, Congregation Shearith Israel, Congregation Or VeShalom, Jewish War Veterans Post 112, and Fulton Lodge No. 216 Free and Accepted Masons.
Questions? Contact the event chair: Gail Solomon (email@example.com; 404.456.6171)
Experience Israel with your friends and congregants guided by the rabbis. Whether you imagine swimming in the Mediterranean, touring Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa, or greeting Shabbat at the Western Wall, our trip is designed to enrich, engage, and entertain. Walk with us, pray with us, and feast with us, as we take a deeper look at the land of our heritage. Your friends are also invited to join us.
Georgia Cares is the single state-wide victim service agency serving children who have been victimized by sex trafficking and exploitation. Over the past two years, our AAACTS (Awareness and Action to Abolish Child Trafficking for Sex) Committee jumped into action to provide exploited children with school supplies and filled 260 backpacks to be given to children throughout the state. AAACTS is excited to continue collaborating with Georgia Cares. Let us know if you would like to donate money, supplies, or help pack the bags. AAACTS is actively recruiting new committee members and would love to have you join us in this important work.
In an effort to improve our synagogue's ecological footprint and encourage a "green" state-of-mind among our community, AA's Greening Group collects hard-to-recycle materials and delivers them to CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) for proper recycling and disposal. Think before you toss, save these items, and bring them to AA – we'll do the rest!
Questions? Contact the Greening Group Chair: Myrtle Lewin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AA is proud to have built more than 20 Habitat houses in the past years as part of an interfaith effort with other synagogues and churches from the Buckhead and North Atlanta areas. More than 75 Atlanta individuals now have a home that was partly funded by our congregation. This experience is cherished by all our volunteers. Please let us know if you would like to become part of the team.
Questions? Contact the Social Action Chair: Alan Wexler (email@example.com; 404.872.8880).
Each year, as we prepare for the High Holidays and experience the special time between those days, it is natural to go back in time. We remember loved ones no longer among the living with whom we celebrated Rosh Hashanah and observed Yom Kippur. We feel a need to visit them in the places where they now repose. In these moments, we reflect on the beauty of our loved ones' lives and the continuing contributions they made to us and to others. At the time of the High Holidays, we offer our gratitude to them.
Join us one Saturday a month for Family Shabbat! Bring a comfy blanket, and sing and dance to your favorite Shabbat morning jams. It's an event perfect for the whole family. Join us early at 10:15 a.m. for a fun craft related to the story of the month.
Questions? Contact the Director of Educationt: Sharon Graetz (firstname.lastname@example.org; 404.603.5754).
For more than 25 years, AA has been responsible for providing more than 750,000 meals to feed Atlanta's needy families, and our donations to the Atlanta Community Food Bank have made us the number one religious contributor in all of metro Atlanta! In addition, more than 1,000 congregants have walked in past Hunger Walks with the AA team, Sally's Friends. We need our wonderful congregants to continue the outstanding record for Atlanta's homeless and hungry by donating and walking in this year's event!
Questions? Contact the chair: Rebecca Kaplan (email@example.com; 404.587.1736)
A cherished tradition in our Northside corridor spiritual community, the Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving is one of the few, but precious, times that we partner with our local Northside Drive churches for a community service to give thanks to the one God that we all worship in our own and sacred ways. Each year the service moves to a different spiritual community which opens its doors and welcomes us all in for prayer, fellowship and thanksgiving. This is a beautiful and meaningful experience which helps to grow our community and to strengthen our ties to all humanity.
Join Sisterhood and the rabbis one Thursday a month for a morning of coffee (or tea), conversation, and learning.
Questions? Contact the chair: Roslyn Konter (firstname.lastname@example.org; 770.841.3697)
Join Sisterhood every Sunday to play Mah Jongg, schmooze, have fun, and connect with other women. If you don't know how to play, don't worry! We're patient and willing to teach!
For 27 successful years, the Book Festival of the MJCCA has provided our community with a literary extravaganza featuring an exciting lineup of the year's most exceptional authors, celebrities, and influencers. The Esther G. Levine Community Read honors the contributions of long-time festival volunteer and AA member, Esther Levine. AA is proud to be an MJCCA community partner for the annual Esther G. Levine Community Read.
Since 1979, AA's Cultural Arts Concert Series (organized by the Cultural Arts Committee) has presented annual chamber music performances featuring renowned local, national and international musicians, conductors and composers. The live recital series is presented free of charge and open to the public. It generally features two concerts each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The concert series engages celebrated and accomplished artists, as well as significant young talent.
Join Sisterhood one Monday a month for a lively book discussion.
Questions? Contact the chair: Madeleine Gimbel (email@example.com; 404.944.0077)
2019 marks the 29th annual Operation Isaiah Food Drive where the Atlanta Jewish Community comes together to collect food donations during the High Holidays. All donations benefit the Jewish Family and Career Services Kosher Food Pantry and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, who strive to feed over 750,000 hungry people in Atlanta and North Georgia. Let us continue to work together and "share our food with the hungry."
Join members of AA and the greater Atlanta Jewish Community for a march through downtown Atlanta in support and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Help carry the AA banner as we share in the joy and celebration of visibility and equality for all of God's people. Join members of AA (stepping off at the Civic Center MARTA Station with the Sojourn vehicle) or meet us afterwards at the festival in Piedmont Park. This is an important showing of brotherhood, sisterhood, and community support.
Questions? Contact the chair: Gary Alembik (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Purim PaloozAA is AA's annual Purim carnival and celebration for celebrants of all ages! Whether it's Megillah readings, face painting, pedal kart racing, a gourmet coffee bar, live music, or food trucks, there's something for everyone to enjoy!
Questions? Contact the Director of Education: Sharon Graetz (email@example.com; 404.603.5754).
During the fall and winter months, AA provides volunteers for Rebecca's Tent Shelter at Congregation Shearith Israel. For the past ~50 years, our synagogue has provided meals every night for the 15+ homeless women who reside at Shearith Israel during the fall and winter months. We need your help and welcome your participation.
Questions? Contact the Social Action Committee chair: Alan Wexler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Every year, AA joins the community for Selichot, communal prayers for divine forgiveness, recited in preparation for the High Holidays. By the end of the evening, the tunes of Selichot will begin to create your "High Holiday state of mind" and you will have something significant to consider and perhaps work on as the new year begins.
Join Sisterhood for their annual Sisterhood Shabbat celebrating the women of AA. This service is a wonderful opportunity to grow your Jewish learning, whether it's leading services or having an aliyah for the very first time. Embrace the opportunity to celebrate the collective achievements and creativity of the women of AA!
Light up the night! Bring the whole family to celebrate the "festival of lights" with music, arts and crafts, a glow game room, and delicious food!
Questions? Contact the Director of Education: Sharon Graetz (email@example.com; 404.603.5754).
Join the Greening Group to help create new spaces around our gorgeous synagogue campus for meditation, prayer, and simple enjoyment. Help develop our sustainability initiatives through recycling and greening the synagogue systems. Learn how to be an agent of change, make the word a better place, and respect and honor the earth and its gifts to us. There will be activities for all ages and abilities. Stations will be inside the building and out. Come in comfortable clothes, with a spirit of trying something different. Drinks, snacks and lunch provided.
Questions? Contact the Greening Group Chair: Myrtle Lewin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Join AA for a night of learning, study, and fun! Study sessions feature some of your favorite educators and rabbis from across the community. We offer a variety of learning tracks to tap into everybody's interests.
Questions? Contact Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal (email@example.com; 404.603.5744).
Join Tu B'Shvat ATL and Trees Atlanta for this annual opportunity to plant trees as a Jewish community. Work to grow Atlanta's tree canopy and bring trees to urban communities where they are sorely needed. Plant with local synagogues, Hillels, day schools and many others. Trees Atlanta provides the trees, tools, and expertise, and we bring the energy and community spirit. Special children's programming is offered.
Questions? Contact the Greening Group Chair: Myrtle Lewin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Learn about the deep Jewish roots of Tu B'Shvat and celebrate the renewal of nature and the Jewish New Year for Trees at this annual event. As we experience the symbolism and enjoy the delicious foods of a Tu B'Shvat Seder, we will reflect on our responsibility to the earth, what grows on it, and the exquisite world around us.
Questions? Contact the chair: Brooke Rosenthal (email@example.com).
In the spirit of being #MoreThanPink, this Shabbat service honors all cancer survivors, participants of the Susan G. Komen 3-day or 2-day Walks, and the loved ones we have lost.
Questions? Contact the chair: Rina Wolfe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bring and serve a meal to homeless couples at the Zaban Paradies Center (ZPC) on Peachtree Road at The Temple. ZPC is the only couples center in the country. The mission is to assist couples transitioning from homelessness to independent living by providing counseling and training services for residents as they work to turn their lives around. If you would like to volunteer or make a financial donation, please contact the chair: Jennifer Rosenfeld (email@example.com). Prospective volunteers will be sent a link to sign up for any of the active dates for the season.