Community Message


February 10, 2017


Spring is on the horizon, and as we look ahead to the sunlight, warmer temperatures and budding greenery, your JCA staff, Board, and dedicated volunteers are also excited about our growth as an organization, and the innovative program offerings in the coming season.


Programs for all ages are in full bloom in February and March, including:


Sunday, February 12 at 10:30 AM: A Tu B’shevat celebration of the Jewish new year of the trees at Temple Beth El. Co-sponsored by PJ Library, Kadima Beth El Religious School and Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh.


Weekend of March 3-4: Shabbat Unplugged 
Join Southern Maine’s Jewish community for a special weekend of activities for all ages promoting connectedness and community, as part of the National Day of Unplugging. Events are free. All are welcome!
Community Partners: Congregation Bet Ha’am, Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh, Chabad of Maine, Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine (JCA), Jewish Girl Scout Troop 1433, Levey Day School, Maine Jewish Museum / Etz Chaim Congregation, PJ Library, Temple Beth El.
Click here for the full schedule. 


Wednesdays, starting March 15: From Sinai to Seinfeld - The History of Jewish Humor
A 10-session Melton course taught by Rabbi Carolyn Braun. 7:00 - 8:30 PM at the JCA. Click here to register online.

Sunday, April 23 - Community Yom Hashoah Observance & Film (Holocaust Remembrance Day) with the Maine Jewish Film Festival. Details to be announced.


Save the date for our major arts event of the season:

Sunday evening, May 14: Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom performed by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble
6:00 PM at One Longfellow Square – 181 State St., Portland

Experience a spellbinding musical journey through the Balkans to the Mid-East beginning in Sarajevo and winding through Salonica and Jerusalem. Follow the stories of vagabond queens, pauper poets and lovers lost to the sea, all set to richly textured arrangements of old Sephardic songs sung in Ladino. Click here for a preview of this incredible performance. 


Sponsored by the JCC Association’s Making Music Happen Centennial Grant Initiative, funded by a grant from Marvin J. Pertzik and the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation.


Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.


Summer 2017
Our beautiful new space at 1342 Congress is slated to open this summer, and will provide expanded opportunities for programs, classes, wellness activities, children’s programming, and special cultural arts events. Guided by your feedback from the Community Programming Survey, we are planning to offer classes in yoga, cooking, and art, as well as craft clubs, lectures with scholars and authors, documentary exhibits, musical performances, social action projects, and more! We are looking forward to serving as a true “center” for the community once again – a place for people to gather, learn, explore interests, and form connections.


It’s been an exciting time for me to join the JCA staff, to have the opportunity to help plant the seeds for our growth, and to develop programming for all ages and interests. Before moving to Portland, I served as the Cultural Arts Director at the Tucson JCC, so returning to the ‘J’ has brought me full circle.


For more information on JCA programs for children, families and adults, volunteer opportunities through Jewish Family Services, and registering for our nationally-accredited preschool and summer day camp, please visit or call (207) 772-1959.


Check out what’s blossoming at the ‘J’. We look forward to seeing you soon.


Warm wishes for a peaceful weekend. Shabbat shalom – 
Deena Schoenfeld, Director of Programming