Yizkor tomorrow; May save-the-dates

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

I hope this note finds you well; I hope you’re enjoying this seventh day of Pesach, which is traditionally understood as the anniversary of the day when we crossed through the Sea of Reeds!

I’m writing for three reasons. First, to remind you that although CBI follows Reform practice in observing seven days of Pesach, which means that tomorrow is “just” an ordinary Shabbat, we will offer a Yizkor (memorial) service tomorrow morning for anyone who wants to say the memorial prayers. I very much hope that you’ll be able to join us to pray the Yizkor prayers in person, but if you can’t make it and want to daven Yizkor at home, here’s a pdf of our Yizkor handout: CBI-Yizkor [pdf] Tomorrow’s Shabbat morning service will be co-led by me and by rabbinic student Lori Shaller from Martha’s Vineyard.

Second: our month of May is going to be very exciting! On Shabbat morning, May 5, I’ll be offering CBI’s first-ever Rumi Shabbat service, in which each of the prayers of the morning service will be paired with poems by the Persian mystic and poet Rumi. Then, on May 18, we’ll welcome Rabbi Everett Gendler and his wife Mary to speak at CBI at 7pm. Their presentation will be entitled Teaching Shalom in the Shadow of Tibet.

Rabbi Gendler, who installed the first-ever solar-powered ner tamid (eternal light) in 1978, has been described as “the father of Jewish environmentalism.” During the 1960s, he played a pivotal role in involving American Jews in the civil rights movement, leading groups of rabbis to participate in protests across the South and persuading Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to participate in the famous march from Selma to Montgomery. Today Rabbi Gendler remains an eloquent Jewish advocate for the path of nonviolence. His work has taken him across the world – most notably to India where he and his wife Mary teach the principles of nonviolence to Tibetan exiles. Join us for an evening with the Gendlers on May 18; a Q-and-A and dessert reception will follow.

And thirdly, and finally: on that same weekend, on Shabbat morning May 19, I’ll be co-leading services with two of my rabbinic school colleagues! Join us that morning for a joyful and spirited Shabbat service, co-led by rabbinic student David Curiel and rabbinic student Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser (and me.) More information will follow as the date approaches.

Okay: that’s the news from CBI! I wish all of you a joyous sixth day of the Omer (today) and a Shabbat shalom (tonight.)

Take care,

Reb Rachel


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