Monthly Archives: November 2016

Deepening our connections with Williams

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

I’m writing to share with you some happy news: this spring, in addition to serving CBI as your rabbi, I will also be serving the Williams College community as interim Jewish chaplain to the College.

The position at the College (which officially begins in February) is halftime, as is my position at CBI. I know that there will be challenges in dovetailing these two positions, but I am confident that it can be done — and I hope that CBI will reap benefits from this opportunity to more closely connect our shul with the Jewish community and the multi-faith community at the College.

The students have already expressed to me an interest in figuring out how to be more connected with CBI. I’m hoping we can sponsor at least one celebration or program together during the spring semester, so stay tuned for more on that.

I will still be at CBI two days a week. I will still lead davenen (prayer) at CBI two Shabbatot a month. I will still teach my five b’nei mitzvah students. I will still teach the Introduction to Judaism class at CBI. I will still lead our meditation minyan on Friday mornings. I will still provide pastoral care and counseling. And I will still preside over lifecycle events at CBI from babynamings to funerals and everything in between.

I anticipate that there will be times when I have to say “no” to an obligation at the College because I am already committed to something at CBI, and times when I will have to say “no” to something at CBI because I am needed at the College. I know that won’t be easy for anyone (least of all for me!) and I ask all of you to please bear with me as I figure out how to walk this path.

I recognize that this news may evoke anxiety for some of you. You may be wondering whether I will still be able to provide sufficient service and care to the CBI community. I am happy to sit down with anyone who wants to talk about this and what it brings up for you. I promise you that I will do everything within my power to continue to serve CBI with whole heart, even as I also move into serving in this other way to which I am called.

With loving blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

The December 2016 / Kislev 5777 CBI Newsletter is now online!

The December 2016 / Kislev 5777 CBI Newsletter is Now Online!

In this month’s newsletter you’ll find Notes from the Rabbi, a report on book-making last month and information about an upcoming visit from sofer (Torah scribe) Kevin Hale, service times for Shabbat, First Friday Potluck and Shabbat Services, words from our new Board President, and more!

Read and enjoy!

A note from Rabbi Lori Shaller

A message from Rabbi Lori Shaller, who will be leading davenen (prayer) at CBI this coming Shabbat:
Please join me this Shabbat, Saturday, December 3 for a contemplative service. I will be on my yoga mat, suggesting movement and meditation prompts, as well as chanting some, and I invite you to bring your mat, if that speaks to you. You are also welcome to participate sitting in a chair. We will be praying the Sh’ma and V’ahavta, an Amidah and Kaddish, if there are those who want to pray kaddish. I hope to see you b’Shabbat!

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Toldot

Shavua tov / a good week to all!

return-to-shabbat Join us on Shabbat morning at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Lori Shaller. This week we’re reading parashat Toldot. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

And here are commentaries from the URJ: Toldot at the URJ.

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact the office.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Chayei Sarah.

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Shavua tov / a good week to all!

return-to-shabbat Join us on Shabbat morning at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Pam Wax. This week we’re reading parashat Chayei Sarah. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

And here are commentaries from the URJ: Chayei Sarah at the URJ.

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact the office.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

An act of conscience: standing against oppression

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Y’all know that I am honored and humbled to serve, with my dear friend and colleague Rabbi David Evan Markus, as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. CBI is part of the ALEPH Network, and I wanted to share with y’all a resolution and petition that ALEPH put forward recently. The full text of the resolution appears below, followed by a link to a petition that I hope you will consider signing.

The resolution urges us to stand with our Muslim neighbors if they should be targeted by religious oppression under the Trump administration, and calls on all Americans to stand with the oppressed. In this way we signal that we stand against bigotry. When we say “never again” about the Holocaust, we must mean not only “never again for us,” but “never again for anyone.”

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel

 

slider-standing-with-non-jews-against-oppression

RESOLUTION BY MAJOR JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS ON DIRECT ACTION TO THWART ANY U.S. GOVERNMENT ACTION REQUIRING REGISTRATION OF MUSLIMS

As initially proposed by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal 

WHEREAS:

President-Elect Trump repeatedly has advocated and expressed his intention that Muslims resident in the United States will be required to register as such with the United States government; and

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution bans state action in respect of any establishment of religion, including tests and other qualifications on the basis of religion; and

Article II of the United States Constitution obliges the President of the United States to take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed; and

Incitement and tolerance of invidious discrimination on the basis of any religion, ethnicity, race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation cultivates a civic climate that countenances all such discrimination, including anti-Semitism; and

Incitement and intolerance of religious discrimination have no place in any civil society; and

The Jewish people have living memory of anti-Jewish legislation and other official discrimination in Nazi Germany, including civic disqualification and registration with the government, preceding the Holocaust; and

Core Jewish spiritual values teach that one must not stand idly by the blood of one’s neighbor (Leviticus 19:16), and that one must love one’s neighbor as oneself (Leviticus 19:18); and

Principles of deep ecumenism  view all religious traditions as potential paths to the sacred; and

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi  z”l (of blessed memory) professed faith with the Sufis of Hebron to exemplify the spiritual principle that Jews can and must stand in faithful co-religionist solidarity with Muslims;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

If Muslims are required to register as such with the United States government, then all Jews — and all other persons in familial or communal relationship with Jews — are urged to register as Muslims immediately; and

All Jewish clergy associations based in the United States — including OHALAH (Renewal), Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform), Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative), Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (Reconstructionist) and Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) — as well as the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, its constituent organizations, all Jewish seminaries and other institutions of learning, and all other Jewish organizations, are urged to adopt, implement and publicize this resolution by all available means; and

All other clergy organizations and other faith-based organizations operating or having influence in the United States are urged to adopt, implement and publicize corresponding versions of this resolution most suitable to the tenets and contexts of their respective faith traditions; and

If Muslims are required to register as such with the United States government, then a goal is established that every United States resident promptly will register as a Muslim; and

Each ratifying organization will transmit a copy of this resolution to the official government office of Donald J. Trump as of its date of ratification; and

This resolution will be publicized by all available means.

SIGN THE PETITION!

Consultation on Conscience Conference next spring

The Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement will be sponsoring their next Consultation on Conscience conference April 30-May 2.

What is Consultation on Conscience?
Consultation on Conscience is the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s biennial social justice leadership conference. Held over three days in Washington, D.C., Consultation empowers the Reform Jewish Movement through leadership development; opportunities for network and community building; and active dialogue culminating in an afternoon of advocacy on Capitol Hill. It is open to Congregational Delegations as well as individuals looking to build relationships and deepen their engagement in the fight for progressive social change in North America.

In 2017, there will be a special focus on issues of racial justice, including conversations on how to better organize to combat voter suppression and the staggering problem of mass incarceration in America.

To sign up, go to http://www.rac.org/consultation-conscience-2017-registration — and there is a discount rate if you register before 11/22. Rabbi Pam Wax and Chaim Bronstein are planning to go, and hope that others from CBI will do so as well.