Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,
I’m writing to share news about a Journey into Judaism program that I’ll be offering over the coming school year, and to invite your participation.
There are a few folks in the northern Berkshire community who are not yet a part of CBI who have approached me about taking a journey into Judaism that might culminate in choosing Judaism formally next Shavuot. Y’all will get to know them over the course of coming months as they come to CBI to experience Jewish life in community.
Teaching people about Judaism is a joy and a privilege and an important part of my work. I’m looking very forward to working with this group in coming months. I’m writing now to open the invitation to all of y’all as well. If you, or someone in your family, might be interested in joining this group please let me know?
Starting in September, our intention is to meet on Tuesdays after lunch. I recognize that this will not work well for people with day jobs, and I’m sorry about that. (The timing is dictated by the work schedules of those who approached me to set up the class in the first place.) We will meet twice a month from September until Shavuot.
We’ll work with the On One Foot textbook that my Introduction to Judaism class used last year, and I’ll augment that book with other materials, from books to experiences to hevruta (paired study).
If any of my students decide to “take the plunge” (as it were) and formally enter the Jewish people, that will take place next May on the cusp of Shavuot at Isabella Freedman, the Jewish retreat center where some of y’all have joined me for Shavuot over the last few years.
Shavuot is a traditional time to welcome Jews-by-choice into the community (because at Shavuot we read the book of Ruth; Ruth is often considered to be the first Jew-by-choice). Our new Jews will come before a beit din (a rabbinic court) and then immerse in beautiful Lake Miriam to effect and mark their change. Then we’ll celebrate them over the course of Shavuot as we receive Torah together anew. (Save the dates: next year’s Shavuot retreat at Isabella Freedman is May 18-22.)
If you’re interested in taking part in this Journey into Judaism on Tuesdays during the coming nine months, please let me know!
Blessings to all —