Category Archives: events

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Bo and our Shabbaton

Shavua tov — a good new week to you. Happy Martin Luther King Day! If you’d like to hear excerpts from the “I Have a Dream” speech set to haftarah trope by Rabbi David Evan Markus you can do so here.

Join us on Shabbat morning at 9:30amWe’ll be reading from the Torah portion known as Bo, and services will be led by Rabbi Rachel.

And join us after morning services for our daylong Shabbaton! Here’s our schedule for the day:

9:30: morning davenen

11-12: potluck Shabbat lunch (bring a vegetarian / dairy dish to share)

12-1: What we talk about when we talk about God

1-2:30: Sense of Wonder (David Arfa)

2:30-3:30: Jewish contemplative practice (Steven and Rose)

3:30-4:30 Eit ratzon (“a time of will”) and holy time – teaching, poetry, and song

4:45: Havdalah (sunset 4:43)

All are welcome to join us for some or all of our Shabbat of learning and togetherness.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

  • And here are commentaries from the Union for Reform Judaism:  Bo.

Wishing you blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

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Save the date: a January 20 Shabbaton

Shabbaton

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Save the date: we’re planning a special Shabbaton (an immersive Shabbat gathering of learning, joy, and togetherness) on January 20. This Shabbaton is taking place thanks to the students in my Journey Into Judaism class, and is open to the whole community.

The day will begin at 9:30am with Shabbat morning services. After services there will be a potluck Shabbat lunch at the synagogue (please RSVP by January 12 so we know how many places to set at the table!) — bring a vegetarian / dairy dish to share.

Following our leisurely Shabbat lunch we’ll gather for an afternoon of learning. (Stay tuned for more information on that.)

We’ll close with se’udah shlishit (the “third meal” of Shabbat — in this case, we will “dine” on song, poetry, and teachings about the very special qualities of the final hours of Shabbat) and havdalah (the ritual that ends Shabbat and ushers in the new week) at 4:45pm.

Please save the date and plan to join us! If you’re a Facebook user, feel free to RSVP via the event page: A Sweet January Shabbat.

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Lech Lecha.

Shavua tov — a good new week to you.

Join us on Shabbat evening at 5:45pm for our Jewish Cuisine event — a vegetarian / dairy potluck supper, a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by Rabbi Rachel, and a talk on Jewish cuisine by author Darra Goldstein! Hopefully you’ve already RSVP’d to the office so we know you’re coming.

Join us also on Shabbat morning at 9:30am for Shabbat Lech Lecha. We’ll be reading from parashat Lech Lecha, and services will be led by Rabbi Lori Shaller.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

  • And here are commentaries from the Union for Reform Judaism: Lech Lecha.

Wishing you blessings,

Rabbi Rachel

Shavua tov! Looking forward to a very special Shabbat.

Shavua tov – a  good week to you! The coming Shabbat is going to be special in several ways.

A MUSICAL SHABBAT WITH RABBI RACHEL & RABBI DAVID

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Rabbi David Evan Markus, my ALEPH co-chair, will be co-leading Shabbat services with me over the February 27 weekend. Those of y’all who were with us at the end of August last time he visited may remember the beauty and sweetness he brings to the bimah. Expect music, harmony, teachings, and an extra helping of joy. Please join us for Friday night services at 7:30pm on Friday February 26, and Saturday morning services at 9:30am on Saturday February 27.

On Friday night we will begin with a potluck Shabbat dinner at 6:30pm — we are still seeking a host who can organize cleanup and lock the building at the end of the evening, so if that’s you, please let me know!

This week we’re reading parashat Ki Tisa.
return-to-shabbatIf you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Ki Tisa at the URJ.

Even once Shabbat draws to its close, there will be other exciting happenings in our community next weekend.

A TALK BY RABBI JILL HAMMER, AUTHOR OF THE HEBREW PRIESTESS

518QFADpahL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_rabbi_jill_hammerCBI is joining with Rimon and Temple Anshe Amunim to present a visit to the Berkshires fromRabbi Jill Hammer, co-author of The Hebrew Priestess, a groundbreaking book about women’s spiritual leadership from antiquity to today. Rabbi Jill will speak at 7pm on Saturday February 27 at Temple Anshe Amunim, 26 Broad Street in Pittsfield. She’ll read from the book, talk about how it came to be, answer questions, and sign copies of the book. Don’t miss this!

WRITE SONGS OF LOVE WITH BERNICE LEWIS

linderpix-450211Local resident (and nationally known singer / songwriter) Bernice Lewis will present a workshop on “How to Write a Jewish Love Song,” co-presented by Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.  11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday February 28, $10.00, includes a kosher style buffet lunch. Bring your instrument or just your voice. Bring a smart cell phone to record your song, and a notebook and writing tool! Bring your sweetie! RSVP’s requested by February 24to office@cbiweb.org or by calling (413) 822-5267.

We hope you’ll join us for one or all of these special events!

A very special weekend in late February

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

I’m writing this morning to let you know about three wonderful things which will be happening in our community over the weekend of February 26-28.

A Musical Shabbat with Rabbi Rachel & Rabbi David

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Rabbi David Evan Markus, my ALEPH co-chair, will be co-leading Shabbat services with me over the February 27 weekend. Those of y’all who were with us at the end of August last time he visited may remember the beauty and sweetness he brings to the bimah. Expect music, harmony, teachings, and an extra helping of joy. Please join us for Friday night services at 7:30pm on Friday February 26, and Saturday morning services at 9:30am on Saturday February 27.

A Talk by Rabbi Jill Hammer, Author of The Hebrew Priestess

518QFADpahL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ rabbi_jill_hammerCBI is joining with Rimon and Temple Anshe Amunim to present a visit to the Berkshires from Rabbi Jill Hammer, co-author of The Hebrew Priestess, a groundbreaking book about women’s spiritual leadership from antiquity to today. Rabbi Jill will speak at 7pm on Saturday February 27 at Temple Anshe Amunim, 26 Broad Street in Pittsfield. She’ll read from the book, talk about how it came to be, answer questions, and sign copies of the book. Don’t miss this!

Write songs of love with Bernice Lewis

linderpix-450211Local resident (and nationally known singer / songwriter) Bernice Lewis will present a workshop on “How to Write a Jewish Love Song,” co-presented by Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.  11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday February 28, $10.00, includes a kosher style buffet lunch. Bring your instrument or just your voice. Bring a smart cell phone to record your song, and a notebook and writing tool! Bring your sweetie! RSVP’s requested by February 24 tooffice@cbiweb.org or by calling (413) 822-5267.

I hope you’ll join us for some or all of these special happenings at CBI.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

Two groundbreaking books; two inspirational talks in one evening – Aug 13 at CBI

ZaslowsOn Thurs., August 13th at 7:00 pm, Rabbi David Zaslow and Debra Zaslow will speak about their recently published books at Congregation Beth Israel. The event is co-sponsored by All Saints Episcopal Church and Congregation Beth Israel. The talk is free and open to the public. Both Rabbi David Zaslow and Debra Zaslow are gifted speakers, known for their ability to inspire and entertain, and both are longtime participants in Jewish Renewal, the trans-denominational movement to revitalize Judaism within which Rabbi Rachel was ordained.

Rabbi David Zaslow is the author of Jesus: First Century Rabbi and Debra Gordon Zaslow is the author of Bringing Bubbe Home, A Memoir of Letting Go Through Love and Death.

41RaeXMgvjL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In Bringing Bubbe Home Debra Zaslow writes candidly about the life-changing experience of bringing her 103 year-old grandmother into her home during her final months of life. The narrative of their time together in Bubbe’s last months is mingled with scenes from the past that reveal how her grandmother’s stories of abuse, tenacity and survival have played out through the generations of women in the family. Debra watches her expectations of a perfect death dissolve in the midst of queen-size diapers, hormonal teenagers and volatile caregivers, while the two women sit soul-to-soul in moments of stark tenderness.

This honest and powerful literary memoir illustrates the choice to bring death into the home  with family, caregivers, hospice, and all the ramifications. Zaslow offers keen insights into the process of being with a dying person on their own terms, while meeting the needs of family at the same time.

51VN6+8EBmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Jesus: First Century Rabbi takes a bold, fresh look at the historical Jesus and the Jewish roots of Christianity while challenging both Jews and Christians to re-examine their understanding of Jesus’ firm commitment to his Jewish faith.  Instead of emphasizing the differences between the two religions, this groundbreaking text explains how the concepts of vicarious atonement, mediation, incarnation, and Trinity are actually rooted in classical Judaism. Using the cutting edge of scholarly research, Rabbi Zaslow dispels the myths of disparity between Christianity and Judaism without diluting the unique features of each faith.

Rabbi David Zaslow, M.S., is the spiritual leader of Havurah Shir Hadash, a synagogue in Ashland, Oregon. He is the editor of the best selling Hebrew/English prayer book for spiritual Renewal, Ivdu et Hashem B’simcha – Serve the Holy One With Joy. He travels the country leading workshops for churches and synagogues on the Jewish roots of Christianity. He is also a guitar player, poet, author, and lecturer who has been interviewed on national TV and radio. He is also the author of numerous poetry books for children and adults.

Following the author presentations there will be time for Q and A and book-signing.

Bringing Bubbe Home is published by White Cloud Press; Jesus: First Century Rabbi is published by Paraclete Press. Both books are available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or from local independent booksellers — and will be available for sale at the event at CBI as well.

More information on Rabbi David Zaslow can be found at his website: , and you can get a glimpse of him on YouTube here.

More information on Debra Gordon Zaslow can be found at her website, and you can get a glimpse of her on YouTube here.

We hope you’ll save the date and plan to join us! A $10 donation is requested from those who feel able to contribute.

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Join us for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot!

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