TBH On-Site Activities Remain Suspended in Response to COVID-19
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Chukat-Balak, Numbers 19:1 - 25:9 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, July 4, 2020
Can we see what is in front of us? Are we able to see what is really happening?
These are two of the questions posed in this week’s Torah portion Chukat-Balak. It is a double portion and in the second one, Balak, we read the story of the Prophet Balaam, who is hired by King Balak of Moab to curse the Israelites.
Balaam goes off on his faithful donkey to fulfill his commission but the donkey hesitates, for the donkey can see an angel with a drawn sword blocking the road. But Balaam cannot see it, and so he is angry at his mount until God opens his eyes. The great prophet sees less than his donkey.
I wonder if those of us who are white are like Balaam, and are blind to the injustices that are all around us everyday. We see our country in a certain way, while our fellow citizens experience our country very differently. We now have the opportunity to have our eyes opened and see things in a new light, as Balaam did. To see reality fully.
When Balaam saw the angel, he knew he had to change his plan. If we see the problems in our country, with the same clarity, are we willing to work for change?
Read last week's commentary
From the President
What do Jerry Brown, Grover Cleveland, and I have in common? Well, Grover Cleveland served non consecutive terms as the 22nd and 24th President of the US (1885-1889 and 1893-1897), Jerry Brown served 2 sets of 2 terms as Governor of California 28 years apart (1975-1983 and 2011-2019), and I am beginning my second of 2 non consecutive terms as president of Temple Beth Hillel (2016-2018 and 2020-2022).
It is an honor to return as president, a daunting honor, but an honor just the same. We are facing substantial changes, challenges, and uncertainty that none of us predicted just months ago. We welcome our new office manager, Michelle Husby, while wishing our beloved Arlene Lisby, not so much goodbye as להתראות (l’hitraot) and we do this amidst a global pandemic. Covid-19 has forced us to suspend in person activities with no clear end in sight. How will we observe the High Holy Days? What will our religious school look like in the fall? When and how will it be safe for us to gather as a community? When will we be able to pray together in person? When will we be able to share an oneg or a potluck? We don’t know. Meanwhile, the video of George Floyd’s murder and others challenges us to reflect and to open our eyes to social injustice and systemic racism. What can we do to affirm the God given rights and value of every person with no exceptions?
However, I am confident that we will overcome these challenges and grow as a community. Rabbi Dean and Cantor Shayndel lead us with warmth and wisdom, the members, both new and returning, of our Board of Directors are dedicated to our congregation, and I’m confident that every one of our members will, as you always have, step forward when needed and we will live up to our name.
We are Temple Beth Hillel.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Read last week's letter
Join our Shabbat evening services online this Friday, July 3 at 7:30 PM
As we continue to shelter-in-place and cannot come to the synagogue, we are bringing our services to you with our Shelter-in-Shabbat. We celebrate our full Shabbat evening service and hope you can join us. All you need is a computer or a smartphone and internet access.
If you can’t join us for the entire service, join us at 7:30 PM to light Shabbat Candles
We always begin our evening services by lighting Shabbat candles. Please join us at 7:30 to light Shabbat candles together. In this way we can all be “virtually” together in this time of isolation. You can stay online for the evening service if you wish.
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Calling All Members - Photos Needed
As most of you have likely seen over the years, we do an annual postcard with the dates of the holidays and celebrations for the Temple, highlighted and accented with photos from the past year of Temple events and members that represent our wonderful community. Check your cellphones and cameras for some wonderful moments that we can share. Please send your photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes from the Board, June 17, 2020
The board discussed reopening plans, a candidate for Office Manager, and more.
Notes from the General Membership Meeting, June 7, 2020
The proposed budget for 2020-2021 and a new slate of board members were approved. Special recognition to departing board members Jeff Romm and Sherri Tattenham, and to Volunteer of the Year Jean Henderson.