High Holy Days Survey-Tell us what you think!
What are you looking for in this year's High Holy Days? Fill out the survey and let us know.
TBH On-Site Activities Remain Suspended in Response to COVID-19
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Vaetchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23 - 7:11 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, August 1, 2020
This week’s Shabbat is called “Shabbat Nachamu,” The Shabbat of Consolation, from the first two words of Haftorah, Isaiah 40, which begins, “Nahamu, nahamu…, Comfort, oh Comfort my people…” It is the first of seven Shabbats of consolation, following Tisha b’Av leading up to Rosh Hashanah.
This week’s Haftorah sets a tone for our preparation for the High Holy Days, reminding us of our mortality. “All flesh is grass, All its goodness like flowers of the field: Grass withers, flowers fade When the breath of the LORD blows on them. Indeed, man is but grass: Grass withers, flowers fade— But the word of our God is always fulfilled!” (Isaiah 40:5-8).
Isaiah reminds us that our time on earth is short. What gives it meaning is dedication to something greater than ourselves. To the Prophet Isaiah, our sages, many of our parents and grandparents, and some of us, that something greater is God.
But what does it mean to dedicate ourselves to God, or something greater than ourselves? This week’s Torah portion gives us a possible answer, “Do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you.” (Deuteronomy 6:18) Commenting on this verse,
Nahmanides (14th Century Spain) wrote, “... generally one should do what is good and right regarding everything, including compromise, acting beyond the strict demands of the law.” Nahmanides is urging us to go beyond the letter of the law and to fulfill the spirit of the law. The letter of the law strives to curb people’s worst impulses. Nahmanides mentions compromise, because a compromise requires we take both our needs and the needs of others into account.
This is the spirit of the law, caring for others. Our sages rejected selfishness. They considered it to be the root of evil.
Imagine what our world would be like if we tried to do good by taking care of the needs of others as well as their own needs? Let’s hold this in our hearts as we prepare for the High Holy Days.
Read last week's commentary
From the President
Another week has passed and the Covid-19 news is not getting better, but we are a resilient community and we continue to adapt, support each other, and get things done. Our Ritual Committee, led by Rabbi Dean, Cantor Shayndel and Jane Durango, is hard at work planning meaningful online services and our choir, led by Cantor Shayndel and Maggie Jacobs, is preparing for a high tech way to contribute to our observances. Our Religious School Committee, led by Rabbi Dean, Larry Fox, and David Zimring, is planning meaningful online learning for when classes resume in September. We are creatively finding ways to adapt and meet the challenges of our present less than ideal situation. We truly are a small and mighty congregation and we will get through this together.
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
High Holy Day Services 2020 - Coming Together in Awe
Shana Tova! With the continued surge in COVID-19 infections and concomitant restrictions currently in place, this year’s Temple Beth Hillel’s High Holy Days will be entirely online. They may not be in person, but they will not be virtual. They will be real! Our volunteer leadership is working with Cantor Shayndel and Rabbi Dean to create a rich experience. Our services will be different but they will be profound and meaningful. We will be worshipping together, as a community, online, but our services will be shorter.
In addition to these “synchronous” services, we will be providing a series of asynchronous events, study sessions, recordings of songs, videos of drashot and the Torah service, memories and reflections by congregants and clergy, to ensure that the coming Days of Awe are a profound and special time. We look forward to worshipping together and being in community with you. More information will be forthcoming soon.
We need your help. Last week you received a High Holy Day survey, which is critical to our planning and to responding to congregant needs. To date we have received 25 responses. We need your input. If you have not responded, please do. Here is a link to the survey.
We also need your participation. If you have something you would like to share with the congregation, for example, a favorite High Holy Day recipe, a memory, or a reflection, please let us know.
These are strange and different times. Our hope is that if we work together as a community we can create a High Holy Day observance that will be very different, but still meaningful.
Join us for community Shabbat candle lighting this Friday, July 31 at 7:00 PM
Let’s begin Shabbat together by lighting Shabbat candles. Please join us at 7:00
.You can also join by calling:
1 (669)900-9128 Meeting ID: 517 749 891
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TBH Sandwich-Making for the GRIP Souper Center -- Wednesday, August 26
Wednesday, August 26, is our Temple's next day to make sandwiches for GRIP. We each make about forty sandwiches (your choice) and bring them to the Temple parking lot at about 9:45 AM. Please put the sandwiches in individual baggies, place them in a bag or box, and label the type of sandwiches made. If you can make sandwiches that day and/or if you have any questions, please contact Jane Kaasa (510)222-3221 or (510)421-7331.
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, July 15, 2020
The board discussed finances, plans for conducting High Holy Days remotely, and the renewal of Cantor Shayndel’s contract.