TBH On-Site Activities Remain Suspended in Response to COVID-19
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Beha'alotcha, Numbers 8:1 - 12:16 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, June 13, 2020
America has always seen itself as a special nation, unique and set apart, with a calling that all human beings should enjoy the blessings of equality and freedom.
We express this belief in our national sacred texts. The Declaration of Independence claims, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address wrote, “...we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” This claim transcends politics. It is a moral claim that human liberty and equality are primary human values and the United States’ task is to provide these to all our citizens.
This week’s Torah portion also speaks to sacred service, that of the Levites to God in the daily operation of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle.
The Levites are set apart and must purify themselves for this service, “Thus you shall set the Levites apart from the Israelites, and the Levites shall be Mine. Thereafter the Levites shall be qualified for the service of the Tent of Meeting, once you have cleansed them and designated them as an elevation offering.” (Numbers 7:14-15)
Sacred service, responding to a moral call, requires purification, not just of the body as in the case of the Levites, but of the heart and soul as well.
Our nation is once again confronting the ugly reality of racism, of our history of violence against Americans of color, and of the privileges granted to those of us with white skin.
If we believe in the promise of America, of liberty and equality for all human beings, then we must work to purify ourselves of the spiritual and moral stain of racism.
Even if we have no conscious malice in our hearts, most of us benefit from the current that subjugates and visits violence on American’s of color.
If we believe in the dream of America, then we must be engaged in the process of ending systematic racism.
The ancient Israelites were not perfect--they were deeply flawed--but they strove to fulfill a divine vision of what a just society should look like.
As their descendents, we should do no less.
Read Rabbi Dean's June 6 Letter
Watch Rabbi Dean’s opening remarks at the Annual Meeting
Read last week's commentary
From the President
I would like to thank everyone who came to the TBH Online General Membership meeting last Sunday. It is not as easy to be enthused sitting in front of one’s computer or phone, as it is to be when one is among friends - but you pulled it off.
A few by-law changes were voted in, mostly creating consistency with changes voted in at the 2016 meeting, reports were heard from our hard-working volunteers (or as Jane Durango calls them the Magic Elves Club).
A new slate of officers was voted in:
President Michael Cohen
First Vice President Jane Durango
Second Vice President Audrey Berger
Treasurer Laura Taub
Secretary Anna Stein
Past President Neil Zarchin
Board: Mel Feder
It was very difficult to say goodbye to our departing Board members Sheri Tatenheim and Jeff Romm, but they have done more than their share for the Temple. I want to personally thank Michael Cohen for stepping up to the presidency for a second time. Although our bylaws state that the new president takes over at the end of the General Membership Meeting, President Cohen has asked me to cover his duties while he prepares his transition team.
By far the most difficult and moving part of the meeting was saying ‘Shalom’ as in farewell to Office Manager Arlene Lisby. After 40 years of being the heart, soul, brain and every other needed role she is taking a well-earned retirement. There aren’t words for all she has done,
and for the love we all have for Arlene. Several members expressed gratitude, appreciation,
told stories and cried as we all wished Arlene nothing but the best. Arlene has done
everything for Temple Beth Hillel.
We are what we do.
Read last week's letter
Join us for community Shabbat candle lighting this Friday, June 12 at 7:00 PM
Let’s begin Shabbat together by lighting Shabbat candles. Please join us at 7:00.In this way we can all be together in this time of physical isolation.
Position Available: TBH Office Manager
As many of you may know, our beloved TBH Office Manager, Arlene, will be retiring in June at the end of our fiscal year. After forty plus years managing the Temple Office and so much more, we need to find a successor.
Learn more about the TBH Office Manager position here