TBH On-Site Activities Remain Suspended in Response to COVID-19
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Pinchas, Numbers 25:10 - 30:1 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, July 11, 2020
Judaism is an ancient and patriarchal religious tradition. For the most part, men’s narratives dominate our religious narrative. For most of our history, men controlled religious leadership. Until recently, our images of God were almost exclusively masculine.
All the constructive changes giving women their rightful place in our religious narrative, leadership, and depiction of God have been the result of women fighting for them, and it is critical to note that this struggle is not new. They date back to the beginnings of Jewish history, as we read in this week’s Torah portion, “The daughters of Zelophehad, of Manassite family—son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph—came forward. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the chieftains, and the whole assembly, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and they said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not one of the faction, Korah’s faction, which banded together against the LORD, but died for his own sin; and he has left no sons.” (Numbers 27:1-4)
They come forward, to stand before Moses and to demand their inheritance before all the Israelites. Moses takes their plea before God and God responds, “The plea of Zelophehad’s daughters is just: you should give them a hereditary holding among their father’s kinsmen; transfer their father’s share to them. Further, speak to the Israelite people as follows: ‘If a man dies without leaving a son, you shall transfer his property to his daughter.” (Numbers 27:7-8)
The Daughters of Zelophehad had the courage to defy culture and custom to demand their rights. By doing so, they changed Jewish law.
The struggle they began continues today, but it is no longer enough for women to stand up for their full equality and dignity, men must stand together with women to fulfill the vision of the Daughters of Zelophehad.
Read last week's commentary
From the President
So, what do we do now? We can mourn what we have lost due to Covid-19 and we have lost a lot. So far, we have lost our in person community seder, our in person Shabbat services, our potlucks, our onegs, and our in person religious school and t’filah. We’ve even lost our Jewish Heritage Night at the A’s baseball outing along with our Fourth of July booth and the Solano Stroll. Personally, I have lost live theater which has been part of my life since I was 9 years old. All this can be overwhelming and we can feel helpless, anxious, and alone.
Or, we can focus on what we have and what we can do and are doing. First and most importantly, we are helping each other stay safe by staying apart while knowing that even in our isolation we are not alone. Our religious school and adult education will continue online (almost certainly) in the Fall and although we can’t share food at our potlucks and onegs, we still gather virtually to light Shabbat candles and pray. We still have lay led Torah study every Saturday morning and Food for Thought is adapting and planning for December. Thanks to our Ritual Committee, led by Rabbi Dean and Cantor Shayndel, we will have meaningful observances of our High Holy Days. Collectively, we are meeting our Covid-19 challenges with perseverance, a lot of creativity and more than a little technology.
Of course we all eagerly look forward to safely gathering, but we really don’t have any idea when that can happen. What I am sure of is that we are still a vibrant, small and mighty congregation and when, not if, we get through this we will be stronger and much more appreciative of each other and all that we share as a Jewish community.
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 us for community Shabbat candle lighting this Friday, July 10 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.
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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.