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
View the calendar and join us online
Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 - 21:9 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, August 22, 2020
We like to describe the United States as a nation of laws. We often mean a few things by this. That no one is above the law, regardless of financial status, social standing or political power.
Of course, in practice we know this is not true--that a rich person can usually get a better outcome than a poor person in the courts. White collar crime is punished less harshly than violent crime. As Woody Guthrie wrote, “Some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen.” But we treat these categories of criminals differently. This preferential system of justice creates cynicism and alienation.
Our Torah portion recognizes this problem, when Moses said, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:21). Commenting on this verse, Nahmanides (14th Century Spain) wrote, “This teaches us that we must pursue justice, justly. Judges should be blameless and ordinary citizens should pursue justice whether it serves their personal interests or not.”
In other words, judges and citizens should avoid corruption at all costs. Corruption corrodes trust and eats away at a society's strength.
That is as true today, as it was 3,000 years ago.
If we followed the words of our Torah, perhaps our fellow citizens would be less cynical and more trusting of our social institutions.
Read last week's commentary
From the President
When I was about 6 years old my older sister joined the synagogue youth choir. I had no interest in singing, but while sitting next to my father enduring painfully long Conservative High Holy Day services while tying knots in the fringes of my father’s tallit, I got a little jealous of my sister. The services were held in the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, a huge barn of a theater with architecture reminiscent of the San Gabriel Mission next door. The choir got to sit on a platform in the orchestra pit and leave during the most tedious parts. That appealed to me.
The next summer my sister was notified that the choir practices would be held at the Kaplan’s house and that they had a pool. That was it. I wanted in. I was willing to sing for an hour if I could go swimming afterwards. It was a youth choir and it didn’t matter if I could sing or not. Everyone was welcome. So at the age of 7 I joined the choir.
My desire to escape the triple digit heat of the San Gabriel Valley turned out to be life changing. I remained in Cantor Moshe’s choir for 13 years even though Moshe changed synagogues and my family followed him. I made lifelong friends and was annexed into two families while my parents annexed the children of the other two families. The Solomons including Cantor Moshe, the Foxes, and the Cohens became inseparable. Even now that all our parents are gone, we remain close. Through B’nai Mitzvah, graduations, weddings, the birth of children, the children’s B’nai Mitzvah, the children’s weddings and the birth of grandchildren (not us unfortunately) we remain close.
If you have a High Holy Day memory or reflection you would like to share, please email Rabbi Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Thanks so much to those congregants who filled out the 5 minute High Holy Days survey! It helps us so much to hear from you. For those who haven’t gotten to it yet, this is your last chance to take the survey. 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 by contacting email@example.com
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.
Let’s join together for Shabbat evening services online this Friday, August 21 at 7:00 PM (New time)
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 7:00 PM
to light Shabbat Candles (new time-1/2 hour earlier).
We always begin our evening services by lighting Shabbat candles. Please join us at 7:00 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.
You can also join by calling
1 (669)900-9128 Meeting ID: 517 749 891
One tap mobile
Join the Service
TBH Sandwich-Making for the GRIP Souper Center -- Wednesday, August 26
Next 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.
Notes from the Board, August 19, 2020
The Board discussed plans for High Holy Days and Religious School. Read more
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 cell phones and cameras for some wonderful moments that we can share. Please send your photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org