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
Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25 - Parshat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, August 8, 20200
Psychological research confirms what Judaism (and other great religious traditions) have known all along: gratitude is essential for psychological health and overall happiness. See for example this article from Harvard Medical School.
Read last week's commentary
This week’s Torah portion confirms this as we read, “When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Take care lest you forget the LORD your God and fail to keep His commandments, His rules, and His laws, which I enjoin upon you today. When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses to live in, and your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the LORD your God… and you say to yourselves, ‘My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me’ Remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to get wealth, in fulfillment of the covenant that He made on oath with your fathers, as is still the case.”
But this week’s Torah portion teaches us something even more essential about gratitude. Gratitude promotes humility. It is easy for us to become arrogant and think that our success is based solely on our own efforts, rather than the being based on the work done by those who came before us and the social investments made by society in physical infrastructure, our legal system, our schools, and all the institutions that enable us to prosper.
Judaism teaches us that none of us succeed on our own. God, our ancestors, our society and our moral values are all components of success.
Now, in the depths of this pandemic, we are reminded of how little control we have over our lives. Let us practice humility and remember the spiritual and moral commitments that give our lives meaning and form the foundation of true to happiness.
From the President
For the High Holy Days this year we are asking you to share reflections on and/or memories of the holidays. As an example, I thought I would start with a Yom Kippur memory.
In my family’s Conservative synagogue, the Yom Kippur morning appeal was strategically placed between the Torah Service and Yizkor when the most congregants were expected to be present. At the end of the Torah service, a recent Bar Mitzvah was chosen to hold the Torah on his lap during the Haftorah and the appeal and then hand the Torah over to a lay leader to hold for Yizkor. Since the Yom Kippur morning Haftorah was rather lengthy and the appeal was a drawn out process of a speech and the collection of pledge envelopes, it was a tedious job. When I was 15, a little over a year after my mother, sister, and grandmother had died, I was chosen for this honor.
Sitting on the bimah with the Torah in my lap, I felt comforted for the very first time in over a year. I imagined warmth emanating from the scroll and what might have been tedious became meaningful. I didn’t hear the Haftorah and I definitely didn’t hear the appeal. It was just the Torah and me.
At the conclusion of the appeal, when the congregation stood for the Yizkor service, I stood and stepped toward the Cantor’s lectern. When a lay leader reached out something made me refuse to hand him the Torah. In the tradition of that synagogue those who had not lost a parent or another close relative would leave the sanctuary for Yizkor, so the lay leader assumed that I, age 15, would be leaving. He didn’t know that this was to be my first Yizkor service. I looked to the Cantor, who was like a second father to me, and he knew. Neither of us said a word, but my plea was understood.
For my first Yizkor service I held the Torah while standing next to Cantor Moshe. It marked the beginning of a long process of healing and I remain grateful to Cantor Moshe Solomon and all those who allowed me to have that experience.
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. 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 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
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 7 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.
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
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: email@example.com
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.