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Shabbat Services at 7 PM this Friday

Temple Beth El will celebrate Shabbat with services led by Hal Schulman this Friday, August 22, beginning at 7 pm. An Oneg will be served following the service. Joe Hale will serve as Board Presence. All are welcome.

Rabbi Naomi & Ben Martin will teach a class together:

B’Artseynu – “In Our Land” on August 27th:

In Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) we sing, “And the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.”   How do we describe “our land?”  In response to the current crisis, Rabbi Naomi and Ben Martin will teach a class on the history of place names: Canaan, Israel, Judah, Palestine, Samaria, the Galilee, the Sinai, etc.  We will also explore how our use of geographical terminology gives rise to population identity, changes with shifting geopolitical currents, and shapes our understanding of past and contemporary events. The class is free; donations accepted!

August 1, 2014

Message from Rabbi Naomi:

Dear Temple Members and Friends,
Every year in midsummer the Jewish calendar brings us a challenge – the holy day of Tisha B’av, the Tenth of the lunar month of Av, the day that commemorates the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE, and also the day when the Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and driven from Spain in 1492. 
This day of heartbreak usually comes just as we are enjoying summer weather, vacationing, and often celebrating bar or bat mitzvahs.  It can feel very strange to disconnect from warm weather joys, and intentionally mediate on destruction and loss.  But this year those themes are all too real for us as we absorb the tragic news from Israel and Gaza, along with ongoing tragedies in numerous regions across our troubled world.
Tisha B’av is observed with reading Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, and fasting from sundown to sundown.  In years past we have had Tisha B’av observances at Temple Beth El, and several years ago following my ordination ceremony many of us gathered to observe Tisha B’av in a recently clear-cut forest near my home, mourning the destruction of our precious environment.
This year Tisha B’av falls on Monday night, August 4th and Tuesday, August 5th.  But before that, tomorrow on Shabbat, we will have a bar mitzvah student, Scott Malkus, called to the Torah for the first time and we will read about the ideal qualities of leadership that the Torah prescribes.  At this difficult time as we are dismayed by so many failures of leadership, it is moving to be reminded that for thousands of years the Torah has stipulated that we must choose leaders for their wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
I regret that I am unable to conduct a Tisha B’av observance this year at the Temple.  I find myself very deeply bereaved and fatigued following the death of my beloved teacher Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, may his memory be a blessing. His sheloshim, the close of the thirty-day period of intense mourning falls on Sunday, August 3rd. 
Years ago I came across an audio tape of Reb Zalman teaching about Tisha B’av and transcribed the following:
“I find that most of us have a layer of rage on top of the heart, that we haven’t let out – rage at God, railing at God.  I mean the God that we have been told is the one who keeps order in the universe, who won’t let anything bad happen.  Every one of us has rage at God.  If you haven’t had a chance to really blaspheme azoy (like this), you know really gezunt (vigorously), and tell God where God is to get off, you’ll never be able to talk about the love to God.  That’s what we need to do sometimes before yontif (holidays).  If we want to go before the High Holidays, we have to have an occasion to be able to experience that too.  I would like us to see more fo that rage come out on Tisha B’Av, or before Tisha B’Av…Without the rage known and experienced, the love can’t come either, the longing.”
The media is full of shocking images of rage these days.  Here in Humboldt, deep in the Diaspora, we are protected from the immediate impacts of war.  Our homes are intact, but some of our hopes and illusions are shattered.  
 I encourage Temple members to come hear Torah read tomorrow, to pray together, to say the mourner’s kaddish.  And as Tisha B’av approaches and sweeps over us at the start of next week, I encourage us each to find some quiet moments to speak with God, to let God know how you feel about all this crisis and conflict.  As we do this, year by year, our relationship with God matures and deepens, and we can find a multifaceted faith that can hold both the joys and sorrows of our reality, and inspire us to continue doing mitzvahs, to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, to help supply the fundamental materials of honesty, fairness and rigor that are necessary to build a just, peaceful society.
 B’shalom – In peace, Rabbi Naomi

Be sure to look at our web calendar for all scheduled services and events.



Welcome to Temple Beth El

We are a small congregation in Eureka, California, made up of about 130 families from Humboldt County. Built in 1964, Temple Beth El is the oldest synagogue along California’s northern coast. Although we are affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), our members come from a variety of Jewish backgrounds, including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Renewal and Reconstructionist. We are a Welcoming Congregation.

Our Temple offers weekly Shabbat services, Torah study, religious school, adult education and celebrations of Jewish holidays. Please contact our office by phone at 707-444-2846, or by email at bethel@reninet.com for further information.

Directions and a map can be found on the “Contact Us” page: http://templebetheleureka.org/contact-us/