A Basket of Summer Thoughts

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First: I miss you all! I miss gathering at the Temple for our lovely Shabbat events. I miss our choir practices. I miss studying in the library with our B’nai Mitzvah students. I miss our festive B’nai Mitzvah summer celebrations. I miss our in-person meetings and discussions. I even miss the warmth and deep sharing of in-person memorials.

Second: I’m grateful to all of you who have tackled the technology to stay connected. What a wonderful Membership Meeting we had in May! Many thanks to Board Members and other volunteer Zoom hosts who are assisting. Please sign up to host if you can; it really makes a big difference for the service or class leader. When the pandemic is over, we’ll certainly continue making good use of technology to improve access to our events.

Third: I was moved to see so many of you at Sharrone Blanck’s excellent Zoom talk that drew over 70 participants. Sharrone shared some of her life story as well as her experiences and perspective as president of our local NAACP, and answered a wide range of questions from TBE members and friends. For a suggested reading/viewing list: LINK HERE. Sharrone encouraged us to address racism from our own organization, rather than waiting for NAACP or any other Black-centered organization to take the lead. If you would like to be part of our Social Action Group and tackle the issue of racism from a Jewish perspective, please be in touch with me or our Social Action Group chairperson Carol Coar.

Fourth: Our Israel Study & Discussion Group recently focused on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s effort to annex parts of the area known variously as the West Bank/Judea & Samaria/Area C. See a brief statement from the URJ here: https://urj.org/blog/2020/06/18/join-us-urging-israeli-government-not-carry-out-unilateral-west-bank-annexation.

Our K’lal Yisrael Chairperson David Boyd drew our attention to the full URJ resolution that I found very impressive. Please take the time to read it. https://urj.org/what-we-believe/resolutions/resolution-urging-israeli-government-not-carry-out-unilateral-west-bank

Though Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to accomplish his annexation goals by his chosen date of July 1, it’s certain that future attempts will be made and met with further demonstrations by both Israelis and Palestinains that will garner press such as this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVpJpzoijuk.

Fifth: Though Zooming isn’t my favorite way of gathering, it’s so much better than nothing and we have meaningful events coming up this month. Yaysher Koach to our service leaders and teachers who are celebrating Shabbat with you and learning Torah on the screen, please see the schedule in this newsletter.

The Israel Study & Discussion Group will feature guest speaker Arieh Scharnberg, hopefully either July 14 or 21st, final date to be announced, 6-8 pm.

Shabbat Chazon - Shabbat of Vision - This special Shabbat falls before the holy day of Tish’a B’av, commemorating the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. The Haftarahgives us a message of comfort in advance of Tish’a B’av. I look forward to leading services for Shabbat Chazon on Friday, July 24 at 7 pm, and Saturday, July 25 at 11 am. On Shabbat morning  we’ll have a short Torah service (after Torah study) and hone our vision to carry us through difficult times.

Tish’a B’av - The rabbis of the Talmud taught that the Temple was destroyed due to the sin of bloodshed - בַּעֲוֹן שְׁפִיכוּת דָּמִים (Shabbat 33a:4) - On Wednesday, July 29, the evening of Tish’a B’av, the 9th of Av, I’ll lead a study session and ritual, 7-8:30 pm. Link will be in the weekly.

Ethnic Studies in California Schools - What to Expect - On July 15, 11 am to 12:15 pm, the Jewish Community relations Council of the San Francisco Bay Area will host a “a deep dive” into a revised draft of the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum about to be released. I’ll attend and hope some of the teachers and parents in our membership can attend as well. If you are going to participate, please let me know and let’s talk afterwards. https://jcrc.org/news-events/events/ethnic-studies-in-california-schools....

And last: With all the difficult and compelling events going on, I hope you all still will find moments of summertime joy. For many years I’ve longed to have a beautiful garden. After three months at home, voila! Recently I was on the phone with Blue, our Office Administrator, and said that though I have this wonderful garden now, I feel guilty to go outside and enjoy it. She straightened me right out: “It’s our responsibility to go out and enjoy when we have the God-given opportunity!”

Thank you, Blue, for a beautiful teaching.

Rabbi Naomi