Temple Beth El News

Below is a selection of teasers for past TBE News posts.  Click on the title or "read more" to view the full news article.  Use the pager at the bottom to step backward in time.

Rabbi Naomi’s Passover Message 2021

Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers?

Last year in my Passover message, I encouraged everyone to stay at home for at least two weeks. Who would have guessed that two weeks would have become an entire year!

For most of us, for most of the Passovers of our lives, we have been free. Free to travel to be with relatives. Free to embrace our family members and friends. Free to invite neighbors, friends and new acquaintances into our homes. Free to browse in shops for our favorite Passover foods. We haven’t always been healthy, happy, or secure, but only a few of us ever have experienced constraints on these basic freedoms of movement and interaction.

In the past we’ve had the luxury of approaching the Passover story as mythic history, as treasured lore, as parable and metaphor. The Hebrew name for Egypt is Mitzrayim - מִצְרַיִם - meaning “narrow place,” reflecting the ancient Egyptian civilization that flourished along the Nile River, a narrow strip of green supporting life in an otherwise arid landscape. Every year at Pesach we ask ourselves, “What are the narrow places in my life and my psyche? How do I need to widen my horizons and my awareness?”

This year we’re all aching to literally come out of the narrow place of pandemic confinement. Some of us have received the vaccination, others are patiently waiting their turn. We have been warned that this is not the time to throw caution to the wind and try to return to pre-pandemic behaviors and habits. Yet as new infection rates are dropping across the country, there is a feeling of anticipation, a hopefulness, as if we can start to see around the corner.

Silver Anniversary Revisited

Temple Beth El is pleased to announce that it will be offering a reprise of its very well received Silver Anniversary Musical Celebration with Sam Reider on February 13, 2021.

Through the magic of Zoom, pianist, accordionist, and composer Sam Reider will perform solo at home on his accordion and grandfather's 100 year-old Steinway. Reider plays jazz, American folk music and his original compositions, interspersed with stories about his travels and the myriad connections between the musics and cultures of the world.
This year’s celebration will be Covid-safe.  Tickets to this event are $25.each and may be purchased here on the TBE website.  Those purchasing tickets will receive a Zoom link for the concert prior to the event.
This event is an important fundraiser for TBE, and in addition to purchasing tickets to honor Rabbi Naomi Steinberg’s 25 years with us, people are also encouraged to donate to TBE to help us through these difficult times.

A Chanukah Message From Rabbi Naomi

Dear TBE Members & Friends,

Although we won’t be dancing and eating latkes together this year, we’ll have the opportunity to gather in community via Zoom for all Eight Nights of the Chanukah Festival.  I’ll lead the first and last nights and our Tefilah Leaders have graciously accepted my invitation to lead the nights in between.  Each evening at 5:30 we’ll have a family-friendly candle-lighting, some singing, teaching or stories, followed by discussion of themes on this study sheet from Ritual Well, a lovely online resource for evolving Jewish traditions. The Eight Nights of Wellness.pdf is linked below.


Feel free to drop in as your schedule and household activities permit.  Remember it’s fine to just listen and keep your audio and video turned off if you’re in the midst of dinner or you haven’t brushed your hair in a few days!  I encourage you to print out this study guide, or put it on your desktop for easy reference.  I hope that focusing on various aspects of wellness will help us as we go deeper into this very challenging winter.  Also, TBE members are warmly encouraged to send in photo or short videos of your Chanukah at home to share on the members-only side of this website.  

Many thanks to you all for your participation in our online events, it means so much to me to see your faces.  As our hearts are full of sympathy for everyone across the globe struggling with the pandemic, still we can find joy in coming together for spiritual reflection and renewal.

Chag Chanukah Sameach ~ A joyful Chanukah,

Rabbi Naomi

P.S. Here is my little Chanukah gift to you: a recording that Berel and I made last year of a traditional Chanukah song with my new English lyrics.  Hope you enjoy it!

Hanayrot Hallalu.mp3

Tisha B’Av 2020: Jews Say Free Them All

TBE Board votes to co-sponsor Tisha B’AV Vigil for Immigrant Rights.

This year on Tisha B’Av (July 29-30), Temple Beth El will be joining the Union for Reform Judaism, together with T’ruah, HIAS, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, Bend the Arc, Torah Trumps Hate, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in a vigil to commit ourselves to taking action on behalf of immigrants whose health, livelihoods, and physical safety are under siege. We ask Jews to cry out and say that we must free all immigrants in detention. 

Overview of Activities during Covid-19 Crisis

Here is an overview of activities during the Covid-19 crisis. All activities are from homes via live stream, zoom or something similar. If you are interested in joining, please contact the office at (707) 444-2846 or email at bethel@reninet.com.

Friday Night Services – Rabbi Naomi, Rabbi Bob and our Tefilah Leaders will lead a variety of Shabbat services from their homes. An abbreviated siddur and song sheets are available by request.

Saturday Morning Torah Study – via Zoom (w/opportunity to say Kaddish). Details will be in the weekly newsletter.

Monday Night Torah – Weekly –  6-7 pm – taught by Phil Lazzar via Zoom.

Visit our calendar for more information and links.