The Shofar, Temple Beth El’s monthly publication, keeps community and temple members up to date on what’s going on. Take a look at this month’s Shofar to see what’s coming up or browse through the archives to see all that we’ve done!
The Rabbi’s Ruminations (from the March Shofar)
“Building Temple Beth El, G-d Will Dwell Among Us”
On Friday, February 24th, Parashat Terumah, at my Installation service, I was afforded to respond to the majesty of the moment, a powerful ceremony that I will forever remember as a spiritual highlight of my career. I offered my thoughts about our collaborative future work at Temple Beth El: Creating holiness among us.
This week, we read Exodus, chapter 25: Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved. And let them make Me a Temple, Mikdash, that I may dwell among them.
B’tocham, among them, within them. Not “That [G-d] may dwell within IT,” the Mikdash, the temple, a place that is holy…Gd will be felt, through their efforts, within THEM, B’tocham.
We are together, WE are the holiness, an expansive Jewish community, communal leaders, pastors, Temple Beth El past, present, and future. A Gibush: a crystallization, of holiness, made manifest within the Bakersfield ether, each of us attempting to be servants of G-d: I am a mere low-ranking officer in this effort at making life meaningful alongside you. I join seven others before me. Two of them we are blessed are here.
Ana Av’da d’kud’sha b’rich hu, I am nothing more than a servant of the Holy One of Blessing, tasked through this installation, to tease out in this Mikdash, this holy space, Temple, the holiness that is b’toch, within, each and every one of you.
Whether you know it’s there, or not. You, your neighbor. Together we will build a world of love, Olam Chesed Yibaneh. Building Temple Beth El together, A shul of love. Building a Mikdash, causing Gd to dwell within us.
You who are within its walls. Those with walls in other faith institutions. Those opting out of sacred spaces. Even people without walls, homes, spaces, the downtrodden and marginalized. All of us. Not us collectively. YOU. And YOU. And You.
When I first arrived, at the beginning of a pandemic, I started to ask you, “Bring your Whole Self, Whoever you are.” The moniker now on the back of my business card.
You belong here, because Gd dwells within you, because you and those around you are bringing the gift of yourself to the rest of us. It’s through the gift of yourself that Gd is made manifest, we are B’tzelem E-lohim, in the image of Gd, we will imagine a better world and justice and peace, and then pursue it, together.
My late father Sherman Klein is here. He passed 12 years ago next Thursday night. I cannot help but wish that he and my mother, Lila Klein, were here to celebrate with us today, that Temple Beth El continues, or better yet, Thrives, through our shared enterprise of Asu Li Mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham.
I say, Na’aseh Lo Mikdash, let us make for Gd a Sacred Space. That we connect to Gd, to all that is meaningful.
I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant.
May each of you feel the blessing of daily sacred living, a vision that links us to rabbis, over the generations. Ken y’hi ratzon, may it be G-d’s will.
Rabbi Jonathan Klein