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!
August 2018 – Shofar (pdf)
RABBI’S RAMBLINGS (from the August 2018 Shofar)
How the summer does fly! My week at Camp Newman-by-the-Bay was inspirational and instructive. In our new home, it was “all-hands-on-deck,” meaning that my duties extended well beyond the usual interfacing with campers and counselors and unit heads, and the leading of services. I helped check in new campers and reassure anxious parents. I assisted my friends (a pair of multi-talented cantors’ wives with whom I have shared many summers) in the distribution of massive quantities of camp mail and packages. (Jewish children are really spoiled!). And I watched in awe as camp staff and campers, together with our faculty of rabbis, cantors, educators, and social workers (the Nefesh,or “soul” staff) transformed a college campus into Camp Newman – not by might, nor by power, as the Debbie Friedman song goes, but by spirit alone.
We may have dwelled in dormitories instead of cabins; we assuredly ate healthier fare and drank more than bug juice, thanks to the CSU Maritime Academy kitchen wizards. But tie-dye and gaga and lessons on “menschiness” went on. And on Shabbat, in view of the San Pablo Bay and the setting sun, we dressed in white, welcomed guests, sang our prayers with feeling, and blessed the children beneath camp’s beautiful collection of camper-made tallitot, which along with the siddurim miraculously survived the Santa Rosa fires.
People, not places, are what make a community; home is among the people you love and care about, not a place on a map. The intentions we bring to our endeavors, the hugs, the warmth, and the loving words we speak to each other, whether at prayer services or Rosh Hodesh gatherings or Torah Talk sessions or meetings, are what truly matter.
In a world full of discord and hate, we need community and warmth and loving words. We need the peace of Shabbat. We need the balm and support of friendship. We need to immerse ourselves in the words of Torah, so that we can be inspired to work toward a world that is all Shabbat for everyone.
We are heading into the month of Elul, the month of preparation for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. As we do so, let us re-commit to our community with intention, love, and menschlikite.
Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein