A letter from the Board and the rabbi

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Shavua tov: a good new week to all. We hope that everyone’s Shabbat was sweet. We’re writing to say that we hear you — and that we want to hear from you even more. 

Reverberations from the annual meeting continue to ripple through our community. We thank everyone who has shared feedback, and our doors remain open if you wish to speak. When we speak with each other, we can seek to see each other through generous eyes. Seeing each other this way, even when we disagree, is essential to a healthy spiritual community. 

Some of the issues that have been raised are pastoral, spiritual, emotional, and/or personal. Please know that Rabbi Rachel actively takes your feedback to heart. (And on a personal note, she wants to thank you all for your kindness as she emerges from the eleven months of saying kaddish for her mother, and asks your continued patience as she gets back “up to speed.”)

Other issues that have been raised are the domain of the Board, and the Board is working on these. The Board began the current term by writing a grant application to upgrade CBI’s security, establishing the new CBI “Green Team,” and more. The Board is working now on scheduling the promised bylaws discussion gatherings. Stay tuned for dates, coming soon.

The upshot of this note is this: we truly value your feedback. Our doors are always open to anyone who wishes to speak. And we ask you to bear with us as we discern together how Board and clergy can best serve this community that we all hold dear, and how best to pursue community reconciliation and healing while also working to build CBI’s brightest future.

Some of you may have seen the CBI Board Covenant posted on interior windows in our social hall. We share it here in hopes that it can inform how we all relate. Our opinions are diverse, and our relationships to halakha and spiritual practice are diverse. We value these diversities. And, even with our many diversities, we cherish the common values that animate us all.

As we join together to build the future of CBI, may we be guided by the Jewish values articulated in our Board covenant, including the value of assuming each others’ best intentions and seeing each other through generous eyes.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat


Chris Kelly, President; Joe Apkin, Vice President; Sue Hogan, Treasurer; Paulette Wein, Clerk; Lisa Howard, Susan Hogan, Caleb Wolfson, Tara Johnson, Natalie Matus, Maude Rich, Benjamin Rudin, Darlene Radin, Board