CBI Labyrinth

As we move past Passover, I’d like to draw your attention to some of our upcoming events and programs. On Saturday, May 18 at 10am, you are all invited to a Jewish Journeys Shabbat morning service, during which we will celebrate Shabbat, our students and teachers, and will get a taste of what our students have learned over the course of the semester.

Four photos from Jewish Journeys Shabbat on 2/3/2024. Student-made zines (top L); plates, cups, & other homemade ceramics (top R); Rabbis Jarah & Rachel singing & playing guitar (bottom L); cardboard dioramas (bottom R).

I am still kvelling about the wonderful Jewish Journeys Shabbat service last Saturday morning, when our community, including students, their parents, grandparents, and other congregants, gathered in our sanctuary to celebrate Shabbat together in song and prayer. Students’ work from their elective classes was featured, and the D’var Torah was given by one of our students. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a communal potluck kiddush.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

This year, the b-mitzvah students and I are studying Jewish values. At the start of the school year we focused on teshuvah, repentance or return — the value at the heart of the Days of Awe. After that, we began a unit on b’tzelem Elohim: the idea that we are all made in the image of God.

Dear CBI Community,

I’m writing today with updates on CBI’s digital offerings this week and in weeks to come. In this time of quarantine and sheltering-in-place, community connections can be especially sustaining — even if we can “only” connect with each other via computer or phone.

In this email you’ll find information about rabbinic office hours and “drop-in” hour, classes, meditation, and how to access our Shabbat morning services on Saturday either via Zoom (videoconferencing)  or via phone (for audio only.) There are instructions and guidelines for using Zoom at the bottom of this message.

Rabbinic Office Hours

Mondays and Fridays will continue to be my synagogue “on days,” even though I am working from home. If you want to meet with me via phone, Zoom, Facetime, or Skype, Mondays and Fridays are the best days for that. Reach out to me to schedule a time to meet!

(And if you have a pastoral need at another time, or on another day, don’t hesitate to reach out and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.)

Rabbinic Drop-In Hour / Have a Cup of Tea With Me! (Every Monday)

I will also be offering rabbinic “drop-in hour” at 1pm on Mondays. No appointment needed; just join me on Mondays at 1pm and chat about whatever’s on your mind. Bring your own cup of tea!

Edited on April 5 to reflect new security measures: if you want to join the drop-in hour, please text or email me and I will send you the login info and password.

Classes: Pirkei Avot with R’ David Markus (Thursdays, 2pm – Four Weeks)

Pirkei Avot is Judaism’s ancient wisdom text for ethical living, written during a period of crisis and upheaval. We’ll hear its words echo in our own moment of challenge. No experience or books necessary: all materials will be offered online.

Open both to members of CBI and to members of Temple Beth El of City Island (with whom we shared a joint community mission to Cuba last fall).

Edited on April 5 to reflect new security measures: those who’ve been taking this class will receive a zoom invitation and password via email from Rabbi David. If you wish to join, let R’ Rachel know.

Classes: Psalm-Writing with R’ Rachel (Fridays, 2pm – Four Weeks)

What is a psalm? How can psalms (both classical and contemporary) enliven us today? How can we add our own voices to the tapestry of tradition, and how can writing psalms enliven our relationship with text, tradition, ourselves, and our Source? This series of four weekly workshops (on psalms of gratitude, psalms of awareness, psalms of anxiety / fear, and psalms of wholeness / Shabbat) will invite participants into engaging with psalms and writing our own. Each week we’ll read and discuss both traditional psalms and contemporary poems, and guided writing exercises will offer a framework for writing our own psalms in these four different emotional modes. 

Open both to members of CBI and to members of Temple Beth El of City Island.

Edited on April 5 to reflect new security measures: those who’ve been taking this class will receive a zoom link and password via email from Rabbi Rachel. If you wish to join, let R’ Rachel know.

Morning Meditation (Fridays, 9am)

Join us at 9am on Fridays in the CBI zoom room for morning meditation. We’ll begin by centering ourselves in our bodies and following our breath as it comes and goes. We’ll also do some guided meditation and visualization before closing with a niggun, a wordless melody.

Edited on April 5 to reflect new security measures: our regular meditators will receive a zoom invitation and password via email. If you wish to join, let R’ Rachel know.

Shabbat Morning Services (Saturdays, 9:30am)

Join us on Saturday morning at 9:30am in the CBI zoom room for Shabbat morning services.

Edited on April 5 to reflect new security measures: login info and password will be emailed to everyone each week in an email from the office, and will not be publicly shared.

Preparing for services online:

The CBI Board and I hope that these offerings will help you stay connected — with each other, with our community, with our traditions, and with our Source. If there are other things you’d like to see us offer online, please let me know!

For now, know that I am holding all of you in prayer — and hope to see you on Zoom sometime soon.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

 If you’re totally new to Zoom… Here’s a brief online video to help orient you to Zoom.
Note the Zoom Room. Some of our offerings are in CBI’s new Zoom room; others are in TBE’s Zoom room. Each offering has its own link, so make sure you’re clicking on the one that goes with a given class or offering.

Arrive early.  Our offerings begin and end on time. Zoom rooms will open 10 minutes early to help acclimate.

Treat time and place as sacred.  Online gatherings can be as sacred as we make them. Come online as if you’re coming to shul. Please be in a quiet place without outside disruption (as best you can manage): it’ll make all the difference to you and others.

Turn on your cameras.  Online community connections can be real and nourishing, and they’re most real and nourishing if everyone turns on their cameras. The more we treat our gatherings like the “real” gatherings they are, the more they will feel that way to everyone. Thanks for being a good Zoom citizen!