Entering 5784: Erev Rosh Hashanah. Service led by R. Rachel Barenblat & Cantorial Soloist Ziva Larson. Mini-sermonettes by Dr. Suzanne Graver, Sandy Ryan, & Dr. Len Radin on the theme of "Returning."

In our tradition of inviting CBI members to speak during our Erev Rosh Hashanah service, Sandy Ryan, Dr. Len Radin, & Dr. Suzanne Graver offered mini-sermonettes on September 15, 2023 on the the theme of “Returning.”

Runway to the Days of Awe 5784: Tisha b'Av; 7 Weeks / Limbering Up; Rosh Hashanah; 10 Days of Teshuvah; Yom Kippur; Sukkot.

We’re on the runway: the Days of Awe are approaching. We’ve entered the Limbering Up time.

Runway to the Days of Awe 5784: Tisha b'Av; 7 Weeks / Limbering Up; Rosh Hashanah; 10 Days of Teshuvah; Yom Kippur; Sukkot.

July is upon us. All winter long I anticipate summer’s long daylight: the luscious green curves of our hillsides, how the pollinator garden behind the synagogue becomes a riot of color and leaf. And we’re here! We made it! This place where we are blessed to live is beautiful in all seasons, but this is the season I love the most. And… spiritual life never stands still. The wheel is always already turning toward the holidays to come.

Congregation Beth Israel & New Hope United Methodist Church

We’re writing with delight to share news of a new interfaith collaboration happening at CBI.

“We have fallen into the place where everything is music.” These are words from the Sufi mystic poet Rumi, whose work I love. In the translations I’ve seen, he is one of the most profound spiritual poets there is. For another version of those lines, here’s how western-Mass-based folksinger Kris Delmhorst sings them: “Now we’ve come to the place where everything is music — everything is music, (so) let it play!”

“…A northern Berkshire host team of volunteers has come together to support a young family fleeing from Haiti, a married couple with two young children under the age of three…”

Late this month we’ll reach the festival of Shavuot. When the Temple stood Shavuot was one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three big pilgrimage-festivals when we would travel en masse to Jerusalem to make offerings at the Temple. Shavuot is the culmination of the seven weeks of counting the Omer, and was once a harvest festival. (It still is, among Jews who farm.) But today Shavuot is best known as the holiday when we celebrate receiving Torah at Sinai.

“…Wise and compassionate stewardship of our land has been a Jewish value ever since the Garden of Eden. In this era of climate crisis, it’s important to care not only for our grounds, but also for the local ecosystem of which we are a part.
Here at CBI we’re doing a few different things to live out this Jewish value…”

Counting the Omer: 49 days of reflection & growth

This year the month of April opens with Pesach. I love all of the shining moments around the wheel of the Jewish year, but ever since I was a kid, Pesach has been one of my favorites. (And it still is.) Studies have shown that the Passover seder is the one Jewish ritual most commonly celebrated in this country — from Jews who aspire to experience Shabbat each week, to Jews who may only engage in one avowedly Jewish celebration per year, this one is always on the list.

“…If we’re feeling uncertain about how we’re going to get to a better place than this, we’re in synch with our ancient spiritual calendar. The story of the Exodus is one of venturing into the unknown. It’s a story of stepping into the sea, not knowing whether or how the waters would part. I take heart in remembering that now, as then, we don’t have to cross the sea alone….”