Rabbi Rachel’s March newsletter column — about Purim, and how our actions reflect us, and good things coming.

Runway to the Days of Awe 5783! Tisha b'Av → Seven Weeks: Lifting Higher / Reverse Omer → Rosh Hashanah → 10 Days of Teshuvah → Yom Kippur → Sukkot

As I write these words, it isn’t yet quite August. But believe it or not, we’re on the runway to the Days of Awe.

CBI Labyrinth

As the summer flies by, I hope you are getting some rest & relaxation and enjoying all that the Berkshires offer this time of year. I have been blessed to have been able to finally see my daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons who live in Hong Kong. I hope many of you have also experienced sweet reunions with family and friends.

CBI Labyrinth

I am pleased to share that Rabbi Rachel is recovering from her recent heart attack and has resumed her schedule, with the understanding that she is to take the time she needs to rest and to see medical specialists. The Board is working to lighten her load where we can.


I didn’t expect to spend Shavuot in the hospital recovering from a heart attack, but life is full of surprises.

Our congregation is growing and now exceeds 100 families. I think that it is due to our warm, welcoming community as well as our growing list of events and activities. Young families won’t want to miss the “Family Walk in the Woods” coming in late June. Everyone is welcome at our outdoor summer Shabbat services where we can join prayer and nature.

CBI Labyrinth

The verdant beauty of Berkshire summer is upon us. The hills are spectacular in their new green cloaks. The pollinator garden at CBI is bright and blooming. During “no-mow May” I watched as wildflowers sprung up all over our lawn and butterflies danced from one to the next. Sometimes I feel a little bit sorry for everyone whose synagogue and environs aren’t as beautiful as ours are. We are in a really stunning place. It still sometimes takes my breath away.

It’s truly spring now and CBI is blooming, both literally and figuratively. Everything is greening up, the grass is growing, perennials and spring bulbs are popping up, and our pollinator garden is coming alive. We have opened our doors to in-person worship services and programs, while maintaining a Zoom option for those who are far away or are more comfortable participating that way. It is delightful to see people again in-person after two long years of isolation.

An illustration of a radio tower that reads "G-d broadcasts on all channels. We receive that broadcast when we attune ourselves to the Voice that continues to sound."

Reb Zalman z”l — Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, of blessed memory; a formative teacher for me before and during rabbinical school — used to say that revelation is like the radio. God is the Source of the broadcast, and that broadcast is always streaming into creation. And as for us? We’re radio receivers. We receive revelation on the levels to which we’re attuned.

Haggadah for Pesach

This year April overlaps, more or less, with the lunar month of Nissan. At the full moon of Nissan we retell our people’s core story as we celebrate Pesach, festival of our liberation.

As it says in the traditional haggadah:

We were slaves to a Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Holy One brought us forth from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm… Therefore it is incumbent on each of us to see ourselves as though we, ourselves, had been brought forth from Mitzrayim.