We’re still in the Seven Weeks of Consolation between Tisha b’Av and Rosh Hashanah… and the holidays are coming up faster than we might think.

Sunday August 8 is Rosh Hodesh Elul, the new moon that brings us into the month of Elul, the month that leads us directly into the Days of Awe. It’s also, believe it or not, a kind of new year’s! Mishna teaches that there are actually four different “new years-es” in Jewish tradition. There’s the one all of us know — Rosh Hodesh Tishrei a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year, the new year for years. And there are three others, too. In deep midwinter, Tu BiShvat is the New Year of the Trees. In spring, Rosh Hodesh Nisan is the new year for kings and rulers. And this coming Rosh Hodesh / new moon is known as the New Year of the Animals.

R. Dara Heidi’s prayer for Rosh Hodesh Elul.

Here’s a new collection of poetry, liturgy, and artwork for the New Year of the Animals — co-created by the poets, artists, and rabbis at Bayit (and edited by our own Rabbi Rachel, who also contributed a piece.) Connecting with our animal beloveds, with wild animals, and even with our own animal nature can be powerful fuel for the teshuvah journey ahead. We hope these offerings are meaningful to you!

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us at 9:30am on Shabbat morning for Shabbat services led by Rabbi Rachel. (Check your email on Friday morning to find out whether our service will be hybrid / multi-access, or Zoom only.)

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Re’eh. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

Shabbat LEARNING This Week

Join us this week for online Torah study at 10am on Saturday morning with Rabbi Rachel, and with Rabbi David Markus and the Temple Beth El of City Island community. This will take the place of services this week. We will say kaddish at the end of our learning, so if you need a minyan for kaddish this week, please join us! The Zoom link will be sent out in weekly announcements.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Devarim, the start of the book of Deuteronomy. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Join us for Tisha b’Av

Join us for Tisha b’Av.

Join us at 8:30pm on Saturday night for a hybrid / multi-access Tisha b’Av service offered jointly by Rabbi Rachel and CBI, and Rabbi David and TBE.

You can join us onsite in the CBI sanctuary, where doors will be propped open for airflow, or online via Zoom (the link will be sent out in weekly announcements.)

There is so much that is broken in our history, in our nation, and in our world today. Tisha b’Av is our communal opportunity to feel that brokenness and to mourn — and then to harness the spiritual updraft of rising out of the year’s lowest point. Tisha b’Av comes seven weeks before Rosh Hashanah, so it is the nadir from which we begin the seven-week rise to the Days of Awe.  Join us for song, prayer, lament, and uplift.

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us this week for multi-access Kabbalat Shabbat services at 7:30pm on Friday evening.

For those onsite, we’re currently planning an indoor service — with social distancing and masks and the doors propped open for airflow. For those online, we’ll meet in the CBI Zoom room as usual.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Chukat. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

This June, We’re Moving to Multi-Access Services

In June, assuming that our primary constituent towns remain “green” or “grey” in the state chart, we’re going to shift our Shabbat services from entirely online to multi-access (sometimes called “hybrid”) services.

Multi-access means that you can participate fully either online (in the shul Zoom room) or onsite (under the willow tree behind the shul.)

How Will This Work?

Every Thursday, the weekly state COVID report comes out. Ollie will check the report, and if North Adams, Adams, and Williamstown are all color-coded as green or grey, we’ll send out an email on Friday letting you know that there will be a multi-access service. 

If There Is A Multi-Access Service

The service will take place beside the patio behind the shul, in the shade of the willow tree. We’ll use Mishkan T’filah, our bound siddur. (Those joining digitally are invited to get a digital copy of the siddur, available as a free flipbook at the publisher’s website, or as a Kindle download for your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.)

Pursuant to the latest CDC guidelines, singing will be allowed! Because we will be singing, we ask those attending onsite to please wear a mask. We will also ask those present onsite to fill out an attendance sheet, so that if (God forbid) a case of COVID does arise we can do appropriate contact tracing.

If Not

If the weather forecast calls for inclement weather, or if our local rates of infection rise such that one or more of our primary constituent towns is yellow or red, we will revert to digital-only services.

Either Way

Keep an eye on your email; a message will go out each Friday to let you know how Shabbat services will be held!

Kabbalat Shabbat services are scheduled for June 18, July 16, and August 20 at 7:30pm. On weekends when we celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat, there is usually no Shabbat morning service. (August 21 will be an exception.)

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 10:30am on Saturday morning (note the different time) for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Rachel, where we will call Sadie Lentzner to Torah as a bat mitzvah!

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Bamidbar. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Shavuot Is Almost Here!

And save the date for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot — on Sunday May 16 starting at 7:30pm, we’ll celebrate the revelation of Torah with learning, song, poetry, and more! As we did at Tu BiShvat and Pesach, we’ll join together with Temple Beth El of City Island and Rabbi David Markus for a joint festival celebration, with special guest Rabbi Cyn Hoffman in addition to our own Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Pam.

We’ll begin at 7:30pm with Festival Maariv (Evening Prayer) — featuring some beautiful melodies we don’t usually hear, and the joyful psalms of Hallel, and also the memorial prayers of Yizkor recited four times a year. We’ll continue at 9pm with Late Night Learning, featuring teachings from members of CBI and members of TBE, the four rabbis in attendance, and even Morgan Freeman, culminating at midnight with a teaching from the Zohar about midnight in the garden of Eden and opening to divine flow.

Things to have on hand for Shavuot

If you need a Yizkor candle for Shavuot, please reach out to the office. We have a box of them on hand, and will gladly share them with you — just connect with Ollie to confirm a time to pick one up.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Shabbat Dinner This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 7:30pm on Friday night for Zoom Shabbat Dinner. Bring your own candles, wine or juice, bread to bless, and meal to eat!

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 9:30am on Saturday morning for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Jarah Greenfield.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Behar-Bechukotai. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Save the Dates

Join us for Shabbat morning services at 10:30am (note the unusual time!) on Saturday May 15 as we call Sadie Lentzner to Torah as a bat mitzvah.

And save the date for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot — on Sunday May 16 starting at 7:30pm, we’ll celebrate the revelation of Torah with learning, song, poetry, and more! As we did at Tu BiShvat and Pesach, we’ll join together with Temple Beth El of City Island and Rabbi David Markus for a joint festival celebration, with special guest Rabbi Cyn Hoffman in addition to our own Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Pam.

We’ll begin at 7:30pm with Festival Maariv (Evening Prayer) — featuring some beautiful melodies we don’t usually hear, and the joyful psalms of Hallel, and also the memorial prayers of Yizkor recited four times a year. We’ll continue at 9pm with Late Night Learning, featuring teachings from members of CBI and members of TBE, the four rabbis in attendance, and even Morgan Freeman, culminating at midnight with a teaching from the Zohar about midnight in the garden of Eden and opening to divine flow.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 9:30am on Saturday morning for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Pam Wax!

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Emor. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Happy Lag Ba’Omer!

Lag Ba’Omer is this week. Tradition teaches that on this date, a plague that had afflicted Rabbi Akiva’s students finally ended. It’s marked with bonfires, haircuts (many Jews refrain from haircuts during the first 32 days of the Omer, as we also do during the month of shloshim after a death), and celebratory study. Here are new poems and illustrations from the Liturgical Arts Working Group at Bayit: Building Jewish, which we hope will bring meaning to our second pandemic Lag Ba’Omer: Yearning For Our Plague to End.

Save the Dates

Our next First Friday Zoom Shabbat Dinner will be at 7:30pm on May 7 in the CBI Zoom Room.

Join us for Shabbat morning services at 10:30am (note the unusual time!) on Saturday May 15 as we call Sadie Lentzner to Torah as a bat mitzvah.

And save the date for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot — on Sunday May 16 starting at 7:30pm, we’ll celebrate the revelation of Torah with learning, song, poetry, and more! As we did at Tu BiShvat and Pesach, we’ll join together with Temple Beth El of City Island and Rabbi David Markus for a joint festival celebration, with special guests Rabbi Bella Bogart and Rabbi Cyn Hoffman in addition to our own Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Pam.

We’ll begin at 7:30pm with Festival Maariv (Evening Prayer) — featuring some beautiful melodies we don’t usually hear, and the joyful psalms of Hallel, and also the memorial prayers of Yizkor recited four times a year. We’ll continue at 9pm with Late Night Learning, culminating at midnight with a teaching from the Zohar about midnight in the garden of Eden and opening to divine flow.

Plan to join us; more information is coming soon.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Kabbalat Shabbat Services This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 7:30pm on Friday evening for Kabbalat Shabbat services led by Rabbi Rachel! We’ll welcome Shabbat with song, poetry, and joy.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Tazria-Metzora. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Save the Dates

Our next First Friday Zoom Shabbat Dinner will be at 7:30pm on May 7 in the CBI Zoom Room.

And save the date for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot — on Sunday May 16 starting at 7:30pm, we’ll celebrate the revelation of Torah with learning, song, poetry, and more! As we did at Tu BiShvat and Pesach, we’ll join together with Temple Beth El of City Island and Rabbi David Markus for a joint festival celebration, with special guests Rabbi Bella Bogart and Rabbi Cyn Hoffman in addition to our own Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Pam.

We’ll begin at 7:30pm with Festival Maariv (Evening Prayer) — featuring some beautiful melodies we don’t usually hear, and the joyful psalms of Hallel, and also the memorial prayers of Yizkor recited four times a year. We’ll continue at 9pm with Late Night Learning, culminating at midnight with a teaching from the Zohar about midnight in the garden of Eden and opening to divine flow.

Plan to join us; more information is coming soon.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Shabbat Services This Week

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 9:30am on Saturday morning for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Jarah.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Shmini. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Save the Dates

Our next Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 7:30pm on April 16 in the CBI Zoom Room.

Our next First Friday Zoom Shabbat Dinner will be at 7:30pm on May 7 in the CBI Zoom Room.

And save the date for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot — on Sunday May 16 in the evening, we’ll celebrate the revelation of Torah with learning, song, poetry, yoga, and more! We’re partnering with other small communities for a joint celebration and it’s going to be grand. Plan to join us; more information is coming soon.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Shavua tov — and chodesh tov; a happy new month of Nissan to all. Passover is coming!

Kabbalat Shabbat!

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 7pm on Friday evening for Kabbalat Shabbat services led by Rabbi Rachel! Together we’ll welcome the presence of Shabbat with song, prayer, poetry, and sweetness.

Shabbat Afternoon: Passover Play!

Kids of all ages (and their families) are invited to join us at CBI at 1pm on Saturday, March 20, to re-enact the Passover story. We’ll meet (masked) on the patio behind the shul. Jane Shiyah will provide her boxes of costumes and props. Together we’ll re-enact the story of our liberation as we usually do during the Second Night Community Seder, and we’ll make a video to share with members of our community. Please RSVP to the rabbi so we know you’re coming!

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Vayikra. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Second Night Community Seder – Save the Date and RSVP now!

Join us for a lively, musical, meaningful, heart-filled second night community Zoom seder. Like last year, the seder will be co-led by Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi David Markus and will be open to members of our two shul communities, CBI and Temple Beth El of City Island. Expect music, meaning, tradition balanced with innovation, and most of all connectedness as we rejoice in our festival of liberation even in these constricted times. Please RSVP to the synagogue office by no later than Wednesday, March 24; a secure Zoom link will be sent to everyone who registers, but it will not be posted online anywhere to prevent zoom-bombing.

We hope to see you soon at CBI.