From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new CBI after-school program, renamed Jewish Journeys, for children in grades K–7 beginning on Monday, September 11. Jewish Journeys is the outgrowth of a year of collaboration among CBI and NEFESH, which is a burgeoning group of Jewish families in Southern Vermont and Western Massachusetts run by Shira Sternberg Kol and Rabbi Jarah Greenfield. Jewish Journeys offers elective classes in Hebrew Language and Jewish Studies for 3rd through 7th graders and continues to provide interactive learning for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. For more information, please contact Rabbi Jarah Greenfield, now serving as Director of Youth & Family Learning for this exciting new program.

Coming up, we invite you to join us for dinner on Friday night, August 11 at 5:30pm, prior to Kabbalat Shabbat services which commence at 7pm. Donna Josephs, a member of longstanding North Adams family the Gabriners, will be in town visiting from Amsterdam. As part of a small family reunion, Donna is hosting this meal, catered by our own Jen Burt, and is hoping to meet some of the old and new CBI members. There is no cost to attend, but you must RSVP via Google Forms by Monday, August 7.

Join us next Saturday evening, August 12 at 8pm, for Making Our Transitions Holy: Havdalah & Poetry. Rabbis Pamela Wax and Rachel Barenblat welcome all to come to CBI for an evening of poetry, havdalah, and book-signing!

We will close out the weekend at Tanglewood with a potluck picnic and concert, featuring Yo Yo Ma, on Sunday afternoon, August 13 at 12:30pm. You will need to purchase your own lawn ticket from Tanglewood. Please RSVP for more details and so that we can contact you in the event of rain cancellation.

On Sunday, August 20 at 11:30am, CBI and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will host Ruth Messinger, who will be speaking on Our Democracy: If We Can Keep It. All are welcome to join us for the program, as well as for refreshments and schmoozing following the program.

The Board will be holding a Zoom feedback session on Thursday, August 24 at 7:30pm – 8:30pm to give congregants the opportunity to share input about the recent Board decision to allow the New Hope Methodist Church (which has been without a home) to worship in our sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Kindly register here in order to receive the Zoom link.

CBI has a long history in North Adams. In 1893, a small group of Jews purchased a plot of land on Francis Street and constructed North Adams’ first synagogue, our predecessor, naming it House of Israel. In 2014, an historic mural from this original building was re-discovered in the attic of this building, now an apartment house. Carol Clingan, a genealogist, discovered this mural (now owned by the landlord of this apartment building) and is trying to preserve and save it. More information about the project is in this month’s newsletter.

The High Holy Days will soon be here, and we hope you’ll join us. For security purposes, all who plan to attend in-person must RSVP via our website. We are delighted to restart an old tradition as we break-the-fast together in a communal meal following Yom Kippur Ne’ilah services. Registration via Google Forms is needed for planning purposes and there will be a small fee for the meal.

We are blessed to have a talented pool of service leaders who alternate leading services — Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Rabbi Pam Wax, Rabbi Jarah Greenfield, and cantorial soloist Ziva Larson — who each add their own spirituality, talents, and interests to their services. I encourage you to take a bit of time from your busy lives to celebrate Shabbat with our CBI community as often as you can.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!


— Natalie Matus