From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

Thanks to all who attended the Annual Meeting a few weeks ago and approved the slate of Officers and Directors, as well as the proposed Bylaw changes. And welcome to Wendy Penner, who has officially joined the CBI Board! We had over 30 people in attendance, both in person and on Zoom. Those who attended in person enjoyed a homemade pizza party beforehand. Our thanks go to chef Jen Burt and CBI member Alice Cande, who organized the gathering. Please let me know if you’d like a copy of the revised Bylaws. Per the revisions, our Annual Meeting will now be held at the end of May, prior to the July 1 start of our fiscal year.

I want to share something wonderful that happened at CBI a few Saturdays ago during the Jewish Journeys Shabbat morning service. At this special family service, co-led by Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Jarah, our students presented what they have learned in their Jewish Journeys classes. Our youngest students showed us magic with Hebrew letters and a special Shema meditation; older students shared their Talmudic interpretation of “What is the best Jewish sweet?;” and other students prepared a delicious kiddush feast of noodle kugel, potato kugel, apple strudel, and black and white cookies, complete with descriptions of where these culinary treats originated. The sanctuary overflowed with students, parents, siblings, and friends, and we enjoyed a relaxing time following the service to enjoy these treats and celebrate our students’ learning. I encourage you to join us at our next Jewish Journeys Shabbat on Saturday, February 3.

Chanukah is quickly coming up, and there will be many ways to celebrate together! Please join us at the following events:

  • Williamstown Menorah LightingThursday, December 7 at 4:30pm at the bottom of Spring Street
  • North Adams Menorah LightingThursday, December 7 at 5:30pm in City Hall
  • Bennington VT Community Menorah LightingSaturday, December 9 at 5pm
    Gather for a community candle lighting and dedicate our new, hand-built, hand-painted outdoor menorah! Enjoy homemade sufganiyot (Israeli-style donuts). For more information and to RSVP, please contact [email protected].
  • CBI’s Annual Chanukah Bonfire & SongfestMonday, December 11 at 5:30pm
    Join us at CBI for homemade latkes and sufganiyot, singing around the bonfire, menorah lighting, and a dreidel spinning contest. Open to everyone of all ages – we hope you’ll join the fun! Bring a camp chair if you have one and dress warmly, as we will be outside much of the time. Please RSVP if you plan on attending.

As the year comes to a close and you review your year-end charitable contributions, I encourage you to consider a gift of any size to Congregation Beth Israel. Your generosity will help support events that bring our community together to worship and celebrate in times of joy, support one another in difficult times, and educate the next generation. To make a gift, send a check to Congregation Beth Israel (53 Lois Street, North Adams, MA 01247), or make a donation online via PayPal – thank you in advance.


— Natalie Matus