From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

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.

Thank you for your compassionate words and healing thoughts and for holding Rabbi Rachel close to your hearts. I want to thank Ziva Larson for stepping in to lead a beautiful and inspiring musical Kabbalat Shabbat service in June while Rabbi Rachel was recovering. I also thank Rabbi Jarah Greenfield, Rabbi Seth Wax, Rabbi Pamela Wax, Rabbi Daveen Litwin, and the other Berkshire rabbis who have offered to cover pastoral emergencies and be available should Rabbi Rachel or the CBI Board need to call on them. The outpouring of support has been heartwarming.

The CBI Book Group, led by our own Professor Emeritus Suzanne Levy Graver, successfully launched in June and will be meeting monthly. We will read a variety of classic and modern Jewish books chosen by members of the group. If you are interested, please contact Suzanne at [email protected] and she will add you to the list.

In June, CBI participated in “Caring for Our Earth and Each Other,” an exciting, 3-session, after-school interfaith program for children in kindergarten to grade 3. Each session took place at one of the three religious organizations: First Congregational Church of Williamstown, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and CBI. Each visit involved a community service project, such as baking cookies for seniors who receive meals at home, planting a community garden, and preparing backpacks with art supplies, toys, and hygiene products for children in foster care. Thanks to Erin Keiser-Clark, Youth Minister at St. John’s, Anne O’Connor, Director of Family Engagement at First Congregational Church, and Jane Shiyah, CBI Educator, who worked with the students at CBI.

The Board continues to evaluate our COVID protocols monthly and will continue to require masks indoors in order to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Over the summer, we will evaluate our plans for High Holy Days and keep you apprised of our decisions.

I hope you’ll join us on Sunday, August 14 on the lawn at Tanglewood for a special pre-concert CBI picnic from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. (More information can be found on our calendar.) If you’re interested, I encourage you to contact Tanglewood soon to purchase tickets for this concert, which features cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Cristian Măcelaru and is likely to sell out. Please contact me at [email protected] to let me know if you are interested in attending and with any questions.

And finally, I want to express my gratitude to the members of the CBI Board (Joe Apkin, Robin Brickman, Chris Kelly, Michael Smith, Darlene Radin, Sheila Roman, Ben Rudin, Cheryl Sacks, and Paulette Wein) for all they do to keep CBI running, and to the many other volunteers who lend in hand in so many different ways. As a small synagogue with limited paid professional staff, we rely on our volunteers every day. If you see something that needs to be done to maintain or enrich our community, please reach out to me or other Board members, and ask what you can do to help.

Wishing you a fun and relaxing summer in our beautiful Berkshires!

— Natalie Matus