From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

As I was sitting in the sanctuary last Saturday morning during Shabbat services, a rabbit was munching on a nice green blade of grass covered in morning dew and stared at me through the window… for a long time. Birds of various sizes landed on the grass near him. This beautiful sight reminded me that our property doesn’t belong solely to us – it is also part of the natural world, and we share it with many other creatures, who rely on it for food, protection, and water. Taking care of it in a responsible way is part of our mission.

Cherries growing on one of CBI's fruit trees.

That same day, Robin Brickman, who oversees the watering and care of our fruit trees, as well as many other tasks around the inside and outside of the building, let me know that our fruit trees have borne their first fruit in this, their third season. We have already had a few ripe cherries, and many small fruits are hanging from the peach tree branches. Some of the fruit trees are thriving, while others are growing more slowly. As I thought about this, I realized that tending our fruit trees is a metaphor for CBI. We plant seeds (or saplings, or ideas), lovingly cultivate them, nurture and water them, and help them bear fruit. Knowing that young families are the future of our congregation, we have reached out to them over the past 3 years, asked what they are looking for in a Jewish community, and added new programming that nourishes them. We test new ideas; some take root and others don’t – but we continue to patiently continue this important work. There is much to learn just by really looking outside.

I want to thank those in our community who have been especially helpful in caring for our space – inside and outside. In particular, thanks go to Robin Brickman and Jeff Strait, Joe Apkin, Elma Sanders, and Susan Welsch for their loving care of our grounds. Thank you to Robin Brickman and Wendy Penner for helping to reorganize our kitchen and social hall, and to Roger Matus for his help sorting and recycling obsolete electronic equipment.

We need your help too – for an hour or two, or on a more regular basis. Perhaps you could help clean the kitchen after events, wash tablecloths, water the fruit trees, or weed. We are also looking for more people to usher (e.g. being the door person, welcoming visitors and keeping track of who’s here) – we will gladly train you. CBI runs on volunteer labor – please contact me to discuss how you would like to help.

With deep thanks in advance,

— Natalie Matus