From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

As the days get longer and summer beckons, CBI professional and lay leaders are busy planning for the summer and the year ahead. At our recent Annual Meeting, the congregation voted to accept changes to the Bylaws, and to extend the terms of Board of Directors and Officers for an additional 6 months to June 2025, to coincide with the new timing of the Annual Meeting.

We have recently completed our application to the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for family programs in the coming year and will soon be submitting a report on our Jewish Journeys program to the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. We thank both organizations for their generous support for these programs, which bring our community together and support Jewish learning and connection.

I hope you will join us for This, Too, is Torah – A Shavuot Concert on Sunday, June 9 at 3pm. Our choir and band, directed by member Adam Green, have prepared a wonderful variety of songs throughout the ages and we look forward to welcoming you. A potluck repast will follow the concert. Kindly RSVP for the concert and contact Rabbi Rachel to RSVP for the potluck.

On Sunday, June 23, the CBI community is invited to join Congregation Beth El of Bennington VT and NEFESH for an exciting tour of the Yiddish Book Center at 1021 West Street in Amherst, MA. Please plan to arrive by 10am for the 10:15am tour, which will be followed by a catered lunch from Yalla of Brattleboro, VT. The cost per person is $12, which covers admission and lunch. Please send a check to Congregation Beth El directly if you plan to attend, and be sure to RSVP via our website so that we can see if there is an interest in carpooling.

A committee headed by Wendy Penner is busy planning for the November 16 celebration of Rabbi Rachel’s 13 years as our spiritual leader. Please save the date, when we will honor Rabbi Rachel at a special Shabbat morning service at 9:30am, followed by a kiddush luncheon and celebration with food, music, and dancing. All are welcome – details will be coming soon. If you’d like to help with this community celebration, please contact the office.

Our 3-part Israel-Palestine Film Series continues on July 14 and August 11. Our goal is to provide a safe space for learning and discussion about this difficult topic. (For more information, be sure to read the article in this month’s newsletter.)

We invite you to join us as we close out the summer with a Tanglewood Concert & Potluck Picnic on Sunday, August 18 (gates open at noon, concert starts at 2:30pm) featuring YoYo Ma on cello and Earl Lee conducting the BSO in Beethoven’s Symphony #7 – always a favorite. Purchase lawn tickets from Tanglewood and join us on the lawn soon after the gates open – kindly RSVP so that I can text you that afternoon with our exact location, and bring a dish to share if you’d like. We had a fabulous time at last year’s concert, with our biggest group ever.

As our fiscal year draws to a close, I’d like to reflect on some of the highlights of the year as your President. Yes – there is much to handle as President, AND there are many joys and high points. Working with a dedicated group of professional and lay leaders is certainly one of them and has truly demonstrated the power of a “village” with sights set on mutual goals. Other highlights include dancing with the Torah at our Simchat Torah Dance Party (being pushed in a wheelchair, which thankfully was short lived as I healed from an ankle break), singing around the bonfire as we celebrated Hanukkah together, watching and kvelling as our students shared their learnings from their Jewish Journeys classes at Shabbat services, joyously celebrating Hanukkah at homes and public places across the northern Berkshires and southern Vermont, welcoming a record crowd to CBI to celebrate Purim during an unexpected snow storm, and representing CBI at Federation sponsored events. I am grateful for your vote of confidence in my leadership and look forward to the coming year.


— Natalie Matus