From The President

Dear Congregants and Friends,

I write to you with a heavy heart, trying to process news about the war in Israel and the Middle East, and rising antisemitism in the US and even in our area. It is a tough time to be a Jewish leader, parent, or grandparent. And yet, I feel solace in knowing that CBI is here for us. I hope you feel that too, and that you’ll join us at upcoming services and programs. We have reconvened our security committee and are making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep us safe. I am grateful for all the security improvements CBI has made in the past 2 years, with guidance from Secure Community Network (SCN) and help from security grants from the Commonwealth and Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. We are continuing to make use of local resources to guide us in this area.

On a different note, I am pleased to share that the congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of the revised Use & Occupancy Agreement with New Hope United Methodist Church. The agreement is now signed and will be in force through June 30, 2024. I have been in touch with Pastor Steven Dale about the need for increased vigilance regarding security. We have also begun discussions about possible interfaith collaborations between our two congregations. Thanks to all of you who participated in the discussions and voted.

Our Annual Meeting is coming up in less than 2 weeks! Please join us on Tuesday, November 14 for a pizza party and gathering at 6:30pm, followed by the Annual Meeting at 7:30pm. There will be a Zoom option for those who can’t attend in person. Look in your mail and email for the Annual Report, Board slate for 2024, and proposed bylaws changes with reasons for each. We will be voting on Board directors and officers, as well as bylaw changes, which codify the changes CBI and many other synagogues and non-profits made to allow meetings electronically, give notice of meetings via email, and change the timing of the Annual Meeting to coincide with our fiscal year; details are in the mailing. We need a quorum of at least 15 members. Please RSVP for the Pizza Party and Annual Meeting – it will be great to see each other in person.

We have many programs coming up in the months ahead – and we need to hear from you about what you would like to see from CBI. We continue to reach out to young families with programs at CBI and in the community. Our first elective cycle of our school, Jewish Journeys, is almost completed. At the end of each elective cycle, there’s a Jewish Journeys Shabbat service co-led by Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi Jarah with participation from all of our students. We invite you to Shabbat services on Saturday, November 18 at 10am, where you will hear from our young students about what they have learned, and enjoy a delicious kiddush prepared by students in the Jewish cooking elective.

Please mark your calendars for Monday, December 11 at 5:30pm – celebrate Chanukah with us around the bonfire, with candle lighting, songs, a dreidel spinning contest, and homemade latkes and sufganiyot from our talented Jen Burt! Please click here to RSVP.


— Natalie Matus