The runway. Right now we’re in the Seven Weeks of Consolation.

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

This past weekend we observed Tisha b’Av, the spiritual low point of our year. Deep thanks go to Jen Burt and family for setting up the “ruined” sanctuary in which we sang Lamentations and opened our hearts to grief — to Rabbi David Markus and the TBE community for joining with us — to everyone who participated onsite and online, for willingness to be real together — and to all of our onsite participants for so quickly and sweetly helping us restore our prayer space to its usual shape and form as part of our ritual of repair.

Tisha b’Av is an experience of descent for the sake of ascent. We open ourselves to grief (both historical and present-day) in order to feel the depths — not for the sake of wallowing, but because this tradition encapsulates a deep spiritual truth. Only when we allow ourselves to feel grief can we also open ourselves to healing, to hope, and to joy. Tisha b’Av is the springboard that launches us on our journey to the Days of Awe. Now we journey through the Seven Weeks of Consolation as we prepare ourselves for the spiritual work of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The High Holidays offer us a journey of heart and soul. Stirred by the ancient melodies of that holy season, roused by the call of the shofar and by Torah’s timeless questions, we will ask ourselves: who have we been, and who do we want to become? What in our lives is “working,” and what needs repair? Which of our patterns serve us well, and which need to change? What work do we need to do in our relationships with each other, with our communities, with our traditions, with our Source, in order to be whole enough to heal our broken world?

In seven short weeks we’ll gather together, both onsite and online, for the Days of Awe 5782. (If you haven’t yet filled out our survey to indicate which services you want to attend onsite, please do so — priority will be given to CBI members. If you can’t find the survey, contact the office and Ollie can re-send it to you.) Between now and then, here are two weekly opportunities for learning and reflection:

Lifting Higher: Weekly Teshuvah Practice for the High Holy Days  

Sundays 8:00-8:30 pm (with after-schmooze time) July 18 – August 29

Join Rabbi David Markus and Dr. Shari Berkowitz for a weekly kabbalistic (mystical) journey up the Tree of Life for seven weeks leading to Rosh Hashanah. Each week will be themed to the sefirot (just like the seven weeks of counting Omer, except in reverse), with inner practices to support preparation for the High Holy Days. Free to all. No experience necessary. 

RSVP by email to [email protected].


Reverse Omer Group With Jen Burt

Join Jen Burt as we begin in Malchut (Presence) and work our way back to Chesed (Lovingkindness) while studying the haftarot of consolation and moving from summer into fall and the start of high holidays. The group will meet over Zoom for 7 consecutive Tuesdays from 5pm to 6pm beginning July 20. During this time, Jen would like to encourage you to consider the reconnection and social, political and business “re-opening” we are experiencing with their positive and negative impacts as this overlaps with our spiritual season change.

If you are interested in attending or would like more information about this group, please email Jen at [email protected].

May our journey toward the new year open our hearts to new possibilities and strengthen our readiness to work toward a better world. I can’t wait to ring in 5782 with all of you.

With blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel