The shofar’s final blast brought the very difficult Jewish year 5777 to an end. As American Jews, we endured shocks to our sense of safety and belonging that were unexpected. Divisions within Israel about prayer at the Western Wall are troubling and Israel’s proposed strict rules defining who is considered Jewish threatens to disenfranchise most of us. Closer to home, the explosion of White, Christian, anti-Semitic rage has been shocking and appalling. And the overwhelmingly negative Jewish response to President Trump and his treatment of hate groups is loud and clear. We have ended a stressful year. As we enter the Jewish year 5778, we must remain hopeful that the divisions of 5777 will begin to heal.
The Board of Trustees of Temple Beth El is dedicated to maintaining a welcome, open, and inviting environment where all Jewish people can gather. We are strengthened when we are together, and that also includes events like knitting, watching a movie, or a sharing a meal. During the past three years, we have been fortunate to continue to attract new members. It is worth repeating that when Jewish people come to our synagogue to pray, learn, watch an Israeli movie, or eat with us, they usually become members. Please attend Temple Beth El’s events, and bring Jewish friends with you. If you have ideas for events or activities that you would like to coordinate, contact me so we can talk about it. The Board is interested in expanding our social, cultural, and religious offerings. We continue to be partners with other houses of worship in Oneonta in community for social justice events, human rights causes, refugee resettlement, interfaith services, The Lord’s Table (“soup kitchen”), and more.
In 5778, let’s all choose at least one event a month to attend. Come to a service, potluck dinner, Men’s Club breakfast, Sisterhood get-together, adult education, movie, or volunteer at The Lord’s Table (contact Hollie Jaffe, email@example.com).
For a tiny synagogue deep in the northern Catskills, we have worthy events for your consideration. We also have very nice members who value Jewish community. Strengthening our connection to one another should be our mission in the new year.