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Temple Beth El

Offering Conservative Jewish worship since 1935

83 Chestnut Street/POBox 383
Oneonta, NY 13820
Phone: (607) 432-5522

November 2017


On Yom Kippur I spoke about lashon hara, gossip.  Continuing our community work on the Jewish Middah (soul trait) of Shmirat HaLashon, the Guarding of Speech, I would like to re-share with you here the 10 steps to avoiding gossip that I shared in my sermon.  They are:

  1. When we are hurt, upset, angry, disappointed, etc., let’s find a calm and loving way to approach the person that we feel is the cause, and calmly and lovingly tell them how it felt when they did it. Please direct your complaints and concerns to me when it is about something I have done or failed to do, rather than to a member of the Board or a friend. I promise to listen carefully.
  2. When the above-mentioned person comes to talk to us, let’s listen carefully and fully to their complaint. Let’s ask questions that will help us better understand what they are trying to say. Let’s find something in what they are telling us for which we can sincerely apologize. Let’s empathize with their feelings.
  3. Let’s refrain from speaking about people who are not present. Let’s find a gentle way to remind others when they go down the path of lashon hara that we are working on not speaking about people who aren’t present, and remind them to speak directly to the person that hurt them. 
  4. Let’s not listen to or repeat lashon hara. Let’s refrain from telling people when others have been talking about them, or what they have said.
  5. Let’s look for opportunities to “catch others doing something right”, so that we can tell them in person about the good thing we noticed them doing, and how it made us feel.
  6. 6. Let’s ask for or tell the other person what we need from them, rather than expecting them to read our minds.
  7. Let’s demonstrate self-respect by demonstrating respect for others in our words and actions.
  8. Let’s try this at home, at work, and anywhere else we go.
  9. Do come and tell me directly when you are unhappy with me. I will do my best to listen carefully and respond thoughtfully.
  10. Ask me for help with this. For many of us it is a new skill. I am happy to help you get better at it.  Remember that what you tell me remains confidential.

We will celebrate Shabbat as a community on Friday night November 10th at 6:00 PM, followed by a potluck dinner at 7:00, and on Friday December 1st at 7:30.  I hope that you will join us to create and share the warmth of our community and to enjoy the companionship of being a part of it.  RSVP’s for Potluck help us to make sure that we have enough dinner.  Please do let Ken know if you will be attending the potluck, what you will bring, and if you can help with set-up at 5:00.

Torah Study will meet Saturday, November 11th and Saturday December 2nd. Coffee and Shmooze starts at 9:00 am, and we begin our studies at 9:30.  No previous knowledge is needed.

Our Lunch and Learn Program will resume our study of Tikkun Middot and Mindfulness Practice for veterans and newbies on Saturday, November 11th   at noon. This practice helps us to stay calm, focused and aware in a chaotic world. Please bring a meat-free, shellfish-free dish for yourself or to share.  No previous knowledge is needed.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at at any time.

Kol tuv (all the good),
Rabbi Molly Karp