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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

December 2017


Many of us have had the experience of doing the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim, visiting the sick.   This mitzvah is considered to be so important that our tradition teaches that it is one of the obligations that are without measure; there is no limit to how much we should do this mitzvah before considering that we have fulfilled our obligation. A workshop on How to Visit the Sick will take place Saturday, December 16, 9:30-11:30 am, with Coffee and Schmooze at 9:00.  Please do join us for this workshop; it will allow us to support each other in times of illness, and give us a toolkit of what to say and do when making these visits.  No prior knowledge is needed.

A number of Jewish partners in interfaith marriages have approached me to share their concerns and questions about the place of non-Jewish partners at Temple Beth El.  In the past year, we have created a space for interfaith couples to be buried together in our cemetery, and we have reconsidered and revised what honors a non-Jewish partner may receive on our bima.  As well, we have long had a policy that allows for children with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the Temple after a conversion process, without any requirement that the non-Jewish mother convert.  I am actively interested in hearing your concerns and questions on the topic of non-Jewish partners’ place at TBE, whether you are married to a non-Jew, your child is, or you are simply interested in the topic.  I am also actively interested in finding ways, as a community, in improving on how we welcome non-Jewish partners.  I believe that we have room to grow on that front, and I hope that you will be part of the conversation.

We will celebrate Shabbat as a community on Friday night December 1st at 7:30 PM. On that night, we will restore the TBE practice of offering a special blessing to all in the TBE community who have a December birthday, anniversary, or other occasion to celebrate.  Please do let me know if you will be one of the people to receive a special blessing that night!!

We will celebrate Chanukah together on Friday December 15th with services at 6:00 PM.  Please bring your menorah and candles!!  This will be followed by our famous Latke Potluck Dinner at 7:15. We provide the latkes, you bring your usual potluck offerings. 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, along with the dish that you bring, help us to make sure that we have enough food for everyone.  We are in need of more “potluck people” to participate in set-up and clean-up.  Please do let Ken know if you will be attending the potluck, what you will bring, and if you can help participate in setting up.

Torah Study will meet 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 continues with our study of Mussar and Mindfulness on Saturday, December 2nd and December 16th 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