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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

President’s Message – September 2022

Interim President’s Message:

Fall is around the corner. It is the season of change. Soon the leaves will be turning to gemstone colors and drifting and weaving their way down to the earth. Here in the northeast, nature’s Autumn coincides with our High Holy Days.  How fitting that is because our “Days of Awe” are about transformation. We must understand our malfeasance, ask for forgiveness, feel regret about it, and attempt to right the wrong. We begin the process of change, so we do not repeat our transgressions. 

In the fall, in preparation for winter, the tree roots dig down deep in the dirt dividing and divining for water that they share with other trees. The tree roots are making connections and sharing sustenance even with trees of other species; they are helping each other. This interwoven root system is not unlike the interconnectedness of our own families, friends, and community. 

It is a beautiful lesson from nature for us to ponder. We should also connect and nourish each other. Judaism has given us a roadmap for this. We must do this with Chesed, loving kindness towards others and ourselves. It is a way to repair the world, Tikkun Olam, one person at a time.  Chesed, a pillar of Judaism, is deeply ingrained in our Torah and is a mitzvah. Judaism’s jewels, such as Chesed and Tzedakah, teach us to live a just, charitable and love filled life. We wear these jewels in our hearts and they sparkle and light our humanity. 

Temple Beth El is not only a building.  It is a living and breathing community, an organism.  During this season of change, let us learn from the Torah and the legal codes in the Mishnah requiring us to show loving kindness toward one another. Take care, breathe deeply, seek nourishment, and give like our tree companions do on earth. Let’s show some loving kindness to Temple Beth El. We can work together to build and grow our community.

On behalf of the Board of Temple Beth El, I wish you, your families, and friends a 

Healthy and Happy New Year.

Phyllis Sherman