From the Presidents – May 19, 2023

Shalom Everyone!

Incredibly, the end of school is getting closer and closer.  Before we know it our kids will have finished the school year and it will be time for camps, travel, family, and long days of fun activities!  It is appropriate, then, to consider one of the last major holidays of the year: Shavuot.  Like so many other holidays, Shavuot is full of symbolism, in this case perfect for the renewal of spring.  On this day we are required to hear the Ten Commandments, as our ancestors did thousands of years ago, in the renewal of the covenant between Adonai and the Jewish people.  In fact, Shavuot can mean both “weeks” (signifying the end of the seven weeks of Omer) and “oaths,” including the oath to follow the commandments.  Shavuot also has the tradition of staying up all night studying Torah, just as kids would love to stay up all night during vacation talking, playing, and experiencing the joy of having so much time.  And of course, Shavuot has the tradition of eating dairy products for special meals.  Legend says that once the Israelites received the Torah, they first learned about the Kashrut laws and realized they could not prepare proper Kosher meat right away.  Instead, they improvised and ate dairy products as a substitute.  For this year, when we come across an unexpected situation, let us pledge to not shut down in fear or anxiety but instead to improvise and make the situation work for us.  Just as the Torah can give us guidance in our everyday lives, so the holiday of Shavuot provides us lessons for life’s unexpected turns.

In other news, we have several exciting events occurring in the coming weeks.  We invite everyone to come to our Annual Membership Meeting on June 11 at 1:00 p.m.  You can meet the Board members, enjoy some nice treats, and see the plans for the upcoming year.  A few weeks later, on June 27, we have our annual trip to the Oakland Coliseum to watch the A’s play their Jewish Heritage Month game!  If you would like to join us, please contact our office manager Brandy for information about tickets.

The next Shabbat Service will be held this Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m.  Family Shabbat will also be held on the same evening right before the main service, at 6:15 p.m.  We will have a Lag B’Omer celebration by having the kids practice archery so please spread the word to family members and friends to come and enjoy the festivities.  The Adult Ed class with Rabbi Dean has resumed its regular schedule and we will also have Torah Study on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.  And those who wish to join Tefillah services at the Religious School are welcome starting at 9:30 a.m on Sundays.  Thanks everyone!


 If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am not for others, what am I?

And if not now, when? -Rabbi Hillel

~ Anna B Stein and David Zimring, Co-Presidents, Temple Beth Hillel