From the Presidents – May 23, 2024

From the Presidents

Shalom Everyone!

We are now heading into the final few holidays of the year.  Since we are currently in the Omer period after Pesach it is naturally time to observe Lag B’Omer, a time of bonfires, s’mores, potatoes, and shooting bows and arrows.  Despite its seeming insignificance, it still represents the importance of symbolism in Jewish culture.  Lag B’Omer especially reflects mystical qualities of the number 33, mainly because the holiday falls on the 33rd day of Omer and because Lamed and Gimel together make 33 in gematriyah.  Along with being a palindromic number, 33 appears many times throughout history for many different groups.  The Freemasons regarded 33 as the highest degree a mason can achieve in their order, symbolizing selfless work on behalf of others.  In science, on the Newton scale, 33 is the degree at which water will boil.  In anatomy, the average human has 33 vertebrae.  In eastern religions, there are 33 deities in the Vedic Religion and the second level of heaven in Buddhism translates to “of the 33 gods.”

For Judaism, 33 appears in many different forms in the Tanach.  The 33rd time Noah’s name is used in Genesis is when G-d promises to never again destroy the world with a flood.  The 33rd time Abraham’s name is used in Genesis is when his son Isaac was born, when Abraham celebrated 99 years of life.  The holy name Elohim is mentioned in Genesis 33 times in the story of creation.  And in the Book of Kings, King David only ruled Judah for the first part of his reign but then conquered Israel and ruled the united kingdom of Israel and Judah for the remaining 33 years of his life.  Even the seemingly insignificant can still contain hidden meanings that bring order and wonder to the universe and our own lives.

And as we head toward summer, we will soon be having our annual membership meeting, where we plot out our direction for the year.  This is also the time to elect a new Temple Board of Directors, so for those who wish to make a difference in our community, we highly encourage you to consider joining the Board for next year.  Our Board is always on the lookout for members who have ideas for the future of the temple and the ability to carry out that vision. Serving on the Board makes us appreciate how much Temple Beth Hillel means to us and our children.  And please mark your calendars for June 9 starting at 1:00 p.m. as the date for our annual membership meeting.  All Temple members are of course invited.

And as a reminder, the Rabbi Search Committee continues in its efforts to search for a new rabbi for next year.  We will start submitting announcements and accepting job applications later this summer, with interviews scheduled for the fall.  The Board now plans to have a new rabbi selected by the spring of 2025, just before Rabbi Dean’s retirement.  We will provide more updates as we get closer to summer.

Finally, our next regular Shabbat Service will take place on Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. Family shabbats have completed for the year but will resume in September.  Torah Study will take place Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. on Zoom. And of course, we encourage everyone to come to our wonderful Tefillah services at Religious School each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.  Thank you 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