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President’s Shalom Article – September, 2021

September 1, 2021 @11:45pm

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Beth El Synagogue President

As summer comes to a close, and the High Holidays greet us, it is a great time to reflect on this special time of the year both personally and as a community.  My kids had a wonderful summer at the JCC Abrams camp, which is really what we come to expect.  What I love is that from campers to counselors to staff and leadership that Beth El members play an integral part of giving my kids great experiences and memories.

We created great memories at the synagogue as well.  We held 4 outdoor Friday night services this year.  And even though our signature Shabbat on the Lake in Robbinsville experienced its first ever weather relocation, it was still a wonderful time to bring people together.  We didn’t let a little heat wave stop us from have another beautiful night in Thompson Park in Monroe.

But to me, the quintessential component of a Beth El summer is the Summer Sermon Series.  The Rabbis take a break and our fellow congregants step up year after year to deliver sermons on all kinds of topics.  I am always impressed that we fill the schedule every year.  We have regulars and first timers and everything in between.  Each brings something enlightening about Judaism from their own unique perspective.  The rules are pretty loose – something Jewish in ten minutes or less, but the content is always so rich and deep.

I’m not sure I have the space or the memory to give a proper recount of each sermon and if I omit something I may be showing a bias or two. I can tell you that our sermon presenters probed the depth of Jewish thought, law, liturgy, customs, music, and culture.  They proved that you don’t have to be a Rabbi to teach Torah, though it is always special when we get to hear from the newest Rabbi Kornsgold.  As of my deadline, there are two sermons left in the summer, and I am sure they did not disappoint.

The end of the summer means it is High Holiday time and preparations are in full gear.  We continue to not let the pandemic ruin everything and I am looking forward to the return of in-person youth services.  It takes a lot of hard work and I can’t thank the Re-opening Task Force for all of its hard work as well has High Holiday Coordinator Dan Bershad for adapting to the guidelines crated by the task force and to everyone who volunteers to help out.  It really takes a lot of people to put it all together, but the hard work is totally worth it.

I hope you have had a chance to see the great video arranged by Skip and Laurie Berman and I hope it has helped encourage you to participate in the High Holiday Campaign this year.  We really value your support of this and all our fundraising efforts.  If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out bethel.net.   

Celeste, Reina, Stuart, and I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and sweet new year of 5782.  Shana Tova.

Brian Albert, President