Mazel Tov to Brian Albert who became President of Beth El Synagogue on Friday, June 18th and thank you to Skip Berman for his two years of service as our President. Skip and Brian, your time and effort on behalf of our congregation is appreciated.

We have come a very long way as a congregation in the past year as we have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the guidance of our hard-working Reopening Task Force (of which Skip and Brian are part) we were able to safely reopen Beth El for in-person services a year ago. This is truly amazing as there are many congregations that are just now beginning to reopen for in-person services.

As you read in our last email to the congregation, we will be allowing a Kiddush-Luncheon with a caterer for simcha celebrations beginning this July. In-house Kiddush-Luncheons can start on Saturday, August 7th, provided that we have enough volunteers who are able to assist.

On Saturday, August 21st, Leslie and I are inviting you to join us for the Aufruf of our son Yona and his fiancé, Tamar Dayanim. Services begin at 9am followed by a Kiddush-Lunch. If you are able to join us, please RSVP to Leslie and by Wednesday, August 11th so we can make sure that there is enough food for everyone. We look forward to celebrating this special day with our Beth El family.

As July begins, we are in the midst of the Three Weeks between the 17th of Tammuz, when the walls of Jerusalem were breached, and Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE. During this sad time on the Jewish calendar, we chant three Haftarot of rebuke in which the Jewish people are chastised for their poor behavior. After Tisha B’Av, we read seven Haftarot of consolation which culminates with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. Please join us for Tisha B’Av services on Saturday, July 17th at 9:30pm and Sunday, July 18th at 8:45am and 1:30pm as we mark this day in Jewish history where so many tragedies took place. Our sages teach us that one day this sad day will become a happy one.

On Monday, August 9th we celebrate Rosh Chodesh Elul. It is on that day that we begin sounding the Shofar each morning and each evening except for Shabbat as we prepare for the High Holidays. As you undoubtedly know, Rosh Hashanah begins this year on the evening of the Monday of Labor Day. Rosh Hashanah cannot fall out earlier that is does this year. Selichot will take place on Saturday evening, August 28th at 8:45pm beginning with a program at Congregation Beth Chaim in West Windsor. We look forward to gathering with other congregations in our area under the auspices of the Board of Rabbis of Princeton Mercer Bucks with the support of the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.

During the month of Elul we begin to prepare for the High Holidays by taking a look at our lives and determining which areas we want to improve on during the upcoming year. We also try to work on our relationships with our family and friends. The more time we spend preparing for the High Holidays, the more meaningful the holidays will be for us. We cannot wait to welcome everyone back in-person for the High Holidays this year. We will also be livestreaming our services for those who are not comfortable joining us in person or who are not able to do so. I hope that you will take the time beginning on Monday, August 9th to look at the past year and to plan for the upcoming one.

Once again, Leslie and I hope that you can join us in-person for Yona and Tamar’s Aufruf on Saturday morning, August 21st. Please RSVP to by Wednesday, August 11th.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, restful and enjoyable summer. Please help us make a Minyan during our weekday and Friday evening services when you are able to.

Looking forward to seeing you,

—Rabbi Jay M. Kornsgold