About Melissa Schapiro
Posts by Melissa Schapiro:
August 23, 2021
Whether you are a life-long member or new to Congregation Beth Israel, we want to welcome you to our wonderful community and wish you a Shanah Tovah.
We are very excited to be offering hybrid services during the upcoming High Holy Days. What does this mean? You will have the choice of attending services either in person or remotely via Zoom. After much consultation with our COVID Task Force, we feel confident that we can provide a safe space for congregants to worship together. And for those who are hesitant, we encourage you to join us virtually. Either way, we are looking forward to seeing you.
The Board of Directors has recently adopted specific guidelines for in-person worshippers to follow while on the CBI campus. Please read these carefully. We will have ushers helping to enforce these rules.
COVID Reopening Task Force PLAN FOR HIGH HOLY DAYS
1. All attendees 12 years and older will be fully vaccinated.
2. All attendees will wear a mask covering both mouth and nose.
3. All attendees will sign in with contact information (name, phone number or e-mail address).
4. Social distancing will be maintained; households/relatives will be seated together as a ‘pod’ by ushers.
5. Prayerbooks will be placed on chairs prior to services.
6. Ushers will assist with having Family Service attendees exit onto the patio at the conclusion of the Family Service.
7. Tents/canopies will be set up on the patio/plaza for overflow and for children.
8. The shofar will be sounded at the patio/plaza doors facing the outside.
9. Aliyahs will be restricted to members of one household each; all those performing honors during a service must be in the sanctuary.
10. Ushers will assist with seating and with exiting, and with security, (especially at the open patio/plaza doors).
11. The front door and the 4 patio/plaza doors will remain open and the building fan will be on, for maximum ventilation.
12. Children under 12 years old will be allowed to attend all services but will be encouraged to limit attendance to the Family Service and the concluding service when the shofars are sounded, if at all possible/feasible.
We know there a lot of rules to follow. But as Jews, we love rules! After all, we are observing the High Holy Days because we are commanded to. In all seriousness, the safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us and we feel confident that however you worship with us, you will have a safe and meaningful experience.
For those planning on attending virtually, if you would like to have a machzor to follow along with, these are the following days when you can pick one up at the synagogue for your family to share.
……..Wednesday, August 25 12:00 – 4:00 pm
……..Friday, August 27 1:00 – 3:00 pm
……..Monday, August 30 12:00 – 4:00 pm
……..Wednesday, September 1 12:00 – 4:00 pm
For those planning on attending in person, we ask that you let us know which services you will be going to and how many there will be in your party. Contact the office for a link to an online form.
Lastly, this link will take you to our High Holy Day schedule. Contact the office for Zoom links.
We are grateful for your support (and patience) during this time and we hope that you and your loved ones have a very sweet year ahead, filled with blessings, good health, and peace.
Josh Greenberg, President
Rabbi Joshua Samuels
Monday, Aug. 16, 2021 and Thursday, Aug. 25, 2021
Both sessions at 7 p.m. on Zoom
Professor Marc Dollinger’s talk on Jews and the Civil Rights Movement was well-received by CBI congregants on July 1. If you missed it, you can access the video on our website.
The Program and Social Action Committees were honored to host Professor Marc Dollinger as a speaker July 1, 2021. A video of his lecture, “Jews and the Civil Rights Movement,” is now available:
Author Jonathan Ned Katz talks about his newly released book (May 18, 2021), The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams. Congregant and Katz’s longtime friend, Emily Weiner, interviews Jonathan and moderates a Q&A (watch above). Historian Katz uncovers the until-now forgotten story of radical lesbian Eve Adams and her long-lost book Lesbian Love, which led to her arrest, deportation and eventual murder by the Nazis at Auschwitz.
To purchase The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams from Village Books (and simultaneously support Congregation Beth Israel’s education program), click here.
This CBI Programming Committee event is co-sponsored by Village Books and two units of Western Washington University: Western Libraries’ Heritage Resources and The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity.
Sunday, April 4 at 10 a.m. Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, spoke with Congregation Beth Israel via Zoom about the fight for gender equality in Israeli society. Hoffman founded and has led the advocacy organization Women of the Wall for the past three decades. Her talk to CBI is titled, “The Cracks in the Wall Let the Light In: The Battle for Equal Rights at the Western Wall.” For more information about Anat Hoffman and her work, see the front page article in the March/April Shul Shofar.
Watch a recording of the April 4, 2021 event here:
March 18, 2021
Who would have thought last year at this time that we would be celebrating a second consecutive virtual seder? As confusing as life was near the beginning of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, we were at least hopeful that Covid-19 would be a thing of the past a few months later. Yet, here we are, once again not fully able to gather together. However, unlike last year, we can see an end in sight. The rollout of vaccines is ramping up and restrictions are easing. We sense a return to “normalcy” in the near future. At this moment in time, we are not quite where we want to be. We are actually in a liminal state, or in-between mitzrayim and the Promised Land.
Nevertheless, our Jewish tradition in general, and Pesach in particular, has great wisdom to share with us as we navigate this liminality. Let’s consider the seder song, Dayenu. Dayenu is our yearly reminder to never forget all the miracles in our lives.
If we are free to celebrate Pesach in the comfort of our own home, but not with friends and family—Dayenu! It would be enough.
If we are able to celebrate Pesach with friends and family, virtually, but not in person—Dayenu! It would be enough.
If we are able to celebrate Pesach, in person, with some friends and family, but not with the whole community—Dayenu! It would be enough.
You see, Dayenu is a reminder that we never forget all the small miracles in our lives. No matter the circumstances, our Jewish tradition teaches us that we are always able to seek a new reason to be grateful, a reason to say Dayenu!
What an encouraging message during such challenging times. As we begin to prepare for our festival of freedom by cleaning our homes and making family recipes, may we also work on cultivating an attitude where we express appreciation for each and every goodness that is bestowed upon us. I cannot think of a better way to get ready for Pesach this year.
I hope you will join your Beth Israel family for our second night community seder on Sunday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. Andrea Shupack and I are looking forward to seeing you, even if it is through our computer screens.
If you would like to join our community, please reach out to the office for the Zoom and haggadah link.
Chag pesach sameach,
— Rabbi Joshua Samuels
Congregation Beth Israel, centered in Bellingham, Washington, stands with Jews all over the world in affirming the principles of equal justice and equal respect underlying the declaration that Black Lives Matter. Believing in the dignity of every individual, we deplore the structural racism that has denied people of color the rights and opportunities enjoyed by their fellow citizens. We strongly support the Constitutional right to peaceful assembly and condemn all forms of violence against peaceful protestors.
Our Bible and our sages, our liturgy and our vision of a just society, teach us the value of every human being. The centuries of defamation and oppression Jews have suffered help us understand the suffering people of color have endured in the United States from the founding of our country to the present day.
Those of us who are white Americans may have wittingly or unwittingly contributed to that suffering. We will work to eradicate any traces of racism in our lives as a congregation and as individuals, and will take any steps within our power to promote the equality our founding documents proclaim as the right of all people.
— Approved by CBI Board of Directors, Nov. 10, 2020