Days of Awe 5783

August 2022

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Tisha b'Av is just behind us, which means we're on the seven-week runway to the Days of Awe. The Days of Awe come each year to remind us to soften our hearts. They come to sensitize us to everything that is beautiful, everything that is broken, everything that could yet be repaired. They come to awaken our souls and to reconnect us with each other, our traditions, and our Source. And they come whether or not we feel ready for the questions they pose.

The coming High Holy Days at CBI will be musical and sweet. This year I’ll be co-leading worship with CBI member and cantorial soloist Ziva Larson. Ziva and I are hard at work planning services, aiming as ever to balance tradition and creativity. This year will also mark the début of the new CBI choir, led by CBI member Adam Green. We’ve been rehearsing all summer, with much joy — we’re eager to bring that joy to enliven our services this year. (A schedule of services can be found below.)

Most of this year's Days of Awe will again be multi-access (a.k.a. "hybrid"). Erev Rosh Hashanah will be Zoom only: we'll do a combination of evening services and Rosh Hashanah seder, as we did last year. At our other services, we will gather both online (via Zoom) and onsite in the synagogue sanctuary. (We continue to require vaccination and masks for onsite participation, as well as advance registration via our new website for security purposes.) The big screen in our sanctuary will allow those onsite and those online to see each other and to see the same images, texts, and videos. We've learned how to gather our hearts and souls together even when we are in different places, and a participatory, robust Zoom experience will still be open to all of us wherever we are.

To RSVP for High Holiday services, please click here!

We will once again use a version of our machzor (high holiday prayerbook) designed to be shared over the screen. For those online, words and images will appear on your screen alongside our faces. And onsite we’ll have the big screen as well as bound books. Of course, more important than our tangible technologies of book and screen are the spiritual technologies of opening our hearts to everything this season offers. The Days of Awe invite us to renew our vision, to strengthen our commitment to inner work and ethical action, and to experience deep spiritual connection that will nourish us through the winter to come.

For many of us, the last year has held challenges — from personal struggles and loss, to national upheaval and global climate concern. This year more than ever we need the strength that comes from connection to our tradition and its timeless wisdom, connection to our community and each other, and connection to our source. And CBI needs connection with each of you.

As always, we continue to incur ongoing personnel, utilities, and maintenance expenses. Talks and adult education learning opportunities, our Journey Into Judaism class, Shabbat and festival services, Yizkor memorial services throughout the year, pastoral care, funerals and shiva and unveilings, Hebrew school and family programming (from fall storytime in the apple orchard, to Family Shabbat services and wintertime havdalah programs, to our Chanukah bonfire singalong, to spring holidays and more): all of these continue to be a part of our community life, and all of these need your support.

Your donations to our high holiday appeal will support all of these. They will also support digital infrastructure to help us to better serve our homebound members even after this pandemic is past. They will enable us to care for our beautiful building, our pollinator garden and new nascent fruit orchard (come and visit!), our labyrinth and our grounds. And they will support the continued flourishing of Jewish life in northern Berkshire.

Jewish tradition teaches that even one who receives tzedakah (e.g. someone who is fiscally struggling and needs to ask for support) must also give tzedakah. When we give, we prime the pump of blessing. When we give, we become part of the chain of giving that brings hope and abundance to the world. Please give as you are able to support CBI. The only donation that is too small is none at all.

Make a donation to our High Holiday Appeal today!

We look forward to being with you at the Days of Awe: onsite, and online, and most importantly, via the connectedness between our hearts. Thank you for being part of CBI.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Natalie Matus, President
Would you like the names of your loved ones to be
included in our Yizkor Memorial Book this year?
Click here to submit them online before Friday, September 16!

Are You Interested in Chanting High Holiday Torah — Maybe in English?

Rabbi Rachel and cantorial soloist Ziva Larson are looking for one or two more people to read / chant from Torah on Rosh Hashanah morning. One option is to read or chant from the scroll; another option is to chant the English translation. We can provide a recording for you if that's helpful, and are happy to work with you to help you if this is interesting to you. If you would like to take part in this way, please let Rabbi Rachel know as soon as possible!

The Days of Awe at CBI 5783 / 2022

Onsite: Register for each service at by no later
than Friday, September 16; vaccinations & masks are required

Anyone who may be experiencing COVID symptoms or feels unwell
are asked to join us via Zoom instead of attending services onsite

Online: In the CBI Zoom room, open to all of our members & friends

(Please note all times are listed in EDT)

Saturday, September 17, 8-9pm: Selichot ("Forgiveness") Service, onsite & online

Sunday, September 18, 2-2:30pm: Cemetery Service, onsite only at Walker Street cemetery
Followed by a guided tour of the CBI cemetery, led by Joe Apkin

Rosh Hashanah

Sunday, September 25, 6:30pm: Rosh Hashanah First Evening Service & Seder, online only

Monday, September 26, 10am: Rosh Hashanah First Day Morning Service, onsite & online
Outdoor Children's Service at 10am, onsite only (RSVP here)
Tashlich (casting bread upon the waters) to follow at Tourists suspension bridge

Tuesday, September 27, 10am: Contemplative Second Day Morning Service, onsite & online

Saturday, October 1, 9:30am: Shabbat Shuvah Contemplative Service, onsite & online

Yom Kippur
Music Before Kol Nidre — Starting at 5:45pm
Before Kol Nidre, CBI member Adam Green will play contemplative / classical music on the synagogue piano for half an hour beginning at 5:45pm — please join us in-person or on Zoom for music to open the heart before we enter into Yom Kippur.

Tuesday, October 4, 6:15pm: Kol Nidre, onsite & online

Wednesday, October 5, 10am: Yom Kippur Morning Service, onsite & online
Outdoor Children's Service at 10am, onsite only (RSVP here)
Yizkor / Memorial Service will take place at the end of the morning service

All afternoon, all are welcome to enjoy our labyrinth & pollinator garden

Wednesday, October 5, 4:30-6:30pm: Yom Kippur Mincha & Avodah Service, onsite & online

Wednesday, October 5, 6-7pm: Yom Kippur Ne'ilah Service, onsite & online
(Sundown will be at 6:27pm)


All are welcome to use the CBI sukkah during the week of Sukkot (October 9 – 16)

Friday, October 14, 5:30pm: Sukkot Potluck Supper in the Sukkah, onsite only
Please RSVP by Yom Kippur (October 5)

Sunday, October 16, 11am: Shemini Atzeret & Yizkor, online only

Sunday, October 16, 6pm: Simchat Torah Celebration, onsite only

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