View this email in your browser

CBI Newsletter: September 2016 / Elul 5776

In this month's newsletter you'll find Notes from the Rabbi, information on Shabbat Across the Berkshires, service times for Shabbat and the Days of Awe, advance notice of a new Introduction to Judaism class coming this fall, and much more. 

From Rabbi Rachel: Elul Approaches...

 Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

The new month of Elul begins on September 3. Elul is the month that leads into the Days of Awe. The High Holidays are almost upon us!

The name Elul -- אלול -- can be read as a Hebrew acronym for the phrase אני לדודי ודודי לי, "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine." The Beloved in this case (perhaps the capital letter gives it away) is God. Elul is a time to remember that we belong to the One Who created all things, and that it's a reciprocal relationship: the One belongs to us, too. We are God's, and God is ours. 

During the Days of Awe we'll pray prayers that come from many different time periods over the centuries, and some of them make ample use of imagery that depicts God as Judge and King. These are old, deep metaphors for God, and they still have a lot of power. But part of what I love about Elul as the spiritual onramp to the Days of Awe is that before we start calling God Judge or Lord, Father or King, we first spend a month reminding ourselves that we can also relate to God as Beloved. God can be the dearest intimate friend of our hearts, always there, always ready to listen, always ready to receive us in love. 

For those of us who have children (and those of us who are children!), September is back-to-school season. Time for sharpened pencils, bright yellow schoolbuses, backpacks of textbooks, and settling in for the hard but satisfying intellectual work of learning new things. In Jewish tradition, for all of us -- regardless of age or station -- Elul is back-to-self season. Time to look inward, discern where we've lived up to our best selves and where there's room for improvement. Time to settle in for the hard but satisfying emotional and spiritual work of (re)learning the deep truths of who we really are and who we yearn to become. 

May your Elul be meaningful and sweet.


Rabbi Rachel

Shabbat Across the Berkshires at CBI

Our community is honored to be hosting Shabbat Across the Berkshires on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7pm, with a wonderful Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a delicious Oneg Shabbat provided by the CBI Board of Directors. All the Berkshire County Jewish community is invited, so expect to greet old friends and meet some new ones. The service, as usual, will be beautiful and inspiring.

Children are welcome. There will be a separate children’s program led by our Education Director.

Save the date! We hope see you for this very special Shabbat evening!!

Shabbat and Havdalah Times

If you want to light Shabbat candles and make havdalah at the halakhically-accepted times, here they are:
Sept 4 - light at 7:03
Sept 5 - havdalah at 8:09
Sept 11 - light at 6:50
Sept 12 - havdalah at 7:57
Sept 18 - light at 6:28
Sept 19 - havdalah at 7:44
Sept 25 - light at 6:25
Sept 26 - havdalah at 7:32

If it is your practice to light candles at a different hour of the day (perhaps not quite so early as halakha indicates during the winter, and not quite so late as halakha indicates during the summer), that's also a legitimate Reform Jewish choice. What's most important is that you're finding a way to incorporate Shabbat into your life.
Ride Share

Are you are in need of a ride to and from CBI to attend services or events? Are you in need of a ride for local errands or appointments? The CBI community wants to help.  Please let Jack know what your needs are. If you are able and willing to share rides or give rides, please send information on your availability to Jack (

Feedback from Take and Eat:

"Best meat loaf I ever had!"
Coming in 5777...

Do you want to learn more about Judaism?

Introduction to Judaism

at Congregation Beth Israel: 

a new program in Jewish engagement for everyone, regardless of religion or background.


Eighteen sessions over the course of the fall and winter.


Beginning in November 2016.


Free for CBI members; 

$60 for non-members. 

The textbook costs $20; let the rabbi know if this is a hardship.

To sign up, contact



Offered in partnership with the Louis & Judith Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University.

"If you build it, they will come..." -- Field of Dreams

Join us at 10am on Sunday, October 16, to help build the CBI sukkah!

Sukkot begins that evening at sundown -- and all are welcome to use our sukkah all week: bring a meal, sit beneath the rustling cornstalks and enjoy the stars, even camp out in the sukkah if you are so inclined.

All are welcome -- experienced builders and "newbies" alike. Come do a mitzvah: help us build our sukkah -- and then rejoice in it throughout the holiday!

We'll build from 10am until whenever we're done. Please come lend a hand.
Support CBI with a donation... thank you!
The new Hebrew school year begins in September! Learn more about our religious school, see the school calendar, and more on our CBI Community Hebrew School website.
Service Times

USUALLY: First Friday of the (secular) month: 6pm potluck, Kabbalat Shabbat service to follow (around 6:40).

THIS MONTH: Shabbat Across the Berkshires, 7pm on September 9, Oneg to follow

Every Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Shabbat Service, followed by kiddush around 11am

Meditation minyan on Friday mornings, 9am
CBI is a proud member of the Union for Reform Judaism

and also a proud member of the ALEPH Network

Selichot Service
8pm, Saturday September 24
potluck dessert reception to follow

Join us for one of the sweetest services of the year. "Selichot" means "Forgiveness," and this is the service that kicks off the high holiday season. We'll open our hearts with prayer, poetry, and some of the melodies of the Days of Awe. We'll engage in some introspection and inner work. And then we'll gather in the social hall for a potluck dessert reception, bringing literal sweetness to this meaningful time of year. All are welcome.
Happy Birthday in September to...

Stephen Prenner Dr. Benjamin Rudin     Christina Kelly     Judy Turbin     Roger Thompson     Calvin Filson     Susan Hogan     Richard Parmett     Laurence Cherkis     Sonya McGuire     Barbara Kaplan     Laura Thompson     Daniel Hogan     Nina Lentzner    

Happy Anniversary in September to...

John and Sue Hogan
Benjamin and Alice Rudin
Days of Awe at CBI 2016 / 5777

Havdalah & Selichot ("Forgiveness") service, Sat. Sept. 24, 8-9pm (potluck dessert reception to follow)

Cemetary Service, Walker Street, Sun. Sept. 25, 2-2:30pm

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah First Evening service, Sun. Oct. 2, 7:30-9pm

Rosh Hashanah First Day morning service, Mon. Oct. 3, 9:30am-12:30pm
Children's service led by Jane Shiyah, 10am (childcare all morning)
Tashlich (casting bread upon the waters) to follow
Rosh Hashanah Lunch at a local restaurant to follow that; please RSVP!

Rosh Hashanah Second Day morning service, Tues. Oct. 4, 9:30am-12pm

Yom Kippur

Kol Nidre (with childcare) Tues. Oct. 11, 6-8pm (arrive at 5:30 for music to open the heart)

Yom Kippur Morning service, Weds. Oct. 12, 9:30am-12:30pm

Children's service led by Jane Shiyah, 10am (childcare all morning)

Yizkor /Memorial Service will take place at the end of the morning service

Introduction to Jewish Contemplative Practice, led by Steven Green & Rose Ellis, 3-4pm

Yom Kippur Mincha and Avodah service, 4-5:30pm

Yom Kippur Ne'ilah service, 6-7pm (sundown: 6:13)

Yom Kippur Break-The-Fast: after services. Please RSVP!


Sukkot / Shabbat Potluck, Fri. Oct. 21, 5:30pm

Shemini Atzeret services, with Yizkor, Mon. Oct 24, 10am-12pm
Find us on Facebook:

Don't miss the From the Rabbi blog:

Copies of See Me: Elul Poems by Rabbi Barenblat are available for purchase for $9, or can be borrowed from the rabbi's office on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lunar month of Elul (leading up to the Days of Awe / Jewish high holidays) is a time for self-examination, contemplation, and the inner work of teshuvah, repentance or return. Here are 29 poems, one for each day of Elul, which aim to open the reader up to awe, reflection, and the spiritual experience of being truly seen.
Share the CBI Newsletter on Facebook
Tweet a link to the CBI Newsletter
Forward this email to a friend

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Congregation Beth Israel · 53 Lois Street · North Adams, MA 01247 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp