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In this month's newsletter you'll find information about upcoming events, as well as Notes from the Rabbi, Shabbat candle lighting information, and more...
January 2022 | Shevat 5782

From Rabbi Rachel
Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

There's always something slightly surreal about celebrating Tu BiShvat, the "New Year of the Trees," in New England. In Israel where our festival calendar evolved, the full moon of midwinter comes at a time when the first almond blossoms are blooming. But here in North Adams, the full moon of Shvat comes when the weather is cold and the nights are long.

That's especially true this year. 5782 (the new Jewish year that we began in the fall) is a leap year, so we'll get an extra month after Tu BiShvat which will send our other spring festivals further into the future. But Tu BiShvat comes before that extra month of Adar, and it falls this year on January 16/17. How can we speak authentically of spring in the deepest of Berkshire midwinter?

The Jewish spiritual calendar asks us to see and feel the sap rising even when (or especially when) the world around us is frozen and cold. This year in particular, Tu BiShvat calls us to awareness of internal and spiritual shifts percolating beneath the surface of our world and beneath the surface of our hearts.

The maples may not be ready for us to begin sugaring, but somewhere deep within us is a wellspring of hope and rejuvenation and dreams of what the future might yet hold. Tu BiShvat calls us to honor that kind of sap rising: to dream-into-being the spring that is not yet here, the hope that maybe we can't yet quite reach, the flowering-forth of a future we can as yet only imagine.

This year Tu BiShvat also falls on Martin Luther King weekend, a time when our vision of our national future can be inspired by the words and deeds of the Reverend Dr. King. Dr. King dared to dream of a kind of racial equity we still haven't yet lived into fruition. That's another kind of spiritual sap rising.

Join us for Tu BiShvat on Zoom!
At our Zoom Tu BiShvat seder (which we will hold, again, with the members of Temple Beth El of City Island and Rabbi David Markus) we'll take a journey through the four worlds and the four seasons. We'll journey from separateness to connection. We'll hear words from Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail chanted in haftarah trope, the ancient melody our tradition uses for prophetic readings. And we'll recommit ourselves to caring for our beautiful natural world. I hope you'll join us at 5pm on Sunday, January 16 on Zoom (the link will be forthcoming in weekly announcements next week).
Here's to our spiritual sap rising, and to the spring of our deepest dreams.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

If you would like to schedule a time to meet with Rabbi Rachel,
please email her directly at
rabbi@cbiberkshires.com.
From the President

Dear CBI congregants,

I hope that everyone has had a chance to experience some moments of rest and renewal over the past few weeks. As we move in 2022, the CBI Board continues to meet regularly and to upgrade our COVID protocols as needed. Given the recent surge in COVID cases, we decided to move our Shabbat services to Zoom for the coming month, but hope to be able to return to multi-access services as soon as conditions allow; check the weekly announcement for the latest updates.

We are excited to welcome two new members to our CBI community this month: Elizabeth Sands, a retired social worker who lives in Brookline and has long family connections in North Adams, and Shira Wohlberg, who lives in Williamstown and has been helping to beautify our landscaping, making it more friendly to bees, butterflies and other species. In early spring, we will be planting fruit trees around our property, sponsored by our B'nai Mitzvah families in honor of their children and by other generous families.

Sadly, we lost two beloved, longtime members of our CBI community in December — Sherry Wein z”l and Bob Bashevkin z”l — and send our deepest condolences to their families.

Our programs for young families have continued to build momentum, attracting young families with cooking classes centered on holidays, Jewish Storytime & Havdalah programs, and the Chanukah bonfire, during which more than 50 people of all ages gathered to sing Chanukah songs, spin dreidels, and celebrate together outdoors.

The Board approved the development of a new website for CBI. Our goal is to provide a modern and more welcoming site that will invite people to participate in the life of the synagogue. It will incorporate large photos that will highlight the beauty of our building and grounds as well as the breadth of our offerings. Key new features will include a more useful calendar of events and the ability to sign-up for programs online. Roger Matus, who creates websites for businesses and organizations across Berkshire County, is generously donating his time to design and implement the new website.

Through the long, cold days of the winter, I hope you will look to CBI for connection and community and will participate in our services and programs. Please take a moment to reach out to your CBI friends, especially to those who may feel lonely. If you have ideas about what else you’d like to see CBI offering or how you’d like to volunteer, please contact me at my new email address: president@cbiberkshires.com.

Wishing you blessings for a healthy and productive year ahead,

— Natalie Matus, President

Shabbat Morning Service
Every Saturday at 9:30am (unless proceeded by Kabbalat Shabbat or otherwise noted)

Kabbalat Shabbat
One Friday evening per month at 7pm
Upcoming Dates: January 21 & February 18
For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.
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Our Labyrinth Is Open Even When The Shul Isn't!

You are welcome to come anytime during daylight hours and walk our meditation labyrinth. It is a beautiful practice that can be calming and centering. (Here's more about our labyrinth and about the practice of labyrinth walking.) During this time of pandemic, we ask that if you see others using the labyrinth, you maintain "social distancing" and stay six feet apart from each other.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Friday, January 7, 7:30pm-8:30pm: First Friday Shabbat Zoom Gathering
Please join us as we gather together to celebrate the Jewish traditions of Shabbat and light the candles, bless the wine, and partake of our challah breads. During this gathering we will observe Tu B'shevat, often considered an ecological holiday that reminds Jews of our connection to the earth and our role as caretakers of the earth and the environment. Tu B'shevat is often referred to as the new year (or "birthday") of the trees and we will be invited to share our thoughts on the wonders of trees as caretakers for each of us and our role in caring for their health. We look forward to community sharing of Shabbat and discussion with you! Please RSVP to president@cbiberkshires.com so we will know to expect you. Our Zoom room will open at 7:20pm, so please plan on joining us early!

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact Natalie Matus.

Saturday, January 8, 9:30am: Shabbat Morning Zoom Service
Shabbat morning service will be led by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat over Zoom only. Those joining are invited to get a digital copy of the siddur, available as a free flipbook at the publisher’s website, or as a Kindle download for your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

Sunday, January 9, 7:30pm-9pm (EST): Using Poetry to Navigate Grief
Join us over Zoom for an evening with Rabbi Pam Wax, author of Walking the Labyrinth, and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, author of Crossing the Sea, in a conversation about poetry and grief work moderated by Rabbi Nancy Flam, a pioneer in the field of Jewish healing and contemporary spirituality. Hear poems from both books, along with conversation about grief work, poetry, and prayer. Spaces are limited; to RSVP, please email Rabbi Pam Wax at pwax@bcn.net. Please note that Zoom information will be sent only to those who have RSVPed.

Monday, January 10: Hebrew School
CBI's Hebrew School classes will meet.

Saturday, January 15, 9:30am: Shabbat Morning Zoom Service
Shabbat morning service will be led by Rabbi Pam Wax over Zoom only. Those joining are invited to get a digital copy of the siddur, available as a free flipbook at the publisher’s website, or as a Kindle download for your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

Sunday, January 16, 2pm: Journey Into Judaism Zoom Class
CBI's Journey Into Judaism class will meet on Zoom, led by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.

Sunday, January 16, 5pm: Tu BiShvat Zoom Seder
Join Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Rabbi David Markus of Temple Beth El of City Island, and members of both communities over Zoom for our annual Tu BiShvat seder! We'll take a journey through the four worlds and the four seasons, from separateness to connection. We'll hear words from Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail chanted in haftarah trope, the ancient melody our tradition uses for prophetic readings, and recommit ourselves to caring for our beautiful natural world.

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

The CBI office will be closed on Monday, January 17 in observance of MLK Jr. Day.
Messages will be answered once the office reopens on Tuesday, January 18.

If you have any urgent pastoral care concerns during this time,
please contact Rabbi Rachel Barenblat at
rabbi@cbiberkshires.com.

If you need to get in touch with the CBI Board,
please contact Natalie Matus at
president@cbiberkshires.com.

Thank you for your patience!

Friday, January 21, 7pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Zoom Service
Please join Rabbi Rachel Barenblat in CBI's Zoom room for Friday evening service. We'll start our services by blessing candles, so be sure to have candles and matches or lighter on hand if you wish to participate!

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

Monday, January 24: Hebrew School
CBI's Hebrew School classes will meet.

Saturday, January 29, 9:30am: Shabbat Morning Zoom Service
Shabbat morning service will be led by Rabbi Jarah Greenfield over Zoom only. Those joining are invited to get a digital copy of the siddur, available as a free flipbook at the publisher’s website, or as a Kindle download for your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

Monday, January 31: Hebrew School
CBI's Hebrew School classes will meet.

Friday, February 4, 7:30pm-8:30pm: First Friday Shabbat Zoom Gathering
Please join us for our First Friday Shabbat Zoom Gathering! We will light Shabbat candles together and recite the blessings for candles, wine, and challah, so if possible, have candles, a cup of wine, and challah (or other round cracker or bread) ready in your own home. This year, we will choose a topic for each gathering, and a rotating member will facilitate the blessings and discussion. All are welcome! Please RSVP to president@cbiberkshires.com so we will know to expect you. Our Zoom room will open at 7:20pm, so please plan on joining us early!

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact Natalie Matus.

Saturday, February 5, 9:30am: Shabbat Morning Zoom Service
Shabbat morning service will be led by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat over Zoom only. Those joining are invited to get a digital copy of the siddur, available as a free flipbook at the publisher’s website, or as a Kindle download for your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.

For Zoom information, please check our weekly announcement emails or contact the CBI office.

Sunday, February 6, 2pm: Journey Into Judaism Zoom Class
CBI's Journey Into Judaism class will meet on Zoom, led by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat.

For even more upcoming events, read on!
Take & Eat Organizer Needed

CBI's very successful Take & Eat program (delivering food to seniors and other home-bound residents of North Adams once a month) has been on hold since the beginning of the pandemic. We are looking for additional volunteers and a new organizer in order to be able to start up again. Please reach out to Lauren Gotlieb at leg1@williams.edu if you are interested.

Shabbat & Havdalah Times

If you want to light Shabbat candles and make havdalah at the halakhically-accepted times, the times for the upcoming month can be found below:


January 7 light at 4:18pm (18 minutes before sundown)
January 8 havdalah at 5:19pm (42 minutes after sundown)

January 14 light at 4:25pm
January 15 havdalah at 5:27pm

January 21 light at 4:34pm
January 22 havdalah at 5:36pm

January 28 light at 4:43pm
January 29 havdalah at 5:45pm

February 4 light at 4:52pm
February 5 havdalah at 5:54pm


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!

CBI's First Friday Shabbat
Zoom Gatherings Resume!

Please join us for the return of our First Friday Shabbat Zoom Gatherings! We will light Shabbat candles together and recite the blessings for candles, wine, and challah, so if possible, have candles, a cup of wine, and challah (or other round cracker or bread) ready in your own home. This year, we will choose a topic for each gathering, and a rotating member will facilitate the blessings and discussion.

We will meet once a month through April via Zoom on the first Friday of each month at 7:30pm–8:30pm. All are welcome! Please RSVP to Natalie Matus by email at president@cbiberkshires.com so we can know to expect you.

Upcoming Dates:
January 7,
February 4,
March 4,
& April 1


Please check CBI's weekly announcement emails or contact Natalie Matus by email for Zoom information!

Our Zoom room will open at 7:20pm, so please plan on joining us early!

Mak’hela invites all to join them on January 29 at 6:30pm over Zoom for their free virtual concert premiere! The concert will feature music from Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple, Lander Grinspoon Academy, Congregation B’nai Israel, Temple Israel of Greenfield, Lubavitch Yeshiva Academy, and STEP Suzuki Strings. Additionally, JCA Klezmer will perform klezmer dance music, and Mak’hela will sing a few songs in Yiddish and Hebrew. The event will be hosted by Anna Sobel’s puppets and will be fun viewing for the entire family. Pre-registration is required; for more information and to register, please click here!

Jewish Storytime & PJ Havdalah
Saturdays at 4pm: February 12

(No program will be held in January)
Bring your children for a cozy late afternoon story-time and celebration of Havdalah with our long-time CBI educator Jane Shiyah and Rabbi Rachel. Children are welcome to wear their PJs!

Cooking With Caleb
Professional baker and father Caleb Wolfson-Seeley will teach your family to make a seasonal treat to enjoy together!
Sunday, March 13, 1pm: Let's Make Hamentaschen for Purim!
Sunday, April 10, 1pm: Let's Bake Matzah for Pesach!

Purim Play on the Road
& Bikkur Cholim Visit
Monday, March 14 at 4pm
(During Hebrew School)

Our annual Purim play, as well as a Bikkur Cholim visit to Williamstown Commons, will be led by Jane Shiyah.

Omer / Torah Yoga
Around the Labyrinth
Sunday, May 15 at 1pm

Yoga teacher Jen Burt will lead a family-friendly Omer / Torah Yoga session outdoors at CBI’s labyrinth. All levels of experience are welcome!

Funding to help make CBI's family education programs free to all has been provided by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
Have items for the February newsletter?
Please submit them to cbinadams@gmail.com by January 25.
Mi Sheberach

CBI sends blessings for refuah shleimah (full healing) to those who seek healing. May they have the fullest recovery possible in body, heart, mind, and soul.
Joanne Ranzer
Aryeh ben Malkah
Rachel Shiyah-Satullo
Shira Bat Malka
Tziviah Miriam bat Chaya Liba
Shoshana bat Shoshana
David Frazer
Judy Weber
Shirley Fein
Mark Penner
Yocheved Shoshana bat Hana
Lois Simpson
HaRav Aviva Elisheva bat
Gavriela Simcha ve-HaRav Simcha
Chuck Beard
Cindy Polinsky
Terrie Babcock
Chris Kelly
Jami Pytko
Margaret Larabee
Kobey bat Bina v'Yonatan
Dave Mangun
Amalia bat Elka
Eva Rollnik
Rachael Hermann
Karl Levy
Helene Armet
Mary Ann Calhoun
David ben Rivka
Jack Troia
Kathy Goodrich
Nachama bat Shayna
Fran Snavely
Mary Kirby
Rori Bergere
Bruce Dumouchel
haRav Fraydel Rivka bat Zlata Rayna
Jane Ostacher
Larry Jowett
Susan Hogan
Katie Polebaum-Freeman
Harry Sheehy
Bil Mikulewicz
Peter Murphy
Julie bat Arline
Fred Golob
CBI keeps Healing List names for a month, subject to renewal. In case of a request for confidentiality, only clergy will know; names will be kept private. To add or renew a name, please email rabbi@cbiberkshires.com.
Happy Birthday to those who are celebrating in January!
Jen Burt
Alice Cande
Samuel Cellana
Molly Howard
Bernie Lenhoff
Steven Miller
Peter Murphy
Emma Sandstrom
Roberta Sullivan
Richard Taskin
Mazal tov to Rose Ellis on choosing to formally join the Jewish people in December!
THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO MADE RECENT DONATIONS!
Helene Armet … Chesed — in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Debbie Aron & Joel Fish … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Alan & Michael Bashevkin … in thanks for opening the shul for Uncle Bob's shiva
Alan Bashevkin & Nancy Pearlman … in memory of Edith Bashevkin
Ellen Bernstein … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Robin Brickman & Jeff Strait … in honor & memory of Robert Bashevkin
Sharon & Don Briggs … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Madeline & Elizabeth Cohen … Chesed — in memory of Robert Bashevkin, founding member & past president of CBI, dear friend & tireless supporter of the Jewish community
Richard & Anna Jo Dubow … for the High Holiday Appeal
Susan Goldblatt … in memory of Sherry Wein
Steven Goldstein … in memory of Robert Bashevkin
Wendy & Timothy Higgins … in ongoing support for CBI
Chip & Ellen Joffe-Halpern … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Sylvia Lenhoff … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Joel & Nina Lentzner … for fruit trees in honor of Addison, Sadie, & Maisie
Barbara & Rick Lerner … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Liz & Steven Miller … for the High Holiday Appeal
Dr. Mark Oren & Mrs. Nedra Yulman Oren … in memory of Uncle Bob Bashevkin
Phil Pomerantz … in honor of David & Maribeth Pomerantz
George Rosenthal & Jane Fanburg … in memory of Dr. Arthur & Edith Rosenthal
Elma Sanders … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Curly Satun … in ongoing support for CBI
Howard & Roberta Saunders … in memory of Sherry Wein
Barbara Shapiro Winer … in memory of Eli & Lee + Jay & Sheila Shapiro
Jill & David Silverstein … in memory of Sherry Wein
Amely Smith … in memory of Bob Bashevkin & Sherry Wein
Rabbi Pam Wax & Chaim Bronstein … in memory of Bob Bashevkin, Bob Greenberg, Herbert & Harriette Wax, + Sherry Wein; in honor of Marc Jaffe’s big birthday, Ollie Jones & Chris Kelly, + Cindy Polinsky’s healing
Judy Weber … in memory of Sherry Wein
Gertrude Wein Silverstein … in memory of Sherry Wein
Richard Yulman … in memory of Bob Bashevkin
Jane Yusen … in ongoing support for CBI
DONATIONS WELCOME!

Donations to CBI are always welcome and may be directed towards:

Ongoing Support for CBI
Building Fund
Cemetery Fund
Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
Education Fund
Take & Eat
The L'Dor V'Dor Legacy Society
Upkeep & Care for CBI's Pollinator Garden
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