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June 19, 2020

Do Justice — Love Kindness — Walk Modestly
(Michah, 6:8)

Dear BCC Family:

One of the central declarations of the Torah, is “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” (Deut. 16:20).  The pursuit of justice has, from the beginning of our history, been a fundamental tenet of Judaism and the question of what it means to treat people justly and fairly has been thoughtfully considered and reflected upon by generations of Jewish thinkers.  During these painful times, I am reminded of Beth Chaim’s core values: inclusiveness, compassion and justice; and how, as a community, we live into these values each and every day.   Our collective compassion is evident in times of need when we reach out to offer support through acts of tikkun olam - providing food and shelter for those struggling to find their footing, setting aside tzedakah for community causes, or raising our voices to call for human rights and equality for all.  But, with each unpardonable death of another person of color at the hands of police, we—like most organizations—are asking ourselves if our actions speak loudly enough.

As a Jewish organization, we have a responsibility to understand systems of power and histories of injustice and to work to dismantle them.  This begins with an earnest look at ourselves and to the ways we unknowingly uphold and perpetuate inequity.  It is within our power to right these wrongs. 

Beth Chaim Congregation condemns racism in any form whatsoever and stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all marginalized communities that have for too long faced injustice and inequity.  We are committed to taking action to create meaningful and impactful change that may be felt beyond the immediate news cycle and into the years to come. 

Naomi Ehrlich, Director of Tikkun Olam, and Kim Thompson, Director of Chesed, will be taking the lead on this undertaking.  As we explore our next steps, we will be sure to keep you in the loop and share information, resources and opportunities with you.  Please be sure to regularly check our current listings and our Tikkun Olam/Social Action page for events and information.






Mary Jo Smith, President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors



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A Personal Welcome to Beth Chaim

dan small newThe traditional words of welcome in the Jewish tradition are “Baruch Habah B’Shem Adonai” which is usually translated as, “Blessed Are You in the Name of God.”  I prefer the translation, “It is a blessing that you have come, to make us all aware that it is through relationship that we are brought into the presence of God.”  Our people have always known that one of the most vital spiritual avenues – ways we can experience the mystery that is God -- is through relationship.

At Beth Chaim, we try to create as many possibilities for people in our community to get to know one another and to experience meaningful connections. These connections of meaning encourage our members to be there for one another in times of celebration and in times of need. This is what Jewish spiritual community has always been about and it is a core value here at Beth Chaim.

As rabbi of Beth Chaim I look forward to getting to know you. If you are joining as a family, I welcome the opportunity to meet and get to know everyone in the family. I believe one of the most significant challenges of spiritual community is to create as many opportunities as possible for people to be able to tell their stories. When people speak their truths about who they are, where they come from and what is most important to them in communal settings, it encourages more genuine connections with others and enables us to move beyond normative, superficial relationships into relationships of greater meaning.

I believe that Beth Chaim is probably unlike any other synagogue you may have belonged to or attended in the past. We are proud of our approach to renewing Judaism in a joyful and vital way. Our goal is to be a dynamic and caring spiritual home for our incredibly diverse members who come from every walk of Jewish life and many who are part of interfaith families. Our aim is to help everyone in our community find their pathway into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Judaism, be it through Jewish learning for adults and children, social justice concerns, prayer and sacred music, or simply experiencing God through caring relationships that help us feel a part of something larger than ourselves.

Baruch Habah B’Shem Adonai –
It is a blessing that you have come, to make us all aware that it is through relationship that we are brought into the presence of God.


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