Top Ten Things at the Jewish Cultural Festival

Courtney Cummings, Music & Communications Director

This year's Jewish Cultural Festival is back in a more typical fashion for the first time in three years, and we are so excited to welcome everyone to our grounds and into our building.  We want to make sure you don't miss a thing, so here is a curated list of what we think you should do while you are here.

  1. Taste an array of delicious food. The menu at our event – brought to you by Meadowlark, Grist, Bootleg Bagels, Kosher Fare by Rochel, and Graeter’s Ice Cream – is sure to tickle our taste buds and satisfy your cravings for Jewish cuisine.
  2. Enjoy a locally crafted beer.  Dayton Beer Company joins us again to offer light, medium, and darker beer options as well as refreshing and fruity seltzers.
  3. Indulge in fresh baked goods with Jewish roots.  The Temple bakery volunteers and Evans Bakery have crafted over 3500 baked goods with dairy, parve, and gluten free options. (Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the chocolate chips!)  Watch me demonstrate how to roll rugelach with the hosts of Living Dayton.
  4. Work up a sweat before you indulge!  The Oy Vey 5k returns to an in-person race this year. Get out those running shoes and lace up for a great cause!  All proceeds benefit the Social Action Fund.  Register now.
  5. Learn something new. Inside the sanctuary, local and regional experts will touch on topics relevant to modern Judaism in our diverse world. We’ll also offer tours of our building throughout the afternoon.  See the schedule.    
  6. Take a chance to win big in the raffle. Merchants, businesses, restaurants, and other local companies have generously contributed to our raffle so that you have the opportunity to win one of 5 prize packages worth a total of over $4500. Tickets are on sale at the front gate.
  7. Delight in the sights and sounds of our performers. The outdoor stage will be filled with music and dance from some of our favorite entertainers. The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra closes the festival at 5:00pm with a wonderfully curated set of movie music from John Williams and orchestral settings of folk tune classics.  Don’t miss their debut on our stage!
  8. Give back to our community. As Jews, the importance of giving back and supporting others in need is instilled in us at a young age. Donate wish list items to Daybreak, Crayons to Classroom, and SICSA at the event and learn more about their impact in the community.
  9. Pet some friendly animals. The children’s area will feature a petting zoo from 1:00 – 4:00pm, with all sorts of animals that children (and adults) can give some love to.
  10. Take a piece of the Festival home. Over 20 vendors will be onsite with us selling a variety of items from jewelry to Judaica to wood carvings to games. Support these small businesses and have fun shopping.

We are so grateful for all of the support from the community and from our partners.  See you on Sunday, June 12 from 11:00am - 7:00pm!

The Sweetness of Torah

Rabbi's Message - May 31, 2022

Rabbi Tina Sobo

This weekend we will celebrate Shavuot, the second of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals.  Agriculturally, it marks the grain harvest of the early summer.  Ritually, it marks the culmination of the Omer, the seven weeks from the Exodus from Egypt to the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the First Fruits offerings were given.  As we conclude the Omer and this period on the calendar, we have also concluded our religious school year and will, as is our tradition, be honoring our Confirmation students who have culminated their learning in our religious school program, though we hope this is just the start in their lifelong Jewish learning!  Please join us on Sunday, June 5 at 10:30am to celebrate Shavuot as our Confirmands, Laila Blumer, Antonio Chaiten, and Adam Emoff help lead our congregational service. 

Confirmation is one of the “newest” of the life cycle rituals in Judaism, only dating back to about 200 years ago.  With the recognition that at b’nei mitzvah age, most 13-year olds are not truly adults, Confirmation was established as a means to preserve tradition and extend it to a time when emerging adults, were closer to adulthood in modern society.  The early Confirmation ceremonies followed tests and affirmation of a student’s religious beliefs, or “confirmed” their acceptance of the mitzvot and Jewish identity as was marked by a b’nei mitzvah.  It is appropriate for this ritual to be associated with Shavuot, as we as a community reaffirm our commitment to Jewish life and learning on the anniversary of receiving, and accepting, the Torah. 

If you’d like to celebrate this year, we certainly encourage you to participate in our congregational service alongside our Confirmands, but that’s not the only way:

Some Jews will pull a Jewish all-nighter – called Tikkun Leil Shavuot, staying up all night to study is supposed to represent an eagerness to receive the Torah and make up for some Israelites who overslept at Sinai and needed Moses’ wake up call before the giving of the Torah; just be sure to set your alarm for services!  The Reform Movement offers some self-guided videos.

Some Jews like to reclaim the agricultural elements of the holiday related to the giving of the first fruits.  You might consider donating food or produce – while not from our own farms, still a much needed act in our world, such as to the Dayton Foodbank.

Another tradition is to eat dairy foods – among other reasons, since the Torah was given on a holiday, and it included laws from the preparation of meat-based foods, the Israelites realized they did not have appropriately prepared meat to eat.  Rather than eat the non-kosherly prepared meat they had, they ate dairy products until after the Festival ended.  So feel free to whip up some of your favorite cheesy casseroles, order pizza (and say the Rabbi told you to!), or check out some great blintz recipes here

May you have a meaningful holiday!

Finding Our Path

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

Earlier today I stood alongside leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu communities to dedicate a new sacred space at Dayton Children’s Hospital – a beautiful outdoor labyrinth.  This special occasion had me reflect on all of the different roads we take, knowing that most of them come with twists and turns.  There are times in our lives when the path forward feels impossible to find.  Like children in a corn maze, we race along a path that is unclear.  At each turn are false starts, dead ends, new obstacles, and unscalable walls.  And we never quite know how near we are to the end.  

A maze like this is the opposite of a labyrinth.  Whereas a maze is built to frustrate and confuse, the circular shape of a labyrinth encourages tranquility, wholeness and holiness in our world.  A labyrinth welcomes us and encourages us to find its center.  It offers us order in place of chaos, freedom in place of barriers, hope in place of fear.  

A labyrinth is a metaphor.  For our lives, our spirituality, and our journeys.  

It invites us to discover a new way.  By entering the path, pausing in the center and returning back again, we emerge with newfound perspective.  All of the twists and turns may lead us in unplanned directions.  Though we may feel like we are going around in circles, our circuitous paths lead us forward, one step at a time and at our own paces, away from distraction and toward wholeness, shleimut and peace, shalom.

In the Talmud, we learn of the legendary Honi Ha-Me’agal (Honi the circle maker) from the period of the Second Temple.  Honi, known as a miracle worker, would draw circles on the ground to separate the sacred found within it, from the profane located beyond it.  Labyrinths remind us of that which is truly sacred – the peace we find in the center, outlined by circles of community, family, and spirituality.

For me, the center is often found in community, like our Temple Israel family.  Tomorrow is our annual meeting.  While it is not quite the same as a labyrinth, I do hope you will join me as we come together to hear from our leaders about the congregational path we traveled this past year.  Among our sacred community, we will look back at where we’ve been, look forward to where we are going, thank and honor those who have help bring us closer to our destination, and welcome aboard those who are new to the work.  

May you find the center of your journey inspiring enough to turn around and have the courage to reflect on how you made it that far.  Together, we can share this road ahead, one step at a time.

Lighting the Way

Rabbi's Message - May 17, 2022

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

During the time of the Omer, many Jews partially observe rituals of mourning in memory of a plague that took place during the time of Rabbi Akiba.  However, on the 33rd day of the Omer the mourning practices are lifted, commemorating a break in the plague.  This day, Lag B’Omer, is now a minor holiday.  Many will be celebrating with picnics and bonfires.  I, however, will be celebrating with Holy Sparks, rather than flames.   

May 19th marks the beginning of the “Holy Sparks” exhibition located at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Cincinnati campus.  It correlates with the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, who was ordained at Plum Street Temple in May of 1972.  Rabbi Priesand was the first woman rabbi in North America.  The promotional information shares that: “As 'holy sparks,' women in the rabbinate are builders of a vital Jewish future, kindling the Jewish engagement, education, and identity of communities far and wide, today and for the generations to come.” 

According to Jean Bloch Rosensaft: "Our shared goal was to honor the transformational contributions of women in the Rabbinate whose struggles and successes set in motion the first steps toward inclusion, diversity, equity and empowerment of new leaders for the Jewish people over the past 50 years."

“Holy Sparks” features the works of 24 leading contemporary Jewish women artists evoking the identities and consecrated paths of 24 women rabbis who were “firsts” in their time.  This art exhibition is a collaboration between HUC-JIR’s Dr. Bernard Heller and Skirball Museums and The Braid, and a culmination of The Braid’s documentation of 200 pioneering women rabbis’ stories, shared online in partnership with the Jewish Women’s Archive. 

On Thursday, from 4:00-5:30 pm, guests are invited to view this exhibit and to hear from special guest speakers. Following this, from 5:45-7:30 pm, The American Jewish Archives will open the “Sally Priesand Leads the Way” Exhibition, featuring Rabbi Priesand as the keynote speaker.  This exhibit shares Sally’s journey both before and after her ordination, her struggles and triumphs, and how she becomes a cultural icon, all highlighted and revealed through a unique collection of documents, photographs, and material culture.  Registration is required for both of these events

If you are unable to make these events, I invite you to join me and our Adult Education Committee for a guided tour of the exhibit on July 14. For those who wish to carpool to Cincinnati for this special summer event, meet in the Temple parking by 10:00AM. You may RSVP for the tour to the Temple office 937.496.0050.   Additionally, you may view the exhibition catalogue online.

For further information, visit or contact  The exhibition will be in Cincinnati through Sept 4. 

For those of you with children who may be interested in sharing some accomplishments of Jewish women, I encourage you to check out these wonderful books by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso: Regina Persisted, Judy Led the Way and Sally Opened Doors

Giving Back for the Future

Tom and Juli Bainbridge with Rabbi Bodney-Halasz and Rabbi Sofian

Tom Bainbridge joined Temple Israel after finishing his two-year service in the Peace Corps in Antigua and registered for a Basic Judaism course with Rabbi Bloom. Even though he was not Jewish by birth, Tom wanted to actively participate in raising his children as Jews with his first wife, Susie. He officially converted soon thereafter and began teaching at the religious school when his youngest daughter reached school age. This love of teaching led to 13 years in the classroom at Temple Israel. In one of his self-proclaimed bolder moments, Tom played Queen Vashti in the religious school’s Purim Spiel. He says: “My daughters witnessed this event and got a kick out of it. For someone like me who is rather introverted and often shy, it was way out of my comfort zone! Miracles do happen at Temple Israel!”

They certainly do. A few years later, after Tom and his first wife had divorced, Nancy and Rich Cohen invited Tom to Pesach Seder at their home. There, he and Juli began to get to know one another, and soon started dating. Even though Juli’s son had been in religious school when Tom was teaching, they didn’t know each other very well. All of that changed after their seder experience at the Cohens’ home. 

When he knew that Juli was “the one,” Tom proposed to her at Temple Israel on a Saturday morning. They were married in the sanctuary by Rabbi Sofian and Rabbi Bodney-Halasz, under the beautiful chuppah built by Burt Saidel. Over the years, both Tom and Juli have been active on the Religious School committee, they have each served on the Board of Directors, and they even helped with the very first Jewish Cultural Festival at Temple Israel in 2011. And their children were able to create a strong Jewish foundation at Temple Israel. Both of Tom’s daughters were members of the youth group and confirmed here, and Juli’s son had his bar mitzvah and confirmation in our sanctuary.  For each milestone, Temple Israel was there to support, guide, and connect them. When asked why he and Juli are both Lamed Vav members and Life & Legacy donors, he says, “Temple Israel has been a good resource and source of joy for both of us. Lamed Vav and Life & Legacy are our ways of expressing our gratitude.  Leaving a gift to Temple is a way of showing appreciation for 30 years of what Temple has given to us.”

Join Tom and Juli Bainbridge in making a legacy gift to Temple Israel, to ensure the next generation has access to the resources, people, and miracles that build a happy life.

We will honor all of our Life & Legacy and Lamed Vav members on Saturday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Special Celebratory Shabbat Service and Luncheon.  Blessings will be bestowed on all families, honoring their dedication to Temple Israel and its future.  The luncheon will immediately follow. 

Celebrating Teachers

Rabbi's Message - May 3, 2022

Rabbi Tina Sobo

This first week of May is recognized as Teacher Appreciation Week and it is an honor to take some time right now to reflect on how grateful I am for this year’s teaching team in our religious school.  After a year of virtual learning in 2020-21, we embarked on this school year with a large degree of uncertainty as to what challenges the year would bring; but certain it would bring them.  Our teaching team committed to the task, knowing that it would be a more “interesting” year than most.  While we largely avoided the Zoom-boxes throughout the year, COVID remained a factor in our midst and source of last-minute pivots in planning.  We will officially recognize our teaching team on Friday night, along with our graduating seniors.  I hope that you all will join us for this special Share Shabbat service and dinner.  (RSVP for dinner here.)

Whether you spent time in the classrooms or not, I hope you are able to take a stroll through the religious school wing and see the fruits of their learning on the walls and in the halls.  The certificates that we give to the teachers contain a quote from Rabbi Chanina (Taanit 7a), “I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students, I have learned more than from all of them.”  The learning that we engaged in throughout the year is evident and deepened by all who are involved directly and indirectly in the school.  We are all teachers and we are all students. 

Take some time this week to show your gratitude to the teachers in your life, whether teachers in the walls of a school setting or in the classroom of life.  May we all be open to learning and growth. 

And, a shameless plug for the 5783/2022-23 School Year – Registration materials and finalizing our teaching team are all in the works.  Even if you have not been involved in the religious school in the past, it’s never too late to join!  Jewish (grand)children who will be age 3 by Sept 1 through grade 10 are eligible to enroll in our program.  We also still have room on our teaching team for classroom teachers or “specialists” (whether you want to teach regularly on staff, or help out for a specific project – let me know what your skills are!).  Contact Rabbi Sobo for additional details -

Calendar Complexities

Rabbi's Message - April 26, 2022

Rabbi Tina Sobo

Rabbi, what’s the Torah portion this week?  That question is usually a pretty simple answer – a quick glance at any number of reference calendars or websites will tell you.  But, we are in a very interesting period on the calendar where a few intricacies in the rules of intercalation (calendar calculating) come together to make that answer less obvious and not all the sources will agree.  If you are curious what’s at play, read on.

Part 1: Torah Portions

Our tradition of reading the Torah each year begins anew at Simchat Torah when we complete the reading of the last section in Deuteronomy and begin again with the first section of Genesis.  Our tradition has developed that the Torah is divided up into 54 Torah portions, with Jews across the globe studying the same portion each week.  The snag in this plan is that there are more Torah portions than Shabbats.  We resolve this issue by doubling-up select portions to fit them all in within the calendar year.   Suffice it to say, like much in Jewish tradition, there are plenty of rules and customs around which portions get doubled each year and which do not.

Part 2: Yom Tov Sheni

“Yom Tov Sheni,” the added/”second” holiday day, is a concept that affects our calendar for Jews in the Diaspora today.  A quick history lesson: The calendar, and all its intricate rules to ensure holidays remain in the correct seasons, and prevent other issues, was determined in Jerusalem and the announcement of the month sent out to the communities at a distance.  For those communities, if the message did not arrive in time, there was uncertainty that they may start the celebration of a holiday a day early, and to prevent the possibility of treating what was actually a holiday as a regular day, the community would add an extra holiday-day to the Festival to be sure they got it right.  If they got the message, they would not necessarily add the extra day automatically.

Part 3: Modern Calculation & Reform Judaism

Nowadays, the Jewish calendar is determined by calculation and not by witnesses.  We can reference a variety of resources to know precisely when a holiday will fall not just this year, but hundreds of years into the future.  There is no uncertainty, but for many Jews the weight of “practices of our ancestors” overrides the fact that we are certain we got the holidays on the right day.  Reform Judaism has issued a statement that weighs the principles and values at play and gave a majority opinion that we do not need to add the extra day.  Other halakhic authorities (such as Conservative and Orthodox Judaism) have not issued such statements and maintain the weight of historical practice and continue to celebrate the extra day for those outside the Land of Israel.  In most years, the discrepancy of a day makes little difference besides maybe needing another box of matzah.

Part 4: Putting it all Together

I said most years.  When Passover happens to begin on a Friday night, for 7-day celebrators, Passover ends on Friday night as Shabbat begins and we read a regular Torah portion that Shabbat, as we did at Temple this past Shabbat; but for 8-day (Extra Day) celebrators, Passover does not end before Shabbat, but with the end of Shabbat, and thus read a special portion for Passover and will resume the Torah reading cycle this week, a week behind 7-day celebrators.  After applying the rules for Torah portions, this leaves Israel and the Diaspora off by a portion until the end of July!  Which by-and-large unless you regularly commute between Israel and elsewhere, is not so big a deal. 

For us, as a Reform 7-day celebrators in the generally 8-day celebrating Diaspora, being out of sync with our fellow Jews is seen as a bigger deal.  So we find a balance our ideology (7-day celebrating) with the value of our local community being in sync so that we can talk about the weekly portion with our neighbors, shul hop, and more in sync with one another.  The way we do that is to split the first portion after Passover over two weeks.  In such a way, we are celebrating Passover on Passover, reading the regular portion on not-Passover, and staying in sync with our local community, while looking forward to being in sync with Israel once again at the end of July.


If you want to know what the Torah Portion this week is – make sure you check out Reform Judaism’s website, this graphic below, or at this point, a Diaspora listing of the Torah portions and in doing so, know that there has been a lot of thought into Jewish values and calendar peculiarities in determining what we are reading when!


Apr 15 & 16 Pesach I Pesach I Pesach I
Apr 22 & 23 Achrei Mot Pesach VIII Achrei Mot I
Apr 29 & 30 Kedoshim Achrei Mot Achrei Mot II
May 6 & 7 Emor Kedoshim Kedoshim
May 13 & 14 Behar Emor Emor
May 20 & 21 Bechukotai Behar Behar
May 27 & 28 Bamidbar Bechukotai Bechukotai
Jun 3 & 4 Nasso Bamidbar Bamidbar
June 10 & 11 Beha’alotcha Nasso Nasso
June 17 & 18 Sh’lach Beha’alotcha Beha’alotcha
June 24 & 25 Korach Sh’lach Sh’lach
July 1 & 2 Chukat Korach Korach
July 8 & 9 Balak Chukat Chukat
Jul 15 & 16 Pinchas Balak Balak
Jul 22 & 23 Matot Pinchas Pinchas
Jul 29 & 30 Masei Matot-Masei Matot-Masei

Inspiring the Next Generation Through Song

Rabbi's Message - April 19, 2022


Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

My most formative Jewish moments have been with Dan Nichols.  At Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, Indiana, Dan was a legend even before he reached legendary status.  He was the most sought after “lights out” program, serenading young campers to sleep with his guitar as they listened to him sing Harry Chapin songs and sang the evening Shema.  Dan has always been full of joy, kindness, inspiration, and enthusiasm, and he set the bar for Jewish music.  While Dan says that he, himself, “is a product of Jewish summer camping,” Dan has also been a catalyst for the next generation of campers who are discovering their own love of Judaism through his music.  The joy I feel when I see our campers, including my own children, go a bit crazy singing and dancing to Dan’s uplifting song sessions is indescribable.  I guess you will have to experience it yourself!

Dan will be with us this Shabbat, joining us on our (newly renovated) bimah followed by a Post-Passover Pizza Party and concert.  Dan’s liturgical and contemporary Jewish music spans generations and the talent he brings is truly a gift to us all.  Young or old, you will not want to miss this.  Dan is classically trained singer.  He has a background in opera and has experience as a cantorial soloist.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of North Carolina. Then, in 1995, Dan realized the potential of music to make powerful connections with Jewish youth and established the Jewish rock band Eighteen. Since that time, Dan and Eighteen have released 13 albums and several of his songs have become Jewish communal anthems throughout North America.  
Dan has an impressive amount of experience.  He has toured over 190 days a year for the last 20 years, where he often serves as artist-in-residence and teacher for congregations and camp communities. He has served on the faculty of Hava Nashira since 2001. In 2009 he co-founded Shulhouse Rock, a songleading workshop for Jewish high-school students. He has performed live in Israel at the historic fortress of Masada and in the studio for the groundbreaking XM Radio presentation of Radio Hanukkah. In addition to these highlights, Dan has been featured at conferences and conventions of nearly every major Jewish movement, including the URJ Biennial, NFTY Convention, BBYO International, Limmud and the Wexner Heritage Program. 
In addition to his musical talent, Dan is a creative story teller who is deeply dedicated to tikkun olam.  He created the "Road to Eden Deep South Sukkot Tour" to bring the message of Sukkot to communities in the southern United States, where he and his band played 11 shows in 10 days.  Their experiences are captured in the documentary film, Road to Eden.
Get a taste of Dan’s heartfelt music and learn more about his successful career:
Watch videos of Dan sharing his powerful, soulful Jewish music with the world:

Supporting Those in Need

Rabbi's Message - April 5, 2022


Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

One of the first things synagogue board members learn about is our “Alphabet Soup” of Jewish life. An abundance of acronyms represent life-sustaining, hope-giving, bedrock-laying institutions, agencies, and organizations.  You have likely heard some of the well-known ABC’s in conversation, such as the ADL, URJ, HUC-JIR, RAC-OH, AIPAC, NFTY-OV, BBYO, JFGD, JFS, and UJA.  If you haven’t, don’t worry - you are certainly not alone.  But now you have a little homework.  There are some acronyms that have become less familiar, but are exceptionally important at this time.  

The global Jewish community has a long history of powerful ABC’s. Fortunately, they are in place and help us to reach out to Jews across the world and to support values we hold up as important, such as giving aid to immigrants and safety for refugees.  As we pay close attention to what is happening in the Ukraine, there are organizations on the ground prepared to help.  
One such organization is the American Joint Distribution Committee, the Leading Global Jewish Humanitarian Organization.  For more than 100 years the JDC has been offering aid to Jewish populations in central and eastern Europe, as well as Israel and the Middle East.  It also contributes millions of dollars in disaster relief and development assistance to non-Jewish communities.  
Rabbi Joshua Mikutis, son of congregants Jeff and Suzi Mikutis, is the Director of Design and Jewish Learning and Rabbinic Director of the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship at JDC Entwine, an organization he first connected with when he travelled on an Insider Trip to Moscow in 2012.  Entwine is the young adult platform of the JDC.  I’ve recently been in touch with Rabbi Mikutis and am excited to bring a meaningful opportunity for us to engage in Tikkun Olam.  
We will be supporting the JDC’s emergency efforts for the Ukraine, by collecting much needed hygiene supplies to ship to Ukrainian refugees.  These items include: adult diapers, baby diapers, wet wipes, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, towels and rubber slippers.  There are many ways you to get involved in this effort: bringing supplies, packing items, shipping boxes to Europe and Israel (depending on the need), or making a donation to support the JDC’s emergency efforts for the Ukraine.  
I encourage you to begin bringing items in this week - at Friday night services (in the sanctuary!), at religious school on Sunday, and at our Open House on Sunday afternoon.  This will be an ongoing effort but we would like to start off strong and be able to send materials as soon as possible.
As our Passover planning is well under way, we must focus on the central message of the Haggadah as much as we do our seder meals.  We were once an oppressed people who were redeemed from Egypt.  We have had to to seek refuge and protection at precarious times throughout our history and our gratitude extends by helping others in their times of need.  As we think back to the miracles God performed on our behalf in the days of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, let's commit to enabling such miracles today, partnering with God to mend our broken world.

Renewed Joy & Incredible Energy

Rabbi's Message - March 29, 2022

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

There is such incredible energy at Temple right now.  Excitement is building as renovations and remodels near completion.  A return to in-person services brings renewed joy back to familiar spaces - musical vibrations are ringing with the sound of thanksgiving and hope.  Impressive turnouts for Share Shabbat and Purim usher in a palpable warmth, in both body and spirit, back to our Great Hall.  And now, our kitchen once again fills our senses with the comforting smells of cinnamon and honey as volunteers bustle around preparing for our Jewish Cultural Festival - our first one since 2019.   

Over the past two years we have worked hard to adapt our traditions to meet the changing needs of the pandemic.  Even though we have created community in virtual spaces and engaged in lively conversations and online programs, nothing compares to being together in person.  Even if we hadn’t been able to make the exciting changes to our physical building, it would have been enough just to spend time with one another again.  Dayeinu.  

Now is the time to reconnect with Temple, your spiritual home.  We can’t wait to gather again and renew our sense of Jewish community.  Lots of opportunities are coming up - Share Shabbat on Friday, the Ryterband Brunch lecture on Sunday, the Open House on April 10, the Thinking about God adult education series beginning on April 7, and many volunteer opportunities to prepare for the Jewish Cultural Festival.  Please, come on by, grab a cup of coffee, find a comfortable seat, and make yourself at home again.  You need to experience for yourself the excitement, joy, music, warmth, and delicious smells that have filled our space.  

The biggest event we have in the near future will, of course, be the Jewish Cultural Festival.  We hope you will save the date of June 12 and help us represent Jewish life to the greater community in the best way we can.  And please consider supporting the festival with a contribution at whatever level of giving you are comfortable with.  We are a vibrant community and want to share all that we love about being Jewish at Temple Israel to our friends and neighbors.  Your financial help enables us to do that and keeps our programs and services available to all.  

Thank you for supporting your congregation in all of the ways that you have, especially during Covid.  No one else can bring the unique gifts that each of you do.   Together, we are Temple Israel and we are stronger than ever, moving from strength to strength.