The Torah teaches us that Abraham sat at the opening of his tent in the heat of the day. When Abraham saw three strangers approaching, he ran to greet them and made them feel welcome. Abraham truly had the first “open tent.” The Reform Movement refers to the Open Tent concept as “audacious hospitality.” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, defines audacious hospitality as “an ongoing invitation to be part of community and a way to spiritually transform ourselves in the process.”
We may be greeting each other differently today, however, we still have the opportunity to redefine community. We have the opportunity to share our Jewish values by embracing the community within our walls and those who are outside of our walls.
TBE’s Open Tent program began shortly before the pandemic and we look forward to welcoming 2021! A special thank you to George Mayer, Open Tent Chair, and his hard-working committee. Working with Gail Burch, Outreach VP, our Open Tent committee will begin the year with important conversations on ways to connect to young Jewish professionals, couples, intermarried, baby boomers. We will keep asking are we reaching out to everyone that we can to share our community with them? Through Open Tent, we will continue to engage and connect our neighbors and to embrace our diversity that is the fabric and future of Jewish life.
We will continue to widen the tent and encourage participation of those who are often under-served in the Jewish community. And as a leader in the South Bay Jewish community, we will continue to embrace change as we look forward to our next century!
The Open Tent Committee is proud to share updates on projects we have been working on:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)—Eighteen (Hai!) TBE congregants and staff are participating in DEI training offered by the URJ. Upon completion of the training, we will discuss how to bring this knowledge to TBE to create an inclusive community from a wide range of backgrounds and to embrace the diversity that is the future of Jewish life.
Neighborhood Connections—A very special thank you to our Neighborhood Connections Chairs, Linda Herman and Maura Lowenstein, and to all of our Neighborhood Connectors who are enhancing meaningful relationships among their neighbors. Thank you also to all of the people who delivered our special Hanukkah gift bags.
TBE Video—Lights… camera… action! And we plan to capture all of this with a new TBE video rolling out in early 2021. This video will reflect our diversity, commitment to community and Jewish values. It will help us to share our many programs and encourage people to “walk through our doors and feel our warmth.”
PJ Library—Is your child or grandchild enrolled in PJ Library? Free Jewish books are sent monthly to children from birth to 8 years old. To sign up, go to PJLibrary.org. For older children ages 8 1/2– 12 years old, PJ Our Way will send them monthly chapter books of Jewish interest. Register at PJOurWay.org
TBE will be partnering with PJ Library during Cantor’s story times. We hope to share TBE’s many programs with families who, although they are not yet affiliated, might be seeking Jewish experiences. No matter one’s Jewish background, PJ Library will enrich your family’s life.
A few updates from groups Open Tent has been working with:
MENsch Club—The MENsch Club, chaired by Jaime Lowenstein, is continuing exciting programming. Join us on January 21 for “Car Talk: the Future of Wheels” when we explore innovative technology in the auto industry. If you are curious about what cars will be like in the next five years, you won’t want to miss this evening.
An important aspect of the MENsch Club is service to TBE and to the community. In 2021, the MENsch Club will begin a “career path” program for TBE members consisting of mentoring, coaching, resume writing. If you are transitioning in your career, thinking of pursuing a specific career, looking for a mentor or coach, members of the MENsch Club can assist you. Watch for more information. MENsch Club members will also serve as mentors and tutors for the Boys and Girls Club.
Communications—Special thanks to Sharyl Holtzman, TBE’s Communications Chair, who enables us to share our programming within the community. Through print news and social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, we are able to elevate our messaging and visibility and adapt it to our multi-generational community.