President’s Post – May 2021

A Careful Return to Life at Temple Beth El

Linda Rubin

Marla Shwarts

As you might imagine we would love to literally throw open our doors and welcome our community back into our spiritual home after more than a year of physically being apart. There is a sense of wanting to shout from the rooftop and yell, “we’re back, step right in, all is well and we can be ourselves hugging and kissing one another with abandon.” You and we know that although this is our desire, we must remain responsible for the well-being of every one of us and measure for measure we want our reopening to not only run smoothly, but successfully. You will recall we began our first hybrid service in April, it was a healing service held outdoors on our beautiful patio where we followed CDC and LA County guidelines and requirements to keep all in attendance safe and well, keep our numbers small, and still provide the service in a Zoom format for those who preferred to attend that way; our intent was to obviously stay well and provide a meaningful TBE service. We would learn from our first experience and use our lessons to move forward to more in person temple services.

As our reopening process moves ahead, we continue to be intentional, thoughtful, mindful, and of course, warmly enthusiastic. We believe that a physical return to our beloved temple will be enriched by our careful approach so that our core values of welcoming the stranger, supporting one another, and celebrating our faith rituals will be maintained in a positive and successful manner much like the success we have experienced by our process over the past fourteen months while we came to rely upon technology to maintain our relational values of our community. It is worth noting here that although technology was the mainstay of our religious life at temple over the past year, we never let that overwhelm us because we were never shortchanged by our clergy, our staff, our lay leaders, or one another; we always forged ahead with the intention of staying close to one another even though we were physically apart.

Temple Beth El never skipped a beat during the period of quarantine. We met for services, our students kept up with their studies in Torah School, new people joined our temple, people from out of state came to our services and learning opportunities, we partied at Hanukkah and Purim, we made neighborhood connections, and our membership numbers did not decline. Perhaps most significantly our clergy stayed beside us as we mourned, as we dealt with illness, and as we needed them for emotional support all the while never even touching hands. This truly is an amazing part of our lives.

And now, we look forward to an Annual Meeting on June 2nd where we will join in working on our financial stability, where we will see new and former lay leaders continue their journeys to do what is best for Temple Beth El, and where we will learn even more about how we survived this mitzrayim of our Jewish lives.