Rabbi’s Review – December 2021

A Promising Future

Rabbi Cassi Kail


2021 comes to an end, I am reflecting on a particularly complicated year. On one hand, it was filled with Coronavirus surges, far too many losses and uncertainties. On the other, it offered the blessings of vaccinations, reopening’s and unprecedented creativity. I am proud of the way our community adapted and evolved, transforming challenges into new opportunities. Despite social distancing, our community has grown closer.

I believe that 2022 is filled with enormous potential. In particular I am looking forward to celebrating our Temple Beth El community, because this year is our JEWbilee Centennial. 100 years after a few Jewish families dreamed our community into being, we continue to not only survive but to thrive because of our ability to adapt to the needs of our Temple Beth El family. We are currently working with a historian to unearth the stories of our past. More importantly, we aim to record the stories of people within our community.

Temple Beth El has always been a relationship-focused congregation. We acknowledge our most precious assets are the people who come together to learn, pray, uplift, support, celebrate, do justice work, and find inspiration. A historian will tell us about larger trends in the San Pedro Jewish community. Only you can share the personal heartfelt stories of connection to TBE.

This year, we became a founding member of an organization called Megilla. Megilla is a video oral history program that will allow all of us to record and share our stories and memories as a community. Whether you have been connected to Temple Beth El for 80 years or 18 minutes, we look forward to including you in this project.

At our Hanukkah event on December 5th, we will launch Megilla. Each attendee will be invited to record a short video about your first experience with the temple community. Volunteers will help you to do this seamlessly. After the event, a link will be sent out to the greater community so that everyone who wishes can answer the question. Throughout the year, we will continue to collect your reflections and reminiscences, as well as your hopes for the future. We are 100 years strong, and we hope to continue to thrive during the next 100 years.

2021 was a difficult year, but 2022 is filled with enormous promise. I hope you will join me in celebrating Temple Beth El’s rich history and its promising future.