Right now America is storming - and this is a good thing.

In the dynamics of group process, there are four fundamental stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing.  When a group is forming, its membership is getting to know each other, but it is not quite properly performing, as there are many truths - norms - that are left unsaid.  It is only through conflict - the clash of incompatible assumptions and ideas - that a set of norms can develop for the group as a whole.  Each individual brings their own set of truths.  But for the group to function, it must have its own set of truths, which will not be identical to any individual member's.

America has been putting off the storm for hundreds of years.  On many issues, when things begin to foment and tempers rise, there is a tendency to put off difficult discussions for later, a later which often never comes.  In the aftermath of a mass shooting, we are told not to have the difficult discussion when we are in the throes of the moment.  There hasn't been a mass shooting for more than one hundred days, and the discussion - so vital in the moment - has not been opened, nor will it - until the next shooting reminds us, and we will again decide to wait.

Racial inequality is a conversation that has been avoided for the entire existence of the United States of America.  And now, finally, the nation is storming about it, and new norms - negotiated through the process of impassioned discussion - are emerging.  Companies that never said a word are suddenly coming out in favor of racial reconciliation and a reexamining of their fraught histories.  Individuals and families and corporations are being held accountable for their past actions.  Words, suddenly, seem to matter.

So I am hopeful.  We are taught that all humanity is descended from a single human being (made in the image of God) to teach us that each of us is infinitely important, unique, and holy.  I am looking forward to the day when we can see in each other a reflection of the very best that is within ourselves, and recognize in each other all that is holy within humanity.
We are working towards the resumption of in-person services: a planning team will be holding its first meeting on Sunday, and a tentative plan is in place.  We are also exploring the possibility of transitioning our digital footprint to a streaming platform, so that members who are unable to attend services in person will still be able to participate remotely.
Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat at Temple Beth Shalom
Friday nights, beginning at 6:00
Zoom Havdalah 
Saturday nights, now beginning at 9:00 PM
Meeting ID: 940 7249 1746
Password: 613 
I have started up a conversion class: if you know of anyone who might be interested, please have them give me a call at (562) 726-4116 or send me an email at rabbi@tbslb.org. 
The Observant Life
Sunday mornings at 10:00.
Meeting ID: 851 2644 5804
Password: 613 
This week our topic will be The Synagogue: the role of the rabbi, what it means to be a member, gender relations, intermarriage, and the place of the synagogue as both symbolic exemplar and business institution.  All are welcome.  Based on Cohen, M. & Katz, M. (2012). The observant life : the wisdom of Conservative Judaism for contemporary Jews. New York: Aviv Press.  
Be well. 

Rabbi David Cantor
Temple Beth Shalom
3635 Elm Ave
Long Beach, CA 90807
direct line:    (562) 726-4116
email: rabbi@tbslb.org