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January 16, 2021| Parashat Vaera | 3 Sh'vat, 5781
Candlelighting: 4:40 pm | Havdalah: 5:42 pm
Shabbat Service/Online Kiddush Zoom: Beth-Jacob.org/Shabbat
Shabbat Service Livestream: Beth-Jacob.org/YouTube
Weekday Service Zoom: Beth-Jacob.org/Minyan
Havdalah Service Zoom: Beth-Jacob.org/Havdalah
Minyan Katan: Beth-Jacob.org/MK Youth Tefillah: Beth-Jacob.org/YT
From the Co-Presidents
Year-End Challenge Results
In a year when it would have been so easy not to participate, thanks to YOU, we nearly achieved our goal of $100,000 in our year-end campaign. Our strength as a Beth Jacob community helped us successfully raise $96,907. In a year full of hardships, tension, sadness and more, we came together as a community to meet our budgetary goals. 45% of our families participated in our year-end campaign.

Many more members provided positive feedback and input regarding how Beth Jacob has strived to keep a high level of member engagement through different activities and virtual programs. This amount of success means we continue to meet our operating budget which allows us to continue great virtual programming until we can safely be back in shul together. The year-end fundraiser is a large portion of our planned budget and we thank everyone who participated. YOUR commitment to this community is what makes Beth Jacob strong. Thank you, for helping us build a future together!

Neil Moses-Zirkes, co-president
Robert Goffman, co-president
Lecture & Post-Lecture Discussion
Lecture Friday, Jan. 15;
Discussion Sunday, Jan. 17, 7 pm at Beth-Jacob.org/Discuss

On Friday, January 15 from 12:00-1:15 (CST) JTS will host the Rev. John Vaughn (Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta), who will deliver the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Lecture. His lecture, entitled "In Honor of MLK: The Relentless Pursuit of Racial Justice," will explore renewing the Black-Jewish coalition for social justice. Click here for the Zoom.

On Sunday, January 17, we will host a post-lecture discussion, facilitated by Adult Ed co-chairs Monica Kelly and Leslie Morris. For those of you unable to attend the Friday lecture, Monica and Leslie will present the key points. Aaron Silver and Rafi Forbush will respond briefly to the lecture before we open it up for a congregation-wide discussion. We hope you'll join us at Beth-Jacob.org/Discuss!
Cooking Class: Knishes with Natalia this Saturday
January 16, 7 pm

Are you missing Beth Jacob? Are you missing knishes? Are you missing Kitchen Duty? Are you missing Natalia? Worry no more, all of these problems will be solved as you join our own Natalia as she teaches us her Knish Baking Secrets!

This 45-minute Zoom class comes complete with a recipe, dirty dishes, time-lapse cooking, scenes from the Actual Beth Jacob Kitchen, and complete instructions from the always patient Natalia! You can almost smell the sarcasm! I mean Knishes!

Tu Bishvat Seder January 27; Kit Deadline January 20
On Tu Bishvat, the “new year for the trees,” we celebrate the arrival of the earliest buds of spring in Israel! We will mark the occasion with a Tu Bishvat seder after dinner on Wednesday, January 27. Sign up for a Tu Bishvat Seder kit (special kid stuff inside for families with children in grades PK-4!), and break it out as we join Rabbi Rubin on Zoom for a festive service where we celebrate the 7 species.

The 7 species are found in the Torah, grow in the land of Israel, and are markers of abundance. They are barley, pomegranates, wheat, olives, dates, figs, and grapes, and each will be in your Tu Bishvat Seder kit, along with a few extra plant-based treats. These foods are meant to help us connect to the earth and to the land of Israel. Rabbi Rubin will lead us in blessings, and special guests will discuss our relationship to the earth, plants and trees around us, the rhythm of the agricultural year, and our connection to the land of Israel.

Game Nights
Wednesday, January 20, 7 pm
Sunday, January 30, 7 pm

Join people on Zoom for games like Scattergories, Pictionary, Balderdash and more! Bring 2 devices for optimal playing, but you can just use your computer too if needed.

Share a Shabbat
Shabbat Candles
Friday, January 22

Share a Shabbat dinner on Zoom with other members of the synagogue community! Volunteer your table, or volunteer your delightful reputation as a guest. We’ll match you and we’ll make the pandemic a little less lonely. We’ll eat, we’ll schmooze, we’ll make new friends!
How Does Your Corner of Gan Eden Grow?
Thursday, January 21, 7 pm
On Zoom, With Rabbi Amy Ariel

You've been tracking Monarch Migrations for years? Have your own Climate Victory Garden? Given your yard over to native plants? Just starting to think about it?

Sometimes we pursue justice, and sometimes we grow it!
Anticipating Tu BiShevat, let's dig into some texts, learn about actions we can take, and dream about spring together. Bring your questions! Bring pictures of your garden to share! Bring seed offerings and seed requests to make connections for swaps and shares! No Previous Gardening Experience Necessary!

ASL Interpretation Available by Request.

Contact amyjariel@gmail.com for any accommodation that supports your full
Sunday, January 24, 3 pm

When was the last time you played Mah Jongg? Let’s play again online! We’ll meet on Zoom at Beth-Jacob.org/Mahj so we can chat, and then we’ll play on RealMahJongg.com. If you don’t have a 2020 card, let Frances know.
Other Events - Click for more info
Online Bake-Off - Deadline: January 31
Movie Night - Sunday, February 7, 6:30 pm
Project Home Drive
Beth Jacob is undertaking a drive to collect items for homeless families who are supported by Project Home through the end of January. We are focusing on the following items:

  • socks
  • underwear
  • towels
  • blankets
  • paper goods (tissues, toilet paper)
  • cleaning supplies
  • soap and shampoo
  • kitchen items

For a longer list of requested items, go to Beth-Jacob.org/PHlist.

Clothes must be new; kitchen items can be new or be gently used. Drop off these items at Beth Jacob in containers outside of the shul during the week, or purchase items online (if using Amazon, choose Beth Jacob to support at smile.amazon.com to do a double mitzvah) and have them delivered to the shul. Send to: Project Home, Beth Jacob Congregation, 1179 Victoria Curve, Mendota Heights, MN, 55118.
Climate Change Initiative Branches Out
What can we, as individuals in a Jewish community, do about the climate crisis? What does our Torah teach us - and what does our science teach us - to guide our actions? And how do we best lift up our voices together?

These are some of the key questions that the Beth Jacob Climate Change group outlined in our December and January meetings. We believe that ethical living as Jews in the 21st century necessitates ongoing and urgent consideration of the climate crisis and action to minimize its impacts. While each of us will take a different approach to this, in line with our individual beliefs, constraints, priorities, and resources, we believe we are obliged as a community to support each other in this work.

Stay tuned (especially with Tu B’Shevat on the horizon) for updates and opportunities in four areas: raising awareness, individual actions, our communal space, and advocacy.

Want more info? Want to join us? Contact Susan Moses-Zirkes (smzirk@gmail.com) .
Kiddush Kits
Kiddush Kits this week are sponsored by Bernie Miller & Sonja Hauter in honor of the entire Beth Jacob Community, and additionally supported by Carrie Fink, Reid Johnson, Harlan Johnson, and Marty Johnson in recognition of Martin Luther King day.

Kiddush Kits next week are sponsored by Barbie Levine & Sara Lynn Newberger in deep gratitude for the ongoing support and care that they have received from the Beth Jacob community; and additionally supported by Linda Schloff in memory of Leonard Schloff (z"l) and Frances Schloff (z"l), whose yahrzeits are this month.

Kiddush Kits will include spanikopita, yogurt tzatziki and grape leaves, potato salad with vinegar and olive oil, a challah knot, grape juice, and baklava!

Kit pickup will be from 1-3 pm Friday at Beth Jacob.

If you would like to sponsor a future week's Kiddush Kits, go to Beth-Jacob.org/Donate and choose "I would like to sponsor a kiddush" under "Choose a Fund". The cost of sponsorship is $400 per week, with a higher cost for more or fancier foods.
Quick Links
Mark Your Calendars
This Week

Service Schedule
Youth Education
Read the most current BJC Youth Education Update

Ongoing Adult Classes
For most classes, just click the Zoom link at class time to join. The single exception is On One Foot: An Introduction to Judaism on Tuesdays, which requires registration. More class info here.


  • Noon - On One Foot: An Introduction to Judaism - Please go to Beth-Jacob.org/Intro for more info and to register. 



  • January 28-31: The Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival. Local and national comics that represent and reflect the diversity of Jewish culture and provide a Jewish humor lens on the world. Three distinct experiences, plus a satire workshop for teens. For info and tickets, visit tcjhumorfest.org.

  • First Wednesday of the month (February 3), 3:00 - 4:30 pm: Sholom Home & JFS' Grief Support Group.


  • Mondays, January 4 – May 10 6-7:30 pm CST: Renewing Bikur Cholim in the Time of Covid-19. Addressing the challenges to Bikur Cholim in the face of the pandemic $72.00 for the whole series, $36.00 for three sessions or $18.00 per session. More information.

  • Free Hebrew Class - Every other Thursday, 7 pm: Keshet Berlinsky Edry, St. Paul's Emissary from the Jewish Agency for Israel, is launching an exciting new Hebrew language course on October 1st! There is no charge for the one-hour class; sign up here.

For Kids and Families

  • 17th Annual Keren Or Contest: Minnesota Jewish students in grades 7 - 12 are invited to submit poems, prose (short stories and creative essays - approximately 1200 words), and black and white or color photographs.

Resources & Miscellaneous:

  • Keshet's Corner: Highlights from the St. Paul Jewish Federation's Shlicha, Keshet Berlinsky Edry

  • Jewish Family Service of St. Paul's (JFS) new Friendly Remote Visitor program, created to combat the isolation and loneliness of the COVID-19 stay at home directive, has recruited and trained a group of volunteers who are eager to help. If you or anyone you know could benefit from a phone call with a friendly volunteer, just to check in, chat a bit, and reassure them that someone cares, please contact Margie Solomon at (651) 690-8907 or by email at msolomon@jfssp.org.

  • JFS Services, including Community Support Program, Connection to Community Resources, Counseling & Mental Health Services and more!

  • Jewish Genetic Disease Screening Despite the current lock-down, it's still important that anyone of Jewish heritage know whether they're at risk of having a child with a serious or possibly fatal disease, preferably before they become pregnant.