December 20, 2016                                           כ בכסלו, תשע"ז
Bringing in the Light... with Altoid boxes?

Yes, you read right!  Kesher's 8th graders took a break from their normal curriculum to create these cool mobile-Chanukiyot (made out of Altoid boxes and metal nuts) to take wherever they go this Chanuka!  This is just one example of how we keep Jewish experiences fun and relevant for our teens.  Check out more information about some of the programs we have been and will be running for that age group this year: middle/highschoolers' field trip to Seattle, Jewish Journey Project, and revamping our Youth Group program with new advisors.

Happy Chanuka and Shabbat Shalom,
Sagit Hall  שגית הול
Director, Kesher Center for Jewish Learning
CBI's Chanukkah Party Dec. 25 at 4pm 
1659 Baker Creek Place

* Eat traditional Latkes and Jelly Doughnuts  *
* Enjoy light lunch (salad, fruit, cheese & crackers)  *
* Compete in the Dreidel Spin-Off  *
* Kvell over performances by Kesher classes  * 
* Create Hanukkah Crafts for children  *
free admission! * 
Click here for directions

Helping hands still needed!  If you would like to volunteer and join the set up and/or clean up crew please email Marcia at
Jewish Journey Project: Special Kesher Programming this Winter
Kesher classes will take a new format on three consecutive Sundays in January and February.  Each student will be assigned to one "Chug" (activity) from a variety of subjects such as "Judaism, Animals, and Us", "Funology", "Jewish Kids Rock", and more. Each chug will have students from various grades (3rd through 8th).  Kesher students rated the Chugim by their level of interest and were assigned to a group of mixed ages to participate in that Chug for the 3-sesson long project.
Interested in reading the Chug descriptions? Check out our sign up form here!
If you know of any Kesher students that are yet to sign up, please let them review this form and email back to
PEP Talks 
Kesher offers enrichment sessions for parents while their children attend Kesher classes on selected Sunday mornings.  Taught by Rabbi Samuels and community members, Kesher parents and the great CBI community are invited to continue their learning and to connect with other adults in our community during these interesting, .  

5777 PEP Talks & speakers:

Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 10:20am
Dr. Ahuva Constance Scharff 
Jewish Shamanism: Is Judaism an "earth" based religion?

Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 10:20am
Rabbi Joshua Samuels
How to Make Sense of the Torah?

Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 10:20am
Sarah Witte and Joan Wayne
Hafrashat Challah: The secrets of the Challah making ceremony 
Staff CPR/FA Training
The Kesher community is now safer than ever!  Kesher staff is now CPR-trained, thanks to the guidance and teaching of Dan Ohms, a veteran EMT and CBI's Board of Director's president.  

Our teachers and madrichim got the basic training of both  adult and pediatric CPR and now know how to respond to a number of emergency medical situations that will require actions such as CPR and abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).  They also learned how to operate the a defibrillator found at the Social Hall.

On the left, Kesher staff train on manikins.  Below, practicing abdominal thrusts

Issue: 5
KESHER   קֶשֶׁר
Center for Jewish Learning
at Congregation Beth Israel, Bellingham WA
In This Issue
Upcoming Dates 

Dec. 24, 11am
Tot Shabbat

Dec. 25, 4pm
CBI Chanuka Party at 1650 Baker Creek Place

Dec. 27th, 5:30pm
Fourth Night for Others at the CBI Social Hall

Jan. 8th, 10am
Kesher Classes & Gan Yeladim

Jan 15th, 2017
No Kesher classes

Jan. 22nd, 10am
Kesher classes (Jewish Journey Project I) & Gan Yeladim

Jan. 29th, 10am
Kesher classes (Jewish Journey Project II) 

Feb. 3rd, 6:15pm
Friday Night Family Service 

Feb. 5th, 10am
Kesher classes  (Jewish Journey Project II) & Gan Yeladim

Feb. 12th, 10am
Kesher Classes - Tu B'Shvat special programming

Feb. 19th
No Kesher Classes

Feb. 26th, 10am
Kesher Classes & Gan Yeladim

March 3, 6:15pm  
Friday Kesher vd Friday Night Family Service with Leadership from the 3rd/4th graders 

Mar. 5th, 10am
Kesher Classes

Mar. 12, TBD
Purim Carnival

Mar. 18th, 10am
Shabbat morning service and Shabbaton Family Learning

Mar. 26th, 10am
Kesher classes & Gan Yeladim
Kesher Parent Committee News
Shalom parents,
Sign ups for  Hanukkah party set up are still needed. We have 9 more spots to fill so if you are available to help we could really use it!  Also, 4th Night for Others celebration is scheduled for December 27 at 5:30pm (see item below for more information about this lovely local Hanukkah tradition) .  The toys/books collection drive pick up date is now over, but you can still contribute a pair of socks and bring with you to the celebration and candle lighting event on the 27th.  Socks donations will be delivered to Northwest Youth Services.  

And finally, at our last KPC meeting we wanted everyone to share, what does your family do to celebrate Hanukkah? What are your traditions?
Stay warm and cozy,
Wendy and Marcy
KPC Co-Chairs
Youth Group News

Hi there! We are Amanda and Daniel, and we are excited to introduce ourselves as the new NFTY youth group advisors. We are thrilled to be stepping into this role within our synagogue community, and look forward to collaborating with the teens and parents of our congregation to bring relevant and engaging Jewish youth programming to CBI.  We both grew up outside of Philadelphia in religious households. Amanda grew up in Conservative Judaism, while Daniel was raised in the Protestant church and is currently exploring a path to Jewish conversion. We both attended Cornell University where Daniel studied engineering, and Amanda focused on biology and international development. After college, Daniel continued his engineering studies as a Master's student at Ohio State University, and Amanda earned her Master's in Nonprofit Management at University of Washington. Currently, Daniel works for a small engineering consulting firm in Ferndale, and Amanda is the Street Outreach Program Manager for Northwest Youth Services. In our spare time, we love to go skiing, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountaineering. We hope to incorporate our love for the outdoors and social justice into some of the upcoming NFTY events. We are open to hearing feedback and suggestions from our Beth Israel family, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email.
4th Night for Others celebration Dec. 27th at 5:30pm
Each year on the fourth night of Chanukah, we bring in unwrapped books or toys for children of any age. These are then provided to the women at Agape House to "shop" for a holiday gift for their children.

This year, because Christmas falls on the first day of Chanukah, we asked the community to bring in the donations early (by Dec. 20). We hope that you had a chance to drop off your donation and that on the fourth night of Chanukah (December 27th) you will join the celebration at CBI. Bring your menorah and dinner for your family and a pair of new socks to donate to Northwest Youth services. Contact Rabbi Samuels if you have any questions.
Middle and High Schoolers' Trip to Seattle 
Kesher's 6th-10th graders came back with various reflections after visiting the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle back in October.  The group was guided through a tour of an exhibit titled "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945" - a traveling exhibition produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  They then walked the streets of Seattle and visited the Space Needle at the Seattle center.  Here are a few snapshots from there!  
Class Havdalah Nights
Kesher's class Havdalah nights are annual get-together events for each class where families gather at a home of a host family to share a meal or light refreshments around the beautiful ritual of Havdalah to mark the end of Shabbat and the start of a new week.
This is a great opportunity to connect with parents and get to know the children of the group. Rabbi Samuels, Andrea Shupack, or Sagit Hall will be joining the gatherings and will lead the Havdalah ceremony.
Jan 21 3rd/4th grade
Feb 25 7th & 8th grade
Mar 4 Mazal Tots & Gan  

Last Minute Gifts for Chanuka?  Start here!

Up to 8% of your Amazon purchase will go to Congregation Beth Israel's Kesher program!  Each time you shop you will need to CLICK HERE - your Amazon Prime membership will be just as if you entered Amazon directly.  You can use Amazon Scrip to pay for your orders too!  Spread the word!

Kesher קֶשֶׁר
Center for Jewish Learning
Congregation Beth Israel * 360-733-8890