MAY | 2021
Included in this month’s LIGHT

  • President’s Message
  • Welcoming Linda Goodman into the Covenant of Judaism
  • Sneaker Drive to Help Therapeutic Riding Center
  • 3 Gallery of Light Events in May
  • Investing in PACT
  • May Website Calendar
  • Tributes
A Renewal of Body and Spirit As We Look to the Future

By Mel Tenen
As it is so often said: “April showers, bring May flowers”. As the regulations of stay-at-home are lifting and our community is reopening, we look forward to cautiously beginning the in-person enjoyment of our friends and family! However, we must continue to be vigilant by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. I believe that life cannot go back but must move forward into a new reality. We, the Beth Or community, have the obligation to preserve life by thinking about others and maintaining safety precautions.

We will be celebrating the major holiday of Shavuot on Friday, May 14 led by Rabbi Robyn. Shavuot, which means ‘weeks” celebrates the completion of the seven-week Omer counting period between Passover and Shavuot.
The Torah was given by Gd to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai on Shavuot more than 3,300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of Gd’s gift, and Gd “re-gives” the Torah.
Abigail Pogrebin, in her book, 'My Jewish Year,' writes about each holiday in the Jewish calendar and her experience in observing them. She describes Shavuot as bringing us back to our contract with G-d and each other. She writes, “What did we commit to at Sinai? So many rabbis talk about preordained purpose. It’s not ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ It’s ‘What am I supposed to do with my life?’ There’s a ‘supposed to’ for each of us, we just need to discover it. We’re not bestowed with life solely to exist, but to act.”

What I have learned is that I need to be an example for others. What I do and what I say matters. We are taught that to save a life is as if we have saved the world. This is an awesome responsibility we have as Jews.
Use this holiday as a springboard for learning and reflection. Reflect on our beautiful Beth Or community that gives us the opportunity to do good in the world. Take special care of yourselves and others. Act by setting an example.
 
Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Coverting to Judaism Just Came Naturally for Linda Goodman

It’s been an exciting year for Linda Goodman and her large extended family. Exciting? In this multi-year pandemic environment?

While it seems contrary to what we’ve all been experiencing, Linda turned her Zoom opportunities to special advantage and will officially convert to Judaism on on May 14, 2021, as Beth Or celebrates Shavout. 

Working with Rabbi Robyn since last fall, and becoming a member of Beth Or’s Be Mitzvah program, Linda’s conversion, she thinks, ”is just the natural progression of things.”

“I’ve lived a Jewish life for the last 42 years,” she said. Our children and grandchildren are all Jewish. I’ve been keeping the Sabbath for decades, following all the other holiday traditions. It was just time and I’m really excited about it.”

Since the inception of the pandemic, to keep Shabbat alive and her family connected, Linda has been meeting via Zoom on Friday nights with her children and grandchildren to say the blessings over the candles, wine and challah. 

“I learned how to make challah before last year’s High Holidays,” Linda said. “And I made challahs for Beth Or’s challah sale last year.”

When Linda and Larry married on October 27, 1979, Judaism was new to her. They joined Beth Or in 1989. Beth Or’s founding Rabbi “made it interesting” but Linda wasn’t ready at that point to convert. “Larry believed strongly in Judaism but wasn’t fervently religious per se. We learned more together as our children were educated and later became Bar and Bat Mitzvah.” 

During Yom Kipper services last year “it all came together” for Linda. 

“The services were such an inspiration, Linda said. “We were on Zoom but I realized during Yom Kipper services that I loved Judaism and I wanted to convert. I especially wanted to do it with Rabbi Robyn. I find her deeply inspirational and spiritual. She is positive, knowledgeable, supportive, and is a great teacher.”

In addition to her conversion classes with Rabbi Robyn, her enthusiastic membership in this year’s Beth Or Be Mitzvah class has also made an impact.

“It’s a great group of women. They are bright, funny and we have really connected,” she said. “And, my mother-in-law, Carol Goodman, is also in the class. It’s made it extra special. Jen Berse is a wonderful teacher. I’m even learning how to read Hebrew. I find that so exciting and rewarding.”

The conversion process has consisted of several facets and innovations due to COVID-19.

Rabbi Robyn and Linda have been meeting via Zoom. Zoom classes with Rabbi Robyn and the Be Mitzvah platform have deepened Linda’s Judaic connection. She has read several books including Anita Diamant’s book Living a Jewish Life, which she found highly motivational.

On a lighter note, in addition to making challah, she sincerely enjoys saying the prayers in Hebrew. “I have great joy in everything Jewish. Even the latkes I make that my family adores, give me joy.”

While not completely sure what every next step will be, Linda knows she and Rabbi Robyn will be visiting Matheson Hammock where she will go through a Mikvah ceremony. Subsequent to the Mikvah, Linda will appear before a Beth Din - a tribunal of three rabbis who will verify her conversion.

Linda will participate in the Beth Or May 14 Shabbat/Shavout service.

Linda also hopes in the not-to-distant future, she’ll have an opportunity to visit Israel. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Linda said. 

Linda’s family members have all wished her well in her new adventure. Born a Methodist in San Antonio, Texas. She met Larry in college at the University of North Texas. After getting married, they moved briefly to Boston and then moved to Miami in 1981, to be closer to Larry’s family.

Larry’s untimely, and unexpected death, occurred on January 1, 2019. A beloved member of the Beth Or community, including serving two terms as President (1991-2001 and 2006-2008), he is sorely missed.

“My only regret is that Larry isn’t here to participate in this joyous moment. He’d be delighted,” Linda said.

Linda and Larry have 4 children, Aisha - Graham, Eli and Kaija and 4 grandchildren. One of her grandchildren, Leon, will be a Bar Mitzvah in June and Linda plans on giving him Larry’s tallit. The other grandchildren include Nalina, 16; Kyran, 9; and Auden, 6.

“All of the kids — children and grandchildren — are very happy about my decision,” Linda said. “And so are Larry’s siblings and his mom.”

Linda’s official conversion date - May 14 - holds extra special meaning. Linda recently bid her 93-year-old mom farewell with funeral services in Texas on April 17, 2021. Linda’s mom birthday was May 14th. And, not to be forgotten, modern Israel officially became a nation on May 14, 1948. 

Israel, and her people, will welcome Linda into the Covenant of Judaism on May 14, 2021. Beth Or welcomes her with warm, outstretched arms.
Beth Or Helps Out Whispering Manes
Therapeutic Riding Center
Kathy Fisler and Andrea Loring, both volunteers at the Riding Center, reached out to Beth Or to help collect used sneakers/athletic shoes to be recycled into dollars to help support their horses and program. The collection ran through April 25 with many Beth Orians contributing to the effort.
 
The Whispering Manes Center is a non-profit organization offering therapeutic horseback riding and therapeutic horsemanship classes for people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.
3 Gallery Events Coming in May
A New Approach to Journaling
Do you journal? Are you interested in starting? This Wednesday, May 5 event will explore unique ways of journaling.
Get Your SPARKLE On
On Wednesday, May 19, join with our own Patricia Isis for
S.P.A.R.K.L.E. Seeing, Presence, Authenticity, Resilience, Kindness, Love, Engagement  
through simple well-being mandalas designed to access your sparkle; the harmony you can bring to yourself through focus and kindhearted attention to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself from the inside out.
No artistic skill is necessary. The materials needed are already in your home.
The Gallery of Light proudly exhibits the outstanding visual art of the award-winning Isaiah Scholars of 2021. These talented high school seniors hope to follow their dreams as they pursue a career in the arts. We invite you to be astonished by their skills, their motivation and plans for the future. Please join us to offer these artists support and applause.
PACT Benefits All of
Miami Dade County

PACT will be celebrating on May 17 to recognize this year’s achievements and accomplishments. Beth Or will be among many congregations recognized for their hard work in giving voice to the voiceless. From issues related to reducing gun violence to expanding affordable housing to police reform, to the need for community ID’s, and to exploring ways to reduce the adverse impact on our environment…PACT is at the forefront of finding systemic solutions.
 
Part of the Celebration will be devoted to PACT’s annual investment Drive from its participating congregations. Our collective investment, along with focused research and an expanding multi-faith congregation base creates the PACT power to hold our elected leaders accountable. Beth Or’s fundraising goal for the PACT Investment Drive is $1800. We hope you’ll help us reach our goal. Stay tuned for the event Zoom link registration.
To invest in PACT, click on this link: http://www.miamipact.org/invest.html
Looking ahead on Beth Or’s May Calendar of events, click here for the Website Calendar:
The following is our tributes list:
General Mitzvah Fund
 
With gratitude, we would like to thank the LT Event Planning Committee: Diane Barkow, Ossie Hanauer, Marcy Prince, Amy Lomaskin, Jen Berse, Marilyn Traeger, & Enid Garber for
an event that was:
Sensational
Uplifting
Phenomenal
Entertaining
Resplendent
Warm
Outstanding
Memorable
Enlightening
Notable
 
We feel honored, appreciated and
loved - Andrea, Annette & Ilien
 
Rabbi's Discretionary Fund:

Taryn Dubin, Jacob Dubin, & Wayne Myers, in loving memory of Julie Myers
 
Linda Goodman, in
honor of Rabbi Robyn
 
Yahrzeit Fund:

Bette Spector, in memory of 
Linda Goodman’s mother,
Auldine Wiemers McAnelly
 
Ceila Belsky, in memory of Mimi Smith
 
Annette & Stephen Katz, in memory of
Harold Van Dam, Annette’s father

Janie K. Emerson, in memory of
Bridget Emerson, mother of
George Emerson

Sheila Silverberg, in memory of her husband,
Marvin Silverberg, on the occasion
of his first Yahrzeit

Shelia Silverberg, in memory of her father,
Martin Epstein

Ilien & Keith Hechtman, in memory of
Keith's brother, Marc Hechtman.
Forever in our hearts with love.
 
Meditation Gardens Fund:

Ellen Siegel
Be sure to visit Beth Or's website at BethOrMiami.com
and view our calendar of upcoming events
305.235.1419 email: bethormiami@aol.com