Dear TBC Family,
Sunday morning drop off is one of my favorite times of the week. I always look forward to standing out front and welcoming students, parents, and teachers as they make their way into the loud, lively atmosphere of our Religious School.
Today, my anticipation of that moment felt both painfully different and reassuringly the same.
I arrived at temple this morning almost an hour before classes began because I wanted to make sure that I was standing in front of the building before even the first family arrived. I was determined to make sure that our children would be welcomed to the temple not only by the caring police officers who were there to help keep us safe but also by their rabbi who would ask them about their Halloween plans, catch them as they said hello by throwing themselves at her, and tell them that she had noticed them chanting their prayers along with yesterday's Bat Mitzvah.
As we got closer to the beginning of school, I was joined by a large contingent of the Board of Trustees who helped with carpool, welcomed families, and then spent the morning checking in with our members.
I have to tell you that as I stood with TBC's lay leadership, as I watched Student Cantor Hamstra and Director of Lifelong Learning Karin Beitel teach our 7th graders in the sanctuary, and as I listened to the voices of our students as they chatted about all manner of things, I could feel part of my spirit start to heal.
This morning showed me that the violence of yesterday's attack had not broken the Jewish community. We are all grieving, angry, and scared, but even as we grapple with all of these emotions, we will continue to show up for one another and for ourselves.
Once again, I want to thank the Wilton and Redding Police Departments. Their presence this morning helped all of us to feel safer, and I know that I am not alone in my appreciation of their kindness and care.
As always, I am so grateful for the support of our friends in the interfaith community, and as yesterday afternoon faded into evening, I began working on a program that would allow all of us to come together and draw strength from one another.
Now that those plans have begun to take shape, I am pleased to share with all of you an invitation to a special Shabbat service that will take place on this upcoming Friday night.
**Please note that this service will replace our scheduled Family Shabbat Service.**
After the devastating violence of this past Shabbat, Temple B'nai Chaim
invites the community
to join us as we welcome the Sabbath as one, interwoven family.
This special service will be an opportunity for TBC members and the interfaith
community to come together in friendship and in prayer as we honor those
who were injured and killed in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Congregation.
On Friday night, we will gather the sparks from our broken world
and use their light to kindle our Sabbath lights. Join us.
I am very much looking forward to standing on the bimah with Student Cantor Hamstra and our interfaith colleagues as we welcome Shabbat in a sanctuary filled with the love of our fellow TBC members and our interfaith friends.
As we begin this next week, I urge all of us to be kind to ourselves as we experience the complex emotions evoked by yesterday's tragedy. Please know that I am here if you or your family needs support.
Chazak. Chazak. V'nitchazek.
Be strong. Be strong. And let us strengthen one another.
-Rabbi Rachel Bearman