TBT's Newsletter: The Connection
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EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
All Events Are In Person Unless Otherwise Noted
April 8 - Friday Night Shabbat Lights
5:30: Tot Shabbat
6:00: Erev Shabbat Service
6:45: Meaningful Conversation
April 16 - 3:00 pm - Picnic Seder
April 22 - 5:30 pm - Pop-Up Shabbat
Sundays 9:00 am - 10:15 am - 4/3, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24
A Learning and Practice Group
Sundays 11:00 am - 12:30 pm - 4/17, 4/24
JEWISH WELLNESS INITIATIVE
( note new day and time)
Wednesdays 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm - 4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 4/27
With the war in Ukraine at the forefront of everyone’s minds and hearts, I’d like to share a story I recently heard that may help push us into a better-equipped space to offer help. I myself have been so bewildered, saddened and heartbroken that I have allowed myself to remain frozen. My heart wants to help, but my head and emotions are overwhelmed with where to start.
I’ll paraphrase the story told by Neal Ford. In the summer of 1969, Ford and his father drove from LA to Oakland. This was a time when Vietnam was tearing the country apart, Kennedy and MLK were assassinated, the Manson family had emerged. In addition, Ford’s father had grown up during the Depression and his faith in humanity was all but lost. During their drive, the water pump burst. Being a time long before cell phones, the duo was going to have to walk 10 miles to the nearest town. Right then, a cowboy pulled up and offered to give them a ride, at which point Ford’s dad informed the cowboy he had no money or means to pay him for the gas. The cowboy insisted he didn’t need to be paid, and he gave them a ride to town. It was a Sunday, and the garage was closed, so they had to get someone to open it. They then realized they didn’t have the part for the car, so they had to get the local mechanic to come to the garage to help locate the part.
Throughout this entire time, Ford’s dad was nervous and insistent that they work out some way for him to settle up financially. He couldn’t fathom people being so generous that they weren’t concerned about getting paid. Eventually, the cowboy offered - if it would make Ford’s dad feel better - to pay for the part if they would help him load a bunch of watermelons onto his flatbed, a difficult task that he was going to have to do alone.
Some time later, the car came out running perfectly, and Ford and his dad, after thanking everyone profusely, turned to leave. The cowboy asked them where they were going, and Ford’s dad stiffened immediately, distrust and fear bubbling to the surface. The cowboy, however, was not expecting anything from them. Rather, he wanted to invite them to his house, where his wife had prepared a delicious dinner for everyone, for a meal, a shower and clean shirts to make the drive easier.
Later that night, after Ford and his father arrived home, Ford’s dad - who had barely spoken all day - told him “No matter what you see in the movies or on TV or in the news, you listen to me. THAT’S how people really are.”
I listened to Neal Ford share this story a while ago, and it stuck with me. People are good. Our community is made up of thoughtful hearts and kind souls. I know many of us are trying to wrap our heads around what is happening in the world, and we are grief-stricken when we see images or read articles. This is our time to give whatever we can. If donating financially is what you feel called to do, the URJ is directing donors to the World Union for Progressive Judaism (www.wupj.org). Donations can also be made to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the leading global Jewish humanitarian organization (www.jdc.org). We can also support local artists, restaurants and businesses who are donating portions of their profits to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Additionally, yard signs, buttons and wearing blue and yellow may see like small gestures, but they send a powerful message. I am called to take action in whatever means I can because I know now is the time. I am proud to be a part of our TBT community where I know so many of you feel the same.
From Rabbi Johanna Hershenson
Not only is Spring officially in motion since March 21st…that very morning Mark and I spotted our first high desert purple bloom close to the ground on our morning walk with the dogs and goats. I love when that happens, when Spring springs on the precise day we say Spring has sprung or when babies birth on their due-dates. The experience is more than poetic. It is reassuring. My faith in the natural rhythms of living on the surface of a living planet is emboldened. This, too, shall pass is true!
This Spring, just unfolding before us, already has gifted us with: beneficial rainfall, warm and sunny days, early blossoms and green, blue-bird skies against snowy white mountain peaks, a lessening in pandemic paranoia, not to mention the opportunity to witness the power of strength in purpose holding ground against the epitome of Goliath-like imperialism.
I notice lately when the Russian invasion of Ukraine comes up in conversation, inevitably the courage and skill of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is admired and lauded. In the Jewish community there is pride that he is a Jew. Among folks who notice when they’ve been dismissed and ignored, there is increased confidence to hold ground. Men, for whom protecting their loved ones and their core values is part of their masculinity, are seeking avenues to act whether to fight or prepare for rebuilding. Yes, in my own social network I am tracking conversations among men in the United States and Europe, Jewish and not Jewish but committed to “never again” who are discussing how to participate in the fighting and already strategizing for a rebuilding phase in Ukraine.
What setting could be more resonating as we shift from Purim to Passover in the Jewish calendar? If you receive Jewish memes in social media, you’ve seen Putin/Haman and Mordecai/Zelenskyy parodies. In our Havdallah among Friends in March, we watched an interview of one of my colleagues a day after his return from Poland where he brought supplies to a refugee center and miraculously ran into his Ukrainian cousins fleeing Kyiv en route to Israel. Rabbi Wilfond said in the interview he felt like he was witnessing the Warsaw Ghetto uprising unfold in real time before his eyes and ears…and nose. For perspective, Rabbi Wilfond is Ukrainian American and his first rabbinic pulpit was in a Reform synagogue in Kyiv, at which time he met and got to know his closely related Ukrainian family. Like Zelenskyy’s family, some of Rabbi Wilfond’s uncles and aunts remained in Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and mass exodus of one million former Soviet Union Jews to Israel.
There is no denying that as Jews many of us feel closely connected in some ethereal realm to what is happening in Ukraine. Part of it is that Zelenskyy is Jewish. But I think a bigger part of it is that many of our grandparents and great grandparents came to the United States from the Pale of Settlement (parts of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova) and the trauma of pogroms, WWII, and the Holocaust is still in our DNA, so to speak and literally.
If Spring and its inherent rebirth encourages us to invigorate our sense of hope and optimism, Passover and its retelling of the universal story of self-determination ought to embolden our belief in what is possible. The Passover story moves us from fleeing oppression-suppression-repression and immediately discovering that the journey will require taking risks. With Pharaoh’s army behind us and the Sea of Reeds before us, we make a choice. The waters part and we pass through. Pharaoh’s chariots drown. Then we spend forty years in the wilderness on a trek backpackers generally complete in 5-7 days. Only then do we reach our destination, the Promised Land.
As I greedily consume media about what is happening in Ukraine, particularly still photographs through which I feel like I am peering into the eyes of another human being, I am overwhelmed by the equal measure of blessing and curse in Ukrainian strength against Russian aggression. I can’t help but feel we are watching David hold Goliath again, only we are not sure who will win or what winning even means. Who wins here? The refusal to surrender of an entire nation is without doubt a kind of strength we rarely witness. And, what comes next? As much destruction as possible before going home with tail between legs? A Hiroshima-size nuclear expediting that destruction? Upset in Russia over dead sons and husbands once they figure it out? A war of attrition with no end in sight? A wilderness, indeed.
I am moved by the universal truth telling in our Passover story. Our story of self-determination and identity formation as the Jewish people acknowledges phases we all experience each and every time we engage substantial change in our lives. There is the fear of change despite the desire to be in charge of ourselves. The unpleasant familiar is at least familiar…until we cannot take it any longer. We seize a moment and go, flee. We encounter an obstacle, honestly only the first of many, and we have to make a choice to exert ourselves—work hard or fight for what we want. The thrill of accomplishment fills us and we take up our timbrels and sing, so to speak. And then what? We find ourselves not exactly sure about what to do next. There is a period of adjustment during which we practice in fits and starts transmuting new beliefs and behaviors into habits, into the new us. Eventually, we find a new normal, we “get there.”
Our Passover story is not a superhero story in which we are passive and a knight in shining armor (or a shield maiden in braids and leather) saves the day and we don’t get dirty. We have to participate. Not only the characters who comprise our ancestral identity, but you and me in the here and now. It is a blueprint for a Spring cleaning of not only our houses, but also our minds: our thoughts and beliefs, our feelings and our habitual behaviors.
The pull to reconnect in person with our TBT family and introduce new members to each other and the rest of us and vice versa is strengthening in me, and I notice in you, too. Sure it is a bit awkward. We are out of practice. We soon will have the opportunity to come together in celebration of Passover on Saturday, April 16th (see below) when together we can wade through weedy waters of the Sea of Reeds and find the Promised Land after wandering in a wilderness of uncertainty. We will get there. Eventually. Keep the faith, friends.
Rabbi Johanna’s NEW “office hours” for booking one-on-one appointments with Calendly link:
Please remember you can always contact Rabbi Johanna (541-213-9880) or email@example.com if you need to schedule an appointment at a time other than what is available via the Calendly link.
Click here to schedule a Zoom meeting.
Click here to schedule an in-person meeting at "Chemple" at FPC..
Oops. Last month's interview omitted the photo of our board member-at-large Paul Spencer. Your newsletter editor regrets the error.
Saturday, April 16
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Join Rabbi Johanna and your TBT family for an afternoon Passover Seder with music and an interactive Haggadah.
While we aren’t sharing a meal, ritual Passover foods will be available for ceremony.
Please RSVP for the Seder by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before April 8. Please include the number of people who plan to attend.
See the weekly Happenings for more information, including location details.
Friday Night Shabbat Lights:
The Difference Between Shame and Cancel Culture
Friday, April 8
Join Rabbi Johanna, as well as Julie & Jo for a Friday Night Shabbat Lights service, including a tot Shabbat!
5:30: Tot Shabbat
6:00: Erev Shabbat Service
6:45: Meaningful Conversation about the D’Var Torah
No food or drink will be served for on-site consumption. Ritual challah and wine will be available for Rabbi Johanna to bless and, if you get the Rabbi’s trivia question, you can take the challah loaf home as a prize!
See the weekly Happenings for location details.
Pop-Up Shabbat: Chametz Passover
Friday, April 22
Join Rabbi Johanna and your TBT friends for a tasty pop-up celebrating Chametz– enjoying delicious leavened foods like pizza!
See the weekly Happenings for more information.
Are you TBT’s new Newsletter Maven?
Eileen Katz deserves a standing ovation for the incredible job she’s done the last three + years producing the TBT “HaKesher” Newsletter you are reading now. In addition to the weekly “Happenings, it's TBT’s monthly publication and our primary communication with current, past and future temple members.
While we are sad to see Eileen step away, we understand it’s time for her to give someone else the chance to shine... and that, dear reader, leads us to you.
The person who takes over the newsletter needs to be good with detail and with written language and grammar though there are members who assist with editing the articles. If you’re comfortable learning a software program that’s easy to use, you’d be the dream candidate. Don’t worry, Eileen has graciously offered to help train her replacement and the sooner you come on board, the sooner you can begin under her expert guidance.
Eileen spends about four hours a month on the newsletter - sometimes more, occasionally less. After sending emails to encourage Rabbi and lay leaders to submit their articles, she enters their content into the program template and adds other TBT news. Eileen also conducts interviews and writes biographies, adding two or three hours of time when she does. Interviewing not your thing? It’s okay; we’ll find another way.
TBT’s newsletter maven is an important role supporting our community’s communication and connection. Your contribution would be greatly appreciated and a tremendous opportunity to give back to your congregation. Please contact Kathy Schindel at email@example.com to learn more.
Jewish Wellness Initiative: What’s Keeping You Up At Night?
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
(note new day and time)
During the month of April we will meet in person at a private home and weather permitting, be outside.
We have been meeting on Zoom since last July exploring circumstances many of our TBT households experience such as grief and loss, being single in synagogue, coping with existential angst caused by war and political divisiveness, and turning hardships into blessings. Now we are shifting gears towards meeting in person and exploring how our engagement in Temple Beth Tikvah might address our general wellness as individuals and as a caring community.
During the month of April we will continue to learn from each other what it is that keeps us up at night and what we can do about it. Rabbi Johanna will introduce research about stress and evidence based strategies for lowering our stress levels in general and self-soothing in moments of crisis. Participants will share coping mechanisms and tools for self-care each has found thus far in life.
Please contact Rabbi Johanna (541-213-9880) or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or would like to participate virtually rather than in person.
“Learning with Rabbi Johanna” Self-Directed Online Learning
Are you interested in learning more about Judaism at your own pace? Our Rabbi has launched “Learning with Rabbi Johanna”— a self-directed online learning space to supplement limited, COVID-safe gatherings, available to all at the touch of a button.
Anyone can subscribe so that you get emails whenever Rabbi Johanna adds new articles, videos, or other content!
Weekly Torah Study through the Lens of Musar Masters
Sundays at 9:00 am - 10:15 am
Each week, Rabbi Johanna leads our Chevruta in an exploration of the Torah portion through the lens of the Musar Masters. Come, let's study together!
Moral Courage: A Learning & Practice Group
Sundays, twice a month
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Looking for a non-judgmental place to explore and learn about difficult or controversial topics with your community? TBT’s Moral Courage Group is here for you. Facilitators Rabbi Johanna and Lauralei Garrity welcome TBT members of all ages and backgrounds to join the on-going conversation.
The Moral Courage Group will be meeting next on Sunday, April 17 & 24. If you are interested in joining the group or if you have questions, please email email@example.com.
TBT Board Notes
Next Board Meeting: Monday, April 11
11:00 am- 1:00 pm
If you would like to read minutes of previous board meetings, you can request a copy from Board Secretary, Lester Dober at firstname.lastname@example.org
May Newsletter Deadline: April 24th
This newsletter is emailed to both members and non-members each month. If you have something you want to include in the newsletter, please e-mail it to Eileen Katz: email@example.com by the 24th of each month for the following month's publication. As always, you will continue to receive "e-minders" before important events take place.
Temple Beth Tikvah gratefully acknowledges the following contributions:
- Tully Ellsberg In Memory of Lillie Mae Winecoff
- Jeanne Freeman and Burt Litman In Memory of Rose Freeman
- Vivian Freeman In Memory of Obie Malorius
- Vivian Freeman In Memory of Arthur Freeman
- Vivian Freeman In Memory of Helen Cohen Malorius
- Shelley Grudin In Memory of Leo Grudin
- Terry Reynolds In Memory of Pauline Siegel
- Susie Richman In Memory of Beatrice Richman
- Kathy & Mark Schindel In Memory of Lisa Heller’s mother, Cheryl Schlackman
- Ralph and Marcia Uri In Memory of Lisa Heller’s mother, Cheryl Schlackman
Donations listed above were made to the Temple's general fund unless otherwise specified.
You may honor the lives and achievements of friends and relatives via a tribute with a donation to TBT. You can do this online by clicking here, or by sending a check and the name and address of the person being honored to TBT at P.O. Box 7472, Bend, OR, 97708.
Donations may be designated to a specific fund, including:
- General Fund
- Gary Reynolds Memorial Fund
- Youth Education Fund
- Music Fund
- Special Projects Fund
- TBT's Goodwill Fund
- Social Action/Tzedakah Fund
- or the Corrie Grudin Memorial Fund
Temple Beth Tikvah
P.O Box 7472
Bend, OR 97708
Your secure online donation to
Temple Beth Tikvah
is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your generosity.
Celebrations in April honor the following:
- Victor Chudowsky
- Evie Lerner
- Toby Siegel-Lawrence
- Lynne Connelley
- Kathy Jaffe
- Joshua Berger
- Roberta Spiro
- Hallie Smith
- Cathy Wynschenk
- Tiffany Lee Brown
- Glenn Cantor
- Mark Hershenson
None in April
Budget & Finance
Communications & Public Relations
Your secure online donation to
Temple Beth Tikvah
is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your generosity.
About Temple Beth Tikvah
For Jewish families, retirees and singles at every level of faith in Central Oregon, Temple Beth Tikvah provides a comforting embrace for the soul of your DNA. We are a dynamic Reform Jewish congregation with friendly, giving, active people drawn to Bend and Central Oregon because of the active lifestyle we find here.
We come together in different ways, inspired and informed by our common thread of Jewishness. Whether you were born Jewish, love someone who is Jewish or choose to be Jewish. Practice Judaism a little, a lot or not at all. TBT can serve as the heart of your vibrant, connected life.
We can be your primary source of friendship, purpose, spiritual and intellectual pursuit. Or a side note adding flavor and dimension how and when you want. Whichever you choose, TBT offers an inclusive, communal foundation on which to build your relationships, experiences and practice. From social activities to social action, worship to study, participation to leadership. It's your choice, in this community of yours.