Dear Bet Torah Family,

May is upon us, and so much is happening in our community, if not in our building proper. Thank you to everyone who is participating in our Remote Worship, Remote Community and Remote Learning opportunities. Our clergy, staff and lay leadership are working hard every day to sustain our online engagement, and yet it is your continuing -- even growing -- involvement in all of these programs that breathes life into them. Please continue to visit our website for complete listings, times and Zoom invitations to all of our offerings.

Of particular note, my sincere thanks to our extraordinary community for your ongoing generosity of time, spirit and funding. As I have said before, Bet Torah is a special place, and we are lucky to have so many people who are not only in the position to be generous and give back, but who are willing to go above and beyond to do so. Please see below for ways to continue to help.

One surprising gift we have received during this ongoing quarantine has been a new form of rite of passage: online Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Last Saturday, we celebrated our first virtual Bar Mitzvah as Spencer Kalish chanted his Torah portion and Haftorah, and his immediate family showered him with candies from their living room couch. While our intended spring Bar and Bat Mitzvah families are making a variety of plans for their future services and celebrations, Spencer’s online Bar Mitzvah last weekend, and Sophie Cook’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah this coming Saturday, are special gifts to our congregation. These Bar and Bat Mitzvahs provide not only a moment of joy in an otherwise fraught time, they also represent optimism. Our Zayin students have always served as a window into our future, and we always take pride in how much they have learned over their years studying at Bet Torah, how much they give back through Mitzvah Projects and similar efforts, and how so many stay involved through our strong and growing Youth Program. But there is something extra special about seeing life move forward in a fashion of normalcy and positivity that makes these virtual moments so memorable.

We continue to be proud of all of our Zayin students. One of our students led nearly our entire online service with grace and proficiency, and others have led Musaf and concluding prayers with sweet voices and willing attitudes. Standing in the spotlight to chant these prayers solo, as the Zoom platform requires, takes special courage in addition to ability. We thank each of our students who have done so thus far: Emily Hametz, Jesse Raboy, Arielle Spinak, Max Rubinstein and Spencer Kalish.

We look forward to celebrating with the Cook family this coming Shabbat and with all of our Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, whenever and however they choose to celebrate their special days.

In other news, our wonderful Bet Torah volunteers continue to reach out to congregants in need, making phone calls and delivering Shabbat meals. We continue to accept donations to help pay for these meals. Please click here if you would like to help pay for Shabbat meals. If you or someone you know could benefit from a Shabbat meal please click here . You can also contact Elaine Merker or Marlene Frank if you or someone you know would benefit from a phone call or if you can help make phone calls to congregants who are isolated, ill or just in need of a connection.

We are also now offering Shabbat meals to families with members in the medical profession. These families, who are experiencing the challenges of both working within the trauma of COVID-19 and also the fears of transmitting the virus to their loved ones, need our respect and appreciation. And we believe they also may need our help. If we can provide meals to this group, who are often among the last to ask for help themselves, we may be lifting a burden they may not have even realized was weighing on them. Please reach out to the Caring Committee if you or someone you know could benefit from a Shabbat meal delivery.

Thank you again for your commitment to Bet Torah, for all you do for our community and to help make our current circumstances more bearable and even joyful. We look forward to sharing more simchas. We look forward to sharing our lives. And of course we look forward to returning to a time when we can do these things in person. Until then, we wish you health and wellness.

Carol Siege, President
Seth Young, Executive Director
Seth Young -
Carol Siege -
Rabbi Brusso - rabbibrusso@bettorah,org