Between You and Me – April 2019

The Hagaddah does a great job telling the story of the Israelite’s enslavement at the hands of the mighty Pharaoh.  How with an outstretched arm and with signs and wonders, God redeemed us from captivity.

Many of us will reflect at our Seder tables about those who are victims of tyranny today at the hand of modern day Pharaohs: the Syrians at the hand of Assad, the Venezuelans at the hand of Nicolas Maduro, the children who labor illegally in the flower markets in Columbia and Ecuador, the degradation of human beings at the hands of human traffickers of all kinds, the oppression of women all over the world, the slow destruction of planet earth at the hand of humanity.  There is no shortage of victims and violators.

If the Hagaddah reminds us of the tragedy of involuntary enslavement, the Rabbis of the Midrash chose to point out the sin of voluntary enslavement in this story.  They argued that the book of Exodus tells about two enslaved peoples and concludes with the liberation of one of them and the destruction of the other.  The only difference between the Israelites and the Egyptians was that the Egyptians chose to become enslaved to Pharaoh.  “Why were the Egyptians compared to maror?  To teach you that just as the maror, the beginning of which is soft while its end is hard, so were the Egyptians…” (Pesachim 39a).  In other words, the Sages of the Midrash claimed that the Egyptians started out neutral but became complicit with their leader as the Exodus unfolds.  Pharaoh’s xenophobia directed at the Israelites leads him to deploy his own people to do the dirty work of murdering and enslaving them.  The Egyptians, say the rabbis, are guilty of self-enslavement because they followed their despotic leader.  Any moral Egyptian had a choice to walk away from his fellow countrymen and from his leader and be on the right side of history.  According to the Rabbis, some of them realized the error of their ways and did join the Israelites in exile.  The ones who remained, however, even when they saw they were on the verge of ruin, became Pharaoh’s instruments once again in his last ditch effort to salvage his rule, giving chase to the Israelites and meeting their end in the angry sea.

We’d do well to consider the importance of the moral standard the rabbis establish in their Midrashic reading of the Exodus.  It is always hard to stand up against the tide, to speak out when we see our people, our nation going astray.  But the rabbis say the difficulty of the task does not dismiss us from undertaking it.  We are not wholly responsible for everything that happens.  But in those matters in which we can be voices and actors on the right side of history, we are challenged not to enslave ourselves to the Pharaohs out there and be followers of our better angels, a greater Leader, and a truer Truth.

Religious School News – April 2019

Thanking Our Teachers

When I think back, I can still remember the names of most of my elementary school teachers and some of my junior and senior high school teachers.  They made an impression.  They impacted my educational experience and taught me some important values by who they were and how they acted.

This month on Sunday, April 28th we will be honoring our religious school teachers.  If you look up the definition of teaching, it is basic: to impart knowledge or skill.  On a survey defining teaching, people responded:

  • great enthusiasm and interest
  • teaches you how to teach yourself
  • inspires students
  • learns as much as they teach

In Wikipedia, a teacher is defined as someone who helps others to acquire knowledge, competencies or values.   In Pirke Avot, the sayings of the fathers, it says, “Find yourself a teacher and get yourself a fellow student.”

Think back to your best teachers.  Would you like to thank them?  The teachers and madrichim here have made a difference in the lives of their students.  We look forward to the opportunity to thank them

I am proud to say that all of these definitions hold true for the teaching staff at CBHT.  In addition to being wonderful teachers, they are also dedicated teachers, many of whom have been here for many years.

Alcalay has said “Happy the teacher whose pupil thanks him” (her).  This doesn’t always happen, but I urge all parents and students to be here on Sunday, April 28th for Teacher Appreciation.  While it can and should happen at any time, this will be our formal opportunity to thank the teachers and madrichim for helping their students to acquire knowledge, competencies, and values.  Please help us show our teachers and madrichim our appreciation for their efforts and the wonderful results.  See you there!

Toby Koritsky, RJE

Education Director


The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee – April 2019


1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team. Contact Sandra Layton to help.

3rd Friday each month @ noon – CBHT Vets shelter meal serving. Contact Hilary Paradise to help.

Monday, April 29th, @ 4:30 PM—next L.M. Tikkun Olam meeting.

Friday, May 24th, @ 7:30 PM—Tikkun Olam Shabbat

July 14th –21st — RITI—Contact Sherrill Zoller, RITI liaison for CBHT,, for information.


UNC Asheville Lecture

by Brian Stevenson Thursday, April 25th

Bryan Stevenson, the attorney, activist and best-selling author, who led the team that created the first national memorial to victims of lynching, will speak at UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena at 7 PM on Thursday, April 25th. Doors will open at 6 PM.  The talk is free and open to the public.

Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).  Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults.  Stevenson recently won a historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger.  He also is the author of award-winning book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

In April 2018, EJI opened a new museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery.  This is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching.  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened at the same time, has been visited by a number of LMTO Committee members.  The LMTO Committee is working with the Interfaith Initiative to facilitate bringing to Asheville a memorial to those lynched in Buncombe County.

Sam Hausfather

Room in the Inn (RITI)

Room in the Inn Appreciation.  Once again, many thanks to all of the CBHT members who volunteered to participate in some needed way for our RITI host week in February.  Whether you provided food, rides, overnight supervision or just plain companionship, our partnership in this very important community project simply could not be realized without all of you.  Much appreciation from the 12 homeless RITI women, the Homeward Bound staff and the L.M. Tikkun Olam Committee.

Looking ahead, our second RITI host week will take place at CBHT July 14th – July 21st.  Please mark your calendars. 

Sherrill Zoller, RITI liaison for CBHT

Sherrill Zoller



Tikkun Olam Is A Verb

Artist Elana Kann of Asheville has created the sculptureTikkun Olam Is A Verb.  She and her sister Sheella Mierson lovingly gifted it to the Temple in honor of their parents Lotte & Seymour Meyerson and in honor of the Temple’s mission statement

Here is Elana’s explanation of how she imagined the sculpture’s elements, as she designed and built it. Other interpretations are valid as well!

Her hope is that people can see in it what they want and need, as their own lives intertwine with the parts of the world that touch them, and that everyone will find something in it with which to identify. And, her hope is that this will inspire the congregation with an important part of CBHT’s own Mission Statement–the determination to repair what is broken and heal what is suffering.

She envisioned three vertical layers to the sculpture. From the top the images portray brokenness–shattered shards of light or glass (Kristallnacht?); loneliness, pain and fear (child on left); anger & violence (fist); fire.

From the bottom comes healing, starting with the big hands that represent what people of various faiths or beliefs call God, Buddha, spirit, the sacred–whatever name people give to a force that unites us in compassion, love, and support. Those hands heal and support the community–the people in a circle with their arms around each other. This group could be interpreted as Beth HaTephila’s congregation.

And the middle shows various narratives that pass the healing on. The community of people who experience that love and compassion themselves reach out to heal the brokenness above. Again moving left to right, a hand reaches out to the lonely hurting child; below that a hand tries to put a broken piece back in place; two hands offer compassion to the violent fist, to help soften it; the handshake represents racial healing (and the top hand, made of oak, will deepen in color over the years so that it will be more obvious); a firefighter puts out the fire, while below that someone lights the Shabbat candles (a very different kind of flame); a gardener plants grape vines and receives an offer of another plant.

Elana can be reached via

The piece is located directly across from the Rabbi’s office.

Humor Corner – March 2019

If you could have but one book in your life, what would it be?
One person’s answer, after a long deliberation with herself, is at the end.

Mrs. Fein received a sternly worded notice from her bank that her checking account was overdrawn.

Embarrassed, Ms. Fein sat right down, wrote a note of apology, and sent them a check.

“Live it up while you can, advised the spendthrift. Money is for the good of life, Who needs it lying around in a bank.”

“But, don’t you believe in putting something aside for a rainy day?” asked the frugal companion.”

“Of course not came the quick retort. Name me someone who ever really benefited for that rainy day?”

After a moment of silence or two, “ever heard of Noah?”

Answer to “if you could have but one book,”
the answer was “I’d take a checkbook!.”

From Jewish Humor in America, Spalding

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