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Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Updates December, 2019

Rekindling the Lamp: Hanukkah and Children’s Issues

 Adapted from

Submitted by Sam Hausfather

At the moment of rededication, the Maccabees relit the ner tamid, the eternal flame in the Temple.  Because it is perpetually lit, the ner tamid signifies a hope that God’s presence will continue to dwell with us from generation to generation.  What could be a better symbol for our hopes for a sustainable future than the ner tamid?  Thus, as we kindle the Hanukkah lights, we think about how we can nurture our children and pass along a better world to them.

Hanukkah has become a children’s holiday.  We have parties and play games, eat sweets and give gifts.  Therefore, it is only natural that we consider children’s issues on Hanukkah.  When we help all children gain the loving families, safe homes, health care and education they deserve, we help fulfill our mandate to nurture God’s creation in each generation.  In addition, many other issues – including global climate change, environmental sustainability, economic justice and poverty – affect children as well as adults.  When we work for social justice in these areas, we also ensure the well-being of future generations.

We can light lamps by the work of our hands – from the clothing we collect for warm-up campaigns to the meals we cook for hungry mouths; by the words of our mouths, from the phone calls we make to our representatives, to the stories we read to disadvantaged youth, and by the meditations of our hearts – as we ever strive towards the vision of a world redeemed.

Thus, as we kindle the Hanukkah lights, we think about how we can pass along a better world to our children. We think about how we can contribute to a world that can sustain us, our children and our children’s children.  Please join the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee in working toward the repair of our world, for our day and for future generations.


Thank you to the entire congregation for your generosity.

We raised $7825.00!!!  or Equivalent to 27,387 Meals!

This was extremely appreciated by MANNA.


Religious School News December, 2019

I have such wonderful memories of Friday Night Shabbat Services when I was a child.  Putting on my blue blazer that I had just outgrown.  Playing with my father’s tsit tsit or laying my head on my mother’s lap while listening to our Rabbi give his d’var.  They are such soothing memories.  I remember early on my mother telling me to close my eyes during the Shema and telling me that Erev Shabbat felt very spiritual to her.  We shared a lot in those brief moments while turning to the next page.

As I got older and made my way through Religious School, I recall explaining what I assumed was new information to her.  I shared with her that in fact the Shema was more than the recitation of that one important sentence.  I remember her nodding as if she were learning that for the first time!

So much of what I gained during services, in addition to an added closeness with my family, was framing my Religious School education.  I was able to put into action some of the rituals I was learning on Sundays, put into practice the Hebrew I was learning on Wednesday evenings, and talk out my inferences about our faith with my mother and father.

My Religious education did not end at Hebrew School dismissal, but rather was lifted, framed and actualized during Friday Night Services.  This is the case for every Jewish child who attends Religious School.  Of course, Shabbat services are a time to decompress.  Our people have made a commitment to separate the Sabbath from the week.  However, education and scholarship are also built into the joyful experience of Shabbat.

Regardless of whether you are attending a Family Service or any other service, enjoy this opportunity to snuggle up to your Yeladim and share with them, what you know, see what they understand, and celebrate the joy that comes from the convergence of your knowledge, their knowledge and knowledge provided by our Avot v’Imot.

Seth Kellam,

Director of Religious Education & Sacred Music

Between You and Me December, 2019

Last month, I was one of 30 people Carolina Jews for Justice gathered to make pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama.  Among the sites we visited were the Rosa Parks museum, Freedom Riders Museum, Dexter Street Baptist Church and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, all living testimonials dedicated to the process of truth and racial reconciliation that I believe are essential to our country’s healing and our collective future.

Here are a few immediate reflections:

Montgomery lives in infamy as a hub where the horrors of the slave trade thrived and the ugliest of segregation prospered.  Today, the streets are filled with markers and museums telling that story, a credit to the city in and of itself.

At the Legacy Museum, I meandered broken-hearted and teary through exhibits tracing the progression of racial violence that began with slavery and then continued on in the practice of convict leasing and then morphed into Jim Crow segregation and then evolved into the practice of mass incarceration that persists today.  Part of the experience is that no matter where one stands in that space, one can hear voices raised up in song, reminding us that music is one of the deepest and most powerful forms of organized spiritual resistance and survival.

The Memorial for Peace and Justice is an extraordinary memorial for the 4,075 documented victims of mob lynchings from 1877 to 1950.  Eight hundred and five casket sized steel pillars stand or hang, engraved with the names (when known) of victims from the 805 counties in twelve southern states in which known lynching crimes took place.  Sadly, a pillar with the names of John Humphreys, Hezekiah Rankin and Bob Brackett, who were brutally lynched in Buncombe County stands among them.  The sheer size and scope of this monument to people who were murdered for asking for a drink of water, leaving work without permission or looking at a white person, dispelled any notions I may have held previously that this form of gruesome racial terror was perpetrated on the fringe and out of public view.  In most cases, the opposite was true.  In fact, there were lynchings that were planned spectacles and drew as many as 15,000 onlookers.

Some of my fellow pilgrims are hard at work in our county fulfilling the Equal Justice Initiative’s larger vision for their monument: to engage communities in which lynchings took place in a process of education and racial reconciliation after which time they will send a duplicate pillar to them to remember this painful shared history.  I hope that we in Buncombe County will rise to that challenge and aspiration.

As if by design, the Dexter Street Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King started his civil rights career alongside Rosa Parks with the bus boycotts, left a final, hopeful impression on me.  I’ll not soon forget the enthusiastic hug with which the docent welcomed us at the door and then how she sang and preached her own King-inspired gospel about love and service to others.  I couldn’t have agreed more when she said, “Love…is a way life.”  Deep in my heart I must believe, we shall overcome…someday.  We still have work to do.

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee- November 2019

Upcoming Scheduled Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Projects

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, November 18th – 4:30 PM, Next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Updates

Take Action on the Environment

Adapted from
Submitted by Sam Hausfather

If you attended Rosh Hashanah Day services, you heard the Rabbi speak powerfully about the environment.  Indeed, Jewish tradition teaches, “Do not destroy my world, for if you do, there will be nobody after you to make it right again” (Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13).  Not only will our actions impact future generations, including their access to environmental resources, but

Tell Congress to pass the Climate Action Now Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9), which was introduced by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL-14).  This bill would prohibit the use of U.S. government funds to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and would require

The Children Say “Thank you”

By Marty Mann

Thank you, fellow congregants, for your participation in the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee’s every other year children’s book drive.  This year you donated over 1,200 books as well as $305 

Religious School News – November 2019

What is the best gift you can give your family following this Holiday Season?  Perhaps something that is delicious and sweet?  Something that looks and smells delightful?  Something that can last forever?  What about something that bops when it stops or whirls when it twirls?  I’ve got just the thing!

Kavannah!  Kavannah is intention, aim or goal.  And it can be as tasty as you desire.

As referenced during Kehila Tephila, kavannah or conscious intention, is on what we build growth.  When we are together as a community in prayer or learning, we create a communal kavannah.  Whether we are participating in a prayer or meditation of Shevah (praise), Bakashah (petition), or Hodayah (thanksgiving,) we are working off a clear intention.  Wouldn’t our home lives be even more fruitful if we were to have clear goals?

Consider an activity you can do at breakfast or dinner or bedtime by engaging in a conversation about kavannah.  Creating intention about how we conduct ourselves inside and outside of the home might be something to consider.  Perhaps the way we treat our family members, even when we are cranky, might be a powerful exercise.  Or even homework and housekeeping goals could be significant.

Kavannah about how we treat ourselves can be extraordinarily significant.  By setting an intention about limiting negative self-talk, we can not only identify a goal but it might help one become more conscious about when these sorts of thoughts are happening!  I believe celebrating oneself during successes is a great habit to create.

What about kavannah outside of our homes and our minds?  How about kavannah around how we want to participate in our local or global communities.  I know that Rabbi gave us a lot to think about during her sermon on Rosh Hashanah.  How can we make this world cleaner and safer for those around us?

No matter the intention that you create, the act of making it a family activity is extremely powerful.  Allowing your children to see that as adults, we are aware and recognize that we can do better can be empowering.  Supporting each other and being accountable is essential.

Don’t worry if the conversation doesn’t go as smoothly as you envision, but envision it none-the-less.  If we get that type of thinking started early in life and as a family, I believe we will all be creating and receiving beautiful gifts following this beautiful season that will last throughout the year.

Seth Kellam,

Religious School and Sacred Music Director