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Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee- Sept 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.

CBHT Rosh Hashanah Children’s Book Collection

Please bring your new or lightly used children’s books to CBHT.  Most of these books are given to 3-5-year olds to help them start a home collection of appropriate books to be read to them.  Currently most of these children are at the Head Start classrooms at Pisgah View Apartments in West Asheville.  The book collection runs through the High Holy Days.  You say you don’t have any books to donate?  Then make a cash donation to the Tikkun Olam Committee and designate the gift to be used to purchase children’s books.

If you really want to get involved, how about being one of our congregation’s weekly volunteers at Head Start?  With only two more willing adults we will have weekly volunteers in all three classes at Pisgah View two days a week!  If interested in volunteering or have questions regarding the book collection contact Marty Mann at 828.216.0381.  Let’s continue putting good books in the hands of the children who need them the most.

Another Room in the Inn Hosting under our belt!

Kudos to everyone who helped with our recent host week for the Room in the Inn women.  Along with our interfaith partners St. Mary’s Episcopal and St. Marks Lutheran Churches, the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville, and Cong. Beth Israel, we fed and sheltered up to 12 homeless women from July 12 – July 21 in our lovely downstairs area.  Special thanks to our Sisterhood for assuming the responsibility of providing a delicious dinner (they loved the kugel!) and overnight volunteers for one of the nights and to Marty Stickle and Rubin Feldstein for driving the St. Mary’s van to pick up and return the women to the A-Hope Day Center on our assigned day.  CBHT members were on site each night during the week to oversee the volunteers and our facility.  Appreciation to Barbara and Marty Stickle, to Sam and Pam Hausfather and to Ted Zoller for their time.  And of course, the support of the temple staff always makes the logistics run smoothly – Craig, Buffy, Rabbi Meiri, the cleaning crew, and our consummate technical whiz temple member Bob Davis.

Our congregation, through the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee, has been a partner in the RITI program for over 10 years and the need of our support remains.  Our twice- yearly hosting is an important part of the women’s lives as they transition to permanent housing.  A very large percentage of these women have gone on to have their own place which in turn, has given them a whole new start in life.

We will soon get our assigned host weeks for 2020 and welcome any congregant who would like to get more involved with our participation in this program or find out more information.

“You must love the immigrant,
because you were immigrants.”
                                                                     (Deuteronomy 10:19)

This year on August 11th, CBHT observed Tisha B’Av along with Congregation Beth Israel and Carolina Jews for Justice.  Tisha B’Av is a traditional Jewish day of mourning, when Jews around the world remember some of the greatest tragedies of our history.  Tisha B’Av also presents us with the opportunity to reflect on contemporary atrocities, and this year we were particularly compelled to reflect on the violent and dehumanizing treatment of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. – a modern day catastrophe that demands our attention, our voice, and our action. Please join the LMTO in any actions you can do:

  • Subscribe to CJJ’s email list to stay informed at carolinajewsforjustice.org;
  • Subscribe to the e-mail list of CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción) at cimawnc.org to stay informed about what’s going on and what they need (and if you’re able, donate money!);
  • Call your representative and demand that they work to defund ICE and CBP, and #ClosetheCamps;
  • Here are some other organizations to consider for donations or other involvement:

Religious School News- Sept 2019



Are you ready to go back to school!?  I would imagine this is a question many of us are asking ourselves on behalf of our children.  Starting back to school can be an anxiety provoking experience.  As a child, I struggled greatly with returning to school after summer break.  I would become highly emotional as I tried to wrap my head around what my school year might look like.  Not to mention the anxiety that was tied up in my academic upper limit issues.  I never trusted that I was a capable student, so school, secular and religious, represented all the things that scared me the most and made me feel badly about myself.

This is such a common experience!  And often times one that does not completely subside.  Here I am on the precipice of going back to school and I am again feeling anxious!  In mid-August I will have begun my schooling to become an ordained Cantor.  Will I be able to handle the workload?  Will I be able to absorb, retain and/or apply the information that is being presented?  I certainly feel more confident than I did during my youth, but it’s all still there.

My current experience is a reminder of how complicated school, secular and religious, can feel for our children.

In preparing yourself and your children for returning to Religious School, allow them to feel nervous.  Allow them to talk through what they are feeling.  Some gentle affirmations about their feelings can also be helpful.

When my son, who is about to enter Kindergarten, tells me that he is nervous about making friends, I remind myself not to cite all the reasons why he doesn’t need to worry about that, but rather I let him know that I understand that feeling.  Take your time so that your children don’t rush through this process.  And then, once their feelings have been expressed and affirmed, let them know that Religious School is designed to excite and create joy.

This year, our teachers and I have recommitted to creating an atmosphere that is fun!  We will be creating an environment that celebrates each child and is designed to provoke thoughts and creativity and, most of all, spirituality.  We will achieve this through discussion, projects, participation in Shabbat services and song.

But, most of all, we will be cultivating the most important thing to the love of Judaism, COMMUNITY.

I can’t wait to see you for the first day of school!

B’Shalom,

Seth Kellam

Religious School and Sacred Music Director

 

President’s Message – Sept. 2019



It may be summer, but a lot has been happening at CBHT in the office, in the “boardroom” and behind the scenes.  The office staff and Board have been busy keeping the wheels of the temple business well-greased.  We recently entered the new fiscal year in July; thank you to all of our members who renewed their membership for this fiscal year!  The staff continues to work on a few lingering bugs in the Shulcloud system, but I strongly encourage you to try out the web-based membership system if you have not already done so.

You may have noticed a few oddities in the appearance of the temple, the missing ceiling tiles inside, or the orange cones near the playground.  Some weeks ago, we had a roof gutter break which caused some water damage inside.  Fortunately, our insurance covered most of the cost of repairs, though not all the repairs have been completed yet.  At the playground, a hole appeared in the ground last month, and we are still investigating its cause and a repair.  We hope to have everything put back together in a few weeks.  With the building and the grounds issues, we’ve been blessed with the help of many knowledgeable members who have offered expert advice.

Meanwhile, the staff and board have been busy planning coming events.  The board meets every month, and we expect to hold another leadership development series in the coming months.  Please let one of the board members know if you have in interest this programming.

The various committees continue their work on religious school programs, security, engagement and many other aspects of our temple community.  Please call or email me or Craig if you have an interest in joining a committee.

All of this activity in and around our temple community could not happen without members donating their time and skills.  I know that every member has time and talent in some area, and I urge you to consider additional ways you might be able to donate some of that time or talent to your temple community.  We depend on everyone contributing financially as they are able to —and thank you!—but we also could not thrive the way we do without the many volunteers who work in the office, in security, at HardLox, as ushers, in the religious school, and so on, in every aspect of our temple community.  So, I invite you to volunteer!  There really is something for everyone.

Tikkun

Between You and Me- Sept 2019



Recently, I was told its name is Joe Pye Weed. But since I’ve been living in Asheville, I know it to be the wildflower that bursts forth each year to tell me I’d better get a move on and write my High Holy Day sermons. I had to laugh when I learned that Joe Pye Weed was a Native American medicinal plant named after a Mohegan sachem, healer, from Massachusetts, known for its sweat inducing properties, which apparently is conducive to healing typhus. I just look at it and start to perspire!

In all seriousness, these weeks of deep reflection during Elul are full of awe and dread for me. Will my messages speak to the deepest yearnings of your hearts? Will I be able to communicate something of the deepest yearnings of my heart? And when all is said and done, will our hearts collectively open wider?

It is only the day after Tisha B’Av as I write this column, still a full 7 weeks away from having to commit anything to paper, thank goodness. My aim, as always, will not be to stand on a bully pulpit (literally) and present what Judaism says and have that be the last word, or try to make you believe as I do. When the time comes, I will humbly offer you messages I feel you need to hear with the hopes that it will open your minds and hearts. But more importantly, that it will inspire you to continue the conversation, with one another and with me because that is where the richer truth will emerge.

A thousand years ago, the rabbis imagined the Israelites had to chase down God’s revelation at Mount Sinai and that it was anything but easy:

“When the Holy One of Blessing gave the Torah at Sinai…[He] would speak and the voice would go out and travel the whole world: Israel would hear the voice coming to them from the South and they would run to the South to meet the voice; and from the South, it would switch for them to the North, and they would all run to the North; and from the North, it would switch to the East and they would run to the East; and from the East it would switch to the West and they would run to the West; and from the West it would switch [to come] from the heavens; and they would suspend their eyes [to the heavens] and it would switch [to come] from the earth , and they would stare at the earth… Rabbi Yochanan said the voice would go out and divide into seventy voices for the seventy languages…”

I’m grateful to these wise minds who invited us to pattern our own search for truth similarly: as coming in many forms and requiring us to leave where we are to find and hear it.

I look forward to celebrating our 12th holy season together.

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee 2018-19 Report



Our thanks go to all the LMTO Committee members who attended meetings and participated in our activities during the year.  We are a great group dedicated to “repairing the world!”  We welcome new members to our committee. Please join us!

Activities/Initiatives over the year:

  • RAC Voter Engagement Initiative at CBHT informed and activated our congregation towards 100% voter engagement at CBHT. Our team encouraged all participants to pledge to vote and called every congregant who did not appear in the local voter rolls, encouraging them to register and vote.
  • Room In The Inn (RITI) supported three weeks over the year where we helped host 8-12 homeless women in congregations (ours and others) including travel, bedding, meals, and creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Monthly MANNA helpers helped pack food once a month at MANNA. We had 6-10 congregants help each month!
  • Annual High Holiday MANNA Food Collection was another successful year with financial donations exceeding food collection for the first time, going much further in providing meals for the hungry.
  • Head Start Tutors and Books allowed several congregants to help weekly at Pisgah View Head Start and give out books to these needy children twice during the year.
  • Sanctuary & Immigration: Our LMTO committee members Jackie Itzkovitz and Ellen Fisher did a fantastic job coordinating around-the-clock volunteers for an immigrant needing sanctuary at the UU congregation in town. We also provided assistance in other ways that we could, and were happy to find she was able to leave sanctuary.
  • Monthly Meals at Vets Quarters continued with congregant assistance.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat and Exchange was a great success with Pastor Edwards and the St. James Choir celebrating the Shabbat with CBHT, and many of us visiting St. James AME Church for their Sunday service, along with our choir and the Rabbi.
  • Interfaith Initiative for Social Justice “Dismantling Racism” work has focused on creating educational programs and a plan of action for the 20+ faith communities involved. Expect to hear more soon!
  • Annual LMTO Souper Bowl was another rousing success, with more than $2000 raised for our work and a great time had by the 15 soup makers, auctioneers, and all attending.
  • LMTO Shabbat again honored b’nai mitzvah students for their mitzvah projects, and presented a lifetime Tikkun Olam award to Sherrill Zoller.
  • Advocacy efforts continued through Menorah articles, Tikkun Olam Alerts, and work with the Carolina Jews for Justice.
  • Donations were given this year to supply books for Head Start, to Defiant Requiem, the NC Holocaust Education Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Religious School Tzedakah fair, CIMA for immigrant support, Veterans monthly meal expenses, and Room In The Inn.