Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee – October 2019

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Updates


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.

Yom Kippur & Fighting Hunger

By Sam Hausfather

On Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement, we fast to free ourselves from our daily needs. This allows us the time we need to concentrate on the tasks at hand on this holy day: t’shuvah (repentance), t’filah (prayer), and tzedakah (charity).  As we refrain from pleasure and deny our bodies nourishment, we hope to draw ourselves closer to God.

During the climax of our worship on Yom Kippur morning, we read the stirring words of the Prophet Isaiah, who challenges us to use this fast day as a reminder that if hunger and want still exist in our world, then our fast and our prayers are incomplete.  “Is this the fast I seek?  A day of self-affliction?  Is not THIS the fast I look for: to unlock the shackles of injustice, to undo the fetters of bondage, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every cruel chain?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and to bring the homeless poor into your house?”  (Isaiah 58:5-7).

Hunger continues to be a problem in Western North Carolina.  Please join us these High Holy Days in supporting our raising money for the MANNA Food Bank and in providing children’s books for Head Start.  Have a truly meaningful fast!

CBHT Rosh HaShanah Children’s Book Collection

By Marty Mann

Please bring your new or lightly used children’s books to CBHT.  Most of these books are given to 3-5-year olds at the Head Start classrooms at Pisgah View Apartments in West Asheville to help them start a home reading library.  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?  If interested in volunteering or have questions regarding the book collection, contact Marty Mann.  Let’s continue putting good books in the hands of the children who need them the most.

Holiday Food Drive for MANNA Food Bank

By Elaine Stein

For our Holiday Food Drive this year, we are collecting cash or checks only!  This was the preferred method of donation requested by Manna.  Please see our flyer in this Menorah to see how many meals your dollars will buy and visit our donation table set up in the temple gallery!

Why Compost…NOW?

By Hope Warshaw and Don Kraus

Do you want to compost, but don’t want to attract bears or other critters?  We did too!  The solution we’ve been successfully using for over two years, (since we moved to Asheville), is the Raleigh-based home composting service, Compost Now (  At present, Compost Now is the only residential-based composting service in Asheville.

Here’s how it works:

Please consider using Compost Now.  Let’s each take one more step each day to repair the world (and save our planet).

Religious School News- October, 2019

When I first entered the Beth HaTephila Religious School seven or eight years ago, I did so as an opportunity to develop my song leading skills, grow my repertoire and support my dear friend Lauren Rosenfeld.  I had no idea what kind of transformation would occur!

In entering the building (it was the old school building, if you can remember that!) I was overcome by the juxtaposition between the physical environment and the spiritual environment.  Despite outdated spaces, the warmth that enveloped me was unavoidable.  My desire to return, week after week, grew into an obsession!

When, after being relocated at the JCC during construction, we finally entered the new Religious School space, all the elements of a perfect environment were cemented.  A beautiful space, filled with beautiful people doing beautiful work!  This microcosm of a beautiful world had been created for our children.

As I sang during our rousing Kehila Tephila or walked from class to class with my guitar slung over my shoulder, I couldn’t find any other description for what I was experiencing, than MAGIC.  Magic is what continually brought the students and teachers back, week after week.  But what, I wondered, made that magic?

The answer came to me in song—Kehila–community!  There was a sense of community that began each day through song and enrichment and continued, not only for the next two hours, but for the entire week, until we met again.

The power of meeting together, to start our day, laugh a little, sing a lot and set powerful intentions made a group of over one hundred students and family members into a community that was strong beyond comprehension.

This year we moved Kehila Tephila into Unger Hall.  We now sit in a semi-circle so that we can see each other and sing to each other.  And, we make a formal invitation to all family members to come, be a part of what makes Beth HaTephila Religious School so special, so powerful and so magical.  And by being a part of it, you will help us grow and sustain this beautiful thing.

Seth Kellam

Religious School and Sacred Music Director


President’s Message- October, 2019

Just about 26 years ago, I climbed the steps to the brass doors and entered the CBHT sanctuary for the first time.  You might not have recognized me then, with my long hair hanging in a bushy ponytail.  (I knew nothing about man-buns.)  I don’t recall who greeted me at the door, but I know someone did, and welcomed me.  I also cannot remember anything about Rabbi Ratner’s sermon that evening; I’m sure it was a good one, and that he smiled a lot while he was on the bima that night.  I did not become a member until my 30s, years later, but every time I did attend services in my 20s, I felt even more welcome.  After my family joined and began to attend services regularly, the warm hospitality I enjoyed was transformed into the warm welcome I could offer others as they visited our temple for the first time.

More than 50 years before I was welcomed into Beth HaTephila, my father was welcomed into Mishkan Tefila, a synagogue in Boston.  He was 10 years old, spoke no English, and knew very little Hebrew.  Nonetheless, he started attending Hebrew school five days a week (presumably taught by an English-speaking teacher).

Many of his fellow students were, like him, German refugees, with Germanic-sounding names and limited knowledge of English.  Despite their status as “enemy aliens” during the war, they were all welcomed into the synagogue.  He was also welcomed as a foster child, for a few months, by another English-speaking Jewish family, in part to learn the language, and partly because the family was so poor.  I am sure it was not an easy time for my father, being just a child, or easy for his host family, or even the wider community of German-Jewish “enemy aliens.”

I was not a refugee when I was first welcomed into our temple community; we are fortunate to live in more peaceful times, when there are many fewer Jewish refugees compelled to seek new homes.  Nonetheless it is our tradition to be welcoming, audaciously hospitable as we say now, to everyone who comes to our doors.  We do this because it is our tradition, it is a mitzvah.  We also do it because we remember the welcomes offered to us, and to our mothers and fathers, and all of our ancestors.

Tikkun Gottschalk,

CBHT President

Between You and Me- October, 2019

You may remember the opening words of the Ne’ila service in the old, red Machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook): “Open the gates. Open them wide…”

In the twelve years I was a rabbi BC (Before CBHT), this was the most reviled of all moments in the Days of Awe for me.  For the four years I was an assistant rabbi in suburban New York, I think the senior rabbi assigned me to lead that passage as a cruel hazing ritual because inevitably as I was inviting the gates to open wide, people were literally pouring out of the doors of the sanctuary and the building, having discharged their duty to the dead at Yizkor and leaving behind a remnant of fryers (suckers) to pray the Ne’ila service and break the fast an hour later.  The passage, “Open the gates, open them wide,” instead of signaling rounding the corner to the climax of the Holy Days, reassuring us that the gates of repentance were still open and there was still time to “get right with God,” it was the signal people were free to jump ship.  The same minhag (custom) persisted amongst the folks in Baltimore, and for eight more years I limped out of the Holy Day experience exhausted and spiritually empty. I actually didn’t know that it could be any different.

Fast forward to the present day.  I can honestly say I love all of our services at CBHT.  (Believe it or not, not all rabbis grow to love services, even those they lead.)  I especially revel in the marathon of devotion that our Holy Days demand and how we’ve struck a unique tone from each one of the different liturgical moments.  But I have a particularly soft place in my heart for Ne’ila, in part because so many of you choose to stay.  So, I’m writing this column to invite those of you who haven’t made it your minhag to return to Temple for the afternoon to rethink your plans this year.

First of all, there is both music and words that are reserved exclusively for that service.  Not only is the entire Amidah recited in a special Ne’ila nusach (liturgical mode), Ne’ila is the only time in the 10 Days of Awe that we implore God not to write but to seal us in the Book of Life.  It is the only service in which we do a special Chassidic Kaddish Shalem that will make your heart sing.  When the final tekiah gedolah sounds and we fall into havdalah, the congregation bands together like brothers who have prevailed after a spiritual battle, which cannot be understated.  As icing on the cake, for those healthy in body enough to fast to the bitter end, something magical happens to the chemicals in our bodies, that takes us out of our thinking minds to occupy the deepest heart space.  And there is not another moment in our calendar that we stand before God so spiritually naked and at the same time embraced and affirmed, with a rare certainty that we arrived without taking any short cuts.  We didn’t duck.  We faced the truth of our lives, together and it made all the difference.


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