Humor Corner – August 2019

Arnold is very nervous as he goes up to his girlfriend’s father and says, “Mr. Joseph, you know I’ve been dating your daughter, Esther, for over 9 months now. Well I’m happy to tell you that we’ve both fallen madly in love with each other and want to get married. I’m here to ask you kindly for your daughter’s hand in marriage. What do you say?”

“What do I say?” beams the father.  “This is what I say. Mazeltov, my boy! I’ve been waiting for this to happen for some time. Of course, you can marry Esther, but only on one condition.”

“What condition is that?” asks Arnold, looking a bit worried.

“On condition that the hand you’re asking for, replies the father, with a mischievous grin, “is the hand that is always in my pocket.”

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.

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee – August 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, August 26th @ 4:30 PM—next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Updates

Start Collecting Now!!

Have you already filled one box of new or lightly used children’s books already?  This Rosh Hashanah is once again our every other year children’s book collection.  Since 2011 our congregation has given over 5000 children’s books to pre-school children, Read to Succeed, and the Asheville/Buncombe Literacy Council and the job is still not complete.

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 many of these children are students at the Head Start classrooms at Pisgah View Apartments in West Asheville where our congregation has four weekly volunteers who love to be with these children.

So, get ready to bring your books to CBHT.  Beginning in August, Marty Mann will


East End/Valley Street Community Heritage Festival

By Sam Hausfather

The LMTO Committee invites CBHT congregants to join us at the East End/Valley Street Community Heritage Festival August 23rd, 24th, & 25th in MLK Park in Asheville.  There will be live music, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, and a children’s area.  Hours are Friday 6 PM to 9 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 9 PM, and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.  The Parade and Car Show on MLK Drive starts at 11 AM on Saturday from South Charlotte Street to MLK Park.  Sunday Worship Service at St James AME Church will be followed by Gospel Music with local choirs and gospel artists.

East End/Valley Street is Asheville’s oldest African-American neighborhood and is where the St. James AME Church is located.  Their neighborhood festival could use volunteers.  If you would like to sign up to help out at the Festival, please click go to: to sign up.

This is an alcohol free, family friendly festival!  Come celebrate with our neighbors.

Everyone is welcome!

Contact Vivian Ellner for more details.

President’s Message – August 2019

Since being elected president of CBHT a few weeks ago, I have had the opportunity to reflect on why I serve on the board and what it means to me in the context of my connection to our temple community.  Let’s be honest: our board has occasionally had meetings that have gone on too long, then continued in the parking lot.  Some of the tasks the board takes on are the mundane tasks of any organization with a budget, a building, and a membership.  But what makes it all more than worthwhile, and truly a pleasure, is the great group of people on our board that I get to meet with every few weeks.

I’m one of those people who finds value in tackling tasks that just need to get done.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Buddhist who can find the sublime in every mundane task. (And, anyone who tries to tell you they love every minute of every committee meeting they have ever been to shouldn’t be allowed on any committee.)  But our temple board has been blessed with such a great group of kind, generous people that it has never been a burden to devote the time necessary to finish a discussion or make a considered decision.

As we transition into a new board at the beginning of the fiscal year (which started last month), I hope, if you have the opportunity, you will thank our board members for devoting their time and energy to the hard work of temple leadership, whether mundane or sublime.  I hope also that you will find new and interesting ways to participate in temple activities, perhaps even volunteer to join a committee or two.  And, I thank you for being part of our shared temple community.


Between You and Me – August 2019

The Talmud tells the story of a man called Honi the
Circle-Maker, a Jewish Rip Van Winkle, who went out for a walk, sat down to rest, and fell asleep for 70 years.  When he awoke and returned to his village, no one recognized him.  Separated from his former companions, he died of loneliness, at which point the Talmud comments: “O chevruta o mituta; either friendship or death!”

Almost 2,000 years later, we have the science to back up what the rabbis intuitively knew about the life-giving nature of companionship and friendship.  Loneliness is literally as powerful an indicator of premature death from heart disease as other factors like diet & exercise. People who define themselves as lonely or feeling socially isolated appears to increase the risk of having a heart attack, angina, or of eventually dying of heart disease, by 29%.  The risk of stroke increases by 32%, almost a full third.

In an age of unprecedented connectivity, making accumulating Facebook friends and followers as simple as touching a screen, one might think our loneliness would be heading the way of the Dodo bird.  However, studies show that people who spend more than 3 hours on social media and cell phones, ironically feel 30% more depressed.  Four or more hours on our cell phones also decreases our empathy for others by 40%.  This gives a whole new meaning to the saying, “With friends like that, who needs enemies.”

That reminds me of another story the sages of old tell about a young student who wanted to know what heaven and hell were like.  An angel acceded to her request, and brought her first to hell.  The first thing she noticed was the food: banquet tables were laden with every possible delicacy and steaming platters of food – and delectable aromas wafted through the halls.  But then she noticed the people.  They were glum and bitter and miserable.

And then she understood why: large wooden spoons were strapped onto everyone’s arms, past the elbow, so that they couldn’t bend their arms to put any food into their mouths.  When the student arrived at the entrance to heaven, she was taken aback.  The scene was identical: the same banquet tables, the same delicacies and steaming platters – and the same large wooden spoons strapped onto everyone’s arms.  However, the scene was not glum.  There was singing and talking and laughter because people figured out they could feed each other.

The moral of this story is, of course, going it alone is hell.  Our heart’s true happiness is found in the ways we help our fellows flourish.  We can’t do it alone.  Ecclesiastes wisely observed, “Two are better than one.  For should one fall, one can raise the other.  But woe to him who falls with no one to raise him up.”

The rabbis taught that the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed on the 9th of Av 1949 years ago this month because of a persistent enmity that grew between friends, giving new meaning to the adage chevruta or mituta, friendship or death.  The Chasidic master Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz taught: “Friendship is like a stone. A stone has no value, but when you rub two stones together properly, sparks of fire emerge.”  Think about someone whom you consider to be a very special friend.  In what ways has that friend helped you to become a better person?  In what ways have you helped your friend to grow?  How will you show your gratitude to that person?

1These findings were published in the scientific journal “Heart”, the official journal of the British Cardiovascular Society, 2016.

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