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Congregation Beth HaTephila

An Engaging, Inclusive, Reform Congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains

President's Message - January 2022

7:00 PM * 7:00 PM * 7:00 PM * 7:00 PM * 7:00 PM

That is the for Shabbat services, starting January 14th!  The change comes in response to the congregational survey that was sent out in November.  The majority of respondents listed 7 o’clock as their preferred start time for services, so we are giving it a go until the end of March.  I know habits are hard to break and encourage you to add a handy reminder in your phone so you arrive (or tune in on livestream) on time.  

Other useful data gathered from the survey revealed that while 52% of members are coming to services in person, 60% currently prefer to engage in Jewish life via our livestream and 31% take advantage of our Zoom classes and events.  Of those who are not currently attending services in person, 40% of the 69 who answered that question indicated that they’re simply out of the habit.  Not hard to imagine given the roller coaster of the past twenty months.  Wonderful things are happening in the sanctuary every Friday night and it’s so good to be together, but I know it’ll take time for everyone to make their way back.  Interestingly, and yet more good intel for our Engagement Committee, 82% of survey responses listed a food truck as their favorite outdoor pre-neg food option.  So, don’t be surprised to see more parking lot gatherings with various food vendors come spring!  

Other feedback suggests overwhelming support for our Covid protocols.  As with any community, unanimous support would be unrealistic, but the data suggests that 92% of respondents are vaccinated and take comfort in knowing that we are consistently protecting and promoting everyone’s safety.  I particularly enjoyed all the wonderful suggestions for more opportunities to engage with each other.  From a book club to additional meditation classes and yoga to hiking and restaurant affinity groups, the desire for connection is strong.  Almost two years into this strange and discombobulating time, there is a palpable, felt sense recently that the focus is changing.  Our lives are no longer on hold as we await the magic wand that will wave away the pandemic.  Rather, there is fresh interest in exploring ways to safely deepen our bonds and resume growing together now, pandemic notwithstanding.  

This new secular year 2022 brings with it a new wisdom and resolve to overcome our circumstances.  Please know that now more than ever, your temple’s leadership is committed to trying new things, broadening our offerings, and pivoting as needed to anchor your spiritual life in measurable, meaningful and memorable ways.  If there is something in particular you’d like to see offered, or if you’d like to be part of something big (HardLox is back!!) please reach out to me.  My door is always open and I’d love to connect.

Gaia Goldman,
CBHT President

Sat, June 3 2023 14 Sivan 5783