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Congregation Beth HaTephila

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

President's Message - June/July 2021

“Lately it occurs to me, what a long strange trip it’s been”. —Jerry Garcia

I began this trip as president two years ago— by the calendar, at least, the objective measure of time. And yet it feels as though my service as president began a generation ago. This is not because it has felt overly long or arduous, but rather because to me the pandemic marks a generational shift in time — the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic generations. We are surely not out of pandemic interregnum yet, but I believe we are in the last mile of the journey, which coincides with the last mile of my journey as president of the temple. I do not yet have the benefit of hindsight to look back on the pandemic as history, but I find myself wanting to take stock now that we are starting to reopen and I am passing the president's torch to Gaia Goldman, my able successor, in July.

I know I have said this many times in these pages, but it bears repeating: It really is amazing and so gratifying to me how resilient we have been as a community over the last 16 months.

There have been countless moments in all these months when any one of you could have decided, quite reasonably, that what we asked from you was too much. I know each of you has felt the strain of the pandemic at home, at work, in your family, or in some other way. And yet you have been steadfast in your support of the temple community despite the pressure of the pandemic, and I thank you so very much for that support in all the ways that you have given it.

As we continue to expand in-person event offerings, I hope you will see the fruits of your support as you are able to return to the building and see everyone in person. There were many reasons to sustain our building, our staff and our community during lock down, even without knowing when it would end or when and how we could use our building again. Now (or very soon), I hope you will experience again the warmth of our building and the people in it, and know that you made it possible. We have, all together, as the sacred community we are, remained strong for more than a year, despite quarantine, financial uncertainty, and every other obstacle. Your steadfast support of our community has made it a pleasure to serve as president of our temple, and I thank you for entrusting me with that duty.

Tikkun Gottschalk,
CBHT President

Fri, July 30 2021 21 Av 5781