March 27, 2021
To my Beit Chaverim Family:
The traditional Seder marks the beginning of Passover, it typically involves extended family gathered around the ritual feast. This tradition dates back more than three thousand years, since the time the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt.
This year, millions of Passover observances will be held virtually as the Coronavirus has limited how people can gather to mark the exodus of the Jews from Egyption Slavery. It will be a challenge to experience a Seder filled with rituals, symbolic foods, nostalgic smells, questions, answers, stories, songs and more, through Zoom. Restrictions don’t diminish this ancient observance, it follows the Jewish teaching that each and every person must retell the biblical story of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt to freedom as if they too lived through this. It is a powerful story and it remains relevant to this day.
On this Passover as we endure the fear and grief brought on by the global pandemic, we can relate more to the entire story of our biblical ancestors; not just the joy of freedom, but the agony of oppression and being at the mercy of forces beyond our control.
As we celebrate our second Seder with social distancing our hope and faith brings us towards a light of freedom from the Coronavirus, the eleventh plague. Thank G-d We don’t have to endure 430 years as our ancestors did for this freedom.
Let us give thanks, give generously of ourselves, continue the power of human decency and responsibility and continue the tradition of the retelling (Haggadah) of the Exodus to freedom.
May you have a Sweet and Happy Passover with all the sounds, foods, smells, songs and traditions.
Dec. 12, 2020
Letter From Penny Lindenbaum, President
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is technically a minor Festival for Jews. Hanukkah is a celebration of a military weak but spiritually strong Jewish people over the mighty forces of an enemy. It is the illumination and rekindling of the Menorah at the rededication of the desecrated Sanctuary. The oil which was only enough to last one day miraculous burned for eight days.
The lighting of our Menorahs on Hanukkah is a symbol and message of triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter and of light over darkness.
Fast forward to Hanukkah 2020. The Year That Was, mask wearing, social distancing, small gatherings. A time of darkness and despair, the enemy is not Antiochus, but a Virus. Covid-19 can’t be chased out or won by military might, we are battling a disease. The tools for battle are not stones or weapons, they are faith, and hopes that G-d will listen to our prayers and enable researchers to come up with the right vaccine to restore us to a Covid free World. The End of Covid will be a true Hanukkah Miracle.
We acknowledge the original connection of Hanukkah by lighting the Menorah, eating foods fried in oil, playing the dreidel and by gift giving. Traditionally, there was no gift giving during Hanukkah, it was Gelt, in the form of chocolate coins or real coins, this Hanukkah consider giving back to the community by giving Tzedakah charity to those in the community or our Synagogue. What a better way of honoring parents, children, grandchildren, friends by making Hanukkah gift donations in their names to our synagogue. Hanukkah is about giving, letting the light into our darkest places and fears, while illuminating the heart and spirit.
Another year is coming to an end and with it we would like to introduce you to the NEW look of our Web Page beitchaverimutah.org It is also a time to renew your Annual Beit Chaverim membership. We have made it easier this year in the Time Of Corona Virus to renew your membership and or make donations online through our Web page, please check it out. We have also included an envelope to mail in your dues of $150 for a family and $75 for an individual.
I hope to see you at the Hanukkah Celebration at Fire Lake Park on Sunday, December 13th at 1:00.
The Board and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Hanukkah.
Beit Chaverim Jewish Community of Greater Zion