Today is December 11, 2019 -

Congregation Beth Israel

A spiritual oasis for the Jewish community

6 Dundee Park
Andover, MA 01810

(978) 474-0540

The Rabbi’s Column

“Joyful,” “meaningful,” “inspiring,” “spiritual,” “participatory,” “warm,” “flowing,” and/or “thought provoking.” I sincerely hope that these adjectives accurately describe your High Holy Day experience this year at C.B.I.

For this to happen, our community must be not only a participatory one, but a goy kadosh, “a truly holy one,” one in which individual members put service to God and the well-being of the overall community first. I truly believe that we have such a community.

On behalf of the entire CBI community and myself, I would thus like to express deep gratitude and appreciation to everyone, whose commitment, dedication, and effort combined to prove that the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

I begin with our devoted office administrator, Amy Sherr, who while mourning the loss of two close relatives, showed her deep commitment to the CBI community, not missing a beat and doing her usual outstanding job.
I next want to thank those whose musical contribution made the services so spiritually moving and inspiring. We are indeed fortunate to have Mindy Harris as our shelicha tzibbur, our cantor, who in addition to her beautiful voice, is fun to work with and is the consummate professional. Synagogues many times larger than our own would love to have someone with the skill, talent, and voice of Terry Fetters, who led the introductory services for all of the morning services; and sacrificing their own personal prayer experience to enrich ours are the members of Bashert—Merle Roesler, Elaine Winic, Jeremy Finkle, Bob Moverman, Jon Brody, and Mike Roesler. Sara Wilkins playing the powerful Kol Nidre melody touches our hearts; and, finally, there is no way one can stay asleep long from my sermons with David Tye blowing shofar.

Despite dealing with a significant personal loss, Jeff Tye still did his usual stellar job serving as the general of “command central,” making sure that the scores of kibudim (“honors”) are fairly assigned, and that those receiving these honors know where to be when.

With CBI being a relatively small synagogue community, there are far more jobs to be filled than there are people to fill them, so a number of our members are called upon to multi-task. In addition to both singing with Bashert and playing her flute during the Neilah service, leyning Torah, and serving as the gabbai rishon (the first gabbai), Elaine Winic served as Jeff Tye’s right hand person assigning kibudim. In addition to serving as a gabbai, Jon Brody not only called notes for David Tye but also gave him a run for his money with the final Tekiah Kedolah at the end of Yom Kippur. A special thanks to Tanya Gould for not only coordinating the onegs and break-fast at the synagogue and for hosting with Jeremy a break-fast at their home, but also assembled all that was needed for the Tashlich service.

There are so many more whose participation made the High Holy Day experience such a joyful and meaningful one: The many gabbaim, pointers, Torah readers, and Haftarah readers; the Shabbat morning minyanaires for helping set up the sanctuary, change the Torah covers, and set the Torahs to the correct places; Ethel Somers for putting all the flyers, handouts, bookmarks in the machzors; all those who graciously accepted and so ably fulfilled the myriad honors assigned; our speakers, Roberta Hantgan, Susannah Abbott, and Jim Shainker; Paul Garnick for coordinating the usher assignments; Howard Spector for providing new coat racks; and Roger Roy keeping the building spotless and clean and for providing valet parking.

Last but certainly not least, my gratitude and appreciation to all of you, your families, friends, and guests, whose souls and spirits coalesced to make the High Holy Day experience such a holy one.

In closing, while I have done my best to include everyone, I am humble enough to know that I have likely forgotten the names of one or more people. If I have innocently omitted your name, please let me know, so I can apologize and seek your forgiveness.

Wishing your loved ones and you a healthy, peaceful, and blessing filled 5780!
Rabbi Howard Mandell