Today is April 6, 2020 -

Congregation Beth Israel

A spiritual oasis for the Jewish community

6 Dundee Park
Andover, MA 01810

(978) 474-0540

The Leadership’s Corner

“The little Shul that could….”

Recently, just after we did our first Shabbat morning virtual service, Roberta Hantgan (our V.P. who will soon be relocating to the Boston area) described CBI with the paraphrased tag line above. Once the coronavirus outbreak hit with full force, and many businesses and institutions had to close their physical doors, many were initially in “panic” or at least “serious concern” mode. What would the future hold for us? It was no different here at CBI, initially. With the guidance of Rabbi Mandell, and creative thinking from our Board members, and logistical implementation from Amy, we were able to move into the virtual realm. Thanks also to Jon Brody and Robin Rose for providing their technical assistance. This whole plan came together over the course of a week’s time, under the overriding Jewish principle of “Pikuach HaNefesh”- saving life. While we are disappointed that our small community can’t be together physically in our typical fashion, we are grateful that we found a way that we can still provide a means for our community interaction.

As we get through this public health crisis together, we are beginning to think of ways that we might be able to build on what we have learned. For those that may be ill or away, we may be able to continue our virtual services even while having physical services together. That applies not only to Shabbat morning, but possibly also to Shabbat Chai services so that more may be able to experience the joy that our own Bashert brings in such an uplifting fashion. We may delve into some virtual educational offerings additionally. We may even be able to archive our various speaker programs for those that aren’t able to physically join us on the day in which it is presented. Our Programming Committee, under the leadership of Caren Jacobson, will be looking at some of these potential opportunities. If you have other ideas that you would like us to pursue in the virtual world, please don’t be shy about bringing them forward to us for consideration.

In the meantime, by now, you should have received your Yellow Candle for Yom HaShoah and the explanation sheet that is graciously being coordinated by our own Lester Macklin. Please remember to light your candle on the evening of Erev Yom HaShoah (Monday, April 20th). There is a beautiful meditation on the back of the sheet you received which should be recited as your candle is being lit. We hope that we will be able to reschedule the planned program with Rabbi Polak at some point, or possibly do a virtual program. Your generosity in supporting the Yellow Candle program will help ensure the memory of those lost as well as remind our friends and neighbors that the cancer of Anti-Semitism and hate of “the other” has not been eradicated even in today’s world.

On behalf of the Board, I wish everyone a “Zissen Pesach”, even if only in a virtual sense. Maybe even create or join a virtual seder this year! We’re all looking forward to being back together physically, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Rabbi or any of us through Amy if we can help you get through this tsuris more easily. Together, we are “the little shul that could!!!”

For the CBI Board, Jeff Tye