Today is 04/16/2021 -

Congregation Beth Israel

A spiritual oasis for the Jewish community

6 Dundee Park
Andover, MA 01810

(978) 474-0540

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The Leadership’s Corner


As you are reading this letter, we are deep into Pesach and possibly we may have completed it. Many of us may have once again celebrated with family and friends near and far through Zoom, and others may have joined with one another sharing the same physical space. As it seems we are on the heels of safety and we may be entering a post Covid time, kineahora, we at CBI will, once again, need to contemplate how we congregate with one another safely bringing us joy, spirituality and pleasure. In mid-April the “Back to Shul “committee will reconvene to contemplate just these ideas. Zoom has been a blessing for us this past year, allowing us to gather together every Shabbat and for a multitude of programs. It has allowed for greater participation for our members and friends who live distances away so we will put this factor into the equation moving forward.

Jon Brody and his team of moderators held 3 virtual “coffee house meetings” in March to better understand the wishes of our membership and galvanize us with some fresh ideas. We’d like to thank Sarah Blumenstock Girrell, Sandra Dorros, Alan Friedman, and Roberta Hantgan for volunteering to be our moderators. If you didn’t get a chance to participate in one of the sessions, we will be reaching out to you over the upcoming month to give you the opportunity to share your thoughts. We await their feedback and influx of thoughts to help to continually energize our CBI community.

This year, we will, once again, have a Holocaust Memorial program, however it has been renamed The Lester Macklin Yom HaShoah Program. Lester and Ellen Macklin joined the CBI community 5 or 6 years ago when we moved to the Lawrence mill building. They immediately became involved and engaged in every activity. Lester brought us the Yellow Candle Program to help us “Never to Forget” and …. “to be inspired to learn more about our 6 million brothers and sisters as individuals and as communities, to recall their memory throughout the year, so that they will not suffer a double death….”. Early in 2020, Lester contacted Rabbi Joseph Polak, who is a Child Holocaust Survivor and author of “After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring” to come to CBI and speak to us regarding his experience, but because of Covid the event was cancelled. Sadly, Lester Macklin passed away this past January. Lester remained committed and caring to Judaism and his fellow Jews everywhere. There wasn’t a meeting or a service that, with a twinkle of his eye, Lester wouldn’t shine some wisdom on the topic. This year, inspired by Lester, a CBI team gathered to assemble and send out the Yellow Candle, and many people have graciously donated to CBI. We have, once again, engaged Rabbi Polak to speak with us, this time via Zoom on Thursday, April 8th. We look forward to seeing many of you “there” and together to hear his words of enlightenment. We expect a meaningful and powerful evening.

Warmest wishes as we look forward to the daffodils bringing us beauty,

Caren Jacobson