Read Rabbi Mike’s reflections (below) on his early days at Beth Elohim and how the High Holiday Appeal is vital to our synagogue’s day-to-day operations and financial health. Please consider donating as generously as you can to the High Holiday Appeal and support our vibrant community. You may make a contribution by:
Visiting our Donate Online page and selecting High Holiday Appeal from the drop-down menu
Mailing a check payable to CBE High Holiday Appeal to: Congregation Beth Elohim, 133 Prospect St., Acton, MA 01720
Or, dropping off a check in the High Holiday Appeal donation box in CBE’s outer office on the main floor
Something I immediately noticed when I first visited Beth Elohim was the aron hakodesh — the holy ark. Inside the ark are our sifrei Torah, our Torah scrolls, the most sacred objects in our building. But inscribed on the outside of the ark is an amazing rabbinic text composed many centuries after the written Torah.
It’s called Pirkei Avot — the “wisdom of our ancestors.” In Pirkei Avot, we learn al shloshah dvarim, that the world stands on three things: Torah, Service to God, and Loving-kindness to each other.
And even in the “slow time” that is summer in New England, I’ve already seen all three in full effect. As I enter the building in the morning I see ELC students showing the kindness that our wonderful staff has taught them. I see congregants bring in delicious food for an oneg later in the week. I welcome community members who are teaching me about how Beth Elohim serves not just members of our congregation, but the greater Middlesex area.
In the afternoon, our b’nai mitzvah tutors, Cantor Sarra and I each welcome students as they prepare to bring forth teaching from those ancient Torah scrolls. Leann meets with teachers, planning another year of our open and nurturing religious school. I see volunteer board members come to collaborate with Ezra on maintaining our community — and our building. I join our weekday mincha minyan in serving God with song and prayer.
And as evening falls, I see the choir come in to make their own musical magic. The Transition Team convenes to assist me in becoming further acculturated to this awesome congregation. And as I finish my last emails for the day, Clark moves through the building with joy, whistling a sweet tune, getting the building ready to start all over again the next day.
It is truly amazing how quickly this building, this community, has become a part of me. After just a few weeks, it is a great blessing to feel so at home.
Unfortunately, our home doesn’t pay for itself. There is another powerful teaching from PirkeiAvot: Im ein kemach, ein Torah.
“No sustenance, no Torah.”
Because of the generosity of individuals like you, Congregation Beth Elohim is now a fixture in our community, employing five senior staff members and dozens of teachers and madrichim. We have created high quality programming that touches more and more people in more and more neighborhoods, bringing Torah, service, and loving-kindness to more and more hearts.
But, as you know, running a full-service Jewish community has only gotten more expensive. Many of you have already contributed so generously to the Hineni campaign, helping reduce our mortgage and secure our future. At the same time, as the High Holidays approach, I invite you to support our present.
Consider the ways that Beth Elohim’s daily operations cultivate Jewish community — each day and every day. Whether it’s $36, $360, or $3600, I ask you to think of a way that you can help support Jewish life in Beth Elohim — and beyond.
And help the wisdom of our ancestors guide us in creating our Jewish community of the future.