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CBE in the News

Brandeis Professor encourages community to identify and call out “dogwhistles”

The Acton Exchange ♦ Article by Matthew Liebman ♦ June 7, 2024

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CBE congregant and Adult Education Chair authored this article.  This covers the presentation sponsored by Na'aseh & Kulanu where Professor Dan Breen, Brandeis, spoke about "Dog Whistles and Anti-Semitism".  This took place at CBE on May 22, 2024.

The article begins...

You may have heard unusual expressions or terms in the news or on social media and were wondering what “dogwhistles” meant. On May 22, Brandeis professor Daniel Breen educated and engaged community members at Congregation Beth Elohim in a spirited discussion about this kind of coded political speech. The presentation – called “Dogwhistles and Antisemitism” – was organized by the Kulanu Initiative at Congregation Beth Elohim for the broader community.

Antisemitism has increased dramatically in the US, including Massachusetts, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which reports incidents annually. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has also reported an increase in anti-Muslim bias complaints. Acton, unfortunately, has also experienced antisemitism, including several incidents in our schools.



Representative Lori Trahan presents SUNNY Award to Congregation Beth Elohim

The Acton Exchange ♦ Article by Karen Root Watkins ♦ May 16, 2024

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The article begins...

U.S. Representative Lori Trahan visited Acton’s Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) on Sunday, May 5th, to present the U.S. Department of Energy SUNNY Award for CBE’s solar carport arrays project. The $12,500 SUNNY Award, one of only five in the nation, celebrates community solar projects deploying “best practices that increase equitable access to clean energy,” according to CBE’s investing partner, Sunwealth Power. Rep. Trahan stated, “The way you leveraged this amount of money to help the community, to work toward a cleaner energy future, is just great.”



Community Solar Forum at Congregation Beth Elohim

The Acton Exchange ♦ Article by Alissa Nicol & Matthew Liebman ♦ April 19, 2024

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A Community Solar Forum was held on Sunday, April 9, at Acton’s Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE). After a breakfast organized and served by the CBE Brotherhood, several speakers described the congregation’s parking lot solar array project that recently won a Sunny Award from the US Department of Energy. CBE was one of five Grand Prize winners, announced in November, 2023. The Sunny Awards recognize “community solar projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar.”  Rabbi Brahm David referred to the Jewish tradition of environmental stewardship, noting that the Jewish faith prescribes protection of the earth for future generations.



ADL and CBE Kulanu sponsors Walk Against Hate

October, 2023 •

The article includes an interview with Rabbi David and highlights the long list of community co-sponsors.

Ann Budner, a CBE congregant, recognized for her exceptional work as a resettlement volunteer

Mazel tov to Ann Budner, who was recognized in the Jewish Family Services of Metrowest website for her exceptional work as a resettlement volunteer.

Here is their write-up:

Resettlement Volunteer Coordinator Spotlight: Ann Budner, Congregation Beth Elohim (Acton)

Ann owns her own nonprofit consulting firm and performs in a company of "seasoned" dancers who danced through COVID in driveways, backyards, and parks.  

"When I heard that synagogues were organizing to support the Afghan families, I knew we had to help. Since it is a core Jewish value to help the stranger, one of the main activities of CBE's social justice committee is to support immigrants and refugees.

I was pretty confident we could recruit the volunteers and raise the funds with our partner, (United Church of Christ, Boxborough), but I knew our team needed guidance and support. We chose to work with JFS, because we knew we could trust them. In fact, JFS has been incredible. Working together, we have been able to help our family of 6 become healthier, more confident, and more independent. The family has been through so much and they are unbelievably brave and resilient. It feels wonderful to be able to welcome them to this country in such a meaningful way. I wish every immigrant to the US had the benefit of JFS' care and attention." 


"Saying ‘we will act,’ Jewish and UCC partners jointly welcome Afghan family"

United Church of Christ Website ♦ February 18, 2022

The article begins:

One way to translate the Hebrew phrase “Na’aseh v’Nishma” is “We will act and we will hear.” It’s what the Israelites said before receiving the Torah – the first five books of the Bible – at Mount Sinai.

It’s also what two Massachusetts congregations – one United Church of Christ, the other Jewish – affirmed as they quickly joined hands to help resettle Afghans. Many of these arriving families had worked for the United States forces in Afghanistan, then had to flee as the Taliban took control in August 2021.


CBE congregant volunteers:
Sue Abrams
Gary Budiansky
Ann Budner (Team Leader for CBE)
Marjie Cahn
Sarah Coletti
Deena and Bob Ferrara
Linda and Denis Friedman
Barbara Frank Michaelsen
Cindi and Rick Silverman








Members of UCC Boxborough and Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, pause together while moving donated furniture into an apartment that the two Massachusetts congregations secured for an Afghan family of nine.

"A-B Congregations Help Support Afghan Evacuee Family"

The Beacon ♦ December 13, 2021

Congregant, Ann Budner, is quoted, extensively, in this article that pertains to the efforts of CBE and Boxborough's United Church of Christ, together with Jewish Family Services of Metrowest, to resettle an Afghan family of six.  Volunteers have and are helping with housing, health care, and other needs.  The family was welcomed with an Afghan meal provided by congregant Barbara Frank of AbCatering of Stow.

Find out more about CBE's Afghan project and how you can help HERE.

"How one Synagogue's Social Justice Engagement Led the Way to Renewal and Revitalization"

CLI Blog ♦ November 1, 2021

Former CBE Rabbi Michael Rothbaum authored this article that has been published in the CLI Blog.  Rabbi Mike wrote about social action and its impact on CBE. 

The Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) is a two-year program to support and encourage rabbis serving congregations or other new models of spiritual community in the areas of innovative thinking, change management and institutional transformation.

"Virtuous & Fiscally Responsible"

Sunwealth ♦ September 17, 2020

Max Wagner, a Sunwealth Investor Development Associate, highlights the CBE Solar Project in THIS ARTICLE.  Sunwealth is the investment company that is financing the CBE project. Sunwealth is a clean energy investment firm.

"Acton synagogue building solar canopy"

The Beacon - Acton, MA  June 17, 2020

We are so proud of our solar panel canopy project, which will be the largest solar installation at any house of worship in Massachusetts. We're delighted that the Beacon featured us.

"In the face of COVID-19, Jews set the table for virtual Passover Seders"

Boston Globe — April 3, 2020

Boston Globe writer Steve Maas describes how Jews will be celebrating Passover this year — exemplified by our own virtual community seder co-led by Rabbi Mike and Rabbi Louis Polisson of Congregation Or Atid in Wayland.. Visit the Globe to read the article or download this pdf.

"Annual MLK breakfast draws big crowd"

The Beacon - Acton, MA  January 21, 2020

The 18th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast, hosted by  Na'aseh, was held on Monday, Jan. 20 at Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton. About 150 people were in attendance, including State Sen. Jamie Eldridge and members of the Acton Police Department.  The speaker was Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, renowned advocate for social and ecological justice. Find the story HERE.

"Schindler's List Survivor Speaks in Acton"

The Beacon - Acton, MA,  May 21, 2019

“You cannot stand by and do nothing.”

That was the message of Holocaust survivor Rena Finder at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Sunday evening (May 19, 2019) . The 90-year-old Framingham resident spoke after a screening of the Stephen Spielberg film, “Schindler’s List” .

The event was co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Elohim and Acton-Boxborough Regional High School as part of the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.

Click HERE to read the story in The Beacon.

"He Feels the Yiddish Songs in his Soul"

Boston Globe, January 27, 2019

Read the feature story from the Boston Globe about Anthony Russell and Dmitri Gaskin, Tsvey Brider. We invite you to read the article and share in our enthusiasm for this wonderful event, the Tsvey Brider Concert at CBE on February 2nd.

"Acton’s Congregation Beth Elohim celebrates MLK"

The Beacon published  an article with several photos covering the MLK Breakfast held at CBE on January 21st.  The breakfast was sponsored by CBE's Na'aseh and featured speaker, Roland Gibson of Littleton, MA.  Mr. Gibson is a former METCO director and educator and, in retirement, a social activist.

"Grassroots ‘Light for Light’ helps hard-hit Puerto Rican town"

Another wonderful piece in the Beacon by our own Sue Wood, highlighting the work of Marjie Cahn and her passionate team of fundraisers, to bring Diego Mendelbaum, of the San Juan JCC, and 75 guests to Linda and Denis Friedman's home and raise $30K for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

"Congregation Beth Elohim Celebrates Purim with Annual Shpiel"

The  Acton-Boxborough Beacon ran a  short article and several photos short article and several photos from our 2018 Purim shpiel "Alexander Hamantashen".

"Acton Congregation Beth Elohim students create menorahs"

"CBE hosts Safe Communities Act panel with State Sen. Eldridge in Acton"

On October 6, the Beacon published coverage of our October 1 panel, written by freelance writer and CBE congregant Sue Wood.

"Faith groups support Acton’s Jewish community"

As congregants of Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) arrived at the synagogue last month for a pre-Sabbath discussion of the events of Charlottesville, Va., they were greeted by local faith community members who lined the entrance holding signs of love and support. This report was published in the Beacon on September 25.

"Acton congregation reaches out to Muslim community"

The Acton Beacon shared the story of our interfaith potluck dinner on July 9 and the Na'aseh outreach behind it.

"In Acton, a new rabbi for a new generation"

Read the great piece on Rabbi Rothbaum, published online June 30, 2017, and in the Sunday print edition of the Boston Globe. Thanks to the Globe editorial staff, Globe writer Steve Maas, and Globe photographer Jonathan Wiggs, and to CBE-er Beth Schrager for helping to make this happen.

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784