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Our CBE Community Response to Covid-19 (email sent on May 1, 2020)

Dear Congregants,

We hope that this letter finds you and your family healthy and safe.

The worldwide crisis of COVID-19 has affected all of us, but some families are finding it more challenging than others, particularly regarding financial health and safety. As with all decisions we have to make as a community, Congregation Beth Elohim is trying to base our responses to this moment upon our timeless Jewish values. The Jewish values of tzedakah ("righteous giving"), gemilut chasadim ("acts of lovingkindness"), and tikkun olam ("healing the world") demand that we act as a Jewish community.

With these values in mind, we are collectively offering the CBE family two opportunities to aid our neighbors:

  • The Zeh baZeh Fund: The Talmud teaches that kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba'zeh, that members of Jewish community are responsible one for another (Shevuot 39a). As such, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the CBE Zeh baZeh Fund. This fund will provide emergency relief for our members and staff and the instructors at our religious school and the ELC. We are challenging our community to raise at least $5,000 to help members of our community with the financial strain of this moment. If you are fortunate enough to be able to help others in our community, please take this opportunity to do so. If you find that your family is in need of financial assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Rabbi Mike or Cantor Sarra for a private conversation. A committee composed only of Rabbi Mike, Cantor Sarra, and Board Treasurer Kathie Becker will meet to confidentially review all requests and to decide on distributions. These decisions will, of course, depend on the amount of funding raised and the number of requests.
  • The Darchei Shalom Fund: The Talmud also teaches that Jews are obligated to help the non-Jewish poor for the sake of darchei shalom, "the paths of peace." (Gittin 61a) To support our neighbors in need in the broader community, we offer a second option. We encourage you to contribute to the Darchei Shalom Fund, to be administered by Na'aseh. 100% of Darchei Shalom monies will go directly to the Acton Food Pantry.

To show their commitment to these giving opportunities, the Brotherhood and Sisterhood, have pledged matches of $1,000 and $500 respectively, once the $5,000 goal is met. Half of the matching gifts will go to the Zeh baZeh Fund and half to the Darchei Shalom Fund.

If you would like to contribute, please make your donation through the CBE website donation page. In the "Payment Details" section, click the "Type" drop-down menu and specify either the new Zeh baZeh Fund or Darchei Shalom Fund. You may also mail a check (made out to CBE) to Ezra. Please indicate your selected fund on the memo line. So that we can help those in need as quickly as possible, please make your donations today.

We are asking you to support our community by giving as generously as you can, but any and all donations are welcome! If every one of our 280 member households contributes $18, we will meet our $5,000 goal! If you have questions about this effort, please contact Ezra Habif.

Thank you very much for helping our community and neighbors in need at this very difficult time. Together, we will all get through this.

Wishing you good health and peace,

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum

Cantor Sarra Spierer

David Leers, President of the CBE Board of Directors

Ann Budner and Barbara Frank Michaelsen, Co-Chairs of Na'aseh

Andrew Gruskay, President of the CBE Brotherhood

Laura Kelmar, President of the CBE Sisterhood

Sun, July 5 2020 13 Tammuz 5780