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"We Are CBE" High Holiday Appeal Campaign 5783

Our CBE community is comprised of a variety of members from different backgrounds and with different reasons for being part of our community. It is the uniqueness and contributions of each of our members that makes our community special.

This year, our High Holiday Appeal campaign theme is “We are CBE”, which focuses on our community members. 

Throughout the fall we will feature various members submissions allowing all to learn more about the people who make up our CBE community.

Please let us know your story and why "you are CBE"!  Submit your story by completing this simple form HERE.

To donate for the High Holiday Appeal,  go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.


 

Lindsay and Erik Rosenman

Lindsay currently serves as VP of Education on the CBE board and Publicity Chair for the CBE Sisterhood. Erik recently led the CBE Reflections Committee and plays softball for The Tribe. Seth is a high school junior who works as an oyzer in the religious school, is the former Ariel Ometz BBYO president and is currently serving as secretary for the New England Region BBYO. Ben is in 7th grade and will celebrate becoming a Bar Mitzvah this coming May.

We met on a bus as teenagers headed to a BBYO dance held at Congregation Beth Elohim.  As adults, we landed in the Acton area and chose to join CBE based on our experiences as parents in the JCC preschool which, at the time, was housed in the building. We already felt a part of the community after attending programming such as the Purim Carnival and Tot Shabbat, so CBE was a natural choice. It only seems fitting that this special place, which helped bring us together, is now a second home for us and our boys.

CBE is the place where, as preschoolers, our children began their education, where they are loved by teachers and clergy, are recognized for their talents, and encouraged to be youth leaders.  It is a place where we have found a community that celebrates with us at the times when our hearts overflow with joy and also embraces us when the sadness of losing a loved one too soon is unbearable. A place where people are passionate about what they believe in - education, social justice, equality, inclusivity, and more.  

CBE is a place where, if a community member is in need, multiple people will jump to help. It is a place where creativity and labors of love are supported and honored.  A place where, once we get off this crazy rollercoaster of parenting teenagers, opportunities abound for us to grow as Jews, to learn, to question, to connect with our heritage on different levels. Identity, community, personal growth - these are the gifts we receive from CBE and will continue to receive well into the future.

As a family, we give our time and resources to CBE because our home is here, because our community is here.  We give because we believe in the future of this loving, creative, inspiring place - this place that brings people together. We give for the CBE of today and for the CBE of the future, for our family and for yours.

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Linda and Frank Cohen

Linda and Frank Cohen are the Co-Chairs of the CBE Membership Committee. Linda is a manager at Multiplan, a health care software company, and Frank is a political science professor at Franklin Pierce University. Linda is from Staten Island and Frank from Chicago, but they’ve been New Englanders and living in Leominster since September 1998. Their daughter is a senior in college, and their son is a senior in high school. They love the Boston Ballet.

We joined CBE originally to get our son involved in a congregation that much Jewish youth. Our previous congregation leaned heavily towards 65+ side with few young families. CBE welcomed us with open arms, and we were immediately impressed by the rich sense of community and calendar of religious, cultural, and social offerings.

We remain at CBE for two reasons. One is its impact on young families and their children. CBE is a place that ensures that Judaism and Jewishness will pass on for generations and that New England's Jewish community will expand for years to come. We're dedicated to those ends. We're indebted to CBE for instilling our son with Jewish values and belonging, in particular a passion for involvement in B'nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO). The second reason is that CBE is a vital Jewish community that is spiritually uplifting, intellectually stimulating,  and socially engaging. Rabbi David and Cantor Sarra are inspiring leaders, attentive and caring towards the congregants. Along with our spiritual leaders, our lay leaders and volunteers contribute to a calendar chock full of religious, cultural, educational, and social programming. 

We give to CBE because we are dedicated to it being a thriving, not just surviving, community. In addition, we are surrounded by congregants who are outstanding role models as volunteers. It's impossible to resist the spirit of giving in their presence. Giving our time and money to CBE is a no brainer for anyone who sees what it does to spread Jewish values, Judaism, and Jewishness.

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM


 

Kerri Garbis

The picture on the left is from my Bat Mitzvah back in the 80s at Har Sinai Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. The photo on the right is me today, although I never look this glam at Shul. I share the picture on the left because I remember being so proud to have hit this massive milestone and loving being Jewish. I also remember feeling disconnected from my congregation. I still have friends from my time there, but they are now in the category of Baltimore friends versus shul friends.

Today I have shul friends! After relocating from New York, I went to a few different places, attended services, and even participated in events. CBE was the warmest place in my experience. At the first service I attended, I sat between two people I had never met. I was trying to take off my jacket without hitting either of them. The woman next to me, without knowing me AT ALL, helped me remove my jacket and place it on the back of my chair. After that simple act of kindness, I knew CBE was me. People who helped strangers, yeah - that's my jam! 

This place has embraced me, lovingly educated my daughter, and has many different ways to get involved. I've done all sorts of fun things, from sisterhood events to hiking to rugulach making. I've gotten more "seriously" involved by being on the nomination committee (email me if you're interested in being on the board) and always saying "yes" when someone asks me to be part of a service. And I joined the choir! Those people are some of the smartest, funniest, fabulous people who tolerate my antics weekly. Not to mention the friends I’ve made for life!  

I give to CBE so that my daughter continues to have a safe place to love being Jewish. I give so she can grow and learn and enjoy and be connected. So that one day, she'll look back and say, "oh yeah, that person? They're a shul friend!" 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Lauren Solomon

My husband and I raised our two sons, now 28 and 31, in Concord and joined CBE around 2001. I am proud to boast that Cantor Sarra’s first CBE service was my son Jake’s Bar Mitzvah!

I joined our choir around 2005 and then served on the board as External Publicity Chair from 2014 to 2018. I became hooked on using my design and communications experience for the benefit of CBE, and It has been a passion ever since, even driving me to retire from my day job last year so I’d have more time for CBE. It’s been an honor and privilege to work on our logo, our website, and the new iteration of The Star, among other projects.

I honestly don’t know how to articulate the full range and depth of what this community has meant to me. It has been life-changing. It has filled me with a profound sense of belonging. Here I am deeply connected to my Jewish roots, to Jewish prayer, and to Jewish music. My Jewish identity and knowledge have flourished and grown immeasurably. Moreover, I have met my closest friends here. The volunteers and staff here are the most generous, wise, and dedicated people I’ve ever known, and they inspire me on a daily basis.

I give to CBE because I want this community to exist forever.

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Michael Biales and Sarah Coletti

We are “retired” and have two sons, Adam, 33, and Daniel, 31. Michael was an artist and art teacher while Sarah worked as a software engineer with both taking care of the children and elders. Michael writes letters to the editor, writes songs, fixes things, leads a poetry workshop, and is active in Na’aseh. Sarah writes prose and poetry, chairs Na’aseh, and pursues justice. We both like walking trails in the area.

Michael is a Reform Jew. Sarah grew up in a Unitarian Universalist family. When we joined CBE, we were ambivalent (Michael) and curious (Sarah) about religion. We joined because we wanted Daniel to get a religious education – even though Adam could not because he is non-verbal and has intellectual disabilities. Daniel was a bar mitzvah and was confirmed at CBE. He still attends High Holiday services here. He is about to start his own interfaith family with his upcoming marriage to Jennifer.  Adam lives in a group residence in Concord. He enjoys coming to CBE, especially when the choir sings, but hasn’t attended since COVID.

For years we attended High Holidays and some Friday night services, occasionally carving out time from caregiving for an adult ed class or a Brotherhood breakfast. However, it was not until 2016 that, through Na’aseh, we became very engaged with CBE. Judaism’s teachings of the necessity of social justice action resonated with our own inclinations to “do justice and love mercy.” Na’aseh provided the structure and camaraderie to act. 

In Rabbi Mike’s classes, Sarah learned more about Jewish practice, tradition, and theology which led to her conversion in 2020. 

We appreciate CBE’s dedication to evaluate decisions and actions through a matrix of “Jewish Values.” CBE provides a place to learn and question, reflect and pray. Voices joined in ancestral prayer provide comfort and strength. Continuing to learn from Jewish texts and traditions and pursuing “tikkun olam” keep us at CBE. We value the services, the music, the classes, and the chance to confer with clergy. Knowing good people who are doing good works keeps us here.

We give to CBE to support these actions and all that CBE does to support Jewish families and be a light to the greater community. 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Emily and Mike Blumberg

We have been members of CBE since 2011. Emily is a pediatric speech-language pathologist, who is currently working at Emerson College supervising graduate students who are studying to become speech-language pathologists. Mike is a Digital Workplace Architect at Raytheon Technologies.

Ellie is 16 years old and a junior at Minuteman High School and is the N'siah (President) of the Ariel Ometz chapter of BBYO. Isabella is 13 years old, in 7th grade at RJ Grey, and recently became a Bat Mitzvah. Winnie is our 2-year-old Bernedoodle, who joined our family in March 2020.

Our children attended the JCC/CBE Early Learning Center from 2007-2015. We attended many CBE events during that time, including Tot Shabbat, the Purim Shpiel and Chanukah celebrations. It seemed natural to "move upstairs" and join CBE!

We have made some of our closest friends at CBE and love the welcoming, supportive community there. It is truly our second home.
In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we are truly thankful for all that CBE has given us and we want to give back to say thank you. 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Maureen Parker

Maureen currently serves as a Member-at-Large on the CBE Board of Directors. Previously she was on the Governance Amud. Maureen lives in Concord and works as a Project Manager and Instructional Designer for a medical device company.

While both of my wonderful parents were Jewish, I can’t say that Judaism played a big part in our lives. My parents belonged to a synagogue when my much older siblings were growing up, but they had ended their membership by the time I arrived many years later. While we certainly celebrated the major Jewish holidays,  I did not attend a synagogue-based Hebrew School, have a Bat Mitzvah, or attend synagogue services with my family. Admittedly, none of this bothered me growing up, but as an adult, I started to feel envious of those who had more Judaism in their life as they seemed to have a solid connection to being a Jew. I realized that it was on me to learn more about Judaism and be a part of a Jewish community. Thus, I joined CBE in 2018. 

At CBE, I’ve learned much more about the Jewish religion and our values. CBE is where I’ve celebrated holidays such as Purim and Sukkot for the very first time. CBE is where I’ve met so many wonderful people willing to donate their time to help CBE. CBE is where I’ve experienced how wonderful it is to be a part of a community. 

In June, my mother, Vivian, died after a sudden illness. The support I received from my CBE community was incredible. From the fellow members who came to shiva, the assistance provided by the Chesed committee, and the support of Rabbi Mike and Cantor Sarra, CBE was there for me,  and I will be forever grateful.

I give my time and resources to CBE because I want to help our synagogue and community continue to be what it is – amazing! I recognize that each of us plays a part in helping our community to thrive, and I am happy to contribute in whatever way I can. 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Dan and Allison Forseter

Even before we officially became members of CBE, we had the blessing of Rabbi Mintz officiating our daughter’s baby naming ceremony, and both of our children were learning and growing at CBE’s newly established Early Learning Center. Fast forward to November 2022 and our son became a bar mitzvah. We are the Forseters and we are CBE!

Dan is the preconstruction department manager for Turner Construction’s Boston office and Allison works for the Concord Public Schools as the Elementary Curriculum Coordinator and a K-3 engineering teacher. Dan grew up in a conservative temple in White Plains, NY, while Allison grew up in Houston, TX, and converted to Judaism as a young adult.The certificate she received after visiting Mayyim Hayyim in Newton in 2005 is on file at Rabbi David’s Jewish Discovery Institute!

Finley is 13 years old and in 7th grade at RJ Grey Middle School. Dagny is 10 years old and attends McCarthy-Towne Elementary. Both kids attend Camp Young Judea each summer.  They are proudly Jewish and the experiences they have had at camp and shul reinforce the values we hold dear.

Dan plays softball with the Brotherhood and Allison has been the VP of Early Education and a member of several hiring committees. Finley and Dagny attend religious school and have participated in the spiel, menorah contest, Camp Shabbat, and other family events.

Some of our dearest friends were made at Tot Shabbat, and growing up together at CBE has been the best part of moving to Acton. We donate our time and money to CBE so that it will remain a welcoming and vibrant place for anyone who walks through its doors.

This year, our contribution is in honor of Finley becoming a bar mitzvah and to all the staff and families at CBE who helped make it one of the proudest days of our lives.

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Jaime and Jeff Roberts

We are the Roberts Family and have lived in Acton for 13 years. Jaime grew up in Columbia, Maryland and is a high school guidance counselor at Winchester High School. Jeff grew up in Suffern, NY and works for Brookfield Asset Management, Canada’s largest alternative asset manager. We have a daughter Sloane in 6th grade, a son Eli in 4th grade, and a 2-year-old Yellow Lab/Great Dane mix named Elmer. 

When not at CBE we are most likely on the soccer/baseball/softball fields, at the pool (both kids swim competitively), or traveling to see our family across the U.S. We have a big family with lots of cousins and enjoy celebrating Jewish holidays together. In addition, we have loved sharing our traditions with our non-Jewish friends and learning about their families traditions as well.  

We joined CBE five years ago. Our kids were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade, and we wanted to have them learn more about Judaism and meet Jewish friends in Acton. We have enjoyed going to the Purim Shpiel (the kids were in it a few years ago on Zoom) and other events and services. We look forward to preparing and celebrating our children's B'nai Mitzvahs as well as celebrating with their classmates. 

We have been so impressed by the warmth and kindness of all the CBE religious school teachers,  Madrichim, Beth Goldstein, Rabbi David and Cantor Sarra. We stay and give to CBE because our kids have commented many times how proud they are of being Jewish and how much they love being part of a community that values them and their voices. They now go to a Jewish summer camp, Camp Kingswood in Maine, where they have met Jewish friends from all over the world, and we hope to visit our family in Israel someday soon. 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Jaymi and Joe Formaggio

Formaggio… such a nice Jewish name…

As an interfaith couple, we had always planned to raise Jewish children. But we never expected to be such active synagogue members. 

We transitioned to CBE seamlessly as our older son, Coby, entered kindergarten after his years at what would become the CBE ELC (then a JCC preschool). We took things slowly. We agreed to help with some small things. We made friends. We attended Family Shabbat services. 

What ended up drawing our family in deep was the Purim Shpiel. Coby loved theater, so as soon as he was old enough, he signed up to be part of the Shpiel. At the end of his first year performing, Leann Shamash (our former Education Director) wondered if either Joe or Jaymi was theatrical– and twisted Joe’s arm to join the following year. Somehow, his reputation for not knowing his lines and improvising wildly convinced Leann that Joe could write. Six shpiels later, we were hooked. All four of us joined in different years as actors, writers, director, and even a sound board operator! And not only did we enjoy creative family time, we had the opportunity to meet so many warm, creative, talented CBE members of every generation.

Over the years, we have also cherished the nurturing Jewish education that our children, now young men, have received at CBE. Jaymi’s childhood religious school wasn’t even a fraction as creative and engaging as the one we are so proud to have been a part of here at CBE. As a testament to the school, Joshua went on to be part of the first Confirmation class in years, in 2021 (pictured), and an active BBYO member. And of course, Coby loved his Jewish education so much that he returns to CBE every Sunday from college to teach our 4th graders!

CBE has been a place where we have all truly found community. We give our time and resources to CBE because it has been a place that has embraced all of us, regardless of our background. It has given us the gift of connection and growth, of celebration and communion. 

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 

Ethan Sokol and Kristine Fong

Ethan and Kristine have been members of the synagogue since 2021. Ethan is a member of the brotherhood and choir and plays on the Tribe softball team. Kristine and Ethan both work at Foundation Medicine, working to find targeted therapy options for cancer patients. Outside of CBE, they love gardening, riding their tandem bike, and walking the local trails. Although they don’t have kids yet, they have six chickens and two cats. 

After joining CBE, we immediately learned CBE was a welcoming and inclusive community. When we were looking at locations to move to, we wanted to make sure there was a strong Jewish community. Ethan contacted the synagogue on the website and was immediately given a call back from Rabbi Mike. He shared the values of the synagogue – deep caring for everyone in the local and global community, and lives lived with Jewish values as a guide. He shared how Tikun Olam is a central value of the congregation and was proud to share about the recent solar installation. After joining the synagogue a year ago, we felt immediately welcomed. On our first week at the synagogue, everyone made us feel we belonged – introducing themselves, sharing how CBE is like a family. When we went through challenging times this fall, the community response, love, and support were incredible. We cannot possibly express how thankful we are to have the loving family of CBE. 

We have been continually impressed at how a modestly sized community can be so thoughtful to create a meaningful religious experience for everyone. There are many different flavors of Friday night services – including outdoor prayer at the arboretum, Ruach Shabbat, Tot Shabbat, lay led services, and Shabbat Shirah. We’ve always loved the diversity of Jewish tunes and enjoy hearing old classics and new melodies each week. 

CBE is special because there is a focus on both adult and youth education. We’ve heard amazing things about the early learning center and Hebrew school, with dedicated, loving educators that create life-long connections to all aspects of Judaism. We’ve appreciated the many opportunities to meaningfully connect with our Jewish tradition as an adult, including Talmud study with Rabbi Mike, Torah with Rabbi David, and an impressive set of speakers covering topics like antisemitism, LGBTQ inclusion, and Jewish mysticism. It’s incredible we can create meaningful experience for everyone. 

We give to CBE because of the welcoming, warm community. CBE is full of generous, compassionate, amazing people who make everyone feel included and connected to our rich heritage.  

To make an online donation as part of the High Holiday Appeal, go to the donate page, select High Holiday Appeal in the dropdown list OR submit using the form on the High Holiday Appeal page HERE.

To submit your own “We are CBE” article, complete THIS FORM.


 
Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyyar 5784