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Shalom from Rabbi Kula
January 7, 2020 - 10 Tevet 5780
Shalom, Beth Shalom and Friends!
Happy New Year!
The beginning of 2020 brings vision of opportunity and blessing. At these moments of transition, we stand on the bridge, looking backwards as well as forward, able to see clearly the path leading to this moment and the future we wish to pave.
I am honored to serve as Congregation Beth Shalom’s Rabbi, the Jewish community center of Bozeman. After six months in the position, I can confidently say, we are a vibrant and good community. Thank you!
I have had the opportunity to talk and greet most everyone affiliated with our congregation, attend numerous events, meet many Bozeman leaders, spend time with MSU faculty and administration, get together with local politicians, most notably, Senators Tester and Daines. All are grateful our Jewish community is here, full of support for us to flourish.
On March 6, we formalize our Rabbi and congregation relationship with my installation ceremony as Beth Shalom’s Rabbi. Please join together as we celebrate Shabbat, Purim and my Rabbinic installation. My brother, Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of CLAL (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), an entrepreneurial Jewish think tank, will preside over the ceremony, which will be followed by dinner and Purim party. I invite you to attend and bring your family. It will be the Beth Shalom party of the year, and I hope to celebrate this honor with all of my new congregants.
We are the Jewish community center of Bozeman and, in truth, of Montana. Our broad perspective of Jewishness is welcoming to everyone who is Jewish, loves Judaism, or is interested in Judaism. Please attend, participate and volunteer more. You will be better off and make a difference benefitting others.
This week’s Torah portion, Vayehi, concludes Genesis, the first of the five Books of Moses. As part of our Saturday morning Torah study, we will highlight the theme of offering blessings. Vayehi means “And he (Jacob) lived.” Even though we learn that both Jacob and Joseph pass away in this portion, we see them offer blessings to the next generation. The tribes of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah conclude and we witness the blessing of the future. These benedictions are more substantive than a simple expression of “all the best.” The blessings specifically reflect the uniqueness of each person being blessed. These hallowing words offer guidance and support, empowering hope for the tomorrows and years ahead.
The Board of Directors and I are excited to share that we are the recipients of a second grant this year. The first, a security grant from FEMA and this second one, from the Jim Joseph Foundation to expand our programming. I am grateful the Foundation accepted my grant proposal which will benefit our community. Even today, the current practice is to bless our children on Friday evenings with the words Jacob shares in this portion. May you be the finest person possible following the ways of Ephraim and Mensasseh.
This Friday evening, I will talk about the blessing and dynamism of Judaism as most defining of contemporary Jewish life. Please join us this coming for Friday evening for a pre-neg at 5:30, service at 6:00 followed by an Oneg.
Shalom U’veracha-Peace and Blessings.
Rabbi Mark Kula
We're trying something a little different at Beth Shalom for the new year and new decade. On Friday, January 10th, we will gather for a "pre-neg" (a pre-service oneg/reception) at 5:30pm. The Talmud says that prayers are more enjoyable when said with food in one's belly (okay, it doesn't actually say that but it should). We'll start with a few Kabbalat Shabbat songs (the beginning part of a Shabbat service) in the dining room, then transition to the sanctuary at 6:00 for candle lighting and the rest of the service. Before you can say "Shabbat Shalom!" we'll be feeding you again at our post-service oneg, generously sponsored by the Mansfield family. Come join us and let us know what you think of this format.
The Auch family invites the congregation to celebrate Reyna's Bat Mitzvah on January 18th at 10:00am. Reyna has some wonderful insights on her Torah portion, which includes the story of Moses encountering the burning bush. A kiddush lunch will follow the service.
We have a few spots left for our Security Training on January 15th from 12-4pm. Our goal is to train as many affiliates as possible to cultivate an aware, empowered, and safe community. We encourage all Beth Shalom affiliates to sign up for a training here.
L'heet'ra'ot (see you soon),
Cantorial Soloist/Program Director
► We are excited to institute the new URJ High Holiday prayer book called Mishkan HaNefesh - Sanctuary of the Soul. Congregations around the country are embracing this new edition of our ancient prayers blended with contemporary insights. You are invited to be part of this project as we are offering the opportunity for you to dedicate a prayer book in honor of a milestone, birthday, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or wedding, or in memory of a loved one. Your prayer book dedication will offset the cost of providing these books for Beth Shalom. A bookplate with your name will be placed inside the two-volume set for a tax-deductible contribution of $50. You can download the order form here.
► Here's an easy way to support Beth Shalom: shop on Amazon! When you want to order something, first visit smile.amazon.com, then select "Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman" as the organization you want to support. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to us. Thanks!
Letter from Rabbi Kula
Mazel Tov on uniting as Rabbi and community.
I am honored and delighted to join the Congregation Beth Shalom family and Bozeman community. These are exciting and challenging times. Let us take care of ourselves and others, nurture our relationships, and tap into profound Jewish wisdom. We will then surely thrive and be blessed.
L’heetraot- I look forward to seeing you soon!
Rabbi Mark H. Kula
Learn more about Rabbi Kula here.
Please see calendar for full list.
Congregation Beth Shalom is a place where affiliates of all ages come together to be a learning and spiritual community who joyfully pray together and celebrate Jewish history and tradition. We cultivate in our affiliates a lifelong connection to Judaism through the lens of the Reform and Renewal movements.