Welcome to Congregation Beth Shalom! While we are all dealing the pandemic, we are committed to remaining connected as a community. Reach out to us and we will continue to stay in touch with you. For the time being, we will connect online, and we know that in the near future we will celebrate as a Jewish community in person.
Operating Protocols as of May 13, 2020
- The temple plans to continue virtual services and events for the foreseeable future under Phase 1 and 2 of the Governor’s reopening plans. This policy will be re-evaluated as the situation evolves.
- Staff is permitted to work in the temple building, or continue to work remotely, as they deem appropriate.
- Usage of the building by affiliates is to be limited. If an affiliate needs to use the building to meet with staff or to conduct other temple business, they must obtain prior authorization from Rabbi Mark Kula or Lisa Roots. No more than 10 people may be present in the temple at any given time, and 6 feet of social distance must be maintained between each person. We also require the use of facial masks if any individuals plan to interact in-person with other individuals while in the temple building.
- Lisa Roots is maintaining a Google Doc to track the plans and actions of any building users. If anyone plans to go to the temple, they should obtain the requisite authorization and contact Lisa Roots at 406-556-0528 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let Lisa know when they will be there, and what areas of the temple they plan to utilize. Cleaning supplies are available in the foyer of the temple. Immediately prior to exiting the temple, the building user (or the last building user if a group of 10 or less is present) should disinfect any surfaces that they touched during their visit, and use a wipe or paper towel sprayed with disinfectant to open the door to exit the building. Upon exiting, the building user should confirm to Lisa that this cleaning was done.
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Shalom from Rabbi Kula
July 3, 2020 – 11 Tammuz, 5780
Shalom Beth Shalom and Friends!
July 4th marks our nation’s 244th Anniversary of Independence. We celebrate the blessings of freedom as we continue working together to fulfill the noble aspirations of those who have brought us to this moment.
This Independence Day weekend, we have challenges ahead in dealing with COVID-19, blatant racism, severe inequities, difficult reckonings of our past, and ever-present divisiveness. Yet we will ever be hopeful on this Fourth of July, rejoicing in our potential and who we are.
As we celebrate, I pray for a refu’ah sh’leymah, wellbeing, to all those affected by this virus, extending prayers of comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Thank you to those on the front lines helping and healing these challenging times.
The Torah portions read this time of year tell of our ancestors’ struggles wandering through the wilderness, the Meedbar. They were free from the enslavement and narrowness of Egypt—essentially, an independent Israelite people. Yet they were unsatisfied, recalling an idealized yesteryear, yearning for better situations, demanding tastier food, calling for different leadership, and sadly, lacking faith. The desert was not easy. But we know the storyline: it was temporary. The ancient story features a “next chapter” of the promised land and a better era. This paradigm is repeated generation after generation. Today, a better era—a promised land—appears on the horizon, if we have faith and work diligently to make things better.
For two thousand years, Jewish tradition has guided us to pray for the country in which we live. With greater intention on this Independence Day, we recite a prayer for our country gleaned from several sources.
Source of all goodness, bless this country and all inhabitants.
Help us to see the blessings of our lives.
Let us be vigilant, compassionate, and brave
Strengthening us when we are afraid
Help us channel our anger and fear
towards hope, respect and acts of kindness.
Enable us to be generous, elevating us to better places,
So that we raise each other up.
Let us be sensitive to the vulnerable and those at greater risk,
For our holy work is to stand with them.
Help us taste the air of liberty
To not take for granted the freedoms past or the moment.
Help us heal and nourish our democracy in our challenging times.
Guide our leaders with righteousness
Strengthen their hearts but keep them from hardening
That they may use their influence and authority to speak wisely and act justly.
May every person in this country share its bounty, enjoy its freedoms and be protected by its laws.
May this nation use its power and wealth to be a voice for justice, peace and equality for all nations.
May we uproot bigotry, intolerance, misogyny, racism, discrimination and violence in all its forms
To celebrate the many faces of God reflected in the wondrous diversity of humanity
To welcome the broad other, honoring the gifts of those who seek refuge and offer possibility, so our future will know blessing and Shalom.
Shabbat Shalom Umevorach - Wishing you a Shabbat of blessing on this Independence Day Shabbat.
Rabbi Mark H. Kula
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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.