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Rabbi's Message

As I write this message, the 2018-19 programming year at Beth Hillel has culminated in some wonderful events and achievements. And now summer has finally come.  For many of us, summer is a time to recharge and enjoy life at a somewhat slower pace; to spend time outside; to treasure more time with family, be it at home or on a special vacation.  We’ve been waiting for summer for all of these reasons, and now it is finally here.

We are thrilled that many of our children go to Jewish camp in the summer, but some may associate summer as a time to take a break from Jewish life. Our BSBH religious school is on vacation; there no major holidays until the end of September this year (see elsewhere in this issue for dates of holiday services); and, yes, even the rabbi spends some time away from the Temple.  Even so, Beth Hillel will have much to offer during the summer months, and we have planned some special events and opportunities for the whole family.

For families with kids, summer can be a great time to focus in on Jewish life.  The hectic rush of weekdays- school, after school activities, homework, and weekend commitments to further activities, gives way to a more relaxed schedule.  Even those of us without kids at home are may have a more open schedule this summer. This can be a time to start a regular Shabbat practice or streaming movies with Jewish themes.  What books are you taking on vacation this year? Check your local library, your audiobooks account, or E-reader subscription for Jewish titles that take you into an area of Jewish life or history that you have always wanted to know more about.  When you go to a new city, check out a synagogue or Jewish museum there.

And if you are staying home this summer, please take note that we have planned some new and interesting opportunities at the temple.  In addition to attending summer festivals, concerts, and games, find some time to enjoy “Popsicle Shabbat,” “Pet Shabbat,” or “Ravinia Nights” at BHT, along with the ever popular services in the BHT backyard all summer long.  (See information below.) (And now, if it’s too hot or it rains, we have the option of our air-conditioned sanctuary!)

Add our congregational “Book Read” selection to you reading list:  “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” will be discussed at Beth Hillel on August 6.  (See below.) And we will have a “Lunch and Learn” on the topic of B’nai Mitzvah for gender non-conforming kids. (Dates below)  Don’t forget that Torah Study continues every first and third Shabbat on Saturday morning. There will be an outing or two for Temple Tots at local parks, TBA.   With the help of teen ozrim, I will be offering Hebrew lessons for youth. If you have not signed up, you still can. Please Email me directly.

In addition, this is a great time to get involved in a temple committee or task force.  Our strategic plan will get underway; the Ritual Committee, Social Action Committee, and Adult Education Committee will be planning for the fall. Please give me a call if you are interested. Talk to me or Todd Letven if you would like to help plan our school programming.  We always are in need of teachers. We will have two visibility events to try to make more folks aware of BHT-- one in Kenosha and one in Gurnee. We need volunteers. Speak to Membership Committee Chairperson, Ben Goldstein.

This summer, make Beth Hillel part of your summer enrichment and enjoyment.  As Rabbi Hillel said in Pirke Avot: “Do not say, when I have leisure, I will study, for you may never have any leisure.” (Pirke Avot 2:5) And, I would add, if you are fortunate to have some leisure, fill it with Jewish learning and growing.

Rabbi Dena A. Feingold

Tue, September 17 2019 17 Elul 5779