It seems like each week, a new challenge is presented to us. Something new to test our empathy, our capacity to give, our humanity. Last week, I was reflecting on what it means to be human, in Jewish terms. Things seem so different in our world and in our country right now. It’s hard to accept change. Sometimes it’s appropriate not to accept the change and to resist it. Sometimes it’s about finding new ways to show your own humanity in the face of confusion, frustration, and conflict.

kindnessThis week, we got to see a different kind of fear and challenge in our area. The country’s tallest dam seemed poised to fail. We have mudslides all over the roads to our beloved Lake Tahoe. Although these natural disasters may not be effecting us directly – none of us have had to evacuate – they are definitely effecting our loved ones. I’ve heard of many people housing relatives and friends, sending aid to shelters, helping in any way that they can. These are the times when we are reminded that all politics aside, we really do care about each other on a fundamental level. We may not agree with different beliefs that others hold, but when people are in need, we help.

We have families within our own temple community who need help. Sometimes we get so insulated that we don’t realize that even our own small community is a pretty fair cross-section of needs. We provide resources to many people for food, gas, social services and simple friendship. For those who have needs, we are here to help. For those who do not have specific needs but might have the capacity to give a little more, please consider doing so. Below are a few ways that you can make a difference in the lives of a congregational family.

  1. Donate items to the food closet – pastas and cereals go quickly
  2. Invite a family over for Shabbat – if you would like ideas of families to connect with, please email me!
  3. Join the Mitzvah Committee – they do wonderful things in our community to help those who are less mobile or are home bound. Contact Vivian Marguleas ( for more information.
  4. Adopt a grandparent! We have more seasoned members in our community who would love to connect with a younger family. If you don’t have grandparents nearby, or simply have room in your family for more, let me know!
  5. Support our mitzvah projects! The 1st and 2nd grade are collecting items to give to poor for Purim – food, clothing, blankets, are all welcome!
  6. Contribute to our scholarship fund or the Educator Discretionary fund. Our scholarship fund helps students come to our religious school and go to camp in the summer. My discretionary fund allows me to provide gas, incidentals and fresh food to families in need.

No matter what you have the capacity for, even just a little bit of giving can make a huge difference in the life of our congregation. Or if you are someone who needs a little extra help, please reach out to us. We want to wrap our arms around you and create a safe space for you to belong.

++++++++++ Announcements ++++++++++

Today, Wednesday, February 15 @6:30pm – Hebrew School and Teen OR

Friday, February 17th @ 6pm – Tot Shabbat

Saturday, February 18th @ 10am – Bat Mitzvah of Emily Mastman

Sunday, February 19th – NO SCHOOL

Wednesday, February 22nd – NO HEBREW SCHOOL

Sunday, February 26th

  • @9am – Religious School – Different Ability Awareness Day – we will be learning about different abilities and how it is important to include everyone.
  • @10am – Or Rishon Women Think Tank Meeting – Join us to find out how you can be a part of this wonderful group of women.

Spring Camp at Camp Newman March 17 – 19 – Early Bird Registration ends TONIGHT. Open to all 2nd through 5th graders. There is a bus from B’nai Israel that will take your kids to and from camp. We already have 6 kids going to this fabulous weekend. Sign yours up to join them! Click Here to register.

++++++++++ Religious School Update ++++++++++

I’m sorry for the super short update this week. We had a great camp showcase with camps from our area and southern California sharing about their incredible programs. If you want more information, here is the contact info for each of the camps. Their websites contain all that you need to know as well as cool videos to show your kids.

Wilshire Boulevard Camps – Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop – down in Malibu, CA!

Camp Newman – Outside of Santa Rosa – Transportation available from B’nai Israel in Sacramento.

Camp Tawonga – Outside of Yosemite National Park – Transportation available from the Bay Area.

6 Points Sports Academy – In Los Angeles –

6 Points Sci-Tech Academy – Outside of Boston, MA –

In addition to our camp showcase, our PreK- 3rd grade students made some really cool “stained glass” framed artwork this week. PreK/Kinder learned more about Tu B’shevat. Our 1st and 2nd grade students took home a selection of the fruits and nuts that we traditionally eat on Tu B’shevat. Our 3rd grade students are learning more about responsibility and giving.

Our 4th and 5th grade class completed their mitzvah project by delivering the items to the Placer SPCA animal shelter in Roseville.

6th and 7th were able to spend time practicing their Hebrew and discussing the meaning of the prayers.

Please remember, I am always welcoming of feedback regarding our programming. I love to hear your ideas for ways we can continue to improve.