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Ta Shema: November 26, 2021

Gratitude abounds. On a personal note, I am grateful to have been chosen yet again by the beautiful community that has become my family. It is my honor to have my contract extended until June 2023. It has been an honor and a privilege so far serving you as Rabbi.

We are making baby steps towards normalcy regarding in-person gatherings, as we announced at the annual meeting. Starting December 3rd (Shabbat Hanukkah/Shabanukkah) we will resume kiddish and onegs. Masks will remain in place in services for the time being so that our services can remain as safe as possible while allowing individuals to opt into the unmasked dining spaces afterward. If there is not a spike in Covid cases after Thanksgiving, we will relax mask requirements as of January 1, 2022. We will keep you updated.

We have many exciting events for Hanukkah upcoming, so please follow this link for the full list. I want to highlight our 8th night of Hanukkah party. On December 5th, like the Maccabees, we will have a shul clean-up day of service from 1-4 pm. As we return to using the building to full capacity and congregants and guests start spending time outside of our gorgeous sanctuary, let’s make the rest of our building something to be truly proud of. All abilities will be accommodated—from paper sorters to heavy lifters. At 3:30 pm, our young families will join me outside for a Hanukkah song session. At 4 pm, we will gather together in the social hall for latkes, donuts, gelt, drinks, and perhaps a healthy food item or two. At 5:30 we will light the menorah for the final night of Hanukkah. Please come and make this first Hanukkah party in two years something to remember.

Looking ahead to 2022, let’s take another step towards normalcy and go on a short congregational outing to Myrtle Beach! Violins of Hope, a concert that is played entirely on reclaimed violins, violas, and cellos played by Jews during the Holocaust, will be taking up residence in South Carolina. I am in discussion with the organizers about bringing a group down together to attend this moving concert. The date is April 24 at 4 pm, the Sunday before Yom Hashoah. Please email me if you are interested and a more formal email with information will go out later.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rabbi Bender

Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782