One thing we are, as a people, is resilient. At the mid-year meeting, I was amazed at how many people were talking about the good works they were doing and the opportunities to get involved. As we begin to emerge from our homes again, there are so many more opportunities to help. Want to get involved? Call the office to get contact information for the following committees: Social Action Committee, the Committee on Racism and Social Justice, the Israel Committee, the Religious Practices Committee, the Kitchen Committee, the CBA Book Club, the newly formed Men’s Club, the Facilities Committee, the Security Committee— to name a few. Want to help CBA? Congregation Beth Ami relies heavily on volunteerism to get tasks done. Don’t see something you want to do or have another idea or just want to do something on the fly? Give me a call. Write me. Let me know how you want to be involved.

As of this writing, we are on our second reopening of CBA after closing for a month. The office and library are now open 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The main building is open all weekdays and for Saturday morning services. Fortunately, with this last round of closing and opening the Nursery school has been able to remain open safely. My hat’s off to the teaching staff, Henry Cohn and the BACNS community for making this happen.

Prior to the pandemic few of us would have used a computer to attend webinars or on-line meetings with people from all over the world. For many years prior, even when we had a scholar in residence, very few lecture events were well attended. Now we can attend talks and in some cases see past recording on any topic we want. It’s not the same as face to face contact, and for some there will be no substitute, but it offers a world of learning. Many committees along with Rabbi Miller are now tasked with finding interesting topics through a Jewish lens. This involves a lot more work than people realize, so I thank all of you who continue to do this. Though we will do more face-to-face community activities, this new online world, this new way of connecting, gives us an opportunity to expand our learning.

Speaking of community activities, there is a live Purim Megillah reading on March 16th in the evening with lots of goodies to enjoy. The Nursery school will be having their own safe Purim event with parents, children and teachers in the CBA courtyard, too. And everyone young and old will have the opportunity to send and receive Shalach Manos for Purim. In addition, a Community Pesach Seder is being planned which is something we have not been able to do for two years. Check our weekly cybershul for more details and what safety measures we will have in place. As long as we can keep each other reasonably safe there is no reason we can’t have more community activities. As this pandemic becomes endemic and younger children can get vaccinated, we will figure out how to do that together.

Even bigger news is the two year contract we now have with Rabbi Miller that begins July 2022. We will have two more years to learn with our experienced and learned Rabbi. I hope all will take advantage of that opportunity. In the late fall we will start to evaluate the community’s Rabbinic needs and begin a search which is at minimum an eighteen month process. The board will also be looking at ways to bridge the Nursery school community to the Congregational community. More on the search committee to be announced this summer.

We have many other changes occurring too. A newly formed Bylaws Committee headed by Jerry Newman is reviewing and offering updates for the membership to consider. We are getting an upgrade on our shul software system to make the office run more smoothly and give more access to our membership to sign up for activities, make donations and get better notifications of holiday and life cycle events. Look for a mailing to each household in April/May on access and privacy information.

And there are the physical changes occurring on the campus as well. Deferred repairs are being done, a new safety garden gate in the courtyard has been installed and our landscape expert, Michael Shapiro, is making the campus more beautiful and safer. Come see the changes for yourselves.

There is one thing though that has not changed, and that is the love and care we have for each other. When we need to come together to celebrate, mourn or acknowledge, our community makes it possible to have a minyan, whether by Zoom or in person. I think we can all be grateful for that. With Ha Shem’s blessings may we continue to find ways to connect with each other through community, learning and prayer.

B’shalom, Barb McGee