We honor creativity, Bezalel, the master artisan in Exodus, this Shabbat with Artist in Residence Martin Lemelman, sharing his creativity and art with us as we explore our creativity Friday night and Sunday morning. We also kick off our Temple Israel Community Conversations Campaign with small group sessions, setting appointments for individual conversations and sending the online survey form to members to share your stories, perspectives, and insights with us to chart our congregational path. Please join with us. Shabbat Shalom!

AIR social We conclude the book of Exodus this Shabbat. The Israelites came together to give gifts from their hearts for the materials to build the Mishkan, its furnishings, the High Priest’s clothing, and items to be used in service to God. While the instructions came from God through Moses, two other Israelites, Bezalel, and Oholiab, had the skill, ability, and knowledge to create everything with the assistance of many artisans and builders. The Israelites contributed the raw materials, and those with the skills created the items. Bezalel and Oholiab oversaw their work and were able to put it all together. In this week’s portion, the community gathered to dedicate the Mishkan and install Aaron and the other Priest. This Shabbat, in the spirit of Bezalel and Oholiab, we honor those with gifts of creating art of telling stories in different ways and will explore our gifts in this context. Martin Lemelman is our Artist in Residence this weekend, speaking at Shabbat Services and sharing his world of illustration, art, and graphic novels with us, including visual presentations at the Shabbat dinner and Sunday morning. In her book The World Needs Beautiful Things, Leah Berkowitz honors Bezalel’s gift of seeing beauty in things others might discard or dismiss. We honor our different abilities and perspectives, which, when brought together, can create new possibilities. On Sunday morning, Martin will meet with TIFTY, the confirmation class, and others interested in unlocking your creativity. 

When we finish reading a book of the Torah, we say, “Hazak, hazak v’nithazek - Be strong, be strong, let us find strength in each other.” In this final portion of Exodus Pekude, all the people come together to celebrate, consecrate, and give thanks to God when their work on this project is complete. They continue their journey through the wilderness with the Mishkan in their midst and God’s presence guiding them by a cloud of smoke or pillar of fire.

listeningThis is an opportune time for Temple Israel to kick off our Community Conversations Listening Campaign this weekend with our first group Community Conversations on Sunday afternoon. A second group will be on Zoom soon after. We will also schedule one-on-one conversations on Zoom or in person for the next few weeks. Everyone who is a Temple Israel or Temple Israel Sisterhood member will receive the Community Conversations Survey in your inbox shortly. Please share your stories, perspectives, and insights with us as we chart the congregation's next steps together. We are greater than the sum of our parts and value you sharing your experiences and thoughts. We use the preferences indicated from the participation survey results for this next step.

Contact Rabbi Barbara if you have questions about the Community Conversations Campaign and want to be involved.