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Visiting and Meeting with Members

Dear Friends at Congregation B’nai Israel,

I hope this message finds you well. I am entering my fourth week in Duke City. I am slowly learning its charms and meeting lots of people.

Visiting and Meeting with Members 

I realize that in the next few weeks I will need to cut down my visits with congregants as I prepare for High Holiday services. Thank you for your understanding. I plan to resume visits and begin a series of kaffeeklatsches to meet members.

Thank you to the Koffler, Negin-Foley, and Bobrick households for volunteering to host. I am still looking for more hosts for the months of November and December.

Please let me know If you know of members who don’t have mobility or those who could use a visit sooner than later. I do hope to meet everybody, either in a group setting or one on one by the end of the year.

My goal with these meetings is to build relationships with the members, learn the history of the congregation, and to give an opportunity for congregants to speak about their own history and aspirations for the congregation.

By the end of this year I will reflect on what I have learned from meeting members and will work with leadership to make recommendations for improving our congregational life. Please don’t hesitate to take initiative to set up a meeting with me after Yom Kippur.

I make appointments for afternoons on Tuesday through Thursday. I am also flexible to accommodate your schedule.

Please use my CBI email ([email protected]) to reach me. You are also able to leave me messages at my extension (x102) when you call the synagogue at (505) 266-0155.

Adult Jewish Learning 

I invite members and people in the community to attend my Saturday morning study gatherings, Getting Ready for the Fall Festivals, at 8:30 am in my study.

This week we will explore and discuss the famous Unetaneh Tokef prayer (where we ask, Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?). My aim in this study gathering is to give people a more meaningful experience of the holidays and to discover the profound insights embedded in the liturgy of the holidays.

After the holidays, I plan to setup Hebrew classes and a synagogue skills class for those wanting to contribute to our community worship as a Torah Reader, Service Leader, or Darshan (giving a Torah teaching at services). I also met with Harvey Buchhalter and support his effort to resume the monthly Jewish learning accompanied by a meal. More on that during the holidays.

Conversion and Reconnecting to Jewish Life

I am working on a process for conversion to Judaism that will start after the holidays. If you are considering conversion to Judaism or just want to study basic Judaism, please contact me to make an appointment so I can know of your interest.

Invigorating Worship Services

I have taken steps to enliven our worships services. At Shabbat morning services I add brief commentary about the prayers to make them more meaningful.

This Shabbat, instead of a Davar Torah, I will give a running commentary on the portion, aliyah by aliyah, to make the Torah reading more engaging. I am also working to both recruit more Torah readers and service leaders while at the same time improving their quality. Please let me know if you would like to contribute to the worship with your participation.

A Community Tashlich at CBI on Rosh Hashanah

My hope is to have a congregation Tashlich on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah in the afternoon. I would love to host a beautiful and brief service near a body of water to symbolically cast away our sins. We are working on a time and place. Everyone in the congregation is invited to this beautiful ritual. More in my next message.

An Amazing Jewish Group Singing Opportunity

I am going to for the 4th year in a row to the Rising Song Intensive in New York City with Joey Weisenberg from December 22-25th. If you love Jewish music and you love to sing – this is the most amazing and spiritually fulfilling experience.

I would love ABQ Jews to join me to experience this wonderful gathering. The more of us who go, the more we can bring back this wonderful Jewish music to the community. Please feel free to call to me to learn more about the Rising Song Intensive.

I wish each and every one of you a Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah.

Rabbi Dov Gartenberg

Rabbi Dov