Rabbi's Message: February 2016

Rachel Gurevitz
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

Sharing experiences, building connections

Ask members of Congregation B'nai Shalom where their most meaningful connections in the congregation have taken place, and you'll hear many tell you about one or two specific, small group activities or programs that they got involved with, out of which deeper bonds of connection were made. For some, it is Brotherhood or Sisterhood. For others, it is the Book Group, Saturday morning Torah study, a group of parents who started off working together on the Early Childhood Committee, volunteers working together on our annual fundraiser, such as this year's Chocolate Ball, those who see each other almost monthly at Northborough Meals, or in conversation at our monthly Spiritual Journey Group meetings. We have a fair number of these small group opportunities to learn, talk, or do, but we are seeking to help more of our members connect in more ways. Coming soon (watch your email), we'll be organizing several monthly gatherings for interfaith families so parents can discuss and explore what comes after the "welcome" in Jewish community life. I'm interested in creating some different kinds of learning opportunities in the coming year that build on some common connections in our community -- perhaps bringing those who work in science and technology together to look at the intersection of those topics with Judaism. I'd like to help our 55+ members meet each other and form new groupings that provide social as well as Jewish cultural or educational activities to share with each other. One of the things we hear from many who check us out on our website or who come and visit is that they are so impressed by the number of activities and programs we provide at B'nai Shalom. Yes, we do provide a lot -- more than many congregations twice our size with staffs twice our size. It keeps us busy and it keeps our building buzzing with activity. Our community-wide offerings for Shabbat and festivals, youth group events, social events, and social action events are all vitally important to the multi-generational, cross-communal connections that we hope our members will make with each other. At the same time, we are committed to facilitating small group activity and helping congregants find other like-minded congregants to gather together to share commonalities or interests that we may not have yet provided for. Our core staff is limited and cannot be present for or provide for all of those possibilities, but we can help you find each other and support your ideas. That is how a forthcoming interfaith family gathering came about -- the idea of a congregant who knew that there must be others with similar experiences and questions in our community. If I can help others form bonds in small-group settings between congregants seeking to learn, explore, and connect around common themes, please be in touch so that we can discuss your ideas and see if we can help you bring them to fruition.

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

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