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3 Av 5780/ July 24, 2020 

07/24/2020 09:50:43 AM



Dear Friends,
There is one thing that I learned about being a Rabbi and serving Synagogues throughout my 15 years of hands-on work in synagogue life,  that I didn’t really know before I entered the rabbinate, and that is, that building a sacred community is complicated, hard work and a very demanding constant. I am reminded of this truth this week as our wonderful President Jim Rubin has decided to step down and pass the intensity of the work onto the next in line. He has gone up and above in his generosity and commitment to Temple B’rith Shalom and we are grateful beyond words.
Creating a sacred environment is a full time job. It’s like driving a car, you cannot take your eyes off the road for even a second. Jim has done such a fabulous job. I am eternally grateful for his kind support of my new rabbinate here and his willingness to put in the time required to insure a positive transition. These past nine months have been jam-packed, emotionally intense, gratifying beyond words and have set the stage for a successful future for Temple B’rith Shalom. I am so grateful to Jim for facilitating all of the above.
I do believe that there are indeed hidden pressures from Covid-19 that are  amplifying all of our jobs and the sense of urgency to serve in a way that harms no one and helps everyone. It is quite a heavy weight to carry. Jim did it beautifully and I for one, have on the top of my list, once we are allowed to come back together in real time, to throw a joyous party to celebrate his hard work, commitment and relentless effort on behalf of this community.
Thank goodness he will not be far away and hopefully he will take some time to rest up, visit with his family and re-JEW-vinate!
Jim, we all appreciate your fine efforts on behalf of this community. Your gifts have been invaluable. I know that Trudy steps up as the President now strengthened by the work that you have done. We appreciate you both so very much!



This Shabbat we are beginning the 5th book of the Torah, Deuteronomy or Devarim and that word means both “things” as well as “words”.
This beautiful book of the Torah is a recap of all of the important things that have come in the four books before it. It is Moses on his death bed, worrying about what to say so we will listen, how to pass on this majestic heritage in a way that will stick and travel well through the ravages of time.
For us,  this shabbat, perhaps we can think of our own words as the building blocks to the values and ethics that are the very point of Judaism and the passion of Moses,  who is preparing to die and so afraid we will lose our way.  We can start by using our words to show gratitude in this world. Words are energy and every time you speak you add or detract from the sacred nature of existence.  Quantum physics will show this to be true. Please express your heart and souls gratitude to your loved ones, to your friends, to the people working at Sprouts, to Jim for all of his effort, to Trudy for stepping up. Gratitude that stays undercover silently in your heart is wasted. The world needs to hear goodness so that it can shift the energy level of our world. Here’s the clue, when we speak words of kindness, love and gratitude, we are raising the energetic frequency around us. When we gossip, harbor hatreds and fume inside, we lower the frequency around us. It is all about the raising up of goodness. So speak your words out loud and watch goodness grow. 



I had a wonderful drive-by visit this week with Ferne Zabezensky. What a sweet visit, good conversation and I got to see all of her creative endeavors of art that she is constantly making for the world. She has promised a Shabbat challah cover for the school and I can tell you that we are going to cherish it. Thank you Ferne!!!!

I also had a religious School meeting with Arlene Brownie in the car in the parking lot of Pruitts, as we were there to shop for the furniture for our One Room Shul House. I want to explain a bit, our school’s facility is the Temple, we will pray in the sanctuary, learn Torah in the sanctuary and do art in the social hall. This new space that I wanted to create is going to be called the HEART CENTER of Temple B’rith Shalom’s Religious school. We will begin our days together there around the table lighting Shabbat candles, or ending class with Havdalah, we will have special guests visit us there, we will learn Hebrew and share family programing there, but it will not look like a regular classroom, this is the home-room, it will look like a loving, welcoming and nurturing home-space, as this is the future of Judaism and synagogue life. Our school will be thoroughly committed to experiential Judaism, in other words we will LIVE Judaism, instead of learn about Judaism. We will make it our own through experiences of joy, learning and walking the Jewish walk instead of talking the Jewish talk. We can’t wait to show it off. This is definitely a new chapter for our little precious school.

The One Room Shul House is right now in formation. The dream is filled to overflow with images of joyous community coming together, the children, the teens, the 20 somethings, all of us as one, united family. Please let anyone you know with children, that we are building a beautiful sacred space for our school. And then please call either Jessica, Arlene Brownie or Rabbi Julie and let us get you connected in.

Next month we will be reaching out with drive-by orientations, and then one by one heart home visits to our new space and then Zooming until we can get back to each other in person. Call us if you have a child of any age. We’ve got the perfect soulful spot for them to learn and grow in.

Thank you to Suzanne Ehrlich who has begun to make one of my dreams come true, I have always wanted to deliver challahs to my congregants but never had someone to bake them and that changed last week. Suzanne is delivering 4 baked challahs every week or two that I can deliver to my beloved congregants. What a blessing! Thank you Suzanne!! And if someone especially wants a challah, please call your Rabbi and I will make it happen!



How fabulous it is for me to share with you news of another new family to join Temple B’rith Shalom. Help me welcome Donna and Jerry Rittenhouse who have recently moved from Phoenix to Chino Valley.

Donna and Jerry have two beautiful daughters and four amazing grandchildren. Two boys and two girls who are the light of their lives (we can relate). They all reside in Phoenix. Alexis 19, Eli 13, Ari 10, and Ziva 6. They also have furry kids too that live with them, a Golden Retriever, Rumor and three cats Jazz, Blue and Puss. Jerry is a retired chef who worked for 19 years at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale. Donna is still working as a Data Analyst at Peoria Unified School District in Phoenix. They are such lovely people and I couldn’t be happier than to welcome them into our sweet TBS family. Please reach out and make them feel welcomed.

On Wednesday the 29th of July, Tisha B’Av will be ushered into the world.

What is this day of darkest mourning?
The 9th of AV
What is this day of fasting and tears, for what do we cry? For what do we mourn?

Here we are once again at this memory stop along the way of Jewish life. Tisha B’Av is the darkest day of the Jewish year. It is for traditional Jews, a fast day, a day to look back and remember the indescribable suffering of our ancestors. It is a day to drown in sorrow. There seems to be an added variable this year as we sit in the middle of Covid-19. The waters are already filled with fear and trepidation. These are strange times. The question is, how do they rise up our rituals of memory? How do we transcend, that same old going through the motions of time? Time is different for us today than it was a year ago. Time is calling for us to understand it differently.

This year I am wondering about that intense look back into the pit of suffering and I am thinking about the ways in which our collective soul is impacted by that experience. Is there ever a time to let go of some memories, do they sometimes serve to reinjure? Does our tradition give us the freedom to make that determination. Is looking back into darkness ever a way towards light?

Please join me on Wednesday the 29th at 6pm on Zoom as we commemorate the haunting observance of Tisha B’Av. We will listen to the eerie words of Eicha and ponder the journey of how this tradition has taken throughout the history of time. Eicha means HOW? How can such a world be that contains so much pain and suffering? And I ask, HOW can we heal from that trauma if we refuse to let it go?
What can we illuminate about this dark day, what can we salvage? 

In 1938 two weeks after Kristallnacht, a Gallop poll asked Americans if America should resettle a large number of Jewish exiles from Germany. 72% of those polled said NO.

Friends, there is usually one of two default responses that people feel when confronted with vile statistics like this, one, many get mad and angry at the injustice of it all and their anger separates them into “us and them,” and the beautiful truth of life and humanities unity gets lost and petrified in distrust and coldness for the other. The other response is to say, no, not on my watch, not for me and not for anyone. If one’s going to choose anger, let it be a passionate righteous battle for justice. If one is going to choose righteous faith, let it spread its loving wings to all of humanity
If we do not sustain Justice, Justice will not sustain us
Frances Bacon

Please plan to join us this coming September for High Holiday Services with your Temple B’rith Shalom Community. At this time we are planning for services to be experienced VIA Zoom. If you are a member of TBS your invitation to connect will arrive by email and if you are a guest, please feel welcomed and reach out to Jessica in the office to make arrangements to be with us(Phone). All are welcomed to join in!

Friends, I am busy planning our services for the High Holidays and even though we are planning to Zoom our services we are still figuring out how to manage giving out Honor readings and aliyot to the Torah. It is a bit more challenging but all together possible. If any of you would like an honor during the High Holiday services, please hit the reply button and let me, Rabbi Julie, know as soon as possible. I am piecing the services together as we speak and would love to weave any of you who want a part into the services. Please remember that this will be my first High Holiday services with you so please reach out to me if you would like to participate so that I can sign you up! Thank you!



Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781