Friday, July 10th, 2020:
Our shabbat eblast here focuses on Judaic identity and menschlichkeit are perpetuated through learning engagement provided by our Religious School. We are a progressive school that caters to all Jews and those who seek a meaningful Jewish life, and yes, more so amidst a pandemic. In fact, at times of uncertainty, one of the things that we can count on is our unwavering commitment to each other and the immeasurable returns gained through being a part of our Jewishly Warm and Relevant synagogue community.
Friday, July 3rd, 2020:
Our Shabbat eblast here focuses on American Jewish Independence and how the Robertsons, our temple grandparents follow (and followed) lives of righteous American Jews, symbolizing Justice, Liberty and Freedom.
“This evening would have been an especially sweet Friday night in which Jan Robertson and Ron Robertson z”l would have enticed us with red strawberries, blue Jello and white ice cream sundaes, and not only in honor of Fourth of July. July 6th 2008 marked the wedding of our temple grandparents, at TBD, and since their 4th of July oneg of that year, their patriotic tradition of treating us in a festive decorated social hall, has made an annual mark on TBD. “Being American Jews”, is a proud statement of the Robertsons. That’s why they chose to marry at TBD, with the American dream represented in their oneg.”
Pictured are Jan Robertson and Ron Robertson z”l with their families in their Friday patriotic attire prior to their wedding. Date: July 4th, 2008.
Friday, June 26th, 2020:
Our Shabbat eblast focuses on our school calendar, the thematic themes and programming we envision for the new school year, starting with August 30th as the day we reconvene, and the way in which our learning has changed.
The internet has shifted Religious School learning from “drop off Judaism” (Rabbi Lachtman’s paraphrase!) to Jewish family education. From the corners of our homes, our hearts were touched with the dedication of our staff, the singing of Cantor Orly, the story telling of Miss Doris, the dynamics between our students, and the hills and valleys of Israel. Our school included family pet members, like the Cass’ family pet fish who shared moments of learning joy with Guinea Pig Caramel Stieglitz. We are physically apart, and yet we have profound our knowledge of each other.
Click here , or check your inboxes to read our Shabbat newsletter
, upcoming temple events, our 27 session religious school calendar, and how Guinea Pig Carmel got acquainted with the Cass family pet fish.
Friday, June 19th, 2020:
As our faces are partially disguised with protective gear, we ponder upon facial expressions behind masks. Children in particular, are the happiness of society, their smiles are a power force of infectious positivity, and their now masked expressions bring light to a new direction in which our society is understanding each other, and evolving. Our Religious School eblast this morning sheds light to the spectrum of emotions behind the COVID-19 protective mask, its impact on society, and indeed our Jewish world.
Click here, check your inboxes, or paste the link to our school Shabbat reading, upcoming community events, reading resources, and a tribute video to our school staff who we are the “huggers of our children, pre COVID-19”.
(Image credit: A Portrait Of Anonymity: Salman Khoshroo Artist Molds Emotive Faces From Smeared Paint.)
Friday, June 12th, 2020:
As in this week’s Torah portion, Beha’alotcha / פרשת בהעלתך, I humbly ask our congregational readership what Gd asks Moses: “Speak to Aaron and have him light the menorah so that the seven lights shall cast light.” Behind this analogy, what I imply really, and on behalf of our temple leadership, is that you accept our invitation to digitally meet as a congregation this coming Sunday, to communally hear about our past year, our current standing, and together decide upon our future.
Click on this link to your browser, or check your inboxes to read about the relation between this week’s Torah portion, our Sunday congregational meeting, our Judaic and civic duty to volunteer, and how it all ties together in us shaping the future of our children. (Image depicts a 6″ Ornate Menorah imported from Israel. “This Menorah has the symbols of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved on the Hexagon Base, this particular Menorah has painted color” and is found online at Olive Tree Bible.)
Friday, June 5th, 2020:
Not only has the Coronavirus taken the last breaths from so many of the world’s population, it seems as George Floyd’s last words of “I can’t breathe” have turned into a symbolic cry for justice in our society. We hear breathless cries extending far beyond the Minneapolis epicenter, all the way to Buffalo, across the oceans, even beyond London and Tel Aviv. Be it in the form of riots, anger, protests, rallies, signage, black profiles on social media, or cries, our society as a whole has stopped its breath.
Click here for our Shabbat newsletter about how our Rabbi Lachtman’s Priestly closing benediction sends us a message of hope during these challenging societal times, in addition to statements about the world current affairs from our clergy, upcoming story time this afternoon, reading resources, TBD happenings and more.
The multitude of spiritual and agricultural ideas behind celebrating Shavuot bring forth the unity of the Chosen People, as we sure can find elements within the Holy Day that relate to us. The fact is, that as the Torah was passed to us, it is said that all proclaimed “Naase Venishma”, we will do and we will listen. No exception, no argument, and as a whole. Be it through a grappling story of the shaking of a mountain, the humanity within the commandments, a sweet dairy family meal, or a beautiful Flower Arrangement, our customs bring us together, with the idea that both Torah, and harvesting, are part of our Jewish Survival.
Click here for our Shabbat religious school eblast about our upcoming services, religious school events, recipes (Cheesecake anyone?), a word of compassion about our current affairs, and more.
To make a difference means to move mountains, one mountain grain at a time, in a collaborative effort. Some grains are brown, some beige, white, sweet, salty, or bittersweet. Some are harder to move or find, while others glisten!
I started my mountain moving as a child, a few decades ago, when I was asked by our neighbors, back in my Israel living days, to care for their puppy. I realized then, that children are mighty! When children are entrusted with responsibilities, they can feed the hungry, nurse and nurture even those who do not converse in human language. A child’s empowerment, I was convinced, was a tool for making a difference.
Click here, for our Shabbat newsletter from our Religious School, along with updates on current happenings, 101 on Shavuot and Lag BaOmer, class with psychologist Dr. Bill Salzman, last session of the year, Torah learning, and more.
Even at the height of her power, “Golda”, as she was affectionately called, retained her warmth and informality. She looked like a kindly Jewish grandmother, with her craggy face, baggy suits, orthopaedic shoes and old-fashioned handbag, but this homely exterior masked a pugnacious personality, a burning ambition, monumental egocentrism and an iron will. Now doesn’t that say something about mothers?
Click here to read about how Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister became The mother of the Nation, her attributes as the Iron Lady of the Middle East, and why we chose her as our subject topic for Mothers Day.
A whirlwind of emotions covered the Land from the moment of Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s initial psychological speech, together with the President, Reuven Rivlin’s words of hope to the Nation. The faces of Israel changed from fear of loneliness of seniors, anxiety of not having enough food, chagrin at not seeing loved ones during Passover, sorrow of losing a Holocaust survivor and not to old age, to hopeful tears of joy as a sure and lasting recovery of the Land is pending to be, oh please Gd, tomorrow announced.
Read here, or check your inboxes, to find out how our school celebrated Israel’s 72 years, how Israel is on its way to recovery from COVID-19, how the faces of Israel bring forth the many ways to convey “I am Israel”, and how our tears of sorrow and fear will turn to tears of joy, as we await an announcement of full recovery to the Land, oh please Gd, tomorrow.
Some years ago, a Tel Aviv ribbon Bauhaus Movement inspired balcony portrayed an Israeli flag, and a young couple with a modest smile, a cigarette (I think) in hand, and house plants. It was a typical Tel Aviv pre Yom Ha’atzmaut scene, only with one harsh difference- the purity symbolizing white of the flag was ripped.
Might this have been a political statement against the white symbolism? Annulation of patriotism? A social propagation against the shield of David? A shout for help? A wake up call? Or a mere natural phenomenon of forceful hail that has no moral ethics, but still aims for destruction? Our Shabbat eblast newsletter￼ is up online and presents an array of discussion topics for our religious school and beyond readership.￼ Check your inboxes, or click here for updates from us, the meaning of the flag, Yom Ha’atzmaut, COVID19 news as they pertain to animals, our upcoming Israel bus tour, and more.
(Photo credit This is Tel Aviv)
Our Shabbat newsletter focuses on resilience of children during quarantined time, and how we, as adults should learn from children to build strength as a coping tool during trying times. Dear grownups, in those tearful and fearful sieged moments, let children teach you to rely on imagination. Let your thoughts fall back in time, indulge in a dream getaway vacation, collect nature’s gifts and create a collage of Spring awakening, pile your thoughts into Candy Land, and realize, that this is a childish coping tool that will invite Thing 1 and Thing 2, and maybe, even, The Cat in the Hat.
The rabbinical authorities at the Western Wall, or Kotel, engage in the cleaning of the holiest site in Judaism at this time. Wailing notes with prayers, oaths, and laments are extracted from the crevices of the ancient stone, bagged, and buried in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, in a specified orthodox funeral service.
This year marked an additional cleaning procedure for the Wall, given the COVID-19 health related directives. Observers at the kotel were rabbinically instructed not to congregate or form a miniyan for prayer around the kotel, not to physically contact the wall, embrace, nor kiss it. Lamenting traditions of 2500 years at the divine site in Judaism ceased as the world shut down.
Where is this taking us? What have we learned about ourselves? And society? Have we gotten closer to our inner selves and our neighbors? Are we heading into a more advanced digital epoch? Have we better learned to live with uncertainty? Or need we clarify those answers once we are liberated? We’ll know, I guess, next year. Next year, in Jerusalem!
Germany’s senior citizen COVID-19 related fatality rates is relatively low, as is the high availabilities of hospital beds and medical staff. Israel was proclaimed to be amongst the safest countries, given the strict lockdown procedures, and the Italian Alfred Landecker Foundation has pledged a million Euros to support Holocaust survivors during the coronavirus pandemic, so that they do not fear isolation, and their lives, as in their Shoah past.
Rimini citizen 101 year old “Mr. P.” (pictured) brings glimpses of hope. He was tested positive for corona, and beat the deadly virus. He is no stranger to facing hardships, as he also beat the Spanish flu in the early 1900s and survived The Holocaust.
Click here for this Friday’s newsletter about our latest happenings, zoom school links, funeral service this morning, and more from TBD Religious School.
“I saw it on the Zoom screen this Sunday past, at our innovative religious school digital session. I felt it in the dedication of parents who patiently sat by their children’s side, encouraging their Jewish education. I saw Aviva waving her arms in song to the tune of “Wash Your Hands”, I watched Justine sweetening her family Charoset to Lindy’s cooking enrichment, I sensed pride in Ellie introducing her pet fish to her class mate Hannah, Rabbi Lachtman counted 200 or so conversational chats amongst our emerging learners, and I’ll never forget the beam of light reflected in Miss Doris’ eyes as she virtually embraced our students with that passionate teacher love.” All this was in the shadow of the miracle of the communal coming together of TBD religious school.” https://conta.cc/2UnOba8
This Shabbat Newsletter presents an open letter to our students:
Dear 2020 students,
Please journal these historical days.
Pick up a pen, a pencil, a marker, or a crayon, and journal these days. Draw pictures, jot down your emotions, document your experiences, highlight your thoughts, graph the evolving curve, and compile your childhood memories in writing. Put down those electronic devices for a brief moment in quarantined time to relay these memories of your youth. Your childhood and you are making history.
Click here for the full letter, a message from our Rabbi, our upcoming temple programming, words of strength and encouragement, and how we plan to move forward in this brief moment in time when the world is shutting down.
Late last night, our board of directors teleconferenced, and confirmed the immediate suspension of all our temple programming, including our religious school, until further notice, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. An official note from our president Michael Adelman, will be released within hours.
To read what that might entail, Jewishly, and within our school, click here.
On Purim we dress up to identify with Queen Esther’s heroism, in the Torah, the Priests dressed up to show their magnificence in their spiritual role. Either way, and in our daily lives, we dress to be in a mode of living. We dress to make a statement, to put ourselves in the shoes of a hero, to idealize, and/or to be that something, or someone we always wanted to be. When we put on a pair of flip flops, we enter a beach mode, when we put on a suit and tie, we possibly strive to be our authoritative, formal selves. Click here to read our Shabbat religious school eblast about how this week’s Tetsaveh Torah portion relates to #Purim, how we plan to celebrate the holiday at Religious school, and other TBD happenings.
In Parashat Terumah / פרשת תרומה Gd asks the Israelites to build Him a home, or a mishkan. If Gd is everywhere, however, why does He convey that He needs a home? Why does He instruct our people to build Him this home? And why does it need to be adorned with gold, silver, marble, olive oil, spices and gems? Terumah continues with Gd’s instructions: “Let them build me a sanctuary that I may dwell in them”, meaning those building His home. It is not the building Gd is concerned with, but the Israelite builders. The construction of the mishkan turned into a group communal project. Every person was to contribute gold, wood, marble, oil, and more. Together, they would not only build the sanctuary, but a collection of contributions. It was the fact that it was built out of the gifts of “everyone whose heart prompts them to give” (Ex. 25:2) that defined Gd’s home. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Rabbi Sacks affirms, “Where people give voluntarily to one another and to holy causes, that is where the divine presence rests.”
(Illustration by our religious school student in learning about the structure and ritual objects in the sanctuary.)
1 in 5 children who suffer from hunger in our nation. Sofia and Maddi are best friends, even though they have differences. When Sofia opens the refrigerator door at Maddi’s house, she discovers a difference- Maddi has only milk in the fridge, which, though her stomach is growling from hunger, saves the drink for her hungry brother.
We’ll be collaborating with PJ Library Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys and the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys in a hands on experiential learning activity to find out about childhood hunger, and how we can help Make A Diffference. Click here to read our newsletter, upcoming events, Purim plans, Shabbaton (have you enrolled yet?), Torah portion learning, and more.
Friday, February 14th, 2020:🇺🇸 🌳🇺🇸🌳
Pictured here are Presidents Barack Obama and Shimon Peres שמעון פרסp lanting a #MagnoliaTree in Beit Hanassi – President’s Residence in Israel’s capital Jerusalem, Israel. We chose this image as a transition between Tu Bishvat, the holiday of the trees, and Presidents Day coming up! Our Shabbat newsletter includes examples of world leaders who planted flora in The Residence of the President of Israel as a mark of planting seeds of peace amongst world leaders and the countries they represent.
Rabbi Alan Lachtman joked with us at last Ulpan Shabbat family dinner when offered a Thin Mint cookie, by one of our young families. The 63 cookies he consumed, he shared with the mom, had not made him thin, so why should he eat yet another? Well, making us thin might not be the objective, but paving the way for a young girl like Samantha to carry a service and take action to change the world certainly is!
Read here about the mission of Girl Scouts, why we are partnering with them at Temple Beth David, the social service behind this Sunday’s Girl Scout cookie sales, and more from TBD religious school
Far too often we dismiss the goodness in a person, a critter, a plant, or a Slice of Life. Take for example the earth worm. The wiggly creature is not something most of us think about regularly. It is covered in dirt, burrows underground, camouflaged in its habitat, not the loudest of creatures, and well, slimy. I suppose that’s why it is rarely given a second thought, or an “ewwww” kind of comment in passing.
The prompted “worm” lesson at religious school last Sunday was that of appreciation, looking around in wonderment, and realizing that the tiniest and dirtiest of creatures, or analogically life experiences, can be impactful. Hidden truths and talents is another lesson to remember. Digging metaphorically in the ground, can be that lesson. In the case of the worm, it can be impactful to the level of the quality of the plant based food we eat because the soil our plants grow from is enriched thanks to the worm.
We at religious school expose your children to Jewishly relevant experiences for a mere 3 hours on Sundays, 27 sessions a year. That’s really not much. In fact, it is very little. That’s why we encourage further Judaic exposure through temple life and beyond. We believe the latter to include Jewish summer camps. This includes sleepaway camps since this is a frame were campers are without parents, living an exclusive Jewish life, making new friends with a diverse group of children, all in light of Jewish values. The fun and diverse experiences are lifelong remembered as the positive Judaic experiences we wish to perpetuate to our children, ledor vador.
(Picture depicts Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys Shabbaton campers at Camp Mountain Chai last year)
I have a dream for our school and beyond. I have a dream that intergenerational experiences perpetuate those memories of those who made history. As Martin Luther King Jr. proclaims in his speech, “we are not makers of history, we are made by history.”
Find out how we at religious school perpetuated the dream of Eli, Lindy, those who came before us, those who we honored as veterans, those we remember, and those other “little black boys and black girls who are able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers”.
Shabbat reading from TBD Religious School here.
Rabbi Alan Lachtman’s adult education class on the Jewish Life Cycle focuses on Rabbi Peter Knobel’s book, Navigating the Journey. The book includes a chapter on building a Jewish home. How do we build a Jewish home? Having a roof over our head is of the essence, but surely not enough in thinking of a Jewish dwelling. Our Shabbat religious school eblast is out, click here to find out more about the creation of a Jewish home, upcoming events at TBD, recipe of the week, and Torah.
(Picture is of our religious school student with her own crafted mezuzah made in Miss Doris Robin’s second grade class).
Friday, January 3rd, 2020:
We have come across an array of candelabras, large and small, of brass, tile, wood, and granite, traditional, and non. We have even shared a few creative ones by David Stark, made of potatoes, dollhouse chairs, and paint and scrub brushes. One particular channukiya designed in 2008 by Naama Steinbock and Idan Friedman creates a unique kind of light. It is a menorah made of old and rescued candlesticks, each from a different origin. Though we do not know of each of the candlesticks’ historical paths, all were found in flee markets in Israel. We presume, they served in Jewish settings, and assume perhaps, to welcome the Shabbath. Click here 👉🏼 https://conta.cc/399vCMf for our Shabbat newsletter, and to find out more about the rescued candlesticks, their creation into a channukiyah and their creation of light.
Our Shabbat newsletter this week discusses how the two major winter holidays overlap, through miracles, light, gifts, and the giving of tzeddakah. Click here for more information about the overlap, Channukah events at TBD, Lindy’s apple sauce recipe, upcoming dates and more here.
Hannukah is the Festival of Lights, and TBD’s engagement leading up to Religious School this Sunday shows just that! Click here to read our Shabbat eblast, details about this Sunday, and how, thanks to communal engagement, we are creating light both for our children, and those who need us at Union Station Homeless Services. (Pictured from right to left are our president, Mickey Adelman, food enrichment specialist Lindy Bornstein, and our Librarian Lauren Bailey in a throw back time picture to their school engagement with pickled cucumber 🥒 making).
Dennis Prager is one of the creators of “For Goodness Sake”, a short film about doing good. Yet doing good, according to Prager, is not high on our daily priority list. We are not good just because we are not criminals, “robbers” or “killers”. In order to be kind and giving people, we should do good, as was the intention of the Macabees. Humbly paying for someone or helping someone in need are examples. Ensuring our barking dog is not outside at night disturbing the neighbors’ sleep is a consideration of others. Prager portrays further skits in his video in attempt to advocate for good as a lifelong reward. Read more about how to prepare for Hanukkah by being Judah Macabees in our weekly Friday Religious School eblast here.
Friday, November 29th, 2019: We at TBD Religious School for one are blessed to be learning and perpetuating our Judaic traditions, our Mitzvot, Hebrew learning, Jewish life cycles, and more in our TBD community.
We have a growing preschool-12th grade school, we have a newly installed community focused playground thanks to the Kohl family, and those teachers like Sarah Evans, Doris Robin and Susan Grodsky, who helped plan its installation, just two weeks ago we learned from Dr. Otto Kahn about his Kristallnacht experiences, and promised to #NeverAgain, we have an army of volunteer security fathers led by Gavin Wasserman who shield us at the front of our building, with the leadership of President Michael Adelman our community gathered $6K in donations to support a leaking roof and other maintenance needs within our temple, and so much more. TBD Religious School eblast about giving thanks and it’s relation to us as Jews, families, religious school students, parents, friends, and more here.
Friday, November 22nd, 2019: Our group of learners in Morah Shoshana’s Kochavim class, have been focusing on their unit of the Creation, as in Bereshit, the first portion of our sacred Torah. ￼￼￼￼Our students’ learning has been extensive, from memorizing the Hebrew names of the days of the week, to creating the world using shaving cream and food color, to creating posters of each day.
This unit merits showcasing, and what better audience than us adults to show our children the pride we have in their Judaica Sunday learning. For more information about our mid-morning program, and other TBD happenings, click here.
Friday, November 15th, 2019: The world commemorated Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass on November 9th. Our school commemorates Kristallnacht annually, and this Sunday will be this time of the year. Dr. Otto Kahn, survivor of Nazi Lorsch Germany, experienced the Night first hand, as a five year old. He will be recounting his memories, according to his memoir, Beating the Odds, this Sunday. To read excerpts from the book, and more from TBD religious school’s newsletter, click this link
Friday, November 8th, 2019: “Just as this week’s portion speaks about the fruitfulness of children in the Land, it is by no coincidence that this week marked Aliyah Day, Israel’s National Day of Immigration. This is one of the reasons we relate our religious school learning to Israel- Israel was promised to us, and as “Aliyah is the central goal of the State of Israel.” (quoting Ariel Sharon) we embrace those who enter the Land, and their contributions.” Click here to see how we related Lech Lecha to Israel, America, Ulpan Shabbat, Veteran’s Day, and more.
Friday, November 1st, 2019:
This Sunday, wehn you come to, or leave TBD, make sure you stop by Hannah Stein’s table of bracelet sale. Hannah’s endevour in her 9am and 12pm sales is to raise money for Hand in Paw, a non profit organization that caters to dogs in severe need.
Friday, October 25, 2019:
Friday,October 18, 2019:
Shabbat, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Shmini Atzeret and Consecration (and tzom Gdalia?) are all related to tonight’s service. How so?
Friday,October 11, 2019:
We are learning Torah, we are assuming the mitzvah of offering the needy, we are providing #shelters, and in essence, we are providing life. As the Talmud teaches us, “Teaching Torah to the #child of another is the same as giving the child #life” (Sanhedrin). More from our Shabbat newsletter about the mitzvah of building sukkot, food sorting, and their parallel to the priestly offerings, click here.
Friday,October 4, 2019:
The wails of the Shofar call for our introspection, Avinu Malkeinu Chadeshnu BeShana Tova. Click here for our Yom Kippur Religious School eblast.
Friday, September 27, 2019:
We see new changes in seasons, music at our temple, the face of the Torah, our students, betterment of animals, technology in classrooms, TBD’s courtyard, and the list could go on. In fact, it can go on and on, so I’ll highlight on a worthy Jewishly Warm and Relevant few.
Friday, September 20, 2019:
Click here to read the latest from Temple Beth David’s Shabbat Religious School Shabbat newsletter about our upcoming Playstructures, communual spaces and playyard.
Friday, September 13, 2019:
This is how it all begun, and this is how we plan to affirm ourselves to the commandments
Friday, Septemeber 6, 2019:
We’re about to open our doors, to the sound of children’s laughter as we get ready for another school year
Friday, August 30, 2019:
Tells about our faculty for 2019-2020, our returning and incoming teachers, our enrichment professionals, and our curriculum, and how it all ties in together in an intricate fabric of Judaic values
Friday, August 23, 2019:
Tells about our beloved Morah Shoshana, or teacher Susan, who this year teaches our TK-1st grade students, with love, devotion, and kindness.
Friday, August 16th, 2019:
Exciting happenings at TBD, as we celebrate this weekend the official beginning of Cantor Orly Campbell, the wedding of Rachel Gross and Stuart Altman, and the Bat Mitzvah of Elle Sheila Rohs.
Friday, August 9th, 2019:
We’re all about music this week, as we introduce to you in our Religious School Shabbat newsletter here three TBD affiliated cantors: SingingSteve Bermann, Hazzan Judy Sofer (who will be our Cantor on August 16th) and Cantor Doug Cotler (who will be our Cantor on August 17th).
Friday, August 2nd, 2019:
Meet birthday girl, Dr. Jackie Green, child psychiatrist, enrichment program leader within our school here.
Friday, July 26th, 2019:
Meet Miriam Beltran, TBD’s incoming toddler teacher in our religious school eblast here
Friday, July 19th, 2019:
Meet Leeav Sofer who will be visiting TBD tonight, in a Shabbat service with the theme of inhale//sigh//release. Read our Temple Beth David Religious School eblast about Leeav Sofer, his work with Mostly Kosher and Urban Voices Projects here.
Friday, July 12th, 2019:
Meet our temple grandma, Janice Natalie Robertson this morning at Challa bake at TBD. A tad about Jan in our shabbat reading this week in our Temple Beth David Religious School Friday eblast here.