Rabbi's Monthly Message
February's Message from Rabbi Hannah Orden
When I meet with b’nai mitzvah students for the first time, I ask them questions about their Jewish identity, their concept of God, and what it means to them to become a bar or bat mitzvah. I also ask what highlights stand out from their years of religious school. Recently, I met with a student who said that religious school was okay, not his favorite thing, but not terrible. Then he said that what he really likes about coming to CBH is that it’s small. He smiled and said “I know everybody!”
I don’t think it’s quite true that anyone in our congregation knows everybody. We’re not that small! But one of the wonderful things about CBH is that it is small enough to feel like a family. We know each other well enough to come together at times of joy and times of sorrow and to provide support and help to those who are struggling with illness or loss.
It is in the context of being a small community with the feel of a large and noisy family, that I have been encouraging people to attend our b’nai mitzvah services, even if you are not ‘friends’ with the child’s family and are not ‘invited’ to the celebration. This winter and spring 13 of ‘our’ children are becoming b’nai mitzvah. This is a wonderful thing for our small congregation and all of the students are working hard to prepare to lead prayers, chant Torah, and speak about the meaning of the weekly Torah portion.
Often people in the Jewish community bemoan that younger Jews are not affiliating with synagogues. Families today have many choices for activities for their children and places to find community. We are grateful to those who choose to be part of the CBH family and make the commitment to bar and bat mitzvah. I would love to see our congregants come out to support them and kvell over them. We have posted on the website a schedule of all the b’nai mitzvah services this year. I hope you will click on this link and pick one or two or three that you plan to attend and put them in your calendar. Who knows – you may enjoy the services so much, you will want to attend them all!
Amy Duberstein has offered to write profiles of all the b’nai mitzvah this year so the whole community can get to know them better. The profiles will be posted inside the back door of the building and will also be in BetNet the week of the bar/bat mitzvah service. My bar mitzvah student said he loves CBH because he knows everyone here. Let’s prove him right and show him and all our children that we care about them and are proud of them and will make the effort to show up for them.