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Rabbi Elana Zelony

Hametz: Spring Cleaning

Some people love spring cleaning. (Yes, I’m thinking of the volunteers who’ve been preparing for the Learning Center’s garage sale.) If you ask spring cleaners why they love to purge and scrub they’ll tell you two things. It feels good to get rid of things that we don’t need, and it’s important to clean schmutz […]

Rabbi Elana Zelony

Not Quite Yet: Tzav

Recently I made a visit to a congregant in the hospital. A man entered the room in a short white coat, and the congregant introduced him as his favorite doctor. Neither the man in the coat nor I corrected the patient, but we smiled because we both knew that the shortness of the coat indicated […]

Inclusion Initiative Year Two

We are now embarking on year two of the Inclusion Initiative and are identifying targets for the coming year.  The biggest goal is to further expand collaboration with the existing congregation structures.  Here are some pending examples of how this will look. Inclusion Initiative Across CBT Groups We are working with the Facilities Committee on […]

Revolving Door Participation

I am told that volunteers sustain active participation for perhaps seven years and then phase out their involvement in an organization.  I don’t know who did the research on this statistic allowing them to feel comfortable making such a statement but maybe it is true.  My own history with Congregation Beth Torah spans almost 35 years […]

Rabbi Elana Zelony

Vayakhel: Teamwork

When astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Houston after spending almost a year in space he expressed gratitude not only for his safe return but also for the team of people that envisioned a mission and made it happen.  The purpose of the mission was to study the effects of long-term space dwelling on our bodies […]

Beri Schwitzer

Welcome the Strangers

I recently found my copy of Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom, a delightful and inspiring collection of stories that bring compassion and healing to the heart and soul. When the page opened to the story of Yitzak, I knew I wanted to share it with you. In Remen’s story, she interviews a Holocaust survivor […]

Rabbi Elana Zelony

Purim Costume Inspiration

Every year I have difficulty deciding what to wear for a Purim costume. I believe the costumes we choose for ourselves can be a reflection of unexpressed thoughts or unfulfilled aspirations. Therefore, when I wear a costume I feel exposed. The holiday itself has a theme of revealing the hidden: Mordechai reveals Bigtan and Teresh’s […]

Alan Hoffman

Welcoming Congregation

Welcome to another monthly edition of “What’s up” from your humble president. This month I want to focus on two key areas: Security and Inclusion. I’ll close by introducing a new volunteer development program. By the time I’m done, I hope you will see the connection as I do. Welcoming Congregation to All Comers Congregation […]

Removing Barriers to Participation

As Marines say, “We’re looking for a few good men,” and as the chair of the Congregation Beth Torah Inclusion Initiative committee, I say that as well.  We want to recruit many men and women who belong to Congregation Beth Torah (CBT) as partners to remove barriers to comfortable and complete participation of our members […]

Community Connections and Inclusion Shabbat

As Congregation Beth Torah continues its service to members and the greater Dallas community, we recently conducted an Inclusion Shabbat during Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM).  The sanctuary was packed with members and guests. Some of the guests were residents from the Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), composed of six homes for […]