B’nai Israel’s strength as a community that is home to members and friends of all backgrounds is powerful medicine in times when being alone can be overwhelming. All of our activity, whether services or studies or times to laugh and play (I am still kvelling in the joy and fun of the evening of song and music led and organized by Doug Cort for the worthy cause of helping with medical co-pays) are characterized by shared values of caring and reflection on being with one another in exploring and celebrating life’s blessings and challenges. I look forward to a year filled with such opportunities and times that will strengthen and uplift us all.
New to B’nai Israel this year, though more than a year in the making, is our new partnership with other such centers of spiritual caring and action. In becoming a member, as we just did, of IAF, a program for community strengthening and building, we are now becoming connected to scores of other religious, spiritual and non-profit groups. All of them share in treasuring their own programs and activities while looking to do and be more in the broader community through working and learning together of possibilities to make a positive impact on the neighborhoods in which we live and the counties that need our attention in addressing vulnerabilities and challenges…as will be identified by the growing numbers (including CBI) of member groups.
This new development is especially meaningful for us because Judaism is so much more than religion; it is how we live day to day in the broader world as we interface with neighbors of different backgrounds and stories. Participating in IAF enables us to tap into our prophetic spirit of seeing shortcomings and imbalances in society that for any of us alone are overwhelming but in joining together become possibilities we can address and redress.
Please put on your calendar and make your commitment to join fellow CBI members in attending a very special unifying program by this fledgling yet growing broad coalition of religious and secular non-profits: Sowing the Seeds For Action, Sunday, October 14 at 2 pm until 5, at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Memorial Center Gym, on Sacramento and Florida Streets in Vallejo.
We will be joining diverse religious congregations and non-profits as we: build relationships across lines of faith, race, class and culture; learn how to create an action agenda around issues facing our families and communities; and launch our campaign towards founding a powerful organization for the common good.
This is the next fruit of an effort that clergy have been involved with for almost 2 years and now includes CBI members as lay leaders, Robert Linville, Carolyn Steinberg and Lois Pierce, among others, in the developing process.
Last February, some 15 of us were present for a first exploratory effort that brought over 200 people together at First Presbyterian Church. I am hoping to more than double that number of our attendees at St. Vincent Ferrer. You can register either through our office or by calling 510 375 6529 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the other blessings and benefits of becoming a partner in this community is having access to the resources of IAF and their leadership (many of you have already met Sister Judy Donovan). Not only do we partake of the broader community based efforts, but also we receive the skill and expertise of IAF leadership to benefit our own Board of Directors using their help in addressing any internal needs and hopes we identify for continuing growth within CBI itself.
I look forward to a wonderful program year with all of you, both within the sanctuary and oasis that is B’nai Israel, and also as we make ourselves at home in sanctuaries of emerging partners in building and vouchsafing a healthier and safer community encompassing Solano and Napa Counties…and beyond.