Your Shul By the Sea • Temple Beth El of City Island
480 City Island Avenue
Post Office Box 188
City Island, New York 10464

TBE News by the Sea
November 2017 • Cheshvan/Kislev 5778

In This Month's News

Say Yes to November

Mid-autumn brings the changing season and a renewing call to say yes to November, community and spiritual life. As outside cools and darkens, we turn inside to each other for warmth and light. Let TBE be a central part of your autumn and winter. It's also time to register for TBE's Israel trip, and mark calendars for a multi-faith Thanksgiving volunteer opportunity. Here's TBE's November schedule (all times 7:30pm):

Fri., Nov. 3 – Kabbalat Shabbat (Cap'n Bob)
Fri., Nov. 10 – Veteran's Day Shabbat (all clergy)
Fri., Nov. 17 – Kabbalat Shabbat (Reb Monty)
Tue., Nov. 21 – Jewish Angelology 2 (R. David)
Wed., Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving Volunteer Prep
Thu., Nov. 23 – Thanksgiving Volunteer Prep
Fri., Nov. 24 – Kabbalat Shabbat (R. David)

It Comes From Within:
A Month Without Holidays?

After the High Holy Days, the Jewish month of Cheshvan comes with no holidays. Ancient rabbis imagined Cheshvan such a letdown that they named it Marcheshvan – bitter Cheshvan. To them, it was bitter that no holidays primed the spiritual pump, and bitter that the land was so dry before winter rains. (The month's original name was Bul, a Babylonian word for "dry.")

In our day, we can sense this month differently. With no Jewish holidays from the "outside," we must prime the pump from the inside. We must internalize the spiritual prompts, promises and prods of the High Holy Days so that they continue to live and flourish within and among us.

In short, we're called to say yes to November. Whatever seems cold, dark or bitter outside now calls us to double down on what is warm, bright and sweet. It's an active choice, and it's easy to misunderstand this choice as one to evade or deny what's real inside. But spiritual life isn't dishonest: it says "yes and." Evading or denying what's real in spirituality's name is spiritual bypassing and often damaging.

We say "no" to spiritual bypassing, but "yes" to life's fullness. This month without Jewish holidays comes precisely to send us turning inward and toward each other. In that way, we make spiritual life truly our own.
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Time to Register for Israel Trip
(Registration Deadline: Nov. 17)


Registrations are due November 17 for TBE's Adventure to Israel co-led by Rabbi David, Rabbi Jennifer Singer (Sarasota, FL) and Ayelet Tours. A registration cap of 30 (both congregations combined) will ensure an intimate experience for all, so register now to save your spot.

We'll travel in mid-spring, Israel's "ideal weather" season, with expert guides and rabbis passionate about spiritual experience. 

For full itinerary and pricing, click here.
For trip flyer and registration, click here.

For more information, email Rabbi David at Shalom!

A Century Since Balfour:
100 Years of Zionism

This week is the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the first expression of official support for a Jewish Homeland in what would become the State of Israel. This year is also the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel's founding on May 14, 1948.

Both anniversaries loom large for all who care about Israel and world Jewry. It's partly why TBE chooses next spring – amidst the anniversary's commemorations – for our Israel pilgrimage. 

Read more about what these anniversaries mean in Rabbi David's teaching for My Jewish Learning.

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Volunteer for Thanksgiving
(Nov. 22 and/or Nov. 23)

TBE, along with Trinity United Methodist Church of City Island, proudly co-sponsor this year's Community Thanksgiving Dinner for all who need a place to go. We ask for volunteers for any/all of the following times at the Methodist Church (113 Bay Street, City Island):

Wed. 11/22, 6:00-8:00pm – Setting up
Thu. 11/23, 12:00-2:00pm – Serving meals
Thu. 11/23, 3:00-4:00pm – Cleaning up

Volunteers also can make desserts (call Pat LaPorte 917.592.6922), or donate to support the event (checks payable to United Methodist Church with 'Thanksgiving Fund' in the memo line.)

Happy Holidays, and thank you for sharing your blessings with others less fortunate.
Rabbi Shohama Retires from ALEPH: More Time For TBE!

After 15 years serving on the Va'ad (Academic Leadership) of ALEPH's Ordination Program, and before that 15 years leading the Academy for Jewish Religion, Rabbi Shohama has retired from seminary leadership effective October 30, 2017.

Rabbi Shohama, most recently profiled in the Faces of Renewal series, was the first woman to lead a Jewish seminary and has been the living embodiment of the values and methods of Jewish spiritual direction (hashpa'ah). Founder of the Hashpa'ah Training Program, Rabbi Shohama has developed a soul family of hundreds of spiritual leaders now serving in her legacy and the legacy of Reb Zalman z"l.

Throughout her rabbinate, Rabbi Shohama has been a pathfinder, and this journey now will continue in new forms. Rabbi Shohama's departure from seminary leadership gives her more time to write, publish, delight in family and friends, and continue her soul's journey – including service to TBE. Already she is thrilled to be teaching prayerbook Hebrew to the classes that began on October 30. (Sorry, registration is closed.)

Mazal tov and thank you to Rabbi Shohama for bringing so much light to so many!

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In sadness, TBE announces the deaths of two beloved members of our community family.

Roslyn Lichtman z"l, beloved mother of Leslie Lichtman-Berland, died October 21 after an illness and was laid to rest on October 24. Members of the TBE community gathered around Leslie and Bill at the home of Barbara Gold that week for local shiva.

Charlotte Etta Wegh z"l, beloved mother of Lois Wegh, died October 21 after an illness and was laid to rest on October 23. Members of the TBE community gathered around Lois at her home on October 26 for local observances.

May the Holy One of Blessing comfort Leslie, Lois and their loved ones among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may memory and love continue to shine as living blessings forever. 

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Healing List

TBE sends blessings for refuah shleimah (full healing) to those who seek healing. May they have the fullest recovery possible in body, heart, mind and soul:

     Anonymous (congregants)
     Ellen Ruth Topol (congregant)
TBE keeps Healing List names for a month, subject to renewal. In case of a request for confidentiality, only clergy will know: names will be kept private. To add/renew a name, or to seek support, email

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Community News & Reminders 

SAVE THE DATE - CHANUKKAH SHABBATON. Save the weekend of December 15-16 for a special full Shabbat, including kabbalat shabbat with our band, morning Torah service, learning, Chanukkah mysticism, Zohar, special guests, havdalah and more.

SAVE THE DATES - PASSOVER & GALA DINNER-DANCE. We're already thinking spring! TBE's Passover seder will be Saturday, March 31. TBE's elegant annual gala dinner-dance, marking 60 years since TBE's building opened, will be at the Pelham-Split Rock on Saturday, April 7.

SUPPORT US ON AMAZON. You can support TBE with every Amazon purchase. Do your Amazon shopping from and designate Temple Beth El of City Island. Thank you!

YOGA MONDAYS (7:30pm). Suitable for every age, body type and experience level, this weekly series in breath, body and spirit seeks deep healing and integration, led by Daniella Haney (Patreesha Sat Inder Kaur), certified instructor in spiritual disciplines of breath and body. Dress in loose-fitting clothes: participants can take session on the ground (mats and pillows provided) or sit in a chair. Tea and cookies served after sessions. Suggested freewill offering $10 per session. RSVP to Daniella at

SCENT SENSE. TBE is a no-scent community for the health and comfort of all. Please don't use perfume, cologne or after-shave when coming to shul. Thank you.

WRITE FOR US! We invite you to make free announcements – birthdays, marriages, births, anniversaries, graduations, new jobs, illnesses or deaths. We also invite you to send us pictures, poems and essays. We'll do our best to include them. Submissions are due on the 15th day of the month by email to

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Paul Klein, President
Temple Beth El of City Island
480 City Island Avenue
Post Office Box 188
City Island, New York 10464



We depend on tzedakah (charitable support) to continue offering high-quality, low-cost spiritual community for all persons, regardless of means. If you support this vision of vital and vibrant Jewish community, we thank you for assisting us as you are able. 



"Your Shul by the Sea" is a loving and joyfully inclusive community dedicated to the spiritual heights and depths of Jewish tradition. Our members and friends hail from across the New York area, and describe us as warm and real, without pretense. Come as you are, bring your whole self, and know that you'll be welcomed and embraced.

We welcome diversity in all forms. Aligned with Jewish Renewal's style, we draw from all movements of the Jewish world. Spiritually we reach past labels. Our transdenominational clergy are leading innovators in Jewish spirituality, and hail from the Academy for Jewish Religion and ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal.

Explore our website for more about our clergy, our uplifting Band and our education program. Welcome!



For the health and comfort of congregants and guests, TBE is a no-scent community.  Thank you for avoiding use of perfume, cologne and other scented products when coming to shul.

Please consult our customs and policies for helpful guidance about ways to feel most comfortable in our community and make it your own. Thank you.



Membership is open to all spiritual seekers who resonate with our joyful approach to Jewish Renewal. We rely on membership and charitable support to keep our doors open to all regardless of means.

For membership information, please contact Membership Chair:
Elaine Belasco

To make a charitable contribution, please use the Paypal button on our website. Thank you!



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