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

TBE News by the Sea
August 2017 • Av-Elul 5777

In This Month's Newsletter

   August Snapshot
   Tisha b'Av (7/31, 7:30pm)
   Shabbat by the Sea (8/18, 7:00pm)
   Mystical Shabbat in the Garden (8/19, 9:45am)
   Stories of the Shofar (8/27, 5:00pm)
   High Holy Day Schedule

   These Seven Weeks
   Israel Trip with Rabbi David (spring 2018)
   Accessibility Campaign: Spread the Word
   Giving Back • Tikkun Olam @TBE
   Healing List
   Community News and Reminders

August Snapshot
The Season of Meaning brings lowest lows and highest highs. Tisha b'Av (July 31) opens into seven Weeks of Comfort that include our outdoor Shabbat by the Sea (August 18) and a mystical Shabbat in the Botanical Garden with Rabbis Ben Newman and Rachel Barenblat (August 19). The month of Elul begins with "Stories of the Shofar" with Rebbetzin Emuna Witt-Halevi (August 27) – and then our High Holy Day cycle begins anew. We return again to the land of our souls:  
• Fri. 7/31, 7:30pm – Tisha b'Av (all clergy)
• Fri. 8/4, 7:30pm – Shabbat (R. David)
• Fri. 8/11, 7:30pm – Shabbat (community)
• Fri. 8/18, 7:00pm – Shabbat by the Sea
• Sat. 8/19, 9:45am – Shabbat in the Garden
• Fri. 8/25, 7:30pm – Shabbat (community)
• Sun. 8/27, 5:00pm – Elul Stories for the Soul

Tisha b'Av (July 31, 7:30pm)

Join Rabbi Shohama and Rabbi David for a soul-opening commemoration of Tisha b'Av, doorway into the High Holy Days.

Tisha b'Av is Judaism's lowest day, recalling destructions, Jewish exiles and history's other tragedies. Only as we experience our own darkness can we fully honor the timeless call to forgive and renew.

We descend into Tisha b'Av not for its own sake but for the sake of ascent (Hebrew: yeridah tzorech aliyah). We honor this tradition not to glorify breaking but to seek the fullest possible healing. Like a broken bone that heals stronger, we dare to enter into the darkness so that we can receive and transmit even more light.

Our Tisha b'Av commemoration will use music, meditation, prayer and stillness to bottom out in personal and communal loss, and then begin the ascent toward Rosh Hashanah. Hashiveinu Yah eleicha v'nashuvah: chadeish yameinu ke'kedem / "Return us to You, God, and we will be returned: Renew us as in days of old" (Lamentations 5:12).

On Tisha b'Av, many will wear black and avoid jewelry in a posture of mourning. Doors will open at 7:15pm; service will begin at 7:30pm.

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Shabbat by the Sea
(Aug. 18, 7:00pm)

Our annual outdoor Shabbat by the Sea is August 18, starting 7:00pm, in the waterfront backyard of Ken Binder & Steve Roth (2 Bay St.) on the bay facing the NYC skyline at sunset.

Come early (many will wear Shabbat whites). Bring friends. Linger late under the stars. Don't miss this highlight of the TBE year!

Given high turnout and weekend traffic, plan ahead for traffic and parking. In case of rain, services will be at TBE: consult the TBE website.
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Mystical Shabbat in the Garden
(Aug. 19, 9:45am, NYBG)

Join Rabbi David, Rabbi Ben Newman (Shtiebel, Dobbs Ferry, NY) and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (Congregation Beth Israel, North Adams, MA), for our next mystical Shabbat morning experience in the New York Botanical Garden.

We'll weave movement, chant, prayer, mystical Zohar and Shabbat delights at the peak of summer. We'll also peek toward the month of Elul's teshuvah journey.

Please wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Meet 9:45am at the Main Gate (2900 Southern Blvd.): we'll depart at 10:00am.

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Stories of the Shofar: Heaven's Wake-Up Calls (Aug. 27, 5:00pm)

Join your TBE family as we welcome back from Jerusalem Rebbetzin Emuna Witt-Halevi, a maggid (spiritual story teller) in the tradition of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, to open hearts and souls to the holy month of Elul and the High Holy Day season of teshuvah.

In Rebbetzin Emuna's words, come and help bring down the Torah you most need for this season of renewal.

Suggested contribution: $10.  

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High Holy Day Schedule

Mark your calendars now for the High Holy Days at Your Shul by the Sea. As importantly, bring friends who seek what's real, the heights and depths of spiritual life, the call of community, the renewing joy of a living, vibrant Judaism.

• Back to Shul Shabbat – Fri. 9/8, 7:30pm
• Selichot & Healing – Sat. 9/16, 7:30pm
• Erev Rosh Hashanah – Wed. 9/20, 6:30pm
• Rosh Hashanah 1 – Thu. 9/21, 10:00am
• Rosh Hashanah 2 – Fri. 9/22, 10:00am
• Kol Nidre – Fri. 9/29, 6:15pm
• Yom Kippur – Sat. 9/30, 10:00am

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These Seven Weeks
By Rabbi David

As I write these words, I'm nearly done packing my home for a local move. Nowadays most of my physical possessions seem to be books. In a mindless rhythm, into boxes go one book after another, my hands speeding from bookshelf to box to bookshelf again.

Mindless rhythm: get it done and move on (literally). My hands know what to do – move books – while I tune out in the monotony of the moment. Amidst the plop of each book in its place, my hands toss into a box my now-favorite High Holy Day volume, Alan Lew's This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared

Suddenly I stop in my tracks. How poignantly metaphorical: a mindless rhythm lulled me into unawareness. Suddenly a sign of the season jolts me to attention. I realize what I hadn't seen. How could I box this book, which is so important to my spiritual life at this very season? Why wasn't I paying attention?

Such is our annual spiral journey. Spiritually speaking, we wake and fall asleep and wake again. Something jolts us to attention. We return to our souls, only to find that our souls have been waiting all along.

These seven weeks – from Tisha b'Av to Rosh Hashanah – call us to attention. In many ways, these seven weeks a mirror image of the seven weeks from Passover to Shavuot. Each spring we count our days to Sinai. Now we count down to Rosh Hashanah. Each spring we journey for seven weeks from Passover's liberation to Shavuot's revelation of Torah. NowTisha b'Av focuses us on what's buried in darkness (revelation), and in seven weeks Rosh Hashanah will open wide the teshuvah gates of spiritual renewal (liberation). Our summer/fall journey is our spring journey in reverse: we return to our beginnings.

Easy to say, and sometimes very hard to do. As Alan Lew writes, Tisha b'Av can be jarring and or even turn people off. We don't always like what we see. We prefer light to dark. Often we try to forget the dark if we can. If we must venture into the dark, how quickly we seek comfort.

Perhaps for that reason, these seven countdown weeks to Rosh Hashanah are called the Weeks of Comfort. The Shabbat after Tisha b'Av (this year, August 4) is Shabbat Nachamu – the Shabbat of Comfort. We crave comfort after the historical exile from Jerusalem (and other losses both individual and collective) that Tisha b'Av invokes. Comfort is a theme of Isaiah 40 that tradition calls us to read at this time with the eyes and ears of our exiled ancestors who heard: "Comfort ye, my people!" Our ancestors heard the prophetic call, in the spirit of the holy, that it'll be okay. We'll return. We'll heal, forgive and be forgiven.

We need that assurance now, to enter fully into the gates of repair and return that we call teshuvah. Whatever exile we may feel from our best selves, these seven weeks rouse us and remind us. Yes, we can heal, forgive and be forgiven. Yes, we can return.

May these seven weeks of preparation bring light, depth, truth, courage and comfort, as we turn into the month of Elul and the season of teshuvah.

"Comfort ye, my people." Return again!

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Israel Trip with Rabbi David
(April 29 - May 11, 2018)


TBE and Kol Haneshama (Sarasota, FL) are proud to announce a joint Adventure to Israel co-led by Rabbi David, Rabbi Jennifer Singer and Ayelet Tours. Our itinerary will offer tastes of Israel's diverse geography, culture, arts and spirituality, including:

• Jerusalem's Old City (all four quarters)
• Archeological dig of Temple Mount
• Shabbat with Renewal's Nava Tehila
• Lag Ba'Omer and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
• Masada, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
• Jordan Valley and Kinneret (Galilee)
• Tzfat (Israel's mystical center)
• Haifa and the Bahai Gardens
• Caesarea ruins and musical concert
• Tel Aviv and coexistence in Yafo (Jaffa)
• Eilat and Petra, Jordan (optional for added fee)

We'll travel in mid-spring, during Israel's "ideal weather" season, with an expert guide and rabbis passionate about spiritual experience. Space is limited and is offered in priority of registration. All arrangements will be via Ayelet Tours as follows:

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

For more information, email Rabbi David at Shalom!

Accessibility Campaign:
Spread the Word!

TBE seeks your support to help make our building fully accessible to differently abled members and guests. Our goal is $50,000: we need your help.

Please forward our Just Give link on social media and email to friends and family. All who care for a Jewish spiritual life truly open to all should support this campaign's success. It depends on you. Thank you!

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Giving Back • Tikkun Olam @TBE

TBE is launching new opportunities for members and friends to get involved and give back. We're especially looking for support for the following:

Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee
Building Committee
Programming & Events Committee

To volunteer or offer ideas, please email us at Thank you!
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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:

     Bob & Cheryl Berent (congregants)
     Bill & Leslie Berland (congregants)
     Christine Fischer (friend of E.R. Topol)
     Olga Berdé Mahl (congregant) 
     Nora Wolloch (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

Community News & Reminders 

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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