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Clergy Column by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison

Become a partner in the continual transformation of Beth Am
July/August 2022

The alchemy of the synagogue, its capacity to transform us as humans, results from the intermingling of so many different people with varied talents and interests. The amalgamation of our individual understandings of faith, our broad spectrum of orientations to Jewish practice, and the many life-paths that have led each of us into this community comprise our tremendous, tensile-strength; the partnership between our professional staff and our congregants is the wellspring for the creativity of our congregation.

Because of the exigencies of Builder deadlines, I am writing this column on May 23. The programs that occurred in our congregation yesterday, Sunday, May 22, provide a snapshot of how our congregant-professional collaborations create high-quality opportunities for the spiritual and educational growth of all of our members, each and every day.

My day began on Zoom, with a program created by one of our congregants, Kristen Yawitz, who had invited a former colleague, the Executive Director of HURIDOCS (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems) to discuss his work documenting war crimes in Ukraine. She and I interviewed our guest and conducted the Q&A. As this program unfolded, simultaneously, a group of congregants had gathered together in a different Zoom meeting to take part in Slow Torah, a peer-led, weekly Torah study class that my colleagues and I support by helping congregants prepare to teach individual sessions. This particular day at Beth Am ended with our 2022 Annual Member Appreciation Event, Erev Musika: an Evening of Music. This fantastic program was a “thank you” to all of our congregants for making our community the exceptional place that it is. Beth Am is so blessed to have incredibly talented musicians in our community; the evening highlighted the creative partnership of these members and Cantor Jaime Shpall, conductor Paul Ellison, and of our wonderful accompanist, Russell Norman who presented an inspiring concert. Although the Erev Musika event was a large-scale undertaking and a highlight of the spring, this shared, collaborative approach to content creation and facilitation typifies much of what happens each day in the life of our community.

It is in these summer months leading to the High Holy Days and the beginning of the school year when the largest number of new members join our congregation. I consider the choice to become a member of our congregation  an expression of a willingness to engage in creative partnership. As I begin my third year as your Senior Rabbi, I continue to be amazed and inspired by the many talents of our members. If you are new to our congregation, I invite you to become a partner in the continual transformation of Beth Am. Share your talents with your community; let me and my colleagues know of your interests and passions. We are excited to build our future together with you.

On a personal note, Molly and I want to thank you for the opportunity to celebrate our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah within the warm embrace of the Beth Am community. It was a wonderful Shabbat and we feel blessed that our children are growing into adulthood with the support of our congregation.

I wish you a restful and restorative summer.


Rabbi Jeremy Morrison

Wed, August 10 2022 13 Av 5782