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President's Column by President Andy Cheng

Strength of Torah & Leadership

During this time of great transition and change, we find ourselves b’midbar, in the wilderness. What has kept the Beth Am community grounded during these times of uncertainty?

During our congregation’s annual meeting in April, I quoted Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, on the following. While there has not been a guidebook for the challenges we’re facing, our sacred community has always: 1) leaned on the Torah for guidance, and 2) stood on the shoulders of our Leaders.

Our sacred Jewish text teaches us about the disasters and crises that the Jewish people have not only endured, but also our capacity to rise up and overcome those challenges. Rabbi Sari Laufer, from Stephen Wise Temple provides yet another perspective:

Allow yourself to be treated like a wilderness. It’s a startling image. Am I to be trampled by uncertainty? Yes. Tread upon by anxiety? Yes. Am I also going to be open to new people, new possibilities, new adventures? Yes, yes and yes. For the rabbis teach that if we are able to do this, if we allow ourselves to be a wilderness, then Torah or “instruction” will be given to you as a gift.

It’s also comforting to know that during times of uncertainty, at Beth Am we have a developed a strong foundation of clergy, staff and lay leaders who will continue to guide our congregation.

One leader in particular has offered our congregation strength, stability and solace over the past two decades. Because of Rabbi Marder’s leadership, I have never been more hopeful and optimistic about the future, given the foundation she’s built for Beth Am during her rabbinate. A true manifestation of Beth Am’s going from strength to strength. Rabbi Marder has done so much for our congregation — how can we ever thank her for all that she’s done for our sacred community?

A new permanent fund has been established in Rabbi Marder’s name: the Marder Endowment for Living Torah. The fund will support numerous Beth Am programs and initiatives, including those that Rabbi Marder has nurtured here at Beth Am. I encourage you to consider making a donation to this fund.

Last but not least, I hope you’ll join us for Rabbi Marder’s Thank-You Weekend on June 12 and 13 when we’ll honor and celebrate her 21+ years as our beloved senior rabbi.



Tue, July 14 2020 22 Tammuz 5780