Dear Friends and Members of TBE,
I hope everyone had a meaningful and joyful Chanukah and the light of the candles guide your way through the upcoming winter and beyond. I always feel a tinge of sadness as the candles of the 8th night burn out, wanting to light just one more night. While the darkness of winter and that of our world can be challenging, the historical and spiritual teachings of Chanukah bring me hope and renewed commitment to change. The Chanukah Haftorah (Zekariah), reminds us that Spirit, not might or power, ultimately helps us prevail over darkness. We’re called to dedicate (Chanukah means to dedicate) ourselves to creating, seeing and expanding the light around us. 2,283 years ago (but who’s counting?), a small group of Jews dedicated themselves and each-other to keeping the light of Judaism shining, affirming the words of Margaret Mead to “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.
Eighty-five years ago, a small group of committed Jews in Hammonton NJ, formed a community, a Kahal, and then built a little Shul so they could celebrate and affirm their Judaism. In 1934, during a time of heightened Antisemitism around the world and in the US, multiple faith groups of Hammonton came together to finance and build OUR building and then dedicated it to future generations. Last week, a small group of 13 Temple Beth El members came together for our yearly meeting and re-dedicated themselves to keeping that community alive. Old and new members joined together to face the challenges and joys that lay before us as a small, diverse and geographically challenged Kahal.
We are pleased to share that Temple Beth El of Hammonton will continue to teach, pray, celebrate and support the needs of the South Jersey Jewish community into 2019. Please join us on our journey and help us grow into the future!
Many blessings for a warm and safe holiday season.