Temple Beth-EL 

Rockford, Illinois

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Yom Chamishi, 26 Kislev 5778
  • Shabbat in the Park Shabbat in the Park July 2014
  • City Market Shabbat 2014 at State of Art Gallery
  • David Syme Lecturing David Syme talking about Jewish Roots and the Classics
  • David Syme David Syme performing at Temple Beth-El, June 6th 2014
  • Our Sanctuary
  • GRTY at Rock Cut Park Greater Rockford Temple Youth (GRTY) having fun at Rock Cut State Park in Love's Park
  • Unwrapping the Torah Unwrapping the Torah during Sinchat Torah
  • Simchat Torah Simchat Torah 2005
  • Sukkot In the Sukkah
  • Shabbat in the Park
  • City Market Shabbat 2014 at State of Art Gallery
  • David Syme Lecturing
  • David Syme
  •  Our Sanctuary
  • GRTY at Rock Cut  Park
  • Unwrapping the Torah
  • Simchat Torah
  • Sukkot

Rabbi Wing

Dear Friends

From Rabbi Binah Wing

Chaverim,  

One of the things that I remember about the Religious school experi-ence of my youth was the giving of tzedakah. I re-member that I would be given a few coins from my parents or from my own money and I would careful-ly place it in the class tzedakah box that was passed around each week. Perhaps some of you have a similar memory. At Temple Beth-El, we still do this in our religious school classes (friendly reminder to parents of current students – please remember this important mitzvah!). What happens sometimes, though, is that we begin to think of this kind of giving as an activity for children.
 
This past week there was a major reminder in our American culture about giving. It’s even called Giving Tuesday, complete with its own hashtag and everything. Perhaps you received many emails from organizations that you’ve supported over the years asking for funds on that day. For Jews, the commitment to giving extends throughout the year and throughout our lives.  
 
The word tzedakah is often mis-translated as “charity,” but that is really incorrect. The word comes from the Hebrew root for justice. That is to say, then, that giving, for us, is more about justice. It’s also more of an obligation for us, an action we are commanded to do, rather than something we do because we might feel like it at that particular moment.
 
Which brings me back to our tzedakah box giving. Some of you may not even realize, or have forgotten, that we have a beautiful tzedakah box in the foyer of the Temple. The idea is that when people come to Temple for services, adult education, meetings, etc. that perhaps they’ll put a few coins or even a few dollars in that box, just like we did when we were kids.
 
The Social Action Committee would like to increase the awareness of our Temple tzedakah box as well. Toward that end, they have decided to dedicate money placed in that box to different charitable organizations over the course of the year. Depending on how it goes, the money will be collected for one or two months per organiza-tion. The first charitable organization that was decided on is MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
 
MAZON is a fine organization that works on hunger issues in the Jewish community and far beyond as well. These winter months are for some, a time of great food abundance. We feast on Thanksgiving meals and Hanukkah as well. Our Christian friends feast on Christmas meals and enjoy special sweet treats all month. For this reason, especially, it is important to be reminded of those for whom there is little celebration foodwise and those who struggle with hunger all year-long. It makes sense that MAZON would be our designated tzedakah organization for the month of December.
 
We’ll keep you posted as to what organization is next. In the meantime, I ask that you make an extra effort, whenever you’re in the building, to see the tzedakah box and fulfill the mitzvah of giving. Even a few coins, when added to others, can add up quickly.
 
In less than two weeks, we will celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. At its heart, this holiday is about bringing light into the darkness. This echoes the mission of the Jewish people. Together, we will continue to do this important work.  
 
May Hanukkah bring light into the darkness for each and every one of us.
 
Chag urim sameach, Rabbi Wing
 

Upcoming Events

15Dec
12.15.2017
BULLETIN DEADLINE
15Dec
12.15.2017
BULLETIN DEADLINE
15Dec
12.15.2017 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erev Shabbat Service
15Dec
12.15.2017 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Erev Shabbat Service
16Dec
12.16.2017 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Torah Study Group
16Dec
12.16.2017 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Torah Study Group
20Dec
12.20.2017 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Finance Committee Meeting
20Dec
12.20.2017 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Finance Committee Meeting
22Dec
12.22.2017 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Kabbalat Shabbat Service
22Dec
12.22.2017 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Kabbalat Shabbat Service