I wish that my first congregation-wide communication could be focused solely on the deep privilege and joy that I feel as I transition to the role of Interim Rabbi of Temple Beth-El.  The warm and welcoming embrace that my family and I have received from TBE’s members and volunteer leadership speak volumes about the beautiful sacred community that so many have created, nurtured and supported for decades.

If only the world around us walked the same walk and talked the same talk that is at the core of Temple Beth-El!

The events that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend and the response that has unfolded in its aftermath give each and every person who shares our values and ideals cause for pause.  The importance of national and local conversations cannot be overstated.  Not only is this about our present and the world we want to live in today, but it also will pave the way for the world that our children will inherit for their tomorrow.  They are watching and learning from our words and actions, and from our silence and inaction.

I wish that the message coming from our national leadership was one behind which our country was united and inspired, but that is not the case.  Outrage rightfully spans the political spectrum in response to statements of moral equivalency between the KKK/Neo-Nazis/White Nationalists and those who chose to stand up to their proclamation of hate and bigotry.  

If there is something good that can come from this episode, perhaps it will be national and local conversations that begin to articulate a shared vision of what love, peace, acceptance and inclusivity should look like and how we can move towards that vision.  We can dream and hope that this will be the case and, even more important, we will search for how our sacred community will continue to do its part locally and beyond.
There is so much one can say about this topic that I could go on for pages.  For now, below are a few links to resources that may help you think through how to talk about these events and related issues with your children and grandchildren, family and friends, neighbors and coworkers.  Please know that TBE will continue this conversation during the weeks and months to come.

Temple Beth-El is destined to remain the warm and welcoming community that it is long into the future.  We all are grateful for all that Rabbi Hachen has done over her six years as the spiritual leader of the congregation to foster and nurture all that is good within our synagogue.  I am sorry that our family has long-standing previous plans to be out of town and therefore we will not be able to be with her and Peter on Friday, August 25, when the congregation will honor and thank them.  Certainly, Rabbi Hachen’s leadership has helped set TBE on a wonderful course.  Please know that I will do my best to carry forward her legacy in preparation for a new rabbi and a continuing bright future.

Rabbi Brian K. Beal

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of Union for Reform Judaism:  http://urj.org/blog/2017/08/12/urj-president-rabbi-rick-jacobs-charlottesville
Jewish Council for Public Affairs:  http://jewishpublicaffairs.org/?s=charlottesville
Reform Judaism Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ReformJudaism/
Religious Action Center (RAC):  http://rac.org
Anti-Defamation League:  http://ADL.org

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