I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer. As I mentioned in my previous article, our Vision 2020 Action Teams continue to work toward developing a comprehensive strategic plan to keep Temple Beth Ami an active, growing, inclusive, and vital spiritual community well into the future.
We have developed a foundation upon which the rest of our strategic plan can be built. This foundation is our core purpose and our core values. These were developed based on feedback we received from you through house meetings, surveys, and all the other communications we received during the research phase of the planning work. The rest of our strategic plan – and everything we do at Temple Beth Ami – must be consistent with our core purpose and core values.
Our core purpose:
We are dedicated to creating a community that embraces the meaning, inspiration, and ideals found in Reform Judaism.
We foster connection with our personal spirituality, each other, and our larger community.
We encourage innovation that honors our Jewish heritage, is attentive to our present experience and generates our common future.
Our core values:
The Talmudic sages taught about four kinds of relationships:
ben Adam l’Mekomo – the relationship between a person and God
ben Adam l’Olamo – the relationship between a person and the world
ben Adam l’Chavero – the relationship between a person and other people
ben Adam l’Atzmo – the relationship between a person and their innermost selves
Every Jewish law, every Jewish value, speaks to at least one of these relationships; they the heart of Jewish spirituality. Cultivating these relationships with love and respect is at the heart of Beth Ami, where we uphold these core values:
B’tzelem [in the Image of]: We believe that diversity is a reflection of the Divine – that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim (in the Divine Image), and we strive to treat each other accordingly: with honesty, dignity and respect. We cultivate sensitivity and love for each other by listening for understanding, robust inclusion, and acts of loving kindness.
Kehillah kedoshah [sacred community]: Sacred community is relationship focused. We cultivate our relationship with God through joyful communal worship and thoughtful, shared study as we seek the sacred within the ordinary. With ahavat Yisrael (the love of Israel) we deepen our connection with the Jewish people here and abroad, and with the State of Israel. Within our temple community we nurture relationships of mutual support and commit to each other’s success by creating space for respectful disagreement, collaboration, and personal growth.
L’Dor va’Dor [from generation to generation]: As Reform Jews, we embrace creativity and innovation to sustain and perpetuate the Jewish people and Judaism from generation to generation. Rooted in Torah, we seek ever new ways to share and celebrate the beauty, meaning and power of our tradition through life-long Jewish learning and practice.
Tikkun [repair/healing]: As God’s partners in Creation, we answer the Divine call to bring tikkun (repair/healing) into our world. We dedicate ourselves to social action on behalf of those unable to advocate for themselves, and work to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors who follow spiritual paths different from our own.
As the summer comes to an end, I look forward to seeing you at Temple Beth Ami.