While the sanctuary awaits our return, the Temple remains the ‘school house of the soul’

By Betsy Frank

Recently, a visitor to our website asked for information on Rabbi Samuel N. Deinard (1872-1921), who served our congregation during the last years of the 19th century.

My research took me to Herman Koren‘s Commemorative Book: 150th Anniversary of the Jewish Community in Terre Haute 1849-1999, where I came across a quote from the first ordained rabbi in Terre Haute, Dr. Alexander Lyons. At the dedication of the first Temple Israel in 1891, Rabbi Lyons described the synagogue as the “school house of the soul”.

I thought about this quote as the month of Elul, when we prepare for the High Holy Days, began. This year is certainly different because our Temple, since March, has conducted its business virtually.

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President’s report: virtual services, busy board help maintain Temple’s energy during Covid era

By Betsy Frank

The past year split abruptly into segments following two distinct realities — one pre-Covid and one post-Covid.

Before the middle of March, we worshipped weekly at the Temple. We celebrated monthly onegs when student rabbi Remy Liverman led services.

Religious school studied weekly under the capable leadership of Karen Harris with help from Debra Israel and Jennifer Garcia-Israel. Sisterhood gathered on the second Tuesday of each month, weather and health permitting.

Then, Boom! Zoom! A stay-at-home order changed everything.

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What’s next after we count the Omer? Pay the bills and schedule another virtual Shabbat!

By Betsy Frank

Some Jews count the Omer. I sometimes do, but I am also counting weeks of self-isolation.

We have just concluded 49 days of counting, which began April 9 and ended May 28 (between the second night of Passover and the Shavuot holiday).

I could say, “Where does the time go?” But time does seem to pass a bit more slowly these days.

Our regular routines are disrupted. If we normally employ a cleaning person, that person isn’t coming. Book clubs may meet via Zoom or may not meet at all.

Still, technology has allowed our congregation to remain active. We hold weekly services, engage in Torah study with our student rabbi and hold virtual board meetings.

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Try Daf Yomi with Betsy and discover a page of Talmud a day

By Betsy Frank

f you’re looking for a sustaining project you can tackle one day at a time, I’d like to suggest joining me for Daf Yomi, a culturally enriching scholarly exercise where Jews all over the world study a page of Talmud a day.

January 5, 2020, began the latest 7 1/2-year cycle of Daf Yomi, which myjewishlearning.com describes as “the longest-running Jewish book club“.

Rabbi Meir Shapiro founded the movement in 1923 in Poland. The Talmud’s 37 volumes take 7 1/2 years to read on a page-a-day schedule, placing us in the 14th repeating cycle of Daf Yomi.

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