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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Temple counters social distancing with seder, Shabbat, Torah study via Zoom teleconference

By Betsy Frank

As I was thinking about a topic for this month, the title of one of my favorite novels came to mind, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Coronavirus is our modern-day cholera or plague. To say the least, we live in interesting times.

And these times call for creative ways to stay connected. We have begun to make those connections by purchasing a Zoom videoconferencing account for our Temple community.

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Betsy and Dick help Mikve Israel Curaçao continue a Shabbat tradition that began in 1732

By Betsy Frank

So many of us travel to warmer climates during winter to escape the cold. This year, Dick and I made our escape with a cruise to the Caribbean.

During this most recent cruise, we joined 30 passengers for Erev Shabbat services on ship led by a gentleman from Mobile, Ala. Yes, there are Jews in Alabama!

On Saturday morning, about half those from Friday’s session joined Shabbat services at Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, 40 miles from the Venezuelan coast on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao.

The synagogue was consecrated in 1732 and has been in continuous operation ever since, making it the oldest in the Americas.

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