From TBT President Jeanne Freeman

In just this past week, I have been impressed by the amazing bond, support, and spirit that exist among the members of our community.

This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of attending the first of six b'nai mitzvahs that will take place for our 6th and 7th graders this year. I knew that Eliana Canas was singing and I was excited to hear her. I knew that even though she isn't my child or grandchild, that I would get teary-eyed at some point during the service as we acknowledged her accomplishment and her acceptance as an adult in our Jewish community.

What I didn't know in advance is how I would kvell at what else I saw.

Our 6th and 7th graders have created a beautiful bond. They are a team; they are friends; they support each other. They walk as one. They have their arms around each other at services. They are all inclusive of each other. You may think that this is typical of their age, but think again. These kids are not in public school together. They live in Sisters, in Bend, in Sunriver. Their bond is their Judaism, their shared history, their experience of Sunday school and b'nai mitzvah, their participation in the recently formed Jewish Youth Group, and Temple Beth Tikvah.

Before the service I visited with some of the parents of the b'nai mitzvah kids and I happened to sit behind some of them during the service. And I heard in their conversation and saw in their relationship a similar bonding to that of their children. These parents and grandparents come together in support of their children and of each other as they participate in the planning of their child's b'nai mitzvah.

The following day, Kathy Schindel, our Religious School director, shared with me conversations from the parents of some of our youngest members. The Tot Shabbat program begun by Rabbi Hershenson has evolved into a monthly at-home program and kids and parents are having a wonderful time! The kids are creating the friendships in pre-school, kindergarten and first grade that will take them on their journey together to b'nai mitzvah, and their parents are discovering and developing their own new friendships.

(If you'd like to be on the email list to participate in the Tot Shabbat program, email Jessica Hammerman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. )

Checking into Facebook I found this post from Suzanne Schlosberg: "A lot of people these days wonder whether it's even worth joining a synagogue. Why bother? Here's why: because your fellow Jews are the people you can count on. Exhibit A: Friday morning, the boys had a ski competition. When we got up to the mountain, we realized Ian had left his helmet, goggles and gloves at home. If I had driven home to get them, I would have missed Toby's first-ever Nordic race (Toby won - go, Toby!). But Ian obviously could not compete in ski jumping without his helmet! Paul was at a meeting in Redmond. I thought: Who would drive up to the mountain for me in an "emergency"? I called Terry Reynolds, who passed on the message to Gary, who made the special delivery. Thanks a million, Gary! I am grateful to be a member of TBT and wish that more Jews would see the value in joining."

This month I joined the ranks of those who have undergone shoulder surgery. I have been fed, iced, hugged, called, supported in a multiple of ways by so many of you. I am richer for knowing you and for being the recipient of your love and nurturing.

Thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for all that you do for each other. Thank you for making Temple Beth Tikvah the loving, caring community that it is.