Norma’s HaKol Article

Temple Beth El Religious School May-June 2021 Update

Norma James

Please attend in person our last day of Religious School on Sunday, May 2nd!

We will gather outside of Temple Beth El for an end-of the-year celebration.  The staff is planning a short event that will spread our students out across our parking levels.  All activities will be safely distanced, and masks will be required.  We will have some fun activities, a little worship, a little music, and some together time with your classmates.  This will also be an important day for dropping off your Bayit Boxes with your materials.  After the crazy year we have had, we all deserve some fun time together!

What is next for Hebrew?  Everyone has been working hard on Hebrew this year. The missing piece is the opportunity to chant Hebrew prayers and sing Hebrew song together.  We know how crazy it sounds if we do it in a Zoom.  I am going to set up some group sessions for summer. (Maybe even May) These will be at Temple indoors and/or outdoors.  If possible some sessions will be in West Knoxville for the convenience of many of our students.  These to be fun for everyone, and information will send be sent to parents soon.  I will also offer individual Hebrew sessions again this summer.  I recommend our rising B’nai Mitzvah students to take advantage of this.  There is no charge for these lessons.  Consider it part of what you already pay for Religious School. We have lots of students preparing for B’nei Mitzvah.  The next two years will be busy ones for us.  I am excited about the challenge!

Confirmation on Friday, May 21st has been two years in the making.  Like many things in 2020, Confirmation was cancelled.  Therefore, Grace Theriot will join this year’s Confirmation class for their service.  Grace, daughter of Matthew and Emily Theriot, will be joined by Zoe Feldblum, daughter of Al and Gina Feldblum, and Grace Margulies, daughter of Aaron and Imelda Margulies. Rabbi Boxt has studied with these students this year. These three young ladies are quite amazing.  They have grown up in Temple Beth El Religious School, and have shown leadership, commitment, and spirituality throughout their education.  Grace Theriot has already been a madrichah in our school, and I hope Grace Margulies and Zoe will do so as well.  Confirmation will be a virtual service, with only family present. Rabbi works with the students to put write an amazing service. You really do not want to miss this beautiful service by our students.  We hope all of you to join us online for this very special service.

Andrew Sandberg will become a Bar Mitzvah Saturday, June 5th at 10:30. At last we are restarting our B’nei Mitzvah celebrations! This will be a virtual Bar Mitzvah.  Andrew and his family will be in the sanctuary with Rabbi and Norma.  Andrew’s friends, family, and fellow congregants from near and far will be able to watch this wonderful occasion on Zoom.  We have already done virtual Bar Mitzvah at Temple for Jake Goldberg last August.  Our equipment works quite well.  We are still improving our method for televising programs from our Sanctuary so that the picture and the sound will be very good.  We want to make this Bar Mitzvah as spiritual and joyful as our Bar Mitzvah boy deserves! Andrew has been preparing for his service for a long time.  His long time Hebrew teacher and Torah coach is Lev Comstock.  Norma James and Justen Bain have worked with Andrew on his service prayers.  Much of Andrew’s work has been done virtually, which has really required a big commitment from him.  Andrew has worked incredibly hard to prepare for this important day.  Rabbi Boxt is working with Andrew on his D’var Torah and putting the finishing touches on the service.  Andrew is the third child in his family to be called to the Torah, following brother Jason and sister Jordan.  He is the son of David and Heather Sandberg.  We hope you will join us for this simcha.

Sam Shagan will be called to the Torah on June 12th at 10:30.  Yes, we get to have two family celebrations in June.  Sam is the third child in his family to become a Bar Mitzvah.  He follows his brother Aaron and his sister Lauren.  That still leave one more brother, Jack, who still has a few years.  Sam has done all of his training virtually with Norma James and Rabbi Boxt. Sam has met the challenge like a pro.  He will have a virtual service televised from our sanctuary with his family present.  You are all invited to join Sam online as he conducts the service, reads Torah, and presents his speech.  Sam is the son of Robert and Allisen Shagan.  We hope you will support Sam by attending his service virtually.

Have a great summer!
We will see you when Religious School starts in person in August!