For printable guidelines for sponsoring kiddush, click here:
To contact us about volunteering, click here:


Hello everyone,                                                                                     January 12, 2020                                                                                     

Thanks to those of you who were able to make today's annual meeting a success. A couple of new board members were elected: Ellie Roden and Ginny Granger, both of whom need to be added to this distribution list.

As seen on the lists below, lots of great ideas were generated by the community members who attended our working session. Next comes the hard part: putting in place a system AND people who can ensure the success of our previously scheduled programming, while implementing some of these new ideas. That will be the primary agenda item at our next meeting scheduled for MONDAY, JANUARY 20TH. Please join us.

Wendy Klein-Faller -  Co-President, CBE Board of Trustees



  1. Book sale

  2. Art show and auction

  3. Art fund-raiser gallery. We have a lot of artists in the community. Find people to donate their work for viewing.

  4. Event evenings with Jewish themes. Story-telling; poetry; politics* (*not the explosive variety); culture; etc.

  5. Flea market

  6. Art classes

  7. Special trips, such as to NYC or one of the casinos. Charge the actual cost + some extra for CBE

  8. Grant writing

  9. Silent auction

  10. Jewish musical group. Charge for admission



  1. Learning the Hebrew language

  2. Play BINGO with the Hebrew letters to the learn the language

  3. Generate interest--Monthly/Holiday-based workshops and classes until a proper weekly school could be formed

  4. Form a Klezmer band (youth and adult)

  5. Jewish values, customs, and holidays

  6. Jewish arts and crafts relating to the holidays

  7. Prayer teaching

  8. On-line Hebrew class


  1. Meet the authors series. This could include Nancy Thompson  (“Touching the Elephant”); David Bashevkin (Al Bashevkin’s nephew. “The Synagogue”); Judith Schwartz (she has a new book being published soon); there may be other CBE member authors, especially among our professors.

  2. Conversational Hebrew classes

  3. Biblical Hebrew classes

  4. Informational travelogues

  5. Talk on Kabbalah and meditation

  6. Jewish music appreciation

  7. Form a Klezmer band (adults and youth)

  8. Jewish foods

  9. Jewish book club

  10. Lessons in computer and social media programs, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google

  11. Retreat weekend with Shabbat dinner and activities

  12. Regular monthly lecture with coffee - casual with topics of general interest, such as elder care, health, art, etc.

  13. Geopolitical history of Israel and her neighbors

  14. Play reading group of Jewish playwrights and/or plays



  1. Work with interfaith group to help make Bennington an immigrant-friendly community

  2. Create a “moral minyan”: One Shabbat/month to focus on an agreed upon social justice issue

  3. Ecological activism-native plant/native insect/natural interdependency workshops, info, work sessions

  4. Research native wildflowers, select specific plants for specific conditions, restore original plant varieties

  5. Plant wildflowers everywhere (seeds) like underpasses, etc.

  6. Environmental committee

  7. Host a community dinner with other people from interfaith organization

  8. Collect newspapers for recycling--there are people who have files of them in their homes


  1. Accessible nature walk with prayer

  2. Garden at CBE/compost

  3. Lag B’Omer bonfire and picnic

  4. Isabelle Friedman Center (or alternative site) community retreat

  5. Trip to lake for swimming, picnic, etc.

  6. Morning bike ride to a breakfast destination

  7. Wildflower walks, trips to local sites of interest (historical; Jewish)

  8. Mindfulness and ???

Volunteer Opportunities


In a recent Shabbat discussion about our experiences as volunteers, one of our members said that volunteering is simply what we should be doing for each other and for the community anyway. Volunteering really shouldn't need its own name, except that our busy lives require us to compartmentalize what we need to do for ourselves, and what we want to do for others. 


Congregation Beth El depends on various kinds of participation from its members. Financial support is part of the balance, and the contribution of your knowledge, skills, commitment, and compassion completes the equation. Following are a few suggestions for how you can help, and feel free to identify other areas where you can be of service.


Sponsor Kiddush:
Option 1 - donate money for kiddush. We are happy for members to sponsor Kiddush with a simple donation of $18. Susan will verify supplies we have on hand, and supplement with challah and anything else we need for a pleasant oneg shabbat. Your attendance is appreciated but not required!


Option 2 - donate supplies for kiddush. Provide non-perishable or freezable foods which we can bring out for a non-sponsored shabbat kiddush.


Option 3 - provide your own kiddush. This way you get to choose the menu and make a special occasion for the congregants, but it doesn't have to be complicated. See link in sidebar for kiddush guidelines and suggestions. 


Announcements preview: the weekly email Community Connection announcements would benefit from an independent review of the draft before issuing to the congregation. This would include checking that entries make sense, and contain essential information regarding dates, times, locations, fees, links, etc. Send brief comments to the rabbi and Susan, and you're done!

Tell us a story: send us an article related to Jewish life for the newsletter. This could be scholarly work, an opinion piece, congregational news, personal experience, fiction, poetry, or whatever you have to offer the community. CBE staff will review submitted articles and decide what to include based on content and available column space.

Library coordinator: sort through our boxes of books, select preferred items for community room bookshelves, organize and label items to be kept and stored, separate items to sell or give away.

Monthly Community Dinners:


Art coordinator:

Holiday planning & decorating:
Kitchen Coordinator:
Minyan phone tree:

  Hevre Kadisha (training reduired):




Webmaster: Six Directions Design

Congregation Beth El  

107 Adams Street    Bennington  VT  05201


Tel: 802-442-9645     Email:

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