I wanted to call this blog entry “April Fools,” but my wife told me I shouldn’t brag about my accomplishments. However, I did insist on special treatment at work on April 1st.
It was a busy month for the Temple Beth Shalom community here in the Florida Panhandle. We had supply-chain issues making it hard to find matzos for Passover, but we did manage. Fortunately for me, two non-profit organizations, Kosher Troops and the Jewish Soldiers Project, sent me materials for our local service members. The good thing was no one had to deal with left over matzos.
The great news is we had a community Seder, the first one since the pandemic began. About 60 people came, which filled us to capacity. Still, we were able to squeeze in a few last-minute guests from Eglin Air Force Base. The part I like best is when we have the children ask the four questions. Still, there is always one young child with four questions: “What we having for dessert? Will we have cake? Do I have to eat my vegetables? Can I go to the bathroom?” We can always depend on them to add surprises to the ritual of Passover. By the way, the food was great.
We continued with our regular programs. Services were held every Friday Night (except for the first night of Passover), starting at 6:30. Currently we are having a contest for who can tell the worse jokes. Current participants are our president, Chad Hill, and Eli Sharp, who is working on his Bar Mitzvah. At this time, they are tied for first place. Our third participant is our rabbi who is in fourth place.
We had Torah study every Saturday morning at 10:00 (except for the first day of Passover. The Torah study is the chance for many of us uphold the time-honored tradition of never agreeing on anything and saying, “Either I’m right and you’re wrong, or you’re wrong and I’m right.” The rabbi still holds his Wednesday class on Jewish Principles; again, the opportunity for us to disagree with everyone participating. Then there are the favorite Lunch and Learn classes held twice a month. Naturally the focus in on the food. Special thanks to Stephanie for preparing such great lunches.
We continued our community service project with providing a meal to Opportunity Place. Our community also supported the Holocaust Day of Remembrance Event for Eglin Air Force Base. Michael Walker and his group provide music, which always delights the audience. Our own Anne Kelz and Rabbi Delcau gave presentations on their families’ experiences during the Holocaust. More than 60 people attended the event, which is quite a good turnout considering it was held in the middle of a workday. The command of Eglin Air Force Base gave our speakers and Temple Beth Shalom special recognition for their support. Special thanks to Gina, who was battling a cold, but was determined to perform with Michael and his group.
Also, Laurie Guzman visited us, and I was able to get her out to the base to visit the chaplains. She was impressed with being able to sit down and talk to three of our military chaplains. We focused on how we can help each other and strengthen our communities. But I think the part she enjoyed the best was when I took her to Turtle Pond, and she got to feed the dozens of turtles that showed up.
There is good news. In addition to Eglin Air Force Base, there are Duke Field and Seventh Forces. Both units have expressed interest in developing ties with our synagogue to serve their Jewish service members. Being retired military, I love the opportunity for us to take care of our military members.
Until next month when I will have more adventures, or get into more trouble, take care. Shalom.